Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

House of Diamonds moving to the front burner

My husband is such a sexist. He will say things to me like, "Ok, let me explain it to you in cooking terms...." This cracks me up and I always make fun of him for it. But I do the same thing. Such as the above post title, hehe, which is clearly a cooking term that has to do with something simmering on the back burner until it's nearly ready, when you move it to the front burner to keep an eye on it as it finishes up. Did I really have to explain that?

I don't have a cover yet. There is a concept, which is way cool and I love it, but since it's not complete I can't show it to you. Oh darn!

It has gone out to advance reviewers, those published authors whose responses will be gleaned for back of the cover blurbs. Crossing my fingers until those come back! Hoping they don't hate it! Hoping they love it!

I am excited about my blog tour which will be in October. For the tour, I'm seeking bloggers interested in doing reviews, guest posts or interviews. Anyone who would like to help me out, please let me know and I will contact you with details!

Yay for the front burner! Hoping I don't get burned!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Must-Read Debut Novel

I got the ARC in the mail on Saturday, started the first chapter that night, and couldn't stop thinking about it. Sunday afternoon I decided would be reading day. It had been a hectic week, I deserved a reading day! I was eager to get completely immersed in the fascinating world of Jessica Bell's debut novel, STRING BRIDGE.

The print book is a reader's dream: just the right length, a cover you can keep turning back to, finding meaning in each detail. And nice paper! Not that rough cheap stuff but pages with a good feel to them, a sensual pleasure to hold and read. I was thrilled that an ARC was available in print version.

The writing is deep and beautiful, with imagery and details that make the characters come alive and move the narrative along seamlessly. Bell writes literary fiction, but don't let that stop you. I realize that some literary writing is self-conscious, overdone, lacking in plot and well, just plain dull. Not this book!  String Bridge has a strong narrative that kept me turning pages to see what happens next with Melody and Alex, the troubled couple living in Athens, raising a precocious and adorable (omigosh she is so dang cute!) little girl named Tessa.

Woven through the relationship between Melody and Alex is the complex relationship that Melody has with her bipolar mother, and the fears that she will become like her own mother and do irreparable damage to Tessa. In fact, Melody is so afraid of being hurt by those she loves that she effectively creates barriers to protect herself. It's not until tragedy strikes that Melody begins to understand how very much she did love and was loved in return.

The last novel that moved me and engaged me to this extent was Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Like Conroy, Jessica Bell is a brilliant writer of great skill and depth. She doesn't pull back from the difficult scenes, from conflict, pain, intensity. She puts it all out there, no holds barred, no holding back. She knows how to craft a scene, how to develop character, how to create suspense. This is an absolutely brilliant debut novel. I look forward to reading her next novel, and next and next.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happiness and Misery

Can you have one without the other? Joy and Pain forever walking side by side through life.

These two however, Travis and Jessica, are obviously feeling pure joy. Aren't they adorable?

While his younger brother, the last one left at home, is so very sad. "I have lost my best friend," he kept saying throughout the day.

I am trying to forget all the things that went wrong. The sun that beat down on us during the wedding luncheon. One p.m. on an August day, temperatures in the 90's, no shade in our side garden. Someone forgot about getting canopies to put over the tables. Ooops!!

The planned-for family portrait that looks more like the shot of a Glee Club than a family, because Dad and a few of the boys forgot to wear their suit coats. It was supposed to be white shirts, turquoise ties, and at least three of them wearing dark jackets, most especially Dad!

Hello?? Why did I not think to look around me and check for the dark jackets??? The Glee Club pianist My daughter is wearing her black top, where are the matching jackets on her brothers? Ooops!! And the Glee Club secretary my other daughter forgot her shoes. Ooops!!

But does this crowd care? No, of course not. All they really care about is having fun and being goofy. Never mind the formal family portrait that Mom wants. Because the last time the family was all together and did a professional portrait was in 1998, when the newlywed groom was nine years old.

Never mind. I'll get over it. Sigh.

Then there is the couple at the center of the celebration. Oblivious. Clearly, they did not notice a thing amiss.

For them, it was a day of perfect joy.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Really Big Day

Today one of our younger sons gets married. The wedding is in the morning, the wedding luncheon for fifty is at our home, then that evening will be the reception. A big big day, long and eventful. What's really exciting about it, too, is that all of our children will be together for the first time in years. Hopefully we get a new family portrait to replace the last one which is now fifteen years old.

So why am I blogging, you ask? Why on my son's wedding day am I sitting here writing a blog? Well, it's the night before and I'm scheduling it for Thursday, not actually writing it on THE DAY. I can't sleep for all the thoughts swirling in my head, and perhaps this routine activity will relax me so I can.

Once things have settled down and everyone has gone home, I'll be back with a few pictures of the event.  See you then!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ten things I'll do with my next books that I didn't with the first ones

1. Write faster. Uncut Diamonds took 10 years to finish. House of Diamonds took 3. My newest work, a gritty romance, was finished in less than 2 months. It will be in editing for a year and released next fall.

2. Link to reviews on my blog. There were some amazing blogger reviews on Farm Girl and Uncut Diamonds. Why didn't I create a link list for them? I wish I had, and intend to do so for my next books, maybe even a page of links, if there are a lot.

3. Schedule a blog tour. Again, did not do that before because I had just begun blogging, but plan on it for House of Diamonds. I am really excited about my first blog tour!!

4. Laugh immediately at the horrible, one-star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon that I might get, instead of needing to give them a year before appreciating the silliness of them. "losey book" and "hated it" LOL LOL.

5. Not bother with book signings or appearances. It's not my cup of tea. I don't meet people well in these kinds of settings. Online is where I shine, not in person.

6. Have a clear vision of my demographic instead of wasting time promoting to those who will *hate* my book and call it *losey* (which btw should have been spelled *lousy*). 

7. Worry less about numbers sold. A solid review from a reader who enjoyed my book enough to review it means the world to me. It's like money in the bank on my emotional happiness scale.

8. Get right on to the next one. Needing to make up for lost time in my so-called writing career, procrastination is not an option. If I publish a bomb that doesn't sell, so what? I will just write another book. And if I publish one that sells really well, that *holding my breath* becomes a huge seller, I will just write another book.

9. Let go of comparison and competition. It doesn't matter what other writers and other books are doing in comparison. Period. Let it go, and focus on doing my best work.

10.  Write what I write, despite not knowing what to call it.  Although women's fiction is not the best-selling genre out there, it's what I've got. I could say "literary women's fiction" but I hesitate because for one, I don't think I'm good enough to put the "literary" label on my work, and two, literary isn't what people are reading these days. I could say "commercial women's fiction" but that's the new label applied to chick lit. So is my genre "realistic women's fiction"? Not sure. I write what I write, not sure what to call it.