Thursday, August 31, 2006

Road Trips and the Writer

Well, I know I said I was buckling down when the last child went to university, but what can I say? When my husband offered a long weekend in Chicago, dinner at the Signature Club on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building, and shopping on Michigan Avenue, was I going to say "No, dear, I need to stay home and work?" You may now quit laughing. We had a lovely time, I did work on seven pages on my laptop, and yes, having dinner next to plate glass window 1200 feet (is that right?) in the air is an experience I won't ask for again. I carefully looked out at the horizon, not down, LOL. It was fun, being a couple again, no children in tow, not worrying about their schedules, who had to be where when, etc.

Did I mention reading Rexanne Bechnal's OLD BOYFRIENDS? It's wonderful, and I highly recommend it. I wish I'd written it.

So, I'm working on WHATEVER LOLA WANTS, shaping up the first three chapters and synopsis, while I let SAVING THE SUN GOD sit. Time away from something new is what works for me - I can see it with "fresh eyes" when I pick it up again to give it a thorough reading. LOLA is rolling onto the hard drive at a mile a minute. I'm really liking the heroine, Genevieve Caradon, who has just adopted a multi-racial child in Macedonia, Georgia. Lola, the child, wants a daddy to dance with her at the father-daughter dance at her school, and Gen is determined to give Lola whatever she wants. Only Gen is middle-aged, never had a serious beau, and is a librarian who was raised by her two gay uncles. Lola, however, is determined. How she goes about getting men interested in her new mommy is a riot to write.

It's nice to be home. The dog and I are still listening for a car door to slam about 3:30, 4:00, and a crowd of kids to pile into the house, but we're loving the quiet.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Scary Moments

As a writer, I'll use violence when necessary in my mysteries. My westerns pull no punches. The American West was a violent time. When writing about murder and mayhem, I'm not too squeamish, which probably relates back to my days practicing criminal law. People do bad things. The redemption story - and appropriate punishment - are at the heart of most memorable mysteries.

But when my daughter's first day of classes at her university were cancelled because an escaped killer (two law enforcement officers slain) was on campus, I experienced one of those horrible mother moments when your stomach literally knots and you can't breathe. If I hadn't been with my writing friends, having our monthly plotting session, I'd have been flying down the road, pedal to the metal, to her school to protect my baby. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and we continued to work on plot problems, all the while praying for calm and the police. The bad guy was apprehended, the campus went back to normal, and I can breathe again.

Real life is much scarier than fiction, trust me. It takes a lot of prayer to see through the darkness.

Friday, August 18, 2006

One Down,One to Go

Well, the racin' child is now in hog heaven. Her first hour in her new dorm at her new university, and she met a guy who's been six times to the races at Bristol. I must say, we were impressed. Bristol is a hard ticket to come by! Of course, wouldn't you know that Kasey Kahne (her fav driver) came to town the morning we were to leave for school, four hours down the road? Sure enough, a Kasey Kahne appearance trumped getting checked into her dorm, and she and her best bud, Kate, rose at the crack of dawn to get in line to see KK. Only there was no line. Two teen-aged girls rising at six a.m. is not a pretty picture, especially when there was no need, LOL. Still, they got to see their Nascar hero, get his autograph, and stay awake at the same time. Going to university wasn't even a close second.

I'm living with to-do lists permanently attached to my hand these days. I'm hoping, once my oldest is back at her university in another week and a half, I'll be down to one thing to do - WRITE. It's been hit and miss this past week, and I'm feeling antsy about my hero and heroine. I'm anxious for them to get into more trouble, work their way out of it, and discover they love each other at the same time.

An interesting tid-bit from RWA Nationals - did you know that of the mass market paperbacks sold, 55% of them are romance? And of that 55%, 20-25% are classified as paranormals. Wow. Interesting statistic.

Before I forget, run out and buy John J. Lamb's THE MOURNFUL TEDDY. Good mystery, great read, even if you're not a teddy bear collector. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Long Time No Blog

It's been a blue moon since I've posted - no excuses. RWA was its usual wonderful experience. Great seminars, wonderful writers, good time had by all. I'm always energized by the collective creative energy that blossoms when imaginative people gather in one place. Then it was off to Lake Gaston for a short family break before school starts. We've never been there before, but we'll go again. Came home feeling fat and sassy, and having shot the hero (not in real life, this is a rough draft, LOL) in Saving the Sun God. Had to figure out who shot him and why - I'm always digging myself into plot holes I never expect to dig, but it's fun to climb out of it. Even maniacial plotters like moi turn into pantsers now and then.

The horrible heat has broken for a few days, and I took time to plant an ornamental given to us by a friend, as well as tackle the hairy bushes. Ripped out my fried tomato plants, sigh. It's a lot like writing through the hairy parts of a work -in- progress. Taking a few hours to trim back the wild branches in the story gives me a clearer view of where I'm going with the next chapters. Tearing out the dead parts makes the plot cleaner as well. Hate doing it, but it's better now rather than later. If I'm terribly fond of the discarded prose, I saved it to another file and delude myself that I'll be able to use it later. Never happens.

Oh, read James Lee Burke's Crusader's Cross while at the lake. I'm worried about Dave.