Sunday, April 26, 2009


Yep, it was typical Talladega - wild racing, crazy wrecks, scary seconds as Carl Edwards hit the catch fence. I hope the people behind the fence are okay - they never had time to even cover their faces before Carl was heading for their laps. You can see the wreck video on Fox coverage of the post-race situation wasn't too stellar. The least they should have done is acknowledged there was a situation and offered to update the public whenever they were knowledgeable. A big congrats to Brad K., who was driving a James Finch car (with a Hendrick chassis and engine) that didn't even make the Daytona race in February. Nothing like beating your boss, Earnhardt Jr., at the track where he's a master!

The weather has heated up here in the South, well over ninety degrees F. The azaleas won't last long, but the dogwoods have held up for weeks so I can't complain. I'm on my gardening kick, per usual for this time of year, but with my book running full tilt boogie, I can't play in the dirt as much as I'd like.

Richmond race weekend coming up next! Can't wait. I'm so ready for a full weekend at the track.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


My daughter took this photo of some of her fellow architecture students. Since they're dressed in the stereotypical black that plagues the architectural profession, I thought it was a fun photo, expressing individuality despite the "uniform." I got a kick out of it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Beginnings

Without the huge old dogwood, nestled under the bracketing oaks, my front yard looks like a new place. The dogwood finally reached its end last fall, and we decided against replacing it immediately. I'm glad we waited. With new azaleas, hostas, and tulips planted where the dogwood once stood, that area catches my eye as it hasn't done it in years. We'd become comfortable with its prior arrangement, and the invisibility factor had set in. It was what it was. Not now. I'm constantly looking out the window to check out the new yard design and getting a kick out of it.

Starting a new story has the same effect upon me. I love the thrill of something fresh and different. I can't wait to see how it grows and what its final look will be.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


How important is it to a story for a character's motives to be spelled out completely, along with supporting scenes? Or are we willing to accept that people do things for no reason other than it seems like a good idea at the time? In real life, I think I accept that explanation. In a book, not so much.

What motivates people to do something extraordinary (think of the person who rushes into an inferno to save a stranger's life, with no thought of personal danger), as opposed to those who act in the smallest of ways with serious weighing of consequences before the first step? Confused? Yeah, me too. The worriers sometimes forget their fear and rush in where angels have to think twice. And sometimes, those we expect to be the most heroic, aren't. Degrees of heroism fascinate me. The little boy who shares his lunch with the outsider who can't make friends in the second grade is as big a hero in my book as the winner of the Medal of Honor. Well, maybe almost as much. I'm working on redefining my literary definition of hero these days.

April showers are upon us, along with a cool day that isn't feeling too spring-like to me. I'm ready for the sun and warm breezes! Mexico seems like ages ago (it was only a month!) but I'm ready to go back, LOL>

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


I woke up this morning feeling guilty about a mild trashing I'd given a book in my previous post. I'd been led to believe the novel was better than it was, and to say I was disappointed is mild, especially since I paid for a hardback edition. However, I realized I'm not comfortable slamming, even mildly, anyone else's work. A book is your child, and when your child is criticized, it's awful. Hence, I removed the paragraph. The previous entry probably makes little sense because of that missing piece, but now you know why. So much for my life as a reviewer, LOL.

I'd much rather praise books. I have shelves of books I read over and over. WINTER RUN from Algonquin Press is one of those small gems. MONTANA 1948, another. FALLING WOMAN by Pat Murphy (yes, it's sci-fi, but so cool and perfectly paced) is in tatters on my keeper shelf. Anything by Mary Balogh, who knows how to write true emotion. Dick Francis for his perfectly imperfect heroes who are honorable above all else. I'll make a list one of these days and post it here.

A week without Cup racing. At least there's the Nationwide series this Saturday. After the UNC blowout last night, I'm ready for some baseball, LOL.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tweaking Books and Race Cars

I didn't think the Texas race this past weekend was as bad as it looked on TV. With the cameras following the leaders, the viewer doesn't get the big picture. I have a feeling a ton of teams in mid-pack and back were working like demons in the pits to make their cars better. Would have loved to hear an interview with a crew chief like Bootie Barker. Plus, where's the Scott Speed interview? Wonder if he's ready to admit this Nascar deal is harder than he thought it would be?

Is Joey Lagano going to get bumped down to the Nationwide series? I doubt it. Gibbs likes the boy, and he has talent. Remember, Jeff Gordon smashed a ton of cars his rookie year. This year may be rough on driver and team, but Zippy will pull both together sooner rather than later. And how about Tony Stewart? You go, boy!

Which leads to another point about writing. When do you take critical advice, and when do you dump it? It takes guts to tell a seasoned editor/fellow writer to back off and leave your book alone. I'm a firm believer that "clear" eyes can read a rough draft and give you feedback about the next draft, but there comes a time when you have to take control of the book and be responsible for it as its author. I once had an editor who rewrote just about every sentence in a book. At first, I, being very green, thought "Okay, she knows what she's doing," until I realized, she was trying to rewrite my book in her style. At that point, I dug in my heels. Now, when I re-read that book (what a painful experience) I can tell where my paragraphs survived, and where she ruined it.

Tweaking. It can ruin a good race car and destroy a book that has the bones to be good.