Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Must Be Nuts

That's it. My NaNo author's name. Must Be Nuts. I know, most people choose their own name and try to promo whatever they're working on while they're writing but when faced with the blank sign-in line my fingers took over. Evidently my subconscious answered the question Author's Name?

Must Be Nuts.

My NaNo profile is here. For those of you who haven't already realized this, the moniker is a good fit. Um, just saying...

Happy Halloween!

NaNo No No?

Tomorrow is the beginning of NaNo, National Novel Writer's Month. Info can be found here. Basically it's a 30 day challenge. Write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Sounds crazy, doesn't it? I've done it a few times and always had a blast. It does add a new stress level to my already busy life, but hey, who doesn't enjoy an extra jolt of stress now and again?

I still haven't signed up for this year's madness. Still mulling over the idea of finishing one novel while writing another and polishing a third. Sounds nuts, doesn't it?

Right now, I'm thinking I'll sign on. What have I got to lose? Besides my sanity, that is? Really, if we don't challenge ourselves from time to time life gets dull as dirt, doesn't it? Yeah, I'm doing it. Just decided. I'm in.

What about you? Have you got a story to tell? Why not take 30 days and tell it?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The small vineyard

This is the first year we harvested enough grapes to do more than serve after dinner. Actually, we ended up with enough grapes to make jam. The fruit ripened to a beautiful deep shade of purple. Sweet and juicy, when cooked they released an aroma that was almost intoxicating. We are tickled by the pint jars of jam! They taste heavenly, better than anything Welch's or Smuckers makes.
We're hoping next year's harvest will yield enough to make wine. We're dreaming of vin santo, a table wine whose origin in humble but filled with love. Ah, the things dreams are made of...
But this year we're thankful for our grape jam. We have no doubt that smeared on toast during the long winter months it will remind us that hidden beneath the snow are the vines. Yes, the vines whose roots are buried not in soil, but in optimism.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pumpkin Madness

I should be writing. Instead I'm carving a pumpkin. Try it. But I warn you, it's addictive!

Pumpkin Carving Madness.

In the air today...

The northeast has a special kind of beauty in the fall. The sound of crunching underfoot, blindingly clear blue skies and the faint scent of woodsmoke wafting in the air. As trees find brilliant burst of color and leaves rain to the ground the world seems magical, as if it knows a secret it's yet to reveal. And with spooky ghosts tumbling from trees and scarecrows on every corner, I feel the lure of the unknown beckoning me. Pumpkins gain personalities all their own and even the most ordinary winter squash looks festive when propped beside a bundle of cornstalks.

Yes, I love fall.But hey, I'm a sucker for any season! It's true. I love 'em all. Each one brings a different slant to my writer's mind. Each season encourages its own sort of story.

Winter makes me want to write cozy, snuggle-in-and-hibernate, contemplative stories. Spring, of course, brings tales of renewal. Maybe an adventure, or even two, with optimistic, outgoing characters. Summer? Hot, romantic love stories come to mind, and my fingers itch to create characters who live in the warm, passionate moment. And then there's fall...

Mysterious and alluring, fall naturally encourages me to write stories magic, the unknown, ghosts, goblins and things that go bump in the night. Too, I yearn to write about endings, followed by beginnings. Doesn't seem logical, does it? Most people think the end follows the beginning, but I feel it's the other way around. Why? Because although the last leaf is about to drop, the first snowflake is waiting to flutter to earth. A new beginning, seamlessly following the last ending.

I've got to admit, my writing is greatly influenced by the seasons. I'm beginning to flesh out the plot of a new novel in these fabulous fall days. It is a tale of murder and intrigue, one whose last chapters will be more about what's found rather than what's been lost. An opening of sorts, at the close.

I just hope those last few leaves hold to the maple branches outside my window long enough for me to become engrossed in writing this one. If not, I may end up with a novel whose ending is somewhat wintery!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mona Lisa's...brows?

Hey, what about the smile? Isn't that what we're all supposed to be obsessed with?Ah, I see... It's time to focus on a different part of the lady's face. *sigh* Isn't that typical? Just when interest over one body part settles down, a new issue comes under scrutiny? Who can tell how long it's going to take before we all stop staring at her eyebrows? The smile thing took five hundred years so two brows and two sets of lashes? That could take forever.

Yesterday's revelation by a French engineer, Pascal Cotte, that Leonardo da Vinci originally painted his masterpiece with brows and lashes was well received. A collective sigh of relief, one heard round the world, followed. Apparently many have speculated about the elusive brows for some time, spawning as many theories about her lack of facial hair as there are stars in the sky. Who knew? I have to admit I've never given them a single, solitary thought. Never. Sorry, Mona. My apologies, Leonardo.

And while I find this interest in art and the beautiful lady heartwarming, I still wonder about that enigmatic smile she wears. I can't help myself. I see the set of her lips, the way her cheeks have a faint blush and the knowing stare she fixes on me and my pulse quickens. My mind races. So many questions unanswered...possibilities to be explored...scenarios that may explain her smile. Has she witnessed a crime? Scorned a rival? Sought satisfaction for an ancient vendetta? Made love with the most wonderful man?

Let others focus on Mona Lisa's brows. Let's face it; I'm just not ready to get past the smile.

To read, or not to read

Doesn't it seem like everyone's got a blog now? Aunt Mildred. The Avon lady. The kid who delivers the newspaper. Celebrities. Politicians. The local historical society. Everyone, everywhere, seems to have a blog to call their own. A place to share thoughts, ideas, recipes, photographs, reviews, rants--whatever comes to mind.

And we, being a curious bunch, read these blogs. Why not? That's what they're there for, isn't it? To read? So we read. I've said it before and I'll say it again--I love reading other people's blogs. I love seeing what so-and-so has to say about such-and-such. It's a fast, easy way to get inside someone's mind, at least to the part they're willing to share.

Some people share incredibly intimate things in their blogs. I've got to admit, that creeps me out. A lot. I don't want to know about anyone's boils, bunions or broken heart. I don't want to hear they're despondent, down on their luck or determined to seek revenge. I just don't want to know. But that's what the mouse and the little red X at the top right corner are for, right? To decide to read...or not to read?

Me? I'll keep reading. I enjoy it too much. And you? I hope you'll keep reading, too. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Joy of Sex


Got your attention, didn't I?

Don't worry, I'm not going to talk about the joy of sex. At least, not here. Not now. Hey, my mother reads this blog!

What I had in mind when my fingers hit the keyboard was The Joy of Writing. Figured that wouldn't grab your attention, make your heart shudder or your pulse race, so I gave in to the giggles and wrote the other, um, more interesting title.

Anyhow, it's the joy of writing that's got my attention these days. Working on Hope Mountain and Sandswept in tandem and they're both doing well. It's satisfying to see a story grow, to watch the plot develop and characters evolve. Hoping to have both finished by the end of the month, but the month seems to be sliding by quickly.

Hmm... I guess I should get back to writing, shouldn't I?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Reading, Writing and Rankings

Every author yearns for readers to read what he or she has written. It's part of the deal, a part that can bring laughter or tears. After all, writers write hoping that someone reads. And that the reader appreciates what's been written.

Aside from reviews, authors consider how their books are ranked. Everyone wants to be on the bestseller list, even if the list is a small one kept by a publisher.

This morning I saw that Finally, This Season is in the number two spot on the bestseller list at The Wild Rose Press. And a quick glance at the historical American line showed that Proclamations is in their number one spot. Yippee!

Monday, October 15, 2007


Last night my husband and I watched Sleuth on the Turner Classic Movie channel.

It's a film from 1972, starring Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine. If you've never seen it, I suggest you do because it's really amusing. A mystery novelist, played by Olivier, plots revenge on his wife's lover.

What a wonderful movie! We laughed in so many spots, especially since the often convoluted stream of consciousness "out-loud writing" the author does is ...well, recognizable! My poor husband often hears my "what if"s and "then he said"s, including my theories about murder weapons, for my mysteries. It was a hoot to see someone else doing what is, for us, an everyday occurance!

See the film if you can. You won't be sorry!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy Birthday Eileen!

One of the best things about having a blog is being able to say whatever's on your mind. Yep, I like that. A lot.

Today my post is a fast, happy one. I'm hoping you'll join me in sending big happy birthday thoughts to my cousin. Happy Birthday, Eileen! Enjoy your celebration luncheon--wish I could be there to help you blow out the candles! We're thinking of you!

See, Dad? I told you the blog works! Sending big hugs and much love your way, too. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Doris Lessing

I am thrilled that 87-year-old Doris Lessing has been awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. She is truly a gifted author and deserves the recognition. I read The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five, The Golden Notebook and The Grass is Singing when I was in college and loved them. Such insightful prose, with a wonderful rhythmic quality. A perfect choice for the award!

I love it that she was out shopping when the call came that she'd won. Now that's my kind of lady. ;-)

Feeding my addiction

Yes, I, too, have an addiction. Doesn't everyone?

The object of my craving, my must-have-or-I'll-scream lust is Oreos. Yes, the cookie. I love 'em.

Trolling for recipes to mentally feed the craving at 4 am a few days ago, I found the following. I tweaked it a bit, gave it a true Oreo-lover's stamp of approval and am sharing it with you now. One word of warning, though. These balls may bring on an addiction in your life, too. They're that good. Enjoy!

Oreo Balls

1 package OREO cookies
8 oz. package of softened cream cheese
melted chocolate--chips, semi-sweet, dark, white--your choice. Hey, it's your addiction. :)

Crush the cookies into fine crumbs. Add cheese and mix.

Roll mixture into balls. Chill balls on baking sheet for 30 minutes.

Dip balls in melted chocolate. Chill until firm.

Store any leftover balls in fridge. *

* I just put that in for the purposes of recipe maintenance, not because I actually believe you'll have leftover balls. And if you do? Have leftover balls? Well, then maybe you should rethink your personal addiction, because it'll mean that Oreos definitely aren't your top lust item.

Kit Kats, anyone? Or Goobers--now there's an addiction-worthy item...

Dashing Time Theory

Ah, the month is nearly half over, isn't it? Ever wonder how that happens? I mean, I know how it happens, minutes turn into hours, hours to days...months, years, the whole shebang--I get that part. But did you ever notice that there are points in life when time seems to speed up--just a tad? As if the minutes are running instead of walking? Hmm...maybe I should put that on my to-do list for November..."Investigate Dashing Time Theory."

What? Oh, right. What was I saying? Oh, it's just that this month seems to be speeding by but I'll let you in on a little secret: my to-do list is getting done. Things are being crossed off and I am tickled, although the list itself is beginning to look like a scrawly mess. *sigh* I guess I can't have everything, can I? :)

Writing, too, is humming along at a fast, easy clip. The pre-NaNo Blitz, while not exactly blitzful, is working out. Hope Mountain is growing steadily and I'm satisfied with the story as a whole. The hero is a bit pricklier than I'd first imagined him but he's going to make a great turn-around character!

So life is good here. Hope it is with you, too.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Just a reminder...

that I'm in the Author Spotlight at The Long and The Short of It this week. You can find me here.

And the answer to today's quiz question is Buzzard! Email them to enter the free book contest. Who knows? You may win a free book just by answering "Buzzard"--how easy is that?

What about this one?

Isn't it sweet? Pointed toward the sky...side by romantic.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

For no reason...

other than I love it.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Finally, This Season reviewed by LASR!

The Long and The Short of It reviews has given Finally, This Season a 5-Book Review! Woo Hoo! The entire review can be read here.

From The Long and The Short of It:

"Finally, This Season will beguile romance fans from the very first line. This short, historic romance is an absolute delight.

The old world sense combines with that hint of formality that marked the life of the gentry of old. We follow this story from Central Park to ballroom. Yet, comfortably familiar though the setting is, the unexpected spontaneity of the story bubbles through.

The tone of the dialogue enhances this, by offering a certain level of lightheartedness. The dialogue even gives a hint of history, through word choice and sentence structure. I can do no better than to offer a short excerpt:

"For you it seems a small payment, but for me...ah, it is a most treasured gift." He turned toward the path and held out his arm. "Shall we?"

The quality of the main characters is undeniable, the conflict realistic, the lovely Miss Alexandra Parkington, practical. This is the classic romance.

Five books to Ms. Leone and a thank-you for this most engaging of reads."

October Writing Blitz

Week two of the October Writing Blitz has begun. I have to admit that last week my word count didn't grow as much as I'd planned. Blame Mother Nature for that, at least that's what I'm doing. Yep, passing it off to Mother Nature. After all, she's the one who sent teal blue skies, breezes as warm as a lover's caress and temperatures so hot I've been living in shorts and tees.
Yes, it's all her fault. I mean, doesn't she know it's October? Where are the blustery days, nose-chilling temps and frosty mornings? Hmm? Where, I ask you?!

Ahhh, right. That's word count isn't growing but I'm loving this little lull before the real autumnal weather begins. So maybe the blitz will be a mini-blitz? Or an end-of-month frenzy? Because sooner or later, autumn's got to return.

But today, the sky is blue and I'm out of here!

In the Spotlight this week!

I'm so excited! This week I'm in the Author Spotlight at The Long and Short of It. I hope you'll stop by and check it out! I'm just thrilled to be there.

And they're conducting two contests this week, so why not enter? Who knows? You just may win! :)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Just saying...

Yeah, I did it. I was keeping it quiet but who can keep something like that to themselves? The 5th Annual Brava Novella Contest has just been closed to entries. The twenty finalists will be announced mid-November.

Do I think I stand a chance? Sure, everyone has a chance. I've got a chance, the same as everyone else who entered. The only way not to have a shot at something is to be "Too" to go for it. "Too"...? Oh, you know, the usual "too"s people have...too old, too young, too busy, too tall, too short, too ambivalent, too shy, too whatever. Mostly, too afraid to fail. I honestly believe that's one of the biggest reasons people don't reach for their dreams. They're just too afraid of failure. Personally I don't understand that concept. I mean, really, what's the big deal. You try for something and you don't get it? Isn't it better to have tried than not?

Me? Writing's not a sissy sport. I put on my big girl panties and took the plunge. I thought, I wrote, I entered.

Now, I wait. But believe me, I don't sit around chewing my nails, wringing my hands and wondering if I'll final. No, I forget about this entry. I write other things. I move on.

357. Hmm? Oh, that's the number of entries. Just saying.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Between Bulbs and Blurbs

I'm writing like crazy these days. The words are coming fast and easy, and the novel I'm working on is growing at a satisfying rate. Between writing, my husband and I are planting spring bulb gardens. So I'm blending blurbs, bulbs, writing and gardening--and loving every minute of it! Hope you're enjoying the warm autumn weather, too!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

William Faulkner & The Buzzard

"If I were reincarnated, I’d want to come back a buzzard. Nothing hates him or envies him or wants him or needs him. He is never bothered or in danger, and he can eat anything." — William Faulkner

I've always been a fan of William Faulkner. Loved classes devoted to his work in college, often reading the entire required reading list before the third week of classes. Faulkner, with his rambling stream-of-consciousness style, appealed to me then and it still does. I especially like As I Lay Dying and Light In August. I can't say why I like them more than others, just that I do. I guess that's the way it is...some things appeal just because they do.

Love the thought on buzzards and reincarnation. Makes me smile every time I think of it. Reminds me that even "serious" writers can have a warped sense of humor. Shows, too, that we all have a place in this world--even buzzards.

Saw one yesterday, flying in the distance. No, not a writer. A buzzard. I saw a buzzard. you think? Reincarnated, maybe? Maybe...nah, it couldn't have been. Could it?

Monday, October 01, 2007

October Pre-NaNo Writing Blitz

Hmm...a new month. A clean calendar page. Unlimited possibilities, right?

National Novel Writing Month is November. For the last few years I've written a NaNo novel. One year I even wrote two during the 30 day frenzy. I'm planning to participate in NaNo again this year. But first, the pre-NaNo writing blitz.

I've banded with a group of writing friends (because there's safety--sanity, even--in numbers, right?) to participate in an October writing blitz. My word tracker is in place, and I'm ready to start this morning. Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have a newly completed novel in my hands. Who knows? Maybe I'll have a novella, as well. Yep, I'm an optimistic woman.