Archive for February 2009

Birthing a Book

February 21, 2009

My Writing Buddy

My Writing Buddy

I’ve been working on redoing a book since early January.  I wrote this book many years ago (I won’t tell you how many) and set it aside as a learning experience.  But the characters and the general setting always stayed with me, urging me to pull that “baby” from its folder, and work on that love story again.


So I chose it.  Because it insisted.  Because Tony and Gaby never left my heart.  Because I wanted a project that would be not take months and months to finish.  Why should the time matter? 

Because I was stalled on the writing project I had been working on.  I decided I needed to let that latter project set awhile.  Like a great stew or soup it needed more time to simmer and blend the flavors.  Besides, I don’t believe in writer’s block.  J

So I pulled out Seasons as I soon started to refer to it.

First, I changed the setting, only a bit.  Next, the ages of the characters changed. A lot. The heroine, Gabrielle or Gaby, became one of MJ’s wise women.  In other words, a smart woman, on the sagging side of 40 who’s facing the need for some personal growth other than at her waistline.  Then the love of her life enters and gives her more to think about than the sorrows that have driven her and the isolation she’s built around herself as protection for her heart and psyche.

He’s fearless, Tony is.  A traditional man with a controlled temper who’s loved his vineyard more than any woman—until Gaby blows into his life.  They’re both used to being alone and having life as they like it, but they can’t ignore the sizzling attraction they feel.  So their paths to finding that happy ending is their story.

What’s  the best?  Their happy ending is literally just around my corner, or in the next few chapters.  J


I realized this past week as I could’t quit writing each day because words were flowing so well and the story was rushing toward its end, that this stage of writing has similarities to the times I was pregnant. (Yes, I can remember back to that time.) The due date was a few weeks away.  My squirming baby wanted “out” and pummeled me from my tonsils downward.  During that time, I lumbered around, finishing up errands, cleaning house, doing extra laundry, making and freezing extra meals, all so I would be ready when the due date arrived.

Sleeping was difficult, too, as “baby” kept active at night. L


Like back then, I’m not sleeping much at night.  Tony and/or Gaby keep popping into my dreams and pummeling my thoughts.  During the day I’m in my office at my keyboard getting their lives in order and making their story the best I can in order to bring it to the world, show it off and wait for acceptance or not from those who read it.  Exactly like a mother waits anxiously for the praise, coos, and joy she sees others give her newborn.

And like a mother who would never believe her baby anything less than perfect, so I will love my Seasons, my “perfect” baby.  One I prepared for, labored for, have loved since forever.

Perhaps next week, I can announce a birth.  J


Weird, Wonderful Weekend

February 14, 2009

What a weekend!


Friday, the 13th—Jason, horror flicks, fear aka triskaidekaphobia—fear of the number 13.orchid1


Saturday, Valentine’s Day–hearts, flowers, love, chocolate, be mine forever.


Sunday–in Roman times was the day celebrating the Feast of Lupercalia, dedicated to marriage, fertility, and recognizing Juno, queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses. 


Let’s see.  You got a day symbolizing superstition and fear, then a day celebrating love, and finally a day honoring marriage and fertility, jam-packed into one February weekend.  Interesting…  🙂


Rather like romantic suspense I write–suspense and maybe a bit of superstition thrown in along with a love plot, heavy breathing, and a happy ending.  And I always have a wise woman with strong with ties to family, rather like Juno supposedly was.


Sounds like this weekend.  We won’t have another like in for a while, even though March does have another Friday the 13th.  Interesting.  I better not be superstitious and wait till another weekend like this comes around before I write another book. 😦


But I’ve been told I’m a romantic and maybe I am and most of this weekend had the love story going on.  So I’ll dwell a bit on my favorite love story and marriage.  My maternal grandparents were my role models for this.  My alter-ego–Mary Jo writes about Gramma in MJ’s Wise Woman essay “Following Grace. Grampa loved Grace and showed it everyday in many ways: a gentle teasing while she knit at night, a thank you for every meal, little gifts for no reason stuffed into places where she’d come upon them during her day.  They worked together on their farm and raised a family.  She put the twinkle in his blue eyes, and he made her smile.  They didn’t make fifty years together but came close. He died twenty years before she did and she mourned him every day.  They didn’t need a special day to celebrate their love. They lived it every day.


Theirs was an unsung love story.  Love isn’t always flowers, candy, kisses and hugs.  To make a love story last each person has to give all they’ve got to it.  Sometimes, one has to give more as the other is going through a rough patch.  That is the greatest gift one partner can give the other.  To be mentally, physically, emotionally at the ready, even in the rough times.  So you come out whole and together at the other end.  Sometimes one must give more than the other due to an illness or some major challenge.  Each is strong on his/her own as my grandparents were, but together they were a superpower—and magical.


Ed and Grace, my grandparents. They are my symbol for Valentine’s and for love.  I hope you enjoyed the tidbit of them I give to you.




Ducks, Humans, & Sleep

February 7, 2009

We have a strong southeast wind today.  When I woke up to let my puppy outside, the air felt damp and, dare I say it, WARM? 

I looked outside to gaze at the ever-changing lake.  Yesterday the ducks were walking on the ice.  Today, the ice is gone and the wave action is shifting those ice chunks north. 


All this happening while I was sleeping.


I went to sleep last night wondering what topic I’d post today.  I’d been discarding ideas all week.  I began to think this week could be a bust.  But…


I slept.  Woke up.  Opened the door.  Breathed in.  Looked at the lake.


And found my topic.


I’ve never believed in writer’s block; after all a writer can write a scene even if it’s not in the progression planned.  Mulling it over just before going to sleep after some careful analysis has proven every effective for me.  Usually the answer is there in my mind when I wake up.  Instead of wasting the day staying at the monitor, I’ve done other writing tasks, some revision or editing, more research, query letters, you get the idea.  I have at least a couple projects in the works all the time. 


I’ve handled my life and its problems the same way.  I don’t believe in a total obstacle.  Analyze it to figure out a way to go around the damn thing if you can’t move it, destroy it, or solve it.  Sleeping on the problem sometimes gives you new perspective and you realize the goal isn’t right in some way.  That explains the obstacle and the path to overcome it may be revising the goal or redefining the issue. 


 Yesterday, the ducks were walking on the ice-covered lake.  Today they ride the waves.  Those smart ducks kept doing their ducky things.  They knew if they “slept on it,” things would get better.  For them, it’s open water.  For us, “sleeping on it” can open our lives and our minds.


Try it. 


Perseverance & Super Bowl Sunday

February 1, 2009


Family, friends, writing.  Well, now how could I link up that title with those topics? Let’s see…


My family is a sports-minded one.  We’ve often gotten together for events like the Super Bowl.  I remember the very first one in 1966.  All my siblings and parents came to my house to watch the game.  We had the largest TV screen.  Last year was the first time since that first Super Bowl my siblings, those of us still alive, gathered together to watch the Super Bowl.  We were at my mother’s who was in the final weeks of life.  Doing something we’d done in happier times and being together to care for Mom made the day special.  We exhibited perseverance by all of us being there for Mom until she died.


Nine years ago today a dear friend of mine died.  She’s the Casey I honor with part of my pen name.  I miss her every day, but especially today.  She was a unique individual whose life and career were filled with creative talent, obstacles, and catching some lucky breaks.  But she showed up and persevered in a career few women entered at that time.


That gets me to the writing topic.  But how does it fit with the Super Bowl?


For writers, talent is our base.  Success means working at it.  Showing up.  Catching lucky breaks.  Being at the right place at the right time. With the right idea.  Putting a unique spin on a universal theme.  Sounds like a football season to me.  The team has to work at its talent, individually and as a group.  Teams have to show up.  Catching lucky breaks or the right call from a referee can mean winning a game in the last seconds.  That happened a few times this past season.  Being in the right place at the right time allowed for points garnering interceptions. Each team had its own way of capitalizing on the universal theme of getting that pigskin across the goal line.hoarfrost 


The two teams playing today persevered.  Despite obstacles, they made it to the Super Bowl.  One of them will win the trophy.


Writers who persevere, who work their talent into their own brand, who catch a few breaks, who have the perfect manuscript when an editor wants it, these are the ones who likely succeed.  Some of them may even win the trophy—getting published.  But all are winners.  All are talented. All showed up at their keyboards.  I have to believe this.  Believing in my talent and keeping at it helps me fight self-doubt, procrastination, disappointment, and challenges.  This year will see my first book released. Maybe next year, I’ll make the Writing Super Bowl. J


Since I have no related photos for today’s topic, I’m posting a photo that may help jump-start thinking:  about nature, beauty, the temporary state of things in life, seeing beauty in the cold or reinforcing your love for summer.  Heavy hoarfrost sometimes referred to as white frost.


Enjoy your week.