Here's to friendship

Monday, January 28, 2008

Good evening one and all--

My last post got me thinking about friendship and how important it is in my life. I am fortunate to have a group of girlfriends that are always there for me. Many of them are writers, women I've met throughout my twenty-some years in this business. We get together rarely, but talk on the phone a lot. We are all very grateful for technology--our phone bills used to make our husbands swoon. Now, though, its free to talk and talk and talk. We've even begun to text back and forth so that we're always in communication. The best part about going out with writers is the direction of our conversation. People overhearing us might think we were murderers, vampires, princesses, or just about anything. Once my editor and I were in a hot tub at a day spa, talking about one of my novels, and very cavalierly tossing out ideas about how to kill someone. It took us a while to notice how people were looking at us...

I also have my childhood friends--this group primarily stayed in the small town where I once lived (where Firefly Lane is set, actually). My college friends are scattered all over the globe, but most are married career women/mothers, with whom I still have plenty in common. Even if we don't see each other much, I think of them often and fondly. And then there are the friends I made as a young mother. Most of them have kids the same age as my son, who went to the same school, and we kept each other sane throughout the years. I don't know that I would have made it through the teen years without their support and friendship.

Okay, I'll be honest: mostly sane. No one who has a teenaged son is absolutely sane. They suck it right out of you. :)

And since I'm admitting that I'm not entirely sane, I think I'll add some of my characters to my friends list. In many ways, they're portraits of my friends and family, and even of myself. More importantly, I spend a lot of time with them, so even though they're fictional, sometimes they help get me through the tough times, too. I told you I was crazy.

Also, for those romantics out there, I want to say that the movie Atonement had one of the mostly exquisitely romantic moments I've ever seen on film. Definitely swoon worthy. In fact, James MacAvoy's (spelling?) whole performance was killer.

bye for now,


the way it's done...for me

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Good evening--

It suddenly occurs to me that I don't know if I'm supposed to begin my blogs with a salutation. Oh, well. I guess I want to, so, good evening again, I say.

I've gotten several emails about how I write. So, here goes. As many of you know, I still write longhand, on thin lined yellow legal pads, with fine tipped pens. I don't do this because I'm old fashioned or techno-challenged, although as we've already established, I am. For years, I wrote only on my computer, using notepads only for outlines and/or research. But at some point, I realized that sitting in the same position all day, day after day, was taking a toll on my body. I did the whole "make my workspace ergonomic" and that helped for a while, but in the end, I just had had enough. I walked away from sitting at a desk.

I picked up a pad and paper and never looked back. I found a creative freedom that was somehow different than using a computer. I love the way the pen glides over the paper; I love the way I can write on the beach, on my deck, in my living room, in my car. I love the way I can just rip out a page and toss it away. I also find that I don't focus so much on the story in a sentence by sentence way when I'm writing longhand. I'm initially concerned with getting the story down--the characters, the dialogue, the motivations. Making it all prettier, I can do later, when the novel is working. And since I work on each novel for a year or more--often writing ten or more drafts--there's plenty of time for that kind of fine detail work later.

And now, on to the questions about Firefly Lane...and thank you so much for asking! Firefly Lane is very much a book that comes from my own experiences in life. It's about best friends who stay friends for the whole of their life. One of the things I've realized as I've gotten older is how important we women are to each other. I wanted to write a kind of a valentine to female friendship. I hope it makes readers want to call their best friend--no matter how long it's been since they talked--and say hey.

Thanks so much to those of you on the blog who have written to say you loved the book. It's really cool to see that it's causing a strong reaction in readers. I've even been hearing "It's better than Mystic Lake" which was a sentence I'd despaired of ever hearing. :)

Take care and have a great night. Now I need to run along to watch Project Runway. They're probably making courture gowns out of Hefty fun..

Take care and and keep sending me questions and comments!

bye for now,


Looking forward to LOST

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Hello again...

I am absolutely stunned to report that this blogging thing is kind of fun. Thanks so much to my many friends--old and new--who took the time to post. I find myself actually looking forward to reading my own blog. How odd is that?

I know I should be talking up Firefly Lane, but truth be told, at the moment I'm totally wrapped up in the next novel. (No title yet). I just finished the first draft, and honestly, there's no better feeling in the world for a writer. Turning in a manuscript--and hearing a positive response from your editor--is like taking a ten pound boulder off your chest. For the first time in months, you can take a substantial breath. You can sleep without dreaming of imaginary people and their problems, you can listen to people talking around you...and not just to the dialogue playing around in your head (oh, yes, we writers are fun to be around in the final weeks of a project).

For me, once the pages are printed and sitting on my desk in a pretty white pile, I look up, glance around, and remember all the things I put off doing. And...sigh...I have to start doing them--cleaning, shopping, fixing stuff, etc. You know the drill.

But my evenings are free. Instead of editing and writing and planning, I can read. What a complete joy that is. I reach over to my substantial TBR pile and pull up the one I've been waiting for. A few of my choices lately: the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer (great YA romance if you like the vampire mythology, which I do), Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill (fabulous debut horror novel), The Overlook by Michael Connelly (I'm a big fan of Harry Bosch) , and Middlemarch (classic for a reason). Next on the pile is Duma Key by my boy, Stephen King. I've been reading and loving his books forever. I'm proud to say that my son is following in my footsteps. He's a Dark Tower follower through and through.

And then there's tv. With the writer's strike (which I am completely in support of btw), the black box is kind of a desert at the moment. Although, American Idol and Project Runway are doing their best, and Lost is coming back next week. That's something to be thankful for. :)

What about you? What are you all reading out there? I'd love some recommendations...favorite authors? Favorite books? What are you looking forward to?

bye for now,


Look At Me, I'm Blogging

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Well, well, well...will wonders never cease? This is day one of my resolution to actually leave behind my cool, private, shadowy office and walk--finally--into the bright, modern, pixilated world. In other words, I'm blogging. It's actually hard to believe. At the moment, I'm sitting in my office, staring out at the palm trees and blue sky, tapping on this keyboard and wondering if these words will actually go somewhere. I'm assured that it will be a simple matter of point and click to share what I've written, but I still can't quite believe. Still, I'm trudging onward. Believing.

That's what we writers do, after all; we believe. It's probably our best trait. Long before you ever read what we've written, we begin with the tiniest kernel of an idea. That idea is held onto tightly, stroked and fed and watered. When we look closely at it, we see not the tiny, unformed thing in our palm, but rather the big, sprawling, glittering story that it can become. Then, day after day, week after week, month after month, we plod in the direction of that dream. For me, the only thing that sustains me is often the belief that I can actually create what I've imagined.

With this blog, I guess I need to believe that you are out there, interested in what I have to say beyond the words I've written on the pages. It's funny; years ago, I would have said that I was too shy to attempt this sort of thing, but lately I'm a little more willing to speak out. Maybe it has to do with getting older and caring just a little less about embarrassing myself.

So much in my life has changed in the last few years; I guess it's inevitable that I would change, too. My son has graduated from high school and gone on to college in another state. Where I used to worry terribly about him going away, I now worry just as much about him coming home. :) The minute he walks back into the house, everything is loud and boisterous again--more so than I remembered. I can never find the remote control and every light in the house is on and there's food in places that defy the imagination. And I love it. Every crazy, upside-down, infuriating, terrifying, laugh-out-loud moment. I feel as if I'm on vacation when he's home now, just having fun, hearing about his life so far away.

When he leaves, life settles quickly back into its steady routine. The house is always clean, the fridge is stocked, the bleating ringtone of his cellphone/text messaging disappears. And I can write again in peace. Perhaps because of that, writing has become really enjoyable again. I'm no longer trying to find time to do what I love; I have plenty of hours to sit with my pad of paper and my favorite pen and create my stories.

And, of course, I can do the other things I love: Reading, going to the movies, running, swimming, paddleboarding, skiing, etc. What about you? I'd love to hear how you all handle the sudden changes in life that come with motherhood--whether it's a new baby, an empty nest, an adult child's unexpected return...

Let me know. Let us all know. I'd love for this blog to become a place where women could gather and talk about all sorts of things. I've come to believe that in so many ways we're all alike, that we're all living a variation of the same life. That's really what my new novel, FIREFLY LANE is all about. Girlfriends who are always there for each other, through the years, no matter what. But we'll talk about that later. For now, I'd love to hear what you want to talk about.