Labor Day Weekend. You know what that means...

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Aloha fireflies---

Wow! Does that sound great or what? We are an official community now, with a name and everything. I don't suppose anyone out there is a designer of some kind and what's to come up with a little winged logo? :)

Well, it's Labor Day weekend, and you all know what that means. The kids are headed back to school. I know my son is twenty years old, and I should be far removed from all the emotions that come along with back to school, but I have to admit that it's still the same. My husband and I just took our not-so-little-boy to the airport and said goodbye until Thanksgiving. I have to say, it was still difficult. We had such a wonderful time when he was here. And I can breathe deeply again and worry less. As the bumper stick says: I can wag more and bark less. You all know what I mean. :) As soon as I finish making sure that he actually cleaned his room...See? Some things never change.

After the airport, we went straight to REI, which is a local sports clothing and equipment store in Seattle. This is a store for real sports enthusiasts; I could tell by the three story climbing wall and the rocky path built in the center of the shoe department to "test" your hiking boots. I used it, too. Not the climbing wall; the foot path. :) I put on the boots and pretended I knew what I was looking for. Fortunately, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who is a walking goddess, gave me some tips. Mostly it came down to buy lots of cushions.

Once I had my new boots, it was off to the clothing department. As my regular readers know, I'm planning for a trip to Africa. Now, this trip is a GIGANTIC undertaking for me. I mean, really. I haven't been a world traveler for a long time. I've wanted to, been waiting for it, but you know how it is with kids. The big trips become so difficult to pull of. But no more; now we're empty nesters, and Africa here we come. So I ran off to REI to buy...khaki colored clothing that dries fast and repels bugs. I didn't even know you could buy clothing that repels insects. Or frankly, that you would want to. Oh, and you can buy insect repellent that is supposedly "great." But don't put it on your clothing, or it will eat through the fabric. Does this seem wrong to anyone else???

And just for the record--now I know why people come home from Africa with thousands of photos of animals. It's because we all look terrible--no hair dryers, one small carry on bag, khaki nylon clothes that smell vaguely of bug spray, and oh yeah, we'll be sweating. So expect me to come home with lots of animal pictures! Assuming I can take the camera out of the bag, turn it on, get it to my eye, focus, and snap--all before the lion moves on. :) Not a chance...

All of this makes me think of the "dream trip" that all we mothers have. We nurture it for years, secretly plan for it when the kids are gone. Some of you are lucky enough to go before the nest empties out, but I know a lot of you I did. Anyway, tell me, where you all dream of going.

The upcoming trip has forced me to do what I rarely do: organize my time. Thus, here goes: I'm thinking that in September we'll do a kind of writing how-to series on the blog. I'd like to be really interactive on this, so please, tell me what it is you want to know. I'll try to address all of your questions and give you as much information as I can. So fire away! When you ask your questions, why don't you tell me about where you are in the writing journey also. that way all the fireflies will be able to chime in. I bet you'd all be surprised by how much you can help each other.

In October, I'll be gone and inaccessible (no hair dryers, so no lap tops), so our lovely Kim will be stepping in, so perhaps she'd like to talk to you all about what it's like to begin writing and how hard she worked to sell her first book. (What do you think, Kim?)

And in November...we'll be judging the essays and giving out advance copies of TRUE COLORS. Really, I can't wait for all of you to start reading. It's so different from Firefly. I think you'll love the contrast. And it's set in one of the most beautiful, most secret corners of the Pacific Northwest.

Aloha everyone---

And thanks for being fireflies....


Back in the Evergreen state

Friday, August 22, 2008

Hello one and all--
Since I told you all about my trip to San Francisco, I thought you'd enjoy a picture of me with a couple of good friends--Lisa Kleypas (left) and Teresa Medeiros (right). This shot was taken by the lovely and talented Christina Dodd (who gave me endless grief for never having a camera when one is needed--thanks, Christina, for stepping in). There's another great photo of the whole group floating around, but I haven't downloaded it yet, so keep checking back!

I would have written a blog last week when I first got home, but the truth is that I was totally exhausted. For a girl like me, who spends most of her time sitting at home with a notepad in her lap--dressed in old sweats and flip flops--San Francisco with my girlfriends is quite a change of pace. Make up, high heels, handbags to match your outfits, and changing jewelry. It's all a bit overwhelming, but in a very good way. I have to say...I love it. For a short amount of time. Getting ready for it is a motivator that I definitely need--every year, the conference gets me to lose weight, get in shape, color and cut my hair, and ask someone if bellbottoms are still in style. (Thankfully, they are--phew. That's one less shoping trip).
Some of the highlights of the conference: a laughter-filled tiki night with friends Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Jill Marie Landis, and Jill Barnett. We were at a totally kitschy, tiki-inspired restaurant in the Fairmont hotel. The Tonga Room. How great a name is that? You KNOW I was in my element when the maitre de hands you a fake flower lei when you arrive. :) And rain fell in sheets from the ceiling every ten minutes into a steaming turquoise swimming pool. Just makes your fingers itch to hold a pina colada, doesn't it?
Another great night was dinner with friends at the Mexican restaurant, and a fab dinner with the brilliant team from St Martins that publishes me. (I have photos--keep checking back--especially a great one of my editor). I also met with Kim and her critique group, which was a blast.
All in all, the trip was absolutely wonderful. In addition to seeing old friends, I was lucky enough to meet many of you at the literacy signing, and I really appreciate all of you for showing up. There's nothing better than meeting readers. I always love to hear who you all are reading, what you're reading, and what books you're looking forward to. And btw, what are you all reading now? I'm deep into Anna Karenina. What should I put on my tbr pile?
And speaking of the literacy signing, I got to thinking about all of my wonderful readers out there--especially those of you who dare to weigh in to this blog--and I'm trying to figure out how to identify all of you when you enter the ARC contest for True Colors. I really want to give at least one of the rare ARCs to my blogger-friends. So maybe we need a name of some kind to identify those of you who regularly read and write in. What do you think? Does anyone have an idea?
Also, I'm thinking that several of you who wrote in about the sisters' essay are right on the mark. Something like: tell me about you and your sister...or about the woman who is as close as a sister... What do you think?
Thanks to all of you for keeping in contact so often. I love hearing from you.
Now, I guess I've got to run. My son is still home and tonight is family Hearts night. I love card games! Wish me luck...

blogger friend photo!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Here's the much anticipated wedding photo of
our blog-friend, Lisa!

You are all beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing, Lisa, and thanks for reading True Colors....



Back in sweats and flip flops...

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I'm home from the crazy, wonderful, wild, exhausting world of the writer's conference. I have to say, I had an absolutely grand time, seeing all my old girlfriends again and making a few new ones. It wasn't all a bed of roses, of course. All those women under one roof, trying to talk at the same time. I'm left with a voice that bears no real resemblance to my own. I sound like Merely Haggard on a bad night. And my eyes haven't stopped watering since I landed in San Fran. Why is that, you ask? Air conditioning, too much smiling, summer breezes? No. It's make up. All that mascara made my poor little local girl eyes cry out in horror. And of course, because I rarely wear makeup, I'm used to rubbing my eyes whenever I want; you can see the problem. By ten am every day I looked like a rodent who'd been crying. Make that a rodent in uncustomarily high heels who viewed every set of stairs as a potentially life threatening test of balance.

And speaking of make up. I say that there ought to be a new track of classes at these conferences. Sure, we want to learn about writing and publishing and blogging and self promotion, but I say hear! hear! for some other useful workshops. How about make up tips from Lisa Kleypas (thanks to Jill Landis for this observation), or style pointers from Jayne Ann Krentz (who always looks fabulous), or fashion emergency advice from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who took one look at me in my oh-so-stylish wraparound dress and muttered, "double sided fashion tape," then yanked me up to her room for some much needed repairs. Thank God, too. In a windstorm I would have looked (not) like Marilyn Monroe. Yes, I say some new workshops would definitely help those of us who spend most of our lives in baggy sweats, flip flops, and sweatshirts that bear one's college logo. Just so you all know what I'm talking about, I'm including a photo of Christina Dodd (left, totally color coordinated and fabulous looking), Lisa Kleypas (middle--see why I want her advice? Gorgeous), and me. It was taken in the ear-splittingly loud lobby of the hotel. I have a bunch more photos to show you all, but I'll add them one at a time. More fun that way.
And while I'm thinking of all my great writer friends--most of whom I've known for twenty years; since we were all puppies in the business--I can't help but marvel at how far we all have come. Each one of them is living proof that writing novels is actually possible, and selling them is not impossible, either. I have been surprised by my emails lately, by how many of you out there in Kristin's blogland are aspiring writers. Wait. Cut that. By how many of you are writers who aspire to be published. Anyone who writes consistently is a writer in my book. I guess it's time for me do a few blogs about the craft and/or business of writing. Please, blog on and let me know what interests you. I'll try to mix my opinions about writing into the rest of it.
And now, it's time to run back into the house and make dinner because my son is home from college! How great is that? He blows in like a halftime show, changing everything, bringing noise and life and so much laughter. No doubt, I'll be exhausted in a few weeks when he goes back to college, but for now, I'm living large, playing Mom again.
How about you all? Tell me what's going on in your lives this summer.
ps: I hear from my editor that I'll have advance reading copies of True Colors in late August. What do you all say to another essay contest? With a special one chosen just from among my diehard blogger buddies? Maybe this one will be your favorite story about your sister...or the woman/girl who is like a sister to you...what do you think?