True Colors arrives in paperback!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hey everyone---

Welcome to 2010. Even as I write those words, it seems amazing to me, remarkable. A year worthy of sci fi movies and futuristic novels. To be honest, I have been putting off this blog because I kept thinking that I ought to have something important to say, something inspiring or fascinating or at least interesting. Well...I've been waiting and thinking and nothing has come to me.

At first, I thought it was because of the holidays. Then I blamed it on the aftermath of the holidays--you know what I mean: the cleaning, the packing, the driving, the un-decorating. But today I finally understood the root of my malaise: it's publication time. In the next eight weeks, more than two years of work will basically come home to roost. I know what you're saying to yourselves right now. She's freaked out by the publication of her book? How can that be? Isn't this exactly the day she's been looking forward to?

It's certainly the common understanding that we authors live to see our books on the shelves. You probably think that the day we see our work in a book store is pure magic. And it is. It absolutely is. But to be totally honest, when you've been writing for a long time--and this September will mark nineteen years of publication for me--you discover a lot of ups and downs in the career. Good reviews, bad reviews, good sales, bad sales, good covers, bad covers. It's like this giant pendulum that keeps swinging to and fro, taking you along for the ride.

I am not a neurotic person; neither am I pessimistic nor nervous. But every book turns me into Sybil for a day or two. I am certain one minute that the book I have slaved over will break all sales records and lodge firmly in readers' hearts...that the word of mouth will be overwhelming. That upswing of optimism can last for a few minutes, maybe even an hour, and then the pendulum will swing the other way. I imagine not just bad sales and bad word of mouth, but a career-ending backlash. I suddenly question every word I've written and every plot choice I've made. I stay away from the computer and the book stores.

As I said: Sybil. My family and friends love this time. :)

Fortunately, I have a short attention span. I spend a few hours careening through moods and then I'm done. I put aside the whole question of sales and I focus on what I really care about: writing. For years, that alone has saved me: the next book. And I'm sure it will be true this year as well, but you know what? There's something else out there that has kept me on an even keel this year--and it's you guys. I can't tell you how much it helps to hear from readers. For most of my career, I huddled in my own silent world--I didn't put my address out there for fan mail or try to communicate with people. I just sat at my little desk and wrote my words and piled them up and edited them into manuscripts. Now, though, through the firefly blog--and to a lesser but still important extent, Facebook--I get to actually hear from the people who read my books. And amazingly, a lot of you love them.

How cool is that? So, thanks for taking the time to let me know what you think about my work. I love hearing it--the good, the bad, the great. (Okay, okay, especially the great--but really, I'm good with all of it). As you read True Colors in trade paperback and next month, Winter Garden, I'll look forward to your reviews and posts and thoughts, and yes, your criticisms. All of it makes me a better, stronger writer.

Speaking of making me a better writer, I wanted to let you all know that mine is not the only publication day that I'm celebrating this month. As most of you know, I've been critique partners with Megan Chance for twenty-two years. Wow. Just saying that out loud is a shock to the system. We first met and began our journey as friends and writers when my son was three months old--and now he's a senior in college. Yikes. Basically, I have never written a word that she hasn't read--and probably edited. :) and vice versa. Anyway, her latest novel, Prima Donna, is out on book shelves this week. It's a gritty, erotic historical novel that will keep you riveted from beginning to end. Book clubs will love it. Check out her website at I'm trying to post a photo of the cover, but it isn't working. Grrrrr....
And then, of course, we can't forget Kim's book, Lake Magic, is out this month. :) Kim is out doing a bunch of fun stuff this week, but when she gets back, we'll get her to post a cover photo and a link to her brand, spanking new website. Go, Kim!
Last but not least are the house parties. Have you all checked out the site? Wow is all I can say. There actually ARE going to be 1001 Firefly Lane/friendship parties on Jan. 30th. I can't wait to hear all about them. How many of you are hostesses???
Let me know!
Aloha for now,
ps: the photo is of my family skiing on the day after Christmas. What snow we had!

Happy holidays, all--

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is it just me, or has this been the busiest holiday season ever? And how is it that it crept up on me? I mean, I know it's coming, and I spend several months thinking about the upcoming holidays, and looking forward to them, but then it seems as if in one day--the day after Thanksgiving, in fact--I go from anticipating the holidays to being behind. Every year I swear that I'm going to shop ahead and wrap ahead and bake ahead, and then what happens? It sneaks up on me AGAIN and I spend the first two weeks of December in a panic. I try to balance the baking (every years I'm going to make several dozen cookies and a pie or two), the shopping, the wrapping (the last presents wrapped are lucky to get scotch tape; forget a nice bow and ribbon), the decorating, and--always--the book.

Did I ever tell you that I finish my book on or about December 1st every year? The first draft, that is. And this year was an exception only in that I finished on about the 15th and then had to do a rapid fire edit (cutting about fifty pages) so that I could send it to my blessed, sainted critique partner, Megan Chance. I figured it was better to cut the pages myself before she could tell me it was s...l...o...w. :) And since I've written about Megan and our critiquing before, I'm including a photo of us together. It was taken at our recent writers luncheon.

Also, a little fyi, Megan's new book is coming out in January. PRIMA DONNA is a really wonderful, erotic, atmospheric historical novel set in old Seattle. Obviously, I'm biased, but she is one of my favorite people/writers and this is a fabulous book.

And now, onto the really big news, which you all already know about: the house parties. I have to say, I am stunned, amazed, and humbled by the response to the parties. Over six thousand women signed up to hostess parties in the first few days. More than 1200 signed up in the first day alone. Honestly, when I heard about the idea, I wondered if we'd be able to find 1,000 women who would be interested in having Firefly Lane parties. Shows what I know. I want to deeply thank my publisher, especially Lisa Senz, for the hard work and imagination it took to put this whole thing together. Check out They've upated the party information and added all kinds of cool stuff on there. Hostesses can chat back and forth, and there's a map showing where the parties are. I sure hope that any of you who are lucky enough to be hostesses will send photographs to me at the official email address on the site. I'd love to post them.

Well, I need to go start packing the car for the big ski trip. Presents, food, clothing, ski equipment, and don't forget the cat. It's a good old fashioned road trip, including sing alongs. :)
And don't think I've forgotten my own top ten list. I haven't. But I have a huge TBR pile that I will be diving into tomorrow, so I'm going to hold off on the list until I've finished some of the books that's I've been looking forward to.

My very best wishes to all of you and your families. May you find and remember the joy of the season.

Ho ho ho


Holiday Countdown

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hey everyone--

Well, it finally happened. Winter came to the Pacific Northwest. Not a in a big, white snowstorm kind of way, but baby, it's cold outside. Cold and crisp and absolutely beautiful. It makes it easy to think about fun family get togethers. And as soon as I get my shopping done, I'm definitely going to start preparing for some family fun. I'm especially excited because this year--for the first time in forever--we're going to get to share Christmas morning with my dad and his wife and my brother and his family. Woo hoo! We're all going to spend about five days at a ski lodge in Northern Idaho. Hot cocoa, board games, sledding, skiing, and sharing memories. What could be better than that? Oh, and my son is bringing his beautiful girlfriend home from college for the first time. Honestly, I feel incredibly blessed.
The photo, btw, is from my bedroom window at the lodge. Can't wait!

Until then, of course, there's so MUCH to do. As you guys know, I've got books coming out in early January and early February, and that means that there are a million little promotional things to do. Honestly, I feel like I'm being nibbled to death by ducks. :) And you KNOW how disorganized I am. And worse than that, I'm obsessed with writing. I just love writing my books and I'd rather sit down and write pages than do almost anything else. So as I write, the cupboards and fridge slowly go bare, the laundry piles up, and the promotional ideas fade away.

But--and drum roll, please---I just finished the first draft of my book for 2011. Now, a first draft is a long long way from a finished book, but its still a certain kind of end. I can put that book aside for two weeks and focus on everything else in my life. Like...I'm going to make homemade pasta for dinner tonight...and I'm going to go see Brothers at the theater...and I'm going to send out a newsletter.

Thank goodness for my publisher, who has been great at picking up my slack. These parties that they've put together are looking SO fun. I really wish I could come to all of them. I'd love to be a fly on the wall to hear what women are saying. :) And hey, if you've been thinking that you want to host a party but haven't gotten around to signing up, I'd say you should do it quickly. They've had a surprisingly big response and spots are filling up fast. I think Dec. 15 is the deadline, so if you want to have a chance to win 12 copies of Firefly Lane, 2 copies of True Colors, and a hot off the press copy of Winter Garden, sign up now. Don't worry if you don't know eleven women--I'm sure it could be a great way to meet people. A sign at your local bookstore or library would probably introduce you to some other great women-readers in your community. And of course, if you have a party, or attend one, plan to send me photos!

And now, in another part of the forest, I say we come up with a Firefly Top Ten list for the year. What do you say? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the best books, movies, television shows, and fashions of the year.

Happy holidays to everyone. Let's keep up the thoughts and prayers for each other.



Time to par-tay!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hey everyone---
The news is finally out! My publishers have been working hard to come up with a fun event to promote the release of Winter Garden. And I have to say that they have definitely done some out of the box thinking.

How about 1,ooo parties, happening all at the same time, all across the country? What a rockin' idea. Women getting together to talk about books and life and everything in between. What could be better--and who doesn't need a good old fashioned girlfriend party after the stress of the holidays?

If you'd like to host a party--and I would LOVE it if a lot of fireflies were able to do this--you have to sign up quickly. We've been really surprised by the number of people who signed up before the news was even officially announced. Each party will get 12 copies of Firefly Lane, a few True Colors and an early Winter Garden. How cool is that? So if any of you are interested, please follow the link and sign up. Tomorrow I'm going to be filming some internet interviews that I'll be posting on the site sometime soon. I'm going so high tech. Can you stand it?

Check it out and sign up! I can't wait to hear how this all works out. Boy, I wish I could show up to all the parties.