Thursday, April 28, 2011


Hi Guys:  Being a 'seat of the pants' writer, each new book is a new adventure for me.  Sure, I know the characters, the setting and era and I have an idea of the story when I start, but many times as I write, until I get there, I haven't a clue where I'm going.  Now I know there are writers, and I envy them, that sit down and map out an outline of the entire book.  Some even outline each chapter and then begin writing -- they amaze me and I'm sure that my way horrifies them -- sometimes it does me, too!  I wish I could do a great outline, but my brain (the part that still and then) just doesn't work that way and explains why I often have those really bad writing patches.  This was made painfully clear to me just the other day.  As you all know (you've listened to me whine often enough lately), I've been having trouble with the book, but I hit section where I knew exactly where I was going.  The pages just zipped by and I felt like a real writer.  It's been a pretty good week writing wise.  I know that I'll hit another sticky section, but that's part of the adventure.  There's nothing like writing yourself into a corner and then figuring out how to get out...without leaving any sign of the struggle behind.  I know there'll be more sticky patches, but I also know that I'll discover new things about my characters and the book as I write through them and that eventually I'll be writing F I N IS and sending in another manuscript.  I leave you with -- "One day the Nouns were clustered in the street.  An adjective walked by, with her dark beauty.  The Nouns were struck, moved, changed.  The next day a Verb drove up and created the sentence."  Kenneth Koch , quoted from the Columbia College alumni magazine, via the Author's Guild Newsletter. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Surrender Becomes Her...

Just letting everyone know Surrender Becomes Her is coming out in paperback June 7th!

The Sun is Shining In CA!

Hi Everyone:  How glorious it is to see sunshine and blue skies!  Lately we've been feeling like mushrooms out here in CA.   And whenever I get to feeling too gloomy because of the weather, I think of Japan or the terrible weather the mid-west and east coast is having and then I don't mind gray skies and drizzle at all.  Not one bit.
Had one of our marathon days out of the valley on Friday.  Dogs to the groomers, me to the beauty shop (although why I bother I don't know) and then the doctor's office and a ton of shopping.  Exhausted when home.  Chanel's spay date is fast approaching and there's a few thngs that have been added -- 4 retained puppy teeth to be pulled while she's under and a liver biopsy -- possible liver shunt.  She weighs all of 5.5 pounds.  I'm worried about the operation, but the vet has assured me that he's operated on dogs that small many times.  The possible liver shunt is worrisome, but we all feel that if she does have one, it's small and shouldn't have long-term effects -- other than she'll probably always be skinny.  Because of her size, we call her, our Lap Rat -- said with great affection.
Finished another chapter on the current book.  Had to go back and revise the first chapter.  New bad guys started playing a major part in the book and gee-whiz-golly didn't have a mention of them in the beginning of the book.  Not to worry -- I do that all the time.  Blood Drinker of GYPSY LADY fame, originally didn't appear until about 2/3 rds through the book.  As he took on greater and greater importance, I thought, "If this guy is so important to Jason, shouldn't I have mentioned him in the beginning?"  Yup.  Went back and wrote him in.  That's the neat thing about writing -- as a book evolves you have the ability to correct or revise to incorporate new ideas and characters.  I'm truly a 'seat of the pants' writer and no one is more surprised than I am at the way some books turn out.  Until next time -- "You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward."  James Thurber

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy. Happy. Happy!

Hi All:  Just rec'd my latest Publisher Weekly and there was a review in it for RAPTURE BECOMES HER.  When reading any review, I always brace myself for some cutting comments, but this time, as I was cautiously reading the first paragraph or two my reaction was, "Wow."  I read a little further and I thought, "Oh, wow."  Finished it, sat back and thought "WOW!"  Was an awesome review!  Best I've ever rec'd from PW.
Of course, then I immediately thought of the book I'm writing now, the second in the Joslyn Family Series, and worried about comparisons with RAPTURE.   Will it be as good?  Worse?  Better?  Arrrgh.
I've decided that writers, anybody in the entertainment business, is just one mass of self-doubt and insecurity.  Worse, we're never satisfied (except for that 30 second glow after a great review).  It's like a batter going up to bat -- we're never satisfied with a base hit, we want that bases loaded home run hit -- every time! 
I've actually made progress on the current book and, for the moment, feel pretty good about it.  I do so like the central characters and it's fun that I can drag in Barnaby, Emily, Cornelia and Lamb, even a villain or two from RAPTURE.  Right now one of the things I'm grappling with is how many bad guys to kill off in this book.  Since I've thougth of the Joslyn Family Series as a 4 book series, I can, if I want, keep one or two villains around for awhile.  Ah, decisions, decisions.  Ta, Shirlee

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Hi All:  Yesterday was gorgeous out here in CA.  Today not so much.  Due to turn cold and showery.  Two of the American Shetland Ponies left for their new home yesterday.  Pleased.  A nice, young family bought the pair of them.  Always like it when two go together.  Figure it's less stressful in a new environment if they have a friend.  Talked to the vet about Chanel and I was really down.  She's 9 months old, skinny as a rail, despite food being shoved in her face every chance I get and she's tiny (5#'s or less).  He mentioned a liver shunt or kidney disease.   We'll be going in on Wednesday for tests.  Hope she's just a weird little mini schnauzer and that there is nothing wrong with her.  She's only been in our lives for 7 months and we're just silly over her.  
Because of ponies and Chanel, did more revising than forward motion yesterday, but feel better about the book overall.  Like I finally know where I'm going.  I'd better - it's due July 1!  I warned Howard yesterday, he'd better figure on me being hell on wheels for the next three months or until the book is sent off -- whichever comes first.
I know I've whined a lot lately, but I keep thinking of that Gene Fowler quote -- "Writing is easy.  All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."  Scary thing is he's right.
On the other hand, I can't imagine not writing.  There are dozens of stories whirling around in my brain at any one time and they are always better than the current book I'm working on.  In fact the current book was better than anything I've ever written, until I started writing it, then it became a pile of mush.  Thank God Howard is used to me fussing.   Whenever I think I've hit the wall and I'm so far down I'll never see daylight again, he'll look at me and say, "You do this every book."  I want to deny it, but he's right.  It's probably a writer thing.
And speaking of writing...I'd better go do it.