Monday, October 31, 2016


It’s Halloween. I used to hate the holiday. When my kids were in preschool and elementary school, I swear, the holiday lasted the entire month. Even during middle school, the stress of finding the perfect costume and making the best plans started in September and drove me nuts.

But now my kids are in high school and for the first time, neither one is doing anything. One isn’t feeling well, the other just isn’t into it this year. They requested candy but without trick or treating, it’s no different from any other day (not that I buy them candy ever). It’s one of those “lasts” that make me realize how fast this year is slipping by and how many changes there will be next year.

I tried to force it this weekend with a trip to the pumpkin patch. I played the, “But it’s your last time at home and we need to pick out pumpkins together” card, and it only semi-worked. Like I said, one wasn’t feeling well and the other wasn’t into it. I got pictures, begrudgingly, only some of which I’m allowed to post.

We didn’t carve a jack-o-lantern. Instead, my husband did this:

I actually love it, but it’s different from previous years and I’m not sure I like “different.”

However, I think I’m learning that the times I’m going to like best are the ones I don’t force. The times when one goes upstairs to bed and comes down ten minutes later for “one last hug.” The giggles at the dinner table. The conversations that occur spur-of-the-moment. The little things that I notice while being present, rather than the big things that I set up and somehow don’t go as planned.

So yeah, my kids are probably too old for Halloween. And my giving them candy is really no different than any day of the year. And my husband was more into the pumpkin than they were. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed that somehow, at some point today, something is going to strike me and I’ll notice something sweet about the day.

And worst case, I’ll get the Reese’s all to myself.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Conference Corner

I just returned from a fabulous romance writers conference this weekend. Sponsored by my local RWA chapter, the Put Your Heart in a Book Conference featured workshops, networking, pitching opportunities and chocolate—what’s not to love?

For me, it was a needed jolt of energy and inspiration. I’ve been down on everything writing-related recently, and hadn’t even planned to attend. But my online writer friends were talking about it, my critique group was involved in planning for it, and a writer I admire, Virginia Kantra, mentioned coffee. So I registered.

In a “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie” moment, I decided if I was going to the conference, I might as well pitch. So I chose three editors/agents I thought might be interested in my work and signed up to pitch them. And then I panicked. Luckily for me, one of my critique partners, Miriam, was in charge of the appointments. She talked me off the ledge, adjusted my appointments and even invited me to sit at the editor/agent table for lunch – a surefire way to guarantee I don’t actually eat anything.

For weeks I prepped and worried and planned and worried and worried some more.

But I’m so glad I went!

I met up with lots of writer friends, pulling me out of my introverted writer shell. Thank you, Laurie!

I attended two fabulous workshops—one by Tessa Dare on “Firsts”—first kisses, first meetings, etc.—and how to use them to improve the emotional content of your writing; and one by Robin Covington on adding intimacy to your sex scenes (insert tab A into slot B is really only good for Ikea directions). They both inspired me and I’m busy incorporating what I learned into my current manuscripts.

My pitching went well—and the editors and agents were nice people too!—and I’m planning to submit their requested materials within the next two weeks. Hopefully I’ll have good news soon.

As I’ve often said, one of the best things about these conferences is the support we all give each other. Romance writers are some of the nicest in the publishing world. We constantly look for ways to prop each other up, no matter our success level. With that in mind, if any of you are looking for some new-to-you authors, may I suggest any of these wonderful ladies who have been so supportive of me?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Out of Words

I was supposed to blog yesterday and I’m supposed to write an entry today for another blog I contribute to, and I’m out of words.

I wish more people would run out of words, actually. Maybe then our political scene would be less vitriolic. Maybe people would think before they speak and have a chance to remember they are humans first. Because our upcoming political leaders, and their supporters, seem to be forgetting that.

They bring each other down by their words and their deeds. Rather than rising above, as some claim to do, they fall for the bait and lower their standards and everyone else’s. Our country has become a reality show, the world has become its audience and everyone loses.

Authors are told not to get political because we will lose readers, so I can’t talk here about who I back and why.

But I will say this. When we rule from a position of fear, we lose. When we lower our own moral standards to pander to others, we lose. When we cater to the whims of others because it’s the only way we’ll “win,” we lose. When we stop thinking about long-term strategy and focus on temporary gains, we lose.

Our elections should never be about a single issue. They should never be about choosing the least bad. Our country has always been a beacon of hope for others. That beacon has dimmed. Make sure you vote before it goes out.