Monday, December 30, 2013

The New Year

If you troll through your Facebook feed (or, for those of you with actual, real-life friends, talk to them in person), you’ll notice that many of them are making New Year’s resolutions. If you look at my Facebook posts, or read blog posts from previous years, or even ask me in person (hey, there’s a thought!), you’ll see that I don’t often make resolutions.

This year is no exception, but my reasoning is quite different.

I’m sure my current mental state is coloring my thoughts right now in bright and bold colors, but resolutions are for people who are carefree, whose lives are going ahead as planned, who are currently experiencing a lull in what’s going on around them.

I haven’t felt carefree in months. My life, while fortunate, is not progressing quite as planned. And a lull? Um, no.

Resolutions are for people who have control over their surroundings and the people who inhabit them. I don’t. There are too many big things coming up this year, things that are completely out of my control, despite my best efforts to exert myself into the mix and to fool myself into thinking we’ve got this. We don’t, and the best I can do right now is hold on, close my eyes and focus on breathing.

I guess I could make a resolution to keep breathing. That’s always useful. And while I don’t have a new baby in the house (nor do I have any plans to acquire one), some days, waking up and taking a shower are my biggest accomplishments of the day. Other days, it’s getting all kids to their appointments and back (back being the key word here) or making dinner or writing.

I don’t belong to a gym and have no plans to join one. My self-confidence is difficult enough to maintain on my own without throwing myself into a situation where everyone looks better, has better stamina and loves the activity better than I do. And eating right? Well, stress is taking care of that for me—some days the stress makes me overeat and other days it prevents me from eating at all. Going along with the “everything in moderation” rule, I’m assuming that it will all work out in the end, so I’m not imposing some fad diet on my already pissed off digestive system.

My wish for my coming year is one of peace, strength, grace and wisdom. Peace to get through the chaos. And believe me, there will be a lot of it. Strength to deal with whatever major things come my way, both the good and the bad. There will be both. Grace in dealing with those around me, whose own lives may be filled with trials unknown. And for those who have to deal with me. Wisdom to realize that life is a cycle. There is good with the bad, comfort with the fear, tears and laughter.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Today, I’m participating in the “My Writing Process” blog tour, where writers take turns answering questions about their writing process. I’d like to thank Paula Martin for inviting me to participate. Last week, she answered questions, and you can find her answers here Paula also writes contemporary romance, but her stories are usually set in European locations. She and I met as fellow authors at Whiskey Creek Press and she was kind enough to invite me to be the Tuesday contributor to the Heroines With Hearts blog

My own writing process tends to change depending on what else is going on in my life. But, I’ll try to give it some clarity as I answer the questions. So, here goes:

  1. What am I working on?: I just finished the rough draft of two manuscripts. One is a stand-alone contemporary romance inspired by this beautiful old Victorian mansion that I checked out during an open house (I would have bought it too, if I’d had a few spare million dollars lying around). My girls and I fell in love with it, and it got my creative juices going. However, everyone dislikes my first scene (they like the second one though), so I’m currently doing major rewrites. The second manuscript is the sequel to The Seduction of Esther The hero in this book is the villain from the previous one, and the heroine is the previous heroine’s sister. The Jewish holiday it works around is Passover.
  2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?: Well, there are very few Jewish contemporary romances out there that are not chick lit. And there are even fewer that deal with holidays other than Chanukah. My goal is to make the Judaism seem as natural in my books as the Christianity is in other books. Even stories that don’t revolve around Christmas usually have an unspoken Christian piece to them—the characters go to church, or they get married in a church. I love reading those books, but I wanted to write something a little different. In The Seduction of Esther, the story takes place around the holiday of Purim. The holiday provided a great conflict—hiding one’s identity, and gave me a fun way of using the holiday—a holiday play. In my latest work, readers will get a glimpse of the Passover preparations and the holiday dinner, or seder.
  3. Why do I write what I do?: In addition to what I said above, I’ve always loved reading romances and when I sat down to write, it just seemed like a natural thing to do. I like escaping from reality for a bit, and I love the guaranteed “happily ever after.”
  4. How does your writing process work?: When my kids were little, I used to write at night, after I put them to bed. Now that they’re older, I have a hard time staying up later than they do. Plus, there are too many distractions, and I like spending time with my husband and watching TV. So now I write when they are in school. I usually get work and errands done in the morning and write or edit from lunch until they get home. Writing a first draft usually takes me about six to eight months. Then I take about three months to edit. After that, I submit and start writing the next book while I wait for someone to show an interest in what I’ve written.

Once again, I’d like to thank Paula Martin for involving me in this blog hop. Next week, be sure to check out Lila Munro at and Debra St. John at

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's The Little Things

Little things are making me feel better. Checking something off a huge list. Coming up with a logistical solution. Talking it through with her one more time.

I suspect it’s a preview of what’s to come a few months from now. Progress will be measured in little things—comparing today to yesterday, sitting up, walking, smiling (yeah, that one is going to take a long time).

I’d love for all of this to be taken care of with a flip of a switch. I’d like for someone to swoop in and make it right all at once.

But for now, and for the foreseeable future, I’m taking heart in the little things.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Two Wrongs

My daughter showed me an article* on Saturday and suggested I read it. The story was about a Hollywood producer who flew on an airplane on Thanksgiving with a rude passenger and his response to her.

He overheard her rude, entitled comments to the flight attendant and he began live tweeting what was happening to his thousands of followers (see, this is what happens when the FAA changes their electronic devices rule). Eventually, his live tweets began including photographs of notes that he wrote and had delivered to her. Then he tweeted her responses. The woman became so angry that when they got off the plane, she slapped him. Flight security offered to call the police, but he refused. His followers on Twitter have declared him a hero. He then took to Tumblr to explain the reasons for actions and why he wasn’t a hero.

When my daughter showed me the articles, I laughed. I have to admit, the live tweets were pretty funny. And I appreciated his stance in his follow-up article where he explained that he was not a hero and that service people should never have to take the kind of abuse to which the flight attendant was subjected.

But once I got past the first laugh, my opinions changed.

What the producer did was wrong. Social media makes it very easy to get caught up in what you’re doing, to feed off the reactions of others, and to think that you’re bringing a wrong to light. It also makes it easy to cross a line.

It’s one thing to live tweet something anonymously: “There’s a woman doing x.” We all do it and the anonymity makes it okay. It’s humiliating, however, to make it personal. By showing the notes that went back and forth between the producer and the woman, he made it personal.

The woman was a bully. There is no doubt that verbally abusing a flight attendant and blaming him or her personally for ruining Thanksgiving is wrong. But bullies feed on anger. Anger drives them to behave the way they do, and other people’s anger rarely stops them. Kindness kills them. People united against a bully stops them. If he really felt the need to write her a note, he could have shown compassion and still rebuked her for her actions.

For that matter, if he really felt the need to engage, he could have directed his time and energy to supporting the flight attendant. Instead, he put the flight attendant in the awkward position of delivering the notes, something that the flight attendant eventually refused to do.

When the flight security people offered to call the police, he refused. I don’t know why, but I suspect that if he had asked the police to get involved, he may have gotten cited for harassment. Because he did harass the woman, no matter how rude she may have been. He might be smart enough to outwit her, but all he’s done is moved the bullying from the verbal field to a social media one. His intentions are good, but his methods are not. He’s not diffusing the situation. He’s certainly not helping it. He’s pumping the top and letting it spin where it may.

Two wrongs do not make a right, no matter what he may think.

*I’ve deliberately refrained from linking to the articles or by mentioning his Twitter handle. If you’re that interested in reading them, I’m sure you can find them on your own (hint: check out Huffington Post Parents).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Book Birthday Winners

Thank you to everyone who participated in my book birthday for Skin Deep. As a result of your comments, retweets, shares, etc., I’ll be donating $50 to The Rachel Coalition ( ).

Additionally, I’ve randomly drawn the three winners for the birthday prizes. They are:

Ana Morgan, for a signed copy of Skin Deep.

Mae Clair, for a birthday gift pack.

Mary Preston, for a Sephora gift card.

Thank you again for helping me celebrate and for helping out a worthy cause. And congratulations to the winners!