Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentine's Day

I love Valentine's Day. I baked cookies for those living away, the red boxes filled with gingerbread men. By the time I was finished baking the whole recipe, I was dreaming gingerbread men. They are only 2 inches high. The oatmeal cookies are for the adults.

My heart-shaped cookie cutter has vamoosed somewhere. We have a lot of kitchen/gourmet stores in town and I hunted thoroughly without results. One clerk said she didn't think people baked cutter cookies any more. If they don't, why is every shape known to man dripping from the shelves, including airplanes, bunnies, etc.?

The search became a real hunt, which included a glass top for my antique Revereware perking pot. No one had them. EXCEPT, the best store ever that has everything. Called Dick's 5 and Dime and located in downtown Branson, this old fashioned dimestore drips everything you've ever wanted, or could want. There, to be sure were several different styles of heart-shaped cookie cutters, and my perculator top.

I wait for Valentine's Day all year long and shop for little items that might apply.

Also gone, to my sadness, are those huge paper books with cutout Valentine's and glue-together envelopes. They were so much fun.

I'd baked gingerbread men, the larger version at Christmas, but these little guys were all over my kitchen. That last batch was really difficult to follow through :)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Eye Saver for Writers

If I could turn back time.... Sound familiar? There are so many time helpers for today's writers, including the Internet, where you can learn all about writing--right from your home desk. I tell this story a lot, but then I lived through a really difficult time while trying to learn my craft. It seems like so much is available now, that ye olde school of hard knocks, doesn't seem possible. But it was--

Today's writers have much, much more available to them, just for the time spent/invested. It really is an investment: "You get out, what you put in" is really true.

Two hours a day is the general recommendation for learning a skill. And "Put Butt in Chair" is a real basic. If you're a writer, these two rules are prime: 1. It's an investment; you get out of writing, what you put in, and 2. Put Butt in Chair. If you're looking for the secret in getting published, those 2 rules are the not-so-secrets necessaries.

While traveling those 15 minutes to my day job, I used a recorder to make notes. That cassette recorder was 20 years old when it died last year. I wore something with pockets for the Magnificent Idea Notes. When I did get to work, when I had parked, I'd sometimes make notes, go over notes during lunch break and other breaks. I'm writing full-time now, and maybe working harder at my craft than I did when I was unpublished.

But when you're short on learning or review of the basics time, turn to podcasts :) Truly, while you're driving down the road, you can listen to the best stuff on writing, tips and interviews, grammar and style. Popular authors like Dean Koontz have their own podcasts. Writers on Writing is terrific with interviews. MP3 players make a terrific difference, if used as learning tools.

I've just finished a long, hard run and more eye-useage to go on adds, PR articles, etc., and am frankly enjoying an eye-break by listening to writer info and audiobooks on my MP3 player.

Friday, February 01, 2008

The Manuscript Goes into the Mail

Here we go in a Midwest blizzard, with Valentine's Day coming up! I've just updated my website with more on the Aisling Psychic Triplets, including an excerpt of A STRANGER'S TOUCH, the second of the trilogy. And I've just put another book in the mail, FOR HER EYES ONLY, pub date 10/08, which is the third triplet, Leona. (Remember? Claire was the first in AT THE EDGE.

This was my first trilogy at Avon and my first, well second psychic stuff--one was a Silhouette Desire with a telepathic dog, also set in Montana, like AT THE EDGE. Montana is great; I also set a historical there, THE WEDDING GAMBLE. Beautiful cover on that book, but also on A STRANGER'S TOUCH. Love those blues with hot pink font.

These are very special books to me, but then all of them are. I often am asked about my favorite book. Usually, that is the one I am currently writing. Two stand out, though: Silence the Whispers and Flashback. They were also very special/unique books.

I try to write very different stories each time, and I think I do :)Many non-writers are surprised at the amount of planning that goes into a book, and more into a series. Hours and hours of planning. I especially like that, and the plotting. Every writer has their own special what-I-like-to-do best, and mine may be plotting. I came in with my own "voice," but I had much to learn about the dynamics of plotting, all those years ago. I also had the stories inside me, so said my first editor. It was a matter of getting them out :)

One of my favorite writers and a true long-term career master has noted that she revises, revises, revises. That is so true, and even the minute before a manuscript is ready to go out the door, every writer will want to wiggle one or two places, or change words.

It's very difficult to cut that umbilical cord.

I've had a good time with the Aislings and their men, and I'm cleaning up my desk and getting ready for an entirely different adventure. :)