Monday, May 28, 2007


I'm posting my all-time favorite poem today. I've thought alot about it lately. It's a poem that has guided much of my life. I think about the poem when I have tough decisions to make. I think about it when kids I love graduate, and often give framed copies of it as grad gifts. It reminds me to trust myself, to be open-minded, to live and love big, to count everyone as equals, to listen to my own wisdom, to believe.

I thought of these words as I made the leap to a new job:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If I dare and succeed, everyone will be better for it. And if I lose, I start over. How bad can that be?

Here's the poem in its entirety.

by Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream -- and not make dreams your master;
If you can think -- and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings -- nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run --
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And -- which is more -- you'll be a Man, my son!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

My Tarot card

I saw this on another blog and just had to find out what Tarot card I was. I'm not sure if it's good or bad since I'm not really into Tarot. Maybe someone can tell me.

You are The Moon

Hope, expectation, Bright promises.

The Moon is a card of magic and mystery - when prominent you know that nothing is as it seems, particularly when it concerns relationships. All logic is thrown out the window.

The Moon is all about visions and illusions, madness, genius and poetry. This is a card that has to do with sleep, and so with both dreams and nightmares. It is a scary card in that it warns that there might be hidden enemies, tricks and falsehoods. But it should also be remembered that this is a card of great creativity, of powerful magic, primal feelings and intuition. You may be going through a time of emotional and mental trial; if you have any past mental problems, you must be vigilant in taking your medication but avoid drugs or alcohol, as abuse of either will cause them irreparable damage. This time however, can also result in great creativity, psychic powers, visions and insight. You can and should trust your intuition.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Busy, busy

I do well with being busy, but as I get older I find I like more down time -- time to spend at home (or elsewhere) doing what I want. Perhaps it's a byproduct of helping a 15 to 18 hour work day hubby and raising 2 step-children and having a demanding full-time job myself.

I often just say "no" now.




I still practice because if someone tosses a worthy cause my way, I feel compelled to say "yes". Afterall, it is a worth cause, right?

Last night, we had a party for work. I'm leaving my current post and moving to a different one completely -- same employer, but different work location and responsibilities. My current "division" gave me this great framed group picture of all of them where they'd all signed the matting. It's for my new office. I love it. I'll miss these people.

Anyway, I had to go to that. It was kinda for me and three others who are moving away.

It was supposed to end at 6:30 (started at 3:30). I went an hour late. Three-thirty is early. I had kids to take care of, etc. After the main group went home, we stayed. The DH, my current bosses and their significant others, a few close friends and had dinner. We got home at 9.

I ought to be stressed. I had this huge list of things to do.

However, in my own effort to add more pleasure to my life, this seemed important.

It was, right? (Of course, then I punished myself by unloading the dishwasher and folding 1000 loads of clean laundry piled around my house. I'm still working on this whole it's-ok-to-take-a-break thing.)

So here I am at my writing time again. Tired. Feeling too full of other stuff to be really creative ...

...which brings me to a meme for this post.

Ah. I'm not sure I like my results, but what the hell.

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

Check it out. What time of day are you?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thinking about voice

I've been thinking about my voice and my brand lately. I haven't got any idea about my brand. I've come up with some completely hokey stuff that doesn't work at all, but nothing good yet.

As for my voice...

I got back my Touch of Magic Contest preliminary round results the other day. TOM is our local RWA contest. We had lots of entries this year -- so many that the coordinator had to look far and wide to other chapters to get enough judges. In each category, three people final. I was one of the finalist in my category. Cool. I have until the 29th to make changes based on the judges comments -- which contradicted each other, btw.

(I'm getting to the voice stuff.)

So, I emailed a writer friend --- my local goal partner. (We're both struggling with our goals lately.) I asked her to read my sub (and the final round sub to the Daphnes) and give me her opinion.

After about an hour on the phone last night and almost line-by-line crits (thanks Lorena!), I have lots of great info.

Anyhoo....the voice stuff.

One of my judges said, "Great voice!"

Yippee. That's was my favorite comment.

The pubbed author said, "This is terrific -- on the money submission for Intrigue. I love it! I loved the premise, the setting, the pacing and the potential for conflict and tension. Great job!"

I also got lots of things to correct -- even though I scored mostly 9's and 10's. Great feedback. Lots of work to do to get it out before the 29th.

However, I'll definitely enter TOM again just for the awesome feedback -- if I'm not pubbed, which I'd love to be instead.

Okay. Enough.

Hmm. In my voice exploration, I found this. I think it fits my voice. Take the quiz and see if your results fit yours.

Your Famous Movie Kiss is from Spiderman

"I have always been standing in your doorway. Isn't it about time somebody saved your life?"

What famous movie kiss are you?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Voice, edginess, and a brand

I just finished J.R. Ward’s Lover Revealed. I love her books. I love her voice. She nails her characters. She’s edgy and irreverent. She doesn’t just brush against the darker side of love. She nose dives right in.

Her heroes include a reluctant and blind (literally) king, a man with a temper that rages so badly he’s monstrous (also literal), a man who spent so many years as a sex and blood slave that he’s unable to feed himself properly or even sleep on a bed, and a man who doesn’t belong and had a drug addiction and has a savior complex.

Can anyone say wounded hero?

Then she goes and …. Ah, I shouldn’t tell you. Read the books. No spoilers here.

Not only do I love her books, but I admire her, too. Get this: She has a law degree and was Chief of Staff of one of the premier academic medical centers in the nation. Now she follows her dreams of writing romances. She has a multi-multi book deal. She’s been nominated for a RITA. She’s one of many doctors, lawyers, research scientists, and academics who have retired their original career to pursue what they love. Writing. Romance. Novels.

I might just have to stalk her for an autograph at Nationals.



I like edgy writers. I have always. I think my writing is a little edgy. I’m still working on my voice, but it has to be a bit edgy. (I think.) I consumed Laurell K. Hamilton, Sherilyn Kenyon, J. K. Rowling, Michael Crichton, and James Patterson. Eclectic list. Yes. Edgy list. Oh yeah.

I’ve been reading about having a brand. I’ve got a few examples of brands to post.

CJ Lyons: No one is immune to danger. (Her books aren’t out yet, but I’ve taken one of her classes and this tag fits.)

Stella Cameron: Mystery that chills – Passion that thrills.

Jenna Mills: The heart of suspense.

I have no idea what mine might be. However, I’ve been told that you want to figure it out and then market yourself that way. Hmm.

Alyson’s might be “Sweet romance with a rough edge”. (Sweet is the wrong word, but it’s a start.) Maybe “Tender romance with a rough edge.” (Tender is wrong, too.) Perhaps, Head Over Heals Romance with a Rough Edge.

Katrina’s might be “Magic and romance. More to it than meets the eye.”

Yes, yes. I know these could be much better, but the point is that I thought those up in less than 5 minutes. I’ve been thinking about mine for several days and still have zilch.

Maybe you just need another pair of eyes to really see what you’re writing.

Hmm. Food for thought. Maybe thinking about all this extra stuff will give me some ideas for a brand.


Thursday, May 17, 2007


It's early. I'm trying to write. Trying being a very imporant word in that sentence. I started a new scene last night. It's near the end. The black moment is close. My heroine just had a mini-black moment. The hero is gone. He left her a cryptic message. She's doing exactly what he asked her not to do. (That part is me channeling myself. You know the whole curious-why-I-should-avoid-that-better-try-it-out-and-see thing.)

Since it's so intense, I have a hard time sustaining the writing of it. It's kinda like sprinting. I can run really hard for awhile, then I have to catch my breath, then I can run really hard for awhile, then I have to catch me breath, etc.

I'm already on my second cup of coffee.

And, speaking of coffee, I found this. What kind of coffee are you?

You Are an Espresso

At your best, you are: straight shooting, ambitious, and energetic

At your worst, you are: anxious and high strung

You drink coffee when: anytime you're not sleeping

Your caffeine addiction level: high


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

My inner rocker chick

Alyson posted her inner rocker chic on her blog. I thought I'd be a copy cat tonight.

Here's mine.

You Are Sheryl Crow!
Down to earth with tons of creative energy
When you talk, everyone can relate to you
"Life springs eternal on a gaudy neon street
Not that I care at all"

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Great accomplishments

Those who are different change the world. Those who are the same keep it that way. (Bumper-sticker on SUV in Books-a-Million parking lot)

Can't we find the most profound things in the simplest places?

I spent some melancholy time today. I do that occasionally. Sometimes, I need time alone to own my thoughts -- all of them -- good, bad, ugly, insecure, conceited, lonely, lively, pensive, petrified thoughts.

I thought about the beat that my drummer plays out in my head. It's a complicated rhythm, but I like it alot. It's unconventional, but suits me perfectly. It's different. And I'm completely cool with that.

I interviewed for a promotion today. Maybe I'll get it, maybe I won't. I want to be okay with either option. I want to be that serene person that just enjoys the moment, regardless of what it is. Maybe someday, but I'm too competitive most of the time to truly not care what happens.

But, I digress....

In the interview, I was asked to tell about what I thought were my 3 greatest accomplishments -- be they professional, personal, academic, whatever.

I had a hard time with that. I hadn't really anticipated that question, although I probably should have.

The question was hard because I don't think I've had my 3 greatest accomplishments yet. (Yes, it sounds absurd, but I haven't.) One of the interviewers said that she thought 3 college degrees was amazing. But, really, college was easy. Yes, I stressed some, but I never had any doubts about my abilities to pass those classes. College was a stepping stone -- all three times. I have a great family, but my step-kids are great partly because we are all a team and partly because of luck. So, what are my 3 big things?

It's true. I haven't had them yet. No wonder I was melancholy today.

I decided that I should determine what I want my 3 greatest accomplishments to be so that I can shoot for them.

1) Win a Rita (or 2)
2) Write a NY Times Best-seller
3) Live deeply in love with my husband (and him with me) for the rest of our lives.

Oh -- and this: Live my own destiny.

It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. (Bhagavad Gita)


Sunday, May 6, 2007

Climbing the Tower

This picture is a metaphor for writing.

Right, you say. How?

Very good question.

This is the Alpine Tower. It’s in North Carolina, not far from Asheville. (Beautiful place. I might want to live there someday.)

A little over a week ago, I spent a week in N.C. with 200 8th graders, a handful of high school juniors, and 15 other adults. Our first morning there, we hiked a mile to get to this lovely structure.

“This 50 foot tower is what we’re going to climb this morning,” a very strong, outdoorsy-looking counselor said.

Being a beginning writer is kind of like looking at this in a picture – like you’re doing now – and saying, “Ok, yeah, I can do it.” But, then you get there in person (you’ve now started your novel and have seen it’s a little more challenging than you first thought), and you think, “Holy shit. What have I gotten myself into?”

However, you go ahead and strap on a completely uncomfortable and unflattering harness and hook up to a tiny waif of a girl that promises, “I’ve got you. I won’t let you fall.”

Yeah, right.

This portion of the harrowing journey is analogous to realizing that although writing is a solitary experience, you can not do it alone. You need writing buddies, a crit group, support. If you are like most, these will be new people in your life – not long time friends. You have to learn to trust them. Now, when my AotP friends say, “I’ll help you. I won’t let you fall,” I KNOW I can trust them. But, at the beginning, you just have to climb and hope.

Nevertheless, you walk to the base of the structure and say, “Belay on,” and you climb. The first part isn’t too bad, but you get to a point (usually in the middle) where you have to stop and think about how you’re going to get out of the predicament in which you’ve landed. You try a lot of hand-holds. You turn around and around eyeing all the ways that won’t work – you know they won't work because you’ve tried them all (twice). You think, “There aren’t any other ways. I fail. Can I come down now?”
But then, you look up. People are above you, having gotten through the middle (so it can be done). There are even people standing on the top platform. They scream, “I did it. I did it,” and they call out thanks to that tiny girl holding the other end of the rope because she really didn’t let them fall. You look down, too, and it’s dizzying. How did you get this far already? Surely, you can’t quit now. This, too, can be overcome.

(Do I really need to explain that analogy? Yep, the people on top are writers with finished novels, and yep, they climbed up just like you did – sometimes taking a path very similar to yours, sometimes a very different one. However, the truth remains, the only way to get to the top is to suck it up and climb.)

You tentatively pick a path, not sure you can do it. I mean, didn’t you try ALL of these before and say it was impossible? And yet, you move. You’re a climber (a writer) so you have no choice.
That waify little girl offers suggestions. "Look up. Can you reach that rope? Can you balance on one foot and grab it? Can you hang on with one arm and reach with the other. Remember, I've got you." And she does. And you can. AND YOU GET PAST THE DREADED MIDDLE. (And that waify girl -- well, she's amazing. You'll definitely be returning the favor. It's amazing what she could see from her angle that you couldn't in the thick of things.)

You keep going. The top is in site. Even when you climb all the way up, you aren’t done. (The book is finished here, but, uh, not polished. Are you reading this Alyson?) Now you look up to a solid, impenetrable wooden floor, and you’re under it. (This sucks, btw.) You have to make your way to the edge (revisions – don’t fall now). Then, you have to sling one arm over that edge and pull yourself up. This is hard. You’re tired. Your muscles ache. You're bleeding from scratches you didn’t realize you’d received.

But, you heave one last time. And you’re there! You’re on all fours, huffing and puffing and laughing and crying, but you did it. YOU DID IT!!!

You push yourself up and stand, arms thrown up into the air -- a sign of extraordinary victory. Then, it's off the top, repelling down, basking in the glory of the cheers of your peers and fans and supporters. It’s cool. You did it. You can’t get over it. Wow!

When you belay off, you rest briefly and look around. You think, "Let’s try that again, but not the same path. That would be boring." Look. That area over there has some ropes to climb on it. See, there’s the path I could take. I don’t think it will be so much trouble next time.

Is it? I don’t know. But, I’m willing to climb again and again. Are you?