Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Leverage is over?/Makin' Titles!

I can't believe it's over till summer. Not much makes me look forward to summer ;-) but maybe this does. Also, did everyone except me know that Monk is coming to an end? My heart breaks!

So--change of subject--I had to give my editor title suggestions for my November book. People in this world have talents, and I guess I can write, but let me just confess here and now, my name is Anna Adams and I stink at titles. Here are the suggestions I sent--at about 12:45 a.m.:

Bad Judgement, Perfect Lover
Her Secret Love
The Man She Wants
The Man She Wanted
The Man She Always Wanted
Hiding Her Love
The Man She Couldn't Have
Keeping Secrets
Secret Love
Only One Man
Only One Woman
The Only Man for Maria
The Wrong Man for Maria
Maria's Mixed Up
Maria, Starting Over
Starting Over with Jake
Starting Over with Maria

It's a modified list. I thought of more as I copied these from Stickies into email. I thought of another as I was falling asleep. No doubt it was the most brilliant title ever imagined, because I cannot remember it now--not even a hint of it.

Don't you feel bad for my editor? :-)

Better get back to the story. I've gotta make sure it's good enough to persuade her to forgive me for not being stellar at titles.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I have two weather "deliverers" on my laptop. They never forecast the same temps for our town. I always assume one is right and one is wrong, but I'm not a walking thermometer--I assume the temps I like better are correct.

Writing is sort of like that. I see choices. My characters can make choices that mean different outcomes, and I choose the one I like best. Sometimes what I like best is wrong. I never mind being wrong in real life, but a fictional bad choice really annoys me. And the thing is, when I choose wrong, I'm just as certain as when I choose right. (Pardon the grammar.)

Knowing that certainty is uncertain is unsettling. You know? :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

I love the lemonade!

Julie Cohen passed along the Lemonade award. One of the greatest life skills you can cultivate is the ability to make lemonade! So, I'm passing it along to my favorite lemony refreshment makers!

Karen Whiddon

Debby Giusti
Suzanne McMinn
JoAnn Ross
Kate Walker
Elaine Williams
Kimberly Dean
Stephanie Bond
The Soapbox Queens, Vicki, Rhonda, and Jennifer
Melinda Curtis

While I run back to work, I hope you'll take a little lemonade cruise around the Internet.

Happy Monday to all!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday, Revising

It's Friday; it's cold; I'm revising. I like all of that. It should always be Friday, always be cold, and revisions should always be fun (albeit difficult) work. I love to write new stuff as well, but revising an existing story, suddenly seeing opportunities to deepen the emotion, trying to read my work as if I'm a reader who doesn't know what I know about it--I love this process.

Last night, I saw the movie, Push. I've had some disappointing movie experiences lately that have brought home the importance of story. One, in particular, would have been a great movie with just a hint here and there of the "why." Can it be a good thing when you're editing a movie in your head to open up opportunities for background and characterization?

Anyway, I really enjoyed Push. Loved the characters; loved the uncertainty; loved the ending.

And today, I clearly love the magical semicolon! ;;;;;

Must get back to digging ever deeper in my own book for some more story!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bringing Sustenance in Words

I don't love cooking, but I do love pretty much any program about it. I'd leave hearth and home if Jacques Pepin beckoned. I truly believe that anything he cooks is probably a little hint of heaven. Somehow, the way he talks about his food translates to an actual, sensual experience for me. And though I love JP best, there are others who convince me. The judges on Top Chef, The Barefoot Contessa, the Take Home Chef, Tyler, Giada, Nigella... (See, they're my first-name heroes!) I believe what they say about their cooking, and I feel pretty sure I've tasted the food they bring me in words, because of their passion for what they're doing.

Since I'm such a lousy cook, I really never thought about the nuances they get. I mean, if the firemen don't join us at the remains of our table, I consider that a successful jaunt in the kitchen. But their passion is a lesson to me. I've actually been trying to cook in the past few years--not just keep the fires down, and though I'm totally not first-name friends with my spice cabinet, their passion has convinced me.

I want to approach every word in my work with that same passion. I'm really writing this post because I'm so wound up in last night's Top Chef. Close your eyes if you haven't watched it yet--Fabio? Really? I'm not going to recover my equanimity soon! Fabio?

But one of the things I love about that show is the way the chefs are always cooking for each other. They may be thinking who's-on-first in the TC kitchen, but back in their abode, they're making meals for each other. Around here, a meal is a special gift. Even the person in our family who loves to cook, doesn't any more, so actual thought and shopping for ingredients and putting them together is something more precious than Valentine's chocolates (I'm not bitter--he made fried potatoes--if you haven't had them, you cannot know).

Anyway, I'm aiming for the same kind of care and reflection on my work. Each addition of spice and ingredient needs to be fresh. I want to add every element with awareness of how it will affect the reader's palate. And I want to be thinking about that, not just at the well-set table when I'm on the verge of presenting a finished product for my editor, but each day, when I'm whipping up a scene that's the smallest morsel.

Every visit to the kitchen matters.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Where would you be today?

If you could be anywhere?

I'd need to travel some in time as well as distance. I'd be on the beach in front of my childhood home. I'd have to travel because that beach no longer looks like it did on one of my favorite days. You'll have to edit this image above--just a little.

It's December, late, late in the day. A storm is coming in off swirling, black and blue clouds. I'm walking on a wooden jetty that smells like a tarred telephone pole. Balancing--toppling a little to the east, a little to the west--with the unrelenting, freshening breeze. My hair is stinging my face, the salt and the sea are a mist around my head and my hands. I'm warm in that faded, hand-me-down pink zip-up sweatshirt I wore until my wrists stuck out of it by about three inches.

That was one of the first days I can remember thinking--this is my place in life--my place on earth. It still is, but only when I go back in memory. Luxuriant memory.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Are people scintillating every day in a blog?

I am not. I should beg my writing buddies to join me and take part of the load, but seriously--how reliable am I? And I wouldn't want to let anyone else down.

Anyway, I'm not feeling brilliant so I'm not going to hang around and ramble. Maybe this is a good sign. Usually, I'm pretty boring in conversation when the writing is going well.

So--if you see me coming today--veer off and cover your face in the hope I won't buttonhole you for a chat!

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Writer's Panic

How do you handle technology at your house? Around here, we each have a laptop, and we have one desktop--a slow-as-an-ice-floe, seven-year-old desktop--whose only real function is to run the router that delivers wireless to the laptops.

My laptop suffered a wound on Saturday. The surface, where the heels of my hands rest when I'm typing, lost a sliver of itself. It was right at the edge, but it left a little opening to the innards, and you know--dust. Then the beloved noticed that the same surface was curling away from the case at the top of the laptop at the hinge where the screen opens away from the keyboard.

So--I was off to the Apple store yesterday--where apparently, you must have a tech support reservation to receive the news that yes, the case breaking is a problem. And the next open reservation came three hours after my arrival at the store. Thank goodness for tables in a mall where I risked dust while I worked on said poor injured laptop.

And now, it's all healed. The nice tech support man replaced the broken piece. I wonder if he also had to replace the keyboard as the touch of the keys feels slightly different, and the button on the new touchpad is all stiff again. And it's clean. I'm apparently free with the ink stains, but the nice tech support man also told me all about Magic Erasers! (From Mr. Clean) I worship the Magic Eraser anyway, and am not surprised to find it has one more magical use!

That's my possibly boring--but vitally interesting to me--tale of technology woe. I'm thinking we need to maybe update our desktop because working on it is a jaunt through the land o'frustration. Unless you blindfold yourself, it's distracting to have sentences appear on screen at least thirty seconds after you type them.

Wishing all writers (and computer junkies) everywhere the best of the technology they love best!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Try a romance!

Harlequin is celebrating sixty years of romance in 2009, and they're sharing a free book from each of their lines with readers. You can download one or all at the Harlequin Celebrates site.

I read my first Harlequin, a Romance, set in a coastal town in Canada. I can't remember everything about it, but a scene where the heroine ran down a wooden staircase to the beach and ended up in the hero's arms--well, clearly I haven't forgotten that. My grandma gave me that book. Before that I'd only read the classics or history or mystery, until Grandma also introduced me to Mary Stewart, Phyllis Whitney and Victoria Holt. As I read that first romance, I kept waiting for a body to fall. But how cool--this book was all about the relationship between this man and woman who were as real to me as if I were seeing them, instead of just reading them on pages.

I've never stopped reading everything else, but I love a romance! The hero and heroine come alive, and I can't believe they're going to end up together. I can't wait for their every scene together, for the pinch of increased tension and the relief when they find common ground. From that first book, I moved on to Presents--I waited for those to come out each month. In college, after analyzing lit all semester, I'd rush to the book store for a break filled with romance. I remember when American started, and SuperRomance. Then the lovely little red books, Desire, and eventually Blaze showed up.

I'm still amazed that I get to write for Harlequin. The day my book appeared on the Mills and Boon site on the same page as a Betty Neels release--amazing, surreal day! I took a screen shot that follows me from laptop to new laptop.

You should definitely try one!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Kitty makes his will known

Here's our kitty suggesting it's too early for my brother-in-law to leave. It's not that Kitty and the bil love each other desperately--unless Kitty shows his love by sounding like a tire with a leak. He just doesn't love to see anyone go. I don't know if he considers another pair of hands might mean a delightfully unexpected portion of food, or he just doesn't want to hang about his abode on his own.

Or maybe my bil fulfills another of Kitty's requirements--well, I don't like to suggest his luggage might offer a saucy aroma. So I'm going to assume Kitty loves bil, and does not want him to leave.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A simple click...

And you can give a lifesaving test to a woman who needs it. I'm sure you've probably all heard of this site, but I actually like to be reminded, so... I've set up an email to remind myself every day. Click the pink button at The Breast Cancer site to give a free test to a woman in need. And the cool thing is that there are other sites on tabs around it. You can help with childhood hunger, health, and literacy, as well as animal rescue if you don't wear out your clicking finger.

I was going to whine about my lousy Internet access taking time to process clicks, but you know I don't do that any more! :-)

And, in other news, you know when you have a song in your head and it won't go away? "All the single ladies..." Not exactly romance writin' inspiration! :-)

Better go replace it with something else!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Morning Shows

When did these folks start considering themselves celebrities? I used to be a news junkie. Now I get so annoyed at the talking heads, who are a lot more interested in their own views than in disseminating information that I've begun reading news off the Internet.

I miss Tim Russert. He never seemed to put scoring points over extracting information. He might even lead a guest toward a big old hole, but I never got the sense he then danced around it, going "gotcha, gotcha!"

It feels like a sign of our times. I love sarcasm and wit, but not when it's at someone else's expense. It takes a lot more wit to be funny without being harsh and hard, but blogging and filling up 24 hours of so-called news service appears to have made the latter a popular sport.

So, I'm gonna go check in on my favorite blog, Chickens in the Road, where you can always find something delicious to cook or a farming adventure from a romance writer's point of view. Suzanne makes me want to move to West Virginia. At the very least, I need a giant puppy! (Don't tell my giant cat. I can't stay awake all the time, and he can be a touch spiteful!) You should check out the farm goings-on, too!

And then, I'm off to write, because I have ideas. Ideas! And a longing to work. This is a lovely, lovely day. (Who does not love to love to work?)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thursday--It's a Grind

Not really. That's just the name of today's coffee shop. I tried to take a photo of my cup of white chocolate hot chocolate (yummo) and my iPod named Hector (courtesy of girl) because they and the fireplace are my writing friends today.

However, the hot beverage and the fireplace must be popular today because someone came up and wanted one of the other chairs in front of the fireplace. He probably doesn't want me taking photos of his shoes so I'm not going to try to capture a more "artly" photo.

I'm listening to Simon and Garfunkel, and the song that's playing right now is "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night." I've never heard it before and it's a bit astounding.

Gotta work.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Is it good for the soul, or is it whining?

I'm not going to go on about this, but for the past year, I've been working, working, working, and not getting much that's keepable. I show up at the laptop, and I put down words, but they don't really make sense in the way writing used to make sense to me. I don't know how this has happened. I'm assuming it's a writing mid-life crisis of some sort. And I'm not giving up.

To keep from losing my mind because my job is so frustrating, I have started walking every day. As I was walking last night in a t-shirt, two sweatshirts, a scarf, mittens, and 30-something degree weather with wind whipping at gusts of 25-35 (neither writing nor walking is sublime fun right now), I realized I'm finally keeping more than I'm putting in "keep-in-case" files. The page counts are terribly unequal (much more in the keep-in-case than the keepable), but the scale is finally tipping the good way.

The thing about a writer's job is that you don't publish if you don't submit, and I haven't been. I can't tell you how the hot, fetid breath of you-must-submit has licked at the back of my neck, but there's not much sense in plying my editor with stuff that doesn't work.

Also, I haven't been able to keep up here because I've felt as if I'm writing about writing, but not succeeding at it. You know--I've felt like a fraud.

But here's a new day, and the other thing about writing is that the only way to fail utterly is stop.