Friday, March 27, 2015

Celebrating New Experiences

It's never too late to learn something new, something fun, something different.  This week I got a lesson in how silk is made.  I attended the exhibit, The Silk Road,  which is currently showing at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. It was a fascinating exhibit for a number of reasons.

First, the history lesson was an important reminder about learning and re-learning our world's history. Like so many people I learned my general world history way back in high school though I studied a few more specific areas during college. But every time I visit one of these types of exhibits (such as Genghis Khan, or about Pompeii or the Mayan empire) it's like going back to school again, and I love learning new things or re-learning old things. That's why I enjoy these exhibits so much.

This one reminded me about the various trade routes from the Far East, through the Middle East and then to Europe.  I also spent a few minutes learning about how the various wares were traded all along the route, bringing things like silk, tea and gun powder, or trading for goods like seeds, emeralds and paper as the merchants travelled.

But for me the fun was learning about how silk was discovered and made.  Imagine being the woman who dropped a silkworm cocoon into a steaming cup of tea and pulling it out as one thin, long strand of strong fiber that shimmers.  Beautiful.  I also got a lesson in how to wind the dry the fiber and then how it was woven into beautiful robes that were traded to merchants.

The whole process and the idea of trade along the entire Silk Road was fascinating.  It made me want to learn more about the various items that were traded (like emeralds ). The experience also had me re-thinking a character in a book and making her come from the Far East. Or making another character a professor of Middle Eastern languages.

So here's a toast to continuing education... and learning more about the Silk Road.  I wasn't able to make it to China, but I did make it to PF Changs for one of my favorite dinners with a good friend and a glass of bubbly.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Celebrating Choices

We find ourselves facing choices every day from the time you get up and decide what you're having for breakfast. Ham and eggs, muffins and fruit, oatmeal? I've been known to choose leftover pizza or Chinese food. If either one of those are in my refrigerator, they're usually my first choice.

But when it comes to writing, I find my choices have sometimes become overwhelming. Do I write something new or work on editing the old stuff? Keep the old material or throw it out and start over?
Writing something fresh is always exhilarating, but then why keep starting new stories over if I'm not going to finish something? Ah, so many choices.

What to do?

One of the best choices is when I can see a story going in a new direction. Then I usually decide to follow that lead and that is usually a much better choice than continuing to stick with the old plan.

For instance, several years ago I submitted a short story that turned out not to be long enough for the market so I decided to re-write it, but I just couldn't get that longer version to work. Then several months ago our Heart of Denver Romance Writers decided to offer an anthology and several of us decided to participate.

As we discussed story ideas I remembered my old story that I had started and that hadn't worked. Suddenly I realized I wanted to bring that back, but as we brainstormed I got a whole new idea for the old story. I decided to give my heroine a new choice. The original premise was that she wanted one more romance in her life. She was in her 50s and wanted something new. But I had no reason she wanted it -- she just did. Then I gave her a real reason, and now I am off and running. I'll finish the story today in time to make the anthology deadline.

I made a choice, my heroine made a choice, and just making that choice made the story work again. It was like unplugging a drain. Make a choice and let the creativity flow.

Today I am celebrating those choices we all make every day. Sometimes we decide without really thinking about them, and often those turn out to be the best, including what to have for breakfast. Hmmm, I think I deserve a mimosa, just for making that choice.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Celebration Time – Release Day

Today is officially the beginning of release week for my latest book, Blues at 11, and I am celebrating.

Release day is always special for an author. Seeing your book available for sale is exciting. Others can finally read the work you spent so much time and energy working on for months, in some cases years. This is my first mystery so this book release was even more special for me.  This was the book of my heart, and I never realized it until I got into the middle of writing it. I have always enjoyed writing romance, and then romantic suspense, but this latest effort also showed me how much I enjoyed writing mystery stories. I’ve always been a mystery buff, since my childhood when I loved Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys.

But it wasn’t just writing a mystery story, writing humor in first person just seemed to fit me and my character.  And I got to return to my roots in TV news as I wrote it. The world of broadcast journalism can be cut throat, but it is also exhilarating, and I loved spending time with my heroine, Kimberly Delagarza, as she navigated the rocky waters being on the inside of a news story instead of on the outside.    

Here’s a blurb:

Kimberly Delagarza is a familiar face in Los Angeles as she can be seen nightly on the evening news. She drives a fancy car, lives in a house on the beach, and wears designer clothes. But the TV anchorwoman has been accused of murder.

No one believes she didn't kill her louse of an ex-boyfriend after he dumped her. Her next picture may be on a wanted poster, and her next home may be the Big House, with a wardrobe consisting of orange jumpsuits. The only man who can help her is someone she once wronged...

I hope everyone has as much fun reading Blues as I had writing it. it is now available at, The, and as either an ebook or in print.   
So today, I am drinking a toast, perhaps several, to writers everywhere who might be celebrating release day!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Celebrating New Beginnings

Last week I was telling one of my groups that I love every new year because it is like a new beginning. The chapters close on the last book and you get to start over – whether it be with exercising more, losing weight, being more careful with money, or with writing. One of the women in the group said she doesn’t think of the new year as a new beginning because she hadn’t accomplished enough. In fact she wasn’t certain she wanted to continue in the group because she wasn’t getting the results she wanted.

I felt bad for that and I can understand that we all have those down periods when we wish we could do more, or we are working and working but not getting anywhere. But I have trouble looking at just the negative side.  Maybe the results were not there – maybe I didn’t finish editing a book in the old year, but I got lots written on other books.

When I feel down, or negative as she was doing, I look in the opposite direction. I celebrate what I have done. And that’s how I end every year. I don’t just make new year’s resolutions or concentrate on the past resolutions that went by the wayside in the first month. I look back at what I accomplished and then I set my new goals. This might not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me.

Last year I got one book published and finished the edits on another. And that book will be coming out next week.  And now I am working on edits for another book. Hopefully that will come out next year.   As Scarlett O’Hara said, “Tomorrow is another day.”

And that’s how I look at the years.  We are in a new year and I am celebrating it by looking back at what I got done last year –

1.      One book published  - Dead Man’s Rules
2.      One book edited – Blues at 11 (coming out next week)
3.      One book partially written during NaNoWriMo (Return to Redfern)
4.      More than 136,000 words written over the course of the year
5.      Blogged regularly
6.      Taught classes every month

I’m sure there where more  things I did accomplish and may some of those old resolutions didn’t get met, but today I am drinking my new year Mimosa and celebrating the end of last year and a blank slate for this new year that I can now begin to fill out.