Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Friday

“It seems right now that all I‘ve ever done in my life is making my way here to you.”
~ from The Bridges of Madison County

Did anyone else enjoy this book (or the movie version, with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep)?

I’m going to break with what I think is majority opinion and confess that it didn’t really do anything for me. I mean, okay, I did appreciate the romance, because I’m a sucker for a love story, especially one that lasts a lifetime, but I don’t remember swooning over it the way some of my friends did.

Maybe it’s because I read it when I was in my early 20s and couldn’t really identify with a middle-aged hero and heroine. I also think something in the idea of a woman cheating on her husband, for some guy who just showed up on her doorstep one dusty afternoon, left me cold too.

Actually, now that I think about it, there was really little fallout about the fact that the story is centered on an extra-marital affair. Wonder what that says about readers’ concepts of love/romance/commitment…Hmm…

Anyway, I’m spending this weekend working on a final (hopefully, but who knows what that word really means, in the world of writing) revision of the first 15 chapters of Paradise, USA, which I’m going to have to send off to Virtual Tales soon. I’m also supposed to be thinking of ideas for my cover, which is exciting but a little unnerving too.

I suppose I should fit some time in to visit the grocery store as well, before everything that might appear on a Thanksgiving table is completely sold out.

See you Monday!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


"Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius."
~ Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

As soon as I found this quote, I knew it was a no-brainer for today's blog. I started playing the piano when I was eight years old, and my greatest idol in the world of classical music has always been Mozart. His music is spell-binding, brilliant in its construction and purely pleasant to listen to…even more so when you discover that he wrote so much of it before the age of 25. Pure genius.

Well, as any published or aspiring author knows, promotion is the key to success. A few years ago, a writing friend of mine told me to start “getting my name out there.” I sort of said yes, yes, and then returned to my writing without worrying too much about it.

But here’s the thing I realized after awhile: really, it doesn’t matter how good a writer you are. Even if you manage to get yourself published, there are a thousand other writers out there who have also managed to get themselves published…and you’re all competing for readers and name recognition.

So how do you get it?

What do you think is the best way for an author to get his or her name in the public eye? What’s caught your attention, in the past? Reviews? TV spots? Oprah’s recommendation? A friend’s recommendation? Have you ever discovered a new author by browsing in the bookstore or the library or even online?

I know there are a few of you out there visiting for a quick read. Drop me a post and share your thoughts on this one!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Working Hard

“If I may so express it, I was steeped in Dora. I was not merely over head and ears in love with her, but I was saturated through and through. Enough love might have been wrung out of me, metaphorically speaking, to drown anybody in; and yet there would have remained enough within me, and all over me, to pervade my entire existence.”
(from David Copperfield)

‘Tis the holiday season (how many shopping days left?!), and Virtual Tales is offering a promotion for anyone who buys one of their gift certificates: a free serial copy of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (check out the link on the right). What a great timeless holiday story, right?

So I’m working hard on finishing up one WIP that was recently requested for full ms. review by Red Lily Press, an e-publisher that is opening up as of December. Since I didn’t have a lot of luck with agents (I have a few partials out for review but it’s been a while), I’ve decided to explore the world of e-publishing a little more closely. While I still admit to having this feeling that e-pubbing is not “real” publishing, I suppose if I want to see my work in print I should set aside my pride a little. I also like to think that building my writing resume is a good thing, and that can include some online credits, as long as I’m careful which avenues I look into. Just from the searching I’ve done so far, it looks as though there are many, many e-pubbing sites, some obviously more professional-looking than others.

So we’ll see. Meanwhile, check out that Dickens promotion! And hey, if you put a Virtual Tales gift certificate on your holiday list, it will come in handy when my novel Paradise, USA comes out sometime next year!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I Do?

“You told me it was a matter of life and death.”
“A woman always is.”
(“Ever After”)

Did you know that a man’s life expectancy actually goes up after he gets married…while a woman’s goes down? Makes you wonder what, exactly, each gives to and gets from the relationship, hmm?

I was in the store yesterday and heard the woman beside me talking about her husband who had just passed away. They’d been married 57 years. Wow! Some people, of course, see marriage to one person as a primary goal in life--not only a goal, but an achievement of tall order, considering the instant gratification and throw-away society in which we live. Others see it as an institution in which to raise a family. Still others see it as a trap, a mistake, a commitment that takes more than it gives, in the end.

How many people today do you think like to see a romance novel that ends with a marriage, or at least the promise of a marriage? How many just want to see the hero and heroine together at the end? Has marriage, as a convention, become passé in the genre? Is it the author’s job to sell a happy marriage, and all its benefits, to her reader? Or is a commitment in the here-and-now enough to satisfy most readers?

Well, in other news…I signed and mailed my contract with Virtual Tales today. Exciting! Now it’s back to one final read-through of the first 15 chapters before I start working with my editor. Looking forward to each new step…

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Good Friends and Loving Faces

"And yet, all the same--life and human nature being what they are--with a new generation always coming up, the most satisfying thing of all really is to reach the end of the race with the same companions who were with you at the starting post." (Cicero)

Went back to my hometown and visited my oldest and dearest friend from grade school this weekend (she's on the right)...

Also spent some time working with the local animal rescue people, who have been trying to save 250 cats that were rescued from abhorrent living conditions back on Labor Day. The cats are now (finally, after a lawsuit in which the woman who had hoarded the cats was told that no, she did not have the right to get them all back) looking for good if you know (or if you are) anyone who lives anywhere close to central NY, consider finding a home for one of these cherubs. How can you resist this face? Check out their site if you're interested...