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Friday, January 26, 2007

Ain't It The Truth

A few nights ago, my intellectual college freshman related this quote from her ‘Something-Something-Study-of-Gender-and-Something class.’ I normally just say, ‘um, how interesting’ a lot, because she manages to hit cruising altitude over my feeble head in a hurry. Of course, college is all about flying in the clouds, zooming above the mundane, and expanding heavenward, so I get that she and her fellow classmates should recognize these historical and possibly obscure people and what they accomplished in their lifetimes. HOWEVER, it’s been a day or two since I finished my college degree, and I’m a little behind on the ‘in-the-know’ scene. The following quote is from Sojourner Truth, an abolitionist, who survived incalculable hardships and delivered the message of freedom to men and women of all skin colors.

This quote is a keeper. If you’re female and breathing, you’ll appreciate the following:

“That little man in black over there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.”
--Sojourner Truth, Ain't I A Woman, a speech delivered in 1851

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Author Shock

It seems as though I’ve been writing forever. I’ve always had a book under construction—for those who write, the ‘under construction’ makes perfect sense.

Friends encountered at PTA meetings or the occasional night-out gathering, folks met in the grocery store line, strangers in the bank line, and those considered ‘stranger still’ in the gas line would strike up conversations and ask the inevitable. “What do you do?”

My answer--three words, simple to say, impossible to explain—“I’m a writer.”

The responses, over my forever writing career, have been varied and entertaining—some of these unique individuals will certainly show up in one of my future manuscripts. As I started publishing articles, poems, and fillers to finally earn the crested title of author, my success was still viewed with the skepticism, ‘Oh, writing sounds easy. You just get to make stuff up.’ Or, ‘You haven’t really written anything. Like a whole book.’

As a matter of fact, I have written multiple ‘whole’ books. I just had not sold them yet.

Now, I have. I have signed the ‘whole’ book contract. I have a release date. I have a title. And now, I’ve seen it—Author Shock.

A few weeks ago, some of my critique partners shared a celebration lunch with me. After two hours in the restaurant, loads of laughter, and a lovely bottle of wine, the waiter finally asked what we were celebrating. “The release of my first book,” I said.

There it was—author shock.

Tangible, touchable admiration and recognition of accomplishment crossed this young man’s face. Even though he was a student at a local religious university, and not exactly in my reader target group, he was genuinely thrilled to know an AUTHOR was in the restaurant at one of his tables.

Since that day, I’ve observed the reaction, again and again, when I’ve delivered my publication news.

Writers and authors know they write because to leave the words in their head, to not capture the images on page, is unthinkable. We write because we can’t NOT write. Some would call it OCD. Maybe they’re right. Yet, the writing calls to us, demands our attention, our dedication to bottom planted firmly in the chair and hands on the keyboard. Our payoff is hitting completed page counts, reaching the end of a chapter, typing THE END to our book. It’s personal and most often celebrated privately.

BUT . . .

Author shock is great! Adrenaline heady and chocolate delicious. The forever writing time doesn’t seem so long anymore.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Unbelievably Great News and Time-Travel

I still feel like I should be pinched awake from a dream. I received the news this past week that HARM’S WAY (my first romantic suspense) will head to print release sometime in May 2007. Print Release – Wow! When I signed the contract with Wild Rose Press (the publisher), I expected digital release and maybe print if my numbers were good enough. But I learned through an email with my editor that HARM’S WAY has been tagged for a print version. The folks at Wild Rose Press ( have been wonderfully supportive. It feels surreal to open emails from my editor. I need to backup and say that again—my editor. Wild Rose Press hosts AUTHOR CHATS every Tuesday night. I’ll sign on for my first one tonight. I don’t expect to have anything significant to add, but it’s exciting to be part of the author’s group. After years of equal parts joy and torture in front of my computer, struggling to make characters come to life and be worthy of air, the entire publishing process is phenomenally exciting.

This past January weekend (cold and icy for Texas), we celebrated my dad’s 80th birthday and moved my oldest daughter back to college at Texas A & M. It occurred to me as I watched the two events unfold how unprepared I’ve been for most of my life.

My dad’s birthday celebration took place at their square dance club. My folks have been square dancing since I started . . . um, high school, I think. I remember going to the local recreation center and watching as they struggled to learn the steps and keep time while someone called out the motions all set to a country western tune. But my parents got it. For years now, my mom and dad have danced across slick floors. My mom swirled around in specially made, rows-of-ruffles dresses that covered tutu-like slips, with my dad cutting a dashing lead in his western-styled shirts. At my dad’s birthday celebration, many of the old timers they started dancing with came out for the party. It was cold and icy, but these older folks braved the condition to honor my parents. So many of these ‘old timers’, as they are lovingly called by those who now run the club, have seen me grow from a gawky teenager to raising kids of my own. Looking into their aged faces and admiring the shine of snow-white hair, I was amazed at how quickly it had all gone. In the span of a square dancer’s tiff (that’s a dance), it seemed we all aged.

A few days later, we moved my daughter back to college. My three kids—no longer really kids—walked in front of my husband and me. My son, tall and strapping, towered over his two sisters and aggravated them all the way across campus. My college daughter, teased back, and threatened to turn him over to the Aggie Corp (the military men and women at Texas A & M) for a proper beating. My youngest laughed, caught up in the joy of their teasing. Tears took me by surprise. When did they grow so tall, so sure, so ready to face the world? What happened to peanut butter sandwiches and Kool-Aid?

Time brushes past my cheek and I reach for it, but it’s too late. Gone, in an instant, are those cherished images. I’ve traveled through life, loving the journey and grateful for the moments. But, oh how I would rewind the clock, set it anew, and do it all again. I didn’t expect the time travel.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Resolutions and stuff

It’s January 3rd and already a dozen, okay a half of dozen, things have broken or malfunctioned in my house. Isn’t there some sort of grace period after the holidays? Some part of the warm fuzzy left-over feeling that should keep everything from tanking at once? God knows, if all the chocolate I consumed during the holidays gets to stay plastered to my hips, then I am entitled to a few bonus ‘nothing-goes-wrong’ weeks.

Besides I don’t have time for ornery machinery and cantankerous equipment, I’m working on resolutions. How can I possibly resolve to keep up with the laundry in 2007 if my dryer heads off to lint heaven? Not that I really care about laundry, but the ‘whole persona of better mom and wife’ looks really good on my personal resolution list. And if I make an attempt to keep up with the house stuff, at least on the surface, doesn’t that give me more forgiveness leeway when I all but crawl in my computer to get the writing finished?

Short time-out while my dog interrupted. She, or affectionately known as Autumn the puppy--despite the fact she’s six--was interested in licking an envelope. Where was she last night when I finally sealed the last of my Christmas/New Years’ letters? Yep, I know it’s January 3rd and that would technically make my letters late in delivery. I don’t, however, believe in rushing these things and getting my holiday missives mixed in with the clutter of everyone else’s. My letters arrive fashionably late. I’ve even considered forgoing the traditional holiday rush and moving straight to Valentine’s Day letters. Those would be read just for novelty sake.

As for New Year’s resolutions, I have a pocket full of them. Topping the list, however, is getting back to the book that has haunted me for over two years--and finally typing THE END to it. Dozens of writing projects, some moderately successful, have interfered with the completion of Trickle of Lies. Now, it’s simply time to ignore the distractions and see if these characters deserve to see the light of publishing.

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