Love Me Some Thunderstorms

Fellow Smart Woman Kathleen tweeted this morning that the stormy/rainy weather is good writing weather for her.

It just makes me want to sleep.

Come to think of it, though, most things make me want to sleep. I’ve been an insomniac since I was fifteen, and I think it’s finally catching up with me. 🙂

Actually, weather like this does provide a good background for writing. In the current scene in my second Tuesday Night Margarita Club book, Therese and Keegan are having dinner at a lakeside restaurant and it’s pouring rain. No need to think too hard for visuals, scents, sounds, etc., today.

Weather done right can add so much to the story experience. You don’t want to get beaten over the head with it, but it can become practically a character. There was a show on years ago called Stingray, about a mysterious guy who travels around helping people who are in trouble. The only payment he requires is help for someone else if he ever asks for it.  It was a cool show with a cool car and a gorgeous guy — Nick Mancuso. Even if the premise hadn’t intrigued me (and offered so many variations for where Ray would be/what he would be doing each week), I’d’ve been there anyway just for him. I love me some handsome Italian guys, too.

Anyway, there was one episode that involved two elderly sisters, one of whom was a much-admired mystery author. It had kind of a film-noir feel to it, with a great cast of characters, and it rained. Endlessly. It would have been a totally different story if the sun had shined or it had been snow instead of rain. In fact, though that show aired only from 1985 to ’87, when it rains, I think about that episode. It had that big an impact.

Too often writers overlook weather in their books, but when they do it and do it right, even a cold rainy day can be like sunshine after a storm.

How I Know Fall Is Here

— The temperatures here in Oklahoma have dropped below 90.

— Instead of iced coffee, I find myself thinking of hot cocoa.

— The trees that survived the summer heat and drought are ever so slightly changing colors.

— All I have to do is walk outside for ten minutes, and my allergies kick into high gear.

— I’m thinking I need to stock up on necessities for the likelihood that we’ll get iced/snowed in on the hill: firewood, propane for the campstove, bottled water, enough Dog Chow and books.

For me, nothing says “winter” better than a hot fire, a cup of something steaming and a fully-charged, fully-loaded Kindle. I got mine out the other day and cleaned it up, archiving some titles, filing others in appropriate folders, downloading still more. My to-be-read folder is currently bursting with 92 books. 92! I mean, wow! How cool is that?

The longest we’ve ever been stuck up here on the hill was something like eleven days. That was pre-Kindle, and I was just as concerned about running out of reading material as I was about running out of firewood or food. Not so this winter. Bring on the snow. I’m ready for it.



Writing Through Distractions

A friend mentioned last week that she’s having trouble writing with distractions. Kids, phones, internet, email, Facebook, Twitter, errands, house-cleaning, meal-cooking, laundry . . . life is coming at her 180 mph with its hair on fire, and her muse is retreating along with her characters.

I sympathize. I wrote my first few books when the kiddo was little and either playing at friends, napping or in bed. For the first fourteen years or so of my writing career, I wrote at night, when the house was quiet, the phone wasn’t ringing and the only thing on TV was infomercials.

I needed–demanded–absolute quiet to create. It worked great . . . until it didn’t. A year or so ago, I decided I needed to be able to work even if it wasn’t quiet, so I deliberately began putting myself in noisy situations. Music playing, television on, husband talking.

It took time, but it’s worked. I can write pages in the middle of Baby Doc’s crowded waiting room, at a table in McDonald’s (in the play land, no less) or at a busy airport gate. I’m not as fast as I am with quiet, but the words are coming. And the more I do it, the better they come.

What about you? If you’re one of those authors who writes 10 pages at her kids’ soccer game and doesn’t miss a play, I hate you. Okay, I admire you, too, but still . . . Silence, music, TV, other people — what works for you?



I Have a Title!

 I heard from my editor at Forever, and we have both a title and a pub date for the first margarita book. A HERO TO COME HOME TO will be available 15 June 2013. Yea!!

The series name will stay the Tuesday Night Margarita Club, which is also a yea!! for me. I like that a lot — and *I* thought of it. Something *I* thought of is sticking! That doesn’t happen often.

Of course, you’ll be hearing way more about it as the time comes closer. I’ll be creating a Facebook author page, doing a new website (once we have the final cover to work off — the mockup is gorgeous!) and having some contests when it comes time. And I’ll remind you about everything. I know. I’m having a squee moment, but I love this book and want everyone in the universe to love it, too.

Have a good weekend, guys!


One Project Done, Another Started

Have you ever been on a plane that’s running behind schedule (ha! who hasn’t?), and they’re in such a hurry to get the debarking passengers off and the new ones on that you know the flight attendants would be heaving them if they were allowed to?

That’s kind of where I am right now. I finished Copper Lake Confidential late Tuesday night, and now there’s this kind of frantic gotta-clean-gotta-get-groceries-gotta-run-errands-gotta-do-laundry stuff going on before I sit down to write the proposal for the next book.  It’s a quick yea!!! (we had colossal shrimp with a Greek pasta salad to celebrate last night) and an oh no!!! at the same time. I’d be heaving stuff in the proper direction if I could, clearing the decks and heading for the gate for some hopefully smooth flying.

Too bad I’ve found that heaving stuff only rearranges the dust and dog hair and make for a bigger mess than before.

But I intend to get everything done and get this baby away from the gate soon!

Blame It On Writer’s Block

Yeah, I’m late, but it’s not my fault. It’s writer’s block.

Not that I have it. I don’t. In fact, last night and this morning were very productive. So much so that I didn’t have time to get the blog up and scheduled in a timely manner.

I’m on the final stretch of the current book, where important things are happening in every paragraph, practically. In just a few days, I’ll be typing along, then screech to a sudden halt. It will be over. Finis. Done.

And after I vegetate a while, I’ll celebrate. I’m not sure how. It’s too hot, too dry, the next deadlines are too close, but I’ll do something, even if it’s only a little vacation in my mind.

And good luck to KT, who’s headed off to college today, and to Lynn, who’s heading to a home less one more! What an incredible time for both of you!

{One of WordPress’s automatic recommended tags today: BDSM. Sometimes they’re such a hoot!}

Pardon Me

Years ago I was talking with a man who’d helped with some research on one of my books, and he very politely said, “I don’t you don’t mind my saying this, but I think romance novels are trash.”

I blinked, taken aback, then asked, “Have you ever read one?”

“No,” he admitted.

Very politely I replied, “Then I hope you don’t mind my saying this, but I think that’s an incredibly ignorant comment.”

He thought about a moment and said, “You’re right. It is.”

That exchange came to mind a few days ago when I was cruising Kindle looking for new books. I came across a title by an author I was familiar with, a woman who’s been in the writing biz a lotta years and who’s fairly well respected in her genre of inspirational romance.

What made me stop and look was the fact that were nearly a hundred reader reviews, and they averaged two out of five stars. Ouch!

Out of curiosity, I began reading them and came across something odd: complaint after complaint about the faith, the religion, the Bible and the God stuff in the book.

Um, excuse me. You bought — deliberately paid for and downloaded — a book labeled as an inspirational romance, published by Steeple Hill/Love Inspired, and you’re ticked off by the fact that there’s God stuff in there?!?

I bet when you go to a restaurant and order eggs and ham, you’re surprised to find those round white things with yellow middles on your plate, aren’t you?

Pardon me, folks, but your ignorance is showing.