Risk and the Novelist

iStock_000017146993XSmallOne summer afternoon, not too many months after Husband and I had bought our house, I walked up the hill to a neighbor’s. She and her family were hosting a barbecue. We’d been invited to events at their home before, but that was during the winter. As I reached their yard, another neighbor screamed up to me in her little red sports car.

“Get in and hold my watermelon,” she yelled out the window. I asked why, which felt like a perfectly natural question. Weren’t we here already? Where were we going with a watermelon, and why did I need to hold it? She didn’t seem to understand my confusion. We went a couple of rounds and she finally said, “Just get in the freakin’ car already.”  Continue reading

Baseball and Writing and Baseball

Photo by Robert Boris

Photo by Robert Boris

I’ve been a baseball fan since I was big enough to reach the TV dials. (Yes, they had dials back then…) Much to my father’s chagrin, I chose to fall for that “other” team, rather than his beloved, pinstriped Yankees.

The soothing voices of the New York Mets’ announcers and the slow, meditative pace of the game appealed to me. And maybe to my budding writer’s mind as well. Watch a pitcher try to hold a notorious base-stealer on the bag. There’s a story behind that dance. The runner tries to rattle the pitcher, throw him off his rhythm. The pitcher tries to catch the batter flat-footed and pick him off base. Watch the tango of catcher and pitcher. A volume goes unsaid as the catcher flashes his signals and the pitcher shakes them off. [Find a copy of Bull Durham if you want a fast lesson in how catchers and pitchers work together.]

Some other lessons I’ve learned from the game speak directly to a professional writers’ career: Continue reading

YOU be the judge…

efestival2013I’m so excited! Good things aren’t normally supposed to happen on a Monday, but last Monday I found out that Drawing Breath had been nominated for an award back in May and has been selected as a finalist in literary fiction! I wouldn’t have been aware of it at all if not for a random Google search on the book’s title. I love Google.

In case you were wondering, the Festival of Words is a virtual book fair. It celebrates digital books published by indies and small presses. The eFestival itself takes place during 23 to 25 August, during which the winners of their awards will be announced.

Now the fun starts. Winners are chosen based on the amount of votes we get from fabulous readers like you, and if you have a few minutes, I’d love your votes!

The process only looks a lot more complicated than it is, so let me explain.

1. Go to this link to register for the forum.

http://www.efestivalofwords.com/ucp.php?mode=register

You need to register in the eFestival of Words forum in order to vote. Registration is free. After you enter your info and hit “submit,” your registration is complete. Ads will show up, but feel free to ignore all of them. The ads are just part of the forum.

2. After you are registered, go to the Awards Hall, at this link:

http://www.efestivalofwords.com/awards-hall-f29.html

Each category (Drawing Breath is under literary fiction) has a separate thread. Scroll down and click the category you want to vote in, and then enter your vote.

You might also want to check out the other categories. For instance, M. Edward McNally has been nominated in Action/Adventure for The Sable City (Book One of The Norothian Cycle), one of my favorite indie books, as well as under some other categories, including best fantasy, best plot twist, and best villain.

See, it’s quick and easy. Thank you so much!

The Baby Boomer Generation Gap

The-Jokes-On-Me_Cover_web

(Special Note: The Joke’s on Me, ebook edition, will be on sale for $3 off its regular price from Friday, June 28 through Saturday, June 29)

The burgeoning genre of Baby Boomer Lit fascinates me. I love the stories authors are telling about the challenges confronting this generation as we face our mortality but still want to squeeze more out of life.

Often forgotten, however, is that technically, baby boomers represent (mostly Americans) born between 1946 and 1964. That’s a span of eighteen years, for those of you good with math or who happen to have a calculator handy. So theoretically, two generations could be contained within this one moniker: two generations with very different goals and ideals. Continue reading

It’s Boomer Lit Friday!

Dont_Tell_Anyone_200Happy Friday! Once again, it’s Boomer Lit Friday. Every Friday, a bunch of us who like such things post snippets from our “Baby Boomer Books,” and the lovely Shelley Lieber has graciously offered up her blog where you can see what other authors are up to. Here’s a teensy bit of Don’t Tell Anyone. Please hop over to the Boomer Lit Friday blog and read and comment on the other participants. Enjoy, and I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Previous to this bit, Adam, Liza, and Charlie were attempting to get Estelle to agree to a biopsy.

——

Liza pounded the elevator button. “You’re sick. That was sick and cruel. How could you say something like that?”

Adam shrugged. “I panicked.”

“You couldn’t say something like, ‘We love you and we want you to get better?’ You had to tell your mother I was pregnant? In her condition?”

“You mean you’re not?” Charlie said.

They both scowled at him.

“I was looking forward to being an uncle.”

“Your brother is sick,” Liza said.

Charlie smiled. “Yes, but he’s creative.”

“So, what, I’m supposed to fake being pregnant now? Excuse myself every so often and pretend to throw up?”

“For a while,” Adam said weakly.

“And then what?”

“We are trying, Liza. Who knows, we might even be pregnant by then.”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “At the rate I’m learning new things about you? I sincerely doubt it.”

Boomer Lit Friday!

Happy Boomer Lit Friday, where once again we show you bits and pieces of our baby boomer books. Check out the lovely Shelley Lieber’s blog to see what my compadres are up to.

Here’s a smidge from Don’t Tell Anyone. Estelle, at the stove making chicken soup for her sons and daughter-in-law despite their protests that she’s still too weak from chemo, has just passed out.

—–

It was nothing, Estelle said, as Adam and Charlie helped her onto the sofa. No need to call the doctor. She’d just been feeling a little faint, a little light-headed. It was probably because she hadn’t eaten today. Since nothing tasted good, she didn’t want to bother.

But sometimes, her senses of smell and taste returned, not evenly but in rushes, like a breeze through an open window when the wind changed. They came with memories. They came with no warning. The soup did it to her this time. She’d put in the water and the cut-up chicken, skimmed off the fat, dumping spoon after spoon into the coffee can next to the sink. Still she could smell nothing. She added the quartered root vegetables, the salt, and the dill. Nothing. Then she looked over and saw Adam’s face, and Charlie’s face, and the different ways they looked like Eddie and like her parents, and it was as if someone had broken down a door. She smelled the simmering chicken, parsnips, and onions and saw her mother’s sickly face, the hollowed eyes and the skin stretched tight across the bone. Estelle saw her father’s hand raising the spoon to her mother’s lips. And then Estelle felt weak all over as the floor rushed up to meet her.

—–

And There’s This…

Drawing Breath is a winner in the 2013 B&P Reader's Choice Awards. Thank you for your support!
My sincerest apologies! I’ve been so busy thanking people that I forgot to put it on my actual BLOG, where you all have been so supportive and lovely. Thank you for helping to choose Drawing Breath as a winner in the contemporary fiction category. Considering what this award meant to Hugh Howey, who won for Wool, I’m humbled. Most likely the only virtual stage I’ll ever share with him!

I haven’t heard who won the gift card, but I’ll let you know. Again, thank you.

Seized by Lynne Cantwell: a review

LynneI expected to enjoy Seized, the first book in Lynne Cantwell’s Pipe Woman Chronicles, because I am a fan of Ms. Cantwell’s direct, journalistic writing style and wry wit from her Indies Unlimited blog posts. What I didn’t expect was that Seized kept me up late several nights in a row because it was so hard to stop reading. The story started easily in the realm of the familiar, with Naomi, a smart mediator who seems to have it all: the powerful job, the handsome boyfriend, and the best friend who understands her better than she understands herself. But wait…we know that nothing comes easily in fiction without consequence. So things twist up a bit when said best friend urges her to tag along on a New Age adventure. Several rounds in a sweat lodge release more than perspiration, including a visit from White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman, a mysterious Native American spirit that weaves in and around Naomi’s life, tasking her with a near-impossible challenge for a mediator…no, for anyone. Lynne’s writing style (and choice of first-person narration) is key here. I became deeply invested in Naomi’s future, and the author rides a nice, believable, and relatable line between the protagonist’s cynicism with the happenings around her and her faith that it’s all for a greater good. The story is smart and thought provoking, the fantasy element sophisticated and well integrated into the storyline. Never did I feel that this was fantasy with a story attached or vice versa. It just worked so well. I’m eager to read the rest of the series.