Monday, May 26, 2008

Meet Christo

This is Christo.

He moved in last week. He's raided the refrigerator and has generally made himself at home. At least at home as he's likely to be anywhere.

He's been filling me in on his back story, and the woman in his life -- who is not Natalie.

Well, give him time. He'll figure it out eventually.

Keep good thoughts for us. We'll be working together this week while I'm in Missouri visiting friends and going to an art retrospective.

Stay tuned.

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 24, 2008

My new box

Those of you who have been here a while remember when I was reading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit.

I blogged about it a lot and probably sold quite a few books for her along the way. I still find myself going back to it again and again, thinking about the current book or about the books to come or just about being creative.

As Seb has now gone on his merry way, I needed to go back to the beginning -- to ideas and inspiration and suchlike -- the flotsam and jetsam out of which, eventually, a story will appear.

Often that starts with characters. Sometimes with a situation. Rarely with a plot (sometimes there never is a plot, or so it seems). Occasionally with a place.

This book started with names. In a conversation about our family history that I had with my cousin a week ago, lots of names appeared. Most of them disappeared again back into the family pictures and stories and whatnot, and will doubtless appear again when next we talk.

But two stayed. Two said, "I have a story." They weren't the people we'd been talking about at all. But they shared their names. I wondered if they would stay around, tell me their story, or if they would drift off again. Some do.

These aren't going anywhere. They've moved in, settled down and are raiding the refrigerator even as I write. He's every bit as hard-edged as I need him to be. His mother's Greek. His father's missing. But he wasn't Greek. He might have been Portuguese. My hero has a soft spot for only one woman -- the heroine's mother. He doesn't know the heroine exists. Yet.

The heroine knows he exists. She's never met him. She's bound to run into him. Our house isn't that big -- and we only have one refrigerator. And then there's her mother who has plans of her own.

The new box is filling up. I don't have a location yet. Some big city. Maybe SF. Maybe Seattle. Maybe NYC. Maybe London. Maybe LA. I haven't done an LA story in years. Still thinking. I think I'd like an ocean nearby. LA is sounding more and more likely.

This actually is fun.

Check back in the coming days and you can meet my hero.

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Free Time

This business of 'no revisions' has freed up my time. From waiting for the other shoe to drop, suddenly they've been neatly put away in the closet and I am allowed to get on with my life.


Pleasant, of course. Don't get me wrong. I love not having revisions. But weird all the same.

It's giving me time to go visit with friends I haven't seen since Christmas. It's allowing me to actually read books written by other people in the middle of the day. It's given me the luxury of saying, Why not? when someone suggests a last minute, Why don't we do thus and such?

I could get used to this.

But I probably shouldn't. I should just get on with the new book. I'm giving it serious -- well, sort of serious -- thought. I get bits and pieces as I think about other things. Or I get glimmers of ideas that might work. It's sort of interesting, this watching myself pick over pieces of flotsam and jetsam and evaluating them. I've never done it before. Haven't had the time to do it.

Is this a good thing?

Who knows? But I'm enjoying it.

By the way, pictures have not been loading on my blog since sometime on the weekend. So if they start showing up, you'll know the problem is fixed. They're there. But they don't get up on the site. And today nothing much is loading. Hmmm.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Told Her So


I'm Seb. Anne's been talking about me on this blog for months. Worrying. Fussing. Wringing her hands. Muttering about deadlines.

It's simple, I told her. Write the book.

She muttered. She dithered.

She knows better. You just put your mind to it and you do it, I told her. You've done it before.

Yes, but -- she said.

No buts. You just get it done. It's what I tell my sisters. And my brothers. And my stepmothers. I tell this to a lot of people. Sometimes they even listen.

You have to focus. Know what you want to do and take it one step at a time.

"Bird by bird," Anne mumbled.

Well, I don't know about that. I didn't say anything about birds, but if it works for her, yeah, all right.

The point is, you have to have goals before you can accomplish them. Get my book done by May 1st, I told her. Simple.

And do it right. Again, simple.

I'm an architect. If I don't do it right, the building falls down. So I do it right. You should, too, I told Anne.

She said it wasn't that simple.

It is.

She got it done by May 1st. She took off to see her granddaughter and told me if the editor wanted revisions I could wait til she got back.

I said there wouldn't be any revisions.

She just looked at me.

Is the building falling down? I asked her.

She looked at me some more. She can look pretty exasperated. She also sighed. She sighs pretty exasperatedly, too.

Like I don't know what I'm talking about.

I know. No revisions. That's what the ed said today.

I don't mean to sound smug and arrogant and all that rot, but . . . didn't I tell her so?


Monday, May 19, 2008

Truth in Fortune Cookies

We had take-out Chinese the last night my cousin was visiting. No one was especially inclined -- besides me -- to enjoy the fortune cookies at the end.

I am a sucker for fortune cookies, untraditional though they may be. I am not necessarily a believer in the fortunes -- because my local restaurant seems less given to fortunes than commentary, perhaps -- but I like the taste and texture and ever since I got one that said "beware of bananas," I've been bemused by them.

This week's were perhaps truer than most. I picked a cookie and took it out of the cellophane and broke it -- and it fell on the floor -- to be instantly consumed by Mitch who is vigilant when it comes to anything on the table that might have gravitational pull.

The only thing he left was the fortune. It said: "Your mind is precise and discriminating."

I think that's why I dropped it. Not that Mitch is more precise and discriminating than I am, but there is that possibility.

Still I am not given to precision or, in those terms, discrimination. I'm pretty waffly and not exactly detail oriented. Mitch is very detail oriented when it comes to food (though not precisely discriminating, though at least he didn't eat the paper).

So I opened the next one. It didn't fall on the floor. I ate it (minus the paper).

It said: "You are a dreamer and your thinking is inspirational."

See what I mean?

How true is that? If it had said, "You will never get to the bottom of the mess in your office," it would have been only slightly more accurate.

Then just to prove whether or not it was a fluke, I opened the third one (I told you no one else wanted any), and it said: "You believe in the goodness of people."

Of course I do. Three out of three.

So, I'm a believer.

Now I just wish they would print plots on fortune cookies. It would make life much easier. On the other hand, maybe they have.

If a precise and discriminating hero met a dreamy inspirational heroine who believed in the goodness of people . . .

There's certainly potential for conflict at least.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cleaning Up

I've had a busy week. My cousin's visit meant I spent a lot of time with him and not so much time with you (apologies, but I did enjoy his visit a lot).

Now I am faced with MY OFFICE which is beyond awful, because I cleaned out our bedroom to paint, and then I cleaned out the guest room to make sure he had plenty of room and somehow all of the excess ended up in my office. So there are STACKS and STACKS of books and papers and whatnot (it's the whatnot I'm particularly concerned about) that I need to go through and sort and get rid of or file or figure out what to do with. And it's not like I have a spare bookcase or a spare filing cabinet just sitting around looking hopefully for STUFF to fill it.


Anyway, that's my job this week unless Seb reappears for revisions. We shall see. For the first couple of weeks after I finish a book I feel relieved and glad not to see him. But by this time he's beginning to feel like another shoe about to drop -- and I wish he would so I can deal with him and get on with things.

I don't multi-task as well as I used to, and I don't like having him hanging fire while I'm actively trying to think about characters from another book. I spent a while last night in search of a hero. I think I have found a pic of him. Just need to let him 'simmer' a while and see if that's really him or not. I thought I knew who Seb was, and he turned out not to be anything like, so I had to do a new search halfway through the book.

So . . . today I look for more pics in between shoveling out the office. Tough work, but someone's got to do it!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Making Other Plans

I realize that I said I would post Ellie pix this week. Actually I think I said, "tomorrow," a few days ago.

But while I was planning to do that, life was making other plans.

My cousin has come to visit and we've been going places and doing things -- as you do when you have a life and not only a book -- and today we are going to visit the old home of our grandfather and the cemetery where his parents are buried.

Then we're going to visit our almost 100 year old cousin (June 1 is the Big Day!).

We discovered we bought her the same birthday card because, actually, how many cards do you suppose Hallmark makes for 100 year olds? And don't they realize that when someone reaches that amazing milestone that lots of people will buy them cards -- AND THEY WILL INVARIABLY BE THE SAME ONE?

Well, we hope she enjoys the symmetry of it.

No word from the ed yet, which is good since I have no time to do anything about any 'tweaking' of Seb she may want. Seb thinks tweaks are beneath him, but I've assured him they aren't.

I'm quite taken with the Greek with the chip on his shoulder and the taming of the shew notion set in San Francisco that lots of my fence painters on the Pink Heart blog were suggesting for a follow-up to Seb.

The Greek with the chip has a name. I think the heroine is coming into focus. She may have a name. She definitely has an attitude. No story yet, but the people are getting sharper.

Labels: ,

Friday, May 09, 2008

Weekend Wind-down Winner!

A little alliteration never hurt anyone, right?

So, the winner of last weekend's wind-down on the Pink Heart blog is Debora. Congratulations, Debora. Gunnar picked your name from the treat-covered slips of paper to win a copy of The Boss's Wife For A Week.

If you will email me from the contact Anne tab on my blog with your snail address, I'll send you a copy this coming week.

Thanks so much to everyone who gave me their choices. You had some great ideas. I'll be considering them and will let you know what I come up with. In the meantime it sounds as if some of you have good ideas for books of your own based on that list.

I have finally downloaded the granddaughter photos and will be posting the high points of my R&R this week. The last three days I spent cleaning my house for an impending visit from a cousin. He is here now -- and very impressed (so he says) with the spotlessly clean guest room he's inhabiting (never mind the upside down lowboy in the corner. It's decorative -- and it has a bum leg and until we can get it fixed, there it stays).

Of course my office is in worse shape than ever as the overflow from the guest room moved -- guess where? Why are there never enough book shelves in my house?

I'll have to show you my beautiful roses, too. Daughter and family sent lovely roses for mother's day. Actually son-in-law is responsible. (I am very fond of him). Tomorrow I will show you. Tonight I'm going to crash.

If you haven't been to Michelle Reid's newly revamped website, give it a look. I will try to post the link tomorrow (having trouble doing it tonight), but if you go to Kate Walker's blog (link in sidebar) you can get to Michelle's website from there.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, May 07, 2008



Wonderful trip. Hope you all had a great time without me. Sorry I only missed you a little, but the granddaughter more than made up for all the great people here. When I get the pics downloaded, I will bore you with a few.

In the meantime, it's birthday celebration time! While I was gone, I missed Michelle Reid's. So, very sorry, Michelle, but you were thought of. And I'm glad you got your revisions finished and are taking a deep breath and -- I hope - resting between books.

And happy birthday to Mitch who was FIVE yesterday (and no, not months, though sometimes he acts like it!). We'll celebrate today, Mitch!

Also, happy birthday today to my wonderful daughter-in-law Marie who made me so welcome these last few days. She and son and granddaughter gave me a memorable vacation with them. I wish I'd been there to babysit tonight so the adults could go out to dinner and the granddaughter and I could hang out (except she goes to be with the chickens, so I wouldn't get to play with her much in the evening -- unless I was corrupting her! -- and I wouldn't want to do that because she's a very good sleeper and her parents have worked hard at it.

And a special and wonderful happy birthday to my dear friend Kate Walker who shares Marie's birthday and thus proves that May 7th must be a stupendous day to be born. Kate, too, just survived the revisions process and is recuperating. So enjoy your book-free days, my dear. Though I know you are still very very very busy!

Anyone who wants to leave birthday greetings for them here, I'll be sure to pass them along -- and they may get here to see them themselves. Certainly Mitch will!

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Hop, Hop, Hopping along

Well, you know frogs. They don't do rows.

But they're gone!

Labels: ,