Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Looking back...and forward

I don’t think I can write another word.
            It has been the winter of discontent. Of family illnesses and surgeries, and as February finally came to an end, loss. But time and publishing wait on no one, and my new book, Every Time We Say Goodbye, came out April 1. You all know what happens then—you spread yourself around, holding up a figurative hand with a figurative book in it and saying Here I am! You blog, you sign books, you do giveaways, you talk wherever anyone will listen, and you keep smiling even on the days you feel heartbreak nipping at your heels.
            I’m working on two manuscripts, which I hardly ever do, and making sketchy progress on them both, because I tend to think too often that, as I said above, I can’t write another word.
            But it’s a pretty day here today. I’m looking out the window beside my desk at the awakening lawn. My husband mowed it over the past couple of days, all three acres of it, and the grass lies in bright green beautiful strips.
            That he mowed one at a time. When the wind was blowing. When his hip hurt. Or his knee hurt. While he grieved the loss of his mother. Or while there were a thousand other things he wanted to do.
            That is the way of it then, isn’t it, when we feel as though one more word or one more strip of grass is one too many. We just go ahead and do it. One at a time.
            When I visited Roses of Prose in January of 2015, I’d just signed a new contract, and I said, “The book...was shockingly difficult to write. It took ten months or so, not a really long time for me, but it seemed longer.” What a blessing it is that now that the book is out with a different and better title than I gave it and a cover I’ve grown used to, I don’t remember how hard it was to write. I don’t remember how many days I thought I’d never finish it. I don’t remember, although I know it’s true, that I wrote it one word at a time even when I thought I couldn’t.

I wrote that a year ago for http://rosesofprose.blogspot.com/ . I was so surprised to see that come up on Facebook because this past winter has been a hard one, too, followed by an angst-ridden spring. Yet the grass is once again full of lovely green strips. A new Christmas Town novella will be out in October and a new Heartwarming Romance in December. 

We survive these days and seasons, don't we? They are what make us who we are. 

I wish you joy.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stop by...

I have fun interview at http://longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/search/label/Author%20Interview Stop by and see me and leave a comment!

I also have an article over at Savvy Authors. http://www.savvyauthors.com/vb/content.php It's about characterization, one of my favorite parts of writing.

Happy May to everyone!

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Friday, April 27, 2012

This isn't a new post, just one I've used before and is important to me. It's my own little HEA, and I'm a romance author--there's nothing I like better. It's also my mom's birthday. She died when I was 32, and I still miss her. Happy Birthday, Mom, and thanks for everything.

       I hope you visit all the stops on the blog hop and win one of the great prizes, too. Have a good trip!

       Depression wasn’t something I gave a whole lot of thought to.  It was something that happened to other people.  Young mothers who’d just had babies and were overwhelmed by the endless and huge responsibility of it all; middle-aged men who’d lost their jobs and didn’t know where to find new ones; people who’d suffered emotional losses of such magnitude I couldn’t begin to imagine how they felt.  Being on the self-righteous side, I also thought you only really suffered from depression if you gave into it, if you didn’t outrun it with a healthy sense of humor, or if you just wanted people to feel sorry for you.  Average people, people like me, didn’t get depressed.

          A little over four years ago, I stopped smoking.  Aside from being self-righteous, I’m also an unmitigated coward, so I did it with medication.  I didn’t care; it worked, and the side-effects of the medication were minimal.  I’d always said that if I didn’t smoke, I’d weigh 200 pounds--not a good thing if you’re short and small-boned, which I am--and I’d suck down antidepressants like they were candy.  I was joking, okay?  Just kidding.  Really.


          I don’t weigh 200 pounds, but I did gain 35 in the year after I stopped smoking, and it’s still there--I’ve discovered that chocolate chip cookies are a great replacement for nicotine.  But the other thing that happened in that year was that I found out depression really does strike average people.  To borrow a term I’ve heard often in the past three years, I hit the wall.

          Since I’m one of those people who always have the symptoms described in articles about diseases (it’s amazing I’ve lived this long!), it was no surprise that I had several of the indicators of clinical depression.  You know what they are.  You’ve read them in the doctor’s office while you’re waiting or at Wal-Mart or Kroger’s while you’re taking your blood pressure.  You’ve read them and thought, “Hmm...” because you had a couple of them.  Sometimes.  But then they went away, so you were okay.

          But what happens when they don’t go away?  What do you do when you were sad on Sunday afternoon and you’re still sad at bedtime on Thursday?  When you’re so tired you can barely get through the day but you’re sleeping way too much?  Or you can’t get through it because you’re hardly sleeping at all?  When nothing’s fun anymore?  When you can’t see an end to feeling hopeless?  When, even though you’d never consider suicide yourself--oh, of course, you wouldn’t--you understand people who do?

          When I hit that wall, I was one of the lucky ones in that I never for one moment thought suicide was an answer.  I was seldom sleepless, never slept too much, still had fun.  Sometimes.  But working an eight-hour day wore me out to the point that I never really wanted to get off the couch after I got home.  I looked around at my husband and kids and grandkids--even them--and was bewildered because, Good Lord have mercy, how could I possibly be unhappy?

          But I was.  Oh, I was.

          I didn’t really want to start smoking again, but I knew I’d be happier if I did.  What was worse--to die of lung cancer or of depression?  “I don’t know what to do,” I told my doctor.  “Maybe I need to smoke again.  Just some, you know, not a lot.”

          “No,” he said.  “No.  I know what to do.”

          So he gave me a prescription and talked to me a long time about clinical depression.  “You’ll be fine,” he promised.  “Maybe six months, maybe longer.  But you’ll be fine.”

          I hated taking Zoloft.  Zoloft was for weak people, people who gave in to being sorry for themselves, people who wanted others to feel sorry for them.  I’d try it for a little while, but it wasn’t going to work, not on me, Mrs. Average.  I hated it.  

          But it wasn’t really so bad.  Maybe six months.  That should get me over the hump, and maybe I wouldn’t start smoking again.  I could always blame the 35 pounds on it.  You know, I couldn’t lose weight because I was “on medication.”  No one had to know I was a spineless wuss who was taking antidepressants. 

          Six months became two years.  Not that it took me that long to feel better--that’s how long it was before I got the courage up to stop taking the Zoloft.  I was so afraid to stop.  What if I feel that way again? I thought.  I would surely die from it.  But stopping was painless, and the depression is only a memory.  But it’s a memory that can make me miserable in a heartbeat, make me question myself if, just once, I happen to be sad on Sunday afternoon.

          But I am all right, I remind myself, because by Thursday night at bedtime, I have forgotten the sadness.  I feel good.  No, better than good; I feel wonderful.  I haven’t smoked for four years and one month.  And I will never, ever take any of it for granted again.  It is a gift.

          Till next time.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Just back from a lovely, lovely week in Florida. (That's me and the boyfriend in the picture, with Pensacola Beach a great backdrop.) On the road, I got an exiting email from my Carina Press editors, Angela and Mallory, telling me ONE MORE SUMMER will be out in print as part of the Direct to Consumer (DTC) progam. It will also be available from the Harlequin website. I was--and am--soooo excited! I think it will be out in May, but don't really have any details yet.

On Tuesday, February 7th, http://www.wordwranglers.blogspot.com will host Lyrical Press Editor, Piper Denna for an online pitch session! Piper will be taking 1-3 line pitches.

The rules are simple:
1. Contest opens at 7:00 A.M. EST, February 7, 2012 and closes at 12:00 A.M. EST, February 8, 2012 2. 1-3 line pitches
3. 1 pitch per person

That's it. We're easygoing over at Wordwranglers, but if you break the rules, you'll be disqualified. Questions? Use the comments form below; at 7am February 7 a new post will be created and you'll make your pitches in the comments of that post. Don't pitch on this one - please! - we may not see it!!

Don't miss this chance to get your pitch in front of an editor!

Piper's bio:

Writing is a craft, a skill which improves with practice. Grammar can be learned.

Spelling...notsomuch. Either you're good at spelling, or you're not. And unfortunately, Spellcheck might be helpful, but let's face it: it's only as good as its programmers, and we all know how many problems certain software programs have. Which is why, no matter who you are, no matter what you write, you need an editor. If you don't believe me, ask Stephen King-we're very close. Like two peas in a pod.
(At least, in my mind, which I mean in a completely un-stalkerlike way.)

Now that I'm done name-dropping... Books have always been my thing. And I've been a writer since I could pick up a pencil. My thoughts didn't turn toward writing professionally until about 2005, when I wrote three novels. Through a couple of critique groups and thousands of crits, both given and received, I honed my craft quite a lot. So much so, in 2008 after watching two of my books go through the editing process at publishers, I got the wild idea (the wild, incredibly overconfident idea, in retrospect), that I could do that.

My poor authors have to learn my lingo: "Innerds"-deep third inner thoughts from a character, generally requested as a replacement for narrative ("She wondered why he hadn't arrived yet" comes off much stronger as "Where the hell was he already?") or "Holding Pattern", which I type as a shortcut to remind an author to mix up sentence structure, rather than going with a repetitive subject/predicate format every time.

And I still write. (When I have time, and when I can tranquilize that inner editor enough to shut her up so I can type.) My characters must endure extensive suffering and conflict, and sometimes they do things certain readers don't approve of, but they always get their happy ending.

What kind of books do I prefer to edit? Deep conflict, relatable characters, believable plots, and a strong romantic element. Because romance makes the world go round. Right?

Piper Denna
Romance is sexy!


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Monday, January 23, 2012


I'm over at Word Wranglers today, talking about synopses.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Yes, pumpkin spice...

Today, I'm answering a few questions for friend and CP extraordinaire Kristi Knight. http://kristiknight.blogspot.com/2012/01/pumpkin-spice-tea-author-liz-flaherty.html Hope you come by!


Monday, January 16, 2012


I'm at Word Wranglers today, talking about trends. Come on over.


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