Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Blog Question: Were You a Tomboy or a Princess Growing Up?

One of the fun things about writing as the guest on someone else’s blog is answering random questions that never occur to me when I’m writing on my own blog. Sometimes I think these questions seem very off-topic, considering readers are tuning in to find out about a favorite author or book. But the more I read similar guest blogs by other authors, the more I appreciate the random acquaintance that is formed.

Discovering something about an author’s childhood, their favorite TV shows or how/why they started writing gives me an insight into them as people and a greater appreciation of what is written.  So today I’m starting a continuing series called ‘Blog Questions’ where I’ll answer a random question I found on another author’s Guest Blog.  I hope you’ll find these fun and informative...but also, if you have a question put it in comments and I’ll answer it the next time.

So...just for starters, here’s a short one to kick us off: Were you a Tomboy or a Princess growing up??

Definitely a Tomboy! Though my mom sewed me many wonderful dresses when I was little, my preferred activities required tougher clothes! We lived near the ‘Mighty’DuPage River and along its banks grew huge willow trees. My friends and I created many imaginary scenarios in those trees, including submarine hunt, airplanes, apartments and hospitals. Each branch had its own purpose, from control tower at the top to operating room in the middle to torpedo room below.

When we weren't manufacturing alternate realities we might pass lazy summer days weaving jewelry out of willow strands, or hop down and wade across the river (don’t tell Mom!) to the other side and, perhaps beyond to visit friends over there.

In the winter that river froze nearly all the way across and became a skating pond.  The neighbor’s hillside formed a fearsomely steep toboggan run, frozen thickly with buckets of water toted from where the river ran free beside the far bank.  We flew down it, past the willows and stopped, teetering, where the flowing river broke open from the ice. I never ended up on the wet end of that gamble...but it was close!

That river and those trees were only part of my childhood adventures, but together they are serving to create a background for a future book of mine entitled ‘The Lottery’.  Inanimate though they are, the trees and the river play as much a part of that story as any character. ’The Lottery’ is an on-going project that I turn my attention to between other books, but it is a work of love that, soon, I will will tackle full speed. I look forward to its publication in the not too distant future.

Well, that’s my ‘Blog Question’ for today. I’d love to hear from you-what was your childhood like? And remember, let me know what question you’d like me to answer in the future! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Short and Sweet Review: Another Saturday Night and I Ain't Got No Body by Jennie Marts

Jennie Marts has written a delightful romantic mystery that left this reader hoping there might be a sequel! In Another Saturday Night And I Ain't Got No Body, Cassie's dating life is in the dumps and, while there's a gorgeous new guy, Jake, just next door, she can't get past the idea that he might have murdered her good friend, Walter!

That sort of thing puts a damper on desire, so Cassie gives in to her friends' plans to set up a series of blind dates for her. Only problem is most of them fall very flat and afterward she inevitably ends up telling the tale of her terrible date to the sympathetic and increasingly desirable Jake.

Following Cassie's adventures date by date, along with the comings and goings of her well-meaning friends, is great fun. Following the growing romance while trying to solve a who-done-it...or even IF they done-it!...is even more fun!

Obviously, this was a fun summer read, and I look forward to Ms. Mart's next book!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Short and Sweet Review: Beyond the Wood by Michael J. Roueche

Beyond the Wood by Michael J. Roueche

I’m not normally a fan of the Civil War era, either in fiction or ‘non’. So, though I’d heard this was a good read, I only dug into it recently. Imagine my delight that is was such an engaging story!

A word of advice to readers--persist through the first, short introductory pages set in contemporary times; this is not your story. It’s coming, and you won’t return to the present for more than a few pages from this point on.

My hesitation with tales of this particular time often centers around the endless litany of battles and fields and body counts; it can be mind-numbing. The good news, however, is that this author gives us just enough information to aBeyond the Wood by Michael J. Rouecheppreciate the time and the circumstances, then wisely focuses on the people and their stories. I’ve no doubt that fans of the era will value such details more than I, but for the rest of us, these passages serve to progress the story rather than bog it down in educational seminars. In short, Mr. Roueche has done a fabulous job of giving us just enough.

At just over 500 pages it’s a lengthy book, but the pace moves well and the time you invest in the people within its pages pays off. There’s much for these people to endure and learn from, but learn they--mostly--do. The details of war support a great cast of characters with flaws and blessings enough to keep readers turning the pages.  Hank, the proud but heartsick protagonist, tries to lose himself on the battlefield. But in the aftermath, he makes a promise to a dying soldier that will compel him back down a road he thought he’d left behind.

Betsy is the girl who broke his heart. She, along with finely drawn secondary characters both on the battlefield and in the drawing rooms of the South, put flesh and sinew on the bones of this well told story. Mr. Roueche has an ear for the voices of the period, from slaves and soldiers to speculators and southern belles, and his prose is a pleasure to read and re-read...if you’re inclined to that sort of thing. A series of letters, interspersed throughout, progress the plot, fill in the details of the war and serve to advance a growing relationship between Hank and a widow he seeks to someday console.    

The contemporary beginning had left me with a sense of foreboding that followed me throughout the book. I was never quite certain where we were headed, the characters and I. When the final page was turned I’d grown very fond of the story and its people, regretting I would not see their tomorrows any more, but very happy I’d known them for a while. And isn’t that the sign of a great tale told! 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Next Big Thing!

So, today I’m talking about the Next Big Thing blog campaign. This campaign began in Australia and went international, showcasing new authors and/or new books. Each author answers the same set of questions about a recently published book and/or those that are slated to be released. Then that author “tags” a few other authors who do the same thing. Because my work-in-progress isn’t ready for prime time, I’ll be talking about my latest mystery. I’m tagging two of my favorite fellow authors:
What is the working title of your next book?
My next book is still in process, so I thought I’d talk about Framed, a book that came out last year. Framed is the first in the Kay Conroy Mystery Series.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
Well, to begin with, I love reading mysteries. Especially the cozy-style with non-professional sleuths and a little humor. I had two inspirations for this book. First, I have been a General Contractor and built custom homes. It’s both a fun and stressful profession with many variables all at the mercy of fussy clients and our often unpredictable Colorado weather. I thought the fictional possibilities were abundant. I’d also been a soccer parent, and if ever there were an area where tempers might run high, that was it-particularly where parents and coaches were concerned. I thought the collision of those two worlds might be a place so combustible it could lead to murder!

What genre does your book fall under?
Framed is a humorous, cozy-style murder mystery.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
This is always a hard question for me because I never think of my characters in terms of contemporary (or otherwise!) actors. They are born and live in my mind’s eye, so I seldom put the two worlds together. However, there is one character that actually did pull some of his inspirations from an actor, and that’s Sam. Sam is a local landscape contractor that our protagonist, Kay, hires to landscape the grounds of a custom home she’s building. He’s an easy-going, world-wise, extremely affable and intuitive man with an educated country-boy feel to him. Sam instantly reminded me of the actor Sam Shepard, who I always thought had a comfortably rugged and yet intelectual air about him.
I’d love to hear who my readers would cast as the other characters in the book-particularly Kay’s very capable, extremely loyal and yet slightly ditzy best friend, Maddey. (who I confess was inspired by a very dear and old friend of mine named Shelly).

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
I hate once sentence descriptions-they are always forced and never informational enough-that’s unfair to me and my potential readers! However, if I can add a couple more sentences, I’ve got a great blurb that says it all:

When housing contractor Kay Conroy finds her son’s soccer coach dead on his kitchen floor, her well known dislike for the man soon turns into a motive for murder.

Now, anxious to aim the finger of guilt elsewhere, the quick-witted but daydreaming single mom must squeeze her own investigation in between car-pooling her son and overseeing the construction of a home for a local socialite.  The evidence she discovers puts her at the top of the suspect list even though she knows she's being framed. Meanwhile, there’s an attractive landscaper she'd like to know better and an amorous CEO she’d like to lose.

With the aide of her salty-tongued best friend and the sixth sense of her puppy, Kay digs for dirt.  What she finds are broken hearts and bottom lines...not to mention danger!

Who is publishing your book?
Framed is independently published and available paperback or Kindle format on Amazon!
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Forever! Well, at least it seemed that way. First drafts always do-it’s like childbirth. But once I get the first draft down, the tweaking (aka editing) is much more fun. If I had to put a timeline to it, I’d say it takes me about a year to write a book. After all, I do have a day-job…and a family; all very demanding in their own ways.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
If you have read Diane MottDavidson’s Goldy Schulz mysteries, Rita Mae Brown’s Mrs. Murphy mysteries, or similar authors such as Leighann Dobbs or Elaine Orr, Framed is right up your wheelhouse!
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I talked earlier about my particular inspirations for this book, but as for writing in general, I think it was a natural offshoot of my love of reading…combined with a vivid imagination and a tendency to daydream. I imagine I am not alone among writers when it comes to those characteristics!
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Being a writer is like playing God on a very, very small stage. I have a hand in creating characters who will be friends, lovers, enemies or murderers. Nurturing these relationships is part of the fun-for me at least. And watching a new love bloom or an old friendship deepen is always a pleasure. I’m very much looking forward to writing the sequel to Framed, which will be titled Nailed (don’t you like the construction theme?). And best of all, the setting is my home state of Colorado, someplace I definitely consider ‘God’s Country’!

Framed is available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon! Click HERE to find it! 

Next up on The Next Big Thing, I’ve tagged these two fabulous authors:

On May 9th, go to robonwriting.com to read R.S. Guthrie's blog about his Next Big Thing:

And on May 16th go to http://aaronmritchey.com/the-blog/ to read about  Aaron Michael 

Ritchey's Next Big Thing:

Monday, April 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Maddie!

My writing buddy, Maddie, is six years old today! I know, it's April Fool's Day, but it's kind of a fitting day for her birthday-she takes the curse off the day with her complete sweetness and utter devotion to our family.

I work at home, so during my day, whether I am writing or working at my 'day job', she is by my side. She's ever aware of my movements from room-to-room, and loves nothing more than when I finally settle down in front of my laptop for some intensive 'alternative world creation', i.e., writing!

That's when she nestles into the nearby armchair or curls up at my feet. Of course, occasionally she'll stroll over to rest her head in my lap for a little one-on-one affection. Golden Retrievers are like that-they love attention, giving or receiving!

This evening, we'll head over to the Good Times in our town and get her a 'Frosty Paws' (ice cream, peanut butter and three dog bones!) to celebrate. I hope we have at least six more years with this most loving and affectionate member of our family!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Goodreads Giveaway! Enter to Win a Copy of FRAMED!

Today is the start of a free Giveaway on Goodreads for a copy of my humorous mystery, Framed! Click HERE to go to my Goodreads page, then scroll down to Enter to Win a copy! Good luck and thanks for entering! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Author Showcase and Book Signing a HUGE Success!

I was delighted to participate in an Author Showcase hosted by the Douglas County Library yesterday, and held at the Highlands Ranch Library. This event was organized by Lisa Casper, Program Branch Liaison. Lisa did a fabulous job and I think everyone truly enjoyed the event!

Twelve authors-including myself-spoke about our books and, afterward, signed and sold copies. We had great turnout-standing room only!

I was delighted to see many friends in the crowd, and to meet new ones. It's always fun to talk with my readers and inscribe my books for them!

This is my local library district and I'm fortunate that they are on the cutting edge of promotion of local authors as well as inclusion of authors e-books in their stacks! My books are available in all Douglas Country Libraries in either paperback or e-books format.

Thanks so much to all who attended!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sparks of The Imagination

Someone asked me the other day how I went about dreaming up my stories. That's a hard one to answer...I felt like asking her how she breathed? Characters, situations and plot twists come from my imagination and for a writer, I believe, our imaginations are so much a part of everything that makes us tick.

Could I shut down my creativity? Perhaps...but what fun would that be? Do I daydream? You bet! And I dream-yes, occasionally I wake with an idea that can't be ignored. Other times something in the news or something in my life gets the juices going. Even if I tried not to write, life surrounds me with tempting flashes of plotting possibilities that my brain just can't ignore.

No...I don't have personal experiences with murder (thank goodness!) but a good cozy mystery is more than the act. There's the interesting job or the quirky neighbor next door or the creepy Realtor who insinuates that if you don't like the house she's showing you something bad might happen...so you will like it...if you now what is good for you! Okay, I got carried away there, I've never met a creepy Realtor, but wasn't that fun to follow me down that rabbit hole?

I love strong, empowered women in fiction-especially when they don't know their own strength and have a funny bone too! Add in a good friend who wants to help them find a job or find a lover or find the real murderer and now my imagination just gets rolling along with the spark of endless possibility!

For a writer, writing is like having fireworks bursting in your mind-you simply can't ignore it!  

(photo courtesy of www.agefotostock.com )

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Highlands Ranch Author Showcase!

Big new! I'll be participating in a Local Author Showcase Sunday, March 10th at 2pm, hosted by the Douglas County Library. This is my local library district but I am fortunate that they are on the cutting edge-nationwide-when it comes to promoting Colorado authors and offering their e-books in the library.
Yes! You can check-out either The Shell Keeper or Framed at any Douglas County Library!
If you are in the area I'd love to have you drop by and say hi! I will be participating along with nine other others. We will each have a few minutes to talk about our books, and afterward we'll be available to chat. We will also have paperback copies available for purchase-and signing!
If you have already purchased one of my books, please come on by and let me sign it for you.
Click HERE to find out more about this event. I hope to see you there!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Cozy Mystery: Why I Love this Genre!

I’ve been chatting on Goodreads with lovers of humorous cozy mystery books. Personally, I’m a big fan of just about all mysteries but I do love cozies-and write them-for particular reasons.

First, I’m a sucker for humor. I love to read it and write it and this is a genre that practically requires it! If you don’t have a good dose of humor in your story odds are your novel runs more toward hard bitten crime procedurals  Don’t get me wrong-I love my P.D. James! James is absolutely one of the best mystery authors of all time. She weaves a plot that’s thick with red herrings and requires diligence, not to mention and unwavering attention span, from her readers! But after a serious English who-dunnit I’m looking for some laughs…and a dead body, of course!

So I’m back reading cozies. Some of my favorites are from Diane Mott Davidson's Goldy Bear/Shulz series to Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series. Neither of the heroines in these books is anywhere near being a professional sleuth, and that’s another requirement of this genre. One is a caterer and the other is the Post Mistress of her small town! That last one is one of the more unique ‘cozy’ professions if you ask me!

P.I.’s are great (LOVE Robert Parker’s Spencer books), along with detectives and coroners (Patricia Cornwell anyone?), but they have more than half a clue what they are doing. And that’s where the humor comes in.

With a clueless sleuth, the situation is ripe for humor and lots of missteps. Plus, they get into much more trouble because they have no idea what they are doing. Well…over the course of the story they figure it out, but along the way you are laughing on the edge of your seat. That’s the funny mystery’s hook and it works on me just about every time.

Naturally, there’s also the best friend/sidekick. Think of Goldy Schultz’s pal, Marla, in The Main Corpse. Any cozy protagonist worth her salt can figure out who pulled the trigger by the last page, but in order to get to the last page she needs her wacky/brainy/equally clueless/possibly professional sidekick to get her there. Sometimes they really are professional sleuths (P.I.’s, Detectives, FBI, for example) who don’t take the heroine seriously. But we do, and we appreciate the nudge these friends can give to more our girl along.

In my book Framed my heroine, Kay Conroy, wouldn’t have gotten quite as far without her friend Maddy. Maddy has nerve to spare and she’s willing to do whatever and go wherever to find the answers that will help save her friend from a murder rap! That’s in between carpooling, PTA meetings, gym workouts and stirring up cookie dough along with trouble. Kay and Maddy make an awesome cozy duo!  

Well, those are just a few of my favorite cozy characters-how about you? Why do you love a good humorous mystery? Please share your favorites in the comments below; I’m always looking for something good to read!   

(photo: Dying for Chocolate by Diane Mott Davidson)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Strong Women in Fiction: Who is YOUR Favorite?

I’ve always gravitated to the strong female characters in a story. I’d come away from a book feeling empowered-I could take on the world! Isn’t it wonderful when a character resonates so strongly within you that you feel your own character has been shaped by theirs?

I remember, as a teenager, reading Catherine Marshall’s Christy. She wasn’t much older than I was then, but Christy left home with little more than faith and love to teach in the wilds of the Smokey Mountains. She entered a world of poverty and beauty but discovered great personal strengths within herself that helped her succeed and flourish in this new world. Something of Christy has stayed within me all my life, giving me strength to overcome many of life’s obstacles, though mine pale in comparison to hers!

Jane Austen’s novels were an incredible discovery years ago. Books that I thought would be dull-as-dirt required reading in school turned out to have wise and witty heroines dealing with a cultural system that was far from female-friendly! But Jane, with her amazingly dry and insightful wit skewered the society around her while elevating the female character in fiction. These gals weren’t stupid…well, some of them were- but not our heroines!

From Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility), to Emma(Emma), to Anne Elliot(Persuasion), and most definitely to Elizabeth Bennett (Pride andPrejudice). These are women so strong that fiction writers have copied and imitated their characters in countless books! What woman wouldn’t be proud to have ‘Lizzy’s’ strong and honest character? Even before she takes herself to task for pride…and finds Mr. Darcy to have ‘no immodest prejudice” she is clearly a woman worth emulating.   

I was a mother and wife when I discovered Gift from The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Anne had overcome incredible challenges in her life and still, she had this settled, calm core that cut to the most basic and fulfilling natures of womenkind. Her book is not fiction, but it did inspire me to create the characters in The Shell Keeper: strong women-whether they knew it or not-with character to spare and the willingness to put themselves out there, in the name of friendship.  As a result, they empower both themselves and each other.

I hope that I can live up to all of these wise and wonderful women. I think as long as I’m willing to learn, I have a chance! Do you have fictional friendships that have stayed with you and inspire you still? If so, please share-I’d love to hear about them! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Short and Sweet Review: Trust in Me by Lana Williams

I was curious, after reading the first book in this series, A Vow To Keep, to see what would become of little Nicholas. Now, in Trust in Me, he's all grown up and his magical gift of premonition has become more of a curse than a blessing.

Lord Nicholas is hiding out in his Keep, never expecting to find love, have a family or the happiness other young men his age might expect. When his severely injured brother, William, is literally dumped on his front porch-so to speak-it starts in motion a series of events that will, eventually, tear down the walls Nicholas has so firmly built up around his heart.

Getting there, though, is half the fun! And Ms. Williams has done a wonderful job of making the reader sympathetic towards both the dark and vengeful Nicholas and the sweet and well-intentioned Lady Elizabeth-she who dumped the brother!

Early on the two are naturally attracted to each other, but once Nicholas's true identity is revealed, and Elizabeth's complicity in his brother's condition as well, these two characters face what seem like insurmountable odds, fraught with anger and suspicion.

Count on Ms. Williams to draw us in and lead us-quite willingly-through a maze of misgivings and misinformation and out the other side, to a very satisfying ending!

I'm very much anticipating the final book in Ms. William's Vengeance Trilogy. This one, I'm told, will tell the story of Nicholas's brother William. If the first two installments are any indication I expect a very good tale indeed!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Interviewing Claire, from The Shell Keeper. This could get Steamy!

Today I’m interviewing Claire, one of a trio of unlikely friends from my women’s fiction novel; The Shell Keeper.  It’s a humorous and touching story of three women who become unlikely friends-in Claire’s case, despite herself!

As I might have mentioned in the book’s blurb…Claire’s past is her own friggin’ business, but she’s a tough real estate agent who will gladly suck-up to assholes to get a deal done. Still, when Del literally crashes into her life in front of Gwen’s bakery, bringing the three women together, Claire finds herself rethinking her attitude toward friendship. Toss in a charmingly persistent guy named Bob, and she might be rethinking men, too.

Sounds like this interview could get interesting…

RN: So Claire, do you have a minute?

Claire: Just. I’m swamped, what do you need? (Claire is in her usual sort of attire: DKNY black skirt suit, three inch Jimmy Choo’s and lush, black hair just skimming her shoulders-all very professional)  

RN: Well…I was hoping you could give us your thoughts on these new friends of yours-Del and Gwen. I mean, it was a rather surprising development in your life. You haven’t exactly been a girl’s girl in recent years, have you?

Claire: If by that you mean I have more than my share of men in my life I can only plead guilty! (She’s laughing). What can I say, I like a nice set of pecs…and other things. Did you see that paramedic that checked out Del after the accident? I might have to buy some cookies from Gwen’s bakery and delivery them in person to the fire station…just to say thanks.

RN: That was when Del ran into the flower pot out front?

Claire: You’ve got that right. That kid’s got problems, not the least of which is bad timing. Who does relaxation therapy while driving!?

RN: She’s pretty stressed, huh?

Claire: She’s nuts. But maybe not certifiable…I was thinking of giving her a call. You know, just be sure she hasn’t fallen off a bridge or tripped in front of an oncoming bus.

RN: You think she’s suicidal? I don’t think I wrote her like that but—

Claire: Hey! Don’t beat yourself up, you never know. I don’t think she’d do anything intentional, I just think she’s a little less than all there these days. That husband of hers sure messed her up. What an ass—“

RN: Yes-right! He’s definitely less than charming.

Claire: And you know she’s just the type who dreamed of growing up and meeting Prince Charming.

RN: And you’re not?

Claire: I got the frogs. But that’s okay, I figured out a long time ago that you can’t let a guy mess with your mind. I just don’t go there. After all, I don’t need to get inside their heads to have some fun. And neither do they.

RN: What about this friend of Gwen’s, Bob?”

Claire: Who? (She reaches for her cell and starts absentmindedly checking her messages…she thinks she’s fooling me into believing she’s not interested in Bob, but I’ve heard differently)

RN: Tall, dark, polite, ruggedly handsome in a wealthy wine-maker from the western slope of Colorado kind of way?

Claire: Oh, him. Well, he’s got nerve to spare.

RN: How so?

Claire: Keeps showing up. Guy thinks I’m interested. Of course I’m not…I’ve told Gwen that.  She gets it, she’s a business woman and she understands some things have to take priority. I’m a busy woman-real estate sales are off the charts up here; I don’t have time for that kind of extracurricular activity.

RN: What kind?

Claire: You know…relationships! Bob’s looking for more than a little fun. And don’t get me wrong, he’d be fun… (Noticeable pause as she seems to be thinking of something) But, like I said-no time for that. Speaking of which-what time is it? (She reaches again for her cell) Shit! I gotta scoot.

RN: But wait, I wanted to ask you about—

Claire: Maybe next time, kiddo. (She stands and stops for a second, a small wince crossing her face, as if she’s uncomfortable.)

RN: You okay? You want something?

Claire: No-no, coffee’s full and I’ve got my late night snack right here. (She picks up a small bag from the bakery)  You stay-talk to Gwen why don’t you.  I think maybe things are a little tight around here…finances-wise. And I heard something about her husband’s company, he’s a trucker you know, I think they’re gonna strike. That won’t help pay her son’s college tuition. She could probably use some good publicity-write something nice, okay? And don’t pester Del—kid needs a break! (She looks at her cell again) Shit! I gotta call this asshole…I mean client, back. See your round!

With that Claire scoops up her briefcase, tosses her hair off one shoulder and heads out the front door. Though she does pause a moment to smile at the gentlemen who is coming in and has stopped to hold the door open for her. If the look on her face as she runs her eyes up one side of him and down the other could talk…well, I couldn’t print it here!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

'One Word' Resolution!

I hate New Year's resolutions...so much so, that it's taken me until almost mid-January to consider making one! Writers are the worst kind of procrastinators, but given a truly worthy cause, we can ratchet it up to Olympic levels! The super whammy of holidays/house guests/dreary weather/play-off losses/virus-du-jour has really taken me into gold medal territory this year.

So-enough! It's time I resolve something I know I can achieve. As we all know (you know you do!) the only way to break a bad streak is to just do it! (I've heard that somewhere before...) I am speaking not just of me...but for anyone needing any sort of motivation on any front. However, for writers, that means just sit your behind down in front of that keyboard and get back to it!

And here is my totally do-able, no excuses resolution: one word a day. This is my new philosophy. After NaNoWriMo, local group write-offs, and deflated personal goals (sniff, cough, hack-hey, no excuses!), I'm setting this goal: ONE WORD! I know, it seems like a small goal...maybe even the lamest challenge of all, but it's something I know I can achieve!

Okay, so I really don't expect that I'll write ONLY one word a day. I mean, after all, if that was all I did, it would take me over 200 years to write my next book-YIKES! But I know how one word can lead to another and another and another... You see how this goes. It's addictive! And sure, there will be those 'One Word' days, but at least on those days I won't beat myself up. Even if it's 'and' or 'but' or, worst of all, 'it'. At least 'it' is more than, well, zip.

Maybe for you it's one more push-up, one less bite of cake, or one less puff on that cigarette. Whatever it is-I'm with you! Let's go get this New Year and show it who's boss! (and by the way...that's 318 words right there-see what I mean?!)