Little Signs

I don’t believe in omens or magical portents or prophecies (although I love to read and write about them), but sometimes little signs do exist that one should pay attention to. I quit my job last year for two reasons: one, so I would have more time and energy to write (I was a teacher, know); and two, my youngest was starting a new community transition program through the schools to give her job and life training, so she could have more independence. She doesn’t drive and this program is all over the city. There is a bus service that we could sign her up for, but I’ve heard horror stories about it (hyperbole, but things like having to spend four hours on the bus to get to and from the classes—two hours there, two hours home) So basically I left my job to become a glorified chauffeur. I know, I know; I need to let my daughter learn how to get around, but not yet, okay?

Yesterday as I was driving my daughter home from her morning session, and we had a wonderful conversation. She opened up to me about not being ready for a lot of things. Yes, we believe in pushing her, but she was honest and told me she wasn’t ready. It was at that moment I realized that I had done the right thing by not working (and thank the stars that I have the luxury of that decision). Until yesterday I’ve been feeling guilty about earning no money (let’s face it, the writing isn’t making me rich), but today I’m quite happy to be typing while I’m waiting for her to finish her class. And yes, it does help that I drop her off, then go to a café for a breakfast and hours of uninterrupted writing. Once a week her class is too far for me to drive back and forth so I just stick around. I am so productive those days.

So the little signs are important to pay attention to and I believe are more reliable that those big ones people want to believe in (2012 anyone?). Like the sign that’s telling my to cut my bangs to make my hair easier to manage. That’s being taken care of this afternoon.

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:
Dating a Cougar by Donna McDonald
The Cuckoo’s Calling By Robert Gilbraith
Doomsday Book by Connie Willis

The Pretty Baby

As a writer I’ve heard this metaphor used so many times: your book is your baby and it hurts when they call it ugly. I find the metaphor not very accurate. Okay, I do understand what people are saying, and to some extent it is analogous, but honestly, if you can’t view your manuscript objectively, you will never improve as a writer. You have to be able to  see your weaknesses and learn from them and improve. Admittedly that can take time, sometimes years, to see your own work without a prejudiced eye.

I have loved every book I’ve written, but with the gift of time, knowledge, and ability, I can recognize which books are better than others. And this view is still very subjective. The book I believe is my weakest is my mother’s favorite of all my novels. But from a storytelling standpoint, that book relies on the BIG MIS (big misunderstanding–a problem that could be easily solved with a conversation). Personally I like the big mis as a trope. It reads realistically to me. I’ve had big mis-es in my own life and I believe humans are prone to them, but for some reason they are a big no-no in romance these days. So that book, which does rely on the BIG MIS (with, I hope, good justification for it) and, objectively, I think I could have ended the mis earlier but that would have ended the book sooner,  thus is definitely my weakest.

Which leads me to the  point of my title–the prettiest baby. I have some novels that are so special to me, that I believe are truly great, that have broken my heart because they didn’t do as well as I believed they should, that should have launched me into a solid stable writing career (so I didn’t have to even think about returning to teach to earn more money). AS YOU WISH was one of those. It was magical writing it, and so many elements worked in it. I have another manuscript that isn’t published yet, a time travel, that was the same way. I’m still looking for a home for it.

And I want to mention one more. A Matter of Pride was my second published novel and my sixth manuscript. It is the second in The Destiny Coin series and was originally published in 2001.MatterOfPride For me, it is probably the closest I will ever get to writing a perfect romance. All my other stories rely on a lot of adventure and derring-do in comparison, but for a classic, well-written (if I’m allowed to indulge in a little boasting), smart, and emphasis-on-romance story, Pride is wonderful. I have recently re-read it in preparation for releasing it as an ebook, and it holds up well. I made myself laugh, and it is smart. I love the characters. I love the plot, and the ending left me cheering. Yes, I know I wrote it, but it is good if I have any ability to judge books at all.

I hope you check it out. Book one, A Matter of Convenience, is also available, and book three, A Matter of Honor, will be coming out in about a month. Honor has its own secret that I’ll share when I re-release it. (waggling eyebrows)

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

Something Wicked This Way Comes

A Reader in the Family

As most of you know, my youngest is developmentally challenged. She is healthy, joyous, funny, and lest you think she’s a paragon, can be a brat or simply have attitude with us. In other words, normal, but as I bet other parents don’t, we celebrate every teenage tantrum she pitches. Not in front of her of course. But soon she won’t be a teenager any longer. We’re already stretching it because in less than half a year she leaves her teenage years behind.

I’m not telling you this for sympathy or condolences. It’s a fact of our lives, and we live pretty (again that word) normally. As normal as any family with a few considerations. But one of the saddest aspects for me was that she was never a reader. She can read, but it was always a struggle for her because language is where her major difficulties lie. The rest of us–me, my husband, my other two daughters–we are huge readers. One of my twins was already reading before Kindergarten. The other twin took a little while longer, but became so addicted to reading by seventh grade, that she was punished at school for reading too much (sounds more draconian than it was–it was a math class and she shouldn’t have been reading; and now she’s a writer too. I plan to collaborate with her soon). My husband reads a lot, and I’m never found far from a book. So it did make me sad that my youngest would never know the joys of books.

You know the minute you decide life has shown you one thing, it likes to slap you in the face and make a fool of you. And this one is a really good trick life played. I’m thrilled to announce that my youngest has started reading for fun. It’s only been in the last couple of weeks. She’s not reading adult novels, but who cares. She’s been picking up picture books and junior novelizations and asking to buy books. She’s been reading fan fic on the Internet! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that I have to tell her to put the book down and come play with the dogs. She seems to like reading on her iPad more than hard copies, but I’m good with that. Right now we’re just celebrating that she’s reading. Behind her back. We don’t want her to become self-conscious about it, but I think she’s shocked that I’m letting her buy every book she asks for.

DSCN4416
I’m wet because we just got off of Splash Mountain at Disneyland

Who says life isn’t interesting? Change happens.
–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:
The Cuckoo’s Calling