I had a conversation with my mother today. Nothing important. We chatted, we laughed we shared news about the family. And then she told me she had a nightmare last night. She’s spending the nights at my sister’s to feed the dog while they’re out of town and she doesn’t like spending the night in that big house. In her nightmare she was frightened, and then my father appeared in her dream. He said to her, somewhat annoyed with her, “Why didn’t you tell me you were scared?” And as she’s laughing at herself while telling me her dream, she said, “I was so happy to see him again.”

She didn’t mean in her dream. My father died twenty plus years ago. And his visit in her dream made her happy. Truly happy. It was in her voice. Oh, neither of us read anything into the dream or take it as a sign. It was just a lovely visit so she could see him again. I had a dream about him, my uncle and my grandmother, all deceased, last summer and I woke up with the same feeling. Not that it was sign, but it was just lovely to see them again.

I think that’s why romance (the literary genre, not the dinners, flowers, and candlelight) is so enduring. Love is the most powerful emotion. Love is the chemical that drives us. Love is the thing we search for and once we’ve found it, man, we depend on it to anchor us and buoy us and gladden us and strengthen us. At least it does for me.

And when that person who inspires us is gone, it doesn’t mean the love is. The love stays. That’s how strong it is. And I take comfort in that.


Books I’m reading now:

Whoops. Can’t tell you. I’m judging the RITA contest.




Hi ho, hi ho…

Yup. It’s that time. Time to return to work after a lovely long break. That’s the advantage to being a teacher–you get lovely long breaks. That’s not to say I didn’t bring a large box of grading home to do or that I didn’t have a bunch of lesson plans to type out, because I did. I even got all that work done. What I didn’t accomplish was what I wanted to do. I could blame family coming coming to visit–they did. I could could blame the holidays that require preparation and planning–they did. But really I have no one to blame but myself. Honestly, it felt too good to just take time to myself. But more on that in a moment.

I think it’s undervalued, that taking time for one’s self. Somehow you have to replenish you strength, your spirit, your sleep bank.  I can’t speak for other writers, but I always feel that I’m not doing enough. I always have that something hanging over my head, bugging me, making me feel inadequate. That I have something to do that I’m not doing. If only I were smarter, better, faster, needed less sleep.

The stupid thing is (going back to that whole replenishing the well) that when I do work and push myself, I feel better and have more energy and more creativity. So basically what I’m confessing to is laziness. Sigh.

Anyone have any anti-laziness pills?


What I’m reading now:

Risky Business by Nora Roberts


The Perfect Book…

…doesn’t exist. I’m convinced of it. From any aspect, no book is perfect. It has grammatical errors (and I speak from experience here: My last novel went through numerous iterations from me, from my editor, from me again, from the copy editor, from me again, and then I went through the galley proofs and still found 143 errors. I try not to glance at my book’s content once it’s in print out of fear of catching more errors, but I had to give a reading at a book signing, and–cringe–I found an error while I was reading. It’s not a good idea.), pacing errors, printing errors, word choice errors, and if by some minuscule chance all those errors don’t exist, then, guaranteed, the final product doesn’t live up to the author’s vision (mine never have) and  there will be people who don’t like the book and others who absolutely adore the book. A perfect book is a mythological beast.

Which is why it is a fruitless goal to try to write a perfect book. Like life, a book will be messy. It will be messy while you write it, while you work out its kinks, while you “fix” it. And that’s okay. I believe a book should be messy. The entire process of writing is a an exercise of insanity which we try to justify by claiming creative license. That’s okay. Eventually we wrestle the beast into some coherent form (hopefully) and with even more luck (much, much more luck), we’ll find a few readers whom we entertain and, if we’re extremely lucky, whom we touch.

So my non- New-Year’s resolution, which just happens to fall on January 1, 2013, is to embrace the insanity and ride it; to enjoy the utter despair and the utter joy a writer feels during and after the process; to acknowledge the futility and do it anyway.

Happy New Year to you all.


Books I’m reading:

Mai Tai One On by Jill Marie Landis

The Lady Most Willing by Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway