Friday, March 29, 2013


So I'm writing again.  Much like my previous novel, I've been taking it slow, just writing passages here and there--however, I did get to the 10,000 word mark in a hurry.  One thing I'm trying to achieve in this book is a greatest sense of conflict and tension--if not between the two main characters, then in their past lives, families, and supporting/secondary characters.  Happy endings are de rigeur, but I can play a little with the intervening storylines.

Monday, March 25, 2013


"Do or do not--there is no try."

So last week was generally terrible, one I'd just as soon forget.  I am determined that this week will be better.  I am trying to accomplish small tasks each and every day.  I have an inherent need to feel good about myself.  Cleaning this, organizing that, throwing away weighs us down with various physical and emotional burdens.  Resentments, objects, emotions we don't need.  Each day is a struggle to pare down, to get back to our basic selves, the uncomplicated beings we all were as children.  But as I once wrote in a novel:  "You should never be in a hurry to grow up, because when you're an adult your life will never again be uncomplicated."  I'm paraphrasing myself, of course, but I find that it works well in this situation.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Art of Love

In the midst of a rather craptastic week, at least I had this to look forward to.  After an intensive, sometimes lazy, two months of writing, I've put a period on the Windswept Saga (for now).  It was simultaneously easy and difficult to write Chandler's story, because I knew him so well and somehow found there was still more to learn.

Monday, March 18, 2013


I am not currently writing a novel.

I am not currently reading a novel.

It is, admittedly, unusual.  After a constant state of doing both for the past thirteen months, I have taken a free day.  Yeah, I picked up a magazine and started thumbing through, which is a nice change of pace.  I doubt I’ll make it through the end of the week—I’ll start another novel.  I don’t really have many things better to do at this point in time.  That’s another discovery I’ve made over the past year, that I enjoyed reading.  I seldom read during graduate school, though I completed a few novels.  When your avocation is reading to complete your degree, you kind of fall out of the habit of pleasure reading.  I wish I’d kept a better calculation over the past few months of what I’ve read, because those manic months where I had four books going at once were mind-bending.  And honestly, if the library had a better selection and/or I had the money to download e-books, I’d probably complete a few more.  It’ll be interesting to see what I do next.  Unless someone bestows me with a job or something even better, the writing may come to me again.  For now, we’ll see where the reading takes me…

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I was nearly done editing my latest novel when I noticed that I’d written Chapter 4 twice.  I’d read through the entire manuscript twice, but it took until the very end for me to notice such a gaffe.  So now instead of twenty-eight chapters plus an epilogue, I have thirty chapters.  Ha-ha.  That was a minor mistake, and easily corrected, but life is full of mistakes both large and small.  Sometimes you break the bank, and other times a mistake is quickly forgotten.  You move on and you’re past it in five minutes.  Mistakes can change over time and become something good—and other times it literally takes years to recover from a seemingly-innocent miscalculation.  It can be difficult to tell the difference upon first glance, because so much of life is lived in shades of gray.   

Monday, March 11, 2013

Burned Out

As the editing process for my sixth novel winds down, it’s safe to say that I am burned out on the writing process.  I’m not saying I’ll never write again—that would be a fallacy—but I could stand a break.  You arrive at a certain point where you’ve left everything you had on the page, played all of your cards, and your brains starts to go mushy.  It’s been an interesting thirteen months.  All I wanted to do was complete one novel, to prove to myself that I could.  That one novel turned into a four-book series, with two enjoyable unrelated novels in the interim that I’m also really proud of.  I guess when you’re trying to prove something to yourself, it’s far different than proving things to others—your focus is on internal mechanisms within your mind, hidden emotions, subconscious fears…you learn about yourself in the process.  What I learned through this process is that no matter how bad I was feeling about myself, how negative I viewed my life situation, I was able to create something happy and meaningful for my characters.  I could be at my lowest emotionally and still put something surprising on the page, something my faithful readers would enjoy.  And that was always, always the silver lining.    

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Cowboy Rides Away

I have been a George Strait fan for longer than I care to remember.  I’ve seen the movie Pure Country more times than any normal person should; I can quote entire segments of dialogue, and have been known to (frequently) use selected quotes as my Facebook status.  Several years ago his tour came through where I was living at the time, but I didn’t have the funds to go.  Then in 2010 he swung through again, bringing along Reba McEntire and Lee Ann Womack.  Now that was a concert, bordering on five hours of hit after hit.  There was something incredible about seeing Strait live and in person—a solitary cowboy who plays his guitar and sings into the microphone, yet somehow commands an arena full of people.  You feel connected and engaged from start to finish.  That was an incredible night.  Fast forward two years, when I find a portentous post on my Facebook timeline about a major announcement Strait will make.   Having listened to “I’ll Always Remember You” on his most recent album, the word “retirement” immediately flashed across my brain.  And so it came to pass that he announced his farewell tour, and the gears in my head began to spin once more.  It was announced he’d be coming back through Lexington one final time and I moved heaven and earth to make sure I got the tickets.

The tickets went on sale nearly six full months for the show—a lengthy wait if there ever was one.  After they came and I put them away, I tried not to think about them.  I’m always such a nervous person, and I’m sure I forgot about them once or twice.  Holidays came and went.  Life was mundane.  The days ticked down slowly.  The day finally arrived.  I got my souvenir shirt prior to the show; call me crazy, but I’m hard-pressed to leave the arena for any reason once I get inside.  I want to experience it from start to finish; I don’t want to miss a second of any song.

Martina McBride was the special guest; calling her an “opening act” would be like calling Star Wars an appetizer for The Empire Strikes Back.  She went through a wide variety of hits, both old and new:   Wrong Again, Blessed, Anyway, I’m Gonna Love You Through It.  She gave powerhouse performances on Whatever You Say, A Broken Wing, and, of course, Independence Day.  She did a varying selection of covers:  Rose Garden, King of the Road, and a medley of The First Cut is the Deepest and Free Fallin’ that I’m pretty sure no one else could make work.  She moved around the stage the whole show, a bundle of energy, and her blue eyes must be mega-sharp because anytime someone waved at her, she waved right back.  When it was over, you were left wanting more—but such is the way of any great concert.  You wind up wishing the artist would perform entire albums just for your benefit.

There was a brief lull when she left the stage until a pre-show video played highlighting George’s album and award successes.  Music forms a soundtrack to your life and you remember how great it was to hear a new song on the radio, or the sequence formed when various singles were released.  Life used to move slower, people.  Before Youtube, iTunes, or internet leaks, you heard songs for the very first time on your radio.  Anyway, when George made his appearance, pandemonium.   Everyone stood and shouted as he dove right into the opening songs.  I could definitely see the age on his face this time around, as we all grow older.  He did part of the concrt seated on a stool, but no one cared.  It was such an intimate show, as though he found some way to engage and sing directly to each of the more than 20,000 people in the arena.  It’s always difficult to imagine what he will put into a show; he’s recorded more hits than some people have recorded songs.  He pulled out plenty of old favorites:  Ocean Front Property, The Chair, All My Ex’s Live In Texas, and an especially poignant version of what many would deem his signature song, Amarillo by Morning, the spotlight shining directly on his fiddle player as the arena went dark.  There were several album cuts from early in his career, most of which I knew from repeated listenings to his boxed set.   He sang all three singles from his last album, as well as his newest song.   He dug out Marina del Rey, which I’d never expected to hear live.  No one told the singing audience that it was a forgotten chestnut from the early days of his career, because they sang right along.  George moved around the stage, captivating the audience from all sides.  At one point, Martina returned to the stage for covers of two legendary duets, Jackson and Golden Ring.  What a treat to hear their voices meld.  George had another surprise duet partner, Dean Dillon, whose name is familiar to anyone with a Strait album.  In an evening of so many spectacular songs, it’s hard to pick a favorite.  Then George mentioned Pure Country and jokingly wondered if any of us had ever heard of it.  Um, maybe.  He said Dusty was still around and proceeded into “The King of Broken Hearts” followed by “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.   That one was rollicking, and felt like being inside the movie itself.  That song causes him to crack up in the film, but there was no pause this time.  Wow.  You know if anyone loves the movie like I do—and I’m sure they do, given its regular airings on television—that was definitely a special moment for them.  There was something special about “Troubadour”—if anyone else cut a song like that, it’d be dismissed as hubris.  King George made it perfect, though.   There were so many wonderful old images displayed on the monitors, and the night seemed never-ending and yet all too short.  When he sang “The Cowboy Rides Away”, this time it was for real.  This may be his final tour, but his music will linger on through CDs, records, digital downloads, DVDs, and celluloid.  It will certainly linger forever in my mind.