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Happy 4th of July

Hi Everyone!

It has been too long since I posted here and for that I have no excuse except I have busy with writing and attending conferences. The last one – the Historical Novel Society was held in Portland, Oregon June 22-24 at the beautiful Hilton Hotel in downtown Portland.

There were many workshops –  I had to carefully pick and chose as I couldn’t attend all of them. One of those I attended was – Battle Tested: Women in the Two World Wars with panel members Jennifer Robson and Kate Quinn.  Another one Recent Historical Fiction on the “War to End All Wars” was presented by Glen Craney, Jennifer Robson, and Mary Tod. In addition I took in a panel talking about Historical Romance Writers. In addition, Come With Me to the Land Faraway was beautifully presented by Janie Chang, Elsa Hart, Weina Dai Randel and moderated by Kevan Lyon.  I participated in the Blue Pencil Cafe which allowed me to have a mentor review 10 pages of my manuscript. I was fortunate that I drew Jennifer Robson who is a prolific historical writer of tomes set during WWI and WWII so we had a lot in common. She gave me wonderful feedback on Sophie’s War for which I am grateful. Our luncheon speakers were top-notch – the wonderful Geraldine Brooks author of People of the Book and one of my favs Nine Parts of DesireThe Hidden World of Islamic Women. On Saturday, we were thrilled to have David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and Pasadena. Coincidentally, David is a native of Pasadena as I am and in conversation we talked about our love for our beautiful city. The Historical Novel Society did not disappoint and brought to us top notch luncheon speakers. The conference was over before we knew it and we all brought home lovely memories and information that we can using writing our manuscripts. I am back to the keyboard working hard on a couple of things; primarily Starting Over and Sophie’s War. It is such fun to do what I love to do – putting words on paper for others to someday enjoy!

Busy as a Bee

Kauai - Lyndgate Park 4

As usual, I am late in posting but for a good reason.  I have been seriously busy writing my latest novel, Starting Over.  Since my last posting, I managed another run through of Cache Under the Stacks and set a goal of finding an editor to look it over before handing it off to beta readers.  Finally, I intend to shop it to agents and if no one takes a nibble, will probably go the self-publishing route by year’s end.  I have hoped to traditionally publish Cache, but I am well aware of the marketplace. It puzzles me when I hear of what publishers are looking for.  Most of which are not in my genre.  But I know there are readers out there for Cache:  I just have to find them.

This writing business is much harder than I had ever expected.  It is so much more than just sitting down to write.  There are many steps to writing a book that leads a writer to the pinnacle of completion. Putting it all together to make your work shine is hard but doable but not for the impatient.  I tell myself to have patience and take it one day at a time, and I know the outcome is worth working towards.

Spring Has Sprung

Somewhere but certainly not here in Pasadena.  Oh, we had a couple of warm days but it is back to cloudy, chilly weather with a prediction of rain for this week.

I have been remiss – a long time between posts – in fact too long.  I must do better in the future.

But I have moving forward with editing my manuscript Cache Under the Stacks.  My goal is to have it done done by late summer or early fall and have it in the hands of a publisher.  If that doesn’t work then I will try my hand at self-publishing.  I have to see how it goes.  Often I have times of thinking it isn’t good enough to be published but have to shake that loose and move on.

Writing is a lot of hard work and I have learned a lot. I think that with the one I am working on now – it won’t take me as long and I can put to good use what I learned when writing Cache. and working on a new one, Starting Over.  This new one is fun for me as I am using a lot of what I experienced when we were on Kauai in December.  The book may be longer than I anticipated but I will have to see how it goes. Every time I reminisce with one of the pictures I took on Kauai like the one below I get excited to proceed with Starting Over!Kauai 3

Until next time – Aloha!

Aloha!

Happy New Year!

Oh my! The month of January is 1/2 over and a busy month so far.  My apologies for this late posting.

2016 ended happily on the beautiful Hawaiian island of Kauai.  My third visit and even though I was there 6 six years ago was surprised that I still knew my way around.  We didn’t do a lot of touristy things – mainly relaxed, ate some delicious foods and plenty of Papaya which is my favorite fruit to indulge in when in Hawaii.  We were there from December 23rd and departed for home on January 1st.  By the time we had to leave we felt ensconced in island living and hated to go back home. The following picture was taken from our hotel room at the Hilton Garden Inn.

kauai-3

I was even able to do some research at a library in Princeville and kudos must be given to the powers that be.  They have done a fine job! Beautiful building that is staffed by great people and so helpful!  My hubby was patient and didn’t mind me sitting and researching but then, of course, he had his laptop as well and was as happy as a clam to do his thing.

princeville-library

Perhaps the best new find this trip was locating a bookstore on the island.  I Googled and found The Bookstore “The Western-Most Bookstore in the United States.” The owners Cynthia and Ed Justis were gracious and helpful. I, of course, walked out with some books for my reading and research pleasure. A little hint: my next book takes place in Kauai so I am busy working on it before I forget all that I saw and want to use in my story.  More next time on this work in progress!

the-bookstore

I am going to conclude this posting with a picture of one of the island residents.  Chickens and roosters are protected on the island.  As one of the results of Hurricane Iniki they were displaced and now roam the island as protected residents.  I love them personally – except when the roosters crow at 5 am every morning! Perfect alarm!

resident-rooster

Aloha!

Let Us Not Forget

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This week will commemorate the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  I write novels set during the World War II era and am particularly interested in Pearl Harbor.  I had a father and a step-father who served in World War II, the first being in the Marine Corps and the latter in the Navy and stationed in Pearl.  December 7th is “a day that will live on in infamy” as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared and it certainly has. Every year on this day my focus is on all who lost their life serving our country.  Let us not forget those brave men who served and the women who did as well whether in the military or as workers in plants, taking the place of husbands, fathers, boyfriends who had gone off to serve their country.  December 7th is a day I will always remember.

 

 

Write On

Today is the 4th day of Nanowrimo (National Writing Month) and of my second favorite month of the year, November.  I have been trying to sort through what I have going which has not been making it easy to keep writing 1,600+ words a day.    I have several projects to choose from that are in process and also going through edits provided to me by an editor who offered a 50-page edit in a raffle I won at WFWA.  To compound things, I am also changing point of view from the third person to the first person in Cache Under the Stacks since this story is based on my personal experience at the beginning and evolves into the novel.  It is a lot of work but if I am intending on switching this over to a cozy mystery and trying to follow cozy guidelines.  Stay tuned.

November is also time to reflect back on all we should be thankful for.  I know I have many things to be thankful for and grateful for each and every one.

When October Goes

is a song sung by Barry Manilow and one of my favorites.

I love October.  It is my favorite month of the year probably because it is my birthday month.  I will be celebrating on the 26th but not divulging which one it is only because a lady never tells her age.

Hotel Albuquerque

I have been off the radar and busy, busy! When I normally would be posting, I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico from September 21st thru the 24th attending my first Women Fiction Writers Association Retreat.  I had never been to a writers’ retreat, so I was looking forward to the experience.  I was not disappointed.  A great group of writers – made new friends and enjoyed discussing the writing business with them.  We had an outstanding workshop put on by Margie Lawson.  While there were a number of discussion groups to attend, the emphasis was on writing. The  Hotel Albuquerque was a lovely venue. Fairly quiet and oh so comfortable. Lots of New Mexico style Mexican food including these delicious Huevos Rancheros!

breakfast-hotel-albuquerque

End of Summer

This time of year I start looking forward to autumn my favorite time of year with cooler days, leaves changing color, kids back to school, shorter days and the inevitable time change.

But with the end of summer approaching, I start to think of all I have accomplished and experienced and those things that I have yet to complete.  Summer evokes a sense of freedom to our spirit and life is carefree and relaxing.  It has never been my most favorite time of year, but I feel that is starting to change.  I can admit that this summer has been one of the several accomplishments.  While attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference aka Nationals in San Diego, I pitched my completed manuscript Cache Under the Stacks A Cate Reagan Mystery to an agent and an editor.  I was so excited and followed through with their requests for a query letter and a full manuscript respectively. I had hoped that one of them would take a bite and sign me on but figuring it was the first attempts out of the gate, probably would not be picked up by either of them.  I took the disappointment to heart and thinking positively am forging ahead.  I will still pursue submitting Cache in the hope someone will gleam onto it but in the meantime focus on writing one of my four story ideas each one in its state of progress. It is at this point I am in a quandary – which one do I work on.  My dear writing friend, A.E., said: “Just pick one.”  Easier said than done because I like the story ideas for all of them, but my sensible side tells me to go with the one which is the furthermost along.  It is also the one that is the most work with respect to research and plugging in details to the basic story.  This manuscript has been simmering on the back burner, and I think it is now time to put it on the front burner.  I need to make it a priority and just get on with it; I tell myself.  It is important that I make this commitment and just do it!   I can tell you that for all purposes the story moves to Europe at one of the most critical times in our history.  I am posting a hint on my Food page. Maybe someone will guess what I will be writing about or at least which country.

 

 

Moving On Through Summer

July was a busy month and a sad one but not to dwell on the later but espouse on the former – attended my first Romance Writers of America annual conference.  It was held in San Diego this year and we had writers taking the Surfliner rather than drive. I love train rides and this one was no exception! FUN!! The conference was great although exhausting. The first day of travel, hotel registration, conference registration and getting acquainted with the hotel was beyond tiring but lots of fun.  Made new friends and for those who know me – I couldn’t have asked for more consideration as they knew of my two knee replacement surgeries in the past year and were very watchful over me that I not take a tumble! No worries there – all was good.  My roommate Kathleen encouraged me to keep my pitch appointments and I was glad I did for I was lucky with both – one requesting a full manuscript and the other a query letter.  For my first attempt, I was a happy camper.  Back at home had to deal with the deaths of my husband’s beloved stepmother Monte earlier in the month and towards the end my son’s father-in-law.  Hard to believe they are gone. Monte was always encouraging me to write and had a lot of faith in me! New writers need all the support we can get and Monte was always there for me.  I will miss her. But knowing she would not want me to dwell but get on with my work I shall.

Next up back to the drawing board to work on one or several of my works in progress.  Will it be the sequel to my just submitted manuscript, a wartime historical fiction set in Europe or the one set in the Hawaiian Islands?  Lots to think about!!

The Year is Half Over

Here we are coming upon the 4th of July which means that 6 months of the year have passed and I think back to what I have accomplished besides getting a new right knee which is a BIG thing don’t get me wrong.  But my productivity  has suffered so now I must step up my game.  I have five stories started and the one that I am most compelled to write is Sophie’s War – title subject to change.  I have 10,000 words plus and I get bogged down with the historical details.  My spouse has reminded me to get back to the story and the details I can insert later but that is not how I operate.  As a historian, MA in History from Cal State LA, I am detail driven!  So I need to keep reminding myself to just write and worry about the details later. I have received the same advice from fellow writers.  So as the saying goes – Write On!  I need to be more goal oriented and set goals that I can adhere to.  Of course the chapters of the Romance Writers of America have helped somewhat with their Book in a Year contests which kept me going last year.  I love the recognition of having written a 40K+ book in a year.  This doesn’t seem hard to do and in some respects it isn’t especially if I focused on straight romance or even mystery which I have thought about doing. So maybe I will???? But for now busy tying up loose ends on my Cache Under the Stacks and will be pitching it at the annual conference in San Diego next month.  What I need is an assistant????? How great would that be!! Have to figure out how to put my Maltese on my book cover.  The Maltese in the book is actually my own sweet Minnie! Actually putting her to work.