Published April 28, 2009
Last year as I flew out to San Francisco for the RWA national conference, a haze began to fill the sky below the plane. At first it was light, almost white, like low clouds, but quickly darkened until it obscured the land and horizon below. The captain came on the loud speaker and said that what we were seeing was smoke from the wildfires burning out of control in the Yosemite area. Having never seen a fire produce anything close to that much smoke (and I’ve seen smoke from grass fires in Texas that burned tens of thousands of acres), I was amazed at the power of fire.
I think the seed for the book I’m currently working on was born then, though I didn’t know it at the time. As I sat down with a germ of an idea for this story, wildfire quickly became central to the plot. It was only natural that when I thought about where to set the book, then, Yosemite came to mind.
I’m kind of regretting it now. Not because it doesn’t work for the story — it’s a perfect home for the unicorns! But because the closest I’ve ever been to Yosemite is flying over it on that smoke-filled day. I’ve skated by writing about places I’ve never been in a few of my books. With some research, and by talking to people who live there, a writer can usually get enough of a sense of a place to get by, especially if the setting is a mid- to large-size US city. Let’s face it, there are certain elements that exist in every city.
But Yosemite…I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around that one. To create the sensory images I want in the reader’s head. I need to go there. I need to stand next to a giant sequoia. I need to hike the trails, gaze at my reflection in a lake, hear the rumble of the falls. I need to feel the rough granite beneath my hands and feet. Smell the pine. Preferably not when the whole place is burning.
You get the idea. I need a working vacation.
But since I have no money and little time, I guess I’ll have to scour YouTube for some videos instead (I’ve already been through all the travel books I can find). Until I sell the darned proposal. Then I’m taking my advance money on the road to Yosemite before I write the book. Hey, why not? Since it’s research, it’ll be tax deductible!
Published April 26, 2009
Like many of you, I’m sure, I’ve been following the breaking news on swine flu with interest over the last few days. So what do you think? Is it more media hype than worthy of hysteria?
Is it just me, or does it seem that the news media has changed since we were kids? They used to report facts, mostly. When a reporter’s opinion figured into the piece, it was generally labelled as an editorial, not as news. These days, when I read an article online or watch TV at 10 o’clock, it itsn’t so easy to sort out the facts f rom the editorial. The so-called “news” seems all about stirring the pot, flash and pizzazz, pushing agendas, and ratings. Yup, putting the country in a panic about an upcoming flu pandemic is likely to up the ratings, all right.
I miss the good old days.
Published April 22, 2009
Blogging about why we need romance more than ever these days on eHarlequin: http://community.eharlequin.com/content/put-little-romance-every-day
Stop by and tell me what you think!
Published April 12, 2009
With spring in the air, I was itching to get outdoors, so I took a few days off last week to go horse camping / trail riding in Robber’s Cave State Park in Oklahoma. My friends Shirlee and her hubby Leroy came down from Iowa to join me. We’d never been to this park, but found we really liked it. We had a great time and saw some awesome scenery. The horses all behaved though the weather varied from warm and perfect, to a thunderstorm, to chilly and windy. Here are a few trail shots.
Shirlee and Doc ready to ride out
The last day was MUCH colder
The dogwoods were everywhere, most in full bloom. Beautiful!
The views were amazing...who says Oklahoma is flat?!
There were lots and lots and lots of cool rock formations like this...
Not to mention the actual "Robber's Cave" itself which has an interesting history
All in all, it was a great trip. Now I’m itching to figure out where to go next! Until then, I’ve got plenty of writing to keep me busy.
Published April 5, 2009
Each year the Dallas-area chapter of the Romance Writers of America puts on a conference for writers. It’s a fantastic event with headline speakers, great workshops, get-the-real-scoop panels of agents and editors and best of all — an environment of great optimism and inspiration for writers at all stages of their careers. Despite the economic doom and gloom we’re all saddled with, the feeling at the conference was very positive. Writers are still writing, agents are still accepting clients and editors are still buying.
Little business tidbits I picked up from the agents and editors? First – paranormal is still hot, especially shape shifters. Two – it was nice to hear both agents and editors specifically looking for historicals. Hopefully that means that market is on the rebound. Straight contemporary romance is getting tougher to sell, and needs to not sound too much like chick-lit. Needs a really strong premise.
Mostly it was just a nice day reconnecting with some old friends, conversing with a bunch of highly creative people — writers are the only ones who really understand writers — making some new friends, and finding inspiration in the words of others. Biggest thing I took away from the conference: a reminder that I have the BEST job in the world!
By the way, I meant to take pictures now that I’ve mastered the digital upload to Facebook, but I totally got involved in the conference and forgot. Which also reminds me, if you Twitter or Facebook, look me up there for more info.