Wednesday, May 29, 2013


My eight-year-old daughter is a tomboy. She only wears clothes bought in the boy's section. Her lone Barbie is somewhere in the basement, probably in pieces. She runs with her whole body. When she tends goal in soccer, she dives for every shot. Grass stains are a constant companion.

When my mom died three years ago, I brought some of her jewelry home with me, including a pinky ring she owned. I was about thirteen when she got it. She bought one ring for me, one for my sister, and one for herself. Each had its own color stone. Mine was blue. My mom's was green because that was her favorite color.

Now that my daughter's fingers are big enough, I've given her my mom's pinky ring. Despite a wardrobe of black and dark blue, despite having a "boy's" haircut, despite being thrilled every time someone mistakes her for a boy, my daughter loves to wear the ring.

And I love that.

An ocean separated us from my mom, and we did our best to encourage a relationship via phone calls and Skype and vacations. But my daughter was only five when my mom died. Really, I'm sure she has only murky memories of her grandma at best.

I asked her why she likes to wear the ring, and she said it was because it was grandma's. It touches me that she values that connection. And it makes me wonder if she wants it for herself or just because she knows it's important to me.

I guess the reason doesn't matter. Either way, she's a pretty amazing kid.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Turning Professional

image by digitalart via
Did you notice? 

* nods vigorously *

Yep. I'm turning professional on this blog. No more hiding behind some long blogspot name.


I'll spare you the long, boring technical details concerning the difficulty in changing the domain name. It took about a week to get this far. I've learned it's not as simple as forwarding an e-mail.

Thanks for reading so far, and I'd love it if you'd keep joining me here!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I Love...Staying True to Yourself

image by Sritangphoto via
I know three people who've been offered promotions during the past month. One accepted it, the other two didn't.

Not accepting a promotion is hard. The big boss trusted those people enough to offer the jobs. That's very flattering. And who wants to be the one to let the company down?

I'm sure all three wrestled with their consciences, considered their hopes and dreams and skills. And I think that the two who turned the promotions down would have managed just fine in the new roles—in my opinion, even better than the one who actually ended up accepting.

But here's the thing. Getting promoted makes your family proud. It gives bragging rights. Maybe you get a more impressive title. More responsibility. More money.

Knowing all that, declining a step forward is a brave thing to do. It means weighing the facts, analyzing yourself. These two people looked at all that would be expected of them and, not only what they had to offer, but what they wanted to offer and said, "No, thanks."

Some people might write them off as scared. I don't. They've stayed true to themselves. Maybe put their families ahead of their careers. Maybe made "a less stressful life" more important than "getting ahead."

These two people are not the only cases that have impressed me.

I know a man who was a butcher (safe route, because everyone has to eat, right?), then decided to buy a grocery store (entrepreneurial) and finally settled into farming (love of the land).
I know someone who worked as a high-paid business consultant and threw it all away to start his own vacation adventure business.

And I know several people who went back to school despite being firmly entrenched in their jobs. They were absolutely passionate about a change.

As for me, I started to work part-time when my daughter was born. She's eight now, and I get asked constantly when I'm coming back full-time. I'd earn more money. Maybe get promoted.

But now I've begun writing. Those extra hours available before the kids get home allow me to create, revise, network. With writing, there are no guarantees. But I'm sticking with it because it's right for me.

How about you? Do you have any great examples of someone making a decision that's hard for others to understand but is the right one for them?

Thursday, May 9, 2013


image by Jennifer Ellison /

It's always there. Waiting. Scratching. Looking for a chink to widen.


What if I never find an agent for my novel? What if the sequel to my YA novel is too "adult" for YA? What if I get stuck writing the sequel? What if I don't have enough ideas? Or what if everyone hates my ideas?

Yeah, lots of doubt. So how do I battle it?

I found three things: learning and planning and "the why".


I wrote a book. A whole book. Wow—that went better than I thought.

Then got the notes from my first CP: wordy. Me? No way. 

So I did research about words to avoid, phrases you don't need. I found out, I really was wordy. But that could be fixed. After lots of snipping, my novel was better.

Onto the next CP: too much backstory. Me? But the reader needs to know that stuff....

So I did research. I found out, I really went overboard on backstory. That too could be fixed. Minus 4000 words, my novel is better than ever.

I've research grammar and spelling and backstory and showing not telling and querying and agents and response time and number of rejections and publishers and book covers and marketing and a ton more. 

And there is still so So SO much more for me to learn.

But I'm making progress every day.


I'm a planner. 

One of the items in my plan is Having Doubts. Because if I assume I'll have doubts, I can also set up my reaction to them.

Example: rejections. First off, I once read a writer should aspire to having 100 rejections. On the one hand, that's terribly depressing. On the other hand, it shows you're putting your work out there, proving your dedication. And it even gives you a goal. Another rejection? Now I'm one closer to 100. Fist pump (sort of).

So, after a bit of grumbling about my latest "no", my plan is to check my list of agents, find someone really great I haven't queried yet, and my hopes can soar again.

"The Why"

After learning and planning, doubts can still slip in. When they do, I remind myself why I write.

Not to sell a million copies. Not to have adoring fans. Not to impress friends and family.

I love the lives I create in my head. I love writing stories. I love improving my skills. I love it when I read something I wrote and have to smile because it works.

So if some of those doubts come true—if I don't find an agent, have trouble with a sequel, etc—it won't stop me. I can keep making up romantic, fantastic, freaky stories. I can keep searching for precisely the right word to make that sentence fit. I can keep writing until I'm 103.

How about you? What strategies do you have when doubt comes creeping in to your life?