To-ing and Fro-ing

“How did it get so late so soon?” Dr. Seuss

I have been doing a little research and have discovered writers in general are infrequent bloggers. Who knew that? I follow the blogs of several excellent writers in my genre and I assure you it’s true. The underlying reason has to be more than the simple fact writers are busy. Who isn’t? I wonder if it is because we so often are making things up that we find it difficult to write about our real worlds. I am not the only writer who breaks the first rule of blogging (Show up when you say you will.)  and goes for long stretches without posting. Writers who actually write their own blogs, (and the really big names usually do not) on a regular schedule are rare.

I have been busy “to-ing” and “fro-ing” and somehow December and January skipped away. I won’t bore you with the details but in addition to the usual holiday madness, we had a couple of other significant life events going on. One of which included answering the question: “On a scale of one-to-ten, what is your pain level?”

We ran into a problem with the paperback version of Francesca’s Foundlings. The issue was with the spacing of the words on the printed page. This required a page-by-page scrutiny to find any and all errors. Unfortunately this was sandwiched around everything else going on during that time and took a while to complete.

Francesca's Foundlings
The Series Continues

Roskerry Press was founded with the purpose of publishing my books. My husband and I are the only two permanent “employees” but we do use a professional artist to do the covers, as well as a professional editor. In addition, there are two dedicated copy editors who read the books when they are still in beta format.

The editing component of this work is not for the faint of heart. It is made even more difficult by the fact that many of the old editing rules no longer apply. The expression “Oh, that’s old school.” is true for all writing/editing today. There is also room for human error. Even the best editors are human. I recently read a novel by a well-known writer where suddenly in the second chapter, the name of one of the main characters changed. It took a second read through the previous chapter to wrap my mind around this. The editor should have caught it. But I understood how it happened. Characters may start out with one name and the writer for a variety of reasons changes it. In MacCullough’s Women, Neil Malone’s name was originally “Raymond”. I lived in terror that, despite obsessively doing a “search and replace”, I had somehow missed an occurrence in the manuscript. I did not. My fault seems to be a tendency to leave off the closing quotation marks when a character is speaking. I am pretty sure all writers are guilty of something.

The good news is, I am, indeed, back to work as requested this week by a reader on my Facebook page. The paperback version of Francesca’s Foundlings is once again being formatted. The online proof looks clean. I should have the physical proof in my hands by the end of the week. I am hoping it will be ready to go and available next week on Amazon.

The third novel in the Lynton Series, Maggie’s Girls, is a work-in-progress. I will be blogging more about that book in future posts. The novel explores the relationship between mothers and daughters, both biological and stepdaughters. When I worked in the development of technical training we had often used what we called, Subject Matter Experts or SMEs to insure the content was accurate. Having been a mother and stepmother for forty-three years, I considered myself to be an SME on this topic. I am excited about where this book is going.

My plan is to blog regularly about my books, my characters, my writing practice and The Muse, an indolent Tibetan Terrier called Arleigh Burke. I have also set myself the goal of learning how to use Scrivener described as a word-processing program and outliner designed for authors. Stay tuned. This writer is finding it a challenge.


The Muse

The Muse
The Muse



What Do You Want to Be?

It’s time to start living the life you imagined.” Henry James

What is it that you wish you were that you are not? Regardless of how old you are, I know that there is something. We all have a secret list of “I want to be…”s.

One of the things that consistently shows up on my list is to be a gardener. Yes, that’s right I want to be a gardener. Every time I turn the corner of the street leading to my own, I am reminded of this. I live in a gardening neighborhood. Everywhere I look there are beautiful and unique gardens. The neighbor in the house on the corner gardens in the rain and drives a serious lawn tractor. She also has beautiful weed-free garden beds. I want to be her.

My fellow homeowner is a natural, if somewhat haphazard, gardener so we do actually have gardens, largely his creation. But, I want to garden, too.  And I have tried, both in this house and in others I have lived in, with limited success.  I don’t really know why. I start strong and then I seem to lose my motivation. Gardening is a lot of work.

Does this ever happen to you? Is there something you have tried to do and never accomplished?  I always wanted to be a writer and now I am. So why can’t I also be a gardener? This year I intend to try.

Several years ago, I planted a shade garden and have continued to expand it  each year with new plants. This garden is composed mostly of Hosta and Heuchera commonly called Coral Bells. I have had moderate success, with the exception of two years ago when all the Hostas were eaten by a plague of slugs. I tried chemicals (bad, I know) salt, and hummus containers filled with beer. Nothing worked. Those disgusting fat slugs just got drunk and kept on chomping.

Shade Garden
My Shade Garden

Here is my current challenge: a jungle of weeds surrounding my Oriental Poppies, We  established this bed several years ago and have neglected it.

The reason that I can't call myself a gardener

I have discovered that gardening is very conducive to writing. It gives you a lot of quiet time to think, create dialogue, and work through plot points.  It turns out that a lot of writers are also gardeners.

My brave and lonely little poppy

The only problem is that Grace keeps disappearing and I have to stop what I am doing to track her down. There is a ground hog the size of a small sheep that lives in the bushes next to the fence. So where is Grace?

Grace hunting ground hogs

I have always believed the first thing to do when you embark on a new role is to dress the part. At least you look like you know what you are doing. I am a dedicated costume person. Here are my latest accessories.

My gardening stuff

Is there anything that you really want to be? If so, why not go for it?
























Finding a Balance

There’s only one way to stop a MAD WATCH. The March Hare, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

You probably realize that today is Thursday, not Wednesday, the day I usually post my second blog of the week. I have spent the last couple of months determined to figure out the secret of blogging. In an effort to do this, I have checked out numerous author blogs.

It has slowly sunk in that while bloggers are most certainly writers, not all bloggers are also writing a new novel. This probably explains why not many fiction writers blog three times a week. I have stumbled upon more than one writer’s blog that says, “Please forgive me, I am taking a break from blogging to write. Check back from time to time to see if I have returned.” Another admitted she had cut back dramatically on social media and blogging because she found it got in the way of her writing.

I am in the middle of my second book and my characters are definitely getting restless. It might be hard to believe if you have never written fiction, but they really do have a mind of their own. My crowd is definitely getting ready to run amuck.

After considering everything, I have made a decision to cut back to only two blog posts per week starting next Monday. The clock kept stopping last week for no reason the clock man could figure out. Finally, it dawned on me that it was  the universe telling me to slow down and focus on the new book.

Time to write the next book

I will continue to blog on my writing life on Mondays. On Fridays, I will share with you what I am reading.  For now, I think that will be about the right balance for me.

I have found that I enjoy blogging. I have also learned the following:

  • It is important to set a definite schedule for when you will post a blog. I have a list of blogs that I visit and I have found myself annoyed when the expected post is not there. (So I humbly apologize for yesterday. Life really got in the way.)
  • Bloggers do need to use their own voice, quirky or, in my case, snarky as it may be. Readers who follow a certain blog do so because they enjoy it.
  • Photos are always welcome. Readers like pictures.

One of the questions that you often see in author interviews is: Who is your writer crush? I have a new one. The amazing Anna Quindlen. Stop by tomorrow for my review of her new memoir, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake.  She is a girl after my own heart.