Welcome to my cyber conservatory, a glass-walled, tile-floored, plant-filled room overlooking the tiered gardens of my English country manor. OK, I really live in an ordinary house in
I am extremely happy to report that last Monday, mystery author Nancy J. Cohen and I helped raise over $5000 to benefit Komen For The Cure Breast Cancer Research. We held the signing at The Melting Pot, which is a fondue restaurant here in my town -- yes, that includes dipping strawberries and other dessert treats into to-die-for thick, creamy, melted chocolate! No wonder the restaurant packed in over 200 hungry customers, all women because this was one of their monthly Ladies Night Out events which always benefits a good cause, like this one or St. Jude's Hospital. So thank you, Missy at the Melting Pot, for inviting Nancy and me to be a part of your very successful night!
And ladies, please don't put off having your yearly mamograms!
The last time I blogged was when tropical storm Fay blew through Florida, over and over again. And now we're preparing for a hit from Ike. But even though I've got the TV on and I can hear our governor talking about declaring a state of emergency, I'm not blogging about hurricanes today, but how when you're a writer, it seems there is ALWAYS something coming along with the potential to disrupt your writing time. Sometimes it seems as though everyone you know AND the forces of nature are against you and that deadline you're struggling to meet.
I have to admit, too, that I'm easily distracted. (Hey, look at me now. I'm blogging when I could be writing.) But what can begin as a simple phone call often can turn into a time-sucking black hole during which you get nothing done, and suddenly your day is gone.
If we could only seal ourselves off behind impenatrable walls with no phones, internet or TVs -- and no windows, which would keep us safe from the elements -- those books would be a breeze to write. Or would they?
Is it really all those external forces that prevent us from being as prolific as we'd like to be? Or is it more a matter of having the willpower to ignore those things? As my deadlines become shorter and I no longer have the luxury of endless time to get a book done, I'm learning to block off certain hours each day when I will not answer the phone except for a very select few individuals, I plan not to leave the house, I save chores for later and find easy things for dinner. Still not enough.
What has been hardest for me is learning to make myself simply get words onto the page (well, monitor) without obsessing over whether they are the right words. I recently read that trying to write a near perfect first draft (guilty!) can actually lead to writer's block because you're inhibiting the creative process by being too critical and analytical about the writing. In other words, your left brain gets in the way of your right brain, and you get all tangled up. And when you're blocked, it's all too tempting to let outside influences distract you. Admit it. Sometimes those distractions come as a relief. But they aren't really.
So Ike, I'll make time for you later this weekend, I promise. For now, though, you'll have to take a back seat as I sit down and pump out some really awful pages -- but no worries, that's what revisions and edits are for!
Well, it would appear we're not going to escape Fay as easily as we thought. Apparently, even though the center of the storm, or the eye if it were better organized, is going to pass over Florida's west coast, all the worst weather is on the eastern side -- which will pass right over South Florida. Fay hasn't even arrived yet, and already our screened-in porch has begun to flood and my husband just went outside now that the first rain-band has passed to lower the pool level. It also means that the first day of school today was cancelled and probably tomorrow as well. Up north they get snow days, we get hurricane days.
The good news is that as long as people stay off the roads (please South Floridians, STAY HOME TODAY!!), Fay shouldn't be life-threatened or cause much property damage except possibly where there's flooding. The other good news is that the expected 5-10 inches of rain should bring Lake Okeechobee -- for those of you who don't know, our main source of water -- back up to acceptable levels after a really bad drought. Hey, there are reasons Mother Nature does what she does. She just never promised she'd make it convenient for us.
So, my fellow Floridians, be safe, be smart, don't do anything stupid and hey, enjoy some time at home reading a good book! If storms make you nervous, open a nice bottle of wine.
We did it -- we got out of the state of Florida for a few days! Our niece up in Buffalo got married last weekend, so we went up for that and snuck across the border a couple of times into Canada to see Niagara Falls and all the other neat stuff kept tucked up in American's Attic. Just kidding, Canada! I LOVE Canada, whether I'm out west in Alberta's amazong Rockies, or even further west in the beautiful city of Vancouver, or east in Ontario, as we were last week. It's a beautiful country, and Canadians are just so NICE!
I grew up in the Northeast, but this was my first trip to Niagara Falls. I expected to be impressed, but I was blown away, especially when we rode to the base of the Horseshoe Falls on the Maid Of the Mist. If you really want to experience the tremendous power of the falls, you have to ride the Maid of the Mist. It was like being in a scene from a disaster movie, and I half expected to be swallowed up by the walls of water at any moment. It's an awesome experience! Exhilarating!
The Horseshoe Falls (Canada side) seen from the top of the Skylon Tower across the street. Pay no attention to the dates on these pictures -- that's just me not knowing how to work my camera!
American Falls from the Skylon Tower
Looking downriver from the Horseshoe Falls
Me on the Canada side, American Falls in the background
The Skylon Tower, modeled after the Sky Needle in Toronto
Lunching across the street from the Falls
On the Maid of the Mist. Yes, we look funny in our rain ponchos, but yes, WE NEEDED THEM!!
Moving into the Horshoe, although not quite all the way in yet. We had to put away our camera as we moved closer to the Falls or they would have been ruined by the water. It hits you in sheets, almost like being outside in a hurricane. Really wild, heart-pumping FUN!! A trip to Niagara Falls is not complete without a trip on the Maid of the Mist!
Double Rainbows on the ride back to Buffalo
Rainbow over downtown Buffalo.
We also had a wonderful time seeing family again, and the wedding was lots of fun. But speaking of hurricanes, we're back in Florida and whaddaya know, we're watching the advisories on Tropical Storm, possibly Hurricane, Fay. She's forecasted to hit the west coast of Florida and we'll probably only experience the outer bands of wind and yuck, but as the news reporters keep drilling into us, we are in the "cone of death" as we fondly refer to it, and one never knows for sure how the storm track might waver as it gets closer. We can't do anything but stock up on a few supplies (because no matter what, we stand a good chance of losing power over the next couple of days) and wait and see what happens. Should have stayed in Buffalo!!!
I'm a guest blogger today at the Title Magic, a blog started by the finalists in Romantic Times Magazine's "American Title Contest." This year's winner was Helen Scott Taylor, whose first paranormal romance, The Magic Knot, will be released by Dorchester in February 09. I met Helen about a year and a half ago at the Florida Romance Writers Fun In The Sun Conference, and have been lucky enough to read some of The Magic Knot. I fell immediately in love with the story, the characters, and Helen's beautiful writing style. I KNEW it was merely a matter of time before she made her first sale, and I'm so thrilled that her dream is coming true -- and that readers will soon be introduced to a wonderful new talent in the romance industry.
Anyway, I'm disussing "Setting as Character" at their blog today, so I hope you'll visit Title Magic and join in the discussion!