Monday, January 31, 2005

Guten Morgen

Guten morgen, fraus, fraulines, and herrs. (Not so sure about the last one, but I'm trying. Everybody feel free to correct me.)

Happy Monday morning. Jim, I hope you're feeling better, and that your car is all fixed up so that you don't have to face mass transit in the winter any more. I remember waiting at bus stops in the cold. SOOOOO not fun. People made fun of me in Denver because when I looked for housing I deliberately picked a place near several grocery stores and both a major north/south and east/west bus route -- just in case the vehicle broke down I could still get to work and anywhere else I needed to go. But I (like most of my family) embrace dark humor and a "hope for the best, expect the worst" philosophy. A few of the family sayings...

If you can't be good, be careful. If you can't be careful, be good.

Fooled me once, shame on you. Fooled me twice, shame on me.

Sometimes either you have to laugh or you cry, and crying doesn't do any good.

Shit happens, bring a shovel.

Things can always get worse. They can always get BETTER, but they can always get worse.

There are so many more. As a philosophy of life, it actually works. Because you're laughing, and moving forward, but you're also prepared for most of the stuff that comes down the pike. Oh, not all: nobody can be prepared for everything life throws at them. But having the ability to laugh, and work hard, makes things a whole lot better.

SO, let's raise a stein of virtual beer to the hardworking folks who face life with determination and laughter.

May the best days you've ever had, be the worst you ever see.
(Old Irish blessing.)

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Good Morning

I like a lot of the folks who post. A lot. There are some truly cool and clever people out there. And I LOVE the names. Things like Tequila Mockingbird. Gotta love it. My name isn't clever. I just sign in as me. But that's OK. Because I kinda like me.

Cathy and I have been having serious book discussions. This is good. It is how the partnership keeps moving in the right direction, how we plot out where our people are going and make sure that it all makes sense, etc. The conversations that have been on my mind most this morning, however, are the business planning "Where are we going? How do we want to get there? What are our goals? What is our time frame?" questions. Because holy crap, we're actually AUTHORS. I'm DOING what I wanted to be when I grew up. I mean, one book can be a fluke. Two a coincidence. But SIX? And we're starting to make real money. Whoa. Wow. And again, holy crap! Cathy was asking me if I was completely weirded out yet (mainly because when I get weirded I tend to self destruct). The answer is yes and no. Because it's happening gradually enough that my mind is actuallly wrapping happily around it most of the time. The money's coming in in mid-sized bursts: big enough to do me some good, not huge enough to weird me out completely. And I'm happy. So I'm not self-destructing. And mostly I'm not wigging out -- although the thought of actually presenting something as part of a panel at a professional writing conference is again, a little weird. Not bad weird, but... weird.

(Cie wanders off into the morning muttering...)

Friday, January 28, 2005

Bon jour.

Good morning folks. Hope all is well with you. Things with me are OK. Finger is better (still ugly as the damaged part of the fingernail grows out -- but hey, at least it didn't fall off. No complaints.) I had a migraine yesterday, and am still a little spacy from the meds. BUT, at least I haven't caught the nasty bronchitis that's going around. Unfortunately for Cathy, she did. I've been treating her like a very nice girl who happens to have the plague for the past couple of days because I'm generally pretty susceptible to lung stuff. Now that I've got all of the health stuff out of the way, I find I really don't have much to say this morning. I'm glad it's Friday. I'm really looking forward to writing a lot over the weekend. I'm hoping to get pages and pages done that I can brag about when I post on Monday.

Anyway, since I don't seem to have anything to say, let me just wish you a great weekend and sign off.


Thursday, January 27, 2005

Hola, que tal?

Hi guys! How's it going? Jim -- hope your Dad's surgery went OK.

Cathy and I/Me and Cathy (grin) are so seriously lucky! I'm amazed at how supportive our editor and the folks at Tor and Writer's House are. We actually get input on things, such as our cover, the marketing plan, etc. From what I'm hearing from other authors that's REALLY rare. And I am SOOOOOO glad. Because honestly, if we had the traditional "orgasmic clinch" cover, do you really think the guys and the gamers would go buy the book? Not so much. And I think our books ARE good reads for guys. There's lots of action. Yes, there's some romance, and some sex -- but that's part of real life, so it needs to be there, and I don't think it's overpowering. Our goal is to have romance for the romance readers out there, action for the action folks, and ... well. just a helluva good read for everybody.

So, let's all give a big cheer for the folks at Tor and Writer's House. WHOO HOOO!!!!



Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Tricky Stuff

When does helping stop being helping and become a crutch? You can't help somebody who woon't help themselves. If they are determined to self-destruct, you can't stop them, all you'll do is prolong the agony. It's their life, so they have the right to screw it up or even end it.

All of the above are issues I've had to deal with in real life, seen other people deal with, and am trying to incorporate into the books. Because it happens. One of the major characters in our world has a son who is utterly destroying his life, not suicidal, but completely self-destructive because he can't have the one thing he truly needs. I'm HOPING I can take the lessons I've learned from (a) screwing up my own life (don't ask, it was very ugly and a very long time ago, but it made me who I am and recovering from it has made me a much stronger person); and (b) watching people I love screw up their lives completely and royally and how helpless you feel watching and not being able to stop them or offer any kind of significant help.

Not happy topics, I know, but writing (and life in my opinion) is about balance. You don't appreciate light without shadow. In fact, most of life is set up to be balanced. Up/down; left/right; male/female; day/night; high tide/low tide; summer/winter; spring/fall... and on and on. Sometimes the good guys win. Sometimes they lose, but they learn something important. And sometimes in life (though not as often in art) nobody wins, but nobody completely loses either.

One good thing about life. If you own your failures, you also get to own your successes. Which also means that if you do too much FOR somebody, they aren't learning the lesson and they won't feel like the success is really theirs. Tough news for parents, for sure. Because I gotta tell you, standing there and watching your "baby" get taught a really painful lesson SUCKS. You want so much to protect them. Hell it's hard-wired into your BIOLOGY. But you can't always do it. Because if you do they'll never grow up, never be independent, capable adults, which is the POINT of raising them in the first place.

Serious stuff. But while I want what I write to be a good "beach read" in my opinion a good beach read should have some meat to it -- but it should not beat you about the head and neck with the "morals" and opinions of the author. (Unlike a blog [wink].)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Something for me to ponder...

Hi guys.

I was giving something to ponder today. It has to do with grammar. (Yeah, GRAMMAR, go figure.) Anyway, I was told by someone I trust that one of the reasons I keep being perceived as less than a full half of the partnership is in part because in my blog and in other things I write about the partnership I use grammar in a deferential manner, i.e., "Cathy and I" as opposed to "Me and Cathy." Well, I'm old enough (and was taught in the midwest to boot) that the preferred phrasing I was taught as grammatically correct was _________ and I, and that Me and ________ was awkward, clumsy, and "just not done" "even if it IS technically correct." (Did I get Mrs. Koos's tone of voice down well enough for you to hear her?) I also always try to make sure that I'm giving Cathy full credit and respect. (She has since told me not to worry about it).

Anyway, in defense of my ego. It's a full partnership. Equal. Down the middle. We each do our part and are entitled to half the credit. And from now on I will try not to be deferential to the point where people assume it isn't. (I've actually had people say how "nice" it is of Cathy to "take me under her wing" and it does frustrate me a bit.) I'm not a child. I AM a writer. I DO work my patootie off to do my half.

Anyway, there you have it. Not a particularly enlightening post -- other than drawing attention to grammar and how insidious the impressions you get from choice of wording and such can be.

I actually already knew this. I mean, there are lovely examples in literature. (I'm thinking of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" as an example. My son disagrees vehemently with me, but it is my strong opinion that if you look at the book carefully you can see a real progression and difference in sentence style and vocabulary from the beginning of the book (where the man is in the asylum and talking about the gum under the bed) to the end (where he leaves the asylum) when he is no longer supposed to be quite as insane.

Ah well. My blog. My opinion.

Everybody have a great day!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Yet Another Monday

Just another manic Monday....

Today is a court day for my boss, so things were a little frantic for a few minutes there. It's better now, but I still have lots to do. So I can't dawdle. This is just a quick note so I can catch my breath!

Sazi books are coming along nicely. It's good to have Cathy and I talking the same world. Makes both of us less grumpy and the whole process run much more smoothly. I'll have to get back to the unfinished projects (i.e., the mystery, the fantasy, and so very many more...) eventually, but I figure we'll finish the ones we've been paid to do first. THEN I get to go play in the other worlds.

I'm looking forward to getting a little quiet time together to actually READ. Soon, very soon. I keep promising myself that, and life keeps interfering. There are only so many hours in the day, and I have a limited supply of energy. Sometimes I get down on myself about it, but then I remind myself how much better I'm doing than I used to be. There was a time not so long ago when I couldn't work full time, could barely work at all and the house and everything else went basically down the toilet. Now I work full time AND write AND keep the house (relatively) ok (not perfect, but -- again, limited time, have to prioritize) AND exercise. So I don't get it all RIGHT NOW. I'm getting more than I would've dreamed possible. So I remind myself over and over again to BE GRATEFUL.

Which I am. Really!

Sunday, January 23, 2005


Hi Guys!

Jim, so glad you got to finish and liked it! Yolanda, the online stuff SO counts. Once upon a time, when I was a young single mom I caught crap from a relative because "You never finish anything." (I'd been trying to write the great American novel [hell even a mediocre American novel] for years but life kept getting in the way!) I got... shall we say... annoyed. VERY annoyed. So I wrote POETRY and very short prose. I still have it in a drawer somewhere. A complete collection of things I could actually FINISH. Sent one off to a competition. Won an award and got invited to accept it at a convention. Which was VERY encouraging and kept me at trying to write even though the time just wasn't there. (James was NOT a child who slept. Heck, he's not an ADULT who sleeps much. He came by it honestly too. Until I got a fatiguing illness I never slept more than 4 hours a night in my life unless I was deathly ill.)

ANYWAY, what I'm trying to say with this ridiculous rambling post is IT ALL COUNTS. Use every bit of it as encouragement and fuel for the fire. Never give up. Never, ever, ever give up. (I think Churchill said that, but I may be paraphrasing).

I chose to have James and raise him. In making that choice I decided for once and for all that he, my family, came before the career. He's grown into a man I love as both my child and a person. There's a reason he's in every dedication to every book (except one anthology where there was a group dedication and nobody got the personal stuff in). Now that he's grown, everything I postponed is bearing fruit. I feel very blessed on both counts.


Saturday, January 22, 2005

Happy Weekend Folks

Hi Everybody! Have a great weekend.


I can't believe it's Saturday again already! The week FLEW. Good news does that though.

Finger is ugly, but has now healed enough that I can type. Might wind up losing the fingernail. Good thing I can type though, because I've started on the Catherine book.

Catherine is one of the Sazi books. It's one of the 3 we're doing for Tor in 2006. Hope to have a Christmas theme with it (which is tricky because I've never done a theme thing). Catherine is actually the first book that was ever conceived in the Sazi world. She's the one I created the world for and worked it out with Cathy. At one point we'd drafted it so many times (and so many different ways) I was sick to death of it/her and told Cathy that if I had to look at it any more I'd "willingly join up with Jack and kill her myself!" Fortunately its been long enough now that I'm happy to run into her again.

It's funny, looking at the old drafts. We've learned SOOOOOOO much in the years we've been doing this. And it's so WEIRD to see how MANY years. I feel like the time has just been a blur. For example, this week. It was exactly one week ago that Cathy and I drove to Fredricksburg to meet with our fellow author. It feels like it was yesterday -- MAYBE the day before. (Because I DO remember my day trip to Austin with James). I hope I can keep an open mind and KEEP learning and KEEP getting better. I also hope I don't get to the point where I'm just writing to "pay the rent" as it were. I know you know what I mean. You read a favorite author whose written incredible stuff, and you'll come across one of their books that is flat as a pancake, not well thought out or executed and you can just TELL that they did it because they needed the money, not because it was something they wanted to write or they had something to say about.

I told James that if he ever catches me doing that or "cheating" (i.e., you write yourself into a completely untenable position, then change all the rules of your reality 'just this once' to get the hero or heroine out of it', deus ex machina (sp?) ) he should kick me in the patootie. Cathy and I work really hard to keep each other from doing it, but sometimes it's really tempting. It's also really tempting to include this TERRIFIC scene that has nothing to do with the plot but is just SO COOL that you feel you've JUST GOTTA -- which is how you end up with these anticlimactic endings that drag on and on. ("But I can actually VISUALIZE the wedding. I know the readers want to see it. Of COURSE they do!") Or your story "sags" in the middle and you don't really know why. Sometimes writing can be really brutal. Stephen King refers to it as "killing your babies." Because those scenes FEEL like your babies. But if it doesn't advance the story or reinforce the subplots, if it's not absolutely essential, you need to cut it.

It's funny. I spent years reading about writing, attending conferences, studying and practicing not knowing if I'd remember anything or be able to use any of it. I was scared to death that I wasn't "good enough." (Still am for that matter. Cathy is the one who insists that 'It's fine. It's ready. We're sending it!') But while I can't always say why something isn't working for me, the time and study I invested pays off in that I can see that it isn't working. Then Cathy and I can hash out a solution. Writing is a craft. It's worthy of study, but it also takes practice. AND you have to be willing to listen. We learned more from the edit letters we received from our editors on the first book than I learned in all the books I read in the market. They made it so CLEAR and SOOOOOOO much better. I felt like the little lightbulb was coming on over my head.

The HARD part about it though, once you start learning this stuff you can't just turn off your brain when you're reading. I'm a much more critical reader than I used to be. And I'm much more likely to see the little logic gaps. (Sing along with me folks: "First there is a purse and then there is no purse and then there is.")

Well, I'd best get going. I've rambled on long enough. Writing to do. Laundry to do and miles to go before I sleep. Everybody have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 20, 2005

A couple of things.

1) We just won an award for Hunter's Moon. It's a Critic's Choice award for a big Canadian site. Cathy and I went to lunch to celebrate. We are so stoked!

2) A friend of mine posted on her site how much she still loves her husband and talked about all the cool things he does. It makes me very, very happy for her. They've been together something like 18 years and are still crazy about each other. Then again, my parents have been together close to 60 years and are still completely in love, like, and "in love" with each other.

Which just goes to show it is possible. Who knows. Maybe someday I'll figure out how they do it. Or not. I really DO enjoy being alone. But sometimes, like now, I wonder....

Still Dancing


Still doing the happy dance. I'm so excited. Everything is working out the way I'd hoped. It'll be hard work, but good work. Cathy and I did our walking this morning and started mapping out the plot for the Lucas book. I've already got drafts of Catherine that I can pull together into a real mss. Kate (the vampire book from the other series) is already "in the can" except for minor edits and can go at any time.

It's good for Cathy and I to be working in the same world and basically the same time frame. It makes for continuity and also keeps me from getting freaked from trying to keep track of too many world rules. So right now Cathy and I are both working on the Sazi. If Kate is received well, we'll try to sneak in that sequel in the next batch of books. But any way you slice it, we be HAPPY campers. Busy... very busy... but happy.

First thing that's going to happen with the advance money is getting my son back on his feet. Then bill paying and getting set for taxes. But it's so cool to actually be looking at making enough money to have to worry about taxes! That has SOOOO not been my problem over the past several years -- particularly the years where I haven't been able to work full time because of health problems.

Thank God the health has gotten so much better. I'm not in constant pain. To the point where the worst thing I had to complain about was an owie on my finger! Life is pretty darned good! I am SOOOOOO grateful.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

HAPPY DANCE!!!!!!!!!!

HAPPY DANCE! Yahoo, whooo hooo!

It is official (except for the paperwork, which is on its way). WE HAVE ANOTHER 3 BOOK DEAL WITH TOR!


I'd write more but my finger hurts like he**. But as I hunt and peck this out know that I've got a HUGE grin on my face!




Have you ever done something really stupid, really small, but really painful? I did. Last night in the middle of the night I accidentally rammed a bunch of splinters up my fingernail. I got them all out. Disinfected it. And I am now trying to type without using my right middle finger. I also look like I'm flipping people off every time I elevate it. UGH! I believe I can safely say that this will be a short post and I am going to have a long day.



Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Hi Jim:

Hope you're enjoying the book and you get to finish it soon. I'm looking forward to your comments.

Hi Yolanda:

Glad you keep stopping by. Keep plugging away on that WIP.

Best wishes to everybody.


Bon Giorno

Have no idea if I spelled that right, but what the heck. Good morning all!

This weekend I went and did things both days. On Saturday Cathy and I drove to Fredricksburg where we had lunch with a fellow author who is a friend of ours. (I was meeting her for the first time after a long correspondence online). Sunday I went to Austin with my son and we spent the day exploring and goofing around.

You would think that all that R&R would be restful, but I'm absolutely pooped. Happy, but pooped. The new cats aren't exactly helping either.

Did I mention the cats before? I'm not sure I did. I adopted two cats from a cat rescue woman. They are both male. One is an orange tabby with a "Roman" nose, and one is cream colored with pale yellow tabby markings on ear and tail. The woman who had rescued them had named them Bachhus and Tipsy. (Which seemed like a fated combination to me ;) ). We called Tipsy "Tips" or "Tibbs" because, well, Tipsy just sounds kind of girly for a large male. Bachhus is a seven year old gentleman cat who is somewhat quiet and timid. Tibbs is about 1 and 1/2 and is a rowdy playful kitten type with a dominant personality. Al likes Bacchus considerably better at the moment, but that's not surprising since she is 14 and a bit old for the whole "kitten" thing. Still, they're adjusting to each other and both males have acknowledged that Algonquin is queen of the household.

Anyway, Al is a little miffed, but certainly no longer lonely and bored. Which is a definite improvement. And while I will always miss Onyx, I'm glad for the new company.

But oh I do look forward to things settling down a bit more.

Monday, January 17, 2005

WOW and other stuff.

OK, I've been reading some posts on a writing site about blogging (see my previous post) and I'm kind of... confused, baffled, etc. I guess Cathy and I have been spectacularly lucky in that we are working with consummate professionals. Our agent is one of the best in the business and is affiliated with a top-notch organization; our publisher is seriously impressive and has an editor that we positively adore working with. We've been given input in our covers (which is apparently virtually unheard of) and shown absolute respect in editing, etc.


Consider me shouting it from the rooftops. Apparently there are a lot of folks out there who don't behave professionally on both sides. Authors who "flame" their houses and editors in their blogs, and vice versa.

I hope I have never posted anything that would be offensive to folks who've been working with me. I really do. Because I respect them. The folks I work with are the absolute best. And they've been really REALLY kind when dealing with a neophyte like myself. If I have, ever, I apologize right here and now because I know, KNOW that I am one of the luckiest folks in the business.

Sometimes there may be differences of opinion. But this is a business. You work through it. And in the process you should always show a level of sincere professionalism. (And if you can't manage that, INsincere professionalism. But for the love of Pete, you DON'T get to act like an ass!)

And on the other side, I HOPE that I'll be treated with respect as well -- by the folks I'm working with on the publishing side, but also by the readers. Some of the things I've read people post about other authors makes my skin crawl and just about sends me out with my soap box and Sister Mary Elizabeth's best ruler. Sort of a "Be NICE..." (with the implied "or else.") I believe in criticism. You don't grow if people don't tell you the problems. But there's criticism, and then their's just plain old cruelty.


OK on to a totally different tangent -- I got the chance this weekend to go with Cathy to meet with another author who I've chatted with on line but had never met in person before. It was GREAT. She is a terrific lady. We spent hours talking about both plotting for her upcoming, marketing, and all of the things involved in the publishing business. I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope we can do it again soon.

Gotta run. Stomach's growling and telling me I need LUNCH. NOW. :D

Have a great day folks. Thanks for everything.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Meeting New Folks

One of the coolest things about starting the writing career is the people. You meet some of the best and most creative people affiliated with writing. And while some are a little flaky (Moi? Surely you jest!) very few are really seriously negative or nasty. I'm sure there are some, but I just don't seem to be running into them. Which leads me to a completely unprovable theory -- that writing as a creative outlet gives people the chance to drain off all their negativity.

It isn't provable. May not even be true. But I like the theory. Because I've run into a LOT of negative people in the past few months who seem to get their jollies by stirring the pot and getting nasty arguments brewing. These are the same kinds of people who back in junior high and high school believed that they could make themselves look better by making other people look worse. (Doesn't work. Makes the victim look bad, but the attacker look like a complete assh***.)

So, let's hear it for creativity and the ability to produce something positive. For while I, myself, am not a fan of Elvish poetry (I'm more the bad pun and dirty limerick type), or abstract art in violently loud colors, (or houndstooth check in lime green), I believe in the curative power of creating.

And in closing, I leave you with the following limerick: (I can't attribute it, but I love it and it is SO not mine).

There once was a girl named Anheuser
Who said that no man would surprise HER.
But Pabst took a chance,
Found a Schlitz in her pants.
And now she is sadder, Budweiser.

Everybody have a great weekend.


Thursday, January 13, 2005

Are Blogs Useful?

One of the writer's groups I'm affiliated with is having a whole discussion of marketing and the subject has come up as to whether blogs are useful marketing tools. Some say yes, some say no. I don't know. I think you have to be careful. A blog can allow you to get to know readers, and allow readers to get to know you. But there still have to be boundaries. Some things are really TOO private for a public forum. And you have to understand that your opinions may turn off as many people as agree, which could drive readers away. I don't want some stalker type stumbling across enough personal information to make my life a living hell. But I DO want to get to know folks like the ones who appear to have been tuning in and commenting. No risk, no gain, but make mine a calculated risk.

For example, I live in Texas. I say I live in central Texas in the hill country. That covers a WHOLE lotta space. I have privately contacted one or two people, so they have specific information. But other than that, nope.

Am I going to treat the blog like I would my shrink? Nope. I'm also not going to parade around the courthouse square butt naked either. But I'm not going to make it a sterile series of bland "politically correct" statements that bore me to tears (and heaven help the readers, unless they're looking for a cure for insomnia). The limits I put on it may make it less effective as a marketing tool. So be it. But I won't stop altogether, because I believe that getting to know the readers, and getting their input, is important. In other words YOU GUYS are important.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

The One Big Score!

Editing note: The following is my opinion. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my co-author (I didn't ask). It is also meant to be humorous and not snarky. I leave it to the reader to determine if I succeeded in that. But any way you slice it, it is my opinion. Feel free to disagree with it. It's not sacred. Nor is it meant to be taken seriously. Just so you know.


There are three types of people (actually, depending on how your judging there can be as many as there are individuals, but roll with me on this one). 1) People who operate on the someday principle, but never really pursue anything in any concerted manner ("Waiting for the Fairy Godmother") ; 2) Plodders who plug away step by step in pursuit of their goals (not terribly exciting, but effective); and 3) People planning "The One Big Score!"

"The One Big Score" is what reality television is all about. All I have to do is put in a LOT of effort for a VERY short period and I, too, can have millions of dollars. It plays into a lot of the American mythos. Anybody can be president, anybody can be a millionaire, we're all equal after all.

I hate it.

Let me say why. Yes, there are people who win at Powerball. There is one contestant on each of those shows who will win whatever the prize is. But you see, they won't have learned what to DO with it once they've got it. So a lot more times than people think the money gets pissed away before the "winner" knows it and they're left wondering "what the hell happened?" and "What'm I gonna do now?" And it happens just often enough to make people who don't want to work very hard or for a long time ammunition to say "SEE, SEE, it IS possible, it ISN'T STUPID, it COULD happen to ME!" So that they don't feel like they HAVE to do anything and a whole LOT of them piss away the chances they get, risking the success they have for something bigger, brighter, shinier and NEWER.

But you can't tell 'em that.

If you plod away at something with serious determination you will probably eventually get where you're going (barring life altering disaster). It won't be pretty. It's not going to be terribly exciting. But, (and this is a big one) you will have had years of experience and minor setbacks to teach you what works and what doesn't. You will also probably be a whole lot more careful what risks you take with money it took you a lot of time and sweat to earn. The risks you take will be calculated risks. And if you do lose, you have all that experience so you know how to do it over again (and faster, with less mistakes) if you have to.

Can you tell I'm a plodder?

I am.

Boring as hell too. (Apparently, although I of course believe I am possessed of immense charm, humor, and great wit. Those cretins who think otherwise simply do not understand! [If you can't see the sarcasm there, please put on your glasses and try again.])

But here and now I stand proud and defiant in defense of plodders everwhere. They stand behind me unknowing (because they're busy taking care of business) in their sensible shoes (because after all, if you have to plod you'd better be comfortable) and keep the world moving in a somewhat orderly forward motion, bearing the scorn of those who feel that a life that includes toil is a life wasted. (Now I grant you, constant toil -- not so hot. Been there, done that, bought the tee shirt, sweat shirt, and shiny silk jacket.) But you don't appreciate (wow, I sound like my mother) things you don't earn. (Yeah Mom, I'm admitting you were right. And no, to my knowledge the world isn't ending).

Balance people, balance. Some toil, some fun, more toil, more fun. Because if all you do is toil, you burn out. But if all you do is screw around, your life in the long term will most assuredly suck. (Unless you're one of the lucky fractional number of winners or you marry a plodder who loves your impish charm).

Plodding pays off long term. Laziness pays off short term. The question becomes, which is more important to you consistently. Because what you do consistently will determine your future.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Communication and Partnerships

Hi Guys!

A quick note on communication and partnerships. It's critical. Seriously, completely, totally (and add as many other ly adjectives to imply major import) critical.

But when it works -- WHOO HOO. Cathy and I have a good working partnership. Sometimes we get frustrated, but one of the big things is that we're honest about it (without the whole blaming crap) and work things out. Good thing too. Because I expect this to be a really LONG TERM commitment. Especially since we've got some potentially terrific news coming up. (More on that when/if it's real and final. But boy oh boy am I ever looking forward to it! If, of course, it happens. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, January 10, 2005


OK, taking a minute to ponder here.

I like to think I'm logical, that there are reasons for the things I think and do. More and more lately, I'm beginning to see that assumption as so much... ahem... hooey. I'm emotionally driven and motivated. It's the emotional and visceral things that get to me. Which is why I absolutely couldn't explain WHY it was so important to me to get the website up right away. It WAS. Really. But I couldn't have explained it to save my life. Which led to one of those *damn isn't this awkward* silences, that fortunately segued (sp?) into one of those comfortable friend silences that basically accept that the other person (in this case me) is occasionally a royal doofus and a pain in the butt.

I need to listen to my motivation cds. I need to exercise to reduce stress. I need to write, no matter what the distractions -- because even if it's dreck, I feel better after. And while I need to regain control over various areas of my life that I had to step back from previously, I REALLY need not to be a bitch about it. And that's hard. Because when I get frustrated, or scared, or angry, I (like the Incredible Hulk) morph into "SHE HAG". (SH for short). (Sometimes I can SOOO relate to Bruce Banner.)

ANYWAY, I'm very grateful that the folks who like me (and in some cases even love me -- go figure) are capable of figuring out that "this too shall pass" (sometimes with an added "soon please. The sooner the better!") and managing not to be condescending about it. I promise I'm working on it. Really.



Trumpets and drum roll. (As opposed to crumpets and a cream roll).

THE REVISED WEBSITE IS UP AND FUNCTIONAL THANKS TO MY ESTEEMED CO-AUTHOR!!!! She did a gorgeous job! It works like a dream! Please take a minute to pop by. I would've helped, but actually it's probably better I didn't. This way the look is perfectly consistent and (IMNSHO) absolutely gorgeous. Works with no snags.


Saturday, January 08, 2005

It is AMAZING how much time you can kill on the internet!

Absolutely amazing! I just go to check my e-mail, and somehow hours just *vanish*. I've got to get a handle on it! I mean, I'm learning good stuff, meeting cooll people, but the days are just whirling by in a blur. Wow.

Came up with a whole new story idea. Maybe only enough meat to be a novella. Not sure. But creativity is flowing, which is a very good thing!

Not, not NOT going to make this too long. Have to work. Have to write, and have to read Yolanda's stories! Miles to go before I sleep and all that rot.

Everybody have a really happy day! I'll be glad when Jim is back from vacation. I miss his posts.


Friday, January 07, 2005


I have been having mood swings. I'm not talking the little swishy changes that we all go through. Nope, we're talking big honking Mack truck mood swings. I'm due to go back to the doctor in February, if things haven't settled down I am definitely bringing it up. The good news is I have more energy, I'm much more clear headed, and I am actually addressing things that I've been repressing for months and/or years. But there's got to be a more gentle way to do it! Geez. It's like taking a bazooka to kill a fly. Yeah, the fly is SOOOOOO dead, but really.... the housework afterwards, UGH!

I had a good talk with Cathy this morning despite my grouchiness. I've had some business concerns and we are trying to work out a communication system that gives us a united front to present to the professionals we are dealing with.

Well, have to go. Work and all that. Take care.

Oh, Yolanda -- I'm going to print out your stories and read them over the weekend. I'm really looking forward to it! Thanks for sending the links.


Thursday, January 06, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like New Years....

I say that because suddenly everybody is realizing that the holidays are over and are either (a) heaving a sigh of relief; (b) staring in horror at their credit card statements; (c) down in the dumps because they're not going to get another day off as a holiday until WHEN?; or (d) down in the dumps because they're Christmassy types and now will have to wait a whole 'nother YEAR.

I'm not really all that big on holidays, so I'm just keepin' on keepin' on. It is scary how fast the time is going by though! The publishing industry grinds on like the wheels of God (slowly, but incredibly fine). But because time is flying by so fast I don't even mind.

The RT is out with our nomination. Cathy keeps thanking me for having the last name Adams, because it puts us right at the top of the list. We've also apparently had some impact on the sales because our rankings at B&N and Amazon are both doing well and we actually moved UP on the bookscan list. WHOO HOO! It's kind of hard to gather all of the sales information, it's so scattered to different sites, but we're doing well. Oh yeah!

Writing is going well. Reorganizing the office paid off. I just need to keep writing. When I don't, I lose my "edge" and have to get back in practice. There may be people who "you can do that any time" actually applies to. I'm not one of them. Consistency is a big thing for me. Also, writing is one of my big ways to de-stress. One of the reasons I've been feeling so out of control is that I haven't had access to that outlet.

This week the Agent is going to be chatting with the Editor about things like (a) sales, (b) future books, etc. Happy happy joy joy! Seriously, our agent is the absolute best! Thank you LKH, THANK YOU LKH. (Laurell introduced us to her agent, now OUR agent. It was one of the NICEST things, and an absolutely cool thing for her to do! And boy are we grateful!)

Anyway, things are moving forward. The personal life is taking a little longer to straighten out than I would like, but one thing at a time.

Good news -- I'm feeling a bit better too. My physical health is a little iffy a lot of the time (some ongoing bs that is not dangerous but seriously nuisancy) and right now I'm doing better again! Whoo hoo!

Well, I'd better get back to work. Lot's to do. No rest for the wicked, and all that jazz.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005

I Should Know Better

I should know better.

I have a puckish sense of humor. I also have boundless enthusiasm. I have spent most of my life getting in trouble over both of the above. So WHY am I always surprised when somebody misunderstands and gets (a) their feelings hurt or (b) huffy? But I am. Every time. And even if you apologize and slink off, they don't really believe you.

You're wondering where this is coming from? Somebody gave our book a great compliment on another author's list. They wrote it in big bold red. I wanted to respond in kind because... well, (1) I'm learning HOW to do things like big, bold and red, and (2) I really am that excited that people like the book. (Think Sally Field's Academy Award speech excited. "You like me! You really like me!") Only she took it wrong. Crap. Last thing in the world I want to do is offend somebody. It sucks. And there's not a damned thing I can do about it other than (a) apologize and (b) slink off. (Both of which I did). Crap.


OK now, the apology was accepted. Apparently the person involved was having the day from hell and is now feeling better. She DOES love the book (which is seriously cool) and the misunderstanding has blown over. Yippee! But I DO have to remember to be careful because you can only capture tone of voice so much in posts.


Back in the Game

Hi! Back in the game, so this is going to be a short post. I re-read Mac. Most of it was unsalvageable. Tone was a major problem. (As Cathy had suggested). Part of the problem was that the character was too schizophrenic. Cathy likes less emotional action types. I tend toward emotional types who ponder more and do less. I needed to come up with a more cohesive idea of who she really is and how she will act under the circumstances I've set up. SO, I've gotten started over again. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 04, 2005


Well, I have grabbed the bull by the horns, stared him in the eye, and made him blink.
Which is to say that I WROTE.

OK, I know that doesn't sound like a big deal. I'm a writer. Writing is what I do. Only, honestly, most of what I've been producing the last few weeks (and there's been little enough OF it) could be used as compost for the rose bushes. So I confronted why, and dealt with it (at least for the moment). This makes me a VERY happy girl.

Working on the mystery because we're waiting for more information on Kate and the Sazi. (Kate is the vampire book.) Hope I can get my rhythm going again and actually finish. We'll see.

Anyway, I'm happy. I'm making progress. The money came (and the money "sigh" went). But hey, progress is being made. AND THE BULL BLINKED!


Sunday, January 02, 2005

On Blogging

Hi Guys!

Bloggers are Newsweek's People of the Year. Which leads to a discussion of what exactly makes a good "blog?" Are they merely computer journals for people with no sense of privacy, a medium for transmitting information, a creative outlet, or some combination of all of the above. In another site my co-author discussed blogs as a marketing tool, emphasizing how they need to be polished and well-written, etc. That's not (obviously) how I look at them. My take is more of a "getting to know you" with the folks who are here because they (hopefully) liked the book(s) enough to want to go a little deeper and maybe see how the process works for Cathy and I. Reading it (once you wade through the personal stuff) is also a good way to get a glimpse of where we hope to go with the books, etc.

My goals for this blog is to be honest, not too boring, and get to know potential fans. I'm particularly interested in getting a chance to "converse" with folks from all over the world that I wouldn't probably get to otherwise. So far, it seems to be working. (Well, at least the honest and getting to know you parts. The boring is up for debate :) )

So, I will continue to blog as I have been. Folks will stop by (or not), comment (or not), and if it works as a marketing tool -- cool. If not, c'est la vie. Because, while I want to sell books (lots and lots and LOTS of books ;) ) I also want the chance to get to know our readers and see what kinds of comments they make about what they like and dislike about the books.

Now, do I think the fans have the right to direct where the books go? Not really. But if you intend to sell books you need to keep an eye on the direction you're going. If you're just writing for art's sake, then don't. (But don't complain about the books not selling either). In my (not so humble) opinion authors need this weird combination of people around them. (1) Cheerleaders who will be back there going "Go Cie Go! Write Cie Write! Win Cie Win!" with pom poms waving; and (2) Honest critics who will stand up to you and go: "ANNH (buzzer noise). Nope. Doesn't work because...." (completely out of character, or whatever). Because if all you have is cheerleaders, nobody is telling you when there's a problem. But if all you hear is what the problems are, you get discouraged.

One of my favorite authors had really seriously kick ass books for a long time. The last few, not so much. Problem is he/she's gotten hugely popular. So now nobody is standing up and going: "Excuse me, you've made your hero(heroine) too powerful and Godlike. He/she is practically invincible. That just about eliminates any and all tension because there's no possibility that he/she is going to lose or that anybody he/she cares about is going to get much more than a scratch let alone die." No risk/No tension. No tension = weak plot. Weak plot = unhappy readers.

Now nobody wants to HEAR you say that kind of thing. But as a writer, you need to.

Which is why I'm so lucky to have a really critical co-author. And why I'm a really critical pain in the butt of a co-author. Sometimes it causes... shall we say... VIGOROUS discussions. But the writing is better for it. So, while she probably won't read this rambling excuse of a blog (that really doesn't much serve any marketing purpose), I am taking this opportunity to say:



Saturday, January 01, 2005

Trying to Post the Picture

OK. Didn't manage it yet. (Don't know WHY I'm having so much trouble with this!) Here's a link.


Happy New Year everybody.

I want to ask you guys a favor. (Oh, and Yolanda -- Thanks SOOOOOO much for posting the review on Amazon! You're great!) I am going to try (I don't know if I'll succeed mind you, but I'm going to TRY) to post a picture of me on the blog today so you can see who you're talking to. (If I fail you can go to the website and look at the author bio page if you're interested). But I'd REALLY like to see pics of you guys as well. Pretty please????

Went to San Angelo yesterday and actually bought a couple of things for MYSELF. (For those of you who don't know me. I tend most of the time to be practical first, then buy for everybody else, THEN if there's anything left it's my turn. Generally, there isn't anything left.) Anyway, I've been very grumpy lately, and I think there are a couple of reasons. (1) I need more time alone, (2) I hate it when my house is a mess and disorganized (and it's cumulative. The longer it goes on, the worse I get), (3) I've been working very hard and not getting any reward for it for myself. SOOO when I got the check from the publisher I went and bought myself a couple of things. (1) New comforter set and matching valance for my bedroom (it was on clearance, I ended up spending 1/3 of what it would have originally cost!!!) ; and (2) a bicycle.

The good news is, I actually rode the bike a bit today. The bad news is how out of shape I've gotten in the past couple of months. UGH. Starting at zero again. I also need to go back to San Angelo and get another valance because the double window is... well... a DOUBLE window. (Duh, why I didn't think of that the first time I don't know.)

Reorganizing the office in a few minutes then starting writing on the mystery. The main trick that derailed me so that I put it aside before was that Cathy and I had totally different visions about who the character was and where the story was going. I was going for a cozy, she was going for action based on how she interpreted my description of who the character was. Either one works. Cloning them together -- not so much. So, the first thing I'm going to do is re-read as far as we got and then make a decision as to which way we're going (Cathy has already said that either is OK with her as long as we both know what we have in mind.) So, that's what's on the plate today. Reading and writing. (Aw DARN). But its the reward for having gotten done all sorts of things that I needed to take care of at home.

TOMORROW, church first, then down to business. I've got some things I've just let go way too long and they'll bite me in the butt if I don't buckle down and take care of 'em.

ANYWAY, when you post the picture, (See, I said when. I'm thinking positive ;) ) why don't you also tell me the last thing you bought yourself as a reward?

Oh and guys, in case I haven't said it lately -- thanks for coming by and talking to me!