on September 13, 2012

I joined Romance Writers of America in early 2003 when an acquaintance brought me as her guest to a Sacramento Valley Rose meeting. It was the January meeting, a panel of category romance writers who also wrote single-title length romance in all different sub-genres. Even though I don’t write category romance, I was stunned at the wealth of information I’d never imagined would be so readily available to those who just ask. I never regretted joining RWA. It’s one of the few professional writers organization that was also open to aspiring writers. I joined the Kiss of Death chapter in… Read More


on March 29, 2012

Today I’m at Left Coast Crime in Sacramento — the best thing about this conference is that it’s local! No airfare, no hotel. I’m “commuting” each day (Ok, that’s kind of bad, I really hate commuting!) But I’m definitely all about penny pinching now, especially since my oldest is going off to college in the fall … so commuting it is. Checking in with you all may be a bit haphazard, so in light of Deb’s great blog about endings last week, I thought I’d talk about beginnings. For me, beginnings are the hardest part of writing. Where to start?… Read More

Breaking Rules, Revised

on June 9, 2011

I didn’t have a blog idea for today because my daughter Kelly was supposed to write a blog about the whole Wall Street Journal opinion piece calling (practically) for the censorship of a glut of YA books, including several that Kelly read and enjoyed. And she wrote it, but didn’t finish it, and she’s sleeping now (because it’s one in the morning) and while I debated waking her up to meet her deadline (I gave her five days!) I decided to let her sleep. (Who says I’m not a considerate mom?) I’m going to make her finish it and I’ll… Read More

Writer as God

on May 26, 2011

Writer as God Last week, I turned in the revisions of IF I SHOULD DIE, minus the ending. The last sixty pages just weren’t working. I’d attempted to write the ending a multitude of times, but as I got into it, something stopped me. The set-up was contrived. The characters were being stupid. I forgot a character over here. I killed the wrong guy. Nothing was coming together the way I thought it would. I suppose I should have realized this book would be the hardest book yet. More than five years ago, my first book was published and I… Read More

Book Questionnaire and Other Stuff

on October 14, 2010

I’m neck deep in revisions for KISS ME, KILL ME — due in four days — so my creative energies are focused solely on rewriting the climax scenes. (And no, I’m not talking about sex!) Last time I was here, I posted a story my daughter wrote for a school project on ENDER’S GAME. It was amazing. Well, I just read her latest school writing project–a 1200 word short story. She wrote a ghost story that is amazing. But what is really hilarious, is that it’s not due for two weeks. What WAS due was a basic outline–character, conflict, theme,… Read More

Afterward: Thrillerfest

on July 15, 2010

The International Thriller Writers (ITW) hosts Thrillerfest in NYC the second week of every July. On Sunday, I returned from the Thrillerfest V, elated and excited and a bit apprehensive. First, a little about the organization. ITW was originally for published thriller writers of all sub-genres, as well as the lofty goal of being a “readers” group. I think the organization has moved solidly into the thriller writers camp, but with one big exception: the organization makes a concerted effort to reach readers, librarians, booksellers and other industry folks and does an amazing job promoting not only thriller writers, but… Read More

Publishing is as easy as one, two, $599 and up

on November 19, 2009

It’s been a little over forty-eight hours since the announcement that Harlequin has joined in a self-publishing venture with Author Solutions, a vanity press. I don’t want to quibble over definitions, so for the purpose of this article I use “self-publishing” and “vanity press” as meaning any book that an author pays to produce. Call it what you will, but the money is flowing FROM the author to a printer (I hesitate to say “publisher” because that’s insulting to the reputable publishers.) There are legitimate reasons to self-publish a book. A family history, for example. Many schools use self-publishing as… Read More

Writing, Revising, Editing, Copy, Proof

on November 5, 2009

Most of the regular readers of this blog know about how a book becomes a book: a writer writes it and revises it in her own way. Then she submits it to her editor and often (or, in cases like me, every time) does a round of editor revisions. Then the book goes to the editor for line edits, then production for copy edits, then back to the author to review and make changes, then to production for galleys/proofs, then back to the author for a final read/minor changes, then back to production for printing. For more on the process,… Read More

Verse of the Day

on September 10, 2009

I know a lot of people who pick up the bible, open it to a random page, put their finger down, and read the verse. Then they contemplate what the verse means to them and their life, or pray, or maybe they try again because they didn’t like the first one! Last year my son wanted to learn new words so he would open the dictionary and randomly pick a word and memorize the definition. This lasted, um, maybe a week. Or less. But he’s a smart kid. He has study hall for one hour on practice days where he’s… Read More

I don't plot. Really.

on June 18, 2009

My good friend Alexandra Sokoloff, who blogged here the other week, commented once over at Murderati that everyone plotted to a certain degree, and that my first drafts were actually a detailed outline. Right. All 80,000 words of my first draft in a book that usually ends up around 105,000 words. At first, I was willing to concede the point, but recently I was struck by the fact that I really don’t plot my books. It’s not a method of writing I recommend or don’t recommend. It’s simply the way it is. I give a workshop called NO PLOTTERS ALLOWED… Read More