Saturday, November 29, 2008


I just signed a contract for a novella in a YA anthology due out next summer. Every contract I sign is accompanied by an author info sheet with a cover request, the blurb, an excerpt, etc. The one part that always takes me the longest is the dedication. There are always so many people I want to recognize - from critique partners to loved ones to favorite college or high school teachers.
The dedication is one of the most important sections of the book--at least it is for me--because it is a window into the author's personal life. Writers easily hide behind their characters and plots, allowing their readers to see only a carefully orchestrated creation. I always read the dedication in books because it is that tiny crack into who the author really is and frankly, I'm a voyeur by nature. I love peeking behind the curtain to see the actors not playing roles. Of course, I love the play as well. But glimpsing something of the real person gives me a sense of behind-the-scenes knowledge.
A friend told me recently she rarely reads the dedication unless she knows the author personally. I found this unconscionable! How could she skip past such a vital piece of information? She said she doesn't want to know too much about the author. It might cloud her perception of the story. What???
So now I'm curious. Do you always read the dedication? Or are there others out there like my friend? Do tell...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I've been looking at the bookstore and Internet book sites' holiday offerings lately, wondering if these seasonally targeted stories are worth writing. I mean, they sell mostly in November and December, but then what? I'd like a book to have appeal all year long, not only during the holidays.
Now, I've written one holiday themed story, Cinderella Tannenbaum, which deals with a woman in need of a date for family gatherings so she searches for her High School crush. However, this is a short story, not a full length novel. I put a few weeks of my time into it, rather than several months. When I looked up my sales figures recently, I noticed this story is my number one seller. It was also an ECataRomance Reviewers' Choice Award nominee the year it was released.
So for me - yes - it was worth it to write a seasonal story.
So what do you think? Do you buy holiday themed romances? Do you write them?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Goodbye to a Friend

I found out I lost a friend today. I've run out of tears and my eyes are swollen and red. But this isn't about me. Rather than dwell on the loss, I want to share what a terrific person she was. I've known her for more than twenty years. We met on a professional level (she patronized a business I used to own), but we considered each other friends. Up until a week ago, we spent a couple hours together about once a month.
Like me, she was the youngest of three sisters. Her faith was more important to her than nearly anything and late in life, she found her soul mate at church. They married a decade ago and she'd been very happy with him. Her cats were like children to her and she brought them when she traveled. A lawyer and mediator, she never failed to offer me her expert advice free of charge. In fact, she drew up a will for me many years ago and refused to accept a dime for the work. She served on the board of a local charity recently and even worked on the staff of US Senator Lawton Chiles in her younger days.
We exchanged birthday and Christmas gifts each year and hers were always more than generous and well thought out. She gave me so much of my favorite jewelry and the packages coordinated with the gift. Her clothes and accessories (down to the color of her umbrella) were always perfectly matched. But more than anything else, I will forever cherish the time we shared, the world problems we solved between us and the warmth of her smile.
Roemy -- I'll miss you always.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A New Era

Regardless of who you voted for or what you think of our new President-Elect, you have to be in awe of the change this country has undergone in the last fifty years. As I watched shots of the crowd in Chicago last night, I couldn't help getting choked up when I saw the tear-stained faces of people who had lived through the civil rights era, probably witnessed race riots in the sixties, all sorts of injustices and atrocities. Those same people, in less than half a century, welcome our first black president.
I'm completely energized by the level of participation, especially by young voters. According to CNN, voter turnout was the highest since women won the right to vote! Even though ridiculously long lines prevailed, people waited to be part of the process, to have a voice.
This was my nineteen-year-old son's first opportunity to vote in a presidential election and I'm so glad he did and also saw his friends participate as well. After all, they are the future, a future they will help shape.