The Quills attended the meeting of our local chapter of Romance Writers of America, Saguaro Romance Writers. It is a great group and we always, without fail, come back from the meeting with renewed vigor and a wealth of new ideas. My friends, I will tell you, that this is a phenomenal group and I suggest that you join a good writing group. But the key of course is to find a good group. Unfortunately, the Quills have not always been so lucky. I have known other groups that exhibited jealousy and mean spiritedness under the guise of critique. Our current group however is wholy supportive and wonderful. I am so pleased to be involved with them. We had two speakers this week, both successful published authors, and they inspired the Sisters so much. There has been a flurry of activity here at our various compounds as we research these new possibilities. Hang tight, dear Readers, there is a little curve in the road. It’s not a bump but, rather a detour that might end up being the fastest road to our destination. Nothing more exciting than vigorously working Quills. Can you smell the ink from there?
Oh you romance writers out there, I am so gratified to relate some very exciting news information that I’ve come across. According to the New York Times, romance is the only genre of books not declining in popularity. In fact, according to Harlequin, it is up 7% from the last four years. And further proof that it’s our time, Nielsen Bookscan, the people who track this sort of information, say that while adult fiction is generally declining, there was a 2.4% rise in romance sales. And most exciting, many houses are buying historical! So apparently, while we are all poor poor poor, we are reading like crazy. And why wouldn’t we? And reading romance is the logical choice for women seeking escapism. Who doesn’t want a story that is guaranteed to end happily ever after? Now is the time. My Sisters and I are writing, and blogging and working on marketing strategies. What are you doing to further your career? Let this be a forum of ideas and advice. There is a big pie out there and we for three want a big ‘ole piece of it.
I have been thinking about doorways lately. Not the simple kind used to get from room to room, but the kind we use subconsciously to get from day to day. There is the doorway to clarity, which I find in my daughter’s beautiful blue eyes, so easily and gently found everytime I see her. There is the doorway to unstoppable confidence, which is open to me every time my parents are near. They never fail to believe in anything I attempt. There is the doorway to eternal youth, which I experience anytime my husband smiles. It’s that smile that takes me back to being twenty-three again, meeting him for the first time and getting lost in the beautiful eyes that became my daughter’s birthright. And looming somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, is the doorway to my past life. The people in that room are all meaningful to me yet I have struggled to embody all that they’ve taught me. In the acceptance of myself, I now find peace there in the doorway. And amazingly, the big, heavy, mahogany door to my real life is opening without any effort from me. It’s time to go write…
If you are looking for ways to screw around, let me suggest getting a new blog. The Sisters and I are famous for our abilities to find things to do other than writing. House cleaning, at least for this Sister is not a good stalling mechanism. In fact, this house is just short of a sty. It was Phyllis Diller who said, “Cleaning the house while the kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it’s snowing.” I try, but really she was right. So call before you come over, it takes a while to hide all those dirty dishes in the oven. But the point was goofing off. Research is a favorite. You can ask the Quills when sugar cubes were invented or the history of muffins. We know. We’ve all been caught up in a research frenzy more than once. I have so much to do with Francesca and Thomas – their love affair needs my focus – but it seems that I have the attention span of a squirrel. I love accuracy, and that leads to research, and then I inevitably end up Googling like a mad fool. Wikipedia will be the death of me, I’m sure. Our goal with this site, besides the obvious desire to become published authors, is to share our struggles and impart our wisdom and our resources. We’ll keep adding these links that have been so helpful for us, hoping that they will do the same for you. I only hope that you are better able to control yourself than we have been. Remember, knowledge is power. So, now that I’ve mentioned it, you’re dying to know about the sugar cubes aren’t you?
You faithful readers may recall that I was meeting my family at the lake this weekend. The more astute of you make also have surmised that I was less than thrilled with the prospect. You are very bright, dear Reader, I was not excited about going. I was forecasting extreme heat and epic sunburn. Alas, I am of the fair skinned variety. Actually, that may have been an understatement. I am so fair skinned in fact, that I can get a sunburn on the way to the mailbox 15 yards from my front door. I think it might have something to do with that whole “vampire” thing I have going on. But I digress. I do have a tendency to ramble on. After a 3 1/2 hour drive that concluded with a 12 mile trek down a one way, washboard, dirt road with a sheer drop to the lake far below, my daughter and mom-in-law didn’t get to the lake until 8:00. And then we had to search for “our” campers out of literally thousands of drunk revellers in the dark, winding, narrow lanes through the camp grounds. When we arrived, I discovered no electricity. A brief spate of panic set in and I texted the Quills, and like good Sisters, they offered to launch a rescue mission. I got a grip and put my lap top away. There was no better excuse for why I didn’t get anymore revising done!
It turns out, my brother and his wife and kids and his best friend and his kids, were already there with my husband and son, and a score of other family and their friends. It turns out that my day at the lake was mostly enjoyable, I am pleased to admit. Believe me, no one is more surprised than me. It rained in the morning but by 10 am the sun was out and it never became too hot. As expected, I was the one in charge of keeping the children alive. That is my usual job, a role that I recognize I have thrust myself into but, nevertheless a worthy assignment. Maybe it’s the automatic lot in life for a mother to do frequent head counts and add to the the expected total any stray tots that come in her range. The children I counted numbered 6 and their ages ran from 2 to 8. I am proud to say that – at least on my watch – all six remained alive and mostly unscathed. That is not to say that said children were in the same condition they were in when they arrived at the lake. My Sweet Babaloo was, for lack of a better word, rank. By the time I caught up with him, he had spent four days at the lake living the bachelor lifestyle with his father. They boated and jet skiied, swam and fished. Babaloo will be more than delighted to tell you the tale of catching his first fish: a bluegill that he reeled in, by himself, petted and let go. His father contends that there was a shower, but I’m here to tell you that child reeked of stinky boy and lake water. Not a pleasant aroma, I assure you. But all in all, I had a good time. We made s’mores and had steaks from the campfire, the stars were out, there was much laughing and, probably most gratifying for me, the water was entirely too cold for me to be expected to put on a bathing suit and swim. The world was safe yet again from that unnecessary horror. My niece and nephew are always a delight and the kids had a great time playing together. Really, is the water ever too cold for kids to want to swim? They’ll stand there shivering and, with blue lips, assure you it’s not cold, the little sadists. Aside from the fact that I got no writing done and, even more unlikely, nearly no reading accomplished, it was not entirely the dreadful experience that I anticipated. And by far the best thing of all, no sunburn! There is a God and, apparently, she takes pity on the translucent.
It has been brought to my attention that I may have upset our lizard by my comment in yesterday’s blog. When I wrote “(don’t ask)” it was because he is such an interesting Chinese Water Dragon that if you were to ask about him it would take up too much space for a blog. I did not mean – Oh my goodness, how in the world did I end up buying mealworms for a lizard, keeping them in my refridgerator until I need to feed them to the lizard while my family is not home. I also did not mean – Oh my goodness, how in the world did I end up having to spray a lizard with water so that the humidity in his home stays at the optimal percentage and so that he thinks it’s raining. I had no idea that our lizard was reading my blog, and frankly, I was unaware he could read. In order to make up for any hurt feelings that may have occured, I made it rain twice today and carefully selected two really tasty looking worms for him for dinner. I am contrite and will be more careful in my blogging in the future.
So it’s today! Today is the day that I feel like our little endeavour is bigger than just the three of us Quills. We have all been so very enthralled by the birth of this new idea…this new project. Between creating logos, and designing blog sites, and realizing it’s really a blog site we want, not to mention trying to get in some writing and raise children, we’ve been nonstop enthusiastic about this whole thing. But still, it did seem a little encapsulated. I’m not sure I thought that anyone that wasn’t directly involved with the creaton of this site was paying attention – at least not yet, anyway. But today I was entirely thrilled to have a comment posted. A comment people! A real honest to God comment. I am just thrilled.
Happy Thursday! My first post should be about all of the craziness in my life right now, but instead it’s going to be about my dog. I’m home all alone with my Irish Terrier, Rocky, and a lizard (don’t ask). My husband and children are away and won’t be home for at least another week. Meanwhile, the dog thinks I’ve misplaced them. He sits in my husband’s chair, which he has never done before and rotates laying in front of the kid’s bedroom doors. While he is doing this, he stares at me in silent accusation. As punishment for their absense, he wakes me up early with his cold wet nose on mine, he sits on our living room sofa – a place he knows he is not allowed, insists that I share all of my meals with him (sorry Ed) and guards the lizard when I feed it. Apparently, I might lose it as well… Every time I go near any door, he starts to do his “I’m going for a walk dance” and makes me feel quilty for not taking him out nine times a day. He used to sit on my feet while I was writing but now he just mournfully stares from his perch on his missing father’s chair. I have explained to him in great detail where everyone is at, MANY TIMES, but he will not listen. The joke will be on him when they return soon, safe and sound, and I’ll get to tell him – I told you they’d be back, now stay off of the sofa!
So this morning my husband left with my four year old son to start a camping trip. That leaves just me and my kindergarten daughter to hold down the fort. Oh, and lest I forget the idiot dog. I know I feel much safer knowing the four-legged-moron is here to bark at every butterfly and snail in the yard. Anyway, the point is, I hope to get a lot of work done. Only the frustrating thing is that the Sisters have pulled me away from a really juicy, plot thickening scene in book 2 and are forcing me into yet another round of revisions to book 1 in their Nazi like quest for perfection. I know the Sisters are right, but to be honest, I’m really kind of sick of those people. Not the Sisters, the characters from that book. They’ve done their thing and now I kind of just want them to go live their lives and leave me alone for a bit. I really want to just sell it and be done with it. It’s a great story and I’m very proud of it, but enough already. Ya know?
With all the craziness of a schedule nearly impossible to keep, I find myself longing for a mental escape into my book. I don’t necessarily mean getting lost in the writing; I mean wishing I was one of the characters. Doesn’t it seem that our heroines have it made? Back in the time where the aristocracy of 19th Century England had only to worry about what to wear to the next big event, how many weeks they would attend a house party in the country at luxurious estate surrounded by green grass and gardens, having every meal prepared for them and spending countless days dodging the affections of dashing men, titled and dripping with fortunes…ahhh. These are only a few of the many reasons to escape into the nearest historical romance novel. And at this moment, the nearest one seems to be the manuscript sitting on the desktop of this computer. My characters are beckoning…Avery is stuck in the moral quandry I so rudely thrust upon her. Dane is as dashing as ever while he tries desperately to make amends for the worst decision he has ever made. And he is trusting me to resolve his conflicts and craft his Happily Ever After. It seems I have talked myself into getting lost in the writing after all…