Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year !

Most New Year's Eves I was just grateful to see the back end of the last year and praying like hell the new one was going to be different. But in 2009 I signed a three book contract and a marriage certificate! All and all, a fabulous year. In my defense, although I'm not sure why I would be feeling defensive about happiness and should probably look at that, I was stuck in a holding pattern for a long time! Now I'm looking forward to 2010 and all the new adventures on the horizon.

My wish for everyone in 2010, and yes, I'm going with a cliche, is that you take chances ( within reason, of course, not suggesting you dive off a cliff or anything!), follow your dreams, live authentically, learn from everything, grow as a person, and be the powerful creature you are!

Okay, self-help pep talk over. Now get out there and live!!

PS: Two words: Vision board. Seriously. I'm a huge believer. Of course, me being me, I couldn't just have a vision "board." I have a huge three panelled poster board that stands on an easel in the corner of my office covered in statements and pictures from magazines. Hey, if you're going to do something do it right!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Kill Your Darlings! ( Writing tip # 2 !)

I've never been a fan of the expression" Kill your darlings." In fact, it bugged the hell out of me. I always thought, Well, then what should I leave? All the lines I thought sucked? I get the concept behind it; you have to be willing to let go of a line, paragraph, or entire scenes if it doesn't work for the story. But the idea that you should kill sections you really love, just because you love them doesn't work for me.

So here's what did!

There were times when I was revising STILL MISSING that I had to cut a scene or a paragraph, but there was a line in there that I loved, and OH, MY GOD did I love it. So I'd spend hours trying to fit it in somewhere, or building entire paragraphs around it, trying everything and anything to hang on to what was now the most-wonderful-line-ever-written-that- would-catapult-me-to-superstardom-and-had-to-be saved-at-all-costs.

But then, the little voice in the back of my head ( the same one I used to ignore back in my dating days) would start to whisper, You're trying too hard to make it fit. It shouldn't be this difficult. It just doesn't work. You have to move on. Then the voice would start to chant the dreaded phrase, "Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, kill your darlings."

But I couldn't. I wouldn't.

So I found a loophole. I opened another Word document and pasted in all the pieces I couldn't let go of. Sort of a holding area, or a waiting room, if you will. I told myself I'd go back and see if I could fit them in another time, in another chapter. And you know what? I never did. But they're all there if I need them.

So if you don't want to kill your darlings, relocate them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writing Tip #1

I'd planned on doing a twelve-tips-before-Christmas-count-down sort of thing, but then my dog got sick and I've been running back and forth to the vet's, turning into a crazed puppy mom--Googling any and all symptoms in total panic mode. Then we found out it was Cushing's disease, which required more Googling and more panic. Do you know how many Web sites there are on that? And how many different opinions? Seriously, if my head wasn't already spinning that would've done it. The good news is that said puppy will soon be on a treatment plan. Right now she's enjoying a nice Valium buzz on the couch while I consider joining her.

Okay, so as much as I'd love writing an entire post on my dog drama, and Lord knows I could, I'm pretty sure others might not find it so riveting. So, here's a tip about pacing.

I've heard a few times that you should read your manuscript out loud to yourself, but that never really appealed to me. I'll read the dialogue out, and sometimes various sentences, just to get the rhythm right, but reading the story out loud didn't help. Until I was reading a chapter to someone else. That's when I realized I was speed reading a few parts because I worried the listener was going to be bored. At some point a light bulb went off-- I like to think that was sooner than later, but I'm not sure exactly when the magic "Hey, wait a minute!" moment happened. Anyway, I kind of clued in that if I'm worried about losing my listener's attention in those areas, I better be worried about losing the readers. So ever after that, if I'm not sure about a spot, I'll read it out loud, and if I rush it, or find myself skimming through it, it gets cut way down, or out altogether.

Just recently, I was at a friend's poetry reading and she asked me about a certain section, which she realized she'd read really fast. We discussed my theory about rushing past areas we're subconsciously worried about, and that's when she had her light bulb moment. She said that when she was reading, she thought, "This part's going on way too long, I'm going to lose my audience." Then she started talking faster.

So, there you go. If you're speeding through it, you better weed through it!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Morning Walks

I love early morning walks when you can see your breath hover in the air and every footstep crunches on frozen earth. The sound of dog nails scrabbling at iced-over puddles and excited yips as she tries to get the stick buried beneath. The morning sunlight that shines through the bare trees, making everything glisten and sparkle. And then, back inside, a hot shower followed by an even hotter cup of tea. Peanut butter spread on a Wasa cracker ( mental note, tell husband we're out of peanut butter). Draft of new book open, inspiration for the next scene. A keyboard. Bliss.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My New, New Cover!

Wow, I thought I loved the cover with the cabin on it, but then St. Martin's Press came up with this one and OH, MY GOD!!!

The cover blurb still has to be added, but I couldn't wait to share it. I'm so just so damn happy! I really feel like this cover represents STILL MISSING and Annie's story ( you'll see!).

Now just seven more months and it hits the shelves!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breast Cancer Video

I'll never look at pink gloves the same way again! I've gotta say the male janitor in the hall is my favourite.

Check it out!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Battle of the Blades

I nearly missed catching on to this show because of my ongoing love affair with Dancing with the Stars, but in one of my endless channel surfing sessions I stumbled on it. Since then my Monday nights have been fraught with tension as flipped back and forth between channels, trying not to miss any key moments in either show. Thank God, Battle of the Blades is finished now--I couldn't take the stress much longer! But I'm going to miss the show. There's something just so wonderfully Canadian about Battle of the Blades. Is it the Maple Leaf Gardens? The hockey players? The French accents? The politeness?

Whatever it was, it worked.

But mostly I LOVED the juxtaposition between these big, tough hockey players and their figure skating counterparts. Seeing the hockey players so far out of their comfort zone, but still giving it their all, just killed me. God, I love that stuff! I was developing crushes right left and center. Googling hockey stats on players I'd never heard of, quizzing husband on every detail of these players' careers, dodging his, "Ummmm...since when do you care about hockey?" comments with a, "Have you been working out? Because your arms look HUGE. "

All good heroes in books and movies have that perfect blend of tough but tender. Stephane Richer and Claude Lemieux in particular caught my attention. Stephane lifted his partner over his head and basically bench pressed her, then he'd flip her around his body and cradle her in his arms. Sigh.

Claude even sang--but he didn't just sing, he sang Leonard Cohen. OMG. By all accounts he was one of the roughest, toughest players out there in his day. Then Kurt Browning shared an anecdote about the first time Claude met his skating partner, Shae Lynne Bourne. She came over to give him a hug, then held his hand and Claude just froze because he couldn't believe a girl did that! But by the end of this process he was wearing satin shirts and gazing at his partner with a near-poetic smoldering passion as they gracefully spun around the rink. When he was performing his routines, I believed!

There are rumours going around that the show may get picked up for another season. If they do, I'll be singing, " Hallelujah."

Monday, November 16, 2009

To Russia With Love

I had some more great news today. STILL MISSING has now sold to Russia! This is especially meaningful to me as my grandfather and grandmother on my father's side were born in Russia. My grandfather was also a writer and published a book called The Red Pilot, Memoirs of a Soviet Airman. I have the English copy, which I bought off the internet years ago from an antique bookseller, on my shelf, and my dream has always been to place my book next to his. Now I can place the Russian copy there as well! I'm going to have to toast with some vodka tonight!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Good News!

Wow! I have even more exciting news to share! Brilliance Audio has bought the rights for STILL MISSING and my next two books!!
Yes, I know the picture of the headphones I posted is kind of creepy, but these are thrillers! Can't wait to "hear" what you all think of the audio version! Get it? Okay, okay,..:)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What a Wonderful World!

This week I'm really excited to have two bits of great news to share with you! STILL MISSING has sold to Greece and Australia!
I was so excited when my book sold to the US, so now to have sold to Germany, Greece, and Australia is mind boggling. I can't wait to see all the different covers, and to hold in my hands a copy from each country. Even if I can't read it!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My New Cover!

One of the highlights of being a debut author is seeing your first cover, for the first time. But the moments leading up to it are full of apprehension.Will I like it? Will it capture the feeling of the book?

So I was just THRILLED when I was sent this yesterday! I'm totally in love with it and I couldn't wait to share it! Hope you like it!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


I've been having a hard time lately finding a movie that I'm really crazy about. So, last night I was scanning movies at the video store, thinking, Nope. Seen it. Don't want to see it. Another remake. Blah...blah...And I come across a new one with Jennifer Aniston called MANAGMENT that I'd never heard of, which didn't bode well. But I noticed one of the main characters was played by Steve Zahn. Not sure exactly what it is about this guy, but I've always enjoyed his acting. He usually plays the side-kick or the dumbass boyfriend ( RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS), so I thought I'd give the movie a try.

Here's the thing. I generally need a fast-paced movie because I get bored easily, but a movie can be slow, if it's riveting. And that doesn't necessarily mean high-stakes drama. I just have to really, really care about a character. If something about that character connects with me, I will watch them eat french fries for an hour. I watched SUNSHINE CLEANING recently, hoping for the same thing--an off-beat beat movie with some emotional connection, but just found it sad.

MANAGMENT is not fast-paced ( it was actually slow in spots), not overtly funny, and no high-stakes drama. But Steve Zahn made this movie for me. He was so endearing, eager and real, that I just wanted to leap into the movie, take him for a beer, and help him out. He was a fantastic example of an underdog who you really, really want to see win the girl. He does some totally dumbass moves, which could be considered stalkerish but because of Steve's acting, and the writing, you believe in this character's innate goodnesss. And the writers did a fantastic job with his character arc, too.

Sue, the character played by Jennifer Anniston, wasn't as fleshed out for me. And I'm still not sure I buy into the motivation for her character growth, or whether there was any actual motivation. But I was able to forgive that because I was so impressed with Mike ( Steve Zahn).

For me, this movie is a perfect example of an actor making the words work. If I hadn't liked the actor, I'm not sure I would've believed the growth with the Mike character, either, or been so forgiving of some of his crazy moves. But Steven Zahn truly made this character come alive for me.

So, if you want to see a quirky movie, then check it out!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Warm and Fuzzies

Fall has arrived on Vancouver Island, which means it's raining! But I don't mind. Perfect weather to be hunkered down inside with a hot cup of tea and a keyboard!

While I'm working I need to cut my scary with some cute, so in between writing disturbing scenes, that are, well, disturbing! I read Web sites devoted to cute animals. I know, I know, tough thriller writer, hey?

I want to share this one video with you that I just loved. It gave me the warm and fuzzies, so I hope it makes you smile!

Animal Friends :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Bookreporter.com contest!

Wow! I got some great news Friday! Bookreporter.com is launching a fantastic new feature/contest where readers get to read select books early and share their feedback. I'm very proud to announce that they chose STILL MISSING as their first novel!

They have 60 specially formatted early-editions to give away, and all they ask is that because this is such a special opportunity, you agree to read it and give your feedback within a certain time-frame. As STILL MISSING won't be released until July 2010 I'm really excited to hear what all you wonderful readers think!

If you are interested in more details and checking out this great website, here's the link. Bookreporter.com

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Now You're Cooking

I love cooking shows. A fact that was brought home even harder recently when I was watching JULIE & JULIA. A great movie about a woman who blogs about her experience working her way through Julia Child's cookbook.

I enjoyed the movie because it's got that whole
"if you work hard enough and follow your bliss/passion you will achieve your dreams" thing. One of my favourite personal belief systems. I have a few, one of which is don't Google about a blog that was made into a movie because you will love the other writer's writing and decide yours sucks. So don't do that. Another reason I liked the movie was the popcorn.

A movie has to really SUCK for me not to be able to comfort myself for the loss of the ticket money ( I dissect most movies I see, the negative side of being a writer with a short attention span) with a big bag of buttery popcorn. But you MUST eat peanut M&M's at the same time, only then can you achieve sweet- buttery-chocolate-popcorn Nirvana.

But the third reason, and the reason I'm writing this post while my dog is hurling her leash and collar at the back of my head, is about my passion for cooking. Sorry, I mean cooking shows. I freaking LOVE them. I discovered the Food Network, and then Food Network Challenges, ( sometimes they have to make cakes with themes and it's the most stressful, wonderful thing you can imagine.) and Top Chef, and of course Hell's Kitchen, and Kitchen Nightmares. The latter ones being all twisted in my head with my fear/love of Gordon Ramsay and my desire to see things that are going for shit suddenly rise from the ashes.

I know lots of people like cooking shows. Big deal, right? But here's the thing. I don't like cooking. I can do it, sure, and sometimes I find pleasure in it. But it's more of a oh-yup-just-wanted-to-confirm-I-could-do-still-d0-it-kind-of-pleasure. Left to my own devices, soup with cheese and crackers does the job just fine.

Then I met the ONE--my husband. He likes experimenting with new dishes. I find making a salad annoying. He likes to use herbs from our garden. If I can buy something pre-chopped or pre-rinsed I will. He loves all the kitchen things we got for our wedding. I love all the things he makes in them. So we both accepted cooking is just not my deal. But the great thing about marriage is that you pick up the slack where the other lacks. I have my departments, but they don't require me to rinse or chop anything. Thank God.

But back to the cooking show thing. Not sure what it is, but I love watching food being prepared. I also love the kitchen departments of fancy gift stores. Husband loves the gadgets and anything that has a motor, while I tend to gravitate to all the crazy expensive dishes. I will browse for hours exclaiming, " We have to get this!" Over a cheese tray, or hard selling husband on the complete necessity of a fondue set. Without really wanting to actually be responsible for preparing anything that's going to land on those dishes.

This all works for us, though. I daydream grandiose fantasies of dinner parties and laughter with friends, then organize the event and husband does the cooking. I'm the architect and he's the structure. He's the bread, I'm the cheese. Okay, okay, I'll stop! Time to go anyway--dog's giving me some seriously dirty looks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Okay, just ignore the weird fonts in the below post about Montreal. Don't know what the heck happened there. I was trying to fix something and created a whole new problem! But after a half an hour of messing around with it I remembered I'm supposed to be writing my next book! So I'll leave you with a, what's up with Kanye? That guy has a serious case of entitlement. So not cool.

And SO sad about Patrick Swayze. God, did I ever have a crush on him in Dirty Dancing. The misunderstood boy from the wrong side of the tracks, who everyone thinks is trouble, but is really nobel and sensitive! Wow. Talk about heroes. Mostly I'm very sad for his wife. Because she loved the real man. And he was probably her hero every day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

C' est La Vie

Sorry for the bad blogging folks. I've been a tad busy since I last posted. You see, I got MARRIED! Then we went to Montreal for our honeymoon.

I planned on coming home and blogging about the old buildings, churches, cobbled streets, open markets where you can buy roasted sausage on a STICK! But today I want to talk about cheese. Not just any cheese, but the wide array of cheese our charming hotel
Le Place D'Armes put out every night at cocktail hour.

So the first night we're toasting ourselves, drinking our wine, eating our cheese, and feeling very grown up, when we see this family standing at the counter in front of the tray of cheese and its accompanying bowl of freshly sliced baguettes. ( Don't even get me started on the bread in Montreal. I still can't get the memory of focaccia bread with cheddar cheese baked into it and caramelized onions slathered on top out of my mind.) Then the young boy picks up an entire BLOCK of cheese and sets it on his plate. Husband and I fully expect the parents to give a firm correction. But the mother reaches over and starts piling slices of baguettes on top of the block of cheese. Now we're staring transfixed. Then the family actually takes the plate and LEAVES and go up to their room!

We were still talking about it when a few minutes later they come back and take more, this time sitting down to eat it. For the rest of the night we speculated. Did they eat all the cheese? Take it to another family hiding up in the hotel room? Save it for later?

The next night we perched at our table and engaged in our new favourite form of entertainment--watching the cheese tray. We elbowed each other over people who gripped the cheese with their fingers, the ones who mulled over their choices while people lined up behind them, the ones who piled their plates up then ate two bites, but our favourite was the cocktail-hour-crasher.

One side of the lounge was blocked off for a wedding and plates of yummy looking appetizers were being carried by. I drooled as they went past, but comforted myself with my brie ( so creamy, God was it good) and my red wine. Then this woman and her two friends enter the lounge and head towards the party at the back of the room, clearly guests of the wedding. One of the women pauses in front of the cheese tray and grabs a GIANT wedge, in her bare hands, and carries it over to the wedding group while she and her friends giggle.Then she sat there and proceeded to break it off into chunks and eat it. The thing that shocked us the most was that this was an older woman who looked like a university professor or something. And there she was giggling because she pilfered a free chunk of cheese on her way to a wedding reception.

We noticed this phenomena again when we we visited a bakery at the market. There were little samples of some yummy desert on the counter. We each took one, enjoyed it, but that was that. Then this woman goes up and gets one and hands each of her young daughters one, which they finish in record time. So she gives them each another one, then ANOTHER ONE!

The cheese and desert samples were there for the taking. Sure. But where do you draw the line? What do you think? Does " free" mean help yourself to as much as you want?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Latest Addiction

I'm addicted to earplugs. I'm not sure exactly when it happened, like most addictions it snuck up on me. One day my neighbor was doing some work that seemed to require a lot of hammering, so I used a pair because I was trying to write. It was interesting, sort of like writing underwater. But the neighbor stopped working and I forgot about the earplugs.

Then summer hit and windows opened. I'm not a great sleeper at the best of times. My mind is usually going a mile a minute and " relaxed" is just not a natural state. So my honey had a package of earplugs he brought home from work. Ahhhhh... silence.

Then it started. I'd drop hints about needing more and meet him at the door after work with an eager smile. If he forgot them, I'd drift around the house casting depressed, " Why is the world so LOUD," looks in his direction.

And if he did bring some home? Ahhhhh...sweet relief.

With ear plugs I can have the fan and air conditioner on and still be in my happy cocoon of nothingness! But then I realized something. When I didn't have them, I felt off. On edge. Grumpy.

Then I noticed how many empty wrappers were on my desk, on the night table. How many was I using in a day? I didn't even know anymore. I had a problem.

So I'm weaning myself. One day at a time. I can do this.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

So Whose Fault Is It?

I'm a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance, mainly because I know I can't. Oh, sure I can rock it out a little, if there's enough Vodka bravery in me. But what those kids do? Not a chance.

This season I've started to notice something though. And this little something is starting to really ruffle my feathers. I know this because I've been yelling at the TV, always a clear sign something is bugging the crap out of me. Brilliant surmise, I know.

If a dance sucks, it's never the choreographer. NEVER. Instead these poor dancers, who've just busted their ass trying to turn what was clearly a lame routine into something worthy of riding the "Hot Tamale Train", stand there smiling eagerly while the judges tell them they didn't "commit " enough.

I get editing, I get feedback. I even get that these dancers need to take whatever they are given and rock it to the best of their ability. I also understand they need to learn how to take criticism. But COME ON.

Some of those dances were so dumb it would've taken a miracle to infuse them with life. Just once, I would love it if Nigel said, " Well, you weren't given much to work with,Italicbut you gave it your all."

Maybe they should make the choreographers have to compete as well. Let the people vote for their favourite! Bet that would keep things a lot more honest than this current vomit-worthy you-are-just-the-most- brilliant-choreographer-EVER love fest.

Two hip hop routines by the same choreographer get thumbs down from the judges, and you're telling me the dancers screwed up?


The dancers sure impress me, though. Because even though they must be tempted sometimes, not one of them has ever broken down and lipped off a judge. As writers, getting feedback can be hard, but at least we don't have to sit there on TV and smile about it.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Second Time Around

When I started STILL MISSING I had a premise, a few key scenes in mind, then the rest just happened organically. This time around things are a lot different. I have a contract for one thing, which means I had to hand in an outline and I now have a deadline. Although the process of writing an outline had its share of challenges--can we say, hair pulling, teeth gnashing, pure terror, and night sweats--I was glad to know my editor loves the idea of my next book BEFORE I spent a year of my life writing it.

Now I'm charting, creating a time line, and sticking index cards all over my wall. In short, doing all the things I didn't do with the first one until I was many drafts in and trying to write my way out of a corner. And this time I’m going to research upfront if it kills me! Trust me, there’s nothing like discovering all your scenes involving police are based on American shows. “But they did it on Law and Order,” isn’t a good defense!

On a side note, because I tend to get sidetracked easily, how many of them are there now? Feels like every time I turn on the TV there’s a new Law and Order. I’m waiting for the Canadian one. Law and Order: Special Beer Unit. No? How about Law and Order: Criminal, eh? Okay, okay, sorry. It’s early.

Anyway, what I was trying to say is that writing STILL MISSING was one hell of a learning experience, but I don't regret any of it. Every one of my mistakes taught me something. Even if it was what not to do the next time!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What is it About Hotel Rooms?

So I've been working out of town all week and staying in a hotel--you may have guessed this by my back to back posts on TV shows. Anyway, as I looked around this morning, I realized I'm a slob when I'm on the road. At home I'm very clean, not anal, but everything has its place. Here...ummm...not so much. I have things stacked everywhere. Dishes on the counter. Clothes on the floor. Wrappers. ( Well, I am on the road.) It's pathetic.

Now in my defense, I do stay here for days and I travel with my dog, who comes with nearly as much stuff as me. But she even turns into a slob. Her bed is thrown into the corner, her toys are all over, and she's sprawled on the couch-- scratching her belly and burping. (Not kidding.)

I always leave the room clean when I check out, even tidy the bed first, so I'm not sure what the deal is. Maybe it's because I know I'm only here for a limited time? It's a house-cleaning vacation? My little act of rebellion against myself? Well, whatever the reason for my mess, it's time to walk my dog. I think she's in here somewhere....

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My New Addiction

Considering I'm a former realtor, who didn't much enjoy her time as a realtor, you wouldn't think I'd want to spend an hour watching people buying houses, would yah? Well, I discovered this show called House Hunters, then I found House Hunters International! Maybe it's more enjoyable because I'm not the one pounding the pavement showing the same house twenty times to someone who later decides they are just going to rent for a year, but for whatever reason, I love this show. They, of course, only ever seem to have three to pick from, but I love placing bets on which one they'll choose. Will it be the fixer-upper, the one with the view, the pricey town home?

I especially like the international one because I get to see all these different homes in exotic locations. I find it fascinating, the different market values, the unique layouts of the homes depending on what each culture considers important. And with each one I play along mentally. Ooohh, it would be lovely to have a vacation home in Italy. I too could cook dinner parties and host them on the terrace overlooking my grape vines. ( Never going to happen, the cooking part.)

Or do I want that beach home in Malibu, but which to choose? The one with the ocean view for $45, 000 a month or the fully furnished one right on the beach for $ 75,000 a month? Suddenly I find myself crunching numbers, torn between my two new loves, feeling the pressure because someone else may make an offer that night. Crazy!

I still don't want to be a real estate agent, but I sure do miss looking at all the homes!

Hmm, maybe I should call my realtor.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where Have all the Cowboys Gone?

Okay, so I don’t watch The Bachelorette, or The Bachelor for that matter, very much. Mostly because I just end up yelling at the TV and feeling pissed off. But tonight, while surfing through the channels, I caught some of the new season. So, apparently this Wes guy is supposed to have a girlfriend, according to some Jake guy. And I liked this Jake guy, right before he walked outside and started CRYING. Now I’m all for sensitive men, but what the heck was he crying about? Because he was so worried about Gillian? Ummm...not buying it. But I’m not sure I feel any better about Mr. I-wanna-be-a-singer Wes. I could be wrong but my bullshit detector is going crazy. I see trouble. But I will resist being sucked in. After the next commercial, for sure.

PS: OH MY GOD. Now some other guy just cruised in and wants back on the show. Man, I do not envy this girl one bit.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Sad Day

I was horrified to hear on Thursday that both Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett passed away.

Michael Jackson’s music was a big part of my teen years—Thriller was featured at every birthday party I went to for a year. I didn't understand the last decades of Michael’s life, why he altered his face so much, the naming of his children, the problems with Neverland Ranch. But I still felt bad that such a brilliant artist was so often overshadowed by rumor and speculation. Even now it seems like the media is trying to milk every bit for all it's worth.

I was too young when Farrah was on Charlie’s Angels, but I cried all the way through the Barbara Walters special. I’m not sure what broke my heart more, the images of Farrah leaping around, blond hair tossed over her shoulders, dazzling white smile, or the ones of her bravely facing the disease which eventually claimed her life. Watching Ryan O’Neal talk about how he just wanted to take care of her, seeing the images of him holding her in bed, knowing their wish to finally be married, I was captivated—and saddened—by their enduring love.

One of the rare times I stayed up late enough for Letterman, I watched Farrah's infamous interview and wasn't very impressed. But watching the Barbara Walter's special, listening to Farrah's beautiful voice talk about her disease, I admired her bravery, respected her, and thought, Would I be so strong?

I learned something from Michael’s and Farrah’s passing. I learned to enjoy every day. It’s a cliché, I know. But watching one of the most beautiful women in the world face her possible, and eventual, death with dignity and grace— fighting every step of the way and never once acting like a victim. Well, that was a reality check and a half. Most of the things I worry about on a daily basis aren’t worth squat at the end.

So, I’m going to try harder not to stress about little things (My friends are probably laughing right now!) and not take any moment for granted. You never know when it's your last.

Monday, June 15, 2009

New Beginnings

When it was time to have my website built I knew I needed something that would capture the mood of my novels, but also represented me as a writer. I’m not very techie, so I knew it was going to be hard to articulate. My first conversation with Ron, my web designer, went a little like this…

“I want something moody, but not horror writer—no bloody knives. I’m a thriller writer, but not the classic thriller— darker, more literary. So it needs to be moody, but not too dark, you know? I'm thinking some nature shots, but creepy ones. Oh, and I don’t have the real cover yet and I’m getting new author pics in July, and blah, blah, blah…”

Then Ron sent me a PDF of my first three pages. WOW! He totally understood what I was looking for and completely exceeded my expectations. We fine-tuned things a little—a color change here, an image moved over there--then it went to Kyle to be programmed. When Kyle sent me the back door link and I saw my website live for the first time, I was thrilled! But the editing process is the same no matter what the product and we still weren’t done. Thankfully, Kyle proved to be just as patient as Ron and we went through each page together.

“Can you put a space between those two boxes of text and move that picture to the left? Can we change the color on that heading and line those up? Can we link that one over there? Can we enlarge the font? Yah, that’s awesome!”

Then the next day.

“Can we move the font back to the other size? No, not that one, the other one, the first one. Can you remove that one dash and take out that other line?”

But then finally there was nothing left to fix. We were done.

It feels a bit like after you’ve moved into a new home. The movers are gone, most of the boxes are unpacked, pictures are hung, and I’m sitting in my living room with a glass of red wine checking out my new digs. This site represents everything I’ve been working towards for years. It was the first time I saw my name on a book cover (Okay, a mock one, but still!), my author bio, and my name on the banner. But my favorite part is the one word under Chevy Stevens—Author.

I’ve had many titles in my life, but this is the one I worked the hardest for. The one I wanted the most. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel real. But it sure feels good.