Saturday, May 31, 2008


So we went looking for Buckingham Palace. It was easy. We just asked a bird for directons and followed the signs...

It was pretty impressive...

Dear Airborne and Baby Horse,
We thought you would be interested to see some of your English counterparts.

Notice how nicely they behave. They are even carrying drums.

Horses as far as the eye could see. It was our kind of parade.
NOTE TO BABY HORSE: If you notice NONE of the horses had their tongues sticking out as you are so inclined to do...

And then we strolled down to see the famous leaning tower of Westminister Abby...

And Big Ben...
We just might see Stonehenge in between me practicing my reading for Monday.
Stay Tuned...
Any photo op requests from my blogging Buddies?

Friday, May 30, 2008


Aloha Bloggers from merry olde England...

Meet Mr. Plane: The Boeing 747 that carried us safely all the way from LAX to Heathrow.
British Airways Rocks!
I ended up giving a signed copy of LOTTERY to our flight attendant Deborah. She took very good care of us.

The 10 + hours just flew by (a tiny joke, that.)
Of course I had to take a picture out the window of the Grand Canyon.

And another coming into London.

Customs was great fun.
"Why are you coming to England?"
"Well you see there's this Orange Prize..."
He took my card with the cover of LOTTERY and my website and promised to buy my book.
I believe him.
England is flatter than I expected and I was cheered to see a pasture of horses right next to the airport.
All the way to our hotel I took pictures.

And now?
We are both dazed from jet lag and the 19 hour journey.
And missing Touloose.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Two...count them. ONE - TWO days until I leave for London. "All my bags are packed...I'm ready to go..." NOT!

Okay so now we're going to talk about strange requests and the life of an author. The above shot was taken at the Celebrate Reading conference. This is Chad or Ted or Jason...whatever...
He didn't want his copy of Lottery would ruin it! He made it clear he was not one of those readers who dog-earred pages of novels or highlighted important phrases in text books -- Instead he asked me to deface his face. I complied. It was kind of like performance art. He had his friend take a photo and then voila! Instant signature, art, and fame. Well signature. At least until his shower that night.
Now there are the emails.
Some let me know I have been lucky enough to win the LOTTERY in Uzbekistan or Lithuania or France. All I have to do is send them all of my banking information, my social security number, and pay the taxes in cash. And then I'll get my money.
Others encourage me to order Viagra and other amazing pharmaceuticals that promise to increase the size of organs I don't even have.
But my favorite so far is my pen pal S.J. Joshi from India. He has been professing his undying love and adoration to me.
Over and over and over. All he wants (he says) is a signed photograph of me.
He couldn't be serious, I thought. I am after all a 54 er uh 55 year old woman. I doubted his love so I'm embarrassed to say didn't answer. His emails still came faithfully.
Okay...I decided to answer and I explained that I was probably not who he had in mind...he was confused...understandably so as when I look at the picture on my book jacket it IS possible someone could think of me in that romantic way.
I tried to soften the blow...
He still replied. Ignoring my attempts to stifle his love and admiration.
I thought maybe he's for real. Maybe I should google him.
And then.
Devastation. Betrayal. I stumbled upon the EXACT SAME EMAIL he sent to me but THIS ONE was sent to some musician-who-shall-remain- nameless.
I am bereft.
Tragically and utterly undone.
Here it is for your perusal:

"My Dear Musicians,
With due respect and humble submission,I beg to draw your kind attention that this is one of my countless attempts to reach you, and needless to say once again that I am an ardent admirer of yours.In fact,I am growing accustomed to your fame.
But now,it seems to me that you have decided,not to reply my letters of deep admiration,as this is one of my countless attempts to reach you.Please tell me ,is it good to break the heart,you are ruling?It's a pity! it's a pity! that I am still writing to you.In fact,you are my source of inspiration.That is why,I use to write to time and again despite your apathy towards me.Upon my words,you are absolutely unique and beyond compare.And you are my ideal of a perfect personality.
Therefore,I'll be grateful to you,if you please take the trouble of sending me your much awaited and cherished autographed photograph,for memento.Because when I'll grow too old to dream,I'll have this memento of yours ,to remember.Please take a very good care of yourself.
With high regards

Where did I go wrong? What could I have done to save our relationship?
I take my solace in the fact that I found out about his duplicity before I sent my photograph.
Before I became wholly involved.
Be still my pounding heart.
A tear creeps down my unsigned and unphotographed cheek.
I entreat my blogging buddies to cheer me out of my despondency.
That's right.
I get to go to London.
I feel MUCH better...

PS (Check out ELLO'S Blog Wednesday "Dr. Gigi Durham, the author of the Lolita Effect, the media sexualization of young girls and what we can do about it, is guest appearing on ello's blog Wednesday to answer questions on this very important topic. It would be wonderful if you could help spread the word or at the very least stop by and be part of the Q&A discussions.")

Monday, May 26, 2008


Candle-lit lanterns will be launched from the beach this evening to honor those who have perished that year and pay respect to our ancestors.

When I first moved to Hawaii nearly 20 years ago we lived on the 16th floor over looking the Ala Wai Canal, Diamond head, and the Pacific Ocean if we stood on a chair on the lanai and craned our necks so we looked kind of like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.
One evening I looked out and the canal was lit by thousands of illuminated paper lanterns. It covered the waterway -- an immense candle lit flotilla.
We watched for hours as these jaunty little paper boats made their way to the harbor and out to the open sea before sinking.
I found out later it was a Buddhist rite, originally from Japan to carry spirits "from the sea of delusion to the shore of salvation."

What ever the spiritual intent it is a lovely ceremony. Thousands here in Hawaii take part every year to remember those close to them. Even if you don't set your own lantern onto the surface of the water it's a chance think about all those who have been lost. It's a chance to realize those we cared about are not really gone...just as the lanterns slowly saturate with water and the candles flicker and extinguish -- the memory of them remains-- just as the memory remains of all the people in your life who were important to you.
It's not a time of sadness.
Never sadness.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008


1.Memorize all the lyrics to “London Bridge is Falling Down”
Change title of song when realize what a terrible thing to sing and change to “God save the Queen” and “We are the Champions” by Queen.
2.Order British Pounds from bank
The conversation went something like this:
ME: I’d like 100 dollars worth of British Pounds. How many is that?
BANK: 50.
ME: WHAT!!?? In Norway I got 6 Kroner for each of my dollars. That is so unfair…okay then I want $200 worth of Pounds.
BANK: That will be $210 and it will take two days to get them.
ME: TWO DAYS!!?? Okay. Do you think that’s enough? Should I get more?
BANK: uh I don’t know. I’ve never been to London.
ME: Maybe I should get $300. How about $300?
BANK: It’s up to you -- we really can’t give you advice on how much to buy.
ME: Why not? If you sell them you really ought to help your customers decide how much to buy…
I don’t why I was suddenly disconnected…that’s okay. I had to get back to reading my DK guide to London from cover to cover.
3.Read all six (well five) of the shortlisted books.

Nancy Huston Fault Lines

Told from the POV of four 6 year olds - a wonderful book for those of us who adore mysteries and family secrets...

Sadie Jones The Outcast

Terrific for those of us who loved Atonement and who are attracted to those bad boys from the other side of the tracks...

Charlotte Mendelson When We Were Bad

You like family sagas? This is a wonderfully hilarious book about a dysfunctional family that even put my relatives to shame. Caution: Nose alert! Do not read while drinking liquid.

Heather O’Neill Lullabies for Little Criminals

You like to be taken to another place? I fell in love with 12 year old Baby like you will. Filled with authenticity, grittiness and hope.

Rose Tremain The Road Home

Do you enjoy reading about the transformation of an endearing character? The journey of Lev will leave you breathless.

Patricia Wood Lottery

What can I say about this debut by Patricia Wood? What's that? oh er nevermind. That's me.

The Orange Prize Committee had CELEBRITIES review the six novels.

I was lucky enough to get MATTHEW RHYS which I am completely pleased with.

You can hear me read an excerpt of LOTTERY HERE.

4. Plead with all my English blog buddies (and anyone else for that matter) to offer suggestions of edibility and useful travel tips.
5. And last but not least:
Check temperature for London
48 degrees: Pack snowsuit
Check temperature for London
71 degrees: Take out snow suit and pack shorts
Check temperature for London
55 degrees: Replace shorts with long underwear
Check temperature for London
66 degrees: Keep long underwear and put shorts back in.
Check temperature for London
51 degrees: Decide not to check temperature for London anymore…

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The blue striped Taape is not indigenous to the Hawaiian Islands -- it was introduced and now is ubiquitous.

It's difficult to move on but we must.
A new day.
I feel the same way leaving LOTTERY. Soon the trade paperback will be released and I will immerse myself even deeper in my next project. But it's hard. Boy it's hard!
I thought I might sleep in today after the marathon yesterday but rained. And uh...I left a hatch open and...uh there is a leak SOMEWHERE on the aft deck of ORION that lets a drip...drip...drip...drip...strategically on some exposed body part.
At 4 in the morning.
The sun is not up.
I can tell it will be cloudy and wet.
It is a good day to write.

This is my friend Kuulei. We both attended the University of Hawaii and she now teaches at my former High School Farrington (Go GUVS!). I went there Monday to talk to students about writing and publishing and to encourage them to read. Kuulei loves LOTTERY and wants to translate it into Hawaiian.

I then gave a workshop to students who want to be writers and boy were they AWESOME! We had a great time and then we had pizza together...
I encourage any of you writers and authors to go to high schools and work with students. It's great fun and the librarians and teachers are really appreciative.
I'm definitely going back cuz they gave me free lunch. Disproving the old adage that there IS NO FREE LUNCH!
There is TOO!

Monday, May 19, 2008

MISS SNARK...NOT JUST FOR NITWITS.. This was posted 12:17 AM May 20, 2008 New York Time.

The Target dog sends his best to KILLER YAP.

A tribute to Miss Snark on the Anniversary of her last post.
The first thing I thought of when I was asked to post a tribute to MISS SNARK'S BLOG on this the first anniversary of its demise was: DON’T BE A NITWIT.
And then. “Why didn’t I think of that?”
(Kind of like hearing about a really great premise about a man winning the LOTTERY… but I digress).
There are others who are more worthy to do this. Have just the perfect subtlety of prose or just the right humorous take on what this blog meant/means to us writers.
I only know I am proud TO HAVE BEEN A NITWIT.
Proud to incorporate WTF as a copyediting mark on my manuscripts.
Proud to know all about RABINTAINIA
Proud to have been clued in about CLUEGUN.
Proud to be able to use SERIAL SCRUBBERS in a complete sentence.
Proud to understand and converse in fluent “SNARKSPEAK.”
Back in 2004 I was a hapless neophyte in query-land. I can’t remember how I discovered Miss Snark’s blog -- I wish I could. I was a lurker for ages. Not brave enough to post until flush with the thrill of obtaining representation I emerged from my shell and became ORION. I needn’t have feared…unless of course if I WAS A NITWIT.
Time passes. She is gone now but certainly not forgotten. I took some time to go back and peruse the posts starting in March 2004 that started with just a photograph, then March 2005 with the first comment appropriately enough by anonymous and finally to May 20 2007 when it all ended. Her advice is as apt now as it was then.
Don’t be a Nitwit.
I repeat.
Courtesy of Stephen Parrish I have been given the following facts:
“According to SiteMeter, Miss Snark's blog has been visited some 300,000 times since her last post.
According to Technorati, almost 400 new bloggers have linked to Miss Snark during the past six months alone.
If you google "Miss Snark" you get 128,000 hits.
More and more blogging agents and writers are critiquing queries and opening lines for the benefit of the online writing community. Query letter advice seems to be converging along lines governed by a zeitgeist; the mark of the Snark is unmistakable.”
When I last checked the counter on Miss Snark’s Blog, it read over 2.8 MILLION hits. Like that suburban legend about exploding hamsters in the microwave or mules who kill cougars, the legend of Miss Snark lives on and on. Undeniable. Powerful.
So calling all commenters and Loyal Snark Fans. Let Miss Snark know her impact. Tell us if you have attained representation or sold your novel. Let us know how you found her and that she is missed.
She helped us to laugh at ourselves (and especially at other writers) and see the humor in the situation (especially at other writers). Helped us to realize that if we were going to be published it would take determination and the merging of a unique premise with solid writing (something other writers find difficult if not impossible to do).
I tried to explain all this to the guy on the next boat.
“I’m doing a tribute for an amazing person online.”
“For an obituary?”
“No, she’s still alive.”
“Who is it? Is she famous? Do I know her?”
“Her name is Miss Snark.”
*note: he was already on his 6th beer as it was 10 in the morning and we were in a boat harbor after all. He jumped up and pulled his feet out of the water because he thought I said “Shark”
“Miss who?”
“Miss Snark. She was an anonymous literary agent who gave great advice and rescued poor na├»ve writers from scamming predators.”
“You mean like a cross between Superman, Ann Landers and George Clooney’s future lover?”
“So what did she do that made her so special.”
“Well she called us Fuckwits when we were bad, Snarklings when we were good and we all fell over ourselves to submit to her Crapometers.”
“Oh,” he said. And then opened another beer.
I guess you had to be there…

Sunday, May 18, 2008


No stainless cleaning or swabbing the deck on ORION this weekend -- instead it's the 2008 Hawaii book and Music Festival at Honolulu Hale.
The keynote speaker was Michael Ondaatje who read from several of his novels and answered questions. Such a thrill to hear him.
In the morning I did a panel on fiction with Kaui Hart Hemmings author of THE DESCENDANTS and HOUSE OF THIEVES.
The photo is evidence that moderator Michael Egan was successfully able to wrest the microphone from me and allow fellow writer Kaui a chance to speak. We had great fun and Kaui blogged about it too.

The panel and audience discussed the author's intent, how books ought to have major themes of important truth and what makes a "good" or "bad" book. Of course I got the immediate picture of two mysteries and a thriller stealing the cash from your purse, taking the keys to your car and sneaking out for a night of revelry on a school night...
Hey! There are no bad books...only bad readers LOL...
Seriously? Literature is so subjective and if I've learned anything over this past year is that you can't please everyone -- I can't think of a book out there that doesn't have both fans and pans. What do you think?

In the morning I got a chance to reconnect with MIA KING - she has a new book coming out in September SWEET LIFE. We had breakfast and lunch together. Her panel was about romance and women's fiction. Jane Porter, Jill Marie Landis and Mia King all read from their novels and answered questions. It was great to meet so many different writers and both Jill and Jane are every bit as nice as they look!

Today there are more readings and talks -- both Jane Porter and I have presentations in the air-conditioned auditorium. This is a wonderful thing as Pele has been sending over more vog from the Big Island. It's hot and muggy but with a good book anything is tolerable...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


So Ella's mother finally got around to showing Ella my BLOG ENTRY ABOUT HER ...
Take a moment to read Ella and her mom's comments...

The following conversation is third hand (related by my dutiful husband while filling the water tank).
Mother of Ella (hereafter referred to as M.O.E.) made the fatal error of reading outloud to Ella all the comments on my blog about her amazing journey up the mast.
Note* The size of Ella's head was said to increase exponentially with each kudo.

Ella considered everything carefully and had the following suggestion that I might post her telephone number on my blog so she could offer advice, counsel, and tell bloggers all about her other adventures in person...

M.O.E. stated her fear that Ella would now be unable to walk down the dock without hitting bowsprit after bowsprit with her enormous inflated ego.

So now we are offering a NEW BONUS SERVICE!!!
You post the questions and I'll run across the dock in my bare feet and get your answers fresh out of the mouth of the babe...
We ALL need a bit of Ella in ourselves don't ya think?

Sunday, May 11, 2008


It started out kind of good. I got the hot-off-the-press trade paperback of LOTTERY in the mail which was keen.

Then I trundled over to the north shore and hopped on Baby Horse...

That was pretty cool too.
And then I got the brilliant idea to clean and fill the water trough.
Bad idea.
Very bad.
Underneath the water trough (that looks suspiciously like a bath tub) there resided numerous denizens of the stingy-buzzy variety and they took exception to my intrusion.
I was stung once on my hand, once on my arm and twice on my ankle by really irritated hornets...and you know Perry was right... The ones that hurt most ARE close to the bone.
Benadryingly yours,
The author formerly known as Patricia Wood and soon to be known as the woman who looks like she got a botox injection and not just on her lips...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I found these online. Don't ask.
And no...I did NOT buy them...but I was tempted...

7 am and 78 degrees.
I don't do memes. Heck for ages I didn't even know what a meme was. There are, however, times where my lack of response to internet/email chain letters builds up to such an extent that I HAVE to respond.
I was asked to list my quirks, addictions and foibles. So here goes.
We all have them. I seem to have more than my share. Where shall I start?
I make an entire full pot of coffee every morning -- pour myself a cup -- take three sips -- it gets cold so I dump it out and pour a fresh cup. I may make four pots of coffee a day but I only actually consume two cups. Really.
I have the entire DVD collection. This is what I am doing while I'm supposed to be writing. I surf the net for news about Sarah Michelle Gellar and James Marsters.
I'm so lame.

Tooloose: Attending to his creature comforts and teasing him with my laser pointer.

I count things. I know this should be termed obsessive compulsive, but why quibble about details.
27 days until the trade paperback of LOTTERY is released.
22 days until I leave for London to attend the ORANGE PRIZE festivities.
13 days until I host a tribute to MISS SNARK for all of the snarklings.

Is there anything I'm forgetting?

Oh yeah...check out TOMORROWVILLE...

Friday, May 02, 2008


How peaceful they appear. SHHHHH! Don't move. You'll scare them.

There's a fun contest over at BENCH PRESS. Chris sent around some authorly silly questions a while back. Your mission is to match the writer with the response.
I read them again and ended up laughing hysterically cuz I couldn't remember what I said.

I had to clean ORION today. Our boat sitter (for when we're in London) is coming for the weekend for a practice run. Tooloose and Girl Kitty are kicked out of the forward berth. I moved their beds to the salon settee. I had to put a cushion between them so they wouldn't fight.

It's not that simple to boat sit. First of all you can't forget you're floating otherwise that first step out of the cockpit is a real surprise.

When you walk through the doorways you have to turn to the side or your shoulders will become bruised and you'll look like you've been in a bar fight.

The refrigerator is so small that when you open the door everything will come at you like there's a poltergeist inside.

And the head. What can I tell you about the head? It's so small you can pee, brush your teeth and take a shower all at the same time. This is not as convenient as one might think.

Then there are the sounds: The clicking of the snapping shrimp against the hull. The rumbling of the fishing boat engines as they go out at 5 am. The gurgle gurgle gurgle of the sump and the screaming bilge alarm.

And those little oddities...peculiarities...
For instance.
If you flush the toilet the stove turns off.

You can't use and microwave and the coffee maker at the same time or all the power goes off.

ORION has quite a sense of humor.
So how about you? Think Tooloose could whip you into shape to be a boat sitter?