Sunday, December 31, 2006

Finding Balance

I need to get in shape. Sitting on my butt in front of my computer does not give me the endurance to ride Baby Horse (Veritas).
I cantered him over a few jumps and I was on my lips after only 20 minutes.
I need to strike a balance between writing and real life.
Ignoring one to the exclusion of the other is not good, but I love to immerse myself in my stories.
What's a writer to do?
What do you do?

6:30 am and 74 degrees.
I do so enjoy hearing from my blogging friends.
Being analytical about how I write and hearing your creative processes.
This last day of 2006.
New Years Resolutions.
My resolutions include how to restore balance into my life.
You all are a part of that balance.

1. Lose 20 pounds.
(OK I admit it. This is always on my list. Maybe it's unimportant. Maybe it's not. All I know is our society dictates what we should look like...Ah well I am prisoner to its conventions.)

2. Don't worry - Be happy. What will be will be. Enjoy the process of writing and publishing. This is my debut year. 2007.
It will never be this way again. Savor each day. (This one's due to you Holly!)

3. Slow down. Look. Breathe. Don't be hasty. Allow rather than force. (This one's due to you, Paul!)

4. Ride my horses an extra day a week. Alone. Not chatting. Just working. Lengthening. Shortening. Gymnastics. Increase my endurance back to when the horse show was my obsession du jour. (This ones due to you Brendan and you,too, Veritas & Airborne)

5. Add to my works in progress everyday. A line. A few words. Pages. Whatever it takes but add. Do not stagnate. Do not become complacent. Do not be so focused on being published that the joy of writing is lost.

6. Limit my online time. Read my favorite blogs and add to mine, comment when warranted, answer my emails. Limit myself to 30 minutes in the morning or evening. (My agent and publisher are exempt from this rule. There are times I must spend more time with them.) I love all my blogging buddies but I have to resist the dark side! I can spend hours reading and responding to blogs. In the new year it is time to put a limit on this decadence and move on.

7. Appreciate what I have and what has happened to me. Let love be the defining force in my life.
(This one is for my husband Gordon.)

Seven things. I think I can manage seven things.
What are your resolutions?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Looking Back or Looking Forward

ORION sailing along with jib and mizen. I am taking the picture looking back and my husband is looking forward.

7:30 am and 71 degrees.
In a picture.
The difference between Gordon and me.
I look back and he looks forward.
I analyze and reflect. He predicts and estimates.
I dwell on history and he considers the future.
I use the past in my writing. The emotions I have felt and seen.
Situations turn into the premises of my novels.
And Gordon thinks ahead. He dreams.
He is an architect and creates buildings that will exist someday.
Just not now.
It takes both of us to sail ORION.
One looking back at where we have been.
The other looking ahead to where we go.
How do you travel?
How do you write?
Looking ahead to the future?
Immersed in the past?
Or something in between?

Friday, December 29, 2006

Yeah! I Passed!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

Shades Of Gray (Grey)

6 am and 74 degrees.
The wind was blowing so hard yesterday we sailed in the slip, bouncing and heeling.
A change from sill waters and silent oppressing heat.
Always rainbows here.
A blustery storm that dumps water through my hatches ends with a rainbow.
At the risk of being labeled a Pollyanna or an Ann Frank.
Which is not to say they are out dated.
Or wrong.
They are right.
Very right.
They see the glass as half full.
They see some good in bad.
They see strands of light in inky darkness.
I do not believe in absolutes.
I never have.
I was struck years ago by Queen Elizabeth saying she had an "Annus horribilis."
A regal way of saying a shitty year attributed to the antics of her family.
I guess it's your perspective.
I had food to eat. People who love me. I wrote a book.
I lost a mother.
Life happened.
I think I prefer to have an embracing view.
One that includes the tough with the soft.
I will call my 2006:
Annus Milabilis
year of wonder.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Harnessing Speed For Good Rather Than Evil...

6 am (well 5:50) and 71 degrees.
I am fast.
I admit it.
When I competed at horse shows I rushed my fences. I was always in a hurry. My friend Bunny called me a "hot seat rider" instead of a "hunt seat rider."
I was quick in the jumpers and did well most of the time.
But when I got in too much of a hurry.
I have lumps and bumps on my body as a testament that if speed doesn't kill, it certainly maims.
It is the same with my writing.
My friend Holly chides me.
"Slow DOWN!" she says.
I try to comply but it is hard.
My agent says it tactfully.
"Sometime you a a bit too quick with your edits."
I know, but it's hard for me to take my time.
You see I have all these ideas fighting to get out.
But I am learning. I have started to fool myself.
My editor sent her letter first. I had to wait for the annotated manuscript.
And wait.
and wait and wait and wait.
It was sent the Friday before Christmas.
It forced me to wait, read her letter and think.
When I got my manuscript I was able to make two passes through and then let it sit. Let it meld.
I will look at it again Friday.
It does not pay to be in a hurry.
Don't get me wrong.
Quickly creating a first draft is a joy, but then?
You need to learn to take your time.
This is something Paul Theroux is teaching me. Holly Kennedy is teaching me. My agent is teaching me.
Embrace the speed and make it yours.
Control it.
Don't let it control you.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Am I a Lady?

You Are 52% Lady

You're part lady, part modern woman.
Etiquette is important to you, but you brush aside rules that are outdated or silly.


A mixture.
Mountain and Sea.
My neighborhood.
The place where I live.

8 am and 74 degrees.
I am ecstatic. Thrilled. Happy. I stayed up until midnight going through my manuscript. It arrived from my editor.
She is brilliant.
I have decided.
(Are you reading this P.v.A.?)
The subject today?
Not like that.
But all writers know this.
One favored word. A uniquely turned phrase.
That well crafted scene displaying your cleverness, your adeptness, your profundity.
Those sentences which show the world that

And that needs to be cut out so your story can move forward.


Surgically excise.

Make disappear.

And you know what?
After I took them out.
I didn't miss them one bit.
Go figure.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Through Water Wetly

5:30 am and 73 degrees.
Underwater photos that aren't.
This is my topic today.
When I started taking pictures of sea life I did so on the surface.
Walking along docks.
Waiting until the water would smooth and flatten.
This photo of a sea anemone was not taken underneath, but from above.
Always a separation between me and the subject.
As I became more proficient I learned to dive and handle equipment underwater.
The line began to blur.
You can see the progression in my pictures. Fifteen years ago. Ten. Five.
It is so much like writing.
Moving from affectation to clarity,
Where the artist disappears into their craft.
The reader, too, is absorbed into the story and emerges changed.
To change a reader.
The ultimate satisfaction.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Mele Kalikimaka

Christmas Tree Worms.
So brief.
So quick.
A sudden movement and they are gone.
Back into their hole.
You search for them.
Waiting for an opportunity to take their picture.
A shadow passing over causes them to retreat.
And you have to be content with just a memory of what was...

4:30 am and 72 degrees.
Mele Kalikimaka.
A very merry holiday season to everyone.
A hui hou

Sunday, December 24, 2006

It's That Time of Year Again When We Make Our Animals Look Stupid...

4:30 am and 72 degrees.
Felt antlers on horses.
Bells on cats.
Dogs in Santa hats.
It's time for our annual holiday animal anthropomorphisms.
Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Appliance Malfunction -The Gift That Keeps On Giving...

Find the creature.
It's there.
You just have to look.
Like your plot, your theme, your story.
It may not be obvious
but it's there too...

7:30 and 69 degrees.
I am freezing my flowery-adjective-followed-by-an-expletive-noun-off.
But I am still happy. I was actually able to sleep in until 7.
I usually wake up at 4:30 or 5. Sometimes earlier but not today.
New York Publishing is on holiday.
I have my bright shiny editorial letter.
And all's right with the world.
Our Glacier Bay refrigerator/freezer is on the fritz. Making weird metallic noises.
Ever had a car throw a rod out the engine block?
Kind of like that.
We had to shut it off last night.
It is full of Christmas food.
Glacier Bays can stay cold for several days but not forever.
I think it was talking to Holly's Garburator...
We have a dilemma.
Ah well, what's the holiday season without a few complications?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Waaaaay Too Much Time (Continued)

`aha is the Hawaiian name of this fish. He/she was hanging out in the harbor.
Also called a Houndfish.
The scientific name is apt:
Tylosurus crocodilus
But I prefer the Hawaiian name. `AHA.
I always wondered what an Aha! looked like.
That creative burst of energy. That supremely original thought.
Now I know..

4 am (don't ask) and 71 degrees.
Another ridiculous and pointless activity blatantly ripped off from one of my blogger friends.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Reverend Countess Patricia the Pompous of Leighton in the Bucket
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

You see.
It's just that I am waiting...
For January.
For the next step.
Writing is full of waiting.
Waiting for that perfect phrase, the right word...that unique metaphor
for your query to be answered...a partial...a full requested...
A publisher...
Kind of like Christmas.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Too Much Time On My Hands...

This is from Zany mom...
I just had to do it!


I am practicing making links. Have patience!

(you might have to copy and paste this into your address line to see it but I promise you all it is well worth it!)

Hey Dude!

I was trying to remember where I took this. I think turtle canyon in Hawaii Kai.
It was with my friends from Aloha Dive located in the shopping center kitty corner from Longs. They have probably the best dive catamaran boat anywhere. I used to dive with them every Saturday while Gordon was working on his MBA.
I have my own boat.

5 am and 74 degrees.
My friend Holly said something astounding yesterday.
"You'll have to change what's on your blog," she said.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"You'll have to put author where you say writer," she told me.
Holy participle!
An author from Hawaii...
"I''m Pat the author."
"Hi, I'm an author."
"What do I do? Oh, I'm an author."
"That book you're holding? Well, I'm the author."
This will take a bit to get used to.
Give me- maybe - two minutes.
An author.
I like the sound of that.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

News Alert! News Alert!

1:30 pm and 82 degrees.
My friend Holly is now officially a blogger!
You all have to visit her blog - she is great fun!
Look at the side bar - there is a link.
Remember how excited you were when you got your first comment?
So give her that excitement!

Here There Be Dragons...

The dragon nudibranch.
He slides and shimmers across the coral encrusted lava rock.
The other divers are avidly searching for dolphins and turtles.
I am content with my creepy crawlies.

6 am and a chilly 71.
I have TWO pajama tops on and wonder if I should go get some socks.
The Crapometer.
Much trauma and dilemma.
I am not sure how much help the comments sections are.
Too many people appear to jump on the band wagon of peer approval without thought.
It is apparent (or APPARENTLY as maprilyn would say...) that hooks or short compelling descriptions are extremely difficult for most people to write.
Including moi - I admit.
It is also apparent subjectivity rules the day.
I agree that hooks which continue ( and then... and then... next he...and then...) lose me totally.
But there are some plots which tend to defy brevity or even specifics.
I am not talking about navel gazing self absorbed characterizations.
I just think Miss Snark is right when she says, "send pages."
Cuz ya never know...
I am using the Crapometer to learn.
To learn about subjectivity.
To attempt to figure out just what particular phrase or description can turn one hook into a "NO!" and another into "BINGO!"
I have taken to rewriting some hooks just to make them more interesting.
Without even reading the book.
For Fun.
I never let details like that get in the way.
I am analytical.
I confess.
There is much to be learned here.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kewalo Pipeline

Kewalo Basin Pipeline is a unique place to dive not too far from Waikiki. You reach it by boat and anchor off to one side and then follow the pipe away from shore. The concrete conduit is extravigantly covered with aquatic flora and fauna. It must be a high rent ocean district! I search for invertebrates while my husband looks for bigger sea life.
To each his own.

5 am and 72 degrees.
A chilly morning in paradise.
It's been that kind of a day. I have so many things half completed.
I start one thing and something else gets in the way.
I began this at 5 am and it is now 9:20 and 75 degrees!
Kind of like writing a novel.
Getting started.
Having all the best intentions.
Maybe getting a few pages, then stopping.
Life gets in the way.
Kind of like bungs in the deck - they keep popping out.
20,000 words have always been a tough spot for me.
Others get stuck at 10,000 and still others at 40,000 words.
We all have a point where we struggle.
Today is my struggle day.
And tomorrow?
Well tomorrow is yet to be determined.
But I have optimism it will be better.
That is what keeps me writing.
That and compulsion.
And coffee.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Revenge of ORION

My muse is conserving energy. She is the only one who does not feel Hawaii is warm enough. Tightly coiled is she.
A reservoir of creativity and inspiration.

5:30 and 74 degrees.
A typical weekend for sailboat aficionados.
One in which the vessel makes her needs known.
We needed to replace teak bungs (short teak dowels that cover the screws that hold down the deck).
First you drill the hole with the missing bung a bit bigger.
Next you take out the old screw (which many times involves mass force) and put in a shiny new one.
And finally you place a few drops of epoxy and pound in a new bung.
We had nearly 300 missing bung holes to fill

They stick out of the deck so when you accidently step on them in bare feet the pain is exquisite.
(A close up of the little darlings here)

The next day you go back and shave the tops off making them level with the deck.

It was such a thrill to finish. Gordon immediately took the wet dry vac and started vacuuming up the teak shavings and dust. Soon he started noticing bung holes he missed. One there...two here...
OH NO!!!!
The pressure of the vac was so strong it was sucking the loose old ones out!!!!
Back to work.
Then deck washing.
As the hose bathed the deck we noticed it wasn't flowing through the drain holes in the deck.
An hour later we are both upside down in the back Lazarette undoing hoses and poking a wire to try to free the blockage.
We inadvertently dislodged a part to the auto-pilot and had to stop and fix that.
Finally success.
Later that evening we went into the galley and noticed water on the floor.
The salt water pump under our sink was gushing sea water into our boat.
We undid the hose and shoved a wooden plug into the end and clamped it shut.
Then mopped water up off the floor.
My jobs Monday:
Edit novel #2.
Call the fix-it guy about the funny noise the refrigerator compressor is making.
Call West Marine to see if I can order a new pump
Figure out again why I live on a boat.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Rude People Got...No Reason...

Yes! Just in the nick (Ho HO Ho) of time.
We decorated ORION yesterday. Not with the decadence of two years before but she still carries her lights well...
The Christmas Parade was last night. It was really too windy, but seven brave boats made their way out the harbor, just past the first hotel, then quickly turned tail and headed back in. We sat on the fuel dock taking pictures with ORION safely tied in her slip. The judges sit up in the Harbor office. It was hilarious as two of the seven boats had their generators fail just as they reached the judges stand. The boats were plunged into darkness. It takes a lot of power to run Christmas lights on a boat. FYI.

5 am and 74 degrees.
Just when I think I have seen all types of human behavior I experience something that surprises even moi!
So like I said.
The Christmas Boat Parade was last night. We went with our neighbor Bob - beta reader extraordinaire. Renee, his most excellent wife, is with family in California.
We carried two bottles of wine (Zinfandel and Shiraz FYI), our plastic cups (we spare no expense), and staked out a table.
The outdoor catered marina Christmas buffet is legendary and we primed to be in line before the potatoes and turkey were gone. It gets crowded as the boats get in from the parade. We set our bottles on our table, filled our plastic wine glasses, and stood in line to get our food.
This is when it gets interesting.
Ten minutes later we bring our plates to our table and it is filled with strangers.
They are drinking our wine...even out of our USED glasses. CORRECTION. They DRANK our wine.
"Oh, gee," they said. "Was that YOUR wine? He he." They looked at each other and laughed. I could tell they were embarrassed. I lifted my bottle but it was empty. "Sorry," they said.
Both Bob and Gordon knew I was steaming! They of course said, "No big deal." and we found another table (wineless) but I am still PISSED!
I spent nine dollars on that bottle of wine.
That's a lot for me!
Did I overreact?
I don't think so.
What do you think?

Tell me YOUR rude people stories!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Wild Ride.

6 am and 74 degrees.
Baby horse tried to buck me off yesterday.
He has never done anything remotely naughty, but there is a first time for everything.
He is learning how to jump - or more accurately he is learning how to listen and carry a rider over a fence.
We trotted back and forth over a low cross rail and then started to canter.
He got the proverbial wild hair up the butt and took off bucking after the fence.
I jammed my heels down and tried to wrench his head up with the reins as he crow hopped across the arena.
I had visions of never holding a copy of my first book in my hands. I imagined my work becoming stellar merely because I was tragically killed before my debut novel was released. I wondered briefly if, like artists, my work would increase in value.
I had time to think about all of this.
The vision of my 53 year old body becoming "arena pizza" as we equestrians term it.
The funeral.
The tears.
My friends from across the land sending condolences to my brave architect of a husband.
I wished I had let him know what music I wanted played.
Pachabel's Cannon in D minor.
No. Too over used. Besides, we used that for our wedding.
Yes. Bach.
The Andante from Sonata #2 in A minor.
I feel myself start to loosen.
Baby horse hesitates. If he were older he would know that I am close to coming off and he would make one final effort.
But he does not.
He gives up and stops.
His sides are heaving. His ears flick back and forth to me.
I am safe.
I adjust my position and take back up the reins.
He appears somewhat guilty and embarrassed but that is only my ability to occasionally anthropomorphize.
He waits.
The crowd around the arena erupts in cheers.
I have survived.
And that, my fellow bloggers, is the difference between published writers and those who remain unpublished.
The ability to stick to it even though it appears hopeless and the odds are stacked against you.
Riding every metaphorical buck and crow hop the publishing world throws at you.
No matter what.
And so endeth lesson 2 from ORION.

Friday, December 15, 2006

UFO...Unidentified Floating Object

I found this bobbing around in the ocean and thought of that Christmas song:
The Marvelous Toy..."It went bop when it stopped and whir when it moved.....I never knew just what it was and I guess I never will...!" by Peter, Paul, and Mary.
Well...sometimes you see creatures that you just can't identify. I ended up sending this photo to the University of Hawaii Invertebrate specialists (in zoology)...They weren't entirely sure but made a guess as to some type of primitive chordata.
But I wanted a name.
I decided to give it one.

5:30 am and 74 degrees.
I adore my agent.
She is awesome.
I am bemused by writers who, after querying, decide they don't need an agent and go straight to publishers.
Even worse are the ones who rave on message boards that agents sponge off authors and begrudge the 15%.
That is SO not true.
I am here to tell you do not listen.
Do not be swayed.
Yes, a bad agent or scam artist is worse than no agent at all.
But I am not talking about them.
I am talking about good reputable agents.
My agent's diligence in selling my novel was wonderful, was marvelous. It only took a week and one day from submission to auction and acceptance.
That week was an eye opener. Every publisher offered something different. I had no idea of the complexities.
But my agent did.
I will be more forthcoming later but I will give an example now.
The difference between North American Rights and World Rights.
With North American Rights you get to sell your novel to publishers in other territories (languages) and they each buy your book separately.
When you sell World Rights the publisher gets that advantage.
So , with a good agent, only North American Rights are offered and you have additional opportunities for financial gain later on down the road.
So endeth lesson one on agents...
Stay tuned for lesson two.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

5 am and 75 degrees.
I cheated. This photo was taken yesterday as the sun was coming up. At 5 am it is still dark here.
There was an interesting article in Writers Digest the other day - all about blogging and not watching what you say. It discussed some of the current raging tempests where both commentees and commenters roll up their shirt sleeves and battle. Then there are occasions where a blogger forgets that he/she is just not typing into oblivion and lower their guard.
Kind of like celebrities in a Barbara Walters' interview.
(so were there any other problems working with that director? And when exactly did the police arrive?)

I try to adhere to what my mother always told me.
If you can't say something nice,
don't say anything at all...unless somebody pays you a heck of a lot of money and you're on TV.
Oops! No!
I don't think she mentioned that part.
For me blogging is a way to warm up in the morning and get to work.
I pour my coffee. Sit at my computer.
It is an opportunity to be creative with no word count.
No plot lines.
No chapter headings.
I try to amuse and not offend.
And be mindful of who is reading this blog.
After all my mother told me a few other things.
Be kind even if it kills you.
And don't hurt other people's feelings.
I think that about covers it.
I forgot something else she used to say.
Just in case.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We Weren't Sleeping...My Muses and I Were Thinking...

5:30 am and 75 degrees.
Gordon is working on his portfolio of compromising photographs. I protested.
My muses and I were working on our next entries in the Edward Bulwer Lyttonworst contest.
It required total concentration.
And snoring...
lots of snoring.

For your reading pleasure.

Several blogs have discussed the Edward Bulwer Lytton worst sentence awards sponsored by San Jose State University each year.
They are hilarious

Maui Writers' Retreat has their own unique version of this award . Each year they hold this contest at the retreat and each year I enter with enthusiasum.
Worst sentences.
I have always felt I was most successful at creating atrocious sentences and was delighted to discover there were actually places I would be rewarded for writing them.
I have a modest selection of my previous entries here.

My honorable mention sentence for 2005:

He was her dream, her fantasy, the sex God of her mind but Miranda had to reconsider when his orthopedic shoes caught on the ragged edge of her sidewalk, plunging his balding head to the cement, scraping both knees below his blue postal shorts, dumping his mail pouch to the ground and spilling onto the grass undelivered letters, brown packages, a well-used 357 magnum pistol, six boxes of ammunition, and a half eaten roll of Mentos.

My second place finish for 2006:
(Notice I have improved my placing!)

Sliding the oaken paddle out of the brick oven, Blaze’s hazel eyes fondled the two round, plump, browned loaves of bread lightly dusted with white flour and was instantly reminded of Jessica; he wondered where she was now, what she was doing, and if she had finally kicked that nasty little cocaine habit of hers, and whether her Siamese twin brother Jerry had successfully escaped from that sordid Mexican prison to take over their murdered father’s El Segundo BMW dealership.

My work in progress:

Pamela bent down to tie her shoe, exposing her enormous, rounded rump, tightly restrained in black capri pants, the twin mounds posing as generously proportioned bowling balls that most men would like to stick three fingers in, and roll vigorously down the alley of their dreams for a strike.

How do you like them?


Please feel free to contribute your endeavors in the comment section:



Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bite Me!

photograph by Brett Uprichard/Big Bamboo Stock

5:30 am and 76 degrees.
This is a picture of baby horse trying to bite my leg.
He was unsuccessful.
Not because of my vigilance but because of my thick chaps.
Thank you everybody for all your kind comments.
I hope I did not make Brett out to be a misogynistic ogre! He wasn't at all!
It's just saying those things around a 50 year old woman (OK then 53) can potentially be traumatizing.
Not to the woman... she'll be fine.
It's traumatizing to the man when her fist hits the side of his face!
So here's the comparison shot.
Of course now my friends are pointing out that those fancy diagonal stripes on the sides of my shirt make my boobs look too big.
Thank you for sharing.
Brett made me change my shirt from the black on to the blue one. I think he made a good choice.
I had to use a comparison shot in my blog that will probably not be used for promo as magazines will usually only publish a picture that has not been printed in other media. Interesting. I did not know that.
Another thing?
Everything in this process (from the query to manuscript submission to the agent and the publisher) has been done electronically (in TIMES NEW ROMAN just in case any of you are engaged in that futile argument over fonts).
Even the photos.
Although last night when I was sending these huge files - that took forever to send - I was shaking in my boots (well, maybe my slippers...)
I had visions of bringing the entire Putnam email machine to its knees.
But no worries.
They could handle.
I also sent my entire life story.
Sixteen single spaced pages.
If they signed a younger writer it would have been shorter, but not nearly so interesting.
(I changed all names to protect the innocent!)
My editor says she'll have the first editorial letter to me before the holidays.
Today I go holoholo.
I'll edit a draft of another manuscript for a bit, write a few pages on my WIP,
go for a walk, and then a swim later.
And obsess.
After all I'll be in my swimming suit.
Brett? Where are you?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Turn here. Look there. Now smile. Relax.

This is a "pre professional picture" taken by my husband. When I get the others I will post one and we can compare!

6 am and 73 degrees.
Baby horse bit me three times.
He had an excuse.
My editor asked for photographs of me so my buddy NH said that she knew a professional photographer and she could get him out ASAP. It was great fun. He had my friends hold reflectors to get light in my eyes and we proceeded to tease baby horse with carrots so he would cooperate.
It is not nice to tease baby horse.
He grabbed my butt twice (to be fair he had a lot of material to work with) and my fingers once.
Photographers are interesting creatures. They humiliate you without intending to.
"Can you stand sideways? I need to get a thinner profile..."
"Yes, wear your riding chaps - they're slimming."
"The light is good. Your wrinkles will not be as apparent."
"OK now I need a serious smile your lips are too thin to be serious..."
"Wow, these came out a lot better than I expected..."
"How old are you again?"

I am humbled.
Very humbled.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Questions? Questions?

Sometimes life seems like a closed hatch...

That can be opened by a helping hand...

8 am and 74 degrees.
I have 16 pages done on my author information sheet. It is due Monday. I have to email it to New York late tonight.
I am working on my website and massively busy. I have to figure out how to lose 20 pounds before I get my picture taken this afternoon.
My blogging is paramount!
Kimber an asked a question about beta readers and others of you have asked about agents.
Kay den (as my students would say).

Put your questions in the comments section and I will answer those I feel comfortable answering or let you know where you might find the answer to others.
Kimber an asked me about my beta readers.
First of all what the heck ARE beta readers?
They are readers (NOT writers) who are interested in participating in the career of a writer. You cultivate them cautiously and tend them carefully (my alliterations again) You do not pay them (well maybe chocolate). You dangle the potential tidbit of having their name in print in the acknowledgments page when your book is published. They do not copy edit (much) and you do not give them your first draft. That would be cruel and unkind. You ask them to read your manuscript through and just let you know honestly how it was. HONESTLY.
My best beta readers are friends of friends. Former english teachers. Cruisers who love to read but hate to buy books. They come from all walks of life. Their only commonality is that they love to read.
They tell me when they hate a character. They tell me when they can't follow a plot or don't understand something. The tell me when they have a hard time finishing my book or where they put it down.
If a person can't finish your book that tells you something.
I am lucky. My husband is one of my beta readers. He says he is lucky I am a good writer and doubly lucky that my book has been bought by Putnam and will be out August 2007( which is by the way, blazingly fast).
He says he can now be honest with me! oops!
I see hands up!
You in the front.
What's your question?
I'll repeat it to the audience.
The question is: "What is the meaning of life."
That's too hard.
I'll have to get back to you on that!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

This is so cute I can't stand it!

1 pm and 80 degrees.
This just arrived from my friend Pat (she has the same name - it makes it easy!).
She lives in California and is one of my trusted beta readers.
She sent this to me as a congratulations present.
It has teeny tiny sea creatures that you can take off and rearrange on the tree.
How cool!
Thank you so much Pat!

Riders...Mount Your Horses

You have to start somewhere.
I am starting here.

6 am and a chilly 71 degrees.
This is the beginning of a journey. I know where I'm going. I have maps and people to guide me along the way, but I have never traveled this path. I am taking my blog readers along with me on this journey because it may be one that they will take someday.
It is nice to be prepared.
I have to wait for my deal to be posted. Probably mid to later December. When it is, I will place it here.
There are some periods of unreality.
This isn't happening, I think.
"This can't be real."
But it is.


I have lots of paperwork.
Lots and lots.
"Tell us everything about yourself."
"All the details."
Address of your college alumni magazine.
Address of your local newspapers.
Everything and anything that can help us sell your book.
There was one thing that I was prepared for.
"Write a letter describing why you wrote this book."
That simple?
That was easy.
Oh no!
This can't be!
Are you all ready?

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK IN 200 -250 words.

It's true.
You DO still have to do this after you have an agent and after a publisher buys your book.
It cannot be escaped!

THE (drum roll)

DREADED (creepy music)

SYNOPSIS (screams of terror)

As soon as I find my smelling salts I will return,
See you tomorrow.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Giving Photographers A Hand

The bat fish. A face only a mother could love.

Spanish Dancer

6:30am and 73 degrees.
The pictures above are examples of something that drives me crazy as a photographer.
I stalk a creature for nearly half of my dive time, my occasional burst of bubbles roaring to the surface. I concentrate. Intent on taking a shot showing the creature in its natural habitat.
There is a vigorous kick up of smoky sand from the bottom. Another diver fins over, picks up the creature, and sticks him in my face.
So helpful. So happy.
Do you want it closer?
How about this angle?
How about if I pretend it's a bowling ball or stick it on my head?
The pantomime
Grinning through their mask.
Title of photo?
Idiotic Diver Negatively Impacting Ocean Environment.
I dutifully take the picture but the moment is ruined. The creature is traumatized and the opportunity lost.
Like writing.
Throwing your characters and plot in the readers' face?
Or incorporating subtlety, nuance in allowing the reader to see the terrain of your story in all its complexity.
I am still learning about opportunity.

Thursday, December 07, 2006


5:30 am and 76 degrees.
December 7, 1986.
Gordon chose the date. He wanted to remember our wedding as:
"A day that will live in infamy..."
Our respective parents were appalled.
What can I say? He was from Hawaii.

We met in Snohomish, Washington when I was teaching horsemanship through the University of Washington Experimental College program. I happened to be married to my first husband at the time.
I do not let a little detail like that stand in my way.
I can tell you the first time I saw him.
I can tell you exactly what he was wearing (flannel shirt, beige jacket, riding helmet).
I can tell you the horse he was riding (Beanie - a dark bay).
We were married on horseback.
I promised to love, honor, and never to serve corn beef hash and he promised to love, honor, and accept my obsession with horses.
Love at first sight.
A cliche I know.
But it happens.
Just like getting an agent.
Just like being published.
It happens.
Gordon this is for you.
Happy Anniversary.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Thank-You Mom

5pm and 83 degrees.
It has been quite a roller coaster ride these last few days.
Those of you who subscribe to Publishers Marketplace will see the deal shortly.
I am thrilled.
I am beyond thrilled.
My book has been bought by Putnam with an option on my second.
I love my agent.
I love my new editor.
In a few months this blog will be moved to my web site and you all (hopefully) will continue to read about my adventures.
The photo above is of my 25 year old horse Airborne and my mother.
She died in April - Mom would have been so excited to know that her daughter was going to be published.
When I called my father this morning and told him - he was moved beyond words.
This means the world to him.
This means the world to me.
And you?
All of you out there?
I have one thing to say.
If it can happen to me.
It can happen to you.
And that's the truth.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Drop An Anchor

4:30 am and 75 degrees.
Anchoring out.
When we want to get away but still have the accouterments of easy living - we anchor out.
Let loose the dock lines.
Ask for outbound clearance.
And make our way out the harbor.
Electric Beach is our favorite. So named because of the giant HECO plant right on shore. They pipe in salt water to cool the turbines and have a huge outfall off shore that shoots the warm water back into the ocean.
We like to anchor directly over and watch the fish and turtles tumble around in the current.
Think about the scene with the sea turtles in Finding Nemo.
This is where I throw out my floaty chair.
Lean back into the tepid sapphire waters
Close my eyes.
And fleetingly wonder if I will be chewed on by a tiger shark.
Only fleetingly.
But I still open one eye and look around.
When I feel.
Something brush.
My leg.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Stretch Yourself

Baby horse is developing nicely. Learning new things.
I love the way he uses himself.
Both his legs and his heart.

4 am and 75 degrees.
Why am I up at 4?
Because there is 5 hours time difference between New York and Hawaii.
That's why.
That and I can't sleep.
I am also stretching myself. Learning new things. Not content to wait and let things happen to me but go out into the world and make them happen.
So you want to be a writer?
You have to do more than just write.
You have to live life. Get out there and dive head first into situations and places you have never been before.
You have to learn what it is to be a writer.
Professionally and in your heart.
Like baby horse.
Reaching for what's ahead.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Maneki Neko for good fortune

5:30 am and 76 degrees
I have two others that are ceramic, but when I found this Christmas ornament of the asian good luck cat yesterday, I was thrilled. Gord and I buy an ornament each year for our December anniversary.
This is where I hung him (the ornament not Gordon).

It's dangling from a hook In the middle of the salon.
On the hook that should have been the home of a very expensive brass kerosene lamp.
The lamp I gave away because I thought it was ugly.
Then I was told it was not ugly -- it was "salty."
This is what avid sailors (husbands) call anything that is butt ugly but they want to keep on their boat.
I gave it away.
I tend to do that with things I think are ugly or inconveniently placed.
Like masts.
Gordon is thankful I understand now that a sail boat is useless without a mast.
He was afraid for a long time that I would try to give it away and was glad it was too heavy for me to drag up to the marina laundry room. This is where you take things that you have no use for. Like a free gift exchange.
When people see me go there with stuff to give away they follow me.
I have this reputation.
Anyway...back to the mast...
It is a large white pillar that penetrates the deck passing through the salon all the way to the keel.
Essentially I have a large aluminum white post in the middle of my living room.
How do you decorate around that?
Like a 100 pound gorilla sitting on your coffee table.
You just ignore it.
Let it sit there.
Leave it alone.
Like when your book is in New York.
Being shopped.
Kind of like that.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

How do I love thee Publishers Marketplace? Let me count the ways...

An excellent question was posed by my very favorite Alaskan writer Kimber an.
"Why should a writer subscribe to Publishers Marketplace?" she asked.
At first I was just going to answer her and then I thought, I hear this from a lot of writers.
I decided to do a blog entry on it.
Sit down.
Get comfortable.
Do you all have paper and pencil for notes?
Writing is a business.
If you want to be published you have to look at it as a business. I won't even get into all the stuff about writing everyday, finishing one book and starting another, improving your craft.
You know all that.
Got that?
You have to understand the language, the culture and common practices. Just like moving to a foreign country.
Publishers Marketplace is a cheap ($20 a month deducted from your handy dandy little charge card) and effective way to learn about the business. You hear the "buzz." Who's moving where. What houses are acquiring what projects. What's old. What's fresh. You can see the deals being made and how much they are going for and get an idea what yours may bring.
You can research agents and editors.
You can also get an idea of genre and who handles what.
There are member pages. You can get email addresses. It was invaluable to me in acquiring my agent.
I'm looking up editors and seeing what they acquire. I'm looking at the deals and seeing who's buying what.
I am learning the language.
A house is a publishing company.
A home is where your book goes.
Good deal
Nice deal
All these become clear.
So get thee hence and join.

This is Publishers Market place...this is your writing career...this is your writing career ON Publishers Market place.
Any questions?

Stupid Baby Horse Tricks

So baby horse (Veritas) has this ridiculous habit. It is a trait that his Dutch Warmblood Daddy passed on (Best of Luck line).
For his own personal entertainment (and mine) he flips his tongue around.
The following photos are for your viewing amusement.

5 am and 75 degrees.
I have been told to sit back and enjoy the ride.
Maybe I will in retrospect.
I know I am in turns excited and apprehensive.
I am gratified and humbled that so many editors love my book. I am fierce about my writing career and have taken it very seriously. That being said, to have so many publishing professionals "get" my book, understand its complexities, and want to acquire it...well that is as I have said before, heady stuff.
I am still being circumspect.
It is prudent to do so.

One huge recommendation.
Publisher Marketplace.
You ALL should have a subscription.
At $20 a month there is nothing else you could do that would further your writing career and allow you to understand the business. That and writing.

So here I am.
Just like baby horse.
Waving my tongue around.
Just for fun.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Feeding Frenzy

There is excitement. Then apprehension. Next comes fear.
And doubt.
Am I crazy?
Like swimming with sharks.
And last?
Last there is exultation.

6 am and 73 degrees.
A chilly Hawaii morning.
I stay cryptic.
Do not worry my dear blogmates.
All will be clear soon.
I am tempted.
So tempted to both tell AND make coffee.
But I will not.
Well, maybe the coffee.