Thursday, March 29, 2007


I was invited to participate in the world famous CoConut Island Shark round up.
Of course I said yes.
I was a header or heeler -- depending on whether the shark was chasing me or I was doing the chasing.
One of those activities that are more fun in retrospect.

10:30 pm and 76 degrees.
I am a risk taker. Always have been.
When Mark Heckman from Waikiki Aquarium called a few years back to see if I wanted to help move sharks around, I jumped at the chance. I spent the next several hours thinking, "What am I doing?"
After seeing the movie Jaws I refused to take a bath. Some how the foolhardy photographer part of me won out over the for-God's-Sake-Be-Reasonable side of me.
I found myself in a long narrow lagoon full of sharks. The other students and I were told to jump in and swim across to move the sharks from one end to the other. This was not complex but unfortunately no one told the sharks.
As hard as herding cats.
But I survived with all my limbs intact.
With writing, taking risks are everything.
If you play it safe you might as well get a job writing those cute captions in coloring books.
Risks are necessary,
Pushing the envelope.
Being different.
This is what makes compelling writing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


This is a photo of Everett Waterfront where LOTTERY takes place. My father and I drove there together almost a year ago. He was helping me do research for my book.
My mother had just died.
We needed to do something.
So we drove to Everett.
I could feel Perry there. I could imagine him walking down this dock. I had to stare in the water and wonder. Imagine. I thought about my writing.
Would I get an agent?
Would I ever be published?
A year later.
Where will I be?
You all now know the answer to that question.

9:30 pm and 79 degrees.
I'm it.
I've been tagged by HOLLY KENNEDY and as a dutifully obedient blogger I will comply.

Why do I blog?
A very good question.
A dilemma. Puzzling. I started and stopped. I erased what I had written.
This required much thought.
And then.
I realized the answer was right in front of my face -- or rather at the end of my posts.
This is why I blog. Because of you.
I blog because I get a deep connection from all of you writers all over the world who comment on this blog. You are my peers. My readers. You are writers and authors. You have the same dreams that I do.
You find humor in rejection the way I do. You ask the same questions that I do.
"Why do I let others take control of my writing?"
"How can I know what I want to say?"
"Am I wasting my time?"
"Where can I find the passion?"
I find solace in the comments because it leads me to believe that you and I -- we have much commonality between us.
We are all very much alike.
If we met.
If we were together.
For lunch.
Or for coffee.
I feel sure we would be firm fast friends.
Thank you my blog buddies.
You give me so much.

Monday, March 26, 2007


12:30 pm and 81 degrees.
There are times in your life that you know you will always remember until the day you die. Those moments so spectacular so filled with love that they stay with you forever.
This was one of those days.
The 2007 Putnam Fall Catalog arrived Fed Ex this morning. I opened the box.
There it was. Then I noticed what was on the cover.
The cover art of LOTTERY.
I choked up.

The catalog is what the sales force use to sell books to retail outlets like Borders, Barnes & Nobles and other book sellers.
Being the first book in the catalog is a big deal.
Being given a two page spread is also a big deal.
Lottery is first in the catalog.
And has a two page spread.

This is another step in my journey to publication.
I am so grateful to be able to share it with you.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


8 pm and 77 degrees.
Mr. FedEx knows me by sight now. An overnighted (read two day) envelope from New York to Hawaii contained a tax paper from Italy.
In Italian.
This is one of those instances I document as ammunition for the times I participate in a fruitless argument about whether a writer needs an agent or not.
Trust me. You do.
I just signed where it was highlighted.
I do what I'm told.
As I went up to the harbor office to FedEx it back I met Mr. FedEx once more.
Another package.
Gee, I'm popular.
It was heavy. A manuscript. I was expecting it.
What are they? You ask.
I will tell you.
After the copyedit corrections are made the manuscript goes to the type setter. It is very interesting because to make the pages fit a certain may some of the words and letters are closer together than others. They also design the pages. The font is selected. Fancy doodads are put under the chapter numbers. First pass pages look exactly as the book will look if you cut it out from the hatch marks.
It is beauteous.
My job is to carefully look for boo boos.
This is not the time to rewrite entire chapters.
It is the time to look for misspelled words, punctuation errors,and horror of horrors-- what I call:
Like I just noticed a minor character started out in a house and suddenly is in a car.
I don't know how she got there.
Those things.
So I am taking a short break from my efforts.
And hoping to hear some cheer and amusing support from my comment gallery.
My ARCs (Advanced Reader Copys) are due April 10.
My reservations are made!
April 8 - 12.
Meetings with publishers, publicists and agent.
I will keep you all posted.
And the first pass pages?
I have to send them back in four days.
So I leave you...
In search of the elusive...the rare and sought after...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


8 pm and 77 degrees.
It's a cold cold world out there. The pressure. The demands. I couldn't put two words together this morning.
It was dire.
There was only one thing to do.
Get a pedicure.
And my nails done.
Of course my nails lasted as long as it took me to walk to my car. Just before I fished my keys out of my purse and marred the gorgeous pink color.
But I still felt special.
I felt even more special at Safeway. Going up and down the aisles.
Pushing my cart. In my purple slippers.
Kind of like getting an agent.
Thousands clamoring at the door. And I!
I was admitted!
Only to find myself pacing back and forth. Is THIS the day my novel is going to be submitted?
Just a bit more tweaking.
I wanted everyone to admire the fact that I got an agent.
Like my toes.
So bright and shiny.
But they only said. "Gee."
"When's your book coming out?"
And I had to tell them how impressive it is JUST TO HAVE A FRIGGING AGENT!
And they back away slowly.
To get away from me.
Just like that man in the vegetable aisle when I waved my foot in the air inches from his face hissing.
"SEEEEEE????Aren't they beeauuttifuulllll!"
I digress.
My point is.
The odds are not favorable. But when the stars are aligned you have to be grateful.
I count the days until my book is to be released. And when I simply can't stand it?
I get my feet and nails done.
Then I sit at my computer. Wriggle my toes.
And write about the man I scared off in Safeway.
He's vulnerable. Uneasy. A bank robber?
I start to type.
No something less extreme. Wait! An embezzler.
He's in terrible trouble and works as an accountant for...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


White anemones. A passel of them. A pod. A gaggle. A herd.
Head 'em up.
Move 'em out.
How do you tell them apart? They all look alike.
Does it matter?
It does to the anemone.
Don't you think?

8:30 pm and 77 degrees.
It's official. I am going to New York in 17 days.
I have been having conversations with marketing, with publicists, with blurbers. I am in continual expectation of my ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) with the real live cover on them!
And my name on the front.
And the name of my book.
My head has been spinning and all extraneous information is now dripping out my ears.
How to run my dust buster.
How to make dinner.
How to make sure there is gas in my car.
My husband is not amused.
I do not know where I am staying in New York -- yet. I'm flying in for meetings for three days and then turning around and flying right back to Honolulu.
Hopefully I can blog when I am there. That would be good fun.
I have never been to New York.
I have passed through but never stayed in Manhattan.
How exciting is that on a scale of one to three hundred and twenty seven?
I think it rates at least a twenty-six.
So I had this blog all ready to post -- and then didn't.
Ah well.
It is now 6:30 am the next day and 72 degrees.
But that is good because I have something else to say.
A suggestion for those of you preparing to query. Besides the hook. The synopsis.
Oh yes.
And the actual completed novel. There is one more thing editors (or agents) may ask you for.
The answer to this question.
"Why did you write your novel?"
In a letter form.
So you better think about that.
And you know?
Many times the answer to that questions allows you to go back and create a difference in your manuscript.
May even make you stand out from all those other white anemones in the slush pile of a publisher.
To show your story is unique.
One of a kind.
Make you different from all the rest.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


So there was this eel.
I wanted to take his picture and I got closer and closer.
The flash went off and suddenly he darted out.
I felt it was important to include both photos.
And after.
The dust you see is my fin kicking away.
You notice I still got a picture?
I never let a little thing like an attacking creature get in my way.

10:30 pm and 77 degrees.
When I think of what might be the biggest contributor to what has happened to me this year --
These are the words I think of.
I believe these are the qualities writers need in excess.
Pig headed blindness and tunnel vision.
That helps too.
In spite of rejections.
Ignoring nay-sayers.
Stumbling on no matter what.
Breath taking turn of phrase.
Sparkling description.
Inventive dialogue.
And focus so intense it appears to be a third person in the room. Leaning forward in their chair. Intent on every word.
Like with the eel. Even though you have to peddle backwards you still get your photo.
And that's really the thing, isn't it?
Able to always move forward OR backward.
So how about you?
What do you think the best quality a writer could have?

Friday, March 16, 2007


He is known as a clumpy nudibranch.
That's Mr. Clumpy to you.
And Asteronotus cespitosus to all his other friends.
A big guy.The size of my hand. The mother of all nudibranchs. He was suspended - not in disbelief -- but in the ocean. I thought I was seeing things.
I was.
He was really there.
The rough surge dislodged him. I took his picture then placed him in a safe coral encrusted nook. It was the least I could do.
For Clumpy.

4:30 am and 74 degrees.
Can't live with 'em.
Can't live without 'em.
I love to make up words. You know those people who the literary world refers to as destroying our language because they do ridiculous things like making verbs out of nouns and rearranging letters?
I'm one of those people. Those scum of the earthers. And not just verbal either -- I'm getting published so that makes me twice as bad! My bizarre wordsmithing abilities will go down in print if not in some obscure alternative dictionary.
You want examples? Ok. Here they are.
Someone commented on one of the blogs recently about the word impactful.
They said impactful was not a word.
I beg to differ. I use it all the time.
It is a word.
Maybe they just mean it's a BAD word. I think that's cruel name-calling. I mean what did impactful ever do to you?
Oh. This is a good one: Flustrated. Sounds like a hen ruffling her feathers doesn't it?
Flustrated. I know it's not in Webster's -- but it should be -- It means upset.
More determined than flustered but less specific than frustrated.
Hey, I've heard other people use this so I'm obviously not alone.
Then there's my personal favorite.
Jelliose. I love this word. Ever seen a melted sea jelly on the beach? Not quite liquid but fairly dead? Jelliose. No longer jello. Something that used to be firm and wriggly. Jelliose.(This can also refer to Jello salads past their prime)
Then there are the times I throw my words in a blender and hit "grind." You know. Those words combined with other words that should be words?
For example.
Having trouble deciding who you were in a past life?
You are karmcommittaled. This is when your inner essence -- your Karma -- can't make up its mind. Your Yin and Yang are in a state of indecisiveness. Similar to contracommittaled. That's when your inner essence is split evenly in two different directions.
Of course, you realize none of this has to make any sense. That's the beauty of it. Just like Clumpy.
Floating out in the ocean for no apparent reason. But.
He is fun to look at isn't he?
Well, I got to go.
Get coffeed.
What are your words?
Tell me please.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


My editor sent the cover with spine to me via Fedex
How cool is this?


Tuesday, March 13, 2007



77 degrees and 6:15 am.
REMEMBER TO CHECK OUT THE DEBUTANTE BALL today. My guest blog is there. Let me know how you like it.
There has been a battle here over the last two days. My husband's Blackjack will not accept the fact that there are places that do not LEAP AHEAD. He was late to work on Monday and so were all the other architects at the firm who use their Blackjacks as miniature alarm clocks. All the meetings were off by an hour.
I hear it was not a great deal of fun.
Each time they corrected the little devils they flipped over to mainland time as soon as one's back was turned.
Kind of creepy don't you think?
Now I could anthropomorphize these tiny devices.
Talk about the resulting havoc of a software glitch.
Or use the entire scenario in one of my novels 'cuz...
Sometimes ya just can't make this stuff up.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


So I am walking with my friend the other day and discovered a monk seal who just lumbered to shore. They lay on the beach to rest or have their babies. I don't know for sure that it was female but I decided to take literary license and say that it was.
I am not sure though.
What I am sure of is that it was serendipitous.
One minute the beach was empty.
The next she was there.
Like inspiration.
And I look with wonder.

84 degrees and 2 pm.
A leisurely Saturday.
I have news.
First of all I discovered a very cool blog. RAY WONG AUTHOR OF THE PACIFIC BETWEEN has a blog called -- I the author -- and it is good fun to read. Ray is MAESTRO over at ABSOLUTE WRITE WATER COOLER and is one of many sound voices of reason (as I like to think of them).
Today I signed up for my third year at the MAUI WRITERS RETREAT AND CONFERENCE. Their 2007 brochure is ready. I have said it before and I'll say it again that it was one of the contributing factors that allowed me to obtain the agent who sold my book. It's always held just prior to labor day. Unfortunately it is also my husbands birthday. What I give up for my art. I need a T-shirt that says "I had to decide between celebrating my husband's birthday or attending the Maui Writers Conference... I guess I can mail him a card from Maui."
(I just read this to Gordon AKA Patricia Wood's husband -- he was not amused)
I have to blush.
(FYI having never blushed in my life I am having difficulties initiating this alien physical response)
I have been asked to be a guest blogger on THE DEBUTANTE BALL this Tuesday March 12.
How cool is that?
Mia King whose book GOOD THINGS just came out to rave reviews so kindly asked me and of course I said yes.

So what does this have to do with monk seals on the beach?
What do you think?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Nothing is as it seems.
True in photography and doubly true in literature.
Sea anemones are not known for speed. In fact they are fairly sedentary.
But they have their obstreperous ways. A shadow. A movement. And those tentacles tuck right in.
A photographer has to be on her toes...or rather on her elbows stretched out on the dock.
My poor beleaguered husband.
"Honey I just want to go for a walk. People are staring. Can you get up now?"
Always hunting.

78 degrees and 9:30 pm.
Where do I stop and my work begins? There is a part of me in everything I do.
I am not Perry. I am not Keith. I am not Gram. These are merely characters. But in many ways they are me. I have given them life. I made them. This is a conundrum to be sure. An interesting problem but a conundrum none the less.
You hear authors protest.
"I am nothing like my main character."
But deep down inside I think they know the truth.
We writers are a mass of undifferentiated multiple personalities. Just waiting to get out. Escape. Be a part of the action.
"The play's the thing." A famous writer said.
And I think that is true.
By the way. If you think you see me in the photograph? You are perceptive. Upper right hand corner.
I am reflected there.
Taking a picture of you.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I couldn't decide which photo to use to demonstrate today's concept. It took a while.
I struggled.
Underwater? Horses? Cats?
I don't like to admit ignorance. I like to feign competence. Intelligence. Even when I don't know what I'm talking about.
Isn't that just like a writer?
So how is a fledgling albatross like this?
Like me.
Like all of us?

73 degrees and 6:30 am.
I see writers in a hurry. I am in a hurry, or at least I was.Strike that. Still am thank you very much!
First I was in a hurry to write my book. I sat in the salon of ORION madly typing away convinced someone somewhere had my exact same idea or a nefarious agent or editor would steal my pages. To protect myself I even sent in my money and got a copyright. Wasn't I smart?
Rush. Rush. Hurry.
Query! Quick! As many as you can. The rejections came flying back twice as fast as I could mail out my missives.
"I would like to show you my novel..."
"For your consideration..."
"Come ON!!!!!Be my agent!!!!PLEASE??????"
There must be more to this than I thought.
I re-worked novel number one and started novel two.
I attended MAUI WRITERS RETREAT & CONFERENCE where I met HOLLY KENNEDY. I was anxious. Driven. I KNEW things were happening. Just not to me. Holly gave out the best advice I have ever heard. SLOW DOWN. TAKE YOUR TIME. RELAX.
It was echoed by every author I met.
Take the time to be a good writer and write.
Write a lot.
And then write more.
Fast forward...Novel product --
LOTTERY -- Sent out on submission... Bought by Putnam!
TA DA!!!
So when will it be released?
August 2, 2007.
What's the time line?
December 6, 2006 -- Putnam won the auction for LOTTERY
December 7, 2006 -- Discussion with editor
December 13 -- Lottery sold to Netherlands, Italy
December 15 -- Lottery sold to UK
December 22 -- editorial letter received
December 26 -- Hard copy of edits received
Pat does not remember anything about this holiday season.
January 2 -- edited manuscript sent back electronically
January 3 -- LOTTERY sold to Israel.
January 3 Deal posted in Publishers Weekly
January 18 -- second editorial letter received
January 18 -- Lottery sold to Sweden, Finland, Taiwan
January 22 -- Edited manuscript sent electronically NOTE: This is called D&A. The manuscript was delivered and accepted.
Why is this important?
Because it means an additional portion of the ADVANCE is due the author.
February 12- Lottery sold to Korea
February 13- Uncorrected bound galley sent to authors for blurbs and reviewers
February 16 - Lottery sold to Russia
February 22 -- Hard copyedited manuscript arrives and checked obsessively by author
NOTE: Corrections also have to be made on the Authors electronic copy
February 23 -- copy edited manuscript sent back to Putnam.
February 26 -- First contract arrives to be signed. NOTE: No money has been received by the author to date.
March 2 -- More contracts arrive to be signed. NOTE: No money has been received by the author yet.
March 5 -- Communication from agent: Putnam contracts are fed exed.
March 6-
Kristy Kiernans book CATCHING GENIUS is released and Kristy emails Pat. Pat is happy for Kristy but she is GREEN with envy.
Pat wants LOTTERY out NOW!
Pat is like the fledgling albatross.
Ready to fly. But needs more feathers.
Needs better wind updraft. Needs luck to escape the sharks.
Needs time.
Needs much more time.
149 days and counting.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


I almost missed him. I was turning over rocks and looking for shrimp or other exotic creatures. I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. He was casually sliding to the side attempting to escape like a guilty shoplifter at a five and dime.
I snapped the photo and tried to identify him.
I thought his name should be flamboyant and dramatic.
Extreme and unique.
But it wasn't.
His name is pretty much what he is:
The Hawaiian Spotted Flatworm.

77 degrees and 9:30 pm.

My WEBSITE is up!!!!!

The URL is It will be an evolving work in process. It takes some time to load but will give readers a glimpse into where I come from and what provokes me to write.
Whenever I read a book that affects me deeply I am driven to go online and look up the author. I am always disappointed when there is no website, no information and when I am unable to find out anything about the writer.
Why do I have this compulsion to understand the creator of a book that entrances me? I find I am fascinated to read about why an author wrote a particular book. What he or she was thinking and the journey they endured to produce the novel.
I must be a sort of literary voyeur.
But I am not alone. Many of you have the same compulsion.
I wonder.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Creatures can give us insight. Show us characteristics that are an integral part of us but we tend not to acknowledge.
Introspection is good.
Cross species introspection is even better.
71 degrees and 6:30 am
Writers...pick your animal.

New writers. A bit ridiculous. Goofy. Nitwits abound. You think you are special.Unique. Until you look up and see that you are surrounded by other nitwits just like yourself. You have two choices: Be like everyone else or try to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
What do you do?

Do you put your hands (paws) over your ears , a bag over your head go,La La La La?

When finally asked for a partial, do you run scared. Rework the first twenty pages until the agent dies a natural death. Or shoot yourself in the foot by forgetting to put your contact information in the cover letter?

Do you just dream of being a writer? Dream of writing a book? Dream of being published?

Or do you take writers' clinics? Aggressively focus and go after every last bit of knowledge working shoulder to shoulder with other writers.