Friday, September 26, 2008


What can I say?
It was too cool here. Check out the rock formations.

These experiences all add texture to a book...The people on this cruise ship have no idea they're going to end up in my next novel.
But the coolest thing?
Is what we find on our bed each evening.

Animal towels...
Who knew?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


It was only a matter of time. I needed to face my internet addiction full on. It was becoming apparent that emergency measures were necessary.
After two amazingly fun events in Washington State:
The Gig Harbor Echo Bay Chapel Author’s Night
The most PHENOMENAL book club ever if nothing else due to size and creativity (and food fed to aforementioned author) held in Edmonds with the help of Third Place Books.
(They had name tags using LOTTERY tickets lol !!!)

I was forced to pack my suitcase and taken captive by Norwegian Cruise Lines and am now conscripted by the NORWEGIAN PEARL.
They lured me with the promise of wifi but it was all a hoax…
A grand deception instigated by my husband who’s desperate to read the revised version of my next novel…
So… You will see photos if it is possible to add them (I just did- they had to be a lot smaller!!!...maybe when we get into port and they trust me not to escape...
When they say limited internet capability.
They mean it.
Posts here will be random and spontaneous.
But you know what they say bloggers?
There’s nothing more effective than variable reinforcement.
I’ll be able to read and comment periodically so help me keep my spirits up while I am through-the-Panama-Canal bound and lolling by the side of the pool.
(And you Miami-ites? Put Books & Books on your schedule. I’ll be there October 11 at 7 pm!)
Excuse me…
It’s time for my shuffleboard lesson with Carlos…

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


There's a story behind this boat...

Port Townsend, Washington. Two lane roads. Deer nibbling in yards. The smell of one of the few remaining paper mills. The sound of a ferry in the distance. Boats. Boats in water. Boats at docks. Boats in yards. Under hoists. Up on jacks.
I went to Port Townsend in search of Bob.
Driving down the street. I looked for Bob's car.
Shiny honda? Not a chance.
Well maintained PT cruiser? Unlikely.
BMW? No way.
Then I saw it.
Sitting in the middle of the road.
A Volkswagen van. Rusted sides. Duct tape on the mirror. Door tied shut with yellow nylon rope.
Yep. That'll work.
Next I wanted to find out where he worked.
At the end of the road across from the marina there was a huge warehouse. I peeked inside.
Molds. Woodworking tools. Smooth shining hulls.
I passed a small building attached with a sign. "Yard Office."
I tried to find Bob himself.
I thought I might, but he appeared to always be just ahead of me.
Out of sight. Around the corner. I saw the back of a head. A smile. A wink.
Each place we went in- he had just left.
Ah well. Maybe next time.
And then?
At Fort Worden. I found his boat. Out in a grassy field.
I waited for a while but Bob didn't show up.
So I did the next best thing.
I found Ella.

Didn't I tell you? She spends time in Port Townsend.
We discussed my dilemma over a beer...
"Pat," she said. "You get hung up on the details."
She motioned me closer and whispered, "You got to let art just flow over you..."
And then she took a drink of her Kempers and winked.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Writing a novel is hard (ask Tooloose). Editing and revising a novel is even harder. There are those flowery bits of brilliant prose that a writer is just dying to have someone read. Only problem is their beta readers or editor (or worse yet their spouse) tells them those words have GOT to GO...
No worrys.
I have just the tool you need.
The Hawaiian shark tooth and koa revision tool.
You're unwilling to cut out a segment?
Put your money where your mouth is...
Take the tool.
Hold it against some necessary part of your body and ask yourself.
"Do I want that lovely description of the rosy fingers of dawn grabbing the golden sun's flaring rays and pulling it up into the sky, then letting go?"
Do I want to keep those lovely fingers attached to my hand. Or my left toe. Or right ear.
It's easy.
Even Van Gogh discovered the efficacy of a tool like this to judge if those last few strokes should stay or should be painted over.
Although he might have actually used an ancient French paring knife.
What do you think bloggers?
Is this a tool whose time has come?

Thursday, September 11, 2008


As a writer you've heard about the elephant in the room?
Well there is something more insidious.

Tooloose is suffering from angst.
He's been busily writing his abducted-by-alien -space-monkeys-cat-rehab-memoir and it's going pretty good. good as it can get without opposable thumbs.
In between getting distracted by batting around the crumpled pages of his manuscript he's tossed aside.
And coming down from that last catnip high (hey, he's in rehab...I didn't say it was successful.
It's finally occurring to him that maybe this publishing and writing stuff might be harder than it looks.
We had a talk about this just the other day.
"Yes, Tooloose. I know editing and revising is difficult, but you just have to power through it."
"Meow. Meow."
"Yes. When I wrote LOTTERY, I pretty much wrote it for myself. I was compelled to write it."
"No, Tooloose. I have no idea what kind of advance you'll get. I have no idea if it will be enough for you to live on."
"Meow, Meow."
"I don't think you can prevent your litter mates from buying a copy and reading it. I don't think it works that way. Why? Did you write something bad about them?"
"I see. Well you'll have to cross that bridge when you come to it. Your publisher will have lawyers who can determine libel."
"No, Touloose. Not everybody will like your book. But that's okay. Plenty of people will. You've kind of limited your market as most cats can't read."
"Well that's a choice you have to make. I think non-fiction is more compelling, but sure, you can change it to fiction."
"Yeah I know vampires are really hot right now but remember how long it will take to get your book on the bookshelves even if it IS published this year. I don't think you can predict the market like that."
"Yeah I DO kind of like the title 'Blood-Sucking-Cat-Vampires-Meet-Alien-Space-Monkeys: Fight to the Death' but I thought you wanted to write your cat rehab memoir?"
"Tooloose, I told you. You can't predict what will be popular. You have to write from your passion. Not for who you think might read your book. Otherwise what's the point?"
"Tooloose, your focus on money does not show me you have a true commitment to the arts."
"Okay, sure. We'll let the blog readers help you decide.
Should you stick with your abducted-by-alien -space-monkeys-cat-rehab-memoir or be 'market driven' and...what's that Tooloose?
You have an idea?
An orphaned kitten wizard that is sent to a Cat Magic boarding school and is the focus of a divine feline prophesy?

Oh man.
Help me blog readers...

Sunday, September 07, 2008


So could you live on a boat?
This is the upper deck:

And here is below deck:

We modified the table slightly and remodeled the galley.
It's definitely not like a house, but let me help you decide if this life is for you.
Unfasten your toilet. Move it to the smallest cupboard underneath the counter in your kitchen. Now run a long hose from the toilet outside. Now plug this hose with...well you know what to plug it with...(if you have a two year old they can help)
Let your husband cram into the cupboard with several tools he does not need. Now ask him to fix the toilet.
Tell him that you have 12 people coming for dinner.
In a half hour.
Can you handle that?
Okay try this.
Move your stove into your pantry. Shrink your refrigerator to 1/3 the size. Make sure you hit your head on the doorway each time you bend down to use your stove.
Try to cook chicken for 12 in an hour with a propane stove that takes 45 minutes to heat to 275 degrees.
It is not enough to cook chicken all the way through. No matter how long it's in there.
Ask me how I know.
Now run out of propane.

Take your clothes that you need to wear to work that morning. Crawl into the dryer. Turn it on. Now get dressed.
You will look disheveled.
Get used to it.


That's the way
uh huh
uh huh
We like it
uh huh
uh huh

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Today is the release date of my friend and fellow Hawaii author Mia King. SWEET LIFE is one of those books you want to curl up with and spend the whole day lost in the world Mia creates.

So I'm back on ORION and back to work. I always reflect on the over arching big things that I've learned from a retreat and conference-- I mean there are lots of details that are stuffed in my head but what are the BIG things I took away from the retreat and conference this year?
Let me see...
Revision is the hardest and the most necessary. It DOESN'T get easier with each book - in fact many times it gets harder because you know too much about the process.
You can learn much from beginning writers and often times you see mistakes in their manuscripts that you make yourself. You can go back to your WIP and it becomes clear what you need to do. I often wonder why I don't see more published authors in workshops. Dunno. I found it really useful to have a mix of all levels of ability and a GREAT facilitator REALLY helps.
GARY BRAVER was phenomenal (some people know him as professor GARY GOSHGARIAN at Northeastern University in Boston).
Do not quit. Don't. Ever. Quit. I use Tooloose as my model. He always hopes the companionway will be open and he checks it often. It just might be. Then he can trundle over to Beta Reader Bob's Boat and hand over another manuscript.
More often than not it's closed. But he has hope.
Perseverance is for published authors too. Your story might be stuck. You might be stuck. But you know your vision and you don't give up on it. You don't give up on your characters. Or your words. Or your voice.

And the best thing?
We are all alike. Published or unpublished. Best seller or mid-list. Writer or reader.
We all want a good story.

NOTE: Update on Tooloose. All the agents and editors have left. He's really upset with me that I didn't use my influence to get him a consultation with Kristin Nelson or Jeff Kleinman.
But I told him.
Space-Monkey-Alien-Cat-Rehab- Memoirs-Based-kind-of-on-the-truth- are SO over...
I got it straight from the horse's mouth...