New Orleans Revival

I finished the first draft of FORTITUDE last Tuesday, September 10, 2013. Cue the party horns!

It felt great and I immediately took a few days off from serious writing because I busted my fingers and brain the previous two weeks to get it done. Yes, even though it’s Laurie Halse Anderson’s annual WFMAD challenge this month, I played hooky. I’d planned on keeping away from FORTITUDE for a couple weeks to get the whole distance and perspective break most professionals suggest writers take before diving into revisions, but that didn’t happen.

What did happen was something like this:

DAY OUT WITH FRIENDS IN NEW ORLEANS

Last Thursday I drove Joyce, Lee Ann, and MeLeesa to the big sleazy for dinner and a concert at House of Blues. We bought tickets for the Hanson show at the beginning of summer but it happened to fall in place that we all had literary milestones to celebrate last week: fishing drafts, multi-book contracts, and waiting to hear back from NYC editors. It was—is—an exciting time and we all needed the change of pace to escape the writing cave and chill with those who understand.

(Yes, I did say Hanson and I’m not ashamed. My musical interests span genres and centuries and there’s a special place in my music library for the guys of Hanson. They rock, with a little Motown jive here and there, plus they’ve matured nicely.



Just to show a sampling of what I listen to, on the drive back I switched from Hanson to Mitch Malloy to Boston before settling on Helloween. The guitar chords got heavier as the night grew later because this driver needed to stay alert.)

What happened the day after was constant music playing in my head. Music inspires me—always has, always will—and by late afternoon I had to get back to FORTITUDE. Four days later I’ve finished a complete round of editing plus several scene rewrites/additions to the praises of my first beta reader. I think I’ve got something good here and I can’t wait to share it.

Diva of the Day

As noted in the previous post, my family attended a wedding in June. We drove 800 miles to central Illinois to see my sister-in-law’s union to her boyfriend of several years. Hooray for them!
A family road trip with three kids is one thing.
Having your four-year-old diva surpass half a dozen meltdowns in one day is another!
I warned them, truly I did.
But I’m not sure they believed the level of Drama Queen perfection my child can reach. Then the wedding day struck. I sent her ahead of me with her cousin so she could keep her hair appointment with the other girls in the wedding party.100_3102
A few hours later there was a phone call during the worst—not the first—fit asking for me to try calming her down while in the back ground I heard “someone needs to get her to breath so she doesn’t start hyperventilating.” Needless to say, I arrived soon after.100_3121
I will say that she did well during the ceremony, it was just those meltdowns before—and one or two after—that brought out many “candid photo ops” as the professional photographer called them.
The wedding wouldn’t have been complete without the cake and flowers. My in-laws are fabulously talented.100_3148
One of the good memories of road life is the down time on the way there and back. In closing, here’s a photo of the oldest (autism spectrum son) doing what he loves best at bedtime.100_3226

June’s Highs and Lows

June was a month of many miles: physical and emotional. A wedding, a funeral. Harsh realities and re-envisioned dreams. First times, and also, some repeat situations.

I’d like to revisit some of June’s milestones in the next few posts and I’ll begin with a geek moment.
On June 14th I took my eldest child (son with autism) to Springfield, Illinois to see the Dana-Thomas House. No, we didn’t travel all the way up from the Gulf Coast to visit the house—we were only an hour and a half away staying with family—though I would if I could for Frank Lloyd Wright. This was my son’s favorite spot, the Lego model of the home in the carriage house. 100_3029

It was my first time in a Frank Lloyd Wright residence. I was able to go to the Guggenheim Museum when I was in NYC last year, so that was my first FLW building, but his homes! I’ve been collecting books about and drooling over them for years. 100_3052

The home was everything I expected and more. My favorite rooms were the library and concert hall, both in The Gallery wing. The built-ins in the master bedroom and dining room were gorgeous and the bowling lane in the basement wasn’t too shabby either. 100_3044

If you want to learn more about this historical home (with a great gift shop) visit http://www.dana-thomas.org for more information.

P.S.
Remember, you can find a featured story or essay on my “SHORTS” page. The current one is “Midsummer Ado”, a historical fiction piece perfect for this time of year.

More R-N-R

Last night I was able to catch another Ricky Nelson Remembered concert. This time it was with two of my friends, Lee Ann Ward and Meleesa Swann. We drove more than two hours each way to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, but it was well worth the time and expense.

Gunnar, Lee Ann, me, and Matthew

Gunnar, Lee Ann, me, and Matthew. Thanks, Meleesa!


When I caught the show last year in New Jersey, Matthew and Gunnar had a full band. The current leg of their tour was just the two of them—but they sounded great. Gunnar took lead/electric guitar and Matthew switched between bass and rhythm guitars. And man, the bass lines were smokin’ hot!
My favorite song presentation of the night was “Fools Rush In.” Love the song as it is, but their rendition was flawless.

As I bask in the memories of the good times and fabulous music, I’m still waiting to hear back about the fate of my Rick Nelson inspired novel, CORRODED. If you’re new to the blog, check out the category postings under Corroded and Rick Nelson on the sidebar. And don’t miss the soundtrack!

2012: The Year of Firsts

It’s been an eventful year. High and low points abound but this time around, I’m thinking firsts. Several of my firsts happened while in New York City this spring including:

  • Taxi ride (No, I’d never been in a taxi cab!)
  • Train trip (Full size, not a Thomas the Tank Engine ride along.) 100_1034
  • Subway experience
  • Broadway show
  • Eating sashimi
  • Times Square and all other things New York City

My literary related experiences were memorable as well. Several of the events were the cumulative efforts of the previous year(s), but here they are:

  • Acting as a World Book Night giver (I handed out twenty copies of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson to the Baker High School softball team on senior night.)100_0927
  • Being acknowledged in a novel as having helped with the writing process by the author (Want by Stephanie Lawton, my friend and Write Club confidant.)
  • Submitting a novel, CORRODED, to publishing companies (No news from any of the four, yet.)
  • Writing conference (Multi-day, not just a single workshop.)
  • Guest blog post on another website (Nerdy Book Club, for the win!)
  • Purchasing e-books (My first was Shayla Witherwood: A Half-Faerie Tale by Tamra Torero.)

Then there’s the most recent happening—the big finale happened this morning. Drum roll, please.

  • I joined a choir.

I can hear the snickering from here, folks! I come from a musical family but have always sung off key, or so I thought. Turns out I just couldn’t hit the normal notes. Tenor (back row, with the men—and two other ladies) is what I sang for the Christmas Cantanta during our chapel service. I wasn’t perfect, but I got most of the notes, but maybe not in the right spots… Well, I tried.