The best thing I can think of to write about now is my next novel.  Well, and the weather, which is glorious.  I know everyone will say, “We need the rain!”  However, I say, “I am loving the blue skies and mid-60 degree warmth.”  Other parts of the country are getting cold, wet and snow, but here in California, we’re enjoying beautiful days.  Except for a couple of rain storms and a wind storm that knocked out power for three days and four nights, it’s been a winter more resembling spring.  I have absolutely NO complaints about the weather – I don’t think it could be nicer.  Now, back to the novel.  It’s titled What Happened To Robbie Tibbons.  It’s actually the second book I wrote (In Darkness was the third novel written, but the first one published), with the first one stuck in a drawer never to come out again.  WHTRT (What Happened To Robbie Tibbons) is about two thirteen-year-old cousins, one white, one half-black, spending the summer together.  It’s set in 1973 on a lake where the girls swim, play and canoe.  The plans for the summer are terrific right up until a fatal mishap changes the girls’ lives forever.    The cousins spend the rest of the summer trying to uncover the truth.  My synopsis sounds like a Nancy Drew story, but it’s not.  It’s definitely written for adults, not their children.  I’m doing the final rewrites now, but I’m trying to build on the character of one of the girls and having a rough time with that.  Rewriting is hard!  How I wish I could write a book that was immediately ready to publish.  I tend to write the books quickly, but I then I spent a year rewriting In Darkness.  It was grueling.  I read that book probably thirty times before I was finished.  And now I’m doing the same for WHTRT and I hope to have it ready for publishing in a few months.


I’m presently waiting for some news.  I don’t wait well.  I don’t wait patiently.  I wrap my brain around possibilities and what-if’s and never let go.  I wonder.  I fret.  I plan for things not yet realized.  It’s my nature to be curious and I’m always trying to work things out in my head, whether I have the facts or not.  There are no guarantees, of course.  It could be bad news, just as easily as good news, but I tend to believe that good outweighs bad.  I tend to look forward to good news instead of preparing myself for bad news.  I suppose that’s because I’ve received more good news than bad.  The plan is to hear back next week, if all goes well.  I can wait a week.  I can wait two, if necessary.  But, that doesn’t mean that I’ll be waiting patiently, careful not to get my hopes up.  I don’t know which is better.  To prepare myself for bad news or to expect good news.  I find, when it’s something I really want, I tend to believe it will work out.  And, if I’ve learned anything in my time on this planet, it’s that everything happens for a reason.  Each and every time I’ve been disappointed by bad news, it has eventually worked out for the best.  There’s always something just around the corner that makes me glad to be available, which I wouldn’t have been, had the news been good.  So, I wait and I wonder.  Will the news be good?  Or, will I be let down easily (“it’s good, but not for us”) so that I will be available when the next better thing comes along down the pike?

Overall Outage

It’s amazing how I take things for granted.  I’m reminded of that when they’re not around anymore.  Such as the electricity.  It went out at 7:00 pm on Wednesday and didn’t come back on until Sunday morning around 9:00 am.  Three days and four nights of nothing but cold, cold, cold.  I did some knitting and read a book, but most of the time I was huddled under a pile of blankets just trying to get warm.  I did a lot of thinking while I waited.  I had no heat, no hot water, no way to cook, no phone (battery was dead), no TV or music and no computer/internet and I was running out of food quickly.  I rationed the two fiber bars, four bagels and cream cheese, the last bit of peanut butter and saltine crackers.  Finished off my hoarded pepper jelly, too.  Everything else in the house had to be cooked.  While it was fortuitous that I hadn’t gone out and stocked up the fridge and freezer the day before the outage, it did leave me with very little to eat.  I think it would have been harder watching a lot of food spoil, though. The lack of information was difficult, as well.  Not having a phone or TV to get caught up with what was going on was excruciating.  It’s taught me that I really need to have a good radio for just such occasions.  I kept begging the PGE God to turn back on the power until finally on Saturday I realized that the power wasn’t ever going to come back on.  This was how it was going to be forever more.  Never warm, never clean, never full, and never in touch with those I love.  I was sure electricity was over for me.  I even cried a little.  I cried a little when the power came back on Sunday morning, too.  And I will never take electricity for granted again.  This was the longest I’ve gone without power in my adult life and I hope to never do it again.  The shower I took on Sunday was one of the best I’ve ever had.  It took all the heaters about five hours to get the chill out and warm up the place, for which I am very grateful.  I’m tentative, though.  I have this understandable fear that it will go right back out again.

Remember Me?

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything!  I developed bursitis in my hip and couldn’t sit up at the computer to write.  I couldn’t do much of anything, but writing was on my mind.  What if I got finally well and then couldn’t write anymore?  What if my skill was only temporary – lost in the ozone if I didn’t write every day, or every other day at the least.  It’s been four weeks, except for one day when I had an idea that I just absolutely had to put down on paper.  I set my bursitis back a bit, but wrote an all-important page, one that I was so afraid of losing if I didn’t write it immediately.  I’m getting better, day by day, with the help of a chiropractor and drivers getting me around and schlepping my groceries, cleaning my house – Visiting Angels they are.  I couldn’t have gotten through the past weeks without them, but the one thing they could not do for me was write.  I couldn’t even dictate to them for transcription because I absolutely have to be at the computer in order to write.  It’s my instrument, my tool.  I need to feel the keys clicking beneath my fingers.  What am I doing now, you ask?  Well, I’m taking a very short break from being horizontal to write a short blog post.  I’m writing just enough to convince myself that I can still write and enough to say hello, how are you to my most appreciated readers.

Success So Far

Well, it’s been about five weeks since the release of my novel, In Darkness and I’m still flying high.  Sales have been less than great, but, as far as I can tell, those people reading it seem to like it!  That’s the best news I could get.  Readers are responding to Dean Thompson, the main character in the novel, the man I created.  I couldn’t really ask for anything more.  Of course, only four people that I know of have finished the book and have had a reaction to the ending.  I won’t share that here, because I don’t want to ruin anything for anyone.  And it’s definitely the ending that has most concerned me, wondering how readers will take it.  My editing readers all liked it and continued to talk about it after finishing.  That’s a good response, in my humble opinion.  It’s hard to write about the book without giving anything away.  That’s the last thing I want to do!  I’m excited for more people to read it and I hope sales will pick up a little (meaning that more people are reading it).  There were quite a few Facebook friends who indicated an interest in reading the book, but, so far, I’m only aware of two.  At least they reported that they enjoyed the read, I’m happy to report.  So, ultimately, I’m a bit disappointed in the number of people reading the book, but happy with the response – so far.  That could change, of course.  As I said, only four people have finished the book.  Maybe I should wait a little longer before reporting any kind of success.  I’m just so pleased to receive good news.  And, I have to say, the man on the cover was thrilled to learn that it was him!  His wife gave me the photo and we waited until it was published to disclose it to him.  He asked his wife why I didn’t use a photo of him or her.  She laughed and pointed to the picture and reported that it was indeed him.  He’s very happy to be on my book and I couldn’t imagine a better photo for the cover.

It’s A Book!

It’s as done as it’s ever going to be!  My book, In Darkness, is published and available for purchase at Amazon/Createspace in book form and Kindle.  It’s been about a year in process and I’m feeling such silly satisfaction in the finale; I’m practically giddy.  I am also a bit apprehensive, though, knowing that people will be reading this story and judging me as a writer.  I’m pretty sure I haven’t embarrassed myself, but I’m also pretty sure some people won’t like it; it’s not the great American novel, but I think it’s a good read.  I would imagine there will be those who point out the mistakes and there will be those who applaud my work.  I can’t expect everyone to like it and, as it is with any writer or artist, I have to learn not to care about what people think.  I’m not there yet.  I suppose that, after a few bad reactions, I’ll toughen up and wear my shield instead of my heart on my sleeve.  My book is about and from the perspective of a man, which was challenging.  Dean Thompson is a good man and it was a pleasure to create and develop him.  He’s got a great life, terrific friends, a nice girlfriend, a job he loves and enough money to feel comfortable.  He loves surfing, running with his dog and playing basketball with his buddies.  He’s sittin’ pretty.  But, as always, everything must change.  This is a story of a good man with a good life and how he attempts to cope when that life is seriously threatened.  It’s the story of a struggle to hold on to what’s good about his existence.  But, as anybody knows, that can be hard.  I certainly have had my share of challenges in life and I’m still here and I’m finally a published author, something I thought would never actually happen.  It took the blood, sweat and tears of a year of my life to write and rewrite this book.  I’ve had bigger challenges, but none with such the perfect payoff of being published.  It couldn’t have been done without the assistance, interest and support of several talented individuals.  And I thank you so very much.

Born in 1933, Charles “Cormac” McCarthy has written ten novels, as well as plays and screenplays.  He has received the Pulitzer prize for The Road and is regularly mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel prize in literature.  His influences are Herman Melville, Flannery O’Connor, Fyodor Dostoevsky and, most especially, William Faulkner, but he has the most original style of writing that I’ve ever seen.  He uses capital letters, periods and the occasional comma or colon, but never semi-colons or quotation marks.  He says that he doesn’t like to “blot the page up with weird little marks.”  I imagine that there have been at least a few authors who also wrote without complete punctuation, but I believe McCarthy has a style all his own.  In 2006, The New York Times Magazine conducted a poll of authors and publishers to determine the greatest American novels of the previous quarter-century.  McCarthy’s Blood Meridian placed third.  Generally four to seven years between novels, McCarthy is more about quality than quantity.  And not a fan of authors who do not deal with issues of life and death, he stated, “I don’t understand them.  To me, that’s not literature.  A lot of writers who are considered good, I consider strange.”  Personally, I’m a huge fan.  All The Pretty Horses is one of my favorite books and No Country For Old Men is a great movie that follows the book almost precisely.  Not that I could ever write without punctuation (I’m hopeful that my book has all the correct punctuation in the appropriate places), but I wonder about authors who have that desire.  Are they allowed to write in a style that is so definitely Cormac McCarthy’s?  Or does the man own his style in a way that precludes others from following suit?  Can one be an original writer and write without punctuation?  Or is that forever the stamp of Cormac McCarthy?