Sunday, May 30, 2021

What's In a Name?

 Recently, I decided to dust off a manuscript that's been languishing under the proverbial bed for years and redo it. I blame Covid for giving me too much time to think about things. This is the story that started me on my writing path but which never saw the light of day, despite being written and rewritten numerous times. 

Part of my redo is to rename my main characters. No one knows anymore, or cares if they do, that Mary Jane used to be a code name for marijuana. 

And the hero's name needs to change also, since basing your characters on real persons can be filled with all kinds of landmines that are better avoided. He can still be from the same era, just not bear the name of a famous person.

So, new names are in the works. Along with a new title for the story. What, you might ask, am I keeping from the old manuscript? 

That's yet to be determined, other than the basic premise,  Time travel has always held an appeal for me. It's a good way to combine my love of history with my enjoyment of contemporary situations. And, after the crazy year we've all been through, it'll be fun to bounce back and forth from the past to the present, and figure out which is the more harrowing. 

As Rachel Maddow is fond of saying, watch this space.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Is It Just Me?

 Finally, during the latter part of the week, our temps here in the Sandhills have turned seasonal. It seems like summer has taken its sweet old time getting here. My office is set up in my Carolina Room, which is mostly comprised of windows. So while I add another chapter to my ghostwriting story, my eyes seem to be straying to the outdoors more and more often. 

I keep telling myself I need to put 1,000 words at a minimum on the page before I can get into my shorts and head out to my swing where I can breathe in the warm air and feel the sun on my skin. But these days, when the sky is Carolina blue and the open window carries the scent of freshly mown grass, those 1,000 words are hard to come by. 

Each writer has his or her own method for getting words from their head to the page, and no two people are alike, just as no two stories are alike. Usually, my method is by daily word count, but some days are harder than others. Those are the days I pray for rain, so I'm not tempted to head out of doors before my goal is reached. It must be the time of year. Keeping my head down and my eyes on the keyboard must be a seasonal thing. Right? 

Or is it just me?

Sunday, May 16, 2021


 Regardless of what CDC says, I'm reluctant to give up my mask or get on a plane, even being fully vaccinated against Covid. So, when a friend invited me to join her at a local B&B I jumped at the opportunity. 

For two days and nights, I let someone else cook breakfast for me. I roamed through the historic district of one of the small towns near my house, entering shops I'd driven by many times but never wandered into. I took care of a few chores that I'd been putting off, since I knew my friend would be busy for a couple hours each day. Best of all, I got to spend some quality time with my friend, who is always rushed when she does come to town and we can barely carve out some time for a quick lunch. Oh, and I found an autographed copy of a new book by my favorite author in the local bookstore. Who could ask for anything more? 

So, if you're starting to stick your toe into the real world again, but want to take baby steps, I highly recommend a staycation. It will do your psyche a world of good. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Fine Fiction or Smut?

I recently read on Facebook a conversation one of my writing buddies recently had with an acquaintance. My friend, who I'll call Ramona, is one feisty lady who has had a long career as an author and who is known for her sharp wit. When the woman found out Ramona wrote romance, she rolled her eyes and told Ramona the woman's mother used to read that smut. Then, realizing she may have offended Ramona, the woman tried to walk back her statement. 

Ramona was having none of it. 

After finding out Ramona had over 130 books already in print and more at a publisher, waiting to be released, the woman muttered something about how nice it must be. Ramona replied that most days it was nice, except when she ran across someone who referred to her work as smut. 

Ramona's final comment in the telling of this story was to say she'd forget the woman tomorrow, but had no doubt the woman would always remember her. 

You have to develop a thick skin if you're going to be a writer. I've been to events where the romance writers are placed in the back of the room while "true" fiction writers get center stage. Romance writers are the lifeblood of the publishing world, but industry respect doesn't necessarily follow. 

Yet, we persist. Especially in this age of Covid, hugs are few and far between, and a good romantic story about two people finding love feels much like a hug. The story line wraps you in warmth as you quickly turn the pages and you think about the story long after you've set the book down. 

So, does that qualify as fine fiction? If it makes you stop and think about the characters and how they develop over time? If the story brings to life the setting, so you can smell the freshly cut grass of the suburbs or feel the sand between your toes at the beach? If you cry along with the characters at the loss of a life, or your heart starts pumping wildly during a harrowing scene? 

Is that fine fiction? Or is it merely smut? 

You be the judge. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Favorite Time of Year

 For years now, when asked what my favorite time of year is, I always answered Autumn. Especially in the mountains, the display of color when the leaves change takes my breath away and brings a tear to my eye.


But now that Spring has finally come, I have to admit, my favorite ritual is about to take place. This weekend, I'm packing away the heavy winter duds and pulling my shorts out of the hope chest. So, I think now that I'm older, I look forward to Spring more than I do Autumn. 

If my recent trip to Ohio taught me anything, it's that I can't stand Winter. The snow might be momentarily pretty as it's falling, but once it's on the ground, not so much. The air is frigid, and once the temperature does warm up enough to melt the snow, mud puddles form and there's nothing pretty about them. Give me the heat of summer any day. 

So, how about you? What season is your favorite? I'm sitting here in my shorts and t-shirt, awaiting your answers.