A One Fox Day by Trish Morey
I’ve blogged before about I love to walk in the mornings and count koalas and work out what kind of a day it’s going to be - one koala and the day’s going to be great, two and it will be fabulous, three and it will be brilliant?
Well, yesterday morning (the 30th here) I didn’t spy one single koala. But I did spy a fox! In a complete twist for us, it was the most brilliant sunny morning up here in the hills while down town was covered in dense fog. From the top of the hills all I could see was pillow after pillow of fog stretching out forever, completely obliterating the city and the plains below. Simply magic. And then walking up the dirt track I saw it. Standing stock still on the crest of a rise some distance ahead of me, at first I took it to be a dog someone was walking. I called out to my mutt, a total scaredy dog if ever there was one, and alerted the fox in the process. It took one look at me and disappeared silently through a fence and into the bush. And that’s when I noticed the tail!
I know they’re a pest and a curse on the land and to our animals, but it was beautiful animal. It certainly made my day.
Photo courtesy Qld Gov’t Environmental Protection Agency
Mothers and Daughters
by Norah Wilson
I just spent the last week with my elderly mother, who still lives in the old two sto
ry farmhouse where we grew up. She’s a fairly delicate 82. Although the total hip replacement she had in February has improved her mobility, she really can’t live alone any longer. Four of my sisters—all retired, semi-retired or otherwise non-working—take turns spending a week at a time with her. Since I’m still employed full time, I’m not part of the regular rotation, although I do provide bridge coverage sometimes from one sister to another. But each summer, I do take a week of my vacation, say goodbye to my own family, and go spend a week with my mother. It’s wonderful. Not just the one-on-one time with my mother, but the total change of pace. Weeding the garden, watering the tomato plants from the rain barrel, deadheading flowers, making meals with produce directly from the garden. These things are good for the soul. As is unplugging from cyberspace. (Okay, I logged on a few times, but with country dial-up, that hardly counts.)
And get this -- while I was gone, my wonderful 18-year-old daughter cleaned my house. I mean, seriously cleaned it, purging our crowded little bungalow of years worth of accumulated junk. She rearranged my writing office (with my blessing) by reducing my U-shaped desk to two pieces and opening up the room. She organized my books (Noodle
rs on the Noodler shelves, natch). She nagged my DH to install the window air-conditioner, as the current heat wave had turned my west-facing office into an unlivable oven. She cleaned both bathrooms, my kitchen, my living room, my bedroom.
And why did she do this? Because she knows I rely heavily on my summer vacation to make big time progress on my writing projects. I just came home tonight to a clean house. No piles of dirty dishes. No mountains of unwashed laundry. And tomorrow, I’m going to get up, walk the dog, then dive into my WIP in my clean, organized, cool office. Thanks to my daughter, who used a week of her summer break to help her old mother. I wub you, Baby Girl.
Labels: mothers and daughters
Top Five Reasons I Hate the Ride Home (from Vacation)
1. Striped orange and white barrels and signs that read “right lane closed.” They proliferated like kudzu along the interstate highway system in the mere week since I last traveled the corridor from Atlanta to Louisiana.
2. My child’s decision to watch a movie on her portable DVD player while I was driving. And yes, I wasn’t smart enough to plug it in before we left my parents’ house in Louisiana. I also wasn’t going to stop and make this endless drive longer, even by five minutes. So, one hand on the wheel, I leaned down to insert the plug in the socket close to the van floor, all the while trying to keep my vehicle in my lane and maintain the proper speed. I did go over on the shoulder briefly and have since vowed to pull over at an exit next time the DVD plug issue arises. Thank goodness for cruise control and long stretches of barren highway in Alabama.
3. Fanny fatigue. You know, that slightly numb yet painful feeling that settles in your butt cheeks when you drive long distances, even with stopping and walking around, even with cruise control.
4. The song “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.” Imagine if you will, passing the Georgia state line elated that you’re in the last stretch of the long drive home. The movie that had entertained your daughter and her buddy is over, and your child’s best friend says, “I know, we can sing.” Now this particular rendition of the classic irritation to parents worldwide was sung with a variety of accents. Fortunately for me, they wearied themselves with the song by the time we reached sixty-four bottles of beer on the wall, or maybe they just ran out of accents. Still determined to fight their boredom, they came up with a new game involving the middle school yearbook my daughter brought along on the trip. At first, it was a nice game—cutest boy on the page. Then the pleasantness degenerated into ugliest boy on the page and girl most likely to become a stripper. My advice to teen girls everywhere, don’t show your wares in your yearbook photos.
5. The greeting I received from my husband and his grandmother when I walked through the door after the eight hour drive . . . “What’s for dinner?”
Labels: car ride, kids, vacation
Wet Noodle Posse Sighting at Mt St Helens!
"I'd climb a steaming active volcano for the Wet Noodle Posse."
Well, maybe not. How about "I'll look into the crater of a steaming volcano for the Wet Noodle Posse"?
That's me in my new chocolate-and-mint Wet Noodle Posse T Shirt, with my favorite steamy volcano behind me. My son and grandson went with me, and we made a fabulous day of it. At the glass blowers shop at Hoffstadt Center, I added to my collection of Mt. St. Helens Christmas ornaments, then we moved on to Coldwater Creek Center and then Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Although we can see Mt. St. Helens from the deck of our house, getting there is a long, long road. We've made many
trips to the mountain, the first being exactly one week before the May 18, 1980 eruption. We were supposed to go on the 18th, but decided for some reason to go a week early. I don't know why, other than that the rumblings and bulges were getting ominous, and I wanted to see it before something happened. We were right down in the river bed where the mudflow killed so many people the following week, and my son went up on Elk Rock where pyroclastic flows swept people into oblivion. True, we wouldn't have been there so early in the morning because it's quite a long drive from Olympia, where we lived then. But it gives us shivers thinking about it anyway.
Here's the guys at Johnston Ridge, seven and a half miles from the crater. This ridge was swept by the landslide and pyroclastic flow, leaving nothing standing. Dr. David Johnston was on the ridge and gave the first report to the world. "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" The world never saw him again.
Four years after the volcano blew, we were some of the earliest groups of people allowed to drive up to Hurricane Ridge to the east of the mountain. The ash was still choking thick where it was stirred up by the one-way line of traffic, and not a thing grew or blossomed in foot-thick ash. It was a world of gray upon gray, devastation beyond belief. Today, the trees have been growing for nearly a quarter century. Wildflowers add bright
color to the desert-like soil. Ground squirrels beg for nuts the forest rangers beg us not to give them. Magnificence and beauty are returning. But it could all change again tomorrow.
Why do I love the mountain so much? I don't know. I don't want to pretend the mountain is some sort of deity. It's not a living being, as some people seemed to feel. But I think its dynamics mirror life. Life can look so completely desolate, devastated. And then things keep changing. Life renews itself, and beauty and happiness return.
Can't think of an analogy for glass Christmas ornaments, though.
Hey, anyone else have any Wet Noodle Posse sightings to show us?
Notice! Late Blog Today!!
We're on our way into the mountains to take my grandson to see Mt St Helens, so I'm not posting my blog until we're back and have pictures! We've waited for a gorgeous day- and this is it!
TRISH SOLD!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOOOOT!!!!
SHHHH!!!! I'm reading Harry Potter!!!
It's 2:30 AM, I just got in from the Harry Potter party. I didn't preorder my book, so I was at the end of a VERY long line. I've never preordered and it's never taken so long! The Boy had fun, though, hanging with his friends, and I met up with a girl from my chapter, and Baby Brother was along. Even though I got a mocha from the Starbucks, I was fading at about 1, and ready to go see if WalMart had the book. But the others convinced me to stay, and I have my book.
We got to the store at 9:30 because they'd said they'd stop letting people in if it got too crowded. We'd gone in at 10:30 AM to get our ticket to stand in line (fat lot of good, the first batch behind the reserved books). They said they gave out 50 tickets for each letter of the alphabet, and first did green alphabet, then yellow alphabet. We were yellow As. We got our book at 10 till 2.
There were a lot of cool costumes, and games for the kids.
Happy Mommy moment: The Boy, now 16, went down to the grocery store with his friends to get cokes and donuts. He said the store had a measly little table set out, with streamers, and he felt sorry for those kids getting their book there, because they weren't getting the whole experience. So even though it's close to 3 and I haven't even had my bath, I know my son valued the evening.
And he's letting me read the book first!
I know a lot of Noodlers do the parties - share your pictures!
Labels: Harry Potter
More about RWA and Dallas by Diane Gaston
Esri blogged about how friends helped her accomplish wonderful things, both in writing and while attending RWA. I totally agree! Friends are a priceless asset! So I'm going to blog more about friends and the conference.
One of the things I loved about the RWA conference was seeing all the friends I don't get to see except once a year at the conference. I loved that I could not cross an area of the Hyatt Regency without needing to stop and hug one or two or three more friends. It was frustrating for anyone walking with me, but it made me happy.
One thing I hate about the conference is I never have enough time with all these friends. I was able to hang out with the Wet Noodle Posse a little, but not nearly enough, and I only managed to take one photo with a Noodler.
Here I am with Noodler Karen Potter at the Literacy booksigning.
If you scroll down to Mary's Noodler photos, you'll notice I didn't get in the Noodler group picture AGAIN. And that the photos where I do appear all show me with food in my mouth!
So here, at random, are some photos of me and non-noodler friends, just to extend the conference joy a little longer.
At the booksigning who should come in but my dear friend Rebecca Wade! Becky wrote some wonderful Westerns for Avon a few years ago, but now she is busy raising a family. I had dinner with her and the family on Sunday night after the conference, but, wouldn't you know, I forgot to take more pictures!
Still at the booksigning, here I am with Karen Anders
Karen, who writes for Blaze, is a longtime friend and critique partner, but she moved to another state so I don't get to see her as often.
One of the highlights of the conference for me is always the Harlequin Party. This year I was able to arrive at the beginning and stay to the very end. I danced the night away and saw more friends, like the lovely Olivia Gates, who writes Mills & Boon Medicals and fellow Harlequin Historical author, Blythe Gifford.
The grand finale of the conference is, of course, the awards ceremony where our wonderful Trish Milburn won yet another Golden Heart. These are som special friends seen after the ceremony. My long time friend and once mentor, Amanda McCabe
, who is now a fellow Harlequin Historical author. The other two ladies are Romance Vagabonds
, Elodie and Manda, and, I tell you, we Noodlers need to watch out, because those Vagabonds are a pretty terrific group of aspiring writers. Someday they might even eclipse us!
After the conference, I spent the day with my high school friend, Eleshea. Just what I needed to unwind. You'll notice in this photo that I am wearing glasses. This is a rare image, blog readers, because I'll do almost anything to avoid being photographed in my glasses. I was pretty tired and simply forgot to whip them off at the last minute.
One more thing!!! The day before I left for the conference, my BRAND NEW WEBSITE made its debut. I had these lovely bookmarks to give away at the conference.
Come take a look! http://www.dianegaston.com
I have all kinds of news, features, and a contest going on RIGHT NOW
. You and a friend of your choosing can win a copy of The Mysterious Miss M
, my very first book!
That's all folks!
Labels: Conference, Dallas, Diane Gaston, RWA
I Owe My Career to Other People -- Esri Rose
Some, but not all of the Noodlers.
I owe my proto-career to other people.
Seriously, I do. I owe getting my agent to the folks who put on the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers contest, and I owe my agent for getting me my first contract, and last week, during the RWA National Conference, I owed my fellow Wet Noodle Posse members big time.
The lovely Trish Milburn. Multi-GH winner, including this year!
First of all, RomanceNovel.Tv covered the conference, and Trish Milburn scored an interview for some of the Posse e-zine staff. Thanks to Trish’s tireless energy and extraordinary organizing talents, we had a list of questions that might be asked, and a time and place to meet. All we had to do was show up. Not only did we get excellent media experience in doing video interviews, plus a chance to plug our books, current and upcoming, but my editor definitely perked up her ears when she heard about it. And now the Posse has some currency with RomanceNovel.Tv, which will probably provide interview opportunities for Noodlers who didn’t get interviewed this time around.
Colleen Gleason terrifies a gummy shark, but in a cute way.
More thanks go to Colleen Gleason (aka Collette Gale), who was my roomie at conference. Colleen, and I mean this in the best possible way, is a diva in training. Colleen doesn’t enter a room. She bubbles in like a tide of champagne, upping the energy level by about 50% and making everyone giggle and let their hair down. And all the while, she’s getting serious work done. Introductions are made. Cards are exchanged. People who have a need are matched up with people who can benefit by meeting it. I met a lot of people hanging out with Colleen, and I watched her like a hawk to see how she works her magic. I can tell you this – it’s a lot of work for something that looks so effortless.
I owe Sandy Blair, who kindly took me under her wing at the Kensington party (my first time), gave me a lot of good inside information, and also made a lot of introductions.
I owe Stephanie Feagan, who took me party-supply shopping even though she was swamped with RWA board duties.
Trouper Steph, a little limp at the end of a long, hard week.
And then there were the writers I met for the first time, who welcomed me to their table at a local restaurant and made sure I got to my interview on time and dry when it started to rain (Laura Martello and friends!), or offered to let me guest blog when my book is released (Ann Campbell!), or told me I should email them to get on a valuable loop (Ann Christopher, and I still need to do that!), or bought me a drink (and I’m a little fuzzy on who those folks are.).
So my thanks go out to the Noodlers and all the other wonderful, helpful, generous women at the RWA National Conference. You haven’t just made my day, you’ve undoubtedly made my career. I’ll do my best to return the favor.
The Hills and Valleys of the Writing Life—Translations from 2007 RWA conference
What I learned from New York Times bestselling authors at conference this year:
1. Being a writer is calling. There really is no choice involved. You can either write the stories down that are rolling around in your head or go quietly insane.
To this I would say, “Embrace the madness with your whole heart. Write bravely. Don’t second-guess your stories during the first draft.
2. Success in your writing life is a game of musical chairs. Sometimes you get a seat; Sometimes you don’t. Celebrate your time in the chair. Be happy for your friends when it’s their turn. Even New York Times bestsellers have to stand on the sidelines from time to time. It’s in integral part of the publishing side of a writer’s life.
The emotional rollercoaster is perhaps one of the toughest parts of writing. If you can come to terms with this aspect of the writing life, the ups and downs will be slightly less frightening. Fear of falling is normal. You are not alone. The only thing you can control is the quality of your writing. The rest is up to Lady Luck, who, BTW, has a very short attention span.
3. Professional jealousy is a dangerous thing. Let it go. Spread good karma. Smile and move on. Don’t let other folks’ bad baggage slow you down. You’
ve worked hard to get where you are.
4. Your writing friends are your lifeboat in this business. When you feel like you’re drowning, reach out. No one understands a writer’s pain like another writer.5. Writing is scary no matter how many books you’
ve written. Each time you sit down to begin a new story, it’s like writing your first book. You have to jump in and start paddling like mad in hopes you catch the right current. The more quickly you let go of the fear, the sooner the story will reveal itself to you. Have faith. A certain amount of flailing about is expected.
6. Experience reassures you that uncertainty is normal and gives you confidence to repeat the process. As your success increases, so does your need for bravery.
This is perhaps the most disconcerting of all the realities of publishing. Writing doesn’t get easier? Yikes! I’m not sure I wanted to hear this little gem. I suppose it’s a some comfort to know that I’m in auspicious company of NYT bestsellers. I’m thinking we could save ourselves some frustration if we write only the stories that come from our honest core. My personal experience is that sometimes you are going to be “handed” a story that is tough to tell. It’s going to come out one way or the other. Might as well not fight it. Embrace it and do the best you can. It is often the stories you are reluctant to tell that are your best work because they touch a deeper part of you.
All in all, what was reaffirmed for me at the 2007 conference is that writing is a brave act and a necessary one. Writers go into the dark places and get the stories that need to be told, to paraphrase Fred Busch. Stories are a reflection of our humanity. They are both our escape in times of trouble and our wake up call when we need them.
Noodlers in Dallas
Here are my National pics – I didn’t take nearly as many this year.
Here’s the TGN party!
The skit with Trish, Pat Dettweiler, Donna McMeans and Colleen.
Delle Jacobs, Jenna Ness and Stef Feagan.
Esri Rose getting the boot.
Lorelle getting the boot.
Then my batteries died.
Then, the awards.
Trish as she made her way to the stage.
Jenna as she presented!
The Noodler after party:
Laron Glover, Tasha, Merrille Whren and Janet Mullany.
Priscilla Kissinger, Colleen Gleason, Esri Rose.
Lorelle Marinello, Anne Mallory, Priscilla Kissinger, Karen Potter.
Jenna and Laron.
Me. (Can you believe I don’t have one picture of the dh in his suit???)
Lorelle, Anne, Priscilla, Colleen.
Lorelle, Anne, Diane Perkins.
For she’s a jolly good writer…
Breakfast with the Noodlers