Archive | July 2008

Where were you when the earthquake hit?

I was sitting at my desk when the world went BOOM.

In fact, I just had opened an e-mail from my editor with my formal, final blurb attached. I take that as a powerful sign from above.

There are some things about earthquakes that you just don’t think about. For example, you don’t expect an earthquake to have volume, but they do. There’s a jolt, combined with a sonic-thunder. It kind of reminds me of when the A-10s used to hit the city limits of Tucson and bump it up to break the sound barrier – right over our house! the windows would rattle in the frames. My mom would invariably be in the kitchen, looking out the window and muttering something about that damned air force under her breath. As she was allowed to do, being the wife of a former Lt. Colonel.

I’d look for the airplane, but my dad would squeeze my shoulder with his strong hand and say, “Honey, if you can hear them, they’ve already gone.”

As for earthquakes, by the time you first feel them, get up, get under a doorway, or duck and cover, they’re pretty much over. Unless you’re on the 17th floor of a building on rollers. Then the fun just keeps going and going and going… (ask Wendy)

As for me, I’m still not used to them. This Arizona girl doubts if she ever will be. Oh, yeah. I say they’re exciting. But, inside, my mind screams “GET THE HECK OUT OF THE HOUSE!” Millie (our dog) was outside, because she knew it was coming. Come to think of it, that must be why she’s been barking at every opportunity – MOST unlike her. In fact, she’s been barking about it for days…

Dogs are awesome. Earthquakes, not so much.

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Mornings with Ellie…

Ellie greets me every morning at the top of the stairs, usually while I’m having my morning coffee. I hear her sweet, raspy little voice:

“Mommeeee! I ‘wake!”

So I go greet her, usually wrapped in her shiny pink blanket and laying at the top of the stairs, waiting for me with a slight, pearly grin.

“Morning, mommee… I want to go down-stay-ahs…”

So, I’ll carry her down and we snuggle, listen to music, or watch her favorite show… this week, Scooby Doo. Last week it was Mrs. Spider. Before that, Dora. We like to mix it up. Ha.

Ellie’s getting so big, but still, she’s my baby. I’m struggling, because my surgery is coming in September, and I have 8 weeks or so where I won’t be able to pick her up and carry her. Of course, at almost 40 lbs, I have a bit of a time carrying her around anyway, and she is almost 3… but, I love it. It’s our time. So what will our time be after the surgery? I’d say, just like this. Me, typing one handed, and Ellie’s head in my lap.

After all, I did write All or Nothing with Ellie in the crook of my arm… I can do it again… of course, she was about 30 lbs lighter back then…

What are you doing right now?

This one came from my WRP message board – but it was such a fun exercise I just had to share…

The trick is – give a ONE WORD ANSWER only to each of the following questions (see mine here…) — It’s harder than you think! I’d love to hear yours!

Here are mine:
1. Where is your cell phone? KITCHEN
2. Your significant other? WORK
3. Your hair? HIGHLIGHTS
4. Your mother? SLEEPING
5. Your father? READING
6. Your favorite thing? CHOCOLATE
7. Your dream last night? WILD
8. Your favorite drink? COFFEE
9. Your dream/goal? PULITZER
10. The room you’re in? MESSY
11. Your High School years? REUNION
12. Your fear? LONLINESS
13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? BEACH
14. Where were you last night? HOME
15. What you’re not? THOUGHTLESS
16. Muffins? ZUCCHINI
17. One of your wish list items? SHOES
18. Where you grew up? TUCSON
19. The last thing you did? CHAT
20. What are you wearing? COMFIES
21. Your TV? NEW
22. Your pets? BARKING!
23. Your computer? BUSY
24. Your life? LUCKY
25. Your mood? FOCUSED
26. Missing someone? WENDY
27. Your car? WONDERFUL
28. Something you’re not wearing? POLISH
29. Favorite Store? MACYs
30. Your summer? VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

~Ashley

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-
Coming Soon…
Tessa Takes a Chance, Summer, 2008
All or Nothing, Spring, 2009
The Wild Rose Press

What’s your love story?

My friend Skhye is highlighting her valentine’s tale – Sacraficial Hearts…(new to my must read list…)

Today – she posted this question: What have you given up for the love of the person you love(d) enough to marry?

In answer–Before I met my husband, I’d just about given up on ever finding real love. I had become determined to just enjoy myself – that marriage was no longer for me, and that my true soul-mate (HS Sweetheart) had gone off and married another while I was dithering around with the wrong guy.

Then, one summer night at a beach party – there he was. Handsome, funny, sexy, and completely into everything I did or said. And, he lived a world away in San Diego.
Proximity wise, he was all wrong. But he was everything that I had ever dreamed of in a life-mate…but to make a life together, one of us had to start over.

Like any hero, he offered to come to me – but I knew his heart. So, like any heroine in my own romance, I gave it all up for love. My home at the beach, my career, hardest of all, leaving my best friend… and I never was more certain it was the right thing.

We married a year to the day after we met. Two daughters and 9 years later, it was still the best decision I ever made…

It’s all automatic…

This is a repost from July, 2008. 2 years ago, and how much around the world has changed. The price of gas is down, the ability to stay in touch while being outside the consumer process is even greater. Smartphones have taken us out of our homes/offices, and given us abilities to work…well, from anywhere. Peter Brett writes 100,000 word novel from his Smartphone during subway rides. Is it any good? Does it matter? You can download a book to your phone, your ipad, your nook, or shop, or catch up on newspaper articles from anywhere. Need instant news? Go to Twitter.

Let me know what you think…

This morning I had the strangest notion. Do you realize, in 2008, it is entirely possible to integrate yourself into the consumer process, without having to ever interact with another human? At least, another human you aren’t on the phone with.

I’m not talking strictly being able to order goods and services online, and have them delivered to your house. That’s been around since Sandra Bullock lost her identity on The Net (for those who didn’t catch that reference – it’s a late 80s/early 90s movie… more believable in this day and age then it was back then).

Humor me for a minute.

This morning, after working since 6am – halting to make breakfast & drop the munchkins off at my dear friend, Alina’s, (my one bit of adult – non work interaction – where they will play, socialize, and basically learn how to be social animals)

I set out for a morning of errands before I finished up my half-day Friday (ha ha) see me working a full day, anyway – and here’s what happened:

  1. I Purchased gasoline at the island – no human interaction ($4.33 a gallon at Costco!)
  2. I checked myself out at the grocery store – no human interaction.
  3. I sold a posting to my Craigslist Posts through e-mail, no human interaction.
  4. I received payment from Pay-Pal – No human interaction.
  5. I conducted an online banking transfer – No human interaction.
  6. I stopped by ATM – DIDN’T even get out of the car.
  7. I printed out my own mailing label – No host uman interaction.
  8. I dropped off my pre-packaged item to the post office counter – no human interaction.

What I didn’t admit above – was practically the whole time I was chatting away into the blue tooth that I now clip to my head every time I set foot out of the house. We now have a society of Californians who wander the streets, looking like they’re talking to themselves…but that’s another story…

I also work from a home office, conduct conference calls with my co-workers 2,000 miles away… and my most frequent “in person” conversations of late are with my friend and daycare provider, my husband, and occasionally the neighbor over the fence in a Tim Allen, Home Improvement sort of way. Thank heavens for my writing group, a few of us who meet every other week for a coffee at Cosi’s!

I’m not an antisocial person. I love people. And I love chatting LIVE over coffee. However, I’ve made a pledge to myself:

Remember to take off the blue tooth that seems etched to my
ear, smile, and say hello to at least one new person each day.

All or Nothing – Returned – AGAIN!

Okay, second round of edits have been returned to Elizabeth. I have until August 20th for a creative reprieve. How do I feel?

Exhausted.
Elated.
Wrung out.

I had every intention of writing something creative today, so I’d better get to it. Just wanted to share my total relief, after having to slash out paragraphs, sew up my was-clusters, seek out problem repeated words, and all of those stray punctuation marks that seem to find their way to the forefront while you’re elbow deep rewording paragraphs and pages.

Amazingly enough, the story is better than its ever been. My editor is a genius. I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I’ve learned more about writing this year than I ever have – even in college. So, on that note, here’s to the next project. Something short that I can finish quickly. And then, back to Castles by the Sea.

How to write a must read…

This is a question that keeps authors up at night.

How does a book become a “Must Read?”

Is it a catchy title?
Is it a beautiful book cover?
Is it word of mouth advertising?
Is it excellent mechanics?
Is it excelling in english 101?
Is it creating intimacy with your audience…and if it is, how do you do that?

So, intimacy, huh? Are we talking behind closed doors, or sensual intimacy? No. I’m talking intimacy of sharing the details and minutia of your day with your mom or best friend. I’m talking about the intimacy you put in your journal that is shoved in a drawer where no one would ever think to look. I’m talking intimacy of honesty in your writing that makes you believable in every way, shape, and form.

This is how I feel intimacy is developed – please chime in if you have any ideas on the subject…or, call me out if you think I’m way off base! I’m still learning, here!

I believe it’s creating characters that could be your reader’s sister, best friend, lover, crazy ex, or odd next door neighbor that no one ever sees and everyone talks about.

I believe it’s honesty in the writer’s voice…so that your reader becomes enveloped in your story, becomes invested in your characters, and digs their toes into the beach sand or the bed covers, turning page after page until the story is finished.

I believe it is a setting that you know so well, it’s like taking your reader by the hand and on a personal field trip through your mind.

I believe that it’s listening and learning from your editor, taking tips and tricks from successful writers, and weaving them all into your current story, and starting from there – using them when you weave your next tale. This is what will make your next story the best book you’ve ever written.

Plotting, Pant-sing, Character building exercises aside. Us authors need to work on developing our voice, first and foremost – and the only way to do that, is to write. Write every day. Write about anything and everything. And like my friend Dan Harmer said, write like your parents will never read what you’ve written down. (He said something slightly different, but I don’t even like to think about a world without my parents in it – so I’ll say it this way: Write like you’re jotting your story in your diary that NO ONE knows about.)

This is nowhere to be timid. This is your opportunity to confront your subconscious. To drag those deep, dark, scary, sensual, inspirational, and/or devotional thoughts into the light of day. Fillet your soul and let the world see what you bleed… And that is what I feel makes a must read:

True Intimacy.