Monday, March 31, 2014

Finding Charlie - Who Saw Her Last?

Last week, the excerpt I shared had Olivia's distraught father informing her that Charlie hadn't come home the night before. Olivia poo-pooed her father's worry and to further placate him, she's gone to see Charlie's best friend:
            Carmen lived in one of those developments with three different housing plans repeated a few dozen times and painted in HOA approved pastels. It would be easy to get lost if I didn’t know the neighborhood by heart, having spent all the years since I got my license picking up or dropping off. I took the corner onto her street and was awash with relief: there, in the stubby driveway, was Charlie’s yellow Volkswagen bug.
            By the time I rang the doorbell, my relief had already turned to anger. What was she thinking? How could she let us worry like that- especially my poor father. He’d missed a day at work, something he never did, indicative of just how scared he’d been.
            I banged on the door, righteous adrenaline behind every thud.
            It was Carmen who came to the door. I could just make her out through the mesh of the security screen: dark hair flat on one side, wild on the other. She was wearing baggy shorts that hung low on her tiny hips and a red tank top.
            “Olivia,” she whispered. She reached to unlock the security door and I pulled it open. Her face crumpled and she stepped back. “Oh, god.”
And on that note, I'll stop. If you'd like to read more, come back tomorrow. And, if you'd like to start this blog feature from the beginning, go here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Finding Charlie - The Opening

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014:
            It was the neighbor’s dog that woke me.
            The curtained window was outlined in sunlight. The thick fabric had been advertised as “black-out curtains”, but there are some things that are simply too much to ask for. Even this early, there was no keeping the day outside.
            Rick’s arm was heavy across my chest, trapping me in the bed like a stupid metaphor for this relationship. As if I needed it underlined. Officially, we’d broken up three months ago. But, in that time, I’d managed to wake up this way more times than I wanted to count.
And so begins the day Olivia discovers her little sister is missing. It starts like any other day, the self-centered worries that will seem irrelevant in just a few hours. She doesn't know yet.

I finished writing my three pages yesterday, so I'm on target for hitting 100 by the weekend. Tomorrow, I'll share an excerpt from the moment Olivia first learns Charlie has disappeared.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The New Book - Finding Charlie

I'm about a third of the way into my latest creation. Yesterday, I wrote three pages. The goal is to hit 100 by the weekend. Nagging is welcome. I am a writer who gets easily distracted. Facebook My writer's forum. The household chores. The sunshine in my back yard.

(I swear once they invent a tablet that can be used outside, I'll be as prolific as Steven King. And super tan.)

So I'm kicking off a new blog feature for this book. I'll be sharing excerpts as I go along. For today, I'll just give you the pitch:
When nineteen year old Charlotte Howard doesn't return from a party, only the people who know her best are appropriately terrified. 
It's not like Charlie to stay out without calling. As the hours turn to days, older sister Olivia tries to put the pieces together. She finds a lost cell phone, an abandoned car and an untrustworthy boyfriend she'd never met before who was the last person to see her sister alive. And he's not the only secret Charlie's been keeping.
Want to read the first page? Check out tomorrow's post.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

House Project 357: the mantle

I had this unreasonable expectation that I'd get all the reno projects done within a year. Well, it's been two years and I'm not finished. I've got the big things out of the way: the kitchen, the master bath. But the mantle has been getting done in dribs and drabs.

When I moved in, this is what it looked like:
Shortly after moving in, I had a doorway added between the living room and kitchen:
The fake brick wasn't my taste, so I had it removed about a year ago:
Last summer, I finally had the room painted, getting rid of all that white:
This week, I got my custom sandblasted beam from
I may paint the bump out white before I really call it done, but I'm happy with it.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Future of Publishing

Yesterday, I went to the Tucson Book Festival and had the chance to listen to several speakers from the book industry talking about what they know. It was thoroughly depressing.

The agents said writers should be prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars editing and promoting their work. The publishers said self-published books are horrible and that self-publishing is pretty much required in building your platform. The writer/publicist/publisher "team" were proof that if you have a recognizable name and the money to hire someone to help write and promote your story, you can get multiple publishers to make you an offer.

It wasn't so long ago that the way to spot a publishing scam was to find yourself asked to spend your own money. Now, that seems to have changed.

Honestly, this has not been my experience. I've had two books published and they never asked me to kick in a dime. And despite all the industry professionals saying publishers aren't giving advances to new writers anymore, I got one. So as depressing as the day was, I'm not sure all the information was accurate. Maybe they're just trying to discourage us, keeping the slush pile manageable.

Perhaps the most depressing information of the day was the trend that readers have begun to assume that books aren't something you pay for. As writers continue to publish their work for ever-lowering prices, they're perpetuating this idea.