Friday, June 25, 2010

Great Hits: My Kids' Best One Liners

Sometimes, the words I write are not my own. At the Stiletto Gang today, I share the best one liners my kids delivered during the last year. No writer could make this stuff up.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Who me? Yes. I can focus intermittently.

Seinfeld fans will remember that it was “the show about nothing.” Similarly, this post is my post about everything. I’ll do it in 500 words.

This year I’ve been working hard to make all kinds of changes. Too many to intelligently tackle at one time, but whatever. The things I want are coming into focus and now that I’m seeing them more clearly, I just want to get on with it already.

One of them, of course, has to do with writing more. This change includes the implementation of my new mantra, BICHOC, which other writer-types may recognize as the acronym for Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. It turns out, this really is the only way to get my manuscript to continue growing steadily. I’ve been applying BICHOC for two months and it has not failed.

Sure, I’m a writer and yes, I like to do it. But I’m also a mother, researcher, fitness instructor, runner, internet addict, social butterfly, and leisure reader and I like to do all those things too. Reminding myself to make time for writing is not as natural as one might assume. I put my progress on display for the world to see (left sidebar) and some of you are actually keeping an eye on it (thank you). This accountability is a huge motivator and--knock on wood--the first draft of the next book has been my fastest so far.

It will take one more paragraph before I get to my point.

On a seemingly (but not) unrelated point, I vehemently dislike “stuff.” What is stuff? Put simply, it’s everything around a home or office. Clothes, cooking utensils, staplers, paperwork, shoes, toys, pictures, remote controls, jewelry, CDs, DVDs, knick-knacks (I especially dislike those) and any manner of clutter constitutes “stuff” in my book, and I mightily strive to have as little of it as possible. The problem is that I have three kids, and while clutter is Kryptonite to me, it is oxygen to them. When I pare down the household stuff, my kids act like they’re going to shrivel up and die without it. So the battle between good and evil, or Mom and Stuff, continues always in my house.

Now it all comes together.

I’ve become a fan of a new website. It’s not solving my clutter problem, my parenting anxieties, or making me a better writer, but it sure is helping me get some perspective and focus more on what is important to me.

Shared here, in hopes it helps you with whatever your goals and demons are is Zen Living. And, although I keep finding wonderful stuff in the archives of this site, my latest favorite that I reference often is 20 Strategies to Defeat the Urge to Do Useless Tasks, which I think might possibly have been written especially for me.

If you like my new favorite web site a fraction as much as I do, we’ll all become better people and I will have done a good deed. Marines say, “Semper Fi!” I say, “Simplify!”


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Book Buzz: Boulevard by Stephen Jay Schwartz

I met Stephen Jay Schwartz at Left Coast Crime, and here I offer further proof that if I ever want to get caught up on my reading stack, I must stop meeting other writers. Because when I like people, the natural extension is to go read their stuff. And without fail, these new novels cut to the front of the line, and the rest of my stack gets dusty.

No matter! Boulevard was totally worth it.

This one blew me away. I was hooked from the start, and then became irritated and grouchy when real-life interruptions got in the way of my read. That's a very good sign. :)

In Boulevard, Schwartz's debut thriller, we're introduced to a troubled protagonist, Hayden Glass, a dedicated and gifted robbery and homicide investigator plagued by a private demon, sex addiction. Slowly, we learn the many facets of Hayden's true self that have been lost to his addiction, but what really brought this character to life for me was the realistic "one step forward, two steps back" portrayal of his continued efforts to heal and recover.

As Hayden works a string of murder cases, he discovers that he is the link connecting them all. While other detectives in his division are headed down the wrong path, Hayden struggles to end a serial killing spree alone, without backing from his comrades or captain. He knows he is a common link to each crime, but can't come forward with full disclosure without essentially ending his career. Worse, he doesn't believe the men left to do the job have the capacity to do it right.

With tight prose, outstanding dialogue, and strong supporting characters, I enjoyed this novel as much for its impressive writing as for its fast-paced and gripping storyline. Highly recommended for thriller fans, readers of police procedurals, and those who like a dark, disturbing read that taps uncomfortable spots in the psyche. This one is definitely an emotional ride.

I'm standing by for the next in the Hayden Glass series, BEAT, coming in September, 2010.