I’m over at the Book View Cafe blog, talking about what I’m reading now, what I’ve read recently, and what I’m likely to read next. Stop by, read what I have to say, and leave comments on your own reading lists!Read More
Last night, we went to the first of seven classes in a Smithsonian course called “Headliners of Washington”. Each of the speakers is a journalist who has built his/her career covering politics in Our Fair City. Last night, the series was kicked off by Bob Schieffer.
Not to bury the lede: We had a wonderful time!
At 77 years old, Mr. Schieffer has been covering Washington politics almost as long as I’ve been alive. He has a folksy style that played well to our relatively liberal crowd, but he wasn’t afraid to make absolute statements that might set his listeners on edge (e.g., “I do not think Edward Snowden is a hero.”)
Schieffer was at his best when he was telling stories — including wonderful impersonations of L.B.J., Henry Kissinger, and Walter Cronkite. He spoke for nearly an hour, without notes, and he took questions for over 20 minutes, handling some speechifying “questioners” with grace and wit.
While his primary point was that our current political system is fundamentally broken (due to the money involved in elections, the gerrymandering of districts, and the lack of personal contact between members of Congress), he continues to believe that journalism is a fundamental requirement for a democracy. He stated explicitly that journalism’s goal is to find the *truth*.
I hope that our other presenters will be as entertaining. This was certainly an evening well-spent.
(As an aside, I think we may need to institute Civics 101 classes for all adult citizens of the United States. In the half-dozen questions taken by Mr. Schieffer, audience members managed to state “The president passes laws” and “Citizens United” (a Supreme Court case) is a law. Yes, people may have been using shorthand, but I don’t think so… Sigh…)Read More
So, on Friday, I did that headshot thing. Lots and lots to talk about regarding the process and the results, but I’ll wait till I have final pics to share with you.
I spent all day Saturday in the company of romance writers. I headed up to Bethesda way-too-early on a Saturday morning and met up with a couple dozen people for the Washington Romance Writers monthly meeting. Leigh Duncan was telling us about her journey to become a writer, then about how she organizes her books. After lunch (a highly spirited discussion of the relative merits of traditional publishing, self-publishing, and small press, all conducted over Chipotle burrito bols!), we headed back for an afternoon of Leigh discussing different ways of looking at plot — Hero’s Journey, Hauge screenwriting, etc. She used one of her novels as an example.
I wasn’t a perfect student, alas. I spent part of the afternoon catching up with another student who was playing hooky (name not divulged, to protect the guilty). I had a lot of fun catching up with friends, and it was great to share progress notes on Diamond Brides.
Saturday evening, I attended my first Lady Jane’s Salon — a monthly reading series where romance readers share their work. There were two spicy readings (one rather sweet-in-sentiment, one very funny — both read with the door to our meeting room in La Madeleine closed!), a historical/mystery/romance that inspired the greatest number of questions from the audience, and one fun contemporary. All in all, a fun way to spent an evening.
Sunday evaporated, as Sundays are wont to do — some reading, some household organizing, some I-don’t-know-what-but-now-it’s-time-to-get-ready-for-the-work-week.
And now, it’s the work week. And I really need to get a lot of writing done today. So, without further ado…Read More
I recently added some new articles to the “writing advice” section of my website. Check them out!
- “Foreign Rights: Contract Terms Made Easy”, originally published in the magazine Romance Writers Report, May 2013.
- “Publishing, the Cooperative Way”, originally published in the magazine Romance Writers Report, November 2013.
- “Rejectomancy, Or What Does It Mean When the Editor Says…”, originally published in the magazine Romance Writers Report, October 2012.
- “Writers Retreats Made Simple: Six Questions, One Answer”, originally published in the magazine Romance Writers Report, June 2013.
I’m also considering adding a new section that will answer “all” the questions new writers want answered. You know, the ones you’d ask someone over a cup of coffee, or a dinner. What questions would you ask? Or, if you’re more in answering mode, what questions are you asked on a regular basis? (I have my own list, I just want to make sure my experience matches the general experience!)Read More
So, I’ve fiddled with my website, adding a new division for the Diamond Brides (under “Passion” of course. Because where else would you put a bunch of hot baseball romances?!?)
And I’ve put up a page for PERFECT PITCH. And that page includes a bit of the first chapter, just to whet your appetites. Or to wet your whistles. Or something else, but this is all starting to sound a bit perverted…
In any case, you can read the beginning of PERFECT PITCH here:
And just for giggles, you can see the cover of CATCHING HELL (Book 2 in the Diamond Brides series) here:
So? What do you think?Read More
A couple of weeks ago, I asked for help in identifying the woman in this picture:
(She’s the spitting image of Samantha Winger, the heroine in PERFECT PITCH, and I have her picture on Pinterest. It’s become my most repinned pin ever, and I wanted to know why.)
A lot of people suggested that it was Felicia Day. Today, Ms. Day posted on her Tumblr, confirming that it absolutely, positively, 100% is not her. And confirming that trolls will be trolls. Here’s Felicia’s post:
So it may still be Karen Gillan, the next most popular guess from folks. But I think it’s an unidentified random model with red hair Or, you know, Samantha Winger herselfRead More
Just a quick post, as I’m racing hither and yon today (a challenge, when some of that racing is online, and an orange kitty is sleeping on my lap…)
The official launch date of the Diamond Brides series is March 31, 2014, when PERFECT PITCH will appear in bookstores. I’m celebrating that launch with a signing:
April 4, 2014: Turn the Page Bookstore, 18 N. Main St., Boonsboro, MD 21713, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Mindy will sign Perfect Pitch at a group booksigning that includes Nora Roberts and more than a dozen other authors.
If you read romance, and you’re anywhere drive-able to the store, do yourself a favor and come to the signing. Not because of me (although I’ll love, love, love seeing you there.) Rather, because of the group of authors that Nora Roberts assembles. And the number of readers who come to visit. And the enthusiasm of everyone even remotely connected with this event.
And, truth be told, the incredible bakery across the street.
Seriously, if you can make it, even if it’s a teensy bit difficult to do so, DO! You won’t be sorry!Read More
What? It’s Monday already? I’m supposed to be working on SECOND THOUGHTS? Huh. Where did my weekend go?!?
On Saturday, we went to see TRIBES at Studio Theater. The play is about a deaf man born into a hearing family, and it explores the time in his life when he’s first exposed to Deaf culture. The story is about the meaning of communication and inclusion and exclusion and family and love. It wasn’t a perfect play — there were several bits that felt just a bit off — but overall the show worked to make me hyper-aware of communication with the people around me.
The production we saw was one of eight where sign language interpreters were available for deaf patrons. There were a couple dozen signing patrons in the lobby, all standing in circles talking before the show began. That immediately framed the issues for the play, as other patrons — hearing and deaf — tried to navigate the crowded lobby, blocking conversations, etc. During the actual play, there were a lot of the usual disturbances — texts coming in audibly on cell phones, cell phones ringing, people talking, etc. Parts of the play were subtitled, and at least one audience member wasn’t able to read the subtitles, so a companion read them in an audible-to-the-rest-of-us voice. I get *very* cranky when my plays and movies are interrupted by such intrusions, but in this play, all of them felt like comments on the plot and themes. Intriguing.
After the play, we went to dinner. Or, rather, we *tried* to go to dinner, at Le Diplomate, the uber-trendy French bistro down the street. When we got there, the perky hostess told us they had space on their “fully-heated enclosed patio” which was neither fully-heated nor completely enclosed. Plus, it had a weird plastic-y bench that I shared with exuberant people on either side, who made me feel like I was riding the teacup ride at the local fair. And our neighbors to either side (crammed in, at the little bistro tables) were unbelievably LOUD. We waited for 15 minutes, and no waiter came by to offer water or to take our order. Given the relatively over-priced menu and the distinctly negative vibe, we decided to leave (occasioning snarky comments from one of our dear neighbors.)
We crossed the street and went to Ghibellina, an Italian restaurant. There, we experienced the absolute opposite version of trendy restaurant. The hostess greeted us politely, told us we’d need to wait 10 minutes for dinner seating, and offered us a seat at the bar (which we declined). In 10 minutes, she escorted us to a lovely table in the back, in a quiet corner, where there were hooks for our winter coats. Our waitress appeared immediately, explained the menu, brought water, and returned promptly for our order. The food was superb (especially the gnocchi we shared as an appetizer), the staff was efficient, we weren’t rushed to eat or leave (even when, once we left, we discovered something of a *mob* scene in the bar.
Guess which restaurant we’ll be returning to?
On the Super Bowl front, I made chili (turned out so-so; despite the fact that I’ve made this recipe dozens of times, this time some of the beans remained … crunchy after six hours of cooking!) and sticky wings (turned out so-so; they could have used more sauce while baking). We had cinnamon bun ice cream for dessert, though, so all was well.
And I spent a good part of the weekend preparing promotional opportunities for PERFECT PITCH. Less than two months now!
And now, I’m ready to take a nap before beginning my new week of work
How about you? Did you watch the Super Bowl? What was your favorite commercial?Read More
Yesterday had all the warning signs of a disaster:
- I got in the car to go to my morning exercise class, and I had to clean the windshield, but the fluid froze on the windshield.
- I left exercise class early, because I had to go to my annual mammogram, but the radiology center had no record of my appointment.
- I went shopping for new clothes for the dreaded photo shoot, and was immediately greeted by racks and racks and racks of picked-over sales clothes, with virtually no “real” clothes for sale.
- I went to the grocery store. (Really, nothing bad has to happen for the grocery store to be a disaster. It’s just a pain to go to.)
- I started lining up reviews, interviews, and blog opportunities for PERFECT PITCH (in stores 3/31/14!), only to find a dizzying array of special formatting requests from various would-be reviewers, interviewers, and blog hosts.
- I drove to have dinner with my husband, and got trapped behind four — count them, FOUR — different cars double-parked in crowded traffic lanes. Plus, there was no parking in our usual lot near the restaurant.
But each of those disasters worked out:
- The amazing turbo-charged front windshield defroster on our still-relatively-new-to-me car (18 months old) worked like a charm, and the frozen window was melted and dried within a block.
- The radiology center called my doc, and they coordinated my visit with a total of a 20-minute delay. Plus, the screening revealed no problems, and I don’t have to go back for another year.
- I found a single rack of unstructured jackets and shells, and they fit *perfectly* and presented exactly the image I want to project. Plus, they were on sale. I ended up with two jackets and five shells, all of which I’ll wear well past the photo shoot, for $140.
- I found mini frosted sugar cookies at the grocery store. (You know, the soft sugar cookies, with the melt-in-your-mouth-frosting?)
- A major national review site responded to my email and said they had one slot left for April, and it was mine.
- The restaurant where we had dinner, Ray’s the Steaks, gave us complimentary glasses of hard cider (in champagne flutes!) and a congratulatory piece of key lime pie for dessert, when they found out the reason for our dining there. Plus, the mac and cheese side dish continues to be one of the top three I’ve ever eaten.
So, I guess my terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day wasn’t really quite a disaster.
I have a chapter to finish writing today. And then it’s the weekend. It seems like a really long time, since we’ve had one of those…
How about you? Any “rags to riches” stories of late? Any bad days that turned out good?Read More
I’ve never been great at the stereotypical girly stuff, at least where fashion is concerned. At nearly six feet tall, high heels are not my friends. Many of the “hot and popular” styles don’t look great on this body. I’ll nearly always choose comfort over trend.
(I’m really, really good at some stereotypically girly stuff. I cry at commercials. I can talk on the phone for hours. I love chocolate. Not to, um, perpetuate those stereotypes or anything…)
All of that said, I’m about to engage in true stereotype exploitation.
Yesterday, I had my hair cut. (This is a rare occurrence for me — I get my hair cut two or three times a year. See first paragraph, above.) The main reason for this shearing is that I’m getting new headshots taken next week.
Alas, I’m not sure my new haircut is the write length. It’s definitely the right shape (blunt cut, curling under a bit at the ends.) And it’s within an inch or two of where it should be. At the moment, it’s about a half-inch longer than shoulder-length. I think maybe it should be chin length.
I’m really, really bad at this type of thing. I might even have shed a few tears last night, frustrated by my inability to communicate what I wanted to the hairdresser (or, perhaps more realistically, to stick up for what I wanted.) And what I have might be perfect. (Today. Maybe not next week, when the pics are taken.)
But I figured out a solution. Tomorrow morning, I have my exercise class. And I have lots of girly friends in my exercise class. And I can ask them, in person, what they think. And they’ll tell me the truth, because that’s the kind of friends they are.
And if my hair is the wrong length, I’ll have a full week to get things fixed.
I bet you can’t *wait* to hear me angst about the headshots, huh?