Thursday, May 29, 2008

8,062 Words

"Every writer I know has trouble writing." -
Joseph Heller

Oh, well, THAT'S a relief. Sometimes you think it's just you. This hasn't been an easy week (are ANY of them easy?), but somehow I managed to get 8,062 words written. That amounts to 39 pages and almost the complete first three chapters of my new book.

Some of it was written at lunchtime, while sitting in my car and eating lunch in the park. Some of it was written in the late hours of the night, some during the first hours of morning. Some of it was written while sipping on Diet Pepsi; some of it while drinking coffee. Some of it was written on the treadmill at the gym, though neither pen and paper nor my laptop was available. Some of it was written during a brisk walk in the woods, when certain parts of the story became clearer to me with each step.

I'd be a lot further along if I hadn't kept clicking on the little "e" button at the bottom of my screen and ended up Internet surfing every couple of days. I hate that. It's okay to goof around on the 'Net, but not when I want to devote what precious little time I can to delving into this story.

But I forgive myself for that and move on. As writers, we can't dwell on yesterday because we'll lose the opportunity that is today to work.

I don't know if all writers go through this, but I had a couple of false starts with this particular book. Then I realized who the story belonged to, that I had the wrong hero and heroine. That makes all the difference in the world. Also, this is one of those stories that kept brewing for some time, and it's one I want to share with my readers.

Not to give away too much, let's just say that this one is a sci-fi romance, though there'll be some fantasy elements in it, as well. Besides this being my first sci-fi, there's something else about this book that sets it apart from my other recent works. For right now that's a secret, but I'll be revealing it in a future post, hopefully not long from now. That has also made a difference in the approach to this latest work-in-progress.

By this time next week, I hope to be posting the new word count, placing it over 20,000 words.

That's if I don't keep clicking on that little blue "e"!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Joie de Vie!

If I was to give an award for Woman of the Year, it would have to go to my aunt, Soledad.

During our trip back to New Jersey this weekend, we thought we wouldn't have time to see her or her daughter, Solie, and Solie's husband, Mark. Bill and I had--no exaggeration--wall-to-wall visits with family and friends. Those visits were packed in between 20 lovely hours of highway driving.

But since our son, Joey, lives a hop, skip and a jump from Solie and Mark, we decided just to barge in on them on our morning walk. Hey, if you can't barge in on family, who CAN you barge in on? Solie immediately got on the phone and told her mom we were there, and like Barbara Eden poofing out of a genie's bottle, there was my aunt at the door.

Now this is all happening before eight in the morning! It was Saturday, the weekend, and my aunt was peacefully in bed, getting her rest. Yet minutes later she comes through that door as vibrant and beautiful as a bouquet of mountain wildflowers.

This is a woman who is 70+, going on twenty-five. Actually, Soledad is younger than a lot of twenty-somethings I know. She's a walking bottle of champagne, only bubblier. She wears a size 8, slimmer than she's been in many years, because even at her age, exercise is not only important to her but it's a source of true enjoyment. She told me that our visit that morning was an answer to prayer because she hadn't seen me in a long time and she'd asked the Lord to bring us together again. We're more than just an aunt and niece; we're close friends, too.

Soledad is one of those people who's never starred in a movie. (There's a LOT of us like that, right?) She was never a corporate CEO or a politician or anything that got her name on the news. She was never on the New York Times bestseller list. In her lifetime she's been a wife, mother and grandmother, and when it comes to her Cuban cooking, she can mop the floor with any famous chef out there. Oh, and the lady can out-dance all us forty-somethings at a party.

Yet whenever I think about Soledad, the first thing that comes to mind are the words, joie de vie. That's French for, "joy of life." She's one of the people I've known who absolutely loves life, and she expresses that love of life every single day in everything she does. After our visit, my husband remarked about that as well, that she's in love with life and not at all embarrassed to show it.

This isn't a person whose life has been all rainbows and sunflowers, either. Soledad has shed her share of tears and faced more than her share of adversity. That makes her inner strength, her ability to laugh and light up a room with her megawatt smile, and her sincere faith even more remarkable. You would never know by looking at her that this woman has known hardships, because she reflects an almost childlike excitement and she's never stingy, never holds back with a smile or laughter or words of pure affection.

My best friend, Linda, recently told me she's always been interested in reading about longevity, how she reads any article she can find, trying to figure out what it is that makes some people live longer than others. I don't know if my aunt will live to be 100 or more, though she's certainly a good candidate, but I do know that she lives as if every day is her last her on earth. She savors every day, she has to enjoy it, she has to laugh and shine that light inside of her, and she has to make all who love her know they're in her thoughts and in her heart, even when they're miles away.

That's even better than blowing out 100 candles!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Cool Little Discoveries

Just had to share a handful of discoveries. Well--you may have heard of them, but in case you haven't, I thought I'd spread the word.

First up is Victoria Magazine, which is back! This has to be my all-time favorite magazine. It's been back for some months now (my hubby gave me a subscription for my birthday, a very welcome gift) after being gone from the shelves for much too long. If you're a girly-girl, you'll love this celebration of feminity and all things gorgeous! You'll find lots of neat ideas for the home and travel, too.

Another "new" discovery for me is International Coffee's Chai Latte. This tastes pretty authentic and weighs in at a sugar-free and svelte 30 calories per serving. If you like the taste of chai tea, it makes an exotic little break from coffee...and it's fun to sip while working on a novella in a month!

This last one I "discovered" quite by accident. I'm a big fan of preserves and I thought that was what I was picking up while at Walmart's. What a great surprise when I spooned it over light cream cheese for a snack with crackers and found not preserves but WHOLE blueberries! Sweet fruit, no fat--what's not to love? I'm going back for the black cherry and boysenberry. ;D