31 December 2015

  1. A day out with my 10-year-old son.
  2. More Star Wars.
  3. A new year!

30 December 2015

1. Chocolate Shop wine.
2. Drunken hamster cuddles.
3. Manda's Drunk History (now available to view if you're friends with me on Facebook).

29 December 2015

1. Taking a walk.
2. Cuddling a hamster.
3. Quiet time.

28 December 2015

Friends Visiting Edition

  1. Seeing old friends!
  2. Going for tarot readings!
  3. Good food!
  4. Talking into the wee hours!

26 December 2015

23 December 2015

Carmel/Monterey Edition

Been away again. Lots of good things happened on this little pre-Christmas trip.

  1. A secluded suite with a beautiful view.
  2. Deer!
  3. Turkeys!
  4. Seeing Star Wars again.
  5. Finding fun shops filled with incense and hot sauce and socks (those are three different shops).
  6. Good food.
  7. Relaxation.

18 December 2015

  1. A nice belated birthday lunch out with my mother-in-law, followed by a visit to the local olive oil tasting room.
  2. More presents! Including Very British Problems and more tarot decks.
  3. A good afternoon walk.

17 December 2015

My birthday. So lots of good. Presents, cake, an afternoon at the salon. Spending time with people who make me feel good about myself, and with people who love me. (Note that these are two distinct categories. There is some crossover, but not always.) I had to make some tough decisions about who to include in my day, but at the end I was satisfied with how my big day went down. It was a good day all around.

13 December 2015

12 December 2015

  1. Made good progress on my revisions. (I'm on page 75 of 302.)
  2. Christmas cards arrived so I can start sending those out.
  3. Bubble bath.

11 December 2015

  1. Another small press asked to read the full manuscript of Changers.
  2. Scott helped me figure out some fixes to help my revisions.
  3. Nice morning walk.

10 December 2015

  1. A small publisher has offered a contract for Changers. Yay! But I'm in the middle of a huge revision, so I asked them to wait until I'm done. Goal is to have it finished by end of January.
  2. Rain. We need it.
  3. The kids' dentist appointments weren't as awful as I anticipated. I was braced for a lecture, but their dentist really is amazing. And their teeth are in good shape all things considered.

08 December 2015

  1. More reviewers offering to read and feature Peter.
  2. Getting one project finished and out of the way.
  3. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour.

07 December 2015

  1. Having an article published on upcoming4.me about the story behind Peter.
  2. More reviewers offering to feature me and/or my book on their blogs and sites.
  3. Can I just tell you how adorable this hamster is?

06 December 2015

  1. Hamster. (We named her Thomasina and she is ridiculously cute.)
  2. An okay time chaperoning my youngest son at a kid's birthday party.
  3. Did I mention the cute hamster?
Really, I dislike the party thing. I do chat a little with other parents, but I'm awkward at it. So I endured this party pretty well, which I count as a minor victory.

05 December 2015

  1. Kids had their first gymnastics meet. Each got medals. They did great! So proud of them!
  2. An early Hanukkah with the in-laws.
  3. Really good wine.

04 December 2015

  1. My book is available for pre-order! Its release date is 15 January, but if you pre-order it, you'll get a great discount. (You can also find it on Amazon. Apple, Kobo, and Nook to come.)
  2. My husband got a promotion! He's been working really hard and totally deserves it.
  3. New workout clothes. I was in desperate need of some longer leggings and long-sleeved shirts now that the weather is changing.

03 December 2015

  1. A good writers group meeting. I'm glad I went; I almost didn't.
  2. My new raincoat and rain boots.
  3. Incense.

02 December 2015

  1. New games to play!
  2. Husband's birthday.
  3. New tarot and oracle cards!

01 December 2015

  1. Slightly warmer weather.
  2. New syrups for chai.
  3. Am (I think) successfully tightening my manuscript.

30 November 2015

  1. Finally mailing stuff that should have been sent ages ago.
  2. Having the house to myself.
  3. New slippers!

29 November 2015

  1. Christmas decorating!
  2. Queso!
  3. Flowers for my office!

27 November 2015

Was away again, and had a wonderful time. So here are a bunch of Good Things (SoCal vacation edition):

  1. Universal Studios still makes the jacket I used to have way back when, so I was able to get another one! You have no idea how happy this makes me. I lived in that jacket, wore it until it fell apart, and now I have another one! Best jacket ever.
  2. Big Red.
  3. Evie getting to be in the Animal Actors show.
  4. Bonus Golden Ticket at Disneyland that allowed us to skip the line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.
  5. Getting the last Tinkerbell Hanukkah pin.
  6. Having the Matterhorn ride operator ask if we just wanted to stay seated and ride again. Hell yeah!
  7. A Thanksgiving dinner we did not have to cook or clean up after. (Thank you, thank you, thank you Disneyland employees for giving up your holiday!)
  8. A smooth and safe drive home.
  9. A healthy, happy family.
Seriously, I'm so blessed and so grateful. Any complaints are necessarily petty against the greater woes of the world. And I'm so happy to have gotten away for the holiday; I hate sitting around at home for the week, would much rather be out and doing (but not shopping, except for souvenirs!). This has easily been the best Thanksgiving in memory.

22 November 2015

  1. Weighed the least I've weighed in a while.
  2. Finished the first round of revisions on Changers. (Lots more to go though.)
  3. A nice long walk in really fine weather.

21 November 2015

  1. Almost done with this pass on Changers. (But there's still a lot more to do.)
  2. Finished reading a book with Alexander.
  3. David Tennant. Even in the tiniest doses.

20 November 2015

  1. Hallmark Christmas ornaments.
  2. Incense.
  3. Getting to sleep a little later than usual.
We each get to pick one Hallmark ornament every year. This year I chose Snoopy in the bi-plane.

19 November 2015

  1. Writers group meeting.
  2. Hair and nail appointment.
  3. A non-laundry day.

18 November 2015

  1. Day off from workouts.
  2. A bit more progress on Changers revisions.
  3. An indie director requested to read one of my scripts.

17 November 2015

  1. A bit more progress on the Changers revisions.
  2. Less windy weather.
  3. Sea salts for the bath.

16 November 2015

  1. Quiet time!
  2. Making progress with Changers revisions.
  3. My efforts to maintain my current weight seem to be working.

15 November 2015

  1. Little traffic to and from the airport.
  2. A day at home after a weekend of running around.
  3. Rain.

13 November 2015

  1. Painting bowls (End of Bowl, Murder Bowl).
  2. Japanese stationery stores.
  3. Winchester Mystery House.

12 November 2015

  1. An agent requested a revise and resubmit for Changers.
  2. Dear friend in for a visit.
  3. Lost a little more weight.

11 November 2015

  1. Weighed less this morning.
  2. Kids behaved (it was a day off from school).
  3. The Secret of NIMH.

10 November 2015

  1. James Bond!
  2. A nice morning out with my MIL.
  3. New coat.

09 November 2015

  1. Rain.
  2. Being cozy inside when it rains.
  3. An easy grocery shopping trip.

08 November 2015

07 November 2015

  1. Beautiful red-tailed hawk joined me on my morning walk.
  2. Made good progress with my jigsaw puzzle.
  3. Perfect weather.

06 November 2015

  1. Unexpected presents.
  2. More progress on the jigsaw puzzle.
  3. My roses are exploding. 

05 November 2015

  1. Wendy's for lunch.
  2. News that Adverse Possession (a short film based on my 15-minute play "Warm Bodies") will screen at San Diego Film Consortium's Fall Film Festival next week.
  3. Return of Elementary.

03 November 2015

  1. A good, long walk.
  2. Was interviewed for a podcast.
  3. Trivial Pursuit.

02 November 2015

  1. Much needed rain.
  2. A nice working lunch with a fellow writer.
  3. More rain.

01 November 2015

  1. Nice visit with the in-laws.
  2. Gained an hour.
  3. My roses are blooming again.

31 October 2015

  1. Corn maze and pumpkin patch.
  2. Cute little trick-or-treaters.
  3. Candy.

30 October 2015

  1. Krispy Kreme doughnuts.
  2. Walked almost 15,000 steps.
  3. Friendly correspondence from readers; it always makes my day to hear from someone who enjoys my work.

29 October 2015

  1. Writers group with my writer friends.
  2. A good walk.
  3. Pleased that I made better choices regarding what I ate.

28 October 2015

  1. Hummingbird.
  2. Quiet.
  3. Confirmed release date for Peter: 15 January

27 October 2015

  1. My publisher told me they're almost ready to put Peter up for pre-order. I had to finish up the acknowledgements. We also sort of established when there might be print books so I can sort out signings.
  2. A nice dinner out with the family (minus one child who is on an overnight camping trip with his class). Ice cream afterward!
  3. Found something that was missing. That always feels good.

26 October 2015

  1. A quiet morning to myself.
  2. New personal record for steps in a day (12,500).
  3. My story was shortlisted for an anthology.
I won't know until mid-November at the very earliest whether the story actually makes it into the book, but I'll take being shortlisted over a rejection.

25 October 2015

  1. Nice chats with other moms while attending a birthday party with my daughter.
  2. Hummingbird!
  3. Pork belly for dinner.

24 October 2015

  1. A sunbeam to sit in.
  2. Getting to watch Everything or Nothing.
  3. Dancing with the kids.

23 October 2015

  1. TWO hummingbirds this morning! I saw one, then another met her in one of the trees in the back yard.
  2. Extra long walk that included a nice chat with the neighbor.
  3. Twinkies. The kids had asked me what Twinkies were, and I realized they'd never had them. So I went and got some. Of course the kids loved them, and I used to be something of an addict myself. I've been trying to be good about what I eat, but this was a nice indulgence.

In truth, it's been a difficult week. I've had trouble finding the good stuff. Four rejections in five days . . . Yipes. Trying to stay strong, though.

22 October 2015

  1. Salon night! Got my hair and nails done so I can feel pretty again.
  2. I weighed less this morning. I haven't been actively trying to lose weight, but it was a nice surprise.
  3. There were new Cinema Sins on YouTube.

21 October 2015

  1. A promising meeting with the woman who may become my agent.
  2. Candy bars.
  3. Hummingbird! She was around a lot, actually.

20 October 2015

  1. Made 114% of my walking (steps) goal per my new Jawbone UP.
  2. Got lots of laundry done so now I don't have any for tomorrow.
  3. Saw my hummingbird at dusk.
If I'm being honest, I'm struggling the past couple days. Hunting for those silver linings. But then that's the point of these posts—remind myself of all the good, no matter how small. If nothing else, I have a roof over my head, food on the table, etc. My "problems" are small and largely self-made. So . . .

19 October 2015

  1. So my little hummingbird came and flew around outside my office window. That was neat.
  2. Another reviewer lined up for Peter.
  3. Walked 4.5 miles.
I also got a Jawbone UP so now I'll be better able to track my activity.

18 October 2015

  1. Saw the hummingbird first thing when I came downstairs to get my morning caffeine.
  2. Great nature walk with the family that included seeing a rare melanistic deer.
  3. Scott brought me blue hydrangeas.

17 October 2015

  1. Cooler weather, including a few sprinkles.
  2. Time to myself in the morning, and then hubby and kids brought lunch for me.
  3. Nice afternoon walk.

16 October 2015

  1. Was invited to speak to my daughter's class about being a writer and had a great time with the kids.
  2. Hummingbird! She was at the feeder in the morning, then there were TWO of them in the evening.
  3. I successfully made a crockpot dinner.

15 October 2015

  1. Two reviewers have agreed to feature me and/or Peter on their sites!
  2. Peter's edits are officially finished and he's (it's) off to be formatted and proofed.
  3. Really great day with my writer gals. Good news all around the table. Was just a fabulous day.

And . . .


14 October 2015

  1. More of my sweet little hummingbird.
  2. Scott worked from home which meant we got to walk together in the morning and have lunch at one of our favorite Thai restaurants.
  3. The acquisitions editor of a mid-sized publisher—the one who'd requested part of Changers a few days ago—requested the full manuscript.

13 October 2015

  1. LOTS of hummingbird this evening! She was hanging out around the feeder and in the locust tree.
  2. Finished with the edits on Peter and sent them back to my editor.
  3. Was successful in making a dinner that not only didn't taste bad but was actually really good.

12 October 2015

  1. Hummingbird! And also we now have a lot of robins living in our trees.
  2. Good parent-teacher conference with my youngest son's teacher.
  3. One of my flash fiction pieces was selected for the podcast No Extra Words. It will be featured in February.

11 October 2015

  1. Started the edits (sent by my editor) for Peter.
  2. Took my daughter and oldest son for ear piercing. (My son only got one ear pierced.)
  3. Hubby brought unexpected flowers! They are now on my desk.

10 October 2015

  1. Hummingbird!
  2. Picked up the printed copies of my manuscript. There's something very satisfying about seeing all that hard work in concrete form.
  3. Art Walk downtown.

09 October 2015

  1. Scott came home earlier than expected, and I didn't even  have to go pick him up from BART because a co-worker gave him a ride.
  2. We were able to print copies of my manuscript for a reasonable price. I need hard copies to give my critique group because I have difficulty reconciling so many different Word documents.
  3. My editor sent the mark-up for Peter. I glanced and it didn't look too terrible. But I haven't started in yet. Will likely wait until Monday, when I have the house to myself.

08 October 2015

  1. Sleeping in a little.
  2. Lunch at the park with the kids.
  3. A small publisher liked the little bit of Changers I sent them and asked to see more! (Specifically, the editor said, "I love Cee and Marcus already and am intrigued by the world you're building.") I only hope she continues to enjoy the story!

07 October 2015

  1. Traffic wasn't too bad this morning.
  2. Chatted with the woman who is likely to become my agent. We're meeting in a couple weeks to look over the paperwork.
  3. Kids were super well behaved this evening, which was extra nice since I'm parenting solo at the moment.

06 October 2015

  1. Lovely meeting with my writing friends. I'd been suffering withdrawal! So I'm glad they made time to meet since I can't make our regular meeting this week.
  2. Dracula with my son. Was a great production, too.
  3. I'll count having heard from the woman who says she wants to be my agent as a good thing. But then when I tried to call her back, I couldn't reach her and her mailbox was full, so . . .

05 October 2015

  1. Friends really stepped up to the plate when I was feeling down.
  2. A walk to the store to pick up milk actually helped my sore shoulder.
  3. Satisfied my craving for a quesarito.

04 October 2015

  1. My injured shoulder slowly getting better.
  2. Ordered my Hallowe'en costume (Steampunk). I love dressing up!
  3. TWO hummingbirds at our feeder!

03 October 2015

  1. Was able to pick up Stephen King's Finders Keepers at the library! Have been wanting to read it . . .
  2. A nice afternoon walk.
  3. Finished the first draft of my WIP! Hooray! Needs a lot of editing, of course, but I've been working on this book for almost exactly a year, so it feels so good to be done with the draft.

02 October 2015

  1. Friday.
  2. Was able to write a little. (Been struggling with that this week.)
  3. Friday.

01 October 2015

  1. Took my daughter to her first concert: Richard Marx. We had front-row seats, too, and it was an acoustic show, so not too loud for her sensitive ears. We had a great time!
  2. Saved a bee! It was crawling on the pavement, and I got it onto a leaf . . . Then it climbed onto my thumb, but anyway, I was able to move it out of harms way and onto some rosemary bushes.
  3. Tree service came and cleaned up our trees which were looking a little crowded. They look much better now.

30 September 2015

  1. Rain! Which we've needed so badly, and which smells so good.
  2. A good morning walk.
  3. Hummingbird.

29 September 2015

  1. Cooler weather. In fact, it was perfect.
  2. Another quiet day mostly to myself with no errands to run.

. . . That's all I've got. I suppose the down side to a quiet, uneventful day is that nothing much happens either good or bad.

28 September 2015

  1. Quiet time at home.
  2. Watching two of my children get awarded for excellence in reading.

Uh . . . Yeah, that's all I've got for the moment. Unless you count each kid separately?

London Edition

So I've been away in London, hence the lack of updates. Now I will list a bunch of good things from my trip:
  1. Magpies.
  2. Buckingham Palace.
  3. Hamlet (at the Barbican).
  4. Stumbling across St. Bart's hospital.
  5. So much good food (Ametsa, Quilon, and also the Garden Café at Buckingham).
  6. Walking Southbank.
  7. Cadbury chocolate!
This trip was an early birthday gift and was fabulous. It wasn't perfect, but it was wonderful. Many thanks to my husband for humoring me and my extravagant tastes.

23 September 2015

  1. Another good writing day.
  2. Scott came home early (and brought me pizza).
  3. Hair and nails done at the salon!

21 September 2015

  1. Good writing day.
  2. Wienerschnitzel for dinner.

. . . Having trouble thinking of a third.

20 September 2015

  1. Spa day.
  2. A walk (even though it was really hot out).
  3. Quiet afternoon.

19 September 2015

  1. Good, if hot, walk.
  2. Trying out the olive oil tasting room downtown. Wow!
  3. The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which was cuter and more satisfying than I expected.

18 September 2015

  1. 4-mile walk. Felt great.
  2. Night out with friends.
  3. Hummingbird.

17 September 2015

  1. TWO hummingbirds! I first saw them flying together over some trees while I was out walking, then saw them in our back yard later that evening.
  2. Encouragement from writing friends to try something a bit daring in my current WIP.
  3. Discovered the James Bonding podcast.

16 September 2015

  1. Another day of cooler weather.
  2. Hummingbird on the walk to school.
  3. Met my new orthodontist for the first time, and he's pretty cool.

15 September 2015

I won't lie; it's been a crap week. I've had a couple rejections and some personal drama, so . . . I'm struggling to find the good stuff.

  1. Cooler weather. Even just for a day or two, it's refreshing.
  2. A nice lunch with my mother-in-law.
  3. Mermaid water in the bath. (It's a LUSH bath bomb/bubble bar combo.)

14 September 2015

  1. Cooler weather (relatively) and a mini rainstorm.
  2. Got some writing done for the first time in over a week. I'd been sort of blocked up, but was able to get on with it today.
  3. I didn't have to do any laundry.

13 September 2015

  1. The Virgo New Moon prompted me to clean off my desk, and now I have a lovely workspace on which to procrastinate.
  2. Went to see the Chinese acrobats, which made for a fun and original family outing.
  3. Hummingbird! (Any time there is a hummingbird, it will be one of the best things that happened to me that day. As a bonus, there was a show about hummingbirds on TV last night, too.)

12 September 2015

  1. Nice family time at Chabot Space and Science Center.
  2. Hummingbird!
  3. Finally saw Four Weddings and a Funeral. It was cute.

11 September 2015

  1. Tree service came to survey our trees and say they're healthy, just need some pruning.
  2. Good meeting with my agent.
  3. My dad's birthday.

10 September 2015

  1. Watching House Hunters: Where Are They Now? at the dentist. (I'm trying to put a positive spin on the pain of dental cleaning.)
  2. Hot fudge sundae. (Take that, dentist!)
  3. Blackout. Which wasn't much fun BUT did let me off the hook for my evening workout.

08 September 2015

  1. Helping the kids get homework done.
  2. Some time to myself after a hectic long holiday weekend.
  3. Hummingbird!

07 September 2015

  1. Labor Day festivities combined with our daughter's birthday.
  2. Swimming.
  3. Dancing as exercise.

05 September 2015

  1. The library.
  2. A nice walk.
  3. Another director emailed asking to read one of my scripts.

04 September 2015

  1. Found a really, really good new Middle Eastern restaurant.
  2. Doctor says my lungs are clear, so I don't need antibiotics. But she still gave me some cough medicine to help me sleep better. "If you don't rest, you won't get better," she said. She's great!
  3. Trivial Pursuit.

03 September 2015

  1. A really great meeting with my writing group—they love my story! Also, we had a fab lunch out together.
  2. Also a really nice chat with my friend and Tarot reader. Interesting insights there, as usual.
  3. My Stitch Fix came, and all the clothes were great!

01 September 2015

  1. Somewhat cooler morning weather for my walk.
  2. Was asked to read some material and possibly help write a TV miniseries.
  3. Hair-and-nails night at the salon!

31 August 2015

  1. Successfully dealt with a school situation in which Robert was being bullied.
  2. Finished writing my short story submission for an upcoming anthology.
  3. Throat was not as sore as the day before. (I seem to have caught my son's cold.)

30 August 2015

  1. Nice walk.
  2. Good phone chat with the woman who may become my agent.
  3. Hot tea.

29 August 2015

  1. Cooler weather that included a little bit of spitting from the sky—we'll take what we can get!
  2. A good start on a new story.
  3. Bath bomb.

28 August 2015

  1. English Toffee syrup in my chai. OMG, so good I want to put it in ALL THE THINGS!
  2. No errands to run.
  3. Family game night.

27 August 2015

  1. My writer friends made me feel a bit better when I was down.
  2. It was my day off from laundry.
  3. Beautiful not-quite-full moon.

26 August 2015

  1. Nice walk this morning.
  2. A day to myself.
  3. Much longer visit from a hummingbird this evening.

25 August 2015

  1. A morning to myself! In which I walked three miles and then got some writing and laundry done.
  2. The kids loved the trial gymnastics class and are now all signed up to go weekly.
  3. Lavender bubble bar in the bath.

24 August 2015

  1. Kids went back to school! Yay!
  2. Productive day in terms of picking up stuff I needed at various stores.
  3. Hummingbird at the feeder again this evening.

23 August 2015

22 August 2015

  1. Haircuts for the kids.
  2. Really good burritos for lunch.
  3. A nice (if hot) walk to work off said burritos.

21 August 2015

Early Edition

Because good things have already happened today (and, one hopes, will continue to happen).

  1. Two hummingbirds! One during my walk and one in the garden. They, along with otters, make me ridiculously happy.
  2. Aforementioned walk. Because I hadn't had the luxury of one for some time. It's been too hot lately, but this morning was cooler and we had a good breeze.
  3. New Rob Thomas album. And it's pretty good.

20 August 2015

  1. Looks like I have an agent. She's having a contract drawn up anyway.
  2. A semi-productive writing day.
  3. Interest from some quarters in Changers.
It was all about the writing today.

19 August 2015

  1. Confirmed plans to meet with an agent who may be interested in representing me.
  2. New Cinema Sins and Honest Trailers.
  3. Okay, I have to: burrito!

18 August 2015

  1. Received the kids' classroom assignments. School will happen soon!
  2. A good writing day.
  3. Otters everywhere I looked. I love otters, so this was a happy circumstance.

17 August 2015

  1. It was my youngest son's birthday. He is now officially six. Seeing him happy was a good thing today.
  2. A working lunch with a dear fellow writer friend.
  3. John Oliver talking about televangelists. Because I grew up with that stuff all around me, and it's nice to see and hear it being called out.
See? No food today. I mean, I could have mentioned the delicious salad I had for dinner, but I didn't!

16 August 2015

  1. Celebrated my youngest son's birthday today. So: cake! (Better yet, Pac-Man cake!)
  2. A nice phone chat with my parents.
  3. Jalapeno aioli.
Again with the food . . . Not all the good things can be food related, can they?

Oh, bonus: Winning at air hockey. I *love* air hockey.

15 August 2015

  1. Cake batter (from baking our son's birthday cake).
  2. Swimming.
  3. The library.

14 August 2015

  1. A promising phone chat with a potential agent.
  2. A nice playdate at the local park.
  3. Getting even a small walk in (I miss my daily walks!).

13 August 2015

  1. Counseling a Tarot patron. She made me feel as if I really had helped her, which is nice.
  2. The kids out of the house for practically the whole day, which means . . .
  3. Lots of writing got done! Yay!
(If you ever wonder about my Tarot stuff, check out my Facebook site devoted to it.)

12 August 2015

  1. Peace and quiet in the house today—even with the kids home!
  2. Getting back into a workout routine.
  3. Iced chai with white mocha.

11 August 2015

  1. Being home again.
  2. My own bed.
  3. Bubble bath.


I've been away on holiday in Alaska, hence the lack of updates. Many good things happened, but I'll pick the ones that meant the most to me:

  1. Seeing a momma black bear and her two cubs
  2. Humpback whales (with calfs!) and orca
  3. A day in Vancouver that included a fabulous meal at Cactus Club Cafe
  4. Fabulous couple's treatment in the spa
  5. Remarkably good Thai food in Skagway
  6. Beautiful mammoth tooth earrings as a souvenir gift from my husband (I was looking for that perfect, unique thing, and he found it in Ketchikan)
  7. Seeing my kids so happy

31 July 2015

  1. Saw Mr. Holmes! Finally!
  2. Got ALL the laundry done.
  3. Chatted with my parents on the phone.

30 July 2015

  1. A nice writers group meeting.
  2. Got some good writing done.
  3. A day off from the kids.

Bonus: "Sherlock Holmes and the Mystery of the Last Line" was the #1 Sherlock Holmes story on the Amazon UK chart.

29 July 2015

  1. Got another commission to write a feature screenplay.
  2. The nanny was able to come take the kids after all (for a while there it looked like she might not).
  3. Even though one of my toenail's polish came off, I was able to get it fixed before we go on the cruise.

28 July 2015

  1. Fabulous new hair color that drew lots of attention from passers-by. And also great mani/pedi.
  2. Great response to my blog posts regarding DFW Con. (More of those to come!)
  3. Taco Bell for dinner and I don't even feel guilty about it because I did a great workout afterward.

27 July 2015

  1. A friend and fellow author was offered a contract with Tirgearr, the same publisher who will be publishing Peter in January.
  2. I took the kids to Pixels and it made them ridiculously happy, which in turn makes me ridiculously happy because I love to see them so happy.
  3. Meeting Susan Chang reminded me of how much I enjoyed The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, so I started reading it aloud to my 9-year-old son, and he's loving it. Plus, I'm loving re-reading it.

DFW Con!

So I've been away, which is why I've neglected to list all the wonderful things happening each day. Instead, I will now list all the good things that happened while I was in Dallas for DFW Writers Convention:

  1. I pitched to an editor from Tor and she requested the first three chapters of my book! Bonus: I really, really liked her and could totally see forming a working relationship with her. (But that's like proposing on a blind date, so . . .)
  2. I got to hang out with Kevin J. Anderson! Excuse me while I fangirl.
  3. I learned that the wording in all those rejection letters for Peter probably were code for "we really like your writing/voice but don't think we can sell this particular book; please do send something more marketable our way." Which makes sense given Peter's decidedly niche market. But when an agent puts in a rejection that he or she wants to see more by you, they mean it!
  4. Awesome keynotes by the aforementioned Mr. Anderson, Charlaine Harris, and Shilo Harris.
  5. A great cocktail reception during which I met amazing fellow writers and also had another agent request some pages.
  6. Workshops that helped me figure out how to write an effective synopsis and also helped me find a better opening line for my book.

In short, it was a great conference. I'll be posting more details over on my author site.

As for the trip to Dallas, additional good things:

  1. Great food.
  2. Getting to see old friends again.
  3. Time by the pool.
  4. The hotel service was fabulous all around.

Now it's back to normal life. Well, and sprucing up those pages for the editor and agent who requested them!

22 July 2015

  1. The kids set up a lemonade stand and very kind and generous neighbors ensured they made a tidy profit. They were so excited about their success!
  2. Was able to get in that last-minute spa appointment. And this place is much closer than my usual place, so there was less traffic on the whole to deal with.
  3. Supportive friends on Facebook.

21 July 2015

  1. Even though my spa let me down by calling and canceling my appointment at the last minute (my aesthetician is ill and the other one is on vacation, so apparently they have no one), I was able to find and book a substitute. We'll find out tomorrow how it goes . . .
  2. A good video conference call with my co-screenwriters.
  3. I didn't have to do any laundry.

20 July 2015

  1. Iced chai with two shots of white mocha.
  2. Traffic wasn't the worst it's ever been.
  3. Helping a friend prep a submission—that always makes me feel good.

19 July 2015

  1. Took Evie to her first ever stage musical: The King and I! I'm pretty sure she loved it; she came home singing "Getting to Know You" and was super excited that she got to meet the actress who played Anna.
  2. The workouts seem to be working, little by little. I don't weigh myself, but I do like the way my clothes are fitting better.
  3. Quiet time to myself in the morning.

18 July 2015

  1. Dairy Queen. I only go maybe once or twice a year. It was finally time for a Butterfinger Blizzard.
  2. New toys from Hot Topic, including a Tenth Doctor, a Mulder, and a TARDIS. There's definitely a story in there somewhere.
  3. The kind people at DFW Con were able to reassign me to a more suitable editor for my pitch session.

17 July 2015

  1. Yesterday one of my toenails came off. Well, not the actual toenail, but the polish. I looked down after a workout and realized one of my toes had lost its polish. But luckily I was going in for a manicure today anyway, so I was able to get my toenail fixed up too.
  2. New shutters for my office! The old blinds were awful, and the pull had broken besides, so it's nice to have functioning window coverings again.
  3. Saw a hummingbird in my little side garden. They make me stupid happy whenever I see them.

16 July 2015

  1. Weekly writers group meeting.
  2. Was able to avoid the bad highway traffic by taking back roads this morning.
  3. Another mystery writer (someone I don't know) shared my about.me page on Twitter. Such a small thing, but nice. Small things add up after all.

15 July 2015

  1. A week or so ago, we noticed very small spots of oil on the garage floor. I slipped a white trash bag under where I park my car, and yup: a little oil leak. So today I took the car to the place around the corner, and it was an easy fix (new gasket) AND they didn't charge me.
  2. A small publisher has asked to read the first chapter of Changers.
  3. Fatburger for dinner, followed by a grueling workout and a eucalyptus bath. (You notice how many of my good things revolve around food?)

14 July 2015

  1. Got some writing done. (Every little bit . . .)
  2. The kids were mostly very well behaved.
  3. Avoided unnecessary snacking, which makes me feel better about myself.
Bonus: My newest Sherlock Holmes story was released and did moderately well.

13 July 2015

  1. Scott stayed home today, and we had a productive morning that included a walk, some necessary clothes shopping, lunch out, and groceries.
  2. Fellow writer Christine Rains hosted me on her blog today.
  3. Yummy dinner of homemade squash bisque and baked fish.

12 July 2015

  1. Early morning swim. Even though it was kind of chilly for it, I'm glad I got the exercise. And I do love to swim.
  2. My Sherlock Holmes book had a massive uptick on Amazon. (It's free through Wednesday! And the new one releases tomorrow!)
  3. John Oliver was back. He really is the best way to cap off the week.

11 July 2015

  1. Sleeping in.
  2. Pizza for dinner.
  3. Lots of downloads of one of my books (currently free on Amazon) and more pre-orders for my other one.

10 July 2015

  1. Though the sprinklers went haywire this morning, the repairman was able to come first thing and it was a quick and easy fix covered by the 90-day guarantee.
  2. The kids were out for a large chunk of the day, allowing me to relax. I didn't even have to leave the house to run any errands!
  3. Snickerdoodles!
Bonus: More pre-orders for my forthcoming Sherlock Holmes story!

Changing It Up

This was originally a blog about how books and authors have impacted me over the course of my life, and I might still sometimes blog on that topic. But I also want to get back to a daily gratitude mindset. I used to do this on my personal blog, and then I sort of fell off. But here, in public, I might feel more accountable.

For those who don't know, psychologists recommend making a list of three good things that happen each day. The idea is that this trains your mind to look for the positive in your life, and eventually you become happier in general. Back when I was doing this regularly, I do believe I was feeling better about things. I don't feel bad now, either, which is all the more reason to give thanks.

It doesn't matter how small the good thing is. I recall one day having one of my good things be that I'd found an empty pocket in traffic. You know, where there are cars way ahead and cars way behind, but you're on your own, no pressure from drivers around you? A tiny thing, but I'll take what I can get.

So starting now, every evening I will strive to post three good things that happen. (Exceptions include being away on vacation, during which times I often don't have regular access to a computer or Internet.) I hope you'll be inspired to make your own gratitude lists, or maybe share some good things that happen to you by commenting here.


07 July 2015

Animal Stories

Does every kid go through the animal books phase?

From ages three to ten, we lived in a little two-bedroom place. My room had a big, beautiful oak tree outside the window, but my parents' room had no such obstructions to light, so I would go lay on their bed to read. And somewhere in those years, I really got into animal stories.

Lassie Come Home, The Trouble with Tuck, Lad: A Dog, Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Socks, The Cat That Overcame, The Cat Who Came for Christmas, The Cat Who Went to HeavenMisty of Chincoteague (yet for some reason I never could get into Black Beauty) . . . There were dozens of these books, and I read many of them two and three times over.

In fact, I was reading Old Yeller in church one Wednesday night. My mom required me to go Sunday mornings, Sunday nights, and Wednesday nights, but on Wednesdays I was allowed to bring homework or a book to read. That particular night we had a guest preacher, and he saw me reading and threw a fit. My mother and our regular pastor had it out over that one. She told him, "That's my daughter and I'll decide whether she can read in church or not!" Pastor Morrow was a big guy, but he backed up quick when Mom got in his face. He apologized to me, which was kinda weird for a seven-year-old. But after that I didn't have to go on Wednesdays any more either.

That was a bit of a digression, but it's funny the memories we attach to some books, and that's my singular memory of Old Yeller.

Animal books often have sad endings, or happy-sad endings. Either way, I seemed to always end up blubbering over them. Even when I'd read them before and knew what was coming. Which is, I suppose, a testament to great writing.

And yet animal books are also something we eventually leave behind. They seem to be the purvey of childhood (Marley and Me notwithstanding). Thinking about it now, I'd like to maybe go back and read a couple of these again, see if they still impact me the same way.

12 June 2015


My parents aren't Shakespeare readers, so I didn't get my love of his work from them. Instead, I borrowed it from my best friend's mother.

My best friend Tara lived next door. She was four and I was eight when we met. Her mom Lynn was (is) very creative. She sewed and did calligraphy and made rubber stamps out of carved erasers. She airbrushed t-shirts for us, made us dress-up clothes and matching quilts and pillows, stuff like that. (She's also the one who made my Sherlock dolls.)

Lynn is also a drama/theatre person. And one of the first things she ever made me—which still hangs in my office today—is a calligraphy sign with a artistically carved matte that reads:
"We know what we are, but know not what we may Be."
It's from Hamlet, of course, IV.v. I spent a lot of time as a kid trying to work out what it meant, and I finally went and read the damn play to garner a context for it. (For the record, I love the first part of the line: "They say the owl was a baker's daughter.")

I once saw a interview or documentary or something in which Sir Patrick Stewart mentioned that Shakespeare came easily and naturally to him, and it did to me, too. I never struggled with the language, at least not in comprehending it. Hamlet remains my favorite of the plays, probably because it was my first. I've performed and taught it more than any other and can't go a week without some line from it crossing my mind in random situations.

It's funny because I never owned one of those kids' Shakespeare storybooks that turned the stories into some prose form for children to read. But once I'd read Hamlet, I had to read others, and more than that, I was on fire to see one of Shakespeare's plays performed. Alas, I don't think I ever did until I was older. In fact, I'm pretty sure I was performing Shakespeare myself before I ever saw one of his plays on stage. Though I did see the Mel Gibson film . . . And possibly other adaptations on film, though none spring to mind now. (Did not see the Baz Luhrmann Romeo and Juliet, but had to watch that 60s version as a freshman in high school.)

Actually, my freshman English class rewrote Romeo and Juliet into a gangster/Mafia play, and this was a handful of years before Luhrmann's version. I helped do the rewrite and played Lord Capulet (with a Bronx accent and wearing a Hawaiian shirt and ponytail). My first role in a Shakespeare play! Our instructor filmed it and for every year at school afterward, freshman would come up to me and say, "You're Lord Capulet!" Having found an audience, I persisted in being Cassius in Julius Caesar, the third witch in MacBeth, and Viola in Twelfth Night. Then, finally, Hamlet because I was the only one willing to memorize the soliloquies.

Later, at university, I would be part of the Shakespeare at Winedale program and would do Hamlet again, this time as Corambis (aka Polonius, but we were doing the First Quarto). I would parlay all this into teaching at a summer camp where each year I would choose a play for the students to learn and perform. My first choice was, naturally, Hamlet. Later years would see Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet, and MacBeth (which my students turned into a comedy). I was greatly rewarded in seeing the students' apprehension turn to enthusiasm, and was flattered to have parents tell me, "I wish we'd learned it like this when we were in school; maybe then I'd like Shakespeare!"

28 April 2015

Zilpha Keatley Snyder

Of all the authors I read as a child, I'd have to say Zilpha Keatley Snyder had the greatest impact on me. I read The Egypt Game, of course, but it was The Changeling that really hit home. This is because, like the two girls in that novel, I and my best friend (who conveniently lived next door) also created a fantasy world and played/lived in it. Afternoons and weekends were spent there. It was an idyllic childhood in many ways, and then came the day I had to move away.

Snyder had other wonderful books and I devoured many of them. The Velvet Room. The Truth About Stone Hollow. Libby on Wednesdays. I eagerly await the day my own daughter will be old enough to enjoy these, though I wonder whether she will connect with them as much as I did. A part of me is afraid she'll fail to see the glory in these stories. It is a different world now, with different sensibilities; what spoke to my experience as a child may not speak to her at all.

Even now, though, as an adult, I like to return to Snyder now and then for a quick read. Her books continue to weave magic, even now that she's passed, and I think her writing certainly helped me shape my own.

17 April 2015

Judy Blume

Like many kids growing up in the 80s, Judy Blume books had an impact on my childhood. I read Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing and Superfudge, and even Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. I read Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret and Blubber. For some reason, I remember the bit in Blubber about singing "Sweet and Low," even though I don't know that song at all. This is a blog about things you take with you from books, and that's what I took with me from that one. What that says about me, I  have no idea.

I read a lot of these books several times over, so it's strange that I now remember so little. Every now and then, though, some strange detail will surface in my brain. Like Sheila and the shoes. I think I remember that because I am also particular about shoes; I really dislike it when people wear shoes in the house. Maybe I lived in Japan in a previous life or something. (I do feel a strong connection to the ancient Far East.)

Peter and the turtle, and the dancing with the balloons, and the myna bird, and "Toot, toot, tootsie." Hmm. The songs stick with me. Why is that? Well, I do love music.

What's interesting is that I remember nothing of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. And I read it at least two or three times. So many parents were worried about that book for some reason (was there something about getting your period in it?), but for all the impression it made on me . . . ::shrug::

Of course, books are personal experiences. No one has the exact same response. I'm sure Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret had a huge impact on many readers. And I'm equally certain that if I began to re-read it, it would all flood back.

I was past the point of Judy Blume by the time the later Fudge books came out. I didn't read Forever or Tiger Eyes or any of those. I inhabited a strange space in that I had a reading ability that far outreached my social-emotional development. So in fifth grade I was reading Lighting by Dean [R.] Koontz but . . . somehow couldn't wrap my brain around things like crushes and dating and the stuff of YA. I feel like I skipped a whole genre, went from middle grade to adult.

Sometimes I feel like my life went that way, too.

13 April 2015

Dr. Seuss

I was reading fluently by the age of three, and the first books I remember are the ones so many children remember starting with: Dr. Seuss.

Not Green Eggs and Ham, though. I never liked that one. Later, I would use Green Eggs and Ham to teach my best friend (four years my junior) to read, but for myself, I remember There's a Wocket in My Pocket and I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! to be my favorites. I thought The Cat in the Hat was okay, and of course One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, but Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? topped them, I think. At least in my young mind.

I recall the cartoons, too. Not just Grinch at Christmas, but The Cat in the Hat where he sings: "Cat. Hat. In French, chat, chapeau . . ." (For the record, I cannot stand that new Cat in the Hat cartoon series; I find it truly obnoxious and the very antithesis of the original story.) And the cartoon version of The Lorax, and The Sneeches . . .

Of course, I can't really think about Seuss without also thinking about Eastman and Go, Dog. Go! I spent a lot of time looking at that page with all the dogs having the party in the tree.

And then there was Ten Apples Up On Top! Which had Theo. LeSieg's name on it, but I guess was really Dr. Seuss all along.

When I got too old for these books, I put them in one of my parents' military lockers. They stayed there for years. And then I had kids of my own, and now they read the same books I did. They didn't learn to read as early as I; I don't know what made the difference. Maybe the fact I was an only child and they have each other to play with. I spent so much time alone and reading, but they don't have to. They do love to read, but they do it as a social activity more than a solitary one. They read to each other, or like us to read to them. Whereas for me reading will always be a quiet thing I prefer to do alone.

12 April 2015

The Bible

Let's start with the obvious.

When I was a kid, my parents made me read the Bible every night before going to bed. They'd sit there and listen to me read aloud. I'm sure we talked about it, but I can't remember any particular discussions.

What I do remember is liking Esther and Proverbs. I think I liked Proverbs because the chapters were short and most of what was written there made sense. And Esther was just a good story. Though when I look at it now, I see Mordecai as kind of awful. He eavesdrops and manipulates, and we're supposed to celebrate him for that.

I had a King James bible, leather with my name in gilt on the cover. Words of Christ in red and all that. Later, when I was in private school, I was required to use an NIV bible. But I preferred the heightened language in my King James, and I also like the index and concordance and all the colorful maps in the back.

During church, I would happily thumb through my bible and find all the interesting bits. Because I loved Indiana Jones, I would look up everything I could find about the Ark of the Covenant. And I liked parables, and that story about the demons going into the pigs. Jezebel, too, being thrown from the tower so that only her hands were left, or something like that? Prophets, on the other hand, were supremely boring.

At some point my parents bought me a Life Application Bible. This might have been when I graduated and was going off to university, but I'm not sure. Basically, a Life Application Bible is filled with footnotes explaining how to apply scripture to, well, life.

Did the bible influence my life? I'm sure it has, but being brought up in a religious household probably had more influence than the bible itself. I grew up accepting what I was told and taught, mostly because I had no reason not to accept it. These teachings did not conflict with anything in me. It wasn't until much later, when I began looking at things through a historical lens, and when I began recognizing streams of hatred in some of what was being said, that I stepped away.

I'll admit, I no longer read my bible regularly. It's on my shelf, and I sometimes go to it for a half-remembered scripture, just to see if I've got it right. But while I like to think I live a moral life, and a spiritual one, I no longer live a very religious one.

I'm Here

This site, at least at its origin, will be about books. I know there are a lot of sites out there about books, but this site will be about books that are and have been important to me—books that have had an impact on me and my life, have influenced me, have stayed with me for better or worse. Sometimes life can be made up of what you remember from books. A lot can be discerned about a person from not only what he or she reads, but from what they take away from all they've read. This is my life in books. And I'll be interested to hear from others whose lives are in books as well.