Wednesday, August 28, 2013


My scheduled guest, Lindsay Ashford, was unable to visit today. My apologies. We'll catch up with her later.  

I've only gotten serious about my writing the last few of years.  Don’t get me wrong, I've been a writer most of my business life and have written numerous articles for  newspapers, industry styled periodicals, radio copy, and developed seminars. And while I've told stories all my life, written down many of them, it’s only been a recent thing for me to consider fulfilling a dream of writing novels and having them published. 

I have several friends who are authors and who have been a big encouragement to me. They've taken an interest in my writing and try to help me improve. One asked me to give a brief blurb about one of my stories. I’m thinking, brief? You see, me and briefespecially in fiction, we have problems and we’re not exactly close friends. I thought, hey, I could do this. After all, I wrote several 90,000-word books so how hard can it be? I hunkered down and got to it.

Three days and seven drafts later I gave her what I thought was brief. 

Ahem, need I say it was in need of a major blood transfusion when I got it back? Then she added the word “concise”, sigh…I thought two pages was concise. She then gave me a helpful clue; think of the back cover of a book. 

Two days and twelve drafts later I hand her the blurb. 

Her response? Sia, just how big do you think a book cover is? 


The next day and we won’t mention the draft count, I handed it back to her. Good word count, however…then came all this stuff about character goal, motivation, conflict, word choices, and yeah, it was still bleeding to death.

My friend is tough and has pushed me to be the best I can be and not to give up. She also thinks one should always practice pitches—who knows when you might meet an acquiring editor? I have a lot of respect for her. So, you know whom I went to when I was preparing a 50-word pitch for an editor. This time it only took me one day and four drafts—I had been practicing. I got it back, “close but not quite.” 

I growled—hey it impressed my dog.  I went for a walk, did the dishes, polished my nails and sat down, determined to get this thing right.

My final draft? 

“Wow, you got it!” Shock, followed by the wet noodle thing, and then elation.

Now, if an editor does more then just read the manuscript and says thanks but no thanks? 

I’ll tell you what it feels like to win a lottery. 

Monday, August 26, 2013


Summer is a time of play and having fun. Or so I've always thought. Probably a holdover from when I was in school. Couldn't wait for relief from homework and dress codes.

Summer was always a time of adventures. My two older brothers and I had a grand time thinking up stories to act out, forts to build, and trails to blaze through the woods for our bikes.  Our bikes became everything from horses, race cars, space shuttles (ala Star Trek), and motorcycles. Our yard and surrounding forests became our playground, our door through time to a new planet, the Wild West, climbing the mountains. In other words, it was our stage.

I’m not going to say we didn't have chores because we did. Plus my dad was in the trades and I was his number one helper on different projects from concrete work to bricklaying, with a few in ground swimming pools thrown in. There also the houses we renovated. A lot of hard labor where I learned much both about the trades and the men worked them. 

Those lessons didn't start until I was eleven and ended when I turned eighteen and went off to college. Dad always made sure I had playtime and down time to just hang out and read or, do my creative stuff. Summertime has always been a time for fun and tons of reading and I always have a book with me regardless of where I go or what I’m doing.

August was always a weird month. We started school the day after Labor Day. The last few weeks of August was gearing up for that workload.  I was glad to get back to school and I was ready. I actually loved school. I loved the smell of new clothes, paper, books, and the hint of autumn. I absolutely love September through November. I love the smell of wood smoke in the air, the intense blue skies, the gorgeous colors, and the snap of chill in the air. At this point in my life, I’m not particularly fond of icy cold and snow. *shrugging. I deal. I complain, but overall, winter has its beauty and joys too.

I think those attitudes are the same for me now. My mind turns to work oriented things, as if to say playtime is over. So it is this year. I’m back to my day job, which takes up quite a bit of time
and more mental energy than I like. Off time, my focus is more on completing chores around the ranch in preparation for winter but…I also have characters circling around in my head wanting to be let out to play. They want a stage to play on.  The fall is certainly busier and yet I seem to accomplish quite a bit. I find myself wanting to write more. Winter brings those lovely days of snowfall and storms, which seem to put my dragon muse in a tizzy to write. Over all, I do my best creative writing from August through winter—much better than I do in the summer play time.

How about you? How does this time of the year affect you?