Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The deal with Amazon...

Well, for those of you waiting for Hunter Huntress to turn up on (US), the wait continues. And will continue into the foreseeable future. Maybe longer. The book is very happily up and selling on, but it seems that in order for books published in Britain to be listed on the American site, one of the big US book wholesalers (like Ingrams), has to decide to carry it. And so far that hasn't happened. It's a bit more complicated, but that's basically the deal. Soooo, for a current list of places where you can buy the book, as well as the appropriate links, please see my website:

On a more positive note, the shifting around of some of the plot elements in Reese's Leap that I mentioned in my last post has gone really well and far more quickly than I thought, which made me realize while I was cutting here, pasting there, throwing out paragraph after paragraph altogether, and dragging lots of other stuff to the last part of the ms, how this change will make for a much better book. Ups the emotional ante, so to speak. I love it when that happens. I once tried to do this on another ms with disastrous results. I hadn't really thought the whole thing through, was the problem, and when I was done realized I'd completely buggered the plot. That was NOT a good day.

Minimal actual writing the next few days; have to get everything pulled together for the sailing trip we head off on starting this weekend. This photo is of one of our gung-ho crew, 10-year-old granddaughter Lacey, who's on board for the first leg and loves going up the mast for her Grampa. Stay tuned for uploads of the highlights and you'll be on a virtual vacation in a matter of days!

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Here I sit on another Sunday afternoon creating the writing work list for the week. I usually start thinking about it sometime Saturday, helps to get me where I want to be by the following Friday. That's especially important this week as we leave for a much-needed vacation Saturday a.m. and I want to get through a complicated bit of revision beforehand. Just to refresh, I'm near the end of the first draft of the sequel to Matinicus (see for an excerpt of that ms), and I now realize I've revealed a rather important plot twist too early in the novel. Instead, it will make a perfect jaw-dropper just toward the end. I get excited when I have this kind of insight, despite the fact this particular kind of change requires careful surgery--character observations and bits of conversation taken from here and over there, all gathered up and moved around without disturbing the rest of the whole.

In a recent article, the writer Thomas Emson said about revision: "It's the most difficult part of writing a book, but the most honest part. It's where your story is unearthed. I've learned never to trust a first draft. The second draft is where you find your truths." So true. So for me, the fact I'm just now realizing that this bit of plotting isn't right means I'm entering that second, almost magical phase of writing a book. Slogging through a first draft is a lot like feeling your way around a dark room with no idea where you're headed, bumping into this and that and unsure why. With a second draft, you're eyes have adjusted enough that you can make out the important bits of furniture, maybe move things you've been stumbling over, kick other things away altogether. Bad analogy, I know; but you get the point.

So hooray. And, yes, I'll be taking the laptop along on vaca, hopefully uploading some sailing shots when we can find wireless. For now it's back to pulling threads. I'll let you know how I'm doing midweek.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Taking the bad with the good

Friends are everything, don't you think? So many helped out at Thursday night's book launch at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, it'll take days to get through all the thank-yous. It was a glorious evening after a day of T-storms and about twice as many people came out as were expected. Lots of insightful questions; lots of books sold, which always helps the bottom line. This was my very first "reading" and boy was I nervous. It ran about half an hour which I think is typical. Now I'll set to honing a shorter one, for those readings I'll be doing in conjunction with other authors.
Only bummer was just that day I received another rejection of my ms of Matinicus--this a very lovely one from Minotaur Books (div. St. Martins Publishing). Hand signed, even. Not quite as pretty as the one I received from Unbridled Press for Hunter Huntress, but close. But, hey, that's okay. File it away and send out another; that's my modus operandi. You should see my rejections pile--gotta be a foot tall. Damn proud of that!
Now, as the excitement of the last few days starts to fade, I can finally get back to writing. See me smile. See me sigh. This, after all, is what it's all about.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Creative Silence

Rainy weekend on Skater, which I've spent working on my talk for Thursday's Launch. Yesterday's "Creativity and Silence" seminar in Manchester was great. So empowering to spend the day with other writers and Anne Le Claire is a great one, as well as a terrific teacher. Many eye-openers for me over the course of the seven hours, not the least being her discussion about how choosing to "be in silence" redirects energy inward, increasing creative drive. Maybe that's why I get so much work done out here the boat!

Another rejection for Matinicus came in this past week. Just threw it in the box, which is now quite overfull, and sent out another ms. I've been through this so many times now, I don't even feel the sting of it anymore (well, maybe a little). After all, Hunter Huntress was rejected almost 40 times before it found a home...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cheek by jowl with Richard Russo

Lots of excitement here. Besides all the fun of getting ready for next week's Book Launch and Reading party in Portsmouth (NH), I dropped off a second batch of books to RiverRun, our local indie bookstore. So exciting to see my beautiful cover on the table beside so many fine writers, and right next to Richard Russo! With all the excitement it's been hard to keep my morning focus on the writing of new work, but last week's decision to shift of part of the ms from the middle closer to the end feels oh-so-right now I've gotten going on it. Makes for a better dramatic arc and keeps the surprises coming till the end, lending the final few chapters more heft. Looking forward to finishing up the first draft of this one and getting it off to readers (okay, maybe not till the end of the summer, but at least the end's in sight)!
Heading to Manchester Saturday morning for a writing seminar on "Creativity and Silence" by novelist Ann Le Clair. Can't wait!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A rainy Sunday morning on Skater

After a stunning night at the Isles of Shoals, a lazy Sunday morning finds me sitting at anchor in the rain mulling over the coming week's writing. For a while now, I've been struggling with the "lumpy feel" of the middle of my current ms (Reese's Leap, the sequel to Matinicus--see my web site for excerpts), and only Friday realized the problem. So tomorrow I begin the process of tearing the middle of the ms down and removing the plot elements I now know should be introduced later in the book. A bit of work, but so worth it. And that's a big part of the draw of writing--at least for me. Pulling a book together is a lot like doing a puzzle--moving the pieces around till you get the perfect fit. Terribly frustrating when it's not working, rewarding as hell when you get it right.

Anyone for blueberry pancakes?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Okay, well, how about a bit of shameless self-promotion to start? Sounds good to me...
So here I sit, Day Two of the UK launch of Hunter Huntress, waiting for Amazon to get its act together and list the book as available in this country. Actually, this would be a good time to make my usual pitch for buying it (if you're so inclined) from our local indie bookstore, RiverRun, who already has it in stock and will gladly ship it out without hassle or delay. RR's a cool store run by great people who go out of their way to support local authors. Simply shoot them a message at and let them know you want to order my book. Not sure you want it? Head to my homepage where you can listen to me read the first chapter.
On the home front, the weather's been absolutely gorgeous here in southern NH, and we celebrated summer's early start by spending Memorial Day weekend on Skater out at the Isles of Shoals--Skater being the 20-year-old sailboat cum summer cottage we spend all winter working on while we count the days till we can put her in the water again. The actual sailing being secondary to sitting peacefully on the mooring of a summer evening, you understand, gin and tonic in hand and staring in mild shock at all the gelcoat cracks we never got around to fixing...
By the end of the weekend (what husband Cleave called this season's "shakedown cruise"), we had a whole new list of things to fix, including the head (don't ask), and a leaking forepeak hatch. At least we've got a couple weeks till we drop the mooring again.