November 27, 2011


Mostly when I'm traveling on vacation I don't have time for sightseeing or relaxing because I'm so worried that my blog does not have enough rules. I am happy to say that recent trips have yielded a few new ones for you all to follow. Please take note.

Personally, I can't imagine the kind of heathen that might throw laundry bags down the ladder. If you are that kind of heathen, I think I might want to get to know you better.

The above proved helpful advice from TSA at the Hilo airport in Hawaii. I had to point out the sign to a woman in front of us who was about to run her twin babies through the x-ray.

That one goes without saying. I think they need to post this one in the halls of Congress.

November 7, 2011

in memory

Tony was my stepfather since before I could remember. My earliest memory is from 40 years ago, when I sometimes rode on the back of his motorcycle. One time, when climbing on, I touched my shin to the end of the exhaust pipe and had a severe burn for weeks, or months. I think I was three years old. I have other memories from that time, but I'm not sure how true they are. I remember Tony chasing one of our cats out the door with a BB gun after the Christmas tree crashed to the floor.

When I was seven years old, my mom and Tony moved away and settled in Las Vegas. He had thoughts of making his fortune gambling, but within a few years he switched to driving a cab. I think he was well suited to it--he knew the ins and outs of the city like no one else, understood people, and had the patience to sit in 115 degree heat waiting for an airport fare.

I visited from Connecticut sometimes, spending large chunks of my preteen and teenage summers in Vegas as the city grew up around them. Tony and my mom took me, my brother, and my stepbrother to Disneyland when I was maybe 11. They took us to Palm Springs, San Diego, the Grand Canyon. Tony took us into the desert--back then, the open desert started where Decatur Boulevard crossed Spring Mountain--and let us shoot his .22 rifle and his revolver at targets. He took us to the fights sometimes.

Over the past 15 years, he's been adored by my boys. He always had a new toy for them when we visited. Later, he had BB guns he taught them to shoot in the back yard. More recently, he was the dealer for many a poker tournament that ended in cheers and tears in the kitchen. All summer, my boys were planning for the next epic poker tournament we would have this Christmas when we went to visit.

Tony passed away this weekend and will be dearly missed.

November 3, 2011

writer friends, how do you self-motivate?

People (yes, literary agents are people despite the rumors) keep telling me my novel is well written but not right for them at this time. I can understand their position even when the novel seems to fit exactly with what the agents say in their "what I'm looking for" paragraphs on their web sites.

But I'm not posting a rant about the query process. That's a post I've written in my head a hundred times and will keep caged there.

Rather, I'm looking for tips on getting remotivated. Specifically, I've got an idea for a fun and exciting sequel to the novel-on-submission, but I'm having a hard time committing myself to it when the original is getting that "let's just be friends" reaction from agents. Should I look for a new idea, or should I work on that sequel anyway?