Our yucca spire continues to get taller. Some days you can almost SEE it grow. Just amazing. You can compare it to a week ago.

Sometimes I think writing success can be like this. Your life can go on with no apparent change while you work away at something. Every day you add a little bit. You extend the novel by another 1,000 words. You refine the story, make the character arcs stronger. You take in what you are fed and you grow, by infinitesimal amounts, day by day.

Often it may look like nothing at all is happening.

Then one day – it all pours forth. The work comes to fruition.

This is the overnight success. Where suddenly someone bursts forth upon the scene, in full flower, towering above everyone else. Never mind the years in the desert, the months without rain. The flowering unseen.

In this era of full-disclosure, it’s hard to imagine anyone flowering unseen. Everyone out there seems to be yammering away at top volume to declare their wares. In a crowd like that, it’s easy to fade to the back, to be just another yucca.

Just wait. Keep adding to the roots. Enjoying the sunshine.

When that spire shoots up, oh yeah – they’ll notice then.

Pin Head

So, last night I received cosmetic acupuncture.

David is taking the class this semester, as part of his Doctor of Oriental Medicine degree. It’s an elective, though. As far as the school is concerned. The way it went was this: David was vacillating on taking it, since it’s a Thursday evening class after a full day of classes. I said if he loved me, he’d take the class.

Fortunately the man loves me.

He might also have been swayed by my argument that he could make potloads of money giving people surgery-free facelifts and breast enhancing treatments that can increase you by AN ENTIRE CUP SIZE. That’s what they say.

I know, right?

So, I went in to the class last night to be a test-subject. David is the only guy taking the class – and he says the other guys are missing out on this opportunity. First, he put a few needles in my wrists and ankles, and one just below my belly-button, to bring up that cool and dewy yin energy.

Then he put needles in my face. They sting a bit, but are mostly tingly. Besides, the body needles had already made me sleepy and relaxed. If you look closely, he put tiny little hair-thin needles in the lines on my forehead. Those are laugh lines, by the way. I don’t want to hear any of you saying different.

You can also see how my face is flushed and looking kind of shiny. Amazingly, the treatment did bring a dewy freshness to my skin. And this morning, my skin looks smoother, with the fine lines much less noticeable.

I also slept really well last night – a blessing since I’d a stressful week.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

You Can Pick Your Nose

We had brunch with friends, Krystal and Jonathan, at Blue Heron last Sunday. The photo isn’t great, but we had a fun time. Terrible service – the place is newly re-opened and the lone waitress was completely overwhelmed that people actually showed up. An hour after we ordered, food finally arrived, but my glass of Chardonnay never did. Fortunately the spot was lovely, the sun warm and the company excellent.

The next day, Krystal sent me a bottle of Chardonnay. Now that’s a friend.

I posted Tuesday about making choices. Never mind that not one of you commented. Blogger has been messed up for a couple of days, so I’m blaming that. Tip: don’t use Firefox. You can get in better with other browsers right now. But I can’t comment in any browser, so I figure that’s the deal.

Not that it’s making me crazy or anything.

At any rate, one of the things I mentioned is how we don’t get to choose our families and we often don’t really choose our friends. Our friends very often tend to be the people who are doing the same kind of thing that you are at the same time. So, in this case, Krystal is in David’s same class at Southwest Acupuncture College, fondly known as SWAC, which always makes me think of swatting flies. Jonathan is Krystal’s sweetie, so he and I roll our eyes at each other while David and Krystal complain to each other about classes.

Will we remain friends after graduation? Hard to say. Depends on where we all end up, what we’re doing.

One thing I’ve learned is that friendships come and go. People naturally come into our lives and leave again, like the changing seasons. And that’s okay – not everyone is meant to be a lifelong friend.

However, we can also carefully choose our friends. I learned this skill from one of my sorority sisters, Karen Koonce, now Weesner. She knew how to cultivate friendships. She picked out people in class who said interesting things and invited them to lunch. She paid attention to who knew stuff she wanted to learn and charmed them into letting her pick their brains.

This skill has served me well over the years, so that I have a life rich with interesting and supportive friends.

Thank you, Karen!

Live by the Sword

I hope this threatening sky promises rain -we desperately need it.

David’s been talking about some of the patients he sees and how the ailments they come in with so clearly reflect how they live their lives.

I think it’s easy to see that those who choose a violent path stand a greater chance of dying a violent death. Live by the sword, die by the sword. It’s a simple matter of percentages. But I think it’s less easy to see that, if we choose to spend our lives in service of our children, then that’s how our lives will look in the end. If we choose not to accept responsibility, then we’ll have no control over anything. My stepdad Dave loves order – thus he’s been in the military and prioritizes creating order.

It’s that aspect of choosing that’s most important. Stepdad Dave doesn’t spend every minute of every day making lists and planning for the future. It’s just his priority. It’s what creates the foundation under everything else. And it’s characteristic of him – enough that we all tease him about his lists.

Kristen Lippert-Martin mentioned on her blog that Virginia Woolf wrote only one hour every day. Not all that much time, out of her 24. And yet, we think of her as a writer. The quintessential writer, for many. That’s because being a writer shaped her life, more than anything else. She made all her choices around that idea and it became her salient characteristic.

I think that’s the key: what we choose to live by is what defines us. The warrior who chooses to live by the sword might retire from the field between wars, but she remains a warrior in her thoughts and actions.

We spend a lot of our lives with things being chosen for us: our families, where we live, our friends, often our professions. In the hustle of day to day, we tend to fall into what other people declare is most important. And we often have to abide by that: children must be fed, paying bosses must receive deliverables. Still, those things don’t have to define us.

Even if we spend only an hour a day writing, we are writers by definition, if we choose that way of life.

Live by the word, die by the word.

New Beginnings

Look, our beaked rescue yucca is sending up a spire!

We figure this means it’s happy and getting established. Either that, or this is a last-ditch effort to reproduce before dying. We were concerned, after the very cold and dry winter and very dry spring, that it wasn’t doing well. It’s lovely to see this sign of vigor.

We prefer to focus on the positive.

I’m back home now. New England was lovely (damp) with many beautiful forests and waterways (cold), but it’s so good to be back in my home landscape with my at-home routines.

No, I didn’t get any writing done while I was gone. I finished out my first round of line edits on Sapphire on the plane there and then promptly failed to get anything else of a writing nature done, besides a few desultory blogs.

I just never do.

And I’m not totally sure why. I know part of it is my ritual is blown all to hell and gone. Even if I try to recreate it, I can’t. The other piece might be that I’m traveling for work and so I’m in work-brain 24/7. I never quite seem to shift out of it, even over the weekend. Of course, I was with my boss and we talked about work a lot, so that could be a contributing factor.

So, it’s good for me to sit at my writing desk again, with my storyboard beside me and all my little talismans of creativity. I like to think I’ve been storing up the writing these last few weeks and now this vigorous spire of creativity will pour out of me.

Me and the rescue yucca.


You’ll note this trophy has someone else’s name on it. That’s because I haven’t actually WON. But Petals & Thorns is a finalist in the 2011 PRISM awards for Best Erotica and Best First Book. I’m so delighted and thrilled.

And I really want one of these trophies.



And congrats to Marcella, for finalling with Enemy Within for Best Futuristic. She might also be up for Best First Book. If she knows what’s good for her, she won’t get her dirty fingerprints on MY trophy!

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Over the weekend I got to attend a Regatta.

Don’t you love how that rolls off the tongue?


It was just that styling, too.
Laurie’s daughter, Catherine was rowing with her schools’ team. She’s the ripped blonde in the red cap.
Here’s her team rowing out for their race while the boys prep.
Steaming to the finish line. They won handily.
Love the synchronicity.

Almost made me feel athletic, just to watch.

Sweet Life

On Saturday, my hosts took me on a hike on the Sweet Trail. Madison is a big fan of hikes, too.
All of this is freshwater estuarian marsh. Teeming with nesting birds of all types.
So lovely. The still water makes for great reflections.
If you look sharp, you can see lots of heron nests here.
The trail leads to the Great Bay. There’s a memorial there. Laurie’s husband, Bob, felt quite contemplative. For those of you keeping notes, this is what I want – a bench and an engraved marker in some beautiful spot.