Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Is There a Writer in Your Life? Then Read This!

These are my twelve pet peeves--my dirty dozen, if you will--about people who know I'm a writer--but don't understand that I'm a writer. For those of you with whom I share DNA, a bathroom, or just a place at the occasional holiday table, wedding reception, or graveside, please be advised that I am speaking for many writers. Indeed, this could be ANY writer talking to any of his or her relatives, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, etc.

1. When I know the date my next book will be published, I will tell you—just like I did the last time it happened. Resist the urge to demand, “What’s the problem?” or "What's the holdup?" I find it rude and intimidating.

2. Don’t assume that just because I don’t tell you about every query or submission I make, or every rejection I receive, that it must mean I’m “not trying” anymore, or even that I'm not trying hard enough. I don’t tell you every time I go to the bathroom, either. For that matter, neither do you, and for the record, I don’t want to know.

3. Stop exhorting me to write children’s books just because I have children. Older generations are notorious for this, yet I never heard my mother or grandmother say, "You should write erotica because you've had sex." At the time of my marriage, I'd been writing (and rewriting) a family saga of a thousand-plus pages, in multiple volumes. Later I switched to writing romance, but no one ever suggested I do so because I searched for true love--and found it.

4. Please read what I’ve already had published before you ask if I’ve ever considered writing a book in what you think is a different setting/time period—but in fact is the same one as my published work. It makes me wonder why you’re always bugging me about when my next book will be published. We won’t go into what it makes you.

5. Yes, I do have extra copies of my book. No, I will not give you one of them. Since you seem to be losing a lot of sleep obsessing about my sales figures, why not put your money where your mouth is and help improve them.

6. Yes, of course I’m still writing! (I also still go to the bathroom.) No, you cannot read it until it’s published. No. I said, NO!

When you're under the same roof:

7. If the door to my office is closed, that means I’m working on my writing, and I do not wish to be disturbed, unless you need EMS.

8. If you must disturb me for something other than EMS, please knock.

9. Opening my office door very quietly is not the same thing as knocking. If it was, I’d leave the door open.

10. Coming in to my office to tell me the water bill just came in the mail is not the same thing as telling me you need EMS—unless you sustained a paper cut while opening the envelope, or suffered a heart attack at the amount we ran up after the last time the usual suspect flooded half the house.

11. If my door is locked, it’s because you wouldn’t knock when it was unlocked, so you lost your unlocked door privileges. (Say that ten times very fast, and I just might reinstate them.) But it doesn’t mean that instead of knocking, you should pick the lock—unless you need EMS, in which case, if you can rummage through the kitchen drawer looking for something you can use to pick a lock, then surely you can just as easily rummage through the bathroom cabinet for the adhesive bandages—or even call 911 yourself.

12. If you’re wondering why I’m curled up inside the laundry hamper or the kitchen sink with my laptop, it’s because I concluded these must be the only two places left in the house where I could work undisturbed, since no one else seems to be aware of their existence.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentine, aka Mr. Lucky

When Mr. Lucky asked what I wanted for Valentine’s Day this year, I responded with the usual: “A mushy card and a Big Heart-Shaped Box Of Chocolates I can have all to myself.”

I have to add those last six words because if I don’t, he’ll break into the BHSBOC before I do. One year he actually bought an extra BHSBOC, so there was one for me and one for himself.

Today he gave me the BHSBOC, and a card that plays Barry White singing, “I Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.” He said he tried to find a card with Elton John—because he knows Elton is my absolute favorite—but since he couldn’t, he wound up choosing message over messenger.

On our second Valentine’s Day as husband and wife (with a four month old baby), he forgot what day it was until that evening. He ran out to the grocery store next door to the apartment complex where we lived, where he bought and brought home to me the only thing they had left that was remotely Valentine-related: A box of Barbie valentines for passing out to one’s elementary school classmates. They were fifty percent off.

Nineteen years later, we still make jokes about that one.

Over the years, he’s given me little teddy bears clutching hearts with mushy love messages stitched on them. One Valentine’s Day I found not one, but two bears snuggled together on our bed. When I put their noses together as if to make them kiss, the girl bear’s cheeks lit up in a pink blush.

He gives me faux Faberge eggs from the Bradford Exchange that are replicas of the ones Tsar Nicholas II gave to his wife Alexandra, complete with a curio cabinet in which to display them. I've always been fascinated by royalty in general; but Mr. Lucky is aware I have a special affinity for Nicholas and Alexandra.

I would never ask for those eggs myself, because of the expense, but the fact remains I secretly adore all things Romanov. (This includes Strawberries Romanov and da, even Noodles Romanov.)

The man knows my weaknesses.

For his official military retirement ceremony last year, he followed the custom of buying a huge bouquet of 22 roses for the wife, one for each year he’d served in the military. All were red but one, which was pink in honor of our late daughter Fiona. I hadn’t expected that; he kept it as a surprise.

And, of course, there’s the ladybug pin he gave to me for our fifteenth wedding anniversary, because he hadn’t forgotten that two ladybugs had landed on me the day before he proposed to me. I hadn’t mentioned those ladybugs in years—yet he remembered, even though most days, he can’t remember where he left his keys.

The late great Erma Bombeck gave the best advice ever about finding the perfect gift for the woman in your life. She said, “There is the woman you see and there is the woman who is hidden. Buy the gift for the woman who is hidden.”

When I mentioned this to my husband the other day, he shook his head and said, “I don’t have the slightest idea what that means!”

Oh yes, he does.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I've Been Tagged: 6 Unimportant Things About Myself

In fact, I've been tagged twice. I hope that doesn't mean I have to list 12 unimportant things about myself, or that I have to tag 12 people, because I'm not sure I know that many.

They say the rules of this meme are simple, but I'm sure I can think of a way to mess it up without even trying:

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.

4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.

5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.


1. I prefer "Mother, May I?" to "Tag."

2. My favorite "Mother, May I?" step is the Cinderella step. I can't even remember how to do it now, except it was sort of like a waltz.

3. When it comes to putting your foot in to determine who is IT, my favorite chant has always been, "Butter, butter, in the bowl, how old are you?" Of course, if I put my foot in to do that now, we'll be here all night.

4. My parents originally wanted to name me "Athena", but my grandmother vetoed it.

5. I once walked across a bridge from Norway to Sweden and back, just so I could say I did it.

6. I can identify most World War II movies by their theme music, thanks to my father who frequently played the soundtracks when I was growing up.

And for this I must link back to Wendi Darlin and Sandra Coburn; and I believe I shall tag Vicki Lane,Vicki Taylor, Anne-Marie Carroll, Kathy Carmichael, Erica Ridley, and ohh--how 'bout Gwyn Ramsey?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

CYOA at Manuscript Mavens Today!

That's "Choose Your Own Adventure", not "Cover Your Own A**" or what I'm best known for doing, which is "Crying and Yelling Obscenities Aloud." I'm guestblogging today as part of the Valentine CYOA, courtesy of the wonderful Manuscript Mavens.

Check it out, vote for a plot twist, and get a chance to win a rare first edition copy of True Pretenses--and thank you, Mavens, for inviting me over to play!

Note to Wendi Darlin: I have your tag, and as soon as I can get out of this swamp in which I'm currently bogged down, I'm going to call some people IT!

Here comes that arm with the tentacles again, dragging me back down . . .