Once upon a pandemic

The past two years have been unlike anything I could imagine. Considering I terrorize people like a maniacal god, that’s impressive. Well, okay, not real people. But we all have tales of woe starting with “Once upon a pandemic . . .” I don’t intend to rehash mine. Rather, I acknowledge that everyone’s tragedies or triumphs, their loneliness, career setbacks, or heart-wringing losses are a testament to the human experience. We all hurt. We all suffer. Pandemic or not.┬áMuch like you, I prayed. I cried. And when circumstances prevented me from writing, I was broken.

When a reader emotionally invests in a story, he/she expects a climax chapter that will push the protagonist over a cliff. In writer speak, the showdown should provide plot resolution and reveal character growth. Even more important, it should show the reader an example of the human spirit shining through. We all need a bit of that right now. Still.

Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Yes. Amen. Because the reality is, fear gives you nothing. While my fictional friends endure being shot at, kidnapped, or solving a homicide, whatever your pandemic plot line, I hope you can skip those challenges. ­čÖé Nor would I want you to wait long for its conclusion.

Take care, reader friend.


Walk the Line

Ever since I saw the movie Walk the Line, I have never forgotten the scene when Johnny Cash and his friends are auditioning in front of record label owner, Sam Phillips. Johnny is shocked when Sam stops them during the safe gospel number and says he can’t sell that style. That people have “heard that song” a hundred times. Flustered, Johnny insists Sam explain what he’s looking for. Sam then asks if he were dying and only had time to sing one song, what would he sing? A song that would “sum you up” because that’s the song “people want to hear”. Johnny considers this, then begins to sing a melody from his heart (“Folsom Prison Blues”). A glimpse into his deeper self that until that moment he hasn’t shared. His memorable sound emerges.

I’m grateful my return from RWA2019 has been filled with completing requested submissions. But after the preparation, pitching, and considering my Daphne scores, I once again face a similar decision as a writer – Do I concede to the norm, or maintain a style that offers something different? A voice that reflects how I feel about my time on this planet.

I learned to write through reading books by editor Sol Stein and agent Donald Maass rather than study romance centric techniques. Their approaches are what resonated with me. In short, even though I write romantic suspense or thrillers (depending on your marketing viewpoint) my style isn’t like the majority. Not because I’m striving to be “different” but because that’s how I deliver the best story I can. I don’t know if this round of submissions will prove that to be enough. All I know is, I can’t be “everyone else”. I have to pitch the style, the voice, the story that is real for me. It’s the only way I can make it real for the reader.

Blind Conviction wins Second in the Daphne!

I’m delighted to announce that Blind Conviction won second place in the 2019 Daphne contest – Single Title Romantic Suspense/Unpublished Division! The Death by Chocolate party in NY city was fantastic. Magically we all survived the decadent desserts. (There’s always next year.) I am indebted┬áto the Kiss of Death Chapter for all of their efforts, in particular the Daphne Chairman, Brooke Wills. Congratulations to my fellow finalists – Kiss of Death is awesome!

Blind Conviction Finals at Daphne du Maurier Competition!

I’m elated to announce that BLIND CONVICTION has finaled in the Kiss of Death chapter’s coveted Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Competition!!! (Single Title Romantic Mystery/Suspense category/Unpublished division). I am so grateful to the judges, the Kiss of Death Chapter, my support peeps in the RWA, MWA, Sisters in Crime, family and friends, and especially my beta readers. Without them this achievement would not have been possible. Looking forward to the Death by Chocolate party at RWA national, when the winners will be announced. Congrats to my fellow finalists!