Friday, December 31, 2010

Latest news

I'm a bit late in sharing the news, but right before Christmas I received word that my latest manuscript has been accepted for publication. Yeah! Obsession is the story of Kendra Blake, a famous singer, and Charlie Whitmore, the FBI agent who has been assigned to protect her without her knowledge. For those of you who have read some of my previous works, you may remember Charlie. His older brother, Matt Whitmore, was one of the main characters in the Undercurrents trilogy and his younger sister, Amy, was a main character in Freefall.

Unless something changes (which is always possible), Obsession, will be released in October 2011.

I am also excited that my newest novel, Smokescreen, has already been sighted in a few stores in the western U.S. The official release date is Monday, January 3rd 2011 but rumor has it that it made it into the stores early. Maybe this means my author copies will be arriving soon. :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Coming up for air

Life has been crazy over the past several weeks as I wrapped up my book signing tour, started swim season and finished rewriting a manuscript. Now I'm looking forward to planning for upcoming swim meets, setting up more book signings in anticipation of Smokescreen coming out, and preparing for my nephew's wedding. Oh, wait. Isn't Christmas this month too. Yeah, I might need to do a little shopping before too much longer.

The good news is that my swim team looks great so far this year, a lot of great kids who have untapped potential and are generally fun to be around. Thanksgiving brought all of my family together, which was wonderful. Oh, and my books are now coming out on Kindle. Yeah! Here's are the links if you want to check them out:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Meridian review of Backlash

The first few weeks after a new book is released are both exciting and nerve racking. Will everyone like it? Will anyone like it? Will anyone even READ it? Thankfully, the answers are usually yes, except for the "will everyone like it" question. As any author can attest, no one book is going to please every reader. All we can hope is that those who don't appreciate our efforts will be professional and kind in their criticisms.

Yesterday, I received a couple of emails informing me that Jennie Hansen's review of Backlash appeared in Meridian Magazine. Jennie is one of those people that I have come to trust when considering what fiction I might invest both my time and my money. Having her write a positive review absolutely made my week. Here it is if you want to check it out.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Unveiling Smokescreen...

One of the highlights of my trip to Utah (although there were many!) was dropping in to see my editor and some of the other people who work at Covenant. While I was there, I got my first look at the cover for my next book. I'll admit that it's pretty strange to have one book that just came out in September and I'm already looking forward to the next one which will be released in January. Regardless, Smokescreen will head to the printer shortly and here is the sneak peek at the cover:

The Book Academy

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to present at The Book Academy, a one day writers conference held at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. First of all, it was fabulous. The organizers did a great job in every aspect. All of the classes I attended were wonderful and the food was great. A publishers panel was held during lunch which included a question and answer segment so that aspiring authors could gain a better understanding of how the acceptance and publication process works.

The conference started off with the keynote speaker, Brandon Mull, and then everyone broke off into classes. I taught during the first hour and was stunned that my class had standing room only. In fact, the organizers had to bring in extra chairs to make sure we weren't breaking fire codes. Like I said, I was stunned!

Then, as if having 90 people show up at my class wasn't surprising enough, I actually saw people taking NOTES! Now, I will admit that I did spend quite a bit of time preparing for my class, even enlisting a lot of opinions from some friends and family who are English teachers. My cousin Jana and I stayed up late the night before tweaking it because, well, that's what we do.

I was so honored to be invited to present, and I wanted to make sure that no one was disappointed. I did have a few people come up to me afterward and say they enjoyed the class, so hopefully they represent the majority rather than the minority. All I know, is that I was extremely lucky to have so many interesting, engaging people choose to attend and I was impressed with every other presenter I had the opportunity to see.

Friday, September 24, 2010

That author

Today I decided I really needed to focus on proofing my next novel since it's due by next week. The problem is that if I read more than about twenty pages at a time, I get too caught up in my storyline to notice any potential typos. (I know, it's weird that I can lose myself in my own books. I guess I'm easily entertained.) Anyway, I decided to take a break and visited the Frog Blog to read Kerry Blair's newest post.

As always, I only made it a few lines before Kerry had me chuckling to myself. In it, Kerry discussed the oddity of being an author. It is a strange profession, one that everyone is convinced they can do if only they had the time...and the big break...and maybe a story idea. It is also a profession of extremes.

When I am writing a new novel, I sometimes hide in my office for several weeks straight, only coming back to reality for brief periods of time when my stomach is so loud I can't hear myself think or when I realize that the blood curling scream echoing through the house wasn't made by a fictional character. Other times, like next week, I get to travel across the country, do some signings and school visits, and hopefully meet people who have at least heard of my books.

Of course, transitioning between the two extremes of this business can be a bit tricky. Some authors need to get out and meet their fans. Others would love nothing more than to avoid any and all book signings, prefering to stay at their keyboards and hope fan mail will find its way into their inboxes.

Personally, I like both sides of the business. In moderation. I love meeting my fans, coming face to face with people who enjoy the same books I do. I also love getting lost in a story I'm creating, experiencing that incredible rush when my fingers can't keep up with my characters.

Transitioning between the two is the hard part. I'm always afraid to get too deep into a new novel until I'm sure I really have at least six to eight weeks I can commit to it. If I have other obligations hanging over my head, I simply can't stay focused. So, for the next week I'm going to proofread Smokescreen one last time and enjoy my travels. When I get home, I'm determined to convince Charlie Whitmore that it's time for his story to be told.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Organized chaos

Today I am looking around my house, at my cluttered desk and the toys on the floor. The dirty dishes on the counter and the two bags of groceries on the table I have yet to put away after last night's trip to the store. And I'm starting to wonder, do I have to get organized before I can organize my thoughts?

I admit, the last couple of weeks have been a bit overwhelming. School started right after Labor Day and I was really excited about getting a lot of things done. Unfortunately, I didn't really consider exactly HOW MUCH I needed to get done. So I've decided it's time for me to get serious and set some priorities.

I was trying to put my work-in-progress as my first priority (after my family and church, of course), but now I'm realizing that I'm having trouble focusing on it because there are too many other things pulling at me. I took care of a few things this week, but these are the big ones I still have to take care of before I can get back to my book.

1. Clean my house, preferably with the help of the three children I still have living at home. I'm not talking about a serious spring cleaning, but at least enough tidying so that the kitchen looks the way I want it to and the floors are no longer an obstacle course.

2. Prepare for my upcoming class at The Book Academy in Utah on September 30th as well as my planned visits to two high schools, Summit Academy High School in Draper, Utah and Mingus Union High School in Cottonwood, Arizona. I have a lot of ideas of what I want to do, but I need to get them down on paper (or in computer) so that I can feel more organized.

3. Organize a few more details for my upcoming high school reunion. (I'm still not sure exactly how I ended up in charge of it.)

4. Take care of some administrative issues for my high school swim team before our first team/parent meet.

5. WRITE! Or rather, rewrite. Either way, Charlie Whitmore is demanding that his story get finished and I'm ready to find out what really happens.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Race for Backlash

As my family can attest, I am always very excited to get the box from my publisher that contains my new books. Now that I've been through the waiting game a few times, I know that I probably shouldn't expect to see the FedEx truck heading for my house until after I've received at least a couple of online reviews or emails from people who have already read it. This time was a bit different.

The first indication that my book was out this time was a text message from an old college roommate (so thank you Lori!) I was starting to wonder if Backlash was really on the shelves or if it was perhaps I was off by a few days on the release date. Then Jon commented on my last post (thank you Jon!) and I started feeling a little more confident that my newest release really had been released.

This weekend started a chain of events that was definitely new to me. On Friday my college age daughter went to the bookstore at BYU-Idaho and sent me a picture message of my book there. Then, with her wicked sense of humor, the same darling daughter bought Backlash and successfully gained possession of it before one day. The stars aligned here in Virginia on Saturday and when I returned from driving one of my other daughters to her ACT exam, my box of books was waiting for me. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Five days and counting...

It's amazing that when I look at how fast my kids are growing up, time seems to be flying by. Yet when I have a new book about to come out, the days start slowing down.

I am looking forward to September, yet I'm also dreading it's arrival. My book comes out in five days (I think), but within days of its release, my oldest daughter heads across the country to go back to school. Two days after she leaves, the rest of my kids start their school year. And I'm not ready yet!

Okay, I'll admit that I'm ready to get back onto a routine and I am looking forward to having some quiet in the house, especially since I'm anxious to get Obsession rewritten. On the other hand, I have really enjoyed having all of my kids home and I would love to have more time to spend with them (preferably at the beach NOT getting sunburned.)

I also know that starting tomorrow my life starts getting pretty crazy. I have a local author book signing at Porter Library (in Stafford, Virginia) and then I'll have a series of signings throughout September and October, including heading out to both Utah and Arizona this fall. I love doing book signings and getting the chance to meet new people, but I have a feeling that by the time I start swim season in November, I'm going to miss the lazy days of summer.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Back to the keyboard

Earlier this summer I finshed writing a new novel called Obsession. I wrote it rather quickly, in only about five weeks, and then managed to go through several edits within a couple of weeks. Realizing that I had made it the best that I could by myself (and with the help of my sister-in-law, Rebecca, who helps me edit), I submitted it to my publisher, Covenant Communications. And I waited. Nervously.

I admit, I'm always a bit nervous when I submit a novel, but this one really had me worried. Something wasn't sitting quite right with it, but no matter how hard Rebecca and I tried, neither of us could put our finger on what needed to happen to make it better. So after several weeks of waiting, impatiently waiting, I received an email from my editor yesterday. It wasn't the ideal, "Yes, we love the book. Here are a few minor changes we need to make." Instead it was more of a "the book has promise but it needs to be rewritten." In other words, try again.

As much as I would have loved to get the ideal answer to my submission, I kind of figured I would be getting the second response. The good news is that along with the request for a rewrite, I also received a list of suggestions and some detailed evaluator comments.

Since I've been writing, I've discovered that there are two types of writers. The first are the authors who look at the comments and suggestions and get very frustrated, even insistent that the evaluators just didn't get what they were trying to do. I'm the other type of writer, the one who wants the feedback, even looks forward to it. I know the evaluators and the people at my publishing house are trying to make me better. They understand what I'm trying to do. They see the possibilities and the potential, and they're pushing me to fulfill them. And I want to explore those possibilities and fulfill that potential.

I also understand that my publisher and I are in complete agreement in one respect. Neither of us wants to see a book with my name on the front cover and have people disappointed by what's inside. So now it's back to the keyboard. I've brainstormed with my editor (who I love, by the way) and we've come up with a plan to make the major fixes. Now I just hope that my characters will embrace the changes and help me get their story right this time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The calendar lies!

It's official. My calendar is definitely lying to me. I've been helping plan my high school reunion. My 25 year high school reunion. If my logic is still sound, this means that by teenage standards I'm...OLD. But I'm not old. I don't feel old.

I've been trying to figure this phenomenon out for a while now. How can I be old enough to have a daughter in college and another heading there next year? How is it possible that I've been coaching high school swimming for fifteen years? Or that the young women I used to work with at church are now married with kids of their own or career women with a couple of years of experience behind them?

I can only think of one explanation. My calendar is faulty. And it's not just mine that's messed up. Every time I talk to someone who is around my age (and no, the dinosaurs were NOT roaming the earth during my childhood), I find the same sentiment. We don't feel any older, so how is it that everyone else is growing up so fast?

Perhaps it's because time is relative. And perhaps we really are only as old as we feel. I'm looking forward to seeing my old classmates, many of whom I haven't seen in 25 years, but I have little doubt that when I do, the years will melt away. My high school days will once again seem like yesterday, and those 25 years will become yet another example of the phenomenon of the unexplained passage of time.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Conquering my website

I admit it. My website and I haven't been getting along for a while. Okay, for a LONG while. The program I use was designed for people like me, those who are totally clueless and have zero interest in learning about html codes. So when I upgraded the program like I was told to do, all of the images stopped working. Thoroughly annoyed, I did what any good procrastinator would do: I ignored it.

Now, I have to admit that I'm REALLY bad at procrastinating. When I don't take care of problems right away, those problems just stay on my list of things to do and never seem to go away. (Which explains why my desk has been under a mountain of paper since April even though cleaning it has been on my "To Do" list since then.) Anyway, last night I realized that with a new book coming out, I really needed to get the latest information on my website. I also realized that my home page still listed Lockdown as my newest release even though Crossfire has been out since January.

I had tried to work on my website several times over the past few weeks, but with the kids home for the summer, I have struggled to find the time to deal with the problems that didn't want to go away. Then I realized that my password had somehow gotten reset so that put me back another few days. Last night I finally sat down, fully assuming that I would once again fail to fix the problem, and it all started working. Yeah! So now my new releases are no longer on my coming soon page, my upcoming booksignings are accurately listed under events, and the images are all where they're supposed to be.

I love it when I can cross something off of my To Do list! Now if I could just find that list under all of this paper on my desk....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Sand and sunburn

On the spur of the moment, I took off for the beach with my four kids. My oldest daughter didn't have to work all weekend, and my youngest has been dying to go to the beach all summer. I'm not even sure how the six-year-old remembers so much about the beach since he hasn't been to one since we went to the Dominican Republic three years ago. Anyway, last Thursday I spent a couple of hours searching for hotel rooms that would accommodate all five of us. (My husband is still overwhelmed with work because of the oil spill in the gulf so he wasn't able to join us.)

After throwing a few things into some suitcases, we left early Friday morning for Virginia Beach which is about a three hour drive from here when you don't have to deal with the typical weekend beach traffic. I was thrilled that we made it all the way there without any significant traffic. We left around eight and by noon we were on the beach after already checking into our hotel and eating lunch.

My kids had a blast that first day. My son is normally shy, but he hit that water and was grinning ear to ear, playing and laughing without any inhibitions. My younger daughters made a couple of new friends to hang out with and my oldest happily tanned on the beach. Unfortunately, our sunscreen wasn't as waterproof as we thought and everyone but my oldest (who is already tan) ended up sunburned.

Everyone had different ways of dealing with it, but needless to say we all became good friends with solarcaine. My youngest two kids and I all put on T-shirts over our clothes to protect our tender shoulders and still went out and enjoyed the rest of our weekend on the beach. My seventeen-year-old decided she was in too much pain and instead chose to spend some time with her rollerblades on the boardwalk.

After an $8 purchase on our first evening, my younger two also had a new adventure to conquer: body boarding (although I always called it "boogie boarding.") I was really surprised at how well my youngest did at it considering he can't swim. His fear of the water seemed to melt away over the past few days and I'm curious to see if that will translate to a new comfort level at the local swimming pool. My youngest daughter also loved the new adventure and I was thrilled that she and her younger brother were so good about sharing their new toy.

So other than some sunburned shoulders and legs, we had a nice getaway. If only all of the sand had stayed on the beach.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Tomatoes and manuscripts

Last weekend I took my two oldest kids to Baltimore. They had an event they wanted to attend and I had the brilliant idea that I would hang out at the hotel and write. For those of you who are wondering, so far Janessa and Garrett have been talking the loudest so by the end of the weekend I actually had 25 pages written on a sequel to Royal Target.

When I took a break for lunch, I checked my email to find a couple of unexpected items of business. First, the release date for my next novel, Smokescreen, may be moved up to January 2011 rather than the spring. This news definitely changes my timeline for my upcoming projects. Instead of trying to get a new novel finished in the next six weeks, I now have to take a quick break to edit Smokescreen again. Thankfully, my editor is fabulous and has already sent me the fixes that need to be resolved and they are pretty minor.

The second bit of news was that I have been invited to be a presenter at The Book Academy, a writers conference at Utah Valley University on September 30th. I am really excited about it. I was already planning on coming out to Utah to participate in a book signing or two for conference weekend so the timing worked out perfectly.

Anyway, back to Baltimore. Despite my excitement that I would be attending Book Academy and that I might be able to wrap up a project early, I got back to work and even took an hour or two off to take my girls to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory in the inner harbor...on National Cheesecake Day. (The Reese's cheesecake was fabulous!) When I returned to the hotel, I had the chance to talk to my husband. After talking for a couple of minutes, he told me, "I have a bone to pick with you."

Of course, I instantly wondered what I had done that I shouldn't have...or hadn't done that I should have. Then he continued, "Or rather tomatoes to pick...." He had gone out to check on my garden for me, a modest 10' by 10' backyard garden, and picked 32 tomatoes. Now, in my defense, I only planted six tomato plants, and I just picked some the day before (8-10 of them), but these tomato plants are producing like crazy. I'm giving tomatoes (and cucumbers) to my friends, my family, my neighbors. I even took a couple of dozen to church on Sunday to share the wealth.

So now I get to balance my energy between editing a book, trying to keep up with my overachieving garden, and creating a new novel. I wonder which project will win my attention today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Yes, I am at that stage again when I want to start writing something new, and I have no idea where to start. This dilemma doesn't stem from a lack of ideas , but rather from an abundance of ideas. I have so many plotlines running around in my head that I find myself confused when I sit down to write. Characters are arguing with each other, characters that are from completely different book ideas, and I don't know who is shouting the loudest.

Is it Prince Garrett and his finacee Janessa Rogers from Royal Target? So many people have asked me to write a sequel to that novel that I've had ideas warring inside my head for years...literally.

Could it be Quinn Lambert from the Saint Squad who is insisting that his story isn't quite finished? (His story, Smokescreen, will come out next spring, but he isn't sure that there isn't more to tell.)

Maybe it's Charlie Whitmore, younger brother to Matt Whitmore from my Undercurrents series.

Then there's Jay Wellman, a minor character from my upcoming book, Backlash. He definitely has a story brewing on the horizon.

See my problem? And yes, I'm writing this blog because I am avoiding the four open Word files on my computer, each of them only three pages or less, while I wait for one of those characters to yell WRITE MY STORY NOW!!!

I'm listening... Still listening....

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Summer goals

Once again, I've joined Tristi Pinkston's BIAM, this time for the month of July. She does a great job of inspiring me to push myself to write even when circumstances aren't conducive to the creative process. My goals for this book-in-a-month challenge are threefold:

First, I wanted to finish the submission materials needed to submit my latest creation to my publisher.

Second, I need to complete the initial edit on my recently accepted manuscript, Smokescreen.

Third, I want to write at least 20,000 words by the end of the month.

Of these goals, the last will be the hardest. I've been in my writing mode for several weeks now and I know it's time to shift gears back into editing for a while, but sometimes shifting back and forth between these two aspects of creating isn't easy. I was excited to complete my first goal earlier today. Obsession is officially in the hands of my editor and will hopefully go out to evaluators within the next few days.

I'm really nervous about this one because it's the first one I've written in a while that wasn't part of my Saint Squad series. I knew I needed a break from that series for fear that I would become too formulamatic, and this newest novel did write itself relatively quickly even though I felt like it was fighting me the whole time.

Now my challenge is to try to forget that I sent that submission e-mail and focus on my next task at hand, editing Smokescreen. I am looking forward to reading through that story again. I've missed my Navy SEALs for the past couple of months. :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

New cover and good news

This has been a good week. First I got the news yesterday that the novel I just submitted was accepted by my publisher. Yeah! Smokescreen, the fifth in my Saint Squad series, is now scheduled to come out sometime next spring. Smokescreen is Quinn Lambert's story which takes place after Taylor Palmetta returns from a year living and painting in Europe. For those of you who have read Lockdown, you've already met Taylor when she first met and started dating Quinn.

Today I also got my first look at the cover for Backlash which comes out this September. What do you think?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Going West!

After months of looking, and test driving, and looking some more, my husband and I finally found a used car for my oldest daughter. We have been hoping to find her a car to take with her out to college, especially since we aren't sure if she'll be living at home within the next year or so. Now that we found her a car (it's actually a small SUV), we are making plans to drive from Virginia to Utah.

So the good news is that I get to come do a few book signings in Utah and visit some family. The news that may not be good is that I'm going to be spending three days straight fighting over what kind of music we're going to listen to on our 32 hour drive. Is it a universal law that kids can't like the same music as their parents?

Anyway, I'm not sure what my schedule is yet, but I'll be doing some signings around Utah Valley on April 10th and April 12th. I'm also really excited about going to the ballroom dance concert at BYU on the 10th to see two of my cousins perform. (Technically, one of them is my husband's cousin, but close enough, right?)

Now I just have to hope and pray that the SUV we bought my oldest daughter passes the reliability test...and that we won't have to use AAA's services on our journey next month.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowed In!

We planned, we packed, we drove. A family event, a missionary farewell, tempted us to travel into southern Virginia despite the expected winter storm. After all, what's a few inches of snow anyway? So far, it's a little more than a few inches. Like ten or eleven.

The drive to Bedford wasn't that bad. My husband had left earlier in the day since we knew we would have to take two cars anyway (we don't fit in one) and all of my kids either didn't want to leave earlier or had conflicts until later in the day. Personally, I had a deadline to meet before departing which is why I had originally planned to leave today (Saturday). When I managed to finish my work early, my family and I decided we would head down late Friday night so that we could beat the storm.

We beat the storm all right. It arrived at the same time we did...and proceeded to dump 7 inches before nine o'clock the next morning.

Realizing that I probably wouldn't be able to make it the rest of the way to my friends' house because of the difficult roads in their neighborhood, I headed out to Wal-Mart for emergency supplies. Three bags of groceries, two new games, and a pair of snow boots later, my five-year-old and I headed back to our temporary home to begin our latest adventure.

Thankfully the employees at the hotel (Super 8 in Bedford, VA) have been fabulous. One woman helped me clear off my car when I headed out this morning and no one seems to mind that the eating area in the lobby has been turned into a mini-playground for my son and another little girl staying here. Even more impressive is that three of my kids are staying with me in one hotel room and they are all getting along. They're even playing together. Maybe being snowed isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Internet troubles

Last Friday I received an e-mail from my editor asking for one minor change in the manuscript we're currently editing. I had a busy weekend planned, so I read over the suggestion, let it simmer in the back of my mind for a few days even though I knew that I could have completed the edit in about fifteen minutes. Then yesterday, I dutifully went to my computer and input the necessary changes.

Simple, right? I did the work somewhat efficiently. Sending the electronic file back and forth via e-mail is quick and convenient. At least it's supposed to be. When I was ready to send the manuscript back to my editor so she could move it along into the next stage of editing, I had a familiar problem. My file wouldn't attach to the e-mail.

This problem has occurred before, ironically at least three times when I was trying to submit a manuscript to my publisher for consideration, and a couple more times when I had edits that were due.

Even though I should have known the outcome of my efforts, I waited...and waited...and waited. For literally an hour. So I downloaded the file onto my flash drive and tried sending it from my husband's computer. This time I only waited ten minutes before giving up.

With my flash drive in hand, I grabbed my keys, got in the car, and drove the six blocks to the library. Three minutes later, I sat down at a library computer, logged onto my e-mail, attached the file (which took less than a minute), and drove back home. I sat down at my desk to see that the e-mail I had originally tried to send was still trying to load the attachment.

This experience has driven home three simple facts. One, my internet only works when I'm NOT trying to send in a manuscript. Two, I can WALK to the library to send a file faster than sending it from home when my internet is on strike. And finally, I am reminded that Murphy's law is alive and well.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

First Crossfire Review

I just received an e-mail from a friend to tell me that the first review of Crossfire is on the internet. Yeah! Of course, I still haven't received my copy of my book yet, but that's an irony I have learned to laugh about even as I anxiously watch for the UPS truck, or mail truck, or whatever truck is going to make my day sometime soon. But I digress. The review my friend forwarded to me is over at the Reading for Sanity blog. If you want to check it out, click here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Miracle of writing

Yesterday I wrote a guest blog for Tristi Pinkston as a part of her current Book in a Month (BIAM) challenge. She had asked me to write about how I'm able to stay productive as an author. As a result, I spent some time wondering how the miracle of writing occurs.

I admit that as a child, I dreamed of being an author. I can't say that I ever really thought about being a best-seller or being famous, which probably explains why I'm always surprised when someone recognizes my name or says they have read my book. This also probably explains why I've been able to continue to write without getting distracted by trying to become famous or a best-seller. I'm writing to please myself.

Okay, I'll admit that I'm hoping to please readers, reviewers and editors too, but I find that the people who read my books only inspire me to do better the next time. I have been truly fortunate that the reviews on my novels have been mostly positive. Even when my editors push me to improve my work-in-progress, they stress not only the weaknesses, but the strengths as well. As a result, it's relatively easy for me to identify what needs to be changed.

When I woke up this morning with my mind swimming with ideas, I found myself grateful for the friendships and associations I've forged through my love of writing. I'm also grateful that I'm able to do something I love even if I don't understand the miracles that occur when the inspiration begins to flow.