Thursday, April 28, 2005

Quick Fix

I'm happy to say that by six o'clock last night all was well.  I no longer felt the little blow to my viscera and I was able to put the so-so review behind me.

I talked to several writers, read them the review, and they all said it was basically a non-review and don't forget it's Kirkus.  They also said that even after all the time they've been writing (one for about 50 years) they still felt bad when they didn't get a good review.

So then it was over and I could not only enjoy my evening but I was able to write this morning with no review hangover.

I suppose Publisher's Weekly is next.  That's an important one.  Cross your fingers for me. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

First Review

So the safety is over.  The critics are out.  I got my first review from Kirkus today.  Actually, it won't be published until next week, but my editor sent me a preview.

For those who don't know what Kirkus is, it's a publishing trade journal.  I've never seen an actual copy of it, but it has a reputation for giving nasty, unsigned reviews.  The joke is, if you get a good review from Kirkus you'd better watch out.  I don't think I've ever gotten a good one from them. 

Now I've gotten a review for This Dame For Hire and for Kirkus it's not bad.  It's not great, but I never thought it would be.  Mostly it lists the names of the characters, (for no reason I can understand) sums up the plot and is damned with faint praise at the end.  And there is really only one line in it that bothers me.  

Thank goodness I've gotten past the place in my career where a so-so review doesn't disturb me that much. And I have to remember it's Kirkus.

So why do I feel like I've been lightly kicked in my stomach? 

Saturday, April 23, 2005


"Great writing leads constantly into surprises, and the writer should be the first one surprised."

Bernard Malamud

Thursday, April 21, 2005

What A Difference A Day Makes

I kept my eye on the prize today and got a lot done. Advanced the story, brought in something to throw the reader off...maybe. Set myself up to meet with new characters tomorrow. And the writing wasn't bad either. I feel so much better than yesterday.


So what do you do when your editor wants one kind of title and you want another? I've explained to him why I don't want to fashion a title with a particular twist because I've done something like it with my Laurano series. He's still for me doing this even though he's given me the last word. Maybe I'm wrong. It's happened. I'm looking for some happy medium that will please us both. Haven't found it yet.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Today was awful.  I couldn't concentrate and wrote about 4 hideous pages.  I can't afford days like this now. I haven't got time.  No more holidays, no more Friday movies, no more I don't feel like writing today.  Tomorrow I have to stay focused.


Monday, April 18, 2005

Monday, Monday

Maybe I should loathe Mondays every weekend.  I wrote more today in a shorter time than I have during  the writing of this whole book.

But is it good?  I don't know for sure.  And it doesn't matter.  I'll deal with that when I rewrite.  What I wrote today advanced the story and that's all I have to think about now.  And thanks to Mr. Coleman I remembered to write more narrative.  I can always cut it later.  This was a good day.


Sunday, April 17, 2005

End of the Weekend

I loathe the idea of tomorrow. Another week of dealing with this book. On the other hand, quite a few ideas came to me in the last two days. And what I'm reading now is very helpful. A P.I. novel. It's made me realize what's missing from mine. I need to write more narrative and less dialogue. No. Not less dialogue. Just more narrative.

Yes, I know. You want to know the name of the book. Besides being a very good novel, it might not help you at all. It's The James Deans by Reed Farrel Coleman.

Friday, April 15, 2005


"I never want to see anyone, and I never want to go anywhere or do anything. I just want to write."

P. G. Wodehouse

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Reading and Writing

I know some writers who say that when they're writing a novel they can't read novels. Everyone has their own way, but I'd go nuts if I couldn't read fiction while I write it. That would mean I couldn't read novels for the better part of a year.

Writers who adhere to this self-imposed rule do so, they say, because they're afraid they'll be influenced by the style of the writer they might be reading.

I read all the time. And learn. I learn from good books what I should do, and from bad ones what I shouldn't do. I don't learn anything from some books, I just enjoy them or throw them across the room.

But reading others is the writing school I went to. And I haven't graduated. I hope I never do.

As I said, I learn from writers, but I've never found myself imitating a style. That's not to say that other writers don't have a legitimate reason for their ban on reading fiction when writing.

I believe writers all have different ways to accomplish what they set out to do.

For instance, those writers who say they write in coffee shops. I could never do that because I'd find myself too interested in what the couple across from me was saying, or listening to the waitress give her spiel.

Still, I have my way, too. I can't write anywhere but in my own house at my own desk on my own computer.

Rigid, isn't it?


I had a good five day week. I'm advancing the story as I should be and getting new ideas all the time. Some places are a mess but that's what rewrites are for. What did we do without computers?

I know I have to go back and change some crucial bits of information, but I'm not worrying about that now. I need to press on and get this first draft down.

I'm two and a half months away from my deadline. It's important that I meet it because the publisher wants to publish this second book in hardcover when the paperback (I think it's a tpk) of the first book is released. So no more days off, except for my birthday. I can hand in the book two weeks or so past my deadline but not much more.

I was late by that amount last year and that was due to illness. If all the stars are lined up right I'll make it this year.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


 "You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write."

Saul Bellow

Friday, April 01, 2005

Out of Control

Now why did Dolores go and do that?  She gave me no warning at all.  In fact, I was shocked.  And I'm worried about her.  I don't have a clue as to what's going to happen.  Will she live?  Will she die?  Will she be in the hospital for long? I guess she'll tell me Monday morning.

Five day week.  Yippee!