Category Archives: Uncategorized

NYT 100 Notable Books of 2009

I’ve only read a few excerps, but is there a reason so many of these books are written in present tense? I’m trying to figure out if I’m just gauche, or if this is some Important Writing Technique that separates the writers from the Authors.


Momentum: Succeeding at the Speed of Molasses

I got my biweekly pep-talk (via email) from Jenn this morning. Her timing is amazing–I’d just gotten back into that whole “Who am I to think I can do this?” mentality. My partner Fey, who is the Queen of All Patience, talked me down from quitting the new novel entirely last night. And Jennifer, out of the blue, reminded me that I have to PERSIST. How crazy is that?


I work a full-time job and have a full-time relationship. I enjoy the occasional five hours of sleep a night, and even watch television sometimes. I try to carve out two full hours of writing a day, which doesn’t seem like much, but I can get quite a lot done in a focused two hours.

Recently, however, I’ve been sleeping through my two hours–just so tired and depressed and hopeless. It started creeping back into my subconscious, those thoughts that success was for other people, that talent isn’t enough, and that I just don’t have what it takes to make my dreams come true.

Then, of course, I got the refill on my Prozac and things are starting to look up.

My book is not the Worst Piece of Crap Ever Committed to Paper.

I am not the Laziest Person in the Universe.

I am not Born to Be a Failure.

I can watch the occasional episode of Desperate Housewives or Eastwick (Damn you, ABC, for cancelling this show!) without being a total slacker.

I just need to PERSIST. Turn on the laptop. Write another thousand words. I can write a thousand words in my sleep–sometimes, they come out better that way. Send another query letter.

I just need to persist. And lighten the hell up.


I started work in earnest on Fairville last night. It was so nice to be working on a new project after so long with the first novel. At this point, that baby is in the hands of the fates (or whatever literary agent wisely chooses to pick me up.)

I have to admit, I love the first part of working on a story or novel, when everything is still nebulous. You can go anywhere, do anything, and create your reality as you go along. I was kind of surprised last night at the tone one of my scenes was taking, but pleased. I know where I’m going in my head, but I have no particular path I’m emotionally attached to. I just fully intend to enjoy the journey, trusting my ability to tell a decent story and create interesting characters. Angst does not create good fiction; it creates ulcers.


I want to have this list by Jessica Zelenko tattooed to my forearm.


I think I need to peruse this article by Jessica Faust at length. Seriously. Insecurity has been my constant companion ever since I decided to start pursuing a professional writing career–insecurity that never existed when I was just writing for fun. More on this later. My day job calls, and frankly, getting fired will not really decrease my stress. 🙂

Sure Path to Insanity

When someone you love/respect/admire compares your writing to a published author, it may not be the best idea to go out and read that author. My writing was recently compared to a very mega-successful novelist out there. I’d heard of her, but never read her stuff. Borrowed a copy of one of her books from a coworker and have been reading through.

So here’s where the insanity comes in–(read on for excerps from Deb’s brain):

I’m not really loving this book.

It’s okay, but the characters are not all that compelling.

Okay, some of it’s okay, but not the greatest I’ve ever read.

Fill-in-the-Blank really thinks I write like *her*?

Is my book hard to get into?

Are my characters flat?

If this is what is selling, am I doing it wrong?

OMG, who the hell am I to think I can do this?

Fill-in-the-Blank is just being kind.

I’m a hack.

I wish I wrote more like Random-Author-I-Happen-To-Like-at-the-Moment. This writer is good–this writer writes *important* stuff. This writer’s prose is tight, her characterization is intriquing, plots unobtrusive and natural.

I’m a total hack.

I might as well eat junk food.

This, boys and girls, is why you should never compare your work to others’.

Lesson complete. Have a nice day.


I rewrote my synopsis today. I have one that is 10 pages long, but several agents only want 1-2 pages. So I decided it might not be a bad idea to have a long one and a short one handy.

Wondering if I ought to write a few short stories–is there still a short story market out there? I gave up on it in 1996 and haven’t looked since. Still write them, mind you. I just don’t try to publish them. If anyone’s reading and has info on this topic, give me a comment, okay?

(singing) I’ll keep climbing that mountain…

I have been reading Jenn’s Diary of a Mad Writer blog, and it’s so amazing. Jennifer is this professional writer–you know, quit your day job, sign autographs, Google-hits-like-crazy professional writer.

But reading her blog from back in 2001 is like listening to my own internal dialogue. Okay, maybe not the whole, I’m going to write Regency romance novels, but the doubt, the determination, the shifting interests–and of course, the THIS STORY SUCKS comments.

I strongly recommend her blog to all yet-to-be-published writers (ha! Not negative. Indicates a belief that publishing will be in my hopefully-near future. I’m improving.) Check out my last post for the link. And while you’re out it, go out and buy all Jennifer Ashley’s book, because I want her to be mega-successful. I always said I would ride her coat-tails straight to the middle.