Friday, August 31, 2007

Featured Author Interview -- Marcia James

Wow, do we have a treat for you today! For the next couple of weeks my feature author is my twin sister. NOT! Well, considering our names you might think that. Marcia James has some great insight to promotion she'd like to share with you in her interview. Enjoy!

Maddie -Tell us a little about yourself.

Marcia - My background is in communications – particularly promotion and marketing. I’ve worked as a corporate video scriptwriter, advertising copywriter, and journalist. The latest and most fun addition to my resume is “romance author.” Penning love scenes sure beats writing shoes ads or shooting videos on how to install neon signs! ;-D

Maddie - You have a new book out. We’d love to hear about it.

Marcia - AT HER COMMAND, a comic romantic suspense, is my debut book from Cerridwen Press. It explores the question: What if the DEA, FBI and Washington, D.C. police put operatives undercover at the same hedonistic club without telling each other? The comic possibilities of such a situation were too fun to resist, and I particularly enjoyed writing the character of Smokey -- a Chinese Crested hairless dog who is my DEA heroine’s tiny, drug-sniffing canine partner. AT HER COMMAND is available in trade paperback or e-book.

Maddie - What does your writing schedule look like? Are you a morning writer? An all day, for the long haul, writer? Or are you a night owl?

Marcia - I have the great good fortune to work out of my home, so I can write when my energy is highest – usually afternoons and evenings. I’m definitely not a morning person, so I usually handle e-mail in the mornings and write after lunch.

Maddie - What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Marcia - Here’s a few suggestions -- mostly in the PR arena, since that’s my field: Lock in your author domain name, create your Web site (at least on paper), and start to brand yourself BEFORE you sell. Google your proposed slogan (mine is “Hot, Humorous Romances”) BEFORE you commit to it to make sure it’s unique. Create a Web site and slogan that support the “author brand” you want – something with the tone and look that will let your readers know what to expect from your books.

Power-schmooze – with other authors, agents, editors and readers -- whenever you get the chance. Don’t make the mistake in underestimating the power of networking. The author you meet today could be someone who hooks you up with her agent or gives you a cover quote in the future. If you are too shy to network, see if you can find ways to get past that hurdle, even if it means learning relaxing self-hypnosis or public speaking. And remember that people in the romance industry are some of the nicest in the world.

Believe in yourself, be proud of your writing, and don’t let anyone – including family and friends – be dismissive of your accomplishments.

Maddie - What is your next project?

Marcia - I just finished writing the first book in a comic romantic mystery series featuring a sex therapist/amateur sleuth heroine and a hunky but uptight cop hero. This manuscript is currently at Berkley, Kensington, and St. Martin’s. It was incredibly fun to write, and I fell for the characters. On my Web site, instead of a blog, I have a light-hearted sex advice column “written” by my sex therapist heroine.

Maddie - Today, writers need not only write great books, but be great promoters of their books, too. What kinds of things do you do?

Marcia - Thanks to my PR and marketing background, I’ve been applying what I know to author promotion. That said, I continue to learn all I can from established authors and creative newbies on my Romance Writers of America email loops. I’m co-presenting a PR workshop at late September’s Central Ohio Fiction Writers’ conference and at the April 2008 Chicago “Spring Fling” conference. For those events, I’ve developed a “living document” on author promotion, which is free to any author who’d like it as a seed file to start their own. Just go through my Web site (www.MarciaJames.net) and request it using the “Contact Me” page.

Here are several more PR suggestions for published authors: Take advantage of the many free promotional opportunities for authors out there – especially the chance to be interviewed (like this!), guest-blog, and participate in online chats. If you have the time, post comments on other authors’ blogs. All of these things increase the number of hits you’ll get when Googled. Come up with a creative idea for bringing people to your Web site. An example of this is author Paige Cuccaro’s “Writer’s Cave” Web site pages. (http://www.paigecuccaro.com/html/the_cave.html) She puts photos of authors’ offices on her site for free and has pages of them now. Readers love to see where their favorite authors work. The Writer’s Cave is a great PR idea!

Depending on your finances, you can check into the many online sites that will promote an author for a fee. I haven’t tried any of these, but I wouldn’t rule it out for the future. And don’t forget to promote to the general public, not just to established romance readers. You can send press releases to your college’s alumni association and to your home town newspaper, as well as to trade publications and newsletters of associations that would have an interest in your book. For example, since I have a crestie dog in my books, I have posted on a Chinese Crested dog owners’ message board.

You can also come up with a creative tie-in to your books for your promotional giveaways. For example, I give away thumbcuff keychains that relate to the law enforcement protagonists in my books and also remind readers that my books contain some kinky elements. I have my Chinese Crested hairless dog logo on all of my PR items and on my Web site, which ties into the fact that I have cresties in all of my books. So your PR materials can be part of your brand vs. just being something that contains your pen name and Web site URL.

Maddie - Now, here is the totally off-writing subject question. What’s the coolest, wackiest, most risk-taking thing you’ve ever done?

Marcia - That’s a tricky one. I think participating in a March of Dimes celebrity downhill ski race when I was barely off the bunny slopes was probably pretty nervy or nuts, depending on your point of view. ;-D My team captain, Olympic gold medal pole vaulter Bob Seagren, told me our team could win if I would just snow-plow around the gates and not miss any or fall, since he didn’t want me to be disqualified. I made it down and past the finish line just fine, then I fell at Bob’s feet.

Other than that, I’ve done some interesting things in my life. I worked for a military subcontractor, shooting training videos aboard submarines. As a special events volunteer, I’ve met dozens of celebrities. (There are photos on my Web site to prove it.) ;-) My wedding was covered by People Magazine because we raised money for several charities. And most recently I petted a dolphin.


Thanks, Marcia! A great interview and what wonderful promotional tips for all of us. Thank you so much for visiting. If anyone has questions for Marcia, please leave a comment. She'll be checking in and out. And be sure to visit her on the net at http://www.marciajames.net

Maddie

Monday, August 27, 2007

I don't dance.

See the girl far left? She dances. And yes, her name is Maddie James.

I don't run track, either. Or show horses. Nor do I have a karaoke-type video up on UTube. But all those other Maddie James, do.

So, what's in a name?

I'll admit it. Maddie James isn't my real name. Duh. Go figure. A lot of authors use pen names, right? Not unusual. I'm often asked how I came up with mine and people are usually disappointed by the response. Some authors come up with their pen names by doing fun and quirky things like rearranging the letters of their name and their husbands, or cool things like combining their children's names, or using the name of their dog and the name of the street they grew up on. I didn't do any of those things. My editor at the time (Ann LaFarge at Kensington) and I literally sat down and clicked through some random lists of pen names I came up with and finally settled on one that wasn't either too ethnic or to old-sounding or too young-sounding or whathaveyou. We settled on Maddie James and I was fine with that.

My mother, I remember, was rather taken aback, but that is another story.

This July, while at RWA, another author looked at me, looked at me again, did a double-take from face to name badge, face to name badge, and then finally said... "I'm sorry, but you aren't the Maddie James I know, but you could be!" So, evidently there is a woman in Boston who owns my name, too, and looks like me, as well. I think her words were, "If she were here, she would be you." Too funny. Particularly since it's not my real name.

And then, have you ever stopped to consider, how many romance authors there are out there with the last name of James? A couple of us joked lately that we should do a James Gang blog. According to the RWA website, there are 8 of us: Arlene, Elle, Eloisa, Judith, Maddie, Marcia, Sally and Samantha. Poor Arlene and Judith, they are missing their twins. (Elle and Eloisa; Maddie and Marcia; Sally and Samantha) The reason I know this is that first, Marcia James pointed it out to me and then secondly, in a discussion with one of my crit partners today, I mentioned that if I ever wrote erotica I might take a new pen name, Madeleine James. And her reply: "Do you know how many romance authors there are out there with the name James?"

Yes. I do now. Eight.

That is when it hit home. So, if I ever decide to write erotica, I will not use the name James. I will use the name of my mother's dog (Missy) and pair it with the name of my street (Curry) and be done with it. Missy Curry. There. Beautiful. Love it. Ugh.

I'll just be Maddie. To hell with it. Even though I don't dance or run track or sing on UTube. I'll just write romance. And live happily-ever-after. Under an assumed name.

maddie

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Good Sunday Morning!

It's cooler here and that is a blessing. I hope it remains but I fear it is short-lived. Although, I can barely complain, I've not left my house since coming home from work Friday evening.

I've been working all weekend on book two in The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice trilogy, titled THE CULT. If you've read any of the preview information on THE CURSE, you may have seen that the first book is about Jack Porter (an 18th century man) and Claire Winslow (a 21st century woman) who become embroiled in a chase across time to acquire an important artifact -- a silver chalice made from the pirate Blackbeard's skull.

THE CULT continues the story with Jack and Claire's daughter, Victoria, or Tory as she is called. Thrust forward in time she finds herself enmeshed in this same quest -- securing the chalice -- but with a strong Alpha male who is hell bent not to fall in love with her. He doesn't do love, of course. Sex, yes. Love no. And thinks nothing of it, until a modern-day pirate cult shatters his world.

Sounds like fun, eh?

Well, I suppose I should get back to it.

By the way, I'm offering up a contest for the month of September, so if you are interested, check out the details here in my myspace blog. Happy Sunday!

Maddie

MJ News Update and Contest Blog

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Weekly Excerpt: THE CURSE, The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice

It's countdown to liftoff and I've got several books coming out this fall and winter, so I'll be posting an excerpt weekly for one of the upcoming titles. This week, we start off with a little pirate action. Argh! :)

THE CURSE

The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice

(book one)

Maddie James

Resplendence Publishing

...an intriguing and magical book that makes it possible to believe the power of love can overcome a curse and centuries to bring the lovers back together again. Beautifully written, sensual and emotional, this is a compelling read. Five red roses.

Anne, Red Roses for Authors Reviews

Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering it is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate, Edward Teach aka Blackbeard.

Nearly 300 years later, Claire Winslow vacations on a secluded east coast island, where the image of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then he comes to her one night, kisses her, and disappears. Or was it a dream? And why did he call her Hannah?

THE CURSE sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time for a powerful historical artifact – the silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull. Only with the chalice will they be able to reverse Blackbeard’s Curse. Will they find it in time? Or are they destined to be parted by fate once more?

Time-Travel, Paranormal Elements, Suspense
Available, November, 2007 Pre-Order Now!
Resplendence Publishing http://www.respledencepublishing.com

From Chapter One

The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 2006

Claire Winslow stared at the man staring back at her through the night mist. She blinked, and then focused her gaze once more.

He was still there.

Her pulse quickened. Her heart hammered in her chest. Slowly, she stepped around the wooden rocker and silently crossed the porch to the entrance. Just to the right of the steps she stopped, placed her hand around the carved porch post and leaned into it, her cheek resting against its smooth and cool painted exterior. Her gaze never left his, and his followed hers as she moved. Inhaling deeply, the misty air hung heavy in her throat. Claire held her breath for a moment, and then slowly and silently let it out, trying to clear her mind of the haze.

The nearly full moon provided a shaft of light, perfectly illuminating the man. Waves beat steadily against the shore behind him, an ever-present drone in her ears.

Funny, she thought. The sound used to drive her crazy, now it was barely noticeable. The wind pushed cloud cover in front of the moon’s beam and again she searched the night for a glimpse of him.

There! He’s closer. Definitely closer.

She jumped and fought panic. Her heart skipped a beat. He’d not come this close before. For the past two nights he’d kept his distance, though closer each night. The first night he’d stood at the foot of the lighthouse, barely a specter against the illuminated white. The next night he’d ventured nearer, away from the lighthouse.

Now he stood barely twenty yards away, slowly walking toward her on the boarded walkway leading to the steps of her porch.

He fascinated her. Too far away—always too far away to see his eyes—his gaze uncannily bored into hers. Those eyes seemed black as pitch, rimmed with clear bright whites surrounding the dark irises. Claire knew that, or perhaps sensed it somehow, for she hadn’t really been close enough to see.

He stood tall, with his fists placed on either hip. His broad stance was solid. Every inch of his body was roped with muscle—she knew that too, though how was a mystery. And she knew that his hair was long and silky and as black as his eyes.

Soft.

It was as though she could feel the texture on her fingertips.

How did she know these things? She didn’t even know what, or who, this man was. But she knew these things about him. Somehow.

He stepped forward. The night breeze ruffled his loose, white shirt, open halfway down his chest. The wind lifted and swirled her own silk nightgown around her legs and she wondered if the sight of it aroused him, as the glimpse of his bare chest aroused her. She hugged the porch post as he took one step closer.

And then another.

Her spine prickled with fear as well as curiosity and anticipation.

Oh, God. He’s coming closer.

Claire locked her gaze with his, stepping away from the post and backing across the porch until her rear bumped into the screen door. He stopped and stared. Mesmerized by his gaze, she felt a mystical sort of pull, some sort of power emanating from him, propelling her closer. That pull rivaled the fear she felt in her heart.

He took another step forward.

Claire shifted sideways and grasped the cold doorknob behind her.

Too close.

A soft ocean breeze blew a dark strand of hair across the man’s face and suddenly she felt compelled to stroke it from his eyes. She released the doorknob and took a half-step forward.

He stood still.

She stepped forward once more—drawn to this man as she’d never been drawn to another—but before she could continue, clouds passed in front of the moon, leaving her in total darkness.

Hannah?

The word bounced across sand and dune.

Had he spoken? Called out a name?

Claire stood waiting, the connection to him broken. Her chest heaved in anticipation. Her pulse raced. Her breathing came in short, shallow gulps. She waited, but when the wind finally whipped the gathering clouds out of the moon-glow’s path, she realized he had vanished. Nothing but empty black night filled the open space between her cottage and the lighthouse.

Nothing.

Claire shook her head and blinked. Without fear this time she rushed off the porch steps, her body turning in circles, her eyes straining through the night, searching.

“Come back here!” she yelled. “Who are you?”

But her plea was swallowed into the night. Only the ocean winds heard her call.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nagging Characters

Nag, nag, nag. Would you please stop? I can't stand this nagging any longer. I am just going to have to do something about it.

Like, uh, write. Yes. Get their stories down on paper.

Lately my characters have been nagging me like crazy. They are stuck in one position like that kid on the digital camera commercial frozen over the swimming pool. I know right where I left them and they've been there for a couple of days now. The hero just sank into a chair with the heroine on his lap right after they've struggled through a weird realization and heroine was madly flailing about.

I suppose they do need some cooling off time. But I wish they'd stop that incessant nagging. Don't they realize I will get back to them sooner or later?

Sooner, they tell me. We're ready to move on. And you know what is coming next. So hop to it!

Nag, nag, nag.

I know, I do need to move them on, and I will. Tomorrow. I promise....

Stop it! I think my heroine just kicked me.

Sheesh.

madz

Friday, August 17, 2007


Featured Author Interview with Jan Scarbrough!

Hi folks. As you all know, each month I do some kind of feature with a fellow author on my blog. This month I'm featuring KYRW member and my sisterwriter, Jan Scarbrough. Here is a little bit about Jan and her books!

MJ - Tell us a little about yourself.

JS - My name is Jan Scarbrough and I live in Louisville, Kentucky. I was born in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, but have been a Kentucky resident since college. I’m married. I have two children and two stepchildren, all grown. I have three grandchildren, with one baby boy on the way.

I’ve been a professional writer since 1982 – no, not a romance writer, but a technical writer! I started writing romance in 1988 after spending four days in intensive care and almost dying. After that, I figured it was about time to make my dreams come true.

Besides enjoying all my writing “buddies” and my sisterwriters, I enjoy riding American Saddlebred horses. I’ve owned three over the years, but now to get my “horse fix” I take a riding lesson once a week. I also volunteer at The Luci Center, a therapeutic riding center.

MJ - You’ve recently signed with a new publisher. Can you tell us about that?

JS - Maddie, you played a part in this, just as you played a part in my first sale to Precious Gems in 1998! You made the first contact with Resplendence Publishing. When our critique group decided to create Legend, Tennessee, and populate it with fictional characters and romance, you urged us to consider Resplendence when we were ready to submit. We spent the month of May writing our stories, and soon after we finished them, you submitted the Ladies of Legend Anthology for us. We were thrilled when Resplendence contracted with us for the book, which comes out January 2008.

After that, I queried with my manuscript, A Man of Her Own, and it follows the anthology in February 2008.

MJ - You have several upcoming releases. Is there a favorite among them? Why?

JS - I like The Reunion Game because I loosely based it on memories of my own high school reunion. I always put myself into my books in some way. I’ve been an English teacher, like this heroine, and I love books and cats, just as she does. In A Man of Her Own, I set it in Kentucky during the festivities before the running of the Kentucky Derby. This is the best time of year in Louisville. I was also able to include some scenes with horses, which I love to do.

MJ - What are your dreams as a writer?

JS - I want to write a book good enough so that an editor from Harlequin or Silhouette will make me an offer for it. I want to write the best book I can write, putting in it all the right elements that will make readers love reading it and wanting more of my books. As a reader, I’ve loved losing myself in a thick book. I want to be able to give that kind of pleasure to my readers.

MJ - What advice do you have for other aspiring writers?

JS - In 2001, Steeple Hill author Renee Ryan and I gave a workshop at RWA in New Orleans about “Perspective, Passion & Persistence: The Three P’s of Success.” That’s what it’s about. This business is hard and you must be ready for rejection. But if you give up, you’ll never achieve your goals. I’d add one more “P” to the three above – Patience. There’s a lot of “hurry up and wait” as a romance writer.

Thanks, Jan! I enjoyed reading your responses to my questions. Best of luck and I'm sure we are all going to be seeing more of you soon! Be sure and visit Jan at

Jan Scarbrough



Maddie

Thursday, August 16, 2007


Ah, new covers. Dontcha just love 'em?

Each time I get one I practically sigh. Rika, the designer for Resplendence Publishing's covers, is superb. What a talented woman. I just love her work.

Today I received the new cover for my novella titled BLUE. (see the book trailer just above this post) And she has really captured the essence of the story, I think.

I'm excited to see this one. BLUE is one of my favorite stories.

One of the things that has always been a constant with my writing is getting one story finished so I could move onto the next. Sounds fickle, doesn't it? I hope not because I love all of my stories. But when I know there are more stories to be told, it motivates me to get the stories that are ahead of it written so I can move on.

BLUE was like that for me. It was a story that came quickly, fast and furious, and a bit of a different writing style for me. Effective, I hope. At least my editors liked it. This novella, however, is not the end of the story. There is so much more to be told between the two characters -- Cyan Seye and Devin McCrae. In fact, sometime next year, I hope to be writing the rest of their story, novel length, in a few months.

Until then, hope you enjoy the novella, BLUE. Be sure to check it out at http://www.resplendencepublishing.com

maddie

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An Interesting Turn of Events

For a romantic suspense author, I've been having too much of a good time lately. I have literally been plunged into a real-life investigative case full of lies, deceit, fraud, and emotional and financial ruin. Not me, but someone I know very well. And yes literally, I've been there to support and provide guidance and assistance and a little on-the-side backdoor sleuthing.

I am not liking what has happened to my friend. Not at all.

I am liking the investigative nature of this thing entirely too much.

I may just have discovered my second, no third, career.

My mother is calling my Nancy Drew.

And I'm not alone. I have friends. And my friend has a posse. And we're not giving up until we get what we want. An officer over the weekend called us female bounty hunters. If the shoe fits.

Just call me Maddie James, suspense author/menopausal sleuth. No one will mess with me.

Stay tuned. This could get good.

madz

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Books, Literacy and Turning Around Lives

For many years I've done a pretty good job of living two separate lives. Yep, I've kept my writing life and my professional career quite separate -- even though in many ways they are closely related. Using a pen name for my writing has made that quite easy to do. I had, and still have, several reasons for doing that.

This week, however, I experienced a small closing of that gap, a gentle merging of the two.

I've worked in education for 28 years. I know and have experienced, the importance of a good education, supplemental educational programs, and the power of being literate. Being literate, the simple act of being able to read, is not necessarily so simple for many Americans. And for many, many children in this country -- a country that boasts of free and compulsory education -- the simple opportunity to go to school is not there, and is anything but simple.

Several years ago my work in education started focusing on literacy issues for children and adults in this country, for families. My work for the past 5 years has been targeted toward supporting literacy in families on American Indian reservations. Literacy levels are low, children often come to school not ready to learn, and by late elementary school many are already in trouble, and by high school way too many children have no high school to go to. This is exactly the situation I worked in the past week.

I'm getting ready to leave this morning from working in a school on a southern Arizona reservation where I, along with two of my colleagues, worked along side a team of energetic young adults from an organization called Better World Books. It was a service project for BWB and I was very happy to be able to shed some small light for them about working within American Indian populations, share some situations, and introduce them to staff at the school. The team worked hard to ready the school for children.

BWB operates on the premise that books make better worlds, and they use the power of books to create funding for many, many literacy programs. In a nut shell, they acquire used books and put them to good use -- send them to places where they will be used, such as Africa, build libraries, repair and rebuild libraries such as post-Katrina New Orleans, sell the used books to provide funding for non-profit literacy organizations -- yes, such as the one I work for.

And it is very much an effort I support. And yes, some of my backlist used books are currently in their warehouse for sale. And yes, I do support the sale of my used books to support the literacy cause.

There is a huge debate amoung authors about the sale of used books. I've never quite jumped on that bandwagon. It is my belief that if someone picks up a used book of mine, likes my writing style, that perhaps I've gained a new reader -- one who may decide to pick up my next book new. Now, because I know there is an organization that could put my used books to good use, for a cause that is so very close to my life, I wholeheartedly support.

I'm just touching on this issue today. I'm sure it will be one that I touch on more frequently as I contemplate how I, as an author, can give back to others who are learning to read, striving to become literate in today's world.

That very distinct line I've drawn between my professional career and my writing life is slowly becoming a fine line, and beginning to dissolve.

maddie

Sunday, August 05, 2007

5,ooo words

Lately, I've been suffering from writer's procrastination. I'd say it was writer's block but that wouldn't entirely be true. Partly, I was stuck, just didn't know how to get started on the next scene in the book. I knew where I wanted to go, what needed to happen next, but for some reason just couldn't get the words down on the page.

When that happens, I try to remind myself of a quote in one of my favorite writing books, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones. She says something like, "allow yourself to write junk." That usually helps. I can edit the hell out of junk. But if one can't get junk down on the page, it's darned hard to edit it.

So largely, this block is due to procrastination. Oh, I should check the myspace site to see what is going on there. The blog, have to blog today, right? Email. Anything interesting going on with the reader loops? Research, that's right, I just feel the need to Google something. I do need to find out more about sailing for this next book, right? Well, yeah, but that doesn't help the next scene, does it?

Anyway, after taking all the major procrastination tacks for the week, I finally said out loud that I was setting a writing goal for myself for the weekend -- 5000 words. I knew I could write more if it came down to it. Lots more. Have done it a ton of times. But thought I would start small. So I could feel victorious.

It is 4:38 p.m. and I've written 5,238 words. Yay, me! Finally, finally, feel like I've pushed through. Finally! Perhaps, I may even get a few hundred more in tonight.

How do you push yourself through when blocks or procrastination sets in?

maddie

p.s. I'm traveling tomorrow to Arizona, to do some service work with a funder from my office in a school on the
Tohono O’odham reservation in the southern part of the state. Yes, desert! So, I may be reporting from there this week! Have a good one.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Hi everyone. I'm Cheryl Norman's Guest Blogger today and thought I'd re-post my blogpost from there, to here, today. (was that as confusing reading it as it was writing it?)
__________________________________________________________________

Do You One-Space or Two-Space?

Okay, so when did this thing about two spaces after the period end? I mean, I’ve been typing two spaces after every period since pounding away on the old Smith Corona back in high school. That was a long time ago. And this old dog doesn’t easily take to new tricks.

New tricks, indeed.

Now, in all truthfulness, I’ve known about the one-space-after-the-period-rule at our office for a while now. It is our “house style” if you will. But that doesn’t make it any easier to convert my brain to the one, or two space, rulings considering whichever desk chair my butt happens to be sitting in at the time – at my office or at my home.

This should not be so difficult. But it is.

I’ve been writing so much fiction in the evenings and on weekend these days, that my two-spaces-after-the-period rule for my fiction writing is bleeding over into my one-space-after-the-period rule in my work writing. Egads! My fingers are not trained to consider when and where and why, fiction vs. non-fiction, love scene vs. research-based academic text.

What is a writer girl to do?

My friend Jan, technical writer extraordinaire, suggested the Find and Replace option. I suppose that could work. My home computer gives me a green wavy line if I leave one space. (Yay! This is a great help) One click and it is corrected. My office computer doesn’t do that. I can type one or two spaces and no green wavy line appears. Why is it that one computer knows me and the other doesn’t? Can’t they all just read my mind? Like, aren’t they supposed to do that?

Probably because I am totally confusing the office computer by mixing up my one- and two-space rules. It is abso-rule-diculous.

House style, my co-worker reminded me as we were editing a document yesterday. I’m on the computer making corrections while she is verbally editing what I’ve written. (yes, under deadline at work, too)

“One space after the colon,” she said.

“What? When did that happen?”

“House style.”

“Excuse me? There has always been two spaces after a colon.”

“Not anymore. House style. One.”

Ugh. What next? Punctuation outside of a quote? (I hear they do that in other countries) Acceptable use of multiple exclamation points!!!!!!! (big pet peeve)

Okay, in reality, I know the reason for this one-space-after-the-period thing. It has to do with computers and justification and not using typewriters and typesetting any longer but I tell you…it is not easy to learn these new tricks! Or am I just way behind the times?

So I ask you, fellow writers, when you are writing, what do you do? Do you two-space or one-space and pray tell, does it really matter as long as we are consistent?

Inquiring minds want to know.

maddie

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I can't wear cute shoes.

Well, at least for two weeks. That's what the doctor said. Does he not realize it is summer and sandal weather and that wearing the cute shoes probably got me into this predicament in the first place?

Yes, he probably realizes that last part.

"You might want to stop wearing shoes like those." He points to my favorite black sandals gracing my feet.

"These? They aren't even that cute?"

"Yes, those."

"Then what do I wear?" I was fearing the answer to that one.

"I'd wear some good walking shoes with arch supports or a heel cup."

I know the look on my face probably stunned him. I was dressed in my white capris with a nice little black scoop neck tank and a favorite Liz zebra print blouse. The walking shoes wouldn't go.

"Guess that wouldn't go with your outfit, huh?"

I slowly nodded.

"Well, two weeks. Take plenty of anti-inflammatory medication. Baby your feet. And maybe, that heel spur -- or plantar faciwhathoosis -- will be better by then.

Does he not realize that this plantar faciwhathoosis has been hanging around for six weeks or more.

I see the knowing look on his face. Oh yeah, he knows.

"I'll see what I can do," I tell him.

This means a total change of the work wardrobe for a couple of weeks. Total. It's summer! It's sandal weather! My feet do not like to be bound and gagged by big clunky shoes!

Do you think I can get by with my cowboy boots? No. Forget it.

If I were a full-time writer I wouldn't' have this predicament because I could work in my jammies and houseslippers. But then, I'd probably have chronic plantar faciwhathooses because of those flimsy house shoes.

Drat.

I can't wear cute shoes.

maddie

p.s. I suppose it could be worse. My friend's doctor told her she needed to stop wearing underwear. (chafing) Fine and dandy if you are young and buff but when you are sixty...although she says it is quite freeing. Perhaps the walking shoe thing...naw.