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That Darn Back Blurb



So you’ve written nearly 100,000 words. You’ve revised the manuscript 100 times. You’ve had 20 people read for you, then you revised it 50 more times. It’s perfect! It’s ready!
All you have to do is write down the 100,000 words to about 250 or less and slap it on the back of your book.
I struggled for hours yesterday and came up with a bunch of words that convinced me no one would ever read Silent Grace. Yuck!
Thank God for the internet! Today, I visited two websites:, (who knew blurb would have its own website!) and Thank you to all the folks who bring writers such terrific information on the web. I highly recommend both of these sites if you’re struggling with your own blurb. No charge, just have at it and go back to work. I did. I rewrote the blurb based on the data I mined from the two sites. I am so much happier and confident it will intrigue readers.
Next, I send it off to my trusted and capable critique partner. If she likes it, it’s a go. And Silent Grace is one step closer to publication.


Writers’ Create Mode

My Dead Hydrangeas

My Dead Hydrangeas

This morning I realized these hydrangeas, which had dried to lovely hues of green, blue, and purple, were completely brown. When did that happen?
I am in creative mode. After months and months of rewrites and edits, I am writing a new book—the third and last in my Knoll Cottage series. This is the mode writers live for. As Stephen King calls it, the closed door writing.
Creative mode=absent-minded-professor. I walk into the kitchen and stand before the open door of the pantry, baffled at what I’m doing there. I drive to the supermarket, realizing when I step out of my car, I am wearing my bedroom slippers. (Writers, keep a pair of flip-flops in your car!)
I can listen to the TV news, play Spyder Solitaire on my tablet, and suddenly figure out a plot problem. “Aha!” I say to my husband, “Julia needs a PI.” If you are a writer, you know the “look” he gives me.
This wasn’t my planned blog for today. When writers are in creative mode, we aren’t the best planners. But as I write this blog, I just realized Julia’s PI must be a woman!


Gratitude – July 1, 2013 Blog

I’m still in ditz mode as I revise my novel. I finished the first draft of the revision and am now in editing mode. It occurred to me as I read through, how much the support of my family and friends helped make this book possible. I thought about how long my list of acknowledgements would have to be.
Agents advise writers not to say their mother loves their book when they send in a query letter. But my Mom is a reader, and so smart, I depend on her. She’s found every novel I have written is perfect. My sisters and sisters-in-law also read and critique for me, and love my books. My children support me by reading and suggesting lists of things I could buy with my successes. 🙂 I have a great group of friends who give me gifts, like author coffee mugs, a writer’s little tablet, beautiful journals, pen boxes, bookends, and book covers. Many of my family and friends were my first readers. Without their encouragement, I’d never be revising my fourth novel. I’ve worked with a wonderful teacher who has given so much of herself for my benefit; my beta reader who has supported me from the first novel on; my new critique partner who has made herself indispensable to my writing. All of the agents and editors and authors, who give the classes at conferences to help other writers achieve their dreams, are part of the mix. All of the people who read or comment or follow this blog are unselfishly helping me build my platform.
Then there is my hubby. At first, he missed me when I became a fixture in front of a computer. He picked up the slack in house duties, got up and cooked a meal if I didn’t show up to do it myself. He helps me brainstorm, edits my blogs, holds my hand when a rejection letter comes, celebrates the good news. He’s my biggest fan—no, he doesn’t read my books, and we agree that’s a good thing. He hears me answer the same question—my favorite: How’s the writing going?—over and over. He is my love and my best friend.
What other creative work starts or ends with a thank you note? Every book has a list of acknowledgements. A painting is signed, and the artist has a bio, but no acknowledgements on the piece. My friend does amazing assemblage art pieces that are filled with spiritual overtones. She signs her work, but without acknowledgements. An architect or construction company’s signature is on a sign in the yard. But a writer only signs her work when people come to see her and buy her book.
Only writers have thank you notes. This is one from me to everyone who has helped me live my dream.

If It’s Tuesday . . .

Oops! It is Tuesday, and I’m a day late for my every-other-Monday blog post. On any weekday lately, you’ll find me glued to my computer. I am fully immersed in a manuscript revision.
We have clouds on Cape Cod right now, and my head may appear to be in them, but my mind is laser-focused on the edit. If someone greets me saying, Hello-how-are-you, I’m wondering if there’s a comma after hello. If a biker rides by with a child in tow, I picture them in the background of one of my scenes, adding color. I can’t watch a movie without parsing all the details, and if I find an overly obvious red herring, the neighborhood can hear me pointing it out. “Ha! Gotcha!”
In a room full of people, I may suddenly disappear into my novel, discussing possible alterations with my characters. My husband has to repeat everything he says, and Livia, my muse, runs when she sees me approaching. I may have stepped on her tail in one of my fugues.
All of this is a self-serving whine about why I missed my Monday blog.
As Shakespeare says: “Devise, wit; write, pen; for I am for whole volumes in folio.”
And, so, think of me kindly. I am doing what I love. I hope you are doing the same!