In The Writer's World


The State of the State

It’s the day after Labor Day. The pool closed today. Students returned to school. The mornings are cooler. We think about bringing in the sheaves, and warm fires. It’s the end of something. Right?

Not for me. Ever since I was a schoolgirl, September has signaled New Year. Each year was going to be different…and better. I would be more beautiful and popular. The two were one and the same in the culture around me. I spent much of every summer planning how this would happen. New clothes. “Beauty” treatments–lemon juice for blond highlights, vinegar for red, oatmeal for the complextion…usually dragging some hapless friend into it with me to experience the miraculous transformation. A good suntan (I’m paying for that now, my friends) was essential. And all the magazines like ‘Teen and Seventeen had plenty of advice for how to capture the attentions of a male!

Needless to say, things never turned out as one hoped. Basically, I was still me. And in my mind that was never good enough.

It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve come to know who I am, the girl who wanted to escape all those messages that compared my insides with their outsides. For me the process took longer than it probably should have. Finally, now, accepting who I am has freed me.

This Labor Day I begin another New Year. Autumn is the time to go inward. I’ve spent a good part of this summer just hanging out with myself. I’m pretty good company.

I recently subscribed to Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper. Here’s what she said Sunday, that puts into words what I’ve experienced in recent years: “I’ve spent so much time trying to fix myself, only to now realize that I’m already whole…I came to realize that I was already lovable. I was already loved unconditionally by God and by myself. I gasped and felt a huge sense of relief wash over me.”

Best served with coffee! And a dog.

The State of the Novel

Here’s what I know as of today:

  1. The title of the book.
  2.  It’s Thanksgiving weekend in wine country, and Emma Golden is sitting in the rain trying to keep warm while signing her new book at Delaney Family Vineyards.
  3. Michael Delaney (Carolyn’s husband from An Unholy Alliance) stops by to purchase a book and introduce his girlfriend.
  4. It’s obvious to Emma and Melody that there is a major scandal on the horizon.

You know I can’t give details. It just isn’t done at this tender stage. It’s bad luck. So, gentle readers, occupy yourselves with other things for the moment. Read Candice Fox or Attica Locke or the first in Ann Cleeves’ new series, The Long Call. Perhaps it’s time to read or re-read the first three novels in the Emma Golden Mystery Series. Your call!

The State of Everything Else

Lots of fun things happened in August. A dear friend’s birthday party, dinners with friends, dog sitting…. But the highlight for me was a long overdue sit-down with one of my friends from high school, Bill LaBounty. Back in the day, Bill drew cartoons. He introduced me to Mad Magazine in the back row of one very boring geography class. He and some other friends formed a garage band.

When we graduated, Bill left Nyssa, Oregon like his hair was on fire. For me, he resurfaced several years after, when I spotted three of his record albums in a Portland record store.

At the Allison with Bill and Beckie Foster LaBounty.

Bill and his wife Beckie Foster LaBounty live in Nashville. Both are singer-songwriters, and have had long careers writing songs for Grammy-winning pop and country music stars. They came to Portland in mid-August, and we got together over a very fine dinner at the Allison Inn in Newberg. I’d only seen Bill once since graduation–10 years ago, at a concert at the Oregon Garden– but we didn’t get to talk much. And yet it was if I’d seen him yesterday, and as if Beckie and I had known each other forever too, and we’d always been neighbors. Or something. Which I guess we are, if you think about it.

Their visit was cut short by a family emergency, but we promised to get together again. Soon!

Play season officially begins next weekend, so those of you who are interested will see many reviews coming your way. I’m excited and a bit overwhelmed, as I will be on deadline. The excitement of the opportunity to take in these wonderfully creative events never dims.

Coming Soon

Several of us local authors will be guest presenters at the Toastmasters-sponsored Write Here all day Saturday, October 12. I’ll be talking about Setting. Stay tuned for details.

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 15 when I will give an Third Tuesday Author Talk at Lake Oswego Public Library from 7-8 p.m.

All my books will be available for purchase and signing at both events.

Be well, dear ones.




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