Monday, October 29, 2007

How 'bout those Red Sox? Pretty exciting, wasn't it? Those of you in the New England area look for my hubby on CBS on Tuesday broadcasting from the parade. Why aren't I going? I'll be doing a book signing at Waldens in San Rafael from 6-8 pm so if you are in the area come on over and say "hi."

Also, speaking of the Red Sox...fellow author bud (and Red Sox fan) Caroline Linden interviewed me for her website and it will be going up in early November so check it out.

Finally, I received an email from Kelsey who enjoyed the MacLeod series so much that she started a community at live journal to talk about them. I thought it sounded like fun so I told her I'd pass it on.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

All good things must come to an end...but what a finale!

The past few months have been literally a whirlwind of excitement for me with the back-to-back releases of all three books. It actually feels strange not to have a new book out next week. :) Honestly, I've been pretty overwhelmed by everything that has happened. Hitting "the lists" (The New York Times and USA Today Bestseller lists) has been a huge part of that. All three books hit the USA Today; and Highlander Unmasked & Highlander Unchained both hit the NY Times. Up until yesterday (the lists are released on Wednesday), I'd actually been on the NY Times extended list for 5 weeks in a row (2 weeks with Unmasked and 3 with Unchained).

It seemed fitting then that the semi-surprise dinner some of my friends planned for me was last night. It was an amazing way to mark the end of a significant step in my writing career and I can't say a big enough thank you to Bella Andre (who, along with Jami Alden , is a CP partner extraordinaire) for spearheading it and everyone for coming and helping to make it such a special evening. We all met for dinner at a restaurant in the city (San Francisco) and talked until we basically almost shut the place down.

Starting from the lower left: Anne Mallory, moi, Penny Williamson, Carol Grace/Culver, Tracy Grant, Barbara Freethy, Veronica Wolff (website coming soon), Candice Hern, Jami & Bella.

I don't know what I would do without these guys. I'm incredibly fortunate to have a huge vault of knowledge and experience to tap into. One of the pieces of wisdom that has most resonated with me came from Tracy and Penny who told me to celebrate all accomplishments--no matter how big or small--because this is such a roller-coaster ride of a business you never know what is coming next. It's so true. I'm incredibly grateful for how things have gone so far, but I know there are bound to potholes in the road in the future. Last night was a night to put in the memory bank for those times. So thanks again guys!

What about you try to celebrate accomplishments?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Into the Wild/Personal Journey
A few weeks ago my husband and I went to see the movie, "Into the Wild." It was awesome. We both loved it. Emile Hersch should win an Oscar--he's got my vote right now.

It's an adaptation of a John Krakauer novel by the same name based on the true story of a twenty-two year old kid who gives away his trust fund to charity and begins a personal odyssey, a journey, that takes him into the wilds of Alaska.

Some people have called him a stupid kid, others have called him a hero. My opinion: an idealist. What really struck me about this kid (Christopher McCandless) was the impact he had on everyone around him. It wasn't just his journey. He meets a series of people along the way and every one of them is changed from knowing him. He had one of those magnetic personalities--people were drawn to him. The irony, of course, is that he was drawn to solitude. To living in the wild by himself. To seeing if he could survive on his own.

It was funny timing when we saw the movie, because earlier that day we'd watched an episode of Oprah with the author of "Eat, Pray, Love," the New York Times bestseller about a woman who goes to Italy, India, and Bali to find herself (hope I remembered those right).

Sometimes, when I'm frustrated with the demands and responsibilities of every day life, I can really understand the call to go on a quest. To get rid of all the "noise" and try to find what is truly important. Sometimes I think I'm so busy, so bogged down in life and being a mom, that I've forgotten who I am and what's important to me. I went straight from college into lawschool, then right into getting married. I never really had any down time. Sometimes I wish I'd taken a year off and backpacked around Europe or lived in Tahoe. Maybe that's why I like traveling so much now.

I highly recommend this movie and hope that some of you will get a chance to see it. If the story doesn't grab you the beautiful scenery will. I've already bought the soundtrack--it's fantastic--Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam. The You Tube Video will give you sense of all three.

What about you . . . did you ever do anything to "find yourself?" Ever thought about it? Ever wished you could get away for a while and get back to nature?

Friday, October 12, 2007

I just finished reading the LONE SURVIVOR, by Marcus Luttrell, a current NY Times Bestseller, which as the title suggests is an accounting of what was at the time (still is?) the biggest loss of SEAL special forces in our history. It is a fascinating book on many levels.
I've always been a big fan of special forces books--whether nonfiction (as above) or romance(like Suzanne Brockmann or Linda Howard). To me, there is something inherently sexy about highly trained military men whose physical strength and code of honor seem quintessentially alpha. There is also something undeniably heroic about putting yourself--and your life--on the line for your country.
Recently, I was asked in an interview who was the most heroic person I knew. I struggled a little with the question, but eventually answered as follows: I think of heroes as people who are willing to do something most people won’t (courage) with an element of selflessness (sacrifice) or of courage in the face of adversity (such as illness). There are many people in my life that fit this description from friends dealing with illnesses to our neighborhood police officers and firefighters to the teachers in my kid’s school who show so much more patience than I ever could. But the one person who jumped to mind immediately when I read the questions was a man I recently met in an airport—I don’t even know his name. My husband, kids and I were waiting in the Shannon airport in Ireland to go through immigration with about 300 American soldiers in full camo. We struck up a conversation with a soldier sitting opposite us who was returning from a two week leave on his way back to Baghdad where he’d been for the past 18 months. He’d just said goodbye to his wife and kids for who knows how long. It was one of those very powerful moments when you are looking at this young, good looking guy on his way into a war zone and have no idea what to say. All we could think of was a very insufficient 'thank you.'
As I was reading the LONE SURVIVOR I couldn't help but think about that man at the airport and hope that he is well.
Are you fascinated with special forces books, too? Any good ones that you recommend?

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

No this isn't a blog about Dickens's Tale of Two Cities, but about the mixed feelings I have as I embark on a very intense week of research for my next book. As you might have seen in the "Coming Soon" section of my website, I'll be doing another back-to-back trilogy for Ballantine--this time featuring Clan Campbell.

Yesterday, I turned book #1 in to my editor. So today I kicked back, watched a little TV, played tennis, did a little shopping . . . Not. I'm on a very tight deadline which means that while my editor is reading the first manuscript, I need to be fast at work getting started on book #2. The hope is that while she's reading book #1, I'm writing the synopsis for book #2. Hopefully, by time I get the revisions from her, I'll have the synopsis ready so that we can "switch." She can look at my synopsis while I'm doing the revisions for book #1, that way I can start book #2 immediately on finishing the revisions for book #1. Confused? Me, too. Which gets me to the best of times/worst of times conundrum.

One of my favorite parts of the writing process is doing exactly what I did all day today: research. I love pulling out all my books, reading all the passages I can find on a certain subject, googling until my eyes cross...basically immersing myself in the stories and history of the Highlands. It's that moment when the world is my oyster--when I can write about anything I want to.

But unfortunately that "oyster" part slips away much to fast and I actually have to DECIDE what I want to write about and put it on paper in the form of the dreaded synopsis (i.e. the "worst of times.")

Undoubtedly the biggest change I've had to face in my writing process since I sold is the need to write from a synopsis. Before I sold I had a general idea of where I was going to go (little scenes, black moment, major turning points), but most of the story would unfold as I was writing. The synopsis would come after the book was complete. But now, I have to turn in some kind of synopsis before I write the book. Of course I can change it, but I've realized that I kind of like getting more of the story down before I start writing. Not that it makes writing the darn thing any easier.

So wish me luck!