Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What's Next?

Oh my goodness--so much is on my plate it's slopping over and I'm in danger of slipping on it and knocking myself out!
First and foremost, my first grandchild is due on April 5th! Everything has taken a back seat to the big event. Last week I hosted a shower for my daughter-in-law and women flew in from all over the country. It was a huge success and we all had a ball.
Now, for just a little while, it's back to work on an on-line read scheduled for this summer and another Teddi Bayer mystery due August first. This on top of SUMMER DREAMS, an anthology I did with Kate Austin and Jennifer Greene scheduled for July and WHOSE NUMBER IS UP, ANYWAY? scheduled for August.
As you can see, the next few months should be pretty crazy for me. Lots of traveling to see the new baby, conferences, etc. I'm learning to write in airports, on planes, in hotel rooms. . .
I'm also working on Teddi's website, In the series Teddi, a decorator, maintains a website with hints and tips on decorating on a shoestring. I had a site for her but I've moved it and now I've got to figure out how to get everything from the old site loaded on the new one --while I'm writing the on-line read, making a quilt for the baby, promoting the summer books, running a super contest (do you know about that? You can enter at or at my website, . ), etc. etc.
It's been nice chatting with you, only now I'm even more stressed about getting all this done. What's Next for me? How about Valium?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ever Heard of Synesthesia?

What's NeXt for me? My April title, Raspberry Sherbet Kisses, about a woman with synesthesia -- a rare linking of senses that lets her "taste" shapes and "see" sounds. I never knew a thing about this until I read a fascinating article that made me think, "What a wonderful way to experience the world!"

It also made me think, what would happen if you blurted out, "Turn off that radio! I can't see the road because the emergency broadcasting signal is turning the everything bright orange!"

People would make fun of you. Right?

Right. LilyRose Sheffield loves the images that pass before her eyes when she hears music or enjoys -- well, a kiss -- but she keeps this a secret after a boyfriend tells her she's not just weird, she's crazy. Then one day a mean-spirited customer comes into LilyRose's gift basket shop and insults a child she's befriended. Throwing off years of repression, she impulsively hurls a basket at the woman -- only to end up being escorted from her shop in handcuffs! LilyRose desperately needs someone who can teach her to embrace her uniquess. She just doesn't expect to find him waiting to pick her up from the jailhouse.

Romantic Times has named Raspberry Sherbet Kisses a Top Pick, and calls it "irresistible and a completely original story [that] bubbles with unexpected details, sparkles with humor, and has an emotionally satisfying ending." What a thrill this is for me! I hope you'll have as much fun reading the book as I did writing it.

Ellyn Bache

Sunday, March 25, 2007

What's Around the Corner?

Spring! I'm thrilled to report that the season has arrived in Tennessee. It's more than the date on the calendar this week; the flowering trees and shrubs are in bloom here, along with "a crowd, a host of golden daffodils" (as the poet Wordsworth wrote). The grass is lush and green.

Spring is always a cause for celebration but this week more than ever (drum rolls, please). On Tuesday my agent called with a two-book offer from Harlequin Next! I'm still floating on air, and very glad to have the opportunity to write these stories.

The first is called THE GO-TO GIRL (working title), a real-life condition that has become common among women of this Sandwich Generation. My heroine not only cares about her son and his family, her clingy father, and even her ex-husband, who was once a compulsive gambler, but she has made a career of helping everyone else too as--you guessed it--The Go-To Girl, a personal shopper. She handles it all, somehow, sustained by her sense of humor, and I hope you'll root for her to find happiness again along the way. Should she take another chance with her sexy ex?

In the second book it's April in Paris, no, make that Montreal, and while trying to save her job my heroine is at last falling in love...with the wrong man. Can anything else go haywire? Don't be silly. Of course it can.

With more trouble brewing for my characters (I do love to torture them), I can't wait to get started on that first book. Should be fun. I'm already rubbing my hands together in glee. I absolutely love writing first draft.

This season, with notebook computer raring to go, I think I'll just mosey on out to the deck to work. As it turns out, there was a method to my madness--ordering the new laptop before I stopped to consider how to pay for it--but as Kevin Costner said of his baseball field, "Build it and they will come."

In May for a week's vacation in Mexico that laptop is definitely going with me. And about a gallon of sunscreen, SPF 36. The sun will be blistering by then but sublime. Just add the occasional nice cold pina colada and I'll be in paradise. Sounds to me like just the right, restful preparation for a June working trip to Cincinnati for a very special readers' event there, and then the RWA conference in July in Dallas. Talk about hot weather.

And that's what's next--literally and figuratively--from here.

Happy Spring to all.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The NeXt is the First

I'm getting excited. My first NeXt is the next thing on the agenda for me. I'm not sure when it will be released, since I have no pub date yet, but I'm looking forward to it joining the other wonderful books in this group. The story is tentatively titled, FAMILY ALBUM and is the story of combining families. Often people re-marry and families are joined who don't have a shared history of growing up together. This is what happens to the two characters in my book. To add to the mix, both the hero and heroine have grown children who find the adjustment a little more difficult as their parents' attraction seems to come from left field.

While I'm waiting for the above book to be scheduled, I'm working on another proposal which I'm calling ROAD TRIP. The idea spawned from an old TV series call ROUTE 66. My heroine is taking to the open road in a 1959 red Corvette which she restored to drive the famous route and find her own freedom. But like Route 66, which had nearly disappeared in some places, she discovers that life can be just as adventurous as a stretch of highway.

Please drop by often for more updates on NeXt.

Shirley Hailstock

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What's Next for Shirley Jump?

My next book for Next is tentatively titled Common Grounds and hasn't been scheduled yet, but I think will be out in 2008. With 7 or so books out a year, heck, even I have trouble knowing what's coming out when :-).

This one doesn't star Harvey the Wonder Dog like The Other Wife did (sorry, folks :-) but it does have Reginald the pig and is a mother-daughter relationship book with some crazy RV people (who call themselves "road warriors") and a cross-country road trip that would make any daughter insane.

Every book I've done for Next has been a blast. I get to start writing another one in a couple of weeks, tentatively titled Goodnight Gracie, which has more of a romantic thread through it, and can't wait to do a third. Next has to be my all-time favorite line to read and a total thrill to write for.

I get so much mail about Harvey the Wonder Dog, too, with people wondering if he's real. Sadly, no, I don't own a real Harvey. I met a man who owned a dog much like Harvey and got a lot of my dog information from him. I own Max, the incorrigible pointer, who has been put on this earth to test my patience. And I also have Heidi, a Golden retriever who reminds me why dogs are actually good pets. She tempers Max and keeps me in the dog-lover category. Plus I have two cats, which means I technically have a small zoo around here.

In fact, I have had a small zoo at my house--twice, being a glutton for punishment, which is why animals star in my books so often. For each of my kids' birthdays, I have had a local lady who brings out a pony, llama and small petting zoo to the house for the kids and their friends.

And because my life is too funny to be believable, there is indeed, a very funny story behind this. For my son's birthday, the pony lady was late. I had two dozen five-year-old boys (and you can imagine how chaotic it was here) waiting for their pony rides. My eldest was making balloon animals to keep them busy. Pony lady calls and says she'll be detained a bit more because "The llama has climbed on top of the pony and won't get off."

As in...taken a romantic liking to the pony. In doing so, he knocked over the entire petting zoo, so pony lady had ferrets and chinchillas and rabbits everywhere. It took her about a half an hour to corral everyone, and for the llama to finish his business. She arrives, unloads the animals (including a Tennessee Fainting Goat, which appears in The Marine's Kiss and a kissing pig, which later became Reginald) and saddles the pony and llama up to give rides to the kids.

Except the llama won't cooperate. Apparently he's all tuckered out from his amorous afternoon. He, ah, can't perform.

So not only did the poor pony have to take care of him, but she also had to carry all the children for all the rides and do double duty that afternoon. Poor girl. I really felt for her and hoped she got extra carrots when she got back to the stable.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

What's Next for Lenora Worth?

My second book for Next is tentatively titled Sidelined and should be out in late 2008. It's about an ex-jock and his "life coach." NFL quarterback Lenny Paxton is having a mid-life crisis, or so the world thinks. When his hotshot agent sends in a life coach to get Lenny back on track, Lenny decides to show prim Jane Harper that he doesn't need a coach, and she's the one who needs to get a life. Lenny doesn't mind one bit being a has-been. But Jane can't let go of a good challenge and she can't tolerate a wasted career or a new opportunity. Before it's over, she might have to let go of her heart and some of her preconceived notions about jocks.

What's next for me? I will be in lovely Birmingham, ALA the first weekend of April, speaking at the Southern Magic Writers' Conference about what it's like to write for Steeple Hill and Harlequin. Last year, I celebrated a milestone with the release of my 25th book with Harlequin and Steeple Hill. I've been busy with a three book contract and a suspense continuity that is set near Savannah in my home state of Georgia. Also in April, I will "celebrate" my 51st birthday. Or mourn it?? Not sure which. I don't mind growing old so much. I've learned a lot over the years and it's kind of nice to wonder what might be just around the bend. That's why I love writing. It's a constant adventure and mystery. And writing for Harlequin's Next allows me to explore the world as a mature woman who knows that life doesn't end with the last birthday. Indeed, it begins all over again with each new season. I invite all of you to find out what's next in your own adventures. And while you're at it, please consider reading the many wonderful books from the NEXT authors. They keep right up with mature women who have attitude, class, and a whole lot of experience in life. Don't miss out!


Warmhearted, Wholesome, WorthwhileBooks by Lenora Worth ( ) January 2007--Fatal Image (Secrets of Stoneley) LI SuspenseSeptember 2007--Secret Agent Minister

Friday, March 16, 2007

What's next for Kate?

This is a tough question because it depends on whether you're talking about the next week, the next two weeks or the next six months. Hmmm, where to start?

I'll just give you the interesting stuff, okay? There are things I do two or three times a week like:

1. Blogging on The Best is Yet to Read, the blog you're reading right now.
2. Blogging on my own blog -
3. Blogging on my Witchy Chicks blog -

Next week, I'm off to New York for a week. The flight is about 4 1/2 hours and I'll spend it drinking a couple of glasses of red wine and doing the line edits for my novella "Summertime Blues" in the Summer Dreams anthology - Stevi Mittman and Jennifer Greene also have stories in that anthology and it promises to be great. And funny. And once that's done, I'll spend the rest of the flight judging some short stories for a contest.

When I get there, I'll spend the weekend speaking and doing workshops and panels at a conference at Rutgers and the week in Manhattan. I love New York - and it doesn't even matter if the weather is bad.

When I walk in the door, my author copies of Last Night at the Halfmoon should be there. There is something very satisfying about opening that box and seeing them. Yes, I've seen the cover - this is what it looks like and it's gorgeous -

But holding the book in my hand? Amazing. Maybe a bit like the difference between seeing a painting and touching a sculpture, looking at a lion in the zoo and petting your own cat. Tactile, it's very tactile.

And then I'm into a summer worth of writing. I've just sold two more books to Next and they're due in August and November - the first one, The Losers' Club, is already bubbling around in my mind and I expect that I'll write at least the first chapter while I'm away. The second? Who knows? I don't even know what it's going to be but I guess I'd better start thinking about that as well.

While I'm doing that, I'm going to conferences. Write on, Vancouver at the beginning of May, Writers' Weekend in Seattle at the end of June, RWA National in July, PNWA (also in Seattle) at the end of July, Emerald City in October. I think I might - if I'm lucky - take a week's holiday in September and go somewhere that isn't work - where do you think I should go? I have no idea.

So, as you can see, what's next for me is busy. And it's the kind of busy I love.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Work Spaces I Have Known (and Loved)

My latest office--like my new book--is a work in progress. It just occurred to me that I've been in this Tennessee house for almost five years (!). And there are still no photos, no award plaques, no artwork on the walls. Even my bulletin board is leaning against the rear of my desk. Here and there are still-unpacked cartons.

Hmm. I wonder why that is?

I swear, I'm not neurotic.

I'm happy in this house nestled in the Tennessee mountains. The view from my lower-level office window is an ever-changing panorama of natural beauty. In the yard and the woods beyond that lead down into a ravine then to North Chickamauga Creek, I can watch Gold Finches and Chickadees and a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers. This week a devoted couple of Blue Birds (they're monogamous) are building their first nest of the season in a corner of my deck. In the distance the occasional, magnificent Bald Eagle skims along the ridge. Talk about inspiration.

I long ago finished decorating the rest of the house. But my office is still...another work in progress.

It's a perfect space for a writer, too. I've gotten a lot of work done here. The basics are all in place. I have a corner filled with tall bookshelves, another corner that holds my L-shaped desk overlooking that gorgeous view, and several storage pieces fill another wall.

So what's my problem?

For sure, I've had a lot of different work spaces in different places. In Connecticut, where I began to write and eventually sold a first book, I perched over a portable typewriter on the living room carpet. Then (my back was killing me) I "graduated" to the kitchen table and from there to the basement. The basement? Yep, my first bonafide office. One summer while I was visiting my parents in Ohio, my husband (bless his heart) constructed that space for me, sheetrocked the walls, hung a beautiful fern above my new file cabinet, and even bought me a real desk! I took it from there.

I loved that office--until we moved. Still in Connecticut, in a different house, I worked again for a while in the living room then the dining room, even on the sunporch. At the time my kitten, Miss Kitty, loved to doze on top of the nice, warm Selectric typewriter while I worked. A friend suggested a better name for her would have been Louisa May Alcatt, which I still think is the best cat name ever. When my older son went away to school, I used his room.

Then I moved. Again.

In southern Ohio I got my very own writer's garret, a long, somewhat narrow space upstairs with a window that overlooked the driveway (gotta be able to see the UPS guy coming), and a peak-of-the-roof ceiling. It was truly perfect. All my stuff fit there, I chose a color scheme, and bought a sofa to sprawl on while I edited my manuscripts.

Then, a few years ago, I relocated to Tennessee. Sometimes it seems as if I've written half my books from the back of a moving van!

Hey. And maybe that's the answer: I'm actually afraid to personalize this space because if I do, I may have to leave. But I have no intention of moving again. I'm here to stay.

And what do you know? I guess I'm like my newest heroine who hasn't quite gotten around to decorating her Chicago apartment in--guess what?--five years.

Good grief. The timing can't be a coincidence. She and I will just have to spruce up our separate spaces while we finish this book together...our works in progress.

Along the way, I'm sure we'll have my new cat, Daisy, to "help." Right now she is basking in a shaft of sunlight under my window. Softly snoring, she doesn't seem to notice the view.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

It's Not Just One Space, It's Every Space

I write everywhere in my house, except for the living room and diving room which no one ever goes in unless we have company or a party going on. I used to write in my bedroom. Yes, I'm divorced. My computer was a step away from the bed and it was so easy to get up on Saturday morning and begin writing before I even brushed my teeth. If an idea was burning, I could write it immediately.

Then I moved to a larger house and used one of the bedrooms as my office. I love it. It has everything, a desk, an expensive and comfortable chair that's worth every penny I paid for it. I used part of my first advance to buy that chair on sale. My books quickly outgrew the office, but there was no way I could do anything about that and I feel comfortable with them around me.

A few years after working in my office everyday life changed and my office was too small for a child to run around in without hitting herself on a sharp corner. So I bought a Dell computer where you got everything ans et up a small area in the corner to write while I could still watch her and she could watch me. But my main writing room remains my office.

After she goes to bed, I write in my office. Surrounding me, other than the boxes of tax records, are some of my favorite authors' books, momentos of past conferences, framed pictures of clowns (which I love), and my wall of placques and awards. In the summer sunlight filters through a leafy tree outside and provides the right amount of inspiring light. I find I write a lot more during the daylight hours in that room.
Even though the room is crowded, it's comfortable. I can even find a place for some of the knick knacks that people and fans have given me.
I don't know how your writing space is, but I haven't become used to any one place, where I have to write, have to concentrate. And I like it that way.
Hope your space is conducive to your writing too.
Shirley Hailstock

We're celebrating!!!!

Two of our Next authors have won RT Reviewer's Choice Awards this year.

Stevi Mittman won Best Harlequin Next for Who Makes Up These Rules, Anyway?
Shirley Hailstock (whose first Next is out in 2007 won Best Kimani Romance for My Lover, My Friend.
Congratulations to Stevi and Shirley!

What work space?

Work space? What's that? Seriously, I used to have a really neat office. That was, let me see, um, eight years ago when we first moved into this house. The reason we moved was because I had no room to work in our old house--my office was a small sitting room off the master bedroom and I was literally going crazy for lack of space. I could actually stand it before my husband retired because I could spread out to the kitchen or the living room or dining room. I could walk around and talk to myself--well, I could talk to my characters and they talked back--so I guess that qualifies, since the characters were in my head.

But then my husband retired. And suddenly the cute little patio home we bought after all our kids were grown and gone and we sold the two-story five-bedroom home we no longer needed was entirely too small. Worse, I no longer had any privacy at all. I couldn't even talk on the phone without every word being heard by my newly retired hubby.

After about six months of being cooped up in my tiny office, I gave my husband an ultimatum. He could either go back to work, I could rent an office somewhere else, or we could buy a bigger house with a decent-sized office for me. He thought about it for about ten minutes. Then we moved. But you know that law about people managing to spend whatever income they bring in? Well, the same goes for filling up space. The office that seemed so huge to me in June of 1999 miraculously filled up to the point where I now have stacks of papers piled on the floor, all three bookcases are jammed full and overflowing, my desk hardly has an inch of free space, and every filing cabinet needs cleaned out so there's room for more papers.

Wonder what hubby would say this time if I said we had to move again? :)


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My working space isn't working

Meet Smudge, who is no longer sitting on my desk as she is in the picture, but pacing back and forth in front of my computer screen. If there are typos in this, blame her and not me. I wish I could say that she is my muse. She's not. But she's a friendly face and a bit of noise when I'm feeling particularly alone in my lovely office and the words aren't flowing.
I started a new book this morning, which explains the relatively clean state of my desk. I always clear my work area when I start a new book. It lasts about five minutes. Apparently I work well in chaos.
Like Ellyn, I used to live and write somewhere else. In my case, it was Long Island. This is kind of ironic, since when I lived on Long Island I wrote historicals that took place in the midwest, and now that I live in much more rural upstate New York, my books are set on Long Island. Go figure! It took leaving Long Island to see it with an author's eye. It's a very funny place, which accounts for my new hysterical mysteries.
Somehow when I'm writing I'm back there, at the mall, driving on the Long Island Expressway, eating at the diner.
Like Donna, I write where I happen to be--I once finished a wonderful historical romance in a store room of a computer company in Taiwan. I finished a novella waiting in the jury pool at the courthouse in Mineola. Have laptop, will travel. . .which is a good thing, because I'm expecting my first grandchild and the chances are I'll be at the kids place on the other side of the country typing with one hand while I'll balance a baby over my shoulder.
Maybe I'll practice with the cat!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Working Space

Last year when I moved from my longtime home in North Carolina to the Philadelphia suburbs, I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to write. A completely new space. And UP NORTH, where in winter the sun barely breaks through the clouds for months on end (or so I thought). I would be too depressed to set pen to paper. You would think I’d been sitting in the same spot in my NC house for 20 years, infused with sunlight and inspiration.

If only that were true. Actually, I’d hauled my computer to a different room for practically every book. If a novel didn’t like the master bedroom (honestly, this was exactly how I thought of it), we tried the guest room, the little office downstairs, the kitchen table, every nook and cranny until the story began to flow. Did I say it was a big house?

I particularly liked the mud room, a tiled rectangle that faced south, chilly in winter, hot in summer, and so sunny the blinds had to be closed in order to see the computer screen. I was happy there. Some of the stories weren’t. Once when I was really stuck I carted everything into the dining room and onto my Thomasville table, the only "good" piece of furniture in my house. Flattered, the book began to take shape. It liked fine furniture and muted light.
But to move north and still be creative? Okay, I wanted to be near two little grandchildren I love. All the same, I didn’t leave until the book I was working on was half finished. If I stalled, at least I’d made a start. And surely my looming deadline would help.

To my amazement, I moved into the best workspace I’ve ever had – a finished loft with a window looking out to trees and a banister giving a view to the great room below. True, the winter has been cold and snowy, but also full of more bright sunshine than I expected, and a herd of deer behind the house that the dog loves to chase. I wasn’t depressed. I was exhilarated. After 20 years in the south, it’s been an adventure. I turned in my first novel on time and am halfway through the second. I have no inclination to move.

At least not yet. The next book brewing in my mind seems to call for something else – maybe the sunny front bedroom downstairs, with a view to all the goings-on on the street? If I move the bed over a bit, I think there’s just room – though of course I’ll have to get some shades . . .

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Invasion of My Desk

My desk, in fact, my entire office, was neat when I left it on Friday. But I come in on Sunday morning (after being gone all day Saturday at a speaking engagement) to find a fort built on one side, toys scattered all over the desk, my husband's pile of weekend work beside my monitor, an empty soda can, several empty glasses, notes, pens, my favorite post-it pad with scribbles on it, my tape dispenser (which has been a bright pink note taped on one side that says, "Mom's Tape: Do NOT TAKE OUT OF THE OFFICE") gone, and shoes and socks under my chair that don't belong to me.

Not to mention my wallpaper and color scheme on my computer have been changed. Again.

I love my family, don't get me wrong, but when they mess with my office, I seriously consider adopting every last one of them out.

No one seems to understand that this is MY space and they need to leave it alone. I don't want cute kitten wallpaper. I don't like sand-colored color schemes. I like to see my tape dispenser where it's supposed to be so that when I need some tape, it's there. And I already do enough dishes, thank you very much, so the last thing I want to do is cart MORE of them downstairs to the dishwasher.

I ordered the fort taken down. Which it mostly was. The things that had been moved to make room for the fort assembly weren't put back, so I'll have to get on the kids about that. They'll be good about it--they seem to be the most understanding about this being Mom's space and when I ask them to get their stuff off my desk or out of my office, they tend to listen.

The worst offender is my husband. Who, I might add, has a pristine office at his company that scares away dust bunnies. I'm not quite sure why he thinks it's okay to leave soda cans and shoes and socks in mine. It's an invasion, to be sure, and I need to find a way to launch a counter-attack. Perhaps when he gets to work on Monday morning, he'll find a few things on his desk ;-)

After all, I'm a writer. I can get pretty imaginative ;-)


Saturday, March 3, 2007

My Work Space

Right now, my work space is messy. I've been working on two different books so I have papers scattered everwhere and research books all over the place. But that's okay. I love my office even when it's messy. I started out working at a small typewriter desk, then my husband built me a desk with surrounding bookshelves. When we moved, we took all of that with us. Then finally we moved into this house and now my office is upstairs. I love the beach just like the characters in my Next book "Once In A Blue Moon". So I designed this office with a beach theme. It has pretty light blue walls like the ocean and it has pictures with ocean views on each of the walls. My husband took an old shelf that once belonged in my son's room and painted it a darker blue and over that we put a picture of a lone white chair with a blue scarf flying from it, sitting out by the ocean. I love that picture. Across one wall I have a long counter that is pebbled blue. It looks like the beach. I use the counter for doing research, paying bills and tossing all the other paperwork until I can get to it. I also do editing there at times. Over the counter I have a small mural of yet another beach scene. The mural looks like an open window and it looks down on a beach with palm trees, a sail boat, and a mountian off in the distance. (I love palm trees.) I have a comfortable chaise lounge by the window and a beautiful throw scattered with sea shells lying across that. (A friend gave me the throw.) And I have books, lots and lots of books everywhere.

So even though my office is cluttered and messy right now, it is still a retreat. I love sitting in the chaise lounge, dreaming or plotting or sometimes reading. This is my workspace, but it is also my retreat. I feel safe here. Very safe. Because this is my room with a view, and this is where my dreams come true.

Lenora Worth :)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Moving work space

My work space depends on where I am and what’s happening in my life. As I write this, my laptop is perched on a TV tray and I’m sitting on a hard wooden folding chair facing a wall where childhood pictures of me and my brothers are arranged. My father has been experiencing some health issues and needs some tender loving care from his daughter. While he snoozes, I write.

Hey, when a writer is under contract she writes. . .whatever circumstance life throws at her. I have found myself writing in the oddest places lately; doctors’ waiting rooms, hospital rooms, the car. It isn’t glamorous, but I’m doing what I love, and not many people can say that so I’m going to suck it up and roll with the punches.

Most of each spring and summer I can be found at my beach place. My writing space there has a wide sliding glass door that opens to a gorgeous view of Assawoman Bay. Fishing boats, sailboats, herons, sea gulls, and puffy white clouds. The atmosphere is peaceful as well as inspirational, and I’m most at home there by the water. The Atlantic Ocean is a short block and a half away and I spend an hour each morning and evening walking barefoot on the beach. To me, it's close to heaven.

At home in northern Delaware, I have a regular, run-of-the-mill office with a cherry wood desk and matching bookcases. It’s a cozy space that overlooks a lush wooded area. I’m visited by blue jays and cardinals and cute little yellow chickadees. I’ve seen woodpeckers and owls, too. I’m only a mile of so from the C&D Canal, so blue herons and other sea birds often fly through. Sunlight streams through my windows, and I feel blessed that I have a space that I can call my own to create my stories.

I used to think I needed to be in one of my special places, either my office at home or at the beach, in order to write. I was adamant that I needed order and quiet and lots of alone time. But I have found that I can write anywhere. I’ve learned that my creativity is like a cool, refreshing spring located within that I can tap into at any time, no matter where I am physically. In a waiting room, my car, or staring out at the bay, I can get lost in my imagination and the real world seems to melt away. (And I actually make money doing this! I am one lucky woman.)

Ah, my dad just called my name. The real world awaits! Until next time. .


Thursday, March 1, 2007

My working space is...

My working space is...

small, part of my living/dining/library/music room, overcrowded, but with a great view. The picture is the view out my window every day. Okay, the trees may have more or fewer leaves, the cherry trees might be blooming or not, the grass might be less green at the end of the summer, but every single day I get to see the bridge and the water.

I live where I do (despite the rent and the limited space) because I'm a water baby. Every single day I spend at least a few minutes looking at the ocean right outside my door. I think, mostly, of the ocean as my working space.

But inside the apartment every single thing is set up as inspiration for writing. My desk is tidy - most of the time. I have four pieces of art above my desk - a large piece by Weisbuch with a violinist and an angel reaching for him. The title is L'ange est venu c'est soir (the angel comes this evening) and it's all about the muse or inspiration. I have a piece by Shimoda - a twist on Japanese calligraphy, called Verse. And I have a piece by Anton Tapies, a Spanish compatriot of Picasso. Abstract and dark but filled with hope - it's a window, looking out from (or to) the world, the world of the Spanish civil war. And I have a drawing a dear friend did for me of Paris. All of these pieces are windows for me, and inspiration.

As for the great room - as I laughingly call it - I have my desk, filled to the brim with files and boxes and three ring binders and books. One wall is filled floor to ceiling with crammed full bookshelves and I have bookshelves on two of the smaller walls as well. I have my cello and music. I have my writing chair - a big comfortable chair by the window and where I often do my first drafts by hand. I have Sam - my ever-so-sexy new computer - named after Sam Elliott. I have a small dining table. I have, not including the four pieces of art over my desk, another 23 pieces of art on my walls. Floor to ceiling, basically, on the few walls that aren't covered with bookshelves and above the bookshelves on the walls that are. As you can imagine, this leaves not much room for anything else.

But I love my space. I have friends who want to spend time in my space when I'm away because they think it's a perfect space for a writer. So do I.

The only problem with my space?

It's a little small and every time I sell another book, I end up with boxes of books, piles of paperwork, and even less space for anything else. I have this terrible feeling that I'm going to have to move, but I'm resisting. Being this close to the beach makes it worth every time I have to move three things to get at the tool box at the bottom of the closet or squish one more thing into a too-full bookshelf.