Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Twice Lost

It isn't very often I write anything deeply personal on my blog or Facebook or on any public forum but I feel like sharing a bit about the man I loved.

Thirty years ago this spring, I met the man who became my husband.
Ours was a slow building romance, although there was attraction and chemistry when we first met, we were both let's take it slow kind of people.
After dating for two years, and living together for three, we married in 1991. Our 25th wedding anniversary would be July 6th of this year.

We loved each other. We enjoyed being together, traveling together, going to baseball games, spending time with our families. And we loved our kitties too. :)

However, as with all great romances and marriages, we hit some tough bumps in the road. We never had children so when times got rough, we each gave up too easily. We had difficulty moving forward and ended up separated. By the spring of 2003, we divorced.

The crashing ocean waves of emotions that a person experiences when they are struggling through a separation and divorce can never be underestimated.
I put on a brave face that communicated: I don't care... everything will be okay. When I really felt like I was dying a little bit everyday. My heart truly broke. At times it felt like there was an actual blade slicing away bits of my heart.

Once the divorce was final, and a few months had passed, something began to change. The anger, sadness, depression, and myriad other emotions, began to slowly dissipate into a feeling of... hope. I was embarking on a new life, a new beginning.

By the end of the first year divorced, we slowly (very slowly) began to become friends again. By that time I had moved to Maine from Massachusetts. I lived with our two cats in a lovely little cottage in the woods.

It began with a phone call. And truthfully I can't remember if he called me or if I called him.
But our friendship began again.

Two years later, at the end of 2005, I moved even further away down to the west coast of Florida. But our relationship continued to grow and we visited each other when we could. Our friendship blossomed and with it a little bit of hope that our love would bring us together again.

In the winter of 2010, he called me one night to tell me some terrible news.
 He had been diagnosed with lung cancer. 

My heart broke again... 

I've missed his loving friendship ~ and his wonderful infectious laugh ~
 every day since he's been gone.

John Henderson Mitchell
May 15, 1957 - March 29, 2011

You are missed!! 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bella Luna

Last month I had the opportunity to take an awesome vacation in Mexico. During our visit I snapped many photographs of the February full moon.
In honor of the March full moon, here are a couple of photos from that trip.

 Looking at the full moon from Paradise Village, Nuevo Vallarta

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Spring Begins

It's hard to believe it's been a year since I last posted here. Much has happened this year and yet much stayed the same. :)

Last spring we still had snow, piles of plowed snow everywhere. So much snow is something that doesn't happen often here on Cape Cod. The last of the snow finally melted by the end of April. Boston and many surrounding areas didn't see the last of the snow melt away until July. Phew!
This year we had snow, but we had warm ups in between so as of this moment...no snow.
There is a storm brewing and by tomorrow morning, we will have snow once again. 

This past summer we had the most beautiful weather I ever remember for south eastern Massachusetts. Many sunny and warm days. It helped to put the torment of the brutal winter behind us.

I'm still working full-time at the day job so my writing isn't moving forward as quickly as I'd like. I do continue to write and love my stories and characters and hope to be published soon. :)

Come this summer, I plan to attend the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Diego, CA. Can't wait! More on that later.
And soon I will post a sneak peek about my books.

Bring on Spring!

Friday, March 20, 2015



It's been a long, cold winter and I'm so relieved to see the words Spring Begins on my calendar.
Still the air is freezing cold with sharp winds, ice and snow still scattered around, but it feels like a time for new beginnings. To hit refresh and reboot. To clean and prepare for the balmy breezes ahead!

Happy Spring!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

'Tis the Season...

Happy Holidays from my family to yours.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sand in Your Toes

It's been a crazy work week and a busy weekend enjoying the company of family and friends. We had a lovely time celebrating Mother's Day and my mother's 87th birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!

That said, this week I'm doing some promotion for one of my favorite authors. Here's a shout out to author Roxanne St. Claire. Her newest contemporary romance novel just released this week.

Barefoot in White is the first in St. Claire's Barefoot Brides series. A follow up  to the delightful, romantic Barefoot Bay series.
The first four full-length books: Barefoot in the Sand, Barefoot in the Rain, Barefoot in the Sun, Barefoot by the Sea were then followed by three novellas: Secrets on the Sand, Seduction on the Sand, and Scandal on the Sand.

All the Barefoot books take place in Florida on the white sandy beaches of  the Gulf of Mexico. A perfect paradise to fall in love.

Roxanne St. Claire writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and young adult. You can find her at roxannestclaire.com

Monday, May 5, 2014

It's All Subjective

What is your favorite book? How about your favorite movie? TV show? Have you ever watched a movie or read a book on someone's else's rave review and come away disappointed?
As we all know, this happens.

Every story written, every book published is as unique as the individual writer. We each have our personal story to tell, our own voice, our own style. But as we maneuver through the arduous journey of learning the craft of writing, we all need help on occasion. A teacher, a critique partner, beta reader, a judge in a contest, -- another writer to offer their opinion, their perspective.
We may not always agree with the other writer's viewpoint, however it's important to keep an open mind.
Our stories are like our children. We create them, work on them, nurture them... help them grow into a solid piece of writing to share with the world.

Before we query agents and editors, before we submit to publishers -- small and large -- before we self-publish, we need to have a well-written, polished story to present.

I've had several critique partners over the years. I have been involved with critique groups -- face to face and online -- I have engaged in small one-time-only critique sessions at retreats and conferences, but I have never found that perfect fit. A critique partner or partners for the long term.
One reason is I am extraordinarily blessed to have been born into a family of writers. We love and support each other in our individual writing endeavors no matter what. My family will read and comment on anything I throw their way and vice versa.
However, this isn't quite the same as having a serious, personal critique partner. And not the same as having our work judged anonymously.

Entering writing contests is one way to receive valuable feedback on all elements of writing. Not all contests offer feedback but many include comments and suggestions.

I help judge and critique around four to five writing contests a year. The submitted entries are from unpublished manuscripts (anywhere from 10 pages up to 50 pages)  although not all are from unpublished authors. Many of the contests are open to both unpublished and published writers.

Judging contests has taught me so much about my own writing -- what works, what doesn't. What can the writer do to enhance their writing? What would I do? And most important: how do I communicate any comments and suggestions I make in a positive way?
It doesn't help anyone to be mean and sarcastic. Be encouraging, helpful. Concentrate on what's great about the entry, not the negative. I do make suggestions when something just doesn't sound right, or seems incongruous with the conflict or characters.
Usually, I read through an entry and make comments as I go. Some are not as positive and encouraging as they could be, so later (usually several days later) I will go through the entry again. I will then score, make additional comments, and revise any of the harsher comments. It's taken me many years experience to be able to judge with confidence. And my own writing has improved immensely.

A critique partner works differently. There are several factors to consider in partnering with someone and sharing your writing. Having the same level of skill can be important. Also it would enhance the experience if both writers worked in the same genre. I would prefer someone who wrote and appreciated the romance genre, but they wouldn't necessarily have to write contemporary and/or suspense. If you write for YA or middle grade, I think it would be a better fit to have a partner who wrote the same. Remember with a critique partner you are sharing your work with them and they are doing the same with you.

Judging contests and working with a critique partner takes time away from my writing, but the skills learned have been invaluable.

And sometimes, not often, I receive feedback from a contestant. The following is an actual letter I received about three years ago:

Dear Judge,

I thank you very much for your honest and encouraging feedback on my first novel. I really needed it to continue writing. Some members of my critique group had broken down my confidence completely and I had stopped writing for a while. So your feedback gives me hope to continue. Thanks again. I will go through my work again and try to improve.

Enough said. :)