Saturday, February 16, 2013


Beautiful books & wine missing smiling faces....
I woke up this morning and could have immediately kicked myself. Not for waking up. That’s a good thing! But for what I didn’t do last night. You see, I have this wonderful critique group, T.J. Bennett, Wanda Dionne, Joni Rodgers and Colleen Thompson. (You should check out their books for some great reads!) We meet, regularly; all of us try to get together twice a month. We read and discuss pages of current writing projects, which is good, but we also talk the writing biz and sometimes that is what is so sorely needed … a place and people to talk to about the vicissitudes of the writing life, the changes in our fortunes as we wend our way, each of us on our journey. We talk over our struggles to fit our writing lives into our other life responsibilities, like the demands of family and other employment. Sometimes it’s difficult for someone outside of your field, whether it’s writing or something else, to understand the particular process that’s involved, how it works, how and under what conditions it’s accomplished. Writing a book is like that, requiring of a certain, highly individual process. There are five of us in my critique group and each of us has a different way of getting a book done, and because we’re doing the same sort of work in the same field, we can commiserate, support and encourage each other in ways that are so meaningful. It’s so relieving when you’re feeling low about your job, to have somebody, or in this case four somebodies, who are familiar with the territory, to help you talk the trouble through.

But it’s also thrilling to have four somebodies to celebrate the highest, most exciting moments, too. I can’t say in words how much it has meant to me to share the joyful launch of  EVIDENCE OF LIFE with my critique sisters. They were there, literally, from page one and saw the novel through more incarnations than I can remember. If my blood, sweat and tears is wrought into every page, so is theirs. They are tireless, generous and loving midwives to my process, which brings me to our meeting last night and the reason I’m upset with myself this morning.

Yesterday boxes filled with the final copies of EVIDENCE OF LIFE came, and the book is beautiful. I held the fruit of all my labor in my hands. I think I may have danced a little happy dance with it. Earlier this week, I had picked up the lovely wine bottled in its honor by Gary Rodgers, the husband of critique partner Joni Rodgers. I knew I was hosting last night’s critique meeting and I had it all planned. I would serve each of my partners a signed book and a glass of wine with a frozen blackberry as a condiment.  (I have Jerusha, Joni’s lovely daughter to thank for the condiment idea!) And I did. And it was lovely! But did I take a picture? Even one photograph to commemorate the occasion? No! Can you believe it? And it was such a lovely moment, and it won’t ever come again. And all I have now is this rather sad “morning after” picture … a box of books, a few bottles of the wine—posed. So sad. So now I’m sending my critique sisters my apologies. They earned their books and bottles of wine, but I should have made a picture. They earned that, too. It was a Kodak moment if ever there was one, only Kodak and I were asleep at the wheel. But before I drag off to sit deeper in my slough of despond, and in case you’re wondering, the wine was wonderful. And the frozen blackberry added this little piquant kiss of the summer sun … it was just lovely! And you didn’t take a picture? No, I didn’t … honestly, what was I thinking….


  1. No one can take away the pictures in each of your minds. Which is just as lovely, as we all can only imagine the thrills you each felt and the joy of watching your growth as a magnificent author. So don't be upset (I doubt your lovelies are at all) with yourself. All is well, everything is as it should be and you are on your way..... xo

    And after all, part of reading is creating our own image of a scene...which I have while reading your blog. :)

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  3. I meant to say you are the loveliest niece AN aunt could ever have and also the wisest!

    Thank you!

  4. It was a perfect moment, one that none of us with ever forget--photo or no photo!

  5. Given my hat hair, sleep-deprived eye bags and the fact that I was wearing Gary's sweater because given the toss up between meeting a deadline and doing laundry, laundry never wins... I'm happy to have the book as a memento!

  6. Thanks, gals. Still wish I had a photo. It would have livened up the post! :)