Wednesday, April 23, 2014

NEC RWA conference

I'll be speaking at the NEC RWA conference on May 2-3 (about Estate Planning for Authors).

With contributions from other Gemma Halliday Publishing authors (and help from a friend to make it look pretty), I put together this basket to be raffled off at the conference:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Allergy season

Allergy season struck this week. Can't do anything except sniffle, sneeze and sleep.

This is what I get for complaining about the never-ending winter. Spring attacks me.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Getting my hands dirty

Last year, when I was writing a cozy mystery set on a garlic farm, I was obsessed with garlic. I researched varieties, and read the blogs of garlic farmers and sort of combined all the various bits of information into one ideal garlic farm for my character to own.

I do grow my own garlic, enough for three households, and it just so happened that I was working on one of the garlic-farm story's drafts right at planting time (October). I got a little carried away with my planting, as if I were the farmer in the story and needed to produce enough garlic to sell in bulk. In addition to the variety and quantity that I usually plant, I added about six plants of a new variety, and then planted a couple rows (each containing 50 or more plants) of the old variety to test a theory I have about growing them from the bulbils (like seeds, but technically not seeds). And then I still had some left-over bulbils, and I just kind of scattered them in an abandoned part of the garden. We're going to be drowning in garlic this July, although that's not such a bad thing.

And then I started plotting a sequel that will involve rhubarb, and I found out that there are close to 200 named varieties, many of them maintained in test gardens in Palmer, Alaska. Few of these varieties have ever been the subject of any significant breeding programs, so, on behalf of my character, I started daydreaming about establishing a collection of heirloom varieties that could then be tested and improved. 

It's perhaps fortunate that very few of those varieties are available for sale, or instead of six plants (three varieties), including two I bought while researching the story, I'd have as many rhubarb plants as I have of garlic!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fresh start, April 2014

Tentative release date:
Nursing A Grudge, Gemma Halliday Publishing, June 2014

Primary WIP:
Third draft: Seeing Red (sequel to Nursing A Grudge)

Fun WIP (for mini vacations from more structured writing):
Victoria and the Vapors (homage to Sherlock Holmes), to be outlined

Status of other Fiction WIPs:
A Four-Patch of Trouble (cozy mystery featuring quilt appraiser sleuth), on submission
Robbing Peter to Kill Paul (novella?, sequel to A Four-Patch of Trouble), outlined
A Monkey Wrench In The Works (sequel to Robbing Peter ...), complete first draft
Tree of Life and Death (holiday novella, sequel to Monkey Wrench), first draft done
A Stinkin' Plot (cozy mystery on garlic farm), complete
Plowed Under (cozy mystery, sequel to A Stinkin' Plot) outlined
Fatal Forfeit (legal thriller) 50+ pages of first draft completed), on hold
One Cat is Never Enough (post-apocalyptic cozy mystery series; 4 books outlined), on hold
Arresting Amelia (vague idea for cozy mystery set at general aviation airport)

Status of other Non-fiction WIPs:
Financial Planning For Authors (languishing in writers' block limbo)
Legal Research for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Contracts for Authors (non-fiction book, outlined)
Estate Planning for Stashes (refers to collections of yarn, fabric, art, books, beads, Tardises, etc.): four-part series posted on blog, to be edited and formatted into a digital book.

Speaking appearances
July 23-26, 2014, Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, Texas. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here
May 10, 2014, RIRW meeting. Topic is estate planning for authors. More on RIRW here.
May 2-3, 2014, New England Chapter, RWA "Let Your Imagination Take Flight Conference." Topic is estate planning for authors. More on the conference here.

Blog posts elsewhere
Laffeinated Ink, first post on April 28, and then the fourth Monday of every month
Ruby-slippered Sisterhood, on estate planning for authors, December 19, 2013

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Laffeinated Ink

Some of the authors with Gemma Halliday Publishing will be meeting for virtual coffee breaks at, starting April 1. I'll be bringing my Dr. Pepper every day, and providing the words to go with the caffeine on the fourth Monday of each month.

There will be lots of good stuff at the blog before it's my turn. For one thing, every Tuesday will feature a new release of a book that might be of interest to our readers, with guest posts from the book's author(s). The first one will be by Margaret Breasheares and and Donna Helmedag, the authors of Murder By Paint (humorous romantic suspense). You can read more about the book here.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

I made this years ago, starting with a shamrock block from Quiltmaker magazine, and then adding an "Irish chain" border. It's wallhanging size (about 30" x 40").

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


A couple months ago, I was killing my darlings (sentences I love, but that pull the reader out of the story), and now I'm happily creating new ones in a new story.

The darling that I really wanted to work in A Stinkin' Plot consisted of night-owl Mabel's reflections on the wisdom of telling a joke at the crack of dawn. She decides not to, because "she firmly believed it was unhealthy to engage in any activity whatsoever before noon, and that was doubly true of drinking hard liquor and delivering punch-lines." 

I guess you had to be there. 

I liked it, but it really had to go.