As I take a break from revising “Thrown” to blog, I am on page 312 of 369. The manuscript will get a bit longer, pagewise, as I haven’t made all the chapter breaks yet. I am in the homestretch, and I feel a little like Secretariat in the Belmont, because it’s been a long run, but exhilarating and fast, and I can smell the finish line. I don’t know if Secretariat smelled the finish line, but if any horse could, he could. I mean, come on, look at those nostrils.

What am I doing now? I’m cutting, mostly. I have to chop off a a little more than 1,000 more words to get to 100,000 words, which I’m sensing still might be weighty, but better than being over 100,000 words. It’s kind of fun, seeing where I can delete a word or two and make the sentence stronger, or make the scene read more smoothly. It also takes some discipline to kill off what Susan Elizabeth Phillips calls “precious darlings,” the phrases I love that are superfluous and must be sacrificed. I’m still not sure I’m ruthless enough! I made a file named “Orphanage” and that’s where they go to rest. I tell myself that I’ll use them in a future book, but really, I think I’m kidding myself and them. But we live in denial, my precious darlings and I, and happily so.

Can I gush a little? I still love my characters. I wish I could be friends with Amanda, and if Grady were a real person, I’m sorry, but I’d leave Tom for him. Ah, the beauty of fiction!

I visited the Romance Writers of America website ( today and poked around. When you send your manuscript to one of RWA’s approved agents, you can take advantage of their PRO program, which is geared to help you go from being a submitter of manuscripts to a published author. It was encouraging and fun to scan the list of agents and see what they’re looking for. Of course, I’m hoping that Gail, the first agent to get a gander at “Thrown,” will fall in love with my story and insist on representing me, so I’ll skip right over PRO and go right into PAN—Published Author Network.

My finish line is December 15th, when, come hell or high water, I send my baby manuscript out into the world. I may buy myself some real champagne that night… Or, if I stick with the Secretariat metaphor, perhaps a nice bran mash. Served in a champagne flute.

Thanks for reading!

  • It was a Friday night several weeks ago. I was writing on my MacBook, and had saved everything (THANKFULLY), when the screen went black and I restarted the machine. It blooped on, but instead of the little apple icon, there was a file with a question mark icon. Not good. But hey, not that scary bomb icon, either.

    I was unhappy, as I had planned to write all weekend long. Now my plans were dashed, and visions of having to sell my husband Tom to purchase a new Mac danced in my head. (He would understand, and I would buy him back as soon as I could.)

    Saturday morning found me at the Genius Bar in the Apple Store, where they couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, which always surprises me, since basically, come on, geeks usually aren’t so good with the talking to people part. Because my computer is ancient and out of warranty, I ended up buying a hard drive at Best Buy (only because the genius wrote everything down for me), a set of tiny screwdrivers at Lowe’s (again, with a little note from the genius), and as though I had worked in a clean room in Silicon Valley all my life, I INSTALLED A NEW HARD DRIVE ALL BY MYSELF, RIGHT THERE IN MY KITCHEN.

    And nothing blew up. Or broke. Or electrocuted me.

    Was I impressed with myself? You betcha. So was Tom (who I didn’t have to sell). Luckily, I have a Time Machine, which automatically backs up everything, so I didn’t lose a single word of “Thrown.”

    So that’s why I haven’t blogged for so long—I used to have this site bookmarked, along with the password, but I lost those and I’m ashamed to say it has taken me this long to return. (I won’t tell you how ridiculously easy it was to set a new password. It’s too embarrassing.)

    As for the rewrite of “Thrown,” I am still one enthusiastic bear. I have gotten through the entire manuscript’s worth of my friend James’ comments (he wrote a lot on the hard copy), which included tweaking the ending again. Elizabeth, one of the original four critiquers, reread the vastly revised beginning third and thought it was much better (phew). Now I’m 5,000 words over the upper limit of 100,000 words, so I have to go back in there and slash and tighten a bit more. THEN I’ll read it over one more time (as will Tom and Elizabeth), make a few petite edits because boy oh boy I had better be done with the big ones by now, and WHOOSH! off it will go to the kindly agent who said she’d look at it.

    The goal is before Christmas. I said it here so now I have to do it.

    Thanks for reading!!

    P.S. One complaint about the Genius Bar—it’s a “bar,” shouldn’t they serve drinks while you wait to hear what’s wrong with your Mac gizmo? I think sales would go way up. But that’s just me.