Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Jeri G. Day!

Everyone needs traditions, and especially families. It's what holds us together, and gives us the shared memories that make us real families, not just people who happen to have common ancestors.
Today was one of those traditions.
I have a younger sister, who is one of my favorite people. Bright and clever, with a wicked sense of humor, and a great attitude. She just retired after teaching elementary school for many years - for which my other sister and I have promoted her to oldest. Only fair, if she's retired and we're still working, don't you think?
But a few years back, her life wasn't quite so rosy. Her son, the oldest of her three kids, was going through what is politely called "a rough patch." The stress was making her unhappy, and home was more a minefield than a refuge, as the entire family tried to negotiate the highly-charged environment.
That year, I invited Jeri out to the beach for her birthday. The local AAUW chapter sponsors a holiday home tour, so I bought tickets for us. I took her to breakfast, then we went and looked at how the other 1% lives. (These tours are always expensive homes in an exclusive gated community. The kind of place most of us will never live.) We wandered through the houses on the tour, walked a little ways through the neighborhood, and generally just hung out. We went to the quilt shop, and stopped in the candy store. In short, we did goofy, girly things for a few hours, and for that one afternoon she didn't have to be constantly worrying about what the rest of her family was doing.
When she got ready to drive home, she told me, "Today felt like Jeri G. day at the beach." I knew our day together had helped.
Since that day, things have improved for her. Her son is still a great kid, and he is growing into a fine man, who is learning to handle his problems in positive ways. Kid #2, my niece, graduates from college this year, and the "baby girl" will finish high school in June, and already has been accepted at two universities.
But we still have Jeri G. day, because we enjoy it. Today my husband came with us, and the three of us had a blast. We had a late breakfast at a local "joint" where the cook really knows his way around an omlette. We wandered through an assortment of gorgeous houses, admiring the views of the ocean, and looking at ideas for our own houses. We may never actually do any of them, but it's fun to look. We did a little shopping. Nothing monumental, nothing of great importance, nothing that will change the world.
But it changes our world, just a little. It reminds us that we are sisters, not just of blood, but of the heart. The third sister, the one in the middle, didn't make it this year. She was working on a Habitat for Humanity project, and couldn't come down to join us. We missed her, but I am so proud of what she was doing!
So, today I just want to send a love letter to my sisters. As with my in-laws, I got very lucky in the family ties sweepstakes.
Some days, life is really, really good.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

I made my mother-in-law cry

I have to admit, I did it on purpose. But she made me cry, too, so I think we are even.

But before you all decide I am a cruel, evil, uncaring witch, just give me a chance to explain. Please? Really, I adore my in-laws. Everybody should be as lucky as I am, when it comes to in-laws.

See, I got this email from her today, and she said she just bought my latest book, the TIME AFTER TIME anthology (scroll down and just look at that GORGEOUS cover!). She took it home, and read my story aloud, sharing it with my father-in-law. Well, the story made her cry - which was a better reaction than I could have hoped for when I was writing it.

I mean, I love that story, but I didn't know if anyone else would even get it, much less be moved by what I wrote. But I made her cry, and she wrote to tell me so, and that made me get all misty-eyed and sniffly.

So, it's all good. And if I can make people cry with my words, then I have really accomplished something. A writer can't ask for more than that; that they reached another human being with their words and their story, and touched their heart. It's what we all aim for when we sit down to put words on paper, to make a connection with the reader.

Thanks, Mott, for letting the story touch you, and for sharing that with me. You two are the greatest!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Between Steve and me, we have two blogs and three webpages. Now we also have a domain name, where we can link all our various secret identities. Well, they aren't really secret, but I think having a secret identity would be really, really cool.
Even though there isn't much there at the moment, it will be the hub of our little empire. Ok, not so much an empire at this point, either. But that would be cool, too.
What we do have that is cool, is Herbie.
We have had Beetles of one sort or another for a long time. Kind of a York family tradition. Steve's been riding in Beetles since he was a baby. So, when we went to buy a new car a few years back, we got The Tick, otherwise known as the Great Blue Vehicle of Justice. Even had a custom license plate frame made that read "Knock Off All That Evil." The Tick was a Techno Blue TDI (thus the name), and he served us well. This summer, however, he gave his life to protect Steve in an accident.
So, we had to replace The Tick. We went searching for another Turbo Diesel Beetle, since there really wasn't another car on the road that we wanted as much. But rising gas prices have made diesels - and their 40+mpg - hard to find. Which is how we found Herbie.
Herbie is a factory custom job. The number and stripes are decals that were applied at the factory. We don't know how many were made, but I doubt there were many. Maybe someday we will find out.
Herbie was on a lot about 60 miles from our little seaside town, and was the closest diesel Beetle in the state. I went to look at him, and immediately burst out laughing. He was so impossibly over-the-top. Naturally, we bought him.
Driving Herbie is like being in a parade, all the time. People stop and stare. They wave and smile. Little kids squeal and drag their parents over to see him. A few days ago, Steve came out of a store to find a woman taking pictures. She said, "My duaghter will never believe this." And it's a chick magnet. Cute girls stop Steve all the time to tell him, "Cool car." Even when he's parked next to a brand-new Corvette, Herbie is the one that gets the attention.
So, I don't have a secret identity, but I do have a new identity. I am now known around town as "Herbie's mom."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

More good news

Last night I came home from work to find an email from one of the editors I work with. She was writing to tell me a short story, "A Day At The Unicorn Races," was accepted for the anthology FANTASY GONE WRONG. It's a silly story, for a light-hearted collection about what happens when fantasy works on ways we don't necessarily anticipate. I don't know when this one will be out, but I'll be sure to announce it when I do know.

The really cool part is that this is the third story I've sold to this particular anthology packager.

The first one, "Godspeed," is coming out the end of this month in a collection called TIME AFTER TIME. It's up on Amazon, and I'm very pleased with it.

The story is about John Glenn, and is my very own little slice of total hero worship. I think Glenn is one of the true heroes in my lifetime, one of the good guys, and doing this story was a tribute to a man who truly has "The Right Stuff." Being old enough to remember Sputnik, and the original Mercury 7 astronauts, this was just a fun story to write.

I hope copies will be available in time for the Orycon science fiction convention the first weekend in November. I will be there, doing some panels and a book-signing, and it would be wonderful to have new books to sign!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

A picture is worth a thousand words

You know, sometimes you just have to brag. This is the cover of my latest book, Dream House a romance from Five Star Books. And since it's worth a thousand words, I don't need to say much more.

But I will anyway.

Romance is one of those things people hate to admit they read. But romance novels account for a large percentage of book sales, both new and used. The promise of a happy ending appeals to women, and men, of all social and economic strata. In fact, the demographics of the romance reader is a rather fascinating subject. According to a recent study, romance readers are better-educated than the general population, and a higher percentage describe themselves as being in a happy relationship. So much for the image of a sad, lonely, uneducated woman living through the pages of a book.

So I say it proudly: I write romance. I give my readers a happy ending, and I refuse to apologize for it. Call me a Pollyanna if you want, but I believe in love, and I know happy endings do happen.

And that's the truth!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Coming up for air

Well, it has been a while since I was here, hasn't it?

Thing at the beach have been, ahem, a teensey bit busy. That book I mentioned? It's done, turned in, and I have heard from my editor that she's satisfied with it. Which makes me a very happy camper. ALIAS APO: STRATEGIC RESERVE, should come out in March, 2006.

And Steve has been busy, too. That's my husband, and fellow writer, J. Steven York . He just finished his fourth book in the last 14 months.

But now! Now the books are in, and we have time to take a deep breath. Which means we cough and choke on the accummulated dust. But at least we can come in here and rearrange the furniture a little, and say hello.

And who knows? I may show up a little more often!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

And The Good News Is ...

That I just got the go-ahead to write the book I was talking about earlier. Of course, there is a downside, which is that I have to do it quickly. The deadline is short, and it is going to take most of my time for the next few weeks. Which means I probably won't be posting here much. Though it's not like I was doing a lot here, anyway.

But I should drop back in from time to time, and talk about my progress. Until then, I'll be in the office.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Life is strange. Sometimes, exceedingly strange.

Being a writer, I'm always on the lookout for opportunities. But when I am very lucky, opportunities come to me. Right now, for instance, I am trying to write a proposal for a book based on a popular TV series. Can't say much, as this is all very preliminary. The cool part, though, is that they called me - don't know how they got my name and email, but they did, and I got email from the editor, inviting me to submit.

I don't know where this is going, though it's proving to be an interesting ride.

Stay tuned for developments!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Going Coastal

A few years ago, I realized that every seven years I had to blow up my life, sometimes in very dramatic fashion. Since I am starting year six of the cycle, I figured I needed someplace to keep track of whatever the next step is. There have been good ones, like marriage and children, bad ones, like divorce, and scary ones. Like the year I quit my job without a new one, moved three hundred miles away without a place to stay, and where I knew about three people.

Six years ago, I bought a house, took a new job, and moved to the Oregon coast. I love it here, and don't plan to move again. Ever. How can beat an office overlooking the beach, with a decent salary attached, and a house four blocks from the ocean?

But I know my seven-year cycle is warmimg up, so watch this space!