Show & Tell.


“This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”
~Henry David Thoreau

Ocean

One of my favorite parts of the three week break I took between finishing the first draft of WATERCOLORS earlier this month and starting its revisions today? A mini getaway to the shore. It may have been cool and windy, but still, there is no place like a coastal one. Home is where the ocean is (and dolphins, too, if you look closely on the left side of this picture!).

Cape May fountain

Maybe I’m just easily amused, but it never fails to make me smile when I stumble upon something that reminds me of my characters. When I found this fountain in Cape May, I not only tossed in a penny for myself, but also one for Eden. Here’s to wishes-come-true.

Ship

This ship off the shore of Cape May Point is made of concrete and sunk into the sea after being used during World War I. Apparently seagulls like to use it as a perching spot now?

Mom & Me

Proof that appearances can be deceiving: it looks like a warm spring day, right? You’d never guess that it was so cold we all sat on the beach with fall coats, hoods, and gloves. Ridiculous to plant ourselves there when the windchill was in the forties? Ridiculous that we’re even having windchills like that at the end of April? Sure, but like I always say … I’d rather be freezing at the shore than warm somewhere else.

Megan & Me

Have I ever told y’all about what reignited my passion for creative writing? What took me out of journalism’s sphere and brought me back into the circle that first illuminated my world when I was in eighth grade? In many ways, I will always be grateful to this woman for that. Megan Ward. She played Kate on General Hospital, and, from the first day she graced the screen, lit up the show with her acting prowess. Her character became half of one of my all-time favorite couples on the show and their beautiful love story inspired me to try my hand at fanfiction, which I’d never written before. It was, truly, like magic. I wrote thousands of pages over the following two and a half years and just felt myself fill up with this love, this joy, for creative writing. I didn’t even realize how much I’d missed it until I had it again. It’s been almost seven years now since that time, and I’ve penned six books. That’s crazy to me, but also crazily cool. So getting to visit with Megan again yesterday? Seeing her smile as she exclaimed “you made it!” to me? Talking with her for such a long time, thanking her for introducing me to incredible people who will be lifelong friends and for reigniting that writing spark? Hearing her quip that she wants to get credit in my book acknowledgements one day? Spending time with someone who treats us like friends, who was as genuinely happy to see us again as we were to see her? Knowing that she remembers me and still has the Walk of Fame gift my friend Amanda and I made her? It was beyond special. I talk a lot about how wonderful the General Hospital cast is, and they all are, but there are some that go the extra mile, go above and beyond, and Megan is one of them. She is a gem. I miss her on the show all the time and am so very grateful to have had the chance to see her this weekend. It’s a day I’ll always treasure.

Kari & Me

As an added bonus, I got to meet another actress who used to be on GH, Kari Wuhrer. She is also super sweet and lovely to chat with!

Now – give me a show or tell (or both!) about what’s going on with you lately!

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Wordless Wednesday: Lately.


“Listen to your whisper and let it be your guide.”
~Anonymous

M&G with General Hospital's Tyler Christopher and John J. York

M&G with General Hospital’s Tyler Christopher and John J. York!

"Sandy Castle" in Point Pleasant, to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief

“Sandy Castle” in Point Pleasant, to raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief.

Such lovely weather to welcome fall!

Such a lovely start to fall!

Quack, quack, quack

Why hello there, friend.

My mom surprised me with a plaque that has the quote which inspired SOT.  Love, love, love.

My mom surprised me with a plaque that has the quote which inspired SOT. Love, love, love.

What’s up with y’all lately?

Wordless(ish) Wednesday: finding inspiration everywhere.


“Your story matters. Tell it.”
~Unknown

Like Aly, I have been spending a lot of time lately organizing and de-cluttering. If I’m not sitting down at my desk to revise, chances are I’m cleaning or sorting or rearranging. There’s nothing like revamping a room to give you a fresh perspective – that’s what HGTV tells us and I must agree. Part of my recent redesign includes hanging up and displaying a plethora of inspirational plaques that I’ve bought over the past few years. Here’s a sampling:

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As you can see, most of my wall hangings are centered around writing, the seashore, and the beauty of dreaming big. How about you? Anyone else a quote and plaque fanatic like I am?

Living in the Pages.


“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.”
~Wyland

When I first started the planning stage for SANDS OF TIME (Have I mentioned its title on here yet? That was actually the first piece of the puzzle this time!), I knew there needed to be four different settings, two of which were seaside. Because Charlotte’s story takes place in 1957, a time period I had to research extensively, I decided that I should keep it close to home. Of course the area was different in the 50s than it is today, but several of the hallmarks still remain the same, and it seemed like a good choice to bring that sense of familiarity into a storyline which featured so many other unknowns. Atlantic City became home for Charlotte and Nolan, and the writing process became even more exciting for me. I loved getting to build chapters around the Jersey shore. It has been somewhere very special to me for as long as I can remember, and weaving its charm into the book only increased that.

And so, when I spent seven lovely days in New Jersey this past week, I soaked up the significance even more than usual.

There’s Fralinger’s, where Charlotte works (granted, this is the Ocean City store instead of AC, but close enough):

Fralinger's

There’s the Ocean City Music Pier, where Nolan takes her for a surprise birthday celebration:

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Most special of all, there’s Ventnor. It is, truly, my favorite place in all the world. I spent time there every summer until I was fourteen and some of my most lovely memories have been woven there. It’s been over fifteen years now since my grandparents sold their condo, but we still try to go back for an evening or two each summer. Walking on that boardwalk again, seeing the fishing pier, breathing in the salty sea air that I swear is unique in that town, different from every other coastal community … it is home for me. It’s also directly next to Atlantic City, so when Charlotte and Nolan moved, it was the perfect spot for them to go. The entire last chapter of my book is set in Ventnor, and so being back there again last week was even more meaningful. This might sound ridiculous, but in a way, it felt like I was living in the pages of my manuscript.

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My favorite restaurant, and the place where Charlotte, Nolan, Remi, and Eli have dinner:

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Why yes, I am totally that person who writes her book’s acronym in the sand in the exact spot where a scene takes place:

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I couldn’t stop picturing my characters: Charlotte and Nolan strolling the boardwalk, Remi and Eli taking in the sights of the Jersey shore for the first time, Charlotte and Remi sitting on the beach as they write a message of their own, write a story of their own. It took a place I already adore and made it even more magical. Something similar happens to Remi in the book – she moves to Nantucket after reading about it as a child and falling in love with its beauty – and it was such fun to write her experience of watching the words spin to life around her. That’s what this was like for me.

A few more non-book related pictures:

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Supermoon over the ocean = Super awesome.

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What’s your all-time favorite place? And fellow writers, have you ever set a book in that spot?

Cherry Blossom Festival.


“Break open a cherry tree and there are no flowers, but the spring breeze brings forth myriad blossoms.”
~Ikkyu Sojun

My weekend in five words:

1. Exhilarating (Washington D.C. is such a playground of patriotism, a perfect juxtaposition of our country’s storied history versus its history-in-the-making.).

2. Frustrating (Thanks to the coldest March weather in years, the Peak Bloom Period was pushed back by over a week, meaning there were no actual blossoms on the thousands of trees surrounding the Tidal Basin.).

3. Exhausting (Walking for over ten miles + being on your feet for seven hours straight on Saturday and eight hours on Sunday = not wanting to do anything but sit on Monday.).

4. Inspiring (I have wanted to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival for years, but writing about it in MINE TO LOVE – and incorporating it into a very important, freeing, turning-point scene for Sofie, Brandon, and Ellie – magnified that tenfold. Lack of blossoms aside, it was so very awesome to see the place where my characters finally started to heal.).

5. Invigorating (What’s better than visiting a fabulous place with fabulous people to share in the experience? Not much.).

Over the course of twenty-eight hours, we visited the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, MLK Memorial, FDR Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, Tidal Basin, Union Station, Capitol Building, Museum of Natural History, Museum of American History, and the White House (well, sort of for the last one – we got as close as possible and snapped a couple photos). It was a whirlwind weekend, a lovely one. There may not have been many umbrellas of velvety pink petals, but we still soaked up the springtime spirit and the sense of hope that’s almost palpable in our nation’s capital.

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Believe it or not, this is only a fraction of the pictures I took. Can’t wait to see how many memory cards I fill next year, because we are now determined to go back when the thousands of trees are actually in bloom. Looking forward to it already!

Snowy Snapshots.


“Snowflakes are one of nature’s most fragile things, but just look what they can do when they stick together.”
~Vista M. Kelly

“Plowable snow.”

There are two general reactions to those words, each a polar opposite of the other: you either feel a snap of excited energy at the approaching storm, or you wish for a winning lottery ticket so a vacation to the Bahamas is possible. I fall into the first category (not that I wouldn’t love to see the Bahamas one day … ). When the meteorologists began to mention a Nor’easter, I eagerly anticipated the snowfall predictions. When the flakes began to fly last evening, I stood at the window to watch them swirl through the air. When the snow began to intensify, tumbling down to the ground like salt from the sky’s shaker, I was nothing but happy. We didn’t get nearly as much as Massachusetts or the other states blanketed by two or three feet – only five or six inches here – but still, I couldn’t resist going outside to snap some picture of the fluffy crystals stretching across the landscape. There’s nothing like the magic of a winter wonderland.

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Anyone else a snow lover? Or would you rather live somewhere warm year-round?

A Tale of Two Pictures.


“When writing a novel, a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
~Ernest Hemingway

Journal

Guess who officially chose a writing journal and started working on her new novel last Thursday? Guess who is very, very excited about that? The idea for this one has been percolating for over a year now, and it’s been such fun to take it from something abstract to concrete. There’s still a lot of research and planning to be done before I begin writing, but I’m having so much fun with it that I don’t even mind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m just itching to write again after spending all those months editing, but I’ve always been a fan of this part of the process, too. There’s something invigorating about the plotting stage – the pages are still blank, literally and figuratively, just waiting for a world to be born, for characters to be born, for a story to be born. I’ve spent a lot of time these past several days fleshing out my two main characters and am almost giddy about their journeys. This book is going to be quite different from anything I’ve ever worked on, both format-wise and story-wise, and even though it feels strange to be visiting with other characters instead of Sofie and Company, it’s also exciting. I kind of feel like Pandora, but in a good way, about to open a new box and watch infinite possibilities spring up from inside. To Charlotte and Remi: I cannot wait to tell your stories. You are already like living, breathing people to me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where those possibilities take us.

PortChick

I’ve mentioned my love of General Hospital many times, so it should come as no surprise that yesterday’s event with Laura Wright, Lisa LoCicero, Julie Berman, and Kelly Sullivan was a blast. Pretty sure they had the entire place laughing out loud for two hours straight. It was lovely to talk with Laura again, and I’m especially glad for the opportunity to meet Lisa, whose sunny spirit is truly contagious. As always, the awesomeness of the cast made me even prouder to be a GH fan.

Hmm, maybe one of my new characters will love the show, too. They do always say to “write what you know,” right? Off to brainstorm some more now …

GH Love.


“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.”
~Stephen King

So … the forest of my book? The landscape of trees that’s coming together after the seeds were planted and the ideas took root? It’s something I’m really excited about, and very proud of, and so, so eager to start sending out into the world. But it’s also becoming a bit of something else: an occupational hazard. I have been spending so much time editing lately that my neck and eyes are beginning to protest. As in, I’ve been legitimately worried the last couple days that a blood vessel in my eye is going to pop. I’ll spare y’all the lovely details – just suffice it to say, I’m trying to majorly cut down on the computer time this weekend. Editing has been going well – so well, in fact, that this manuscript is actually going to dip below my target word count, which never (ever … E.V.E.R.) happens! – and though I’m reticent to scale back on my workload, I’m also trying to be smart about things. So, instead of a wordy post today, you get pictures of the General Hospital event I attended yesterday. It was a Q&A and meet-and-greet with Kirsten Storms (Maxie), Bradford Anderson (Spinelli), and Brandon Barash (Johnny). I’ve met Bradford and Brandon before, but not Kirsten, and so it was lovely to talk with her (as well as them – I made sure to tell Bradford that Spinelli’s laptop needs a name!). It always strikes me how genuine and gracious the GH cast is. They love their jobs, they love their co-workers, they love interacting with their fans … they are just wonderful people.

Her sunny spirit is contagious!

Take 1!

Take 2!

Tell me – if you could meet the cast of any television show, who would you choose?