October was a month of highlights, both personally and professionally.
My husband Don celebrated his 75th birthday and the entire family descended upon
us in Phoenix—from Oregon, Chicago, Colorado, California and the locals in
Flagstaff, Ahwatukee, Chandler and Tempe. In all, 24 with all five children and their
spouses, 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Don, known by most as
GrandDad, is the last of a breed-an American cowboy. Raised on a cattle ranch in
Colorado, he still rises at dawn ready to take on the day and his “chores”. His
kindness to women, children and animals and devotion to his country are his
admirable traits. As head of the clan, he is a great role model for all the men in our
family and we feel so fortunate to have him with us—and healthy! I might add that
everyone in the family was on their best behavior—let’s face it. Get that many
personalities together and we are as dysfunctional as the next group—but we love
each other in spite of it…I think.
On the book front, I attended a Pitchfest in New York City sponsored by my
publisher’s parent company, Author Solutions. Over 100 authors gathered at the
Marriott Marquis in the heart of Times Square (totally awesome) and pitched our
stories to Hollywood reps with hopes of optioning a movie or TV show. The
morning workshop prepared us for the pitch. Great pitch training was offered by
Bob Kosberg who is known as King of the Pitch. Then a practice session where we
tried to create an interest in our book in a mere 2 minutes! Yes, two minutes to sell
our concept. I pitched to ten reps (they seem soooo young). They seemed receptive,
but official results and feedback will arrive in two weeks. Stay tuned.
Regardless of the outcome, it was such a valuable and inspiring experience. Met
authors from age 11 (yes) to age 91 (and I thought I would be the oldest at 74). One
author was a NYC fireman who survived the 9/11 attack at the World Trade Center
although his firehouse (#10) suffered the highest casualties. Many other people
wrote memoirs that were touching—including a lady who was thrown off a Nazi
train headed to Auschwitz in WWII.
We traveled with another couple so had a few days to take in the sights. A boat city
cruise on the Hudson. We saw the spot where Capt. Sulley landed his plane and just
missed the filming of it with Tom Cruise as Captain. We saw a Broadway play
(Hamilton), visited Ellis Island and the 9/11 Museum and Freedom Tower. Our
“whisper” tour was conducted by a 25-year old who was in 6th grade at the time of
the attack and one of his classmates was on the doomed plane headed to California.
His friend had won a science competition and was going to compete on the national
level. A somber experience needless to say, yet it created a fierce pride in our
country for resilience and determination to re-build a tribute to honor the fallen.
Every American should have the opportunity to visit this site.
My writing goal this month is to continue to build my platform which in today’s
world is evidently essential (website, blog and press releases). But more
importantly, I want to begin the sequel to I’ll Always Be With You. I had not intended
to do one, but if you have read the book (no plot spoilers) you know there are some
issues to be resolved at the end and many readers have asked for a conclusion. I am
touched beyond words when they say they love the characters and want to spend
more time with them. I realize I love them too.
I have started a word doc with scene ideas. I have the last scene firmly in my
mind—all I need now is a beginning and a middle. I often wake in the middle of the
night and run to the computer to capture an idea before it disappears. Some writers
keep a notebook by their bedside. I tried that but found in the morning I couldn’t
read what I wrote.
Books I have read since the last newsletter: My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You
She’s Sorry, After You, by JoJo Moyes (sequel to Me Before You). A great story and a
good text book example of how to write a sequel, Making Rounds with Oscar, a true
story by Dr. Dosa, who specializes in dementia patients. The cat at the nursing home
has the uncanny ability of knowing who is going to pass and spends the day on their
bed. Fascinating and touching. The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman. An
excellent read. Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands by Chris Bohjalian. I think one of his
I’m traveling to Santa Clara, California at the end of the month to trick-or-treat with
my six-year old granddaughter and see her school costume parade. There’s nothing
like little goblins, witches and princesses (last year we counted 47 Frozen costumes)
to get one in the true spirit of Halloween.
I close with gratitude-for family, friends, health and our beautiful America.