Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fiorella's Literary Identity

Who the heck does Fiorella write like? Fiorella sent the first two chapters of Kinkaid House out to RWA members willing to speculate, and the votes are starting to come in.

Friend Janece nominates Grace Metalious of Peyton Place fame, plus Sandra Brown and Tami Hoag, in romance rather than mystery mode.  Friend Vivien, who said KH feels like small-town, but not sweet-tea-and-mint, suggests a cross between a Lifetime movie and Twin Peaks.  "There's an edge here," she adds. "There's that lingering sense that a lot of dark is going on under the surface."  To which Fio replies, "You bet your booty!"

Anyone else want to check out the first two chapters?

Friday, November 29, 2013


Whenever Fiorella's daily meditation seems a bit off, you can bet she wrote it during the evening hours, when her confidence is high but her brain is shutting down for the night. Your Fio writes better in the early morning--she always wakes up smarter than when she went to bed.  But her very best work is done behind the wheel, sailing down I-35. That's when her subconscious works out future blogs and the relationships in her romances.  Unfortunately, that isn't when she does her best driving.

And you've wondered why Fio always tries to catch a ride with friends.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

What a great year!  Austin Son married his sweetie, Minnesota Son's new knees have enabled him to ditch the scooter, Daughter's getting accolades at work, Husband is holding steady health-wise, and Fiorella has a publisher for her romance novel. To top it off, Sonia Dog has responded beautifully to her socialization training.

And Fiorella is grateful.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Fiorella learned four very important things at her first national RWA conference in 2008. First, she learned that she could navigate all by her lonesome within the conference, in a large hotel, and on the mean streets of San Francisco.  Second, she learned that there is no stereotypical romance writer--they come in all sizes, shapes, ages, colors--and sexes. Third, she learned that established writers (read Colleen Thompson and Terry McLaughlin) can be very kind to a newbie.  Fourth, as she learned, from the agent who stood in front of her in a Starbuck's line, a pattern of dieting for three days, then eating whatever one desires on the fourth, is an effective method of trimming down.

At the Orlando conference, she had a blinding Paul-on-the-way-to-Damascus revelation that, in order to get her work into print, she'd have to write not just as well as established authors, but strive for better.  She also learned to ignore other people's negativity.

At the New York conference, she realized that her overriding goal for the next year should be to GET AN AGENT.

At the Atlanta conference, she met face-to-face with said agent, the divine Liza, and also learned who were her true friends (read Colleen Thompson and April Sartor).

Next summer is the San Antonio conference.  More adventures to come.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Good Morning!

If your dog wakes you up an hour early by whining that she needs to go out.  If you let her take care of her business, then snuggle up on the couch to pick up that extra hour's sleep,  If it's cold outside and almost as cold inside.  If you haphazardly pull two throws over yourself, but your toes are peeking out.  Then be sure you have a sweet Sonia Dog who will lie on your feet and keep you warm.

Ummmmmm . . . .

Monday, November 25, 2013

Maternal Upkeep

Fiorella and Husband had a wonderful time at Austin Son's wedding, dined and danced at the reception afterwards, then drove home in the freezing cold..  Or rather, Minnesota son drove them home.  He and his wife have been godsends this week.  And Daughter and her husband were great too.  And Fio thanks God for Brother and wife, for Nephew and his wife, and also  his sons.

But Fiorella is the matriarch, the lead elephant who keeps the herd together.  When she is gone, who will pray for all of them?

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wedding Bells

Happy wedding day to Fio and family.  Austin Son is marrying a lovely young woman this afternoon with all due pomp and ceremony.  Then comes the reception, hosted by Bride's parents.  Friday night, Fio and husband took their turn, hosting the rehearsal dinner, after which Bride enjoyed a bachelorette party. Son's guy-party followed last night.

And we all wish Son and Bride a lifelong celebration.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Interior Decorating

Son and Daughter-in Law were very complimentary of the guest room which Fio had labored over for many an hour.  D-i-L commented on the POW of the new blue comforter and the remake of the headboard, which, as you will remember, Fio accomplished with a  hot glue gun, ten yards of gold edging from her left-overs drawer, and a foam board.  Son liked the desk and chair (thank you, IKEA) which Fio added for his benefit to the other side of the bed.  And both of them appreciated the extra room gained by moving the last of Austin Son's detritus out.

Fiorella is like Sonia.  Just pat her head and say nice things to her and she's happy.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Numbers Lady

Fiorella has a fascination with numbers. .

She noticed years ago that her three children were born exactly sixty-nine days apart from each other, and recently realized that there's a pattern to the addresses at which she has lived: 429, 2609, pause, 809, 4607, 11508, 9907, 141.  Three numerals, then four; starting over as a married woman with three, then four, then five, then relaxing to four, and three.

There's also the constant 1-10 counting she does in seven languages.

Must be her vampire heritage.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Eye and Ear

Fio has the eye and Husband has the ear.  She sees art everywhere while he hears music everywhere.  Husband not only has shelves full of jewel cases, but imitates every sound he hears--the bird chirping, the dog barking.

His mother, who came from a musical family, would do the same, which Fio found unnerving at the time, but now understands.  Just as Fio is constantly absorbing color, line, and composition, Husband is seeking to be one with the sounds of man and nature.

Interesting--at least to Fiorella.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taxed by Taxonomy

Fiorella has always been an all-over-the-map kinda gal.  Her first talent was art, but she also took to writing: essays, poetry, journalism, novels.  Turned out she had a good singing voice too, and she's always been language-mad.  To top it off, she can exert a certain charisma and is a good organizer. Yes, Fio is a platypus,  hard to classify.

And so are her novels, which is not to her advantage.

Wish her luck.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Greetings, friends and followers.  Fiorella is trying to figure out how Colin Sanger died.  Colin was an A-list movie star, and now that he's dead, Moira Farrar, his widow, is so far down Hollywood's alphabet list that she's had to hire out to Bosque Bend's fledgling civic theater group--where she runs up against strapping hunk Jon McAlister.  Need Fio say more?

But, back to the topic, how did Colin die?  Stabbed by a rabid fan? Auto-erotic accidental suicide? Overdose? Swiped by a low-flying 'copter?  Poison poured in his ear?  Ah, the possibilities are endless.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Listen Up, Hollywood

Now that Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Patrick Swayze have tapped on heaven's door, Hollywood needs another great hoofer.  How about that confrontational Russian guy on Dancing with the Stars?  The one that sorta looks like Howard Keel in his Taming of the Shrew movie.

Speaking of Howard Keel, we need more musicals too, lightweight ones that have you humming all the way home--"Singin' in the Rain," not "I Dreamed a Dream."

What Fiorella is saying is life is too short to wallow in its shortcomings. Fio may write dark, but she wants her own entertainment to be feather light.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Out of Control

Fiorella's mother had all her ducks in a row.  Her lawn was mowed and edged, her bushes trimmed, and her planting beds lush with flowers.  Her house was warm and welcoming, beautifully decorated, and immaculate.  Her life was secure and well-regulated.

Fiorella's landscaping is a mess, her house is a mess, and her life is a mess.  She's plotting to turn the west planting bed into a flagstone terrace to thwart the armadillos, but is at a loss for the north bed.  Even with an in-ground watering system, flowers are out of the question and the bushes have gone sparse and leggy.  Her home  is a lost cause inside too--too many of Fio's unfinished projects lying around, too much of Husband's stuff that he planned to take care of later.  And her literary career is uncertain at best.

Which is why Fiorella sits around brooding and eating chocolate ice cream.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Wedding Bells

A week from Sunday, Fiorella will become a mother-in-law for the third time. Her relationship with her own mother-in-law was a wee bit rocky at times so she tries extra hard to stay on good terms with her children's spice.  With Minnesota Son's lovely wife and Daughter's charming husband, it isn't hard, and Austin Son has made a similarly prize-winning choice.  We are  blessed.

Now to survive the festivities.  Fio is going crazy preparing for the rehearsal dinner.  Anyone want to lend a helping hand?

Friday, November 15, 2013


Fiorella thinks she's finally figured out Twitter: one makes an interesting or clever comment, but doesn't expect a response.  Facebook, on the other hand, is geared toward exciting multiple responses, in contrast to email, which is a private conversation.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Electronics Again

Two weeks without television.  I don't think that's ever happened before, even when we were on vacation.  Husband promises to get everything working over the weekend, though.  We'll see--or maybe not.
It's like we live in a snake house.  There are coils of black plastic cords all over the place. Fiorella  wants a computer system that requires neither a power cord nor a printer cord.
Son understands all about wiring up a television or a computer, but never learned to ride a bicycle.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Shop that Never Was

Four years ago, a little barracks-type cabin appeared on the side the road.  It billed itself as Transformations, apparently a beauty salon, but Fiorella never read any advertisements for it, never saw any cars there, and never heard anyone talking about it.  In fact, your fiction-writing Fio assured her family that Transformations  was a front for criminal activity--money laundering, human trafficking, drug distribution, or the like--and would soon be raided by our local gendarmes..

But the raid never occurred.  Nothing else ever happened with the little building either, except that the cheerful pink bushes planted around it died, one by one.  Now Transformations is for sale.

But there don't seem to be any takers.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bits and Pieces

It's autumn.  The bushes are blooming, the trees are losing their leaves, Fio's suncreen is thickening overnight in its tube, and the door between the bedroom and the bathroom is staying closed again.
For years, Fiorella thought the Boston Pops were all fathers--and she was shocked when she finally noticed women in their midst.
Fiorella inserts gold hoops in her earlobes every day because one of her Indian friends--Hemalatha Tirumurti?--told her that wearing earrings meant one was human.  And "human" is what Fio strives to pass for.


Monday, November 11, 2013

Back in the Saddle Again

Bounce-back Fio has done it again.  She's risen from the depths of despair to the heights of--well, not exactly euphoria, but her self-confidence is high.  Of course, it helps that the weather is cool, that she's been sleeping well, and that the holidays are just around the corner. But the major mover is that Fio's fought her way through the fog and and remembered who she is.

Fiorella will never "fit into" the pack.  It isn't her nature. The only person she writes like is herself, which means her romances are unique.  Thus Kinkaid House will either bomb like Nagasaki or move her to the top of the heap. Either way, she'll keep on writing.

Ride'em, cowboy!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

When a Young Buck's Fancy . . . .

The deer are leaping out of the bushes every time Fio turns around, which is why Sonia, our own eager Deerstalker, is not allowed to participate in Fio's daily double walks.  This evening's adventure was typical. As Fio walked down the north driveway, she heard rustling in the thicket to the right.  When she came back through a few minutes later, two deer flew across her path.  The second one had antlers so she can only assume the first one was a doe. Yes, rut is in full swing.

Saturday, November 9, 2013


If you put Fio in a box
And wrap it round with iron chain,
She'll find a way to break the locks--
And all your work will be in vain--
For Fio runs feral, never tame

Friday, November 8, 2013

Love Emerges from the Shadows

Eureka! Sorting through a box she had moved into her study eight years ago and never opened, Fiorella found a good part of the text of her very first novel, Love in the Shadows. She'd thought her maiden effort was forever lost to posterity because she accidentally threw away the nice, finished version of it in another, more recent,binge of housecleaning.

But maybe it would have been better left in the shadows.  Looking, back, Fio thinks the story was kindaa crappy.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Fiorella is shelving Lolly's story. The divine Liza says it won't fly because the hero is eleven years older than the heroine and their first sexual encounter is unusual--not kinky, but unusual.

Fio's a little gun-shy right now.  She's always written on the edge and is afraid she doesn't know how to pull back.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Got All That?

Fiorella took Sonia up the north driveway for her morning walk, holding the leash tightly and staying alert for deer since Doggie's bolted the leash twice already this week.  Spotted a pedestrian walking up from the dip at the south edge of the property and turned around before Sonia saw him, walking her back down the north drive again and going up the south drive.  No deer around, pedestrian was out of sight--whew!  Went around the road to the mouth of the north driveway, heading towards the house, and spotted a deer posed ten feet inside the park beside the drive.  Turned Sonia around again and walked her up the north drive to the street, crossed to the south driveway and got her back to the house without incident.

And Husband wonders why Fio always carries extra treats.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

To TV or Not to TV?

Until the television lost its sound, Fiorella never realized what a noisy environment she had been living in.  Not that she ever had the TV on during the day, but when Husband came home in the evening, the controllers got heavy usage.  Big Bang, NCIS, and, after Husband went to bed, House Hunters and Little Couple.  And if Fio was up late because she couldn't sleep, anything else that was on the tube was game.

It's different now.  Fio and Husband are talking more.  The house seems cozier--although that could be because of the autumnal darkness. Maybe we should can  the TV altogether.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Time Management

Timewise, Fiorella is always in a bind.  That's why she multi-tasks and counts her physical therapy reps in German (weights), Russian (plies), Spanish (angel wings), French (windmills), Telugu (back tighteners), and Latin (head presses).  That's why, when she's exhausted and needs to trudge up to bed every night, she makes a sidestop in her once-and-future study to search through yet another pile of papers to try to find that business contract she's scouring the house for.  That's why she's glad the TV has lost its sound and been off for a week.

Fio didn't realize it, but TV is a major time suck.  Sure, it relaxes her to watch Big Bang Theory reruns, Little Couple firsties, and increasingly stupid House Hunters, but she also gets drawn into other shows, like an episode of Father Brown she caught a couple of weeks ago, or stray performances on America's Got Talent. 

Maybe the TV sound will stay off forever.  After a minor withdrawal period, Fio doesn't miss it--she can play old BBT episodes in her head as she works on Lolly's story, which has progressed quite well this week. After all, aside from catering to Sonia Dog's every whimper and whim, aside from gathering poems for her new Kinko's booklet, aside from searching for appropriate Christmas gifts, aside from preparing to teach a poetry class at the Georgetown library, aside from tending to the family business, aside from whipping her study into shape, aside from contacting McHandyman to repair the balcony door and re-weatherstrip the house, aside from preparing for Austin son's wedding, aside from taking care of the house, what else does she have to do?


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Post It

Come breakfast time I always eat
A bowl of spoon-size shredded wheat
And sometimes when I'm up at night
And need a snack, I'll take a bite--
Early or late, it's hard to beat
My wholesome, tasty, crunchy treat.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Race

A friend once commented that if anyone dropped a lit match in Fio's house, it would go up in flames.  Yes, your Fiorella is the world's leading consumer of paper.  She has drawers, shoe boxes, cartons, bookshelves, and filing cabinets stuffed pell-mell full of everything she's ever written from grade school on. If she hadn't established this blog, she would have had yet another six years' cache of stories, poems, random thoughts, observations, and musical compositions waiting to catch fire. .

But now she's trying to get more organized.  First on the list is gathering together all her personally-oriented poems and hauling them off to Kinko's to make into a booklet or two--or three--or fifty.  Here's a sample titled "The Race."  Remember, Fiorella's novels are fiction, but her poems are true.

I stumble, I falter, I fail, I fall
Before the race is done
My heart, my joy, my life is in
The glory of the run

It's all in the effort.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween Treats

Fiorella's favorite Halloween identity was that of  a majorette gypsy.  She started with the gypsy costume (complete with gold canning ring earrings and a colorful headscarf) that her mother had concocted, then rolled up the wooly tops of her house slippers so they looked like boots.  The heavy baton she used in second grade majorette practice completed the outfit.  Don't knock it--Fio won first place in the girls' division of the playground costume contest and still has the newspaper photo to prove it.
Fio's been noticing a trend toward extending Halloween lately.  Instead of keeping their All Hallow's Eve identities secret until The Day, kids wear their costumes everywhere and about for the preceding week, and adults are following right behind.  It's a little unnerving to have your groceries checked out by a hollow-eyed zombie.
Every year, Fio and Husband buy bags of their favorite candies--Milky Ways and Snickers--to give out to Halloween beggars.  Every year they have several bags left over.  But not for long.