Thursday, July 31, 2014

Warning Label

Never leave Fiorella to her own devices. The most frightening words you can hear Fiorella say are "I'm bored."  No one can predict what she will do next.

And neither can she.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Fifth Time, the Charm

Fiorella has attended five National Romance Writers of America annual conferences, and she's learned something from each one.  At her first conference, she learned that romance writers are not uniform, that they come in all sizes, shapes, colors, and ages.  At her second one, she realized that she would have to stand out from the crowd in order to be published.  At her third conference, she realized that winning contests was not enough, that she had to get herself an agent.  At her fourth conference, she learned that she was strong enough to deal with a bad situation.  At her fifth conference, the one she went to last week, she learned that she needed to write faster.

She also learned that she could have a good time at a conference.  See ya in New York next year!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stroll in the Sun

Fiorella will readily admit she is geographically challenged, but staggering up and down the mean streets of San Antonio in 100+ weather on her first day at the National Romance Writers of America annual conference was scary.  She had left the conference hotel with friends, gone across the street, and turned down this way and that (Fio doesn't pay attention to where she's going when she's talking).  After they all finished eating, two of her friends walked back to the conference hotel while Fio and another woman stayed at the table.  When the other woman left to visit with friends, Fio, all on her lonesome, started her trek back to her hotel. . . and couldn't find it.

So she walked around, trying other routes. The sun was hot, and she was thirsty, and she was tired.  But still she soldiered on.  What is a little dehydration and disorientation to the mighty Fiorella?  Twice she went into RiverCenter hotel instead of RiverWalk and tried to get the elevator to take her up to her sixth floor room.  And twice a nice hotel employee told her she was in the wrong hotel. The second time around, he gently took her arm and escorted her out of RiverCenter, across the street, down the side of the river, into RiverWalk, and made sure she got on the correct elevator.

Thank you, Eleazar Garza.

Monday, July 28, 2014

My Husband, My Hero

Husband truly does love Fiorella.  When she came home from Conference, the house was sparkling.  Fio's packing-up mess had been taken care of, the floors were swept, the newspapers were waiting for her in a neat stack, the bedroom had been straightened up, vanilla ice creams was waiting in the freezer, and the dog was happy--although Husband had taken her on THREE walks a day, thus raising canine expectations of Fio.

Fiorella has crossed into an alternative universe, and she loves it--the conference was wonderful, and coming home was even more wonderful.

You'll hear more to come about the conference this week, but you'll hear about Husband forever.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Hold Yer Hosses, Podnuh!

It's Sunday and the rodeo is all closed down.  Fio is saddlin' up, podnuh, and a-comin' home. She'll write more when she gets back to Georgetown.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Passionate Parody

This is a little satire of one of Fio's unsold (but prize-winning) romances.

“Oh, golly gee willikers, Mik.  Fancy running into you out here on a street island asking for God’s blessing.  Come home with me and I’ll fix you up some hot chocolate and cookies.”
“What a sweetheart you are, Sigrid.  I’m sorry I shocked you so much by guzzling so much milk that you divorced me.”
“Thank nothing of it, honey.  I forgive you. Besides, caring person that I am, I regularly pick up stray dogs, feral cats, and dirty, dangerous-looking men.  In fact, last week—uh, never mind.”
“By the way, have I mentioned that I’m now a best-selling author, making at least ten times your salary?  And that I want to explore us getting back together again?”
“Ooh, Moneybags--I mean Mik.  I love you all over again, and not because of you’re rich
and famous, of course, heh-heh, but because of our new relationship: no conflict, no personalities, no drama.” 
            “Right on, babe.  No conflict, no personalities, no drama.  In fact, we’re dull as dishwater.  No story here!”


Friday, July 25, 2014


As a child, Fiorella watched a lot of old westerns on television so when she was in the third grade, a newcomer to North Waco Elementary School, she told the other students on the playground that the small chunk of chocolate her mother put in her Dale Evans lunch box each day was tobacco, and that she was biting off a chaw of it,  Enough students believed her--or thought she was crazy because they recognized the substance as chocolate--that they gave her wide berth.

And Fiorella wondered why she couldn't make friends.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

RWA Conference

A-travelin' I will go
To San Antonio
No time for Alamo
But workshops every day
And evenings spent in play
See and listen and hear and look
And sell the hell outa my new book


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Striving for Organization

Fiorella is going crazy(er) with her lists.  There's her list of the cell numbers of RWA chapter members, the list of parties she's invited to, the list of people she wants to meet up with, the list of clothes she will take with her, the list of her meds, the list of workshops she hopes to attend, the list of things she needs to do before she leaves, the list she plans to make for husband to do while she's gone.

There's no punch line to this entry.  It's just another list.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Chocolate, My Friend

Being as that Fio doesn't drink tea or coffee, chocolate is her only source of caffeine, and she had her fill of it last week during her prolonged birthday celebration.  In fact, the chocolate dessert she had when being treated by Brother and his wife had her doing everything but swinging from the rafters.  And when she got home at about 8:00, she still had the time and the ENERGY to take Sonya on her twice around walk on the 1-o-n-g driveway. Then she stayed up till midnight writing, writing, writing.

If chocolate isn't  one of the major food groups, it darn well should be.

Monday, July 21, 2014


Fiorella had a week-long birthday celebration--Facebook and RWA congratulations, Minnesota son and wife calling, Husband taking her out to Fish Daddy's on her actual birthday, friend Paula treating her to breakfast at Dan's, the pastor leading the small Wednesday noon congregation in singing Happy Birthday to her, Friend Sharon taking her out to Dan's for an afternoon hamburger, Brother and his wife taking her out for dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse on Saturday evening, her Austin children treating her to cake and ice cream on Sunday afternoon.

The happiest birthday week ever!

Sunday, July 20, 2014


We all live in our own individual bubbles, the safe little worlds of the belief systems that govern the content and mechanics of our existence--the identification of friends, our assumed safety, our prospects.  And time after time, the skins of our bubbles are rent by the unexpected. Nothing daunted, we cobble together the slashes in our imaginary worlds, but the scar remains.

Fiorella thought she had healed from last summer, but a comment on FB caught her by surprise and reopened the wound.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Downed Flights

Does somebody have it in for Malaysia?  First we had the passenger plane that dived into the Indian Ocean, and now the passenger plane that got shot down in Ukraine by Russian rebels.

Fiorella mourns all those lost--drowned in the ocean or exploded in mid-air--but the latter event was especially heinous.  The first plane might have had a mechanical or electronic malfunction, but the second was targeted by angry men who wanted to show off their new toy.

Fiorella doesn't like catastrophe of any kind..  She doesn't want anyone anywhere to get hurt--on purpose or by accident.

We need to take better care of each other.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Consider . . . .

From Jean de Crevecoeur's "Letters from an American Farmer" regarding the American scene:

"... It is not composed, as in Europe, of great lords, who possess everything, and of a herd of people who have nothing.  Here are no aristocratical families, not courts, no kings, no bishop, no ecclesiastical domination, no invisible power giving to a few a very visible one, no great manufacturers employing thousands, no great refinements of luxury. . . . [They are] united by the silken bands of mild government, all respecting the laws without dreading their power, because they are equitable. . . . There is a mixture of English, Scotch, Irish, French, Dutch, Germans, and Swedes. From this promiscuous breed, that race now called Americans have arisen. . . . .  In this great asylum, the poor of Europe have by some means met together. . . . Alas, two thirds of them had no country. . . .  Everything has tended to regenerate them; new laws, a new mode of living, a new social system . . . .  The laws, stamping on them the symbol of adoption. . . .


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Moving On

Fiorella's lives a life of "what ifs," most of which  have never materialized. Instead, good and bad have come at her out of the blue, especially the bad.

Every person has his/her own tragedies.  Every family has its tragedies.  All we can do is cope. And that's what Fiorella writes about in her romances--people who cope, who triumph over tragic events in their lives.

As she hopes she herself can do.  

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Late NIghts

Ah, for the leisurely life of the writer--or the leisurely life Fiorella THOUGHT writers had. Now that she's about to become a professional on the national level, she's staying up way too late with a laptop across her knees.

Your Fio has been a professional writer for a long time, penning news stories and features for local newspapers and magazines who paid her a mere pittance for her labors.  Now she hopes to crash the big-money scene.

If she can stay awake.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

BD Joy

Happy birthday to me
I'm as happy as can be
My first book, as you'll remember,
Is coming out, yes, this September

Monday, July 14, 2014

Restless Fio Syndrome

Fiorella has always known that she is different, but sometimes she forgets--until a situation jolts her into awareness, a situation like a long, boring meeting.

Most people will sit back, relax, and let their minds go blotto, but not Fio.  Her brain remains busy--looking, listening, thinking, planning.  Then, after a while, she will start to move--wiggling her feet, flexing her hands, rotating her head, stretching her body.  She will even fish in her purse and whisper clever comments to the people around her. Stage three is reached when she starts feeling like she can't breathe because the air is stale--everybody else is inhaling HER air!

Behavioral, genetic--who cares.  Fio has to live with it.  Unfortunately, so does everyone else.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Current Events

Call Fiorella hard-hearted, even cold-blooded, but why do police try to talk a murderer out of suicide?  Why waste time and, ultimately, LOTS of money on a person who has done the unthinkable? Let him be his own executioner.  It's a fitting end.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Chocolate to the Rescue

Pardon Fio if she's a bit jumpy.  She'd been having a horrible time getting the beginning of chapter six to shape up so she finally gave in and bought herself a bag of chocolate kisses.  Yes, your Fiorella, who doesn't drink coffee, has a caffeine deficiency.

And those little lumps of kiss-shaped calories worked.  Fiorella's brain swung into hyperdrive and she went through the first five pages of the chapter again and again until they made sense.  Now for the middle five pages.  Maybe Fio can finish off the last five pages over the weekend--if she keeps herself high on chocolate.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Another Step Along the Way

Fiorella really does have a publicist!  Her name is Fareeda Bullert and she's sent Fio a list of what she's going to be doing to publicize WHAT THE HEART WANTS.  (1) Fio's book will be ballyhooed on her publisher's mailings to consumers, bloggers, and reviewers. (2) Fareeda will also make galleys available to reviewers, provide excerpts and giveaways to certain bloggers, track and schedule review coverage, and provide copies to bloggers and readers.

Now Fio has to figure out what she can do to market the book. One thing for sure, according to the statistics regarding who is reading this blog, WHAT THE HEART WANTS should sell well in Russia.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

In Hot Water

Just in time for the national RWA conference at which Fiorella wants to prance around like a prize pony, her left foot--to be precise, the TOP of her left foot for about three inches above the toes--is giving her holy hell.  She's tried consulting Dr. Google, but hasn't gotten a clear diagnosis. Husband made her an ice pack, which didn't work, so Fio fixed herself a steaming hot water bottle.  If it doesn't work, she'll be setting up an appointment with her PCP.  If it does work, she's in a bind--how can she strut her stuff at the conference with a hot water bottle strapped to the top of her left foot?

Oops, Fio just accidentally burned herself with the hot water bottle.  At this rate, she'll end up going to the conference in a full body cast.  BUT SHE WILL GO!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Back to the future:
In days of yore, older women wore dresses and younger women reveled in unisex pants.  Now older women are still wearing those pants and younger women have rediscovered dresses.
Book cover illustrations:
If heroes start shaving their faces again, will they be allowed to stop shaving theirs chests (and further down?)
Most neighborhoods that realtors call up-and-coming would be better described as down-and-out.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Red + yellow = orange
Blue + yellow =  green
Blue + red =  purple

Red + blue + yellow = brown

Purple + yellow = brown
Red + green = brown
Orange + blue = brown

Monday, July 7, 2014


Fiorella spends most of her time typing away on her laptop.  She is a member of four different writing groups--Romance Writers of America, San Gabriel Writers' League, Endor, and Far North.  All the friends with whom she lunches are either writers or beta readers.  When she meets new people, she tells them about her soon-to-be-published book.

Is there a pattern here?

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Why is Fiorella always so busy, with a continuing list of commitments and responsibilities?  Why aren't other people trapped in this web of constant activity?  What is their secret--elves, fairies, magic wands?  Where are Fiorella's little helpers?

Well, so much for the gritching.  Got to get back to work, which means finishing my laundry and sending out a chapter of one of my unsold masterpieces for critiquing.  But maybe those two are one and the same.

Saturday, July 5, 2014


Daughter and Austin Son&Wife, complete with food and fireworks, came over to spend the evening of Fourth of July with us.  It was a classic family scene--Norman Rockwell to the core.  Fio went maudlin.  This is the sort of family get-together she has always dreamed of, but has only recently begun to happen.

God is good.

Friday, July 4, 2014


Fiorella is ashamed of the way Murietta treated the refugees from South America. It's unkind and un-Christian--and so many of the hopeful immigrants are children who have made this terrible journey unaccompanied. Fio understands that the United States cannot continue to absorb great floods of people, but it can certainly afford to treat them humanely while they are here.

And shame on the countries from which these people have fled. Their leaders revile us at the same time their people flock across our borders. Instead, these countries should emulate us. We are't perfect--witness Murietta--but we try.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Happy times are here again!  Fiorella is working with Friend Cheryl on her website, and Editor Michele has sent Fio copies of her tentative covers.  Both the website and the covers will have Fio's name in BIG LETTERS across the top, which gives Fio's ever-flagging ego a tremendous boost.


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Marching On

Fiorella is a well-meaning soul, but she's said and done some of the dumbest things imaginable, and at random times, voices of the past echo in her brain, assaulting her, accusing her, deriding her.  But there's nothing Fio can do to heal the past so she forges on, resigned to the fact that she's going to say dumb things and do dumb things in the future too. That's Fio.  Forgive her.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Why, Why, Why?

Fiorella is very upset about the callous murder of those three schoolboys coming home from religious school in Israel.  It was a heartless, deliberate provocation, and Fio's first reaction is DRONE PALESTINE TO CINDERS--which very well may happen because one of the boys was an American citizen.

But why, why, why?  Why this obsession with death and destruction?  Why not live in peace with Israel?  Why not live by the law instead of the sword?  And don't tell Fiorella it's because of Islam. That's just a excuse, like when Christians killed Muslims in Bosnia, and when Catholics and Protestants had at it in Ireland.

Why does anyone anywhere want to behave like this?