Saturday, February 28, 2015

Pressure Time

Please pardon Fio if her blogs have been a little strange lately.  She's supposed to have her second book in to her editor by Monday, and she's very stressed out about it--writing twelve hours a day does that to you.  On the other hand, she's learned that she CAN write for twelve hours a day, that she really doesn't need a bath as often as she'd thought, and that it doesn't hurt to leave Christmas decorations up through February.

And she's lost five pounds to boot.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Necessities of Life

Most of the necessities of life are dangerous in excess. Think about the water we drink every day-- Fiorella probably more than most. In excess, it is a flood or a tsunami.  Think about fire, necessary for us to cook our food and warm out homes.  In excess, it will consume a forest--and us. What about food--in excess, it ruins our health.

But we can never have too much love.

Thursday, February 26, 2015


Fiorella's mother grew up in a house that was dominated by her father's alcoholism so Fiorella grew up in a house that was alcohol-free.

But she was fascinated by the concept of drinking.  Not like the drinking her grandfather engaged in, but like the sophisticated people on television and in the movies who had a beer with friends or sipped a glass of wine before dinner or carried around a cocktail at a toney parties.

Fio had her chance when she was eighteen and departed stone-sober Waco for the more mellow halls of The University of Texas.  She drank on dates and at parties.  She even got drunk a few times.  But she never liked the taste.  Finally she quite trying.

Make Fio's water.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Truth to Tell

I am a writer. I work on my novel from noon till midnight every day. My Christmas decorations have yet to be packed away.  I have no idea what is going on in world news. My upstairs office is littered with notes and discarded pages, and my downstairs office is piled with the same. My husband has been doing the grocery shopping for the last month.  I haven't even been outside for three days.

This is not the way Hollywood told me it would be.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Jase drove slowly down the road, searching for his old home.  
He knew twilight was a great equalizer, but the neighborhood sure looked a lot better  than it had ten years go when he'd come back to town after Growler drowned in the Bosque River after a night of heavy drinking.  In fact, it looked downright respectable--without a single junk pile, broken-down car or scavenging dog pack in sight,  
Thank God that Lolly would never know the squalor he'd grown up in.  "Poor but honest" was the picture he'd always painted of his family--he'd sugar-coated his childhood and said squat about why he'd left town.
His high beam cut across the front of the house as he turned into the drive, but there was no forlorn teenager sitting on the front steps. 
His mouth went dry and his chest tightened.  
What if . . .
No, he refused to go down that road.  He was Lolly’s father.  He’d know if something had happened to her--wouldn’t he?
He ran his eyes over the shadowed porch again
Goddamn--where was she?  If she wasn't at Kinkaid House, she had to be here.
He backed the Cadillac into the driveway--if there was an emergency, he needed to be able to haul ass.  Easing himself out of the car, he leaned against the side of it for a long moment, gazing into the sky and trying to be logical while his heart raced like the Indianapolis 500.  .
Maybe she'd found a way to get into the house. Girl Child had been an expert at picking locks ever since she was two, when she'd shrieked "Me do it!" and unbuckled her own carseat belt, which, of course, meant he had to spend half the night on the internet, searching for a tamperproof model.   Truth be told, he was proud of her willfulness, even encouraged it,  As far as he was concerned, it was a survival trait.
But there was a big difference between a willful toddler unlocking her seat belt and a willful fifteen-year-old taking off down I-35 on her own.
And, oh God, I love her so much.
He shoved off the  had to car and walked up onto the porch, took one last look around, and flipped on the lights.
His voice echoed in the empty house.
Maybe she hadn't heard him.
No answer.
He made a swift search of every room, opening every closet, then checked out back.
A chill crept over him.
He walked into his old room at the front of the house, raised the blind on the lone window, and looked up at the evening star--the wishing star, as Aunt Maxie called it--and wished his daughter to miraculously appear.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Hill Country Update

We must have had a local politico move into our rural paradise. All of a sudden our narrow, two-lane road has been repaired and repaved.  What's next--a yellow stripe down the middle?
The deer have gotten desperate enough to chew on the pansies in the urns outside the front door.  We never have found a totally deer-proof flower.  They'll even eat salvia if the mood strikes them.
Whatever the weather is in Austin, it's cooler here--thank you, God.  But winter is nearly over, which makes Fiorella sad.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Annihilating Rats

The first thing Fiorella does when she comes downstairs every morning is attend to the rat-killin', the electronic necessities that have to be be dealt with before she can embark on the grand scheme of the day.  She starts with Google news, moves on to Blogspot to be sure her entry printed and is semi-coherent, lingers on Facebook to catch up with raves, ranks, and her own timeline, and then spends a fair amount of time on email.

And the reason she used the term "rat killin'" is that she's practicing it for dialogue in WHERE THE HEART LEADS.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Overnight Enlightenment

Husband knows it's going to be a busy day when Fiorella comes down the stairs in the morning with two pages of notes in her hand.  Yes, Fio keeps a pad of paper on the bathroom counter so that as soon as she wakes up, she can record whatever has boiled up out of her subconscious. The topics cover everything from her house to her book to her philosophical ruminations about the universe.

They also cover her blogs . . . like this one.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Extrovert Euphoria

You probably read it on Facebook, but Fiorella is hyper, hyper, hyper!  She was the guest writer at an arts showing in Taylor (just down the road from Georgetown), the people she talked to were delightful, and she sold six books!

Maybe she'll make the bestseller list yet!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Post-Ash Wednesday Contemplation

If Jesus visited Fiorella's house today, she'd probably be in the kitchen helping Martha prepare the meal.  Fio understands that the parable is about priorities, but she's a doer, and there's no way she'd let someone else get stuck with all the work.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fio Confesses

All the aspects of Fiorella come out in her heroines.  Laurel plays the piano.  Lolly plays tennis. Moira is an actress.   Sigrid is an investigative reporter.  Ann is an artist.  Tally's vampire heritage is Eastern European.

Of course, Fio is not up to Laurel's level musically, she hasn't played tennis since junior high, her acting career was amateur, she couldn't make a go of journalism or art, and she has an admixture of German and English that would make her ineligible for vampirehood.

But this writing stuff is going great guns!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Salute to "Find"

Oh what would I do without Find, Replace, Go-to?
I'd lose my words and confuse my view,
I'd lose my characters and my page,
And couldn't change anyone's parentage.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Reflections of a Writer

Fiction is fictional.  Eloquence abounds--characters never stutter, repeat themselves, or are at a loss for the right word unless it suits the plot. No unnecessary characters clog up the works. And everything in the story ultimately makes sense.
Late at night, when Husband and Dog have gone to bed, is when Fio prowls around Amazon, peeping at first chapters of other authors' books, trying to figure out how many they've sold, and deciding she is an absolute failure.
Fio plowed through her first eight chapters yesterday, nipping and tucking and adjusting and un-adjusting, trying to make sure the story worked.  Today she'll go through eight more chapters, but more slowly because the writing gets rougher as she goes on.  Then there are the ten thousand words she has yet to write before March 1.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Metaphysical Speculation

As Fiorella slaves away on WHERE THE HEART LEADS, she wonders if the story is purely the product of her own fevered imagination, or if it actually exists somewhere in the universe. Has Fio somehow tuned into someone else's life?

What about her other manuscripts, like the story about the Minnesota investigative reporter teaming up with her ex again.  How about the art teacher and her marriage of convenience to the jaded entrepreneur with two failed marriages behind him.  And the accidental vampire.  And Lolly's story, which Fio's agent and editor didn't like.  And Carmen's story, which is coming to Fio in bits and pieces as she revises Moira's story.

And if so, is someone out there channeling Fiorella and writing her story?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Holiday Greeting

All I have to say
Is Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Positive Posts

It's been raining every time Fiorella has stopped by BookSpot lately.  Wonder how much the Central Texas water table would rise if she visited daily?
Every time Fio accomplishes something that seemed impossible, she thinks "I can do better next time."
Fiorella ordered more of her books a couple of days ago and was told they wouldn't come for two  weeks, but they arrived yesterday.  HOORAY!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fixer-Upper Downer

Fio's tried out Fixer-Upper on HGTV and doesn't like it.

She thought she would--it's set in Waco, where Fiorella grew up, and she even recognizes some of the locations.  And the premise is interesting--Chip, a contractor type, and his wife, Joanna, a decorator type, give prospective homeowners their choice of three down-and-out houses, then renovate the winner.

The only problem--aside from Fio being tired of the "choice of three" format--is that the renovated houses all end up looking the same.  And, well, also that Chip and Joanna's relationship is downright irritating.  There's something about her humorless intensity and his country-boy goofiness that doesn't add up.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Renaming Bart

Fiorella woke up late, but she woke up running.  As she dressed and fixed her hair, she mulled over a new name for one of her minor characters in WHERE THE HEART LEADS.  She'd already come to the conclusion that "Bart" wouldn't work because it sounded too much like the name of another minor character, Buck, and the two guys were now in close proximity.

Fio ran over names by going through the alphabet and trying to remember which initial letters had already been used--or overused--in the book so far.  Also, she was looking for one-syllable names . . . but why?  Why have Fiorella's masculine names always been one syllable?

To make a long story short, Bart is now Sammy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Good Times

Clear the runways!  Fiorella is appearing at book signings, and she's on her game again.  Just give her an audience, and she turns into Kathy Griffin. Yeah, the funny stories keep tumbling out of her. Sorry--it's her view of life.


Monday, February 9, 2015

Big Bang

Why does Fiorella like Big Bang Theory?  Because there are no repercussions, and everyone ends up a winner.

The characters say horribly funny things to each other that would end any normal relationship in a second, but still they stick together.  And look at how they've advanced in their careers and personal lives since the show began.  Howard became an astronaut and married Bernadette.  Sheldon discovered another element and picked up a girlfriend. Raj was named named someone to watch by People Magazine and also has a girlfriend.  Leonard was chosen for a North Sea expedition and, best of all, is engaged to Penny.

And the girls are doing well too.  Amy is a neurobiologist, Bernadette is a microbiologist, and Penny has finally ditched the Cheesecake Factory and has found her own success in pharmaceutical sales.

This is how real life should be. No big tragedies, no money problems, just up, up, and away!

Sunday, February 8, 2015


Last night, Fiorella's sleeping--but unforgiving--brain walked her through every dumb thing she's ever said, every dumb decision she's ever made, and every dumb thing she's ever done.

She's cut her own throat so many times.  Why, why, why?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Crowded Life

Fio is making a list of the things she wants to do once she turns the book in.  Like walking the dog again, like getting a photofacial, a perm, and highlighting.  Like working a jigsaw puzzle, fixing up her so-called office, shopping for new shoes.  Like painting a little.

Like starting on a new book.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Clearing and Cleaning

Fiorella is doing her best to lighten the load around the house.  She's asking the kids to retrieve their belongings, donating clothes to Caring Place that she will never fit into again, and--horror of horror--THROWING THINGS AWAY!

Fio confesses that she is something of  a pack rat.  Mostly she keeps everything that might be of use at some later date in an art project. She also stores everything she's ever written, no matter how small the scrap. And, being the sentimental type, she treasures every gift anyone has ever given her.

But the time has come (the walrus said), to clear out and clean out.  Today, Fio and Husband stuffed a dismembered futon into the trash can, a futon that Fio had kept for years in the vain hope she'd have the time to make a giant sandwich pillow out of it.  Now she's eyeing the collection of cardboard rolls she's collected in the workroom.  Surely some elementary school art teacher could make better use of them than Fio.

And the footprint of Casa Fiorella gets lighter and lighter.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Three's the Charm

Your faithful correspondent had two fabulous, totally unrelated ideas this morning--inventing a miniature hot water bottle that can fit across the nose and posting good lines from WHAT THE HEART WANTS on Facebook. Yes, Fio had a sinus headache, and she's concerned about book promotion.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Fiorella is fascinated by reports of Neanderthals, Denisovans, Floresians and whatever other human species are out there.  One thing she'd missed, though is the discovery that ALL modern non-Africans have a pinch of Neanderthal in them.  Interesting.   So, that means that Africans are the only pure-bred homo sapiens.


At a recent signing, a member of the audience asked why romance heroines were always under the age of forty.  Author Sherry Thomas said that in years past they used to be even younger, usually in their teens or early twenties, so they could be believable virgins.  Jax Gaffen added that a sociological study had found that most older women still identify with their younger selves.

All of which got Fiorella thinking about her own experience with self-identification. As an adult, she still identifies with herself as a child, but as child, she often identified with herself as an adult. From fourth grade on, all of her daydreams involved romances--very adult situations.


Fiorella is overwhelmed--the book, the taxes, the house, a family business, packing away Christmas, a million other responsibilities.  She stays up late every night and works without ceasing through the day.

Have patience with her.  She's moving as fast as she can.

Monday, February 2, 2015


Fiorella is fascinated by the way we all try to find ways to control our lives.  Remember "Step on a crack/Break your mother's back?"  Fio realized it was dumb at the time, but still carefully avoided sidewalk cracks "just in case."  And now, as an adult, for no reason she can discern, she does not want any sharp instrument pointed at her.

Then there are the classic, like throwing spilled salt over your left shoulder.  And most of us are concerned that they might maybe jinx ourselves by talking about positive possibilities as if they were certainties.

The list is endless.  And we call ourselves modern and enlightened.

But be careful--there's a Friday the Thirteenth this month.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tile Styles

Fiorella doesn't remember the kitchen backsplashes of her youth, but her current kitchen has one--although its small black tiles would be considered "dated" by HGTV's finicky House Hunters.  The current de rigeur is still small tiles, but set in abstract designs,

No, wait!  There's a new trend a-comin' 'round the bend!  Twice already, Fio's spotted the use of larger, Mexican-style tiles, set edge on edge so there's no grout between them to get nasty.

Now, about those bathroom showers that are total "gut jobs" unless they have a contrasting horizontal band of small tiles around the wall . . . .