A Signature Color

Yellow is my favorite color. It’s cheery, sunshiny, and brings warmth. It’s a happy color. Decorating with yellow promotes a cheerful atmosphere. When playing a board game, keep your hands off the yellow token; that one is mine.

However, I chose pink for my signature color when I started writing my books. Pink is lovely. That’s it in a nutshell for me. Pink is lovely.

But I also think pink oozes from my soul. I’m a romantic at heart. Pink makes me want to kiss someone. Pink is sweet and romantic. I prefer pink roses over yellow or red.

I loved writing my Susan Hunter books. It was wonderful to put myself in Susan’s shoes as I wrote and envisioned myself in the love affair she had with Mick. I think the storytelling felt more real because of it. Every book felt pink to me.

In my life, I happily embrace pink. My wallet is pink. My new white computer has a pink keyboard and mouse. The setup is lovely! My mp3 player is pink. My earbuds are pink. Remember how I was going to the library to write? Ha! I gave up on that and started checking into a Mariott for a day or two at a time to write … and my suitcase is pink. I have a double-breasted jacket in pink I can’t wait to wear this spring. With the weight loss, it might be too big. I don’t care. I think it will still look lovely.

Do you have a signature color? Is it different from your favorite color? If so, how did you choose it?

I love my pink note cards from Modern Pink Paper!

Past Progressive (was + -ing)

Now that I’m beginning to write full time, I’m aware once again of my writing style. I’m a fan of past progressive (pp).

Editors are not fond of pp and are likely to send your manuscript back with loads of red ink, changing the verbs to more direct, sharper language. I have ugly, painful manuscript pages as proof.

Active verbs are crisper and move the story along quicker. I use active verbs all the time, but pp is prominent throughout my books – especially my Susan Hunter books. I find it to be a softer style of writing.

I consider my books to be light and breezy, and pp works for me.  I’ve had loads of reviews with the comment, “The book was an easy read.” I think the flow of pp gives my books that ease.

Here’s an example from my current work in progress: When I ended the call, Jackie was staring at me with eyebrows raised.

I know full well an editor would change that to: When I ended the call, Jackie stared at me with eyebrows raised. And maybe even: When I ended the call, Jackie stared at me, eyebrows raised.

However, in my wording, I envision Jackie already had her eyebrows up so far, they were hidden under her bangs and her eyes were popping out. (That’s actually pretty good. I might have to make a change in the story to reflect that.) The raised eyebrows had already happened during the call and were an ongoing action.

In the editor’s wording, it feels as though Jackie raised her eyebrows after the main character ended the call – and likely only slightly.

In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter, does it? They both work. But I am stubborn and want things my way.

I think I’m still a rebel when it comes to my overall style of writing. I haven’t completely given up exclamation points (although they have been tamed), and I check every instance of passive voice in my writing and decide to keep many (most) of them – because I like them and because I can.

What’s your writing style? Do you have rebel tendencies? Maybe I’ll do a future post on circular writing. I was “circling back” before it was a thing. And for the record, just because a book is an easy read doesn’t mean it was easy to write. 😊

A Civil Divorce

Civility during a divorce may be more common than I think, but it’s been my experience (through others) there is usually some contention before it’s over.

Several weeks ago, I began keeping a grateful journal. It felt like there were so many things going wrong in my life, I wanted to force myself to focus on the good things. Day after day, some things repeated themselves, and one of them was how grateful I was to Rich for his understanding – especially when I told him I was leaving – and for his compassion and kindness since.

Oh, I’m not saying there wasn’t some trauma in the first few weeks of discussion, or sadness still, but we have made some measure of peace with the details, and we are moving forward.

We aren’t even going the “divorce” route. We are in agreement with everything, so we have filed for a dissolution, which will go much quicker. I’ll still be here for a short while. My new living quarters are being remodeled, and I won’t be able to move in until the end of this month. That might be a blog post in itself.

Our son has asked how we can laugh so much if we are getting divorced. Probably because we both still act like we’re twelve years old, and laughter is better than tears. Plus, we’ve been friends throughout our entire marriage, and we are still friends. I suspect we will continue to be when I leave. I’m only moving ten blocks away, and Rich has promised to continue to be my beautician (he cuts my hair; I just bought new scissors for him). In return, I’m considering cooking a killer meal for these guys every now and then. They will miss my cooking.

These walks I’ve been taking in my effort to exercise more? Rich goes with me. He doesn’t want me to have a heart event or trip and fall. Someone needs to be there to call 911 or drag my butt up off the pavement if need be.

He recently spent a considerable amount of time struggling with setting up my new computer and my multiple email accounts. It was an ugly job, especially since I couldn’t remember logins or passwords. When he was finally finished many hours later, and everything worked perfectly, I told him, “Even though I’m leaving you, when it comes to computers, you are still my hero.”

You may ask – if everything is going so well, why break up? Well, there are still irreconcilable differences. Some things simply cannot be overcome.

Rather than to have sympathy for us, I think it’s best to wish us well as we move into our new lives.

I am grateful for civility.

A Bit of a Catch Up with Me

In the past (as many of you know), I’ve had a love/hate relationship with M&Ms. Crikey, I used to graze on them when I wrote. You will be proud of me when you hear I haven’t had any M&Ms in ages. I bet your stock price went down.

I’ve also had a love/hate relationship with losing weight. It’s been pretty easy to write about Jo Wheeler and her weight struggles, because I’ve experienced most of them myself.

I happen to be on the good side of losing weight these days and am at my lowest weight in many years (down 62 pounds since August – yay!). Before you ask what my diet has been, I’ll tell you: FEAR. That’s right, fear.

My heart gives me fits, and I’ve had terrible bouts of afib the past few years. Probably brought on by stress but also brought on by sodium. Do you have any idea how much sodium is in our food!? It got to the point where I was afraid to eat anything.

Now I make a lot of my own food without salt – really. I make a killer hot chili oil that I put on everything. I bake bread and make my own deli roast beef. I dehydrate mushrooms and jalapenos to always have on hand. I make my own mayonnaise and salad dressings. Spinach is my friend. Plus, I simply don’t eat as much. And no sugar! Giving up sugar was much easier than I thought it would be.

I wanted to start exercising, but I’m limited with what I can do because of occasional knee/back/hip problems (thanks to many years of playing racquetball competitively), but I knew I wanted to get outside and walk.

To date, I am presently up to 1.65 miles per walk (3-4 times per week). I typically walk the ten blocks up to my new apartment. (It’s really a duplex – do you still call it an apartment?) I keep checking on the progress of the renovations.

On the book front, I realize I jumped the gun a bit with choosing a March publication date for my new Two Sisters and a Journalist book. I still might make it, but with the upcoming move, I suspect it will more likely be in April.

It saddens me that I started my new cozy series way back in 2016, and the first book still isn’t finished. But it’s close! I love this new series, and want to have this first book, Delicious Death, ready to publish by summer.

From there on out, I hope to alternate writing books between the two series. I still have dreams of writing another Susan Hunter book – maybe from the eyes of her teenage daughter. We shall see.

What are you working on? I’m on my way to losing one hundred pounds. Have you ever done this? Share with me!