Saturday, September 30, 2006

Sorta Out Of Order...Oh Well

Why Are My Photos Blurry???

I still don't seem to be gettin' the hang of taking digital photos...I mean, this doesn't look too clear, does it? Oh, well...more consulting is necessary, apparently. Anyway...without further ado..from left to right, back row:

Keith (old, old friend of groom-to-be and lead singer/songwriter of "The 88"), David (of Sonoma and boyfriend of oldest niece, Mindy), Me (check out undescribable "jacket" of previous post), oldest niece Mindy, bride-to-be Juli-Ann, nephew and groom-to-be Brian, great-niece and all-around tall (getting-too-old) great-niece Ashley, younger (ha!) niece Jamie, and her thank-god-we-have-a-doctor-in-the-family husband, Jon

Front row: yes-that's-a-boo-boo-under-his-nose great nephew Zac, all-around awesome--puts-up-with-my-brother sister-in-law Polly, super-smart (must-have-got-the brains-from-my- side-of-the-family) Jake, paying-for-the-whole-shebang brother Barry, and finally, what can I say--the best parents in the whole, wide world: Daddy and Annie

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Randy's Version of Project Runway

Okay, by my watch, I just spent one hour and forty-five minutes trying on everything in my closet. Why, you ask? It's kind of a long may wanna pause to get a snack or somethin'.

So this weekend's the big family wedding. Which means tomorrow is the rehearsal dinner. Now, it's not like I left it all to the last minute--I even went (gasp) shopping!--but I thought I had back-ups. Multiple back-ups, in fact. So when I didn't find anything at the mall, I...well, I guess I rested on my laurels.

Big mistake.

See, the solution to the algorithm by which I must solve the apparel dilemma is constrained by my possession of (sorry to get personal but--oh hell, why not?) a certain amount of cleavage.

Turns out I've been forbidden to exhibit it around the parental units.

So I thought the gold cocktail dress was a safe bet. Sure it's strapless, but the bodice covers enough to protect even the Pope's sensibilities. Just to make certain though, I tried it on this evening. Well. There must be something about the color gold--it was like a big ol' spotlight shone on, er, things, making them look a whole lot more prominent than they really are. (Trust me, this is somewhat new--'cuz along with menopause came mutant boobs--yeah, I haven't seen it discussed in the literature, either).

Picture Jayne Mansfield in her prime (which would be before that car accident that decapitated her). Needless to say, the gold frock went to the back of the closet.

No problem, I thought. Didn't I say I had multiple back-ups? Next came the black sparkly strapless. Only, seen through the eyes of the parental units, it suddenly looked slutty. Ditto the next black strapless. And the next.

Started to get panicky at this point. And to wonder why I own so many black strapless dresses.

Let's try another color, I decided. A lovely shade of emerald green and although halter-style, a very demure version. Only one problem. No shoes to go with it. I must have spent twenty minutes on this one alone.

Hot and sweaty now, I resorted to clothes I haven't worn since I was thin-ner. Hm. Close, but no cigar. Besides, more cleavage, no shoes, yada, yada, yada...

At this point, I envisioned myself dragging all the options over to my parents' house and letting them choose. I even toyed with dressing up something I normally wear to work (ugh!).

Finally, I resorted to two plain black sheaths--hand-me-downs from my sister-in-law who (the bitch) grew out of them in the good way (meaning she got too skinny for them). Let me tell you why neither was an appealing option: although I may be conservative in a lot of ways, dress just isn't one of 'em.

Sigh. But, I was in a desperate situation, so I tried them on.

The first one didn't fit right. The second was better, but oh-so-boring. I looked around for something--anything!--to jazz it up.

And there it was.

This cool thing I can't even describe (I'll try in a minute) that's been hanging in my closet for years, waiting for the moment I'd figure out what the hell to do with it. I sloughed it on over my shoulders, and voila. Problem solved. (Okay, here goes: it's all beads but strung together kinda like a spider web, and sewn together to form the shape of a jacket. Screw it; I'll have to get a picture of it tomorrow night.)

So, you may be wondering why a 53-year-old woman couldn't pick her favorite cocktail dress from the line-up--boobs and parents be damned? Hey, they're 83 years old (the parents, not the boobs--although they're gettin' there). At that age, there's not a whole lot a daughter can do to make Annie and Daddy happy and proud.

I'm just glad they're still around to cause problems.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Holy Epiphany, Batman!

Just when I really, really, think I'm gonna have to shelve Leftovers--y'know, stash a year's worth of writing under the bed until I'm old and gray (well, just gray since I'm already old)--a light bulb goes off.

Or, maybe the Muse showed up. (Wait, I don't believe in 'em, remember?)

Anyway, the words started to flow again...better yet, the ideas started to flow. And suddenly, I knew how to end it. The story that is, not the words and ideas. Well, of course, I knew the ending a long time ago, but not exactly how to get there.

Now, I do.

At least for tonight, I do.

Does that ever happen to you? A burst of brilliance sears your get all excited about FINALLY finding the answer, then wooooosh! Something gets lost in the execution, and the whole damn bubble deflates.

Not this time (she said with determination). This time I'm gonna MAKE it work. 'Cuz see, along with the inspiration, I saw very clearly that this book is so close to being finished, I'd be a fool to quit now.

Who cares if the market for chick lit is dead? (It's not really chick lit, anyway.) Who cares if the market for mom lit is dead? (Hm...not that, either). Who cares if no one's buying stuff written in first person? (Uh-oh.)

Humorous women's fiction anyone?

Sometimes they say you have to step back from a work-in-process (progress?). Get some perspective. Well, I did that (thanks to weeks spent editing Stealing Amy) and when I finally got back to writing new stuff on Leftovers, I read over the last scene and decided the whole thing was utter crapola. Big doo-doo.

Then, tonight (post-epiphany) I read it again.

Hm. Not bad. Not bad at all, in fact.

So, it's back to the drawing board. I WILL FINISH LEFTOVERS. I WILL FINISH LEFTOVERS.

Now...dare I...dare I make a commitment here? Oh, what the hell....let's promise to type THE END three weeks from today.

Omigod. Can I backspace and delete? Nah...let's go for it, huh?

Besides...NaNoWriMo is only a month away...and I've got BIG plans for a new headache, er, masterpiece.

Monday, September 25, 2006


You wake up on a morning in September and realize something is different. Something about the way the sun’s rays slant differently through the window. And then you know—even though southern California temperatures are still hitting the 90’s—you know.

Damn, it’s Fall.

Still…Fall can be beautiful—even in southern California—more precisely, it can inspire…you guessed it…another ROAD TRIP. This time up the coast to Santa Ynez where my faithful blogreaders will remember (come on, everybody—let’s hear it) yes! There's an Indian casino. Pardon me, a Native American casino?? Anyway…so yesterday, my partners in crime (you know them as Marty and Ann) loaded me up in the car and off we went. Our route took us along Pacific Coast Highway through Ventura up to Santa Barbara where we cut inland along the San Marcos Pass. I don’t know why, but lots of people freak out as they drive over this bridge. They’d REALLY freak out if they could see it from afar.

Once at Chumash, Ann and I gravitated toward the penny and nickel machines (yes, we’re SUCH high rollers). At one point, I was playing a penny slot called KABOOM--in honor of Ann’s recent performance in Rosarito--and won a jackpot worth 6100 2 cent credits...which...after much mental calculation (and cashing out) turned out to be $122. Cool!

Eventually, we moseyed into the “high limit” area. (Notice the interesting dichotomy here--Ann and I go from pennies to $5 without blinking an eye). Long story short…won a couple of jackpots together and in the end, managed a net gain of about $270 a piece for the day, so we were happy campers.

On our return home, we retraced the route through San Marcos Pass—and would have made good time if we hadn’t run into a sobriety checkpoint! Chumash doesn’t even have a bar (and no, the sound of bottles clinking in Ann’s oversized purse were NOT mini-sized wine bottles—so don’t think that they were) and Marty doesn’t drink while he gambles, so the checkpoint didn’t give us pause, but geez. It sure added time to our drive—and caused me to miss Amazing Race (sob).

But wait. $270? Small price to pay for missing a dumb reality show, huh? And a great way to spend a perfect Fall day.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Rosarito -- The Narrative

So we got on the road last Friday by 9:30 a.m. Not bad since I was aiming for 8:30. Then, around Westwood, I successfully staved off an emergency visit to McDonald’s by having thoughtfully brought along Jenny’s Toffee Mini-bites (better get your blood-sugar levels checked, Ann!) (See post from several months ago regarding trip to Rincon-San Diego.)

Traffic was remarkably light, and in record time, we pulled into a market at Del Mar Heights to stock up before crossing the border. By “stock up” I mean all the weekend essentials, like: 4 bottles of wine, a jug of pre-mixed Mudslides, giant bag of tortilla chips, jar of salsa, two kinds of cheese, two kinds of crackers, some salami, and…oh, yeah…water.

Across the parking lot from the market, we spied a McDonald’s Gourmet Bistro (who knew?). To investigate further (okay, to be honest, in order to use their bathroom), we walked over (okay, to be honest, we drove) to check it out. Boy, hope this is the wave of McDonald’s future! It’s more like a McCheesecake Factory…or maybe a McFriday’s. You enter, and on the left you have your basic Mickey D’s, but on your right…mmmmm….tasty looking panninis and pastas! And an espresso machine! (Not to mention tastefully-decorated bathrooms on a par with upscale restaurants.)

Anyway, we got back on the road, then stopped just before the border to buy Mexican insurance. By the way, here’s my theory on that: Mexican insurance is more like a pre-paid bribe. Your own insurance covers you in an accident down there; but the Mexican insurance keeps you from going to jail. Like I say, just a thought.

We sailed over the border without incident, made all the correct yields/verges/turns to get around Tijuana, then leisurely drove forty minutes south, ending up at Calafia in time for cocktails and appetizers. Now, I don’t know what they do in Mexico, but the margaritas are exceptional. Maybe it’s the lime juice. Maybe it’s the brand of tequila. Maybe it’s just the friggin’ atmosphere, but man, were they good. The appetizers? Well, not so much. Rosarito isn’t the place to go for great food, unfortunately, but…well, how can you go wrong eating stuff like chips, salsa, quesadillas, nachos, ceviche…..? Sigh…I couldn’t have been happier.

Finally, it was time to make our way to the condo. Luckily, I knew how to get there; otherwise, we could have wound up circling Rosarito for hours. After oohing and aaahing over the view, we threw on bathing suits and hit the Jacuzzi armed with plastic glasses filled with wine. There we met some of our neighbors, enjoyed the sunset, and—frankly—got a little likkered up. Not enough to forget about going out to dinner, though! About eight, we dragged ourselves upstairs, changed, then snagged a taxi and went into town to El Nido where we ate traditional Mexican food. Oh, and we may have had a margarita. Or two.

On Saturday (my birthday!) Ann was gonna wake me up with bacon and eggs…except…well, we hadn’t exactly brought any. Instead, we drove to the Rosarito Beach Hotel and ate like civilized people in their dining room. Then…well, see…the plan was just to eat breakfast and go back to the condo for sunning by the pool. But…well, see…they have all these jewelry vendors. About FOUR hours later, we took a break from shopping and had a drink (okay, two drinks) at Pappas and Beer, where a TWENTY-THREE year old Navy guy kinda PICKED UP ON US. Was that sweet, or what?? I mean, here it’s my 53rd birthday, and this nice, young, guy asks if he can join us! And, it’s not like he was alone or anything. Oh, no. He was sitting with two other guys. So what if he was a little tipsy? He was a nice, Midwestern, boy who was respectful, but not too much so (y’know what I mean? Cuz too much respect would have been insulting).

Anyway…blah, blah, blah…more drinking, more shopping…Oh, we stopped in a pharmacia to buy illicit drugs (kidding) and when I used my credit card, the owner noticed it was my birthday, so she gave me a lovely soap as a present. How sweet was that? Sigh. Only in Mexico.

I think we took a nap when we got back home. Then we drove down to Puerto Nuevo for my birthday dinner. Translated, Puerto Nuevo turns out to be Newport Beach, but most people refer to it as Lobster Village. You turn off the road into a village square consisting of nothing but restaurants—all specializing in lobster. (Now, I’ve heard the rumor that the waters off PN lost their lobster population due to overfishing YEARS ago, but I’ve never substantiated it. Besides, who cares where the stuff comes from?) So, I picked a restaurant at random—poor choice, as it turns out. I mean, as y’all know, I’m a Mariachi fan, but not when they stay at one table for the entire evening! Not when the table is next to ours!! God, it was like a storm that never moved. We had to shout over the music the whole time. (Not that, at this point, our conversation was particularly scintillating or intellectual.) We ordered the $10.95 lobster (including rice and beans) and…well…okay, so it’s not The Palms…it WAS lobster.

Afterward, we (cough) did a little more shopping. It had gotten pretty late and was also pretty dark, so we can all excuse Ann for going boom in the middle of the street, right? A security guy rushed over, helped her up, and started speaking Spanish so fast, our heads spun. Couldn’t make heads or tails of what he was saying. The only part we understood was when he’d pause for an instant, say “Boom” really loud, then totally crack up. He thought the whole thing was hysterical…and so did we. (I know…ya probably had to be there.)

Okay, it was my birthday, so the night wasn’t over. We drove back up the coast, past the condo, and on into town to the Karoake Bar at the Rosarito Beach Hotel. Hey, they had some pretty good singers performing. Locals and tourists alike. Fun place.

An hour later, I couldn’t find our parking slip, which was kinda interesting, cuz they wouldn’t let us out of the lot. I searched and searched (how could I have lost it in such a short time?). Finally, the security guy asked to see my car registration and driver’s license. Hm. Fascinating. So, it was all about making sure I wasn’t stealing someone’s car. Cool.

Since we’d missed our appointment with tanning by the pool on Saturday, Sunday was to be The Day. Only…the fog rolled in, so we headed down to Las Rocas for breakfast/lunch instead. Then…oh, what the hell…we drove further down the coast (past Puerto Nuevo) to La Fonda. La Fonda is one of the first spots I ever visited along this stretch of Baja, and it holds a precious spot in my heart. A few years ago, I got worried when they moved it (long story—interesting, but confusing and long) and I got even more worried when it sold to a new owner, but rest assured, all is well at La Fonda again. They’ve even added two new patio levels below the original. AND (how cute is this) a Mexican blanket was draped over each chair at each table…in case it got chilly. (Loved that.)

Wish I’d had my camera with me (well, I did, but the battery had run down) to take pictures there. The beach is miles below, and it’s one of the widest ones I’ve ever seen. Long and wide enough for ultra-light planes to take off and land (which they did—yeah, we thought about finding out how much it was to go up, but not for very long). A couple margaritas came our way again, and then we even struck up a nice conversation with a couple from San Diego who bought us all a round of Tequila shots (not my favorite, but I didn’t wanna be impolite, y’know).

Then we drove back home (early! I Swear! It was early! Still daylight even!) and hit the Jacuzzi again. That night, we munched on all that stuff we brought down, watched TV, and…well, dozed off. Guess our ages finally caught up with us.

In the morning, we walked up the block to a taco stand on the corner and had something amazing called queseron. Sort of a Mexican wrap with spicy shrimp. Mmmm. Instead of tipping the security guys back at the condo, Ann brought them tacos and water—she’s sooo thoughtful!

Nothing left to do but load up the car, and soon we were on our way back to the U.S.

Well, almost.

Ann had discovered a broken earring, so we stopped in town to track down the vendor for a quick-fix. Uh-uh. The quick-fix turned into another hour-and-a-half. More buying. A couple beers. We even got matching ankle bracelets. And neither one of us even LIKES ankle bracelets.

At last, we headed up the coast toward Tijuana, hoping for a relatively brief stay at the border. Yeah, right. We got in line at 1:15 and passed through about an hour later. Which was really, really handy since ANN WASN’T FINISHED SHOPPING YET. Yep. There she was, window rolled down, hanging half-in-half-out, yelling in patented Ann-style: “Excuse me! Uh, EXCUSE ME!” One lace tablecloth and giant pink-and-white piggy bank later, we finally left the vendors behind and made our escape into the U.S.

So that’s it. That’s our four-day trip to Rosarito for my birthday. Can’t wait to do it again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

My Bad

Got to thinking and realized I neglected to describe the place we stayed in Rosarito. It's a small (26 units I believe) building just south of Rosarito Beach in the "furniture" neighborhood (which means the streets are lined with joints selling all manor of tile, sculpture, ceramics, etc.). Anyway, it's called Las Olas ("The Waves") and as y'all recall, I rented a 3-bedroom/3 bath condo there last March; this time it was a 2-bedroom/2 bath. All the units are decorated and furnished with top-notch appliances and amenities, and everything you could need in a kitchen (ya know, like especially a blender). The staff and security are friendly and helpful; and the entire place is totally secure with a big ol' wrought iron gate and 24-hour guard. I love the intimacy and serenity of Las Olas--no underage American partiers to mar your peaceful, if you're interested, go here for more pics and info...and be sure to tell Rich I said, "hola."

Infinity Pool At Las Olas

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ah, favorite way to start off a birthday weekend! (That's Anni on the left; me on the right--don't know what the hell I did with my hair here.)

Polly wanna cracker? Er, how about a tortilla chip?

Room with a view--or more precisely, 2-bedroom condo with a view!

Pool view

View to the the shape that cliff's starting to take? Ya think the people living in that house are safe???

View to the north--that's the Rosarito Beach Pier

Can you picture what I'm holding in my hand as I watch the setting sun? (Nope, not a margarita--a mudslide)

View from pool

Anni in the jacuzzi

Me in the jacuzzi

Shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. Don't be surprised when some of this turns into future contest prizes.'s sand and I'm leaning over the edge of the jacuzzi to take the picture. Safe, huh?

So Much To Blog, So Little Time

What can I say? Viva Mexico!! It's just such a shame that the drive takes sooooo long. Anyway, back to real life, real work, and real editing.

Okay, what's up with blogger??? Just tried to upload pictures--the "go to" when I don't have time for blogging--and it's not working. Grrrr.

Keep checking back. I'm off to Plan B.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Off Again!

Those of you who've been paying attention, know we've entered the rarified atmosphere known as the kickoff to Randy's Birthday Season. Which again! And (sob, sob) I'm not taking my laptop so more gaps in blogging. I swear, I'll make it up to ya though.

Next week, after I post all the wonderful pictures and tell all the amazing birthday stories (one can hope), I'll be talking about editing hell again. Yes, I know we've been down that path before, but I've got more to say, dammit.

By the way, Jenny Craig and birthdays don't mix, so you can forget about a diet report when I get back. Just know that I've lost 6-1/2 pounds (can I help it if I'm the slowest loser instead of the biggest?) and I'll watch each and every one of 'em like a hawk. (And, sigh, be ready to renew my commitment upon return.) After all, there's that wedding coming up... HAVE been paying attention, haven't you?? Not MY wedding, my nephew's. Geesh.

No, if I ever get married, you're all invited. Yep, even you.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Lucky numbers? Nope. Just the route I took to Big Bear on Friday. There would’ve been a 330 in there too, but the road was closed for rehabilitation (which put an odd mental picture in my mind). So, according to Mapquest this particular journey gobbled up 147 miles and approximately 2-1/2 hours. Hm. Approximately. Going by's second definition, we have: "nearly exact; not perfectly accurate or correct." Let's just say it took FOUR FRIGGIN' hours. One hour ALONE on a two-lane mountain road.

Oh well. The drive was worth it. Here's the lovely
place we stayed. You can bet we never stepped
foot on the tennis court, of course. In fact, the most
exercise we got was from walking up and down stairs.
And here I'd pictured us hiking or something.
Ha! What was I thinking?? By the way, that guy on the left is the cutest male we saw all weekend. Well, not counting the 6 foot tall bunny riding shotgun in the motorhome who, as he drove past, used a PA system to inquire if we'd ever thought about having sex with a rabbit....? Um, no.
Saw lots of these, too. Lots and lots of expensive bikes. I particularly like the way they zoom around hairpin curves tilting almost parallel to the road. You know, those folks--what my friend Marty calls 'organ donors'? All right, geesh. Give a me a break. Some of my best friends ride bikes--oh, wait. This particular friend recently BEGGED me to never mention her in my blog. Forget I said anything.

There's Juli and I at a place called Boo's Bear Inn (or something like that.) Please note that instead of ordering the PATTY MELT AND FRIES (which I was DYING FOR) I opted for a modest chef salad--dressing on the side. (Whine, whine)

On my way home, I made my own stab at organ donor status by snapping pics out the window as I drove. Here's some sad evidence of last year's fire. Then I tried to get a sense of the steep drop over the side (I was at about 7,000 feet) but alas, my photo taking skills lessen by comparison with those of my driving . Last, but not least, is Rim Of The World High School (aptly named)--my step-bro's alma mater.

Oh, and P.S...getting those new brakes the other day was an inspired idea!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tired of Hearing About My Writing Career?

Not as tired as I am of blogging about it, ha ha ha.

To that end...prepare yourself for another...roadtrip! This time to Big Bear...yes, the mountains! A place where I may actually need (gulp) a SWEATER at night. (For those of you in California, a sweater--pronounced swe' ter-- is a long-sleeved garment, usually made of wool or some other finely woven fabric, worn by people who are...COLD!)

*rubbing hands together*

I can't wait!

Don't even know what we're gonna do up there. Hike? (Yeah, right.) Lay by the pool? (More likely.) Eat, drink, and be merry! (Absolutely!)

(I know, I know. I might just have to leave Jenny at home. She hasn't been very good to me lately. Outside of a couple lapses--minor ones, I stress--over Labor Day weekend, I've been about 95% steadfast and yet still only have five pounds to show for all my sacrifice. Sigh. And it' ain't lookin' good for next weekend (birthday weekend! get those cards and presents ready!)...or a couple after that--nephew's wedding).

Oh, well...sometimes, a girl's just gotta live. Ya know?

Pictures to follow!

P.S. I'm feeling so accomplished. I actually got the oil changed in my car today. So what is UP with that "every 3000 miles" crap? Are they kidding? Personally, I say every 20,000 and you're good to go. Oh, and since my car shuddered every time I did something simple like slow down, I got the brakes fixed (replaced?). Figured the ability to de-accelerate (is that a word?) might come in handy as I race down the mountain.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Backstretch

Could it be?? Could I really be headed for home??

Wouldn’t think so since I threatened to abandon Leftovers altogether just a couple of posts ago. And I was serious about that, folks. I was ready to throw in the towel and start something new. Something fun to write for a change.

Then I muddled through that SCENE−or as we in the romance biz call it, THE BLACK MOMENT−and now things seem to be falling together nicely again. I’ve written seven pages in the last couple of days.

Better yet…oh, wait. First I have to point out that standard manuscript formatting requires doublespacing, but I prefer to keep it to single while I’m writing. So occasionally, I stop and reformat to see what I actually have in terms of wordcount and pages.

Well, hallelujah! I have a book! Yep, the sucker translates to approximately 70,000 words at the moment−enough for some houses, though not all. So then I started mentally calculating what I *think* it’ll come in at and I realized….whoaaaa….while I wasn’t looking I somehow got near the end! I mean, about ten more scenes−maybe 15,000 words should do it. (Please note, I ALWAYS underestimate my scenes−but in this case, that’d be okay since I’m probably gonna hack out a lot of the first two chapters.)

Anyway…I’m majorly stoked.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Did It Work??

Gee…kinda. ..I guess…maybe…

I ended up writing two versions of tri-part dialogue, each with a very different tone (which I suppose was revealing...?). In the first one, Angie (the step-sister) came off as an arrogant bitch. That seemed cliché and boring. In the second try, I made her sly and manipulative.

Writing without surrounding the spoken words with gestures, facial expressions, and internal thoughts didn’t feel comfortable at all, so I’m not sure the exercise is something I’ll adopt on a full time basis.

I DID get through the scene. It’s not great, mind you. Needs a lot of polishing and−je ne sais quoi−more zip maybe. Yeah, definitely more zip.

But it’s better than giving up…something I considered a bazillion times this weekend. (Huge sigh.) Don’t ever let anyone tell you good writing takes talent. I swear. It’s more about the mental blood, sweat, and tears.

By the way, anyone notice my latest foray into blog interference? I copied some code, managed to figure out where to put it, and voila. Now you can click on my publisher’s name (beneath Stealing Amy’s cover) to go directly to their website. Next thing you know, I’ll figure out how to take you right to PayPal.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Trying Something New

Remind me not to write a relationship-heavy book again. This one’s really kicking my a$$.

When I stalled out a couple weeks ago, I decided to step back, take a deep breath, and think about where I was going with the darn thing. Then, during the drive to Palm Desert (long drives are GREAT for this) I realized I’d committed a fatal error. I’d let my heroine run away from the most dramatic conflict in the book. Um, much as I would probably have done in real life.

So…delete, delete, delete. Let the dog walk himself. Rose stays in the scene to confront her step-sister.

Only, I didn’t have a clue what they’d say to each other. And Sam’s there, too. His stakes are just as important, but different. How would the three interact?

Usually it’s time for a bath when I have these questions. (Baths are only second to driving for summoning the muse.) But that hasn’t worked so far.

I’ve tried playing the scene out in my mind before I drop off to sleep at night.

Still nothing. Or next to it.

So I’ve been paying attention to movies lately. And certain scripted TV shows where dialogue is everything and there’s not a lot of time to tell the story except through the words. A good movie or TV show milks every word for what it’s worth.

That’s what I wanna do.

So, here’s the plan. I’m gonna write just the dialogue. As though the scene’s in a play, not a book. This is called layering and I’ve tried it a couple times. Later, when the words are right, I’ll “layer” in the speech and action tags. The busy stuff around the dialogue. I’m guessing the scene, if done properly, will benefit most by leaving it pretty bare.

Wish me luck.