Talk Back Tuesday

Fellow Heart of Dixie member Rhonda Nelson used to have a “Whine About It Wednesday” on her blog when she was still doing her individual blog (she group blogs at The Soapbox Queens now). I loved WAIW. Today, after reading an article about people texting on their cell phones while driving, I need a Talk Back Tuesday.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but what the f**k is wrong with you people?! Why would anyone take their attention off the road to text message someone? Personally, I think chatting while driving is bad enough. And yeah, I've done that, though not for very long. I have NEVER texted. Can't imagine even trying.

Apparently, the worst offenders are between 16 and 30. Yeah, big surprise. If you idiots want to kill yourselves, have at it. But how dare you endanger me and my family with your selfish ME NOW attitude? The worst part is that laws against it are practically unenforceable. People text in their laps, or with the phone even with the steering wheel — not as blatantly obvious as talking. Fining them doesn't work.

I have an idea. How about while texting and driving, you don't wear a seatbelt either? Why obey any safety rules or suggestions? It's only important that YOU do what you want and have a good time, right? Yeah, right. Come to think of it, those speed limit things? Mere annoyances stopping you from having a good time. Speed all you want. Have a drink or two as well. Text away.

But please, when you decide to run off the road, don't hit me. If you wrap your car around a telephone pole or a tree, at least you will have had a good time up to that point. You rebel without a clue, you.

Anything bugging you today? What do you think about people texting and driving? Am I over reacting? Am I a fuddy duddy? Or do I have a right to be frightened of the teen barreling toward me with her eyes on her phone instead of the road?

How long does it take?

I'm tired of the medical profession in some respects. Going to the clinic when there's no one else waiting to be seen, and then waiting for 45 minutes in the exam room without anyone coming to say anything — sorry, Dr. X is running behind, he's on the 15th hole and expects to finish the course soon — is ridiculous. And we pay for this privilege.

I applaud medical people, and I thank them for taking care of us. I really do. It's not an easy job. But why does it take so blasted long for the doctor to see you when no one else is ahead of you? When there are about 10 nurses running around and no patients — or maybe one or two in an exam room somewhere? Why can't anyone come and tell you when to expect Dr. X? Am I wrong in thinking it'd be nice to know when to expect this vaunted and necessary person's appearance?

And is it just me, but do you start to think because they've put you in an exam room and closed the door that perhaps they forgot you were there? I truly am a patient person. But 45 minutes alone in a freezing, silent room is a bit much, I think. TELL me Dr. X is busy. Tell me he's running behind, we're sorry, etc. I am patient and understanding. But sheesh, my time is worth something too! Thank heavens for the iPod Touch. And books.

Yeah, so that's what I did over the weekend. How about you?

Do I want to WHAT?

Spammers surely have their own place reserved in hell. I get a lot, but my email does a nice job of filtering it. Though it sometimes sends things I want to see to the spam folder. Because of this, I tend to skim the contents before deleting. (I had an email from Harlequin go to spam — yikes!)

You know the trends. Male enhancement products (no, I do NOT want my thing to be bigger because I don't HAVE a thing, thank you), dates, h*rny girls in your area, people on webcams supposedly wanting to hook up, lottery wins, cheap drugs, etc.

But a new one cropped up lately that had me giggling. Don't know why, but I find this one funny: see your neighbor n*ked (the asterisk will hopefully prevent blog hits, but you get the point). Now why on earth would I want to do that? Have you seen my neighbor? I don't live next door to David Beckham or Brad Pitt, you know!

No, I live next to normal people (I hope they're normal). There's a good ol' boy who likes to fire up his lawnmower at 7AM on a Saturday (no kidding), an air marshal, a few engineers, and maybe even a military guy. No one I want to see in the buff.

What I really want to know is who falls for this stuff? If people weren't clicking on these emails and following through, there'd be no spam. So someone could right now be viewing a nude neighbor. That's something to think about the next time you disrobe for a shower, eh?

Picture from

Click on over to I Heart Presents and see what my editor has to say about calling me with the good news. Tomorrow, you should be able to read my version of events when I guest blog there.

What would it take?

A very good writer friend of mine made an announcement recently that has me reeling in my socks. She's quitting the biz. She's tired of the rejections and heart break and she needs time away.

I understand this, I really do. At the same time, I want to grab her and shake her and tell her she's not allowed, under ANY circumstances, to quit! I'm furious and upset and sad. She's one of the finest unpublished writers I know. She's not unpublished because she has no talent. She's unpublished because she hasn't hit that right combo of luck, talent, and timing yet. Her books are not easily categorized. They aren't trendy. They are, however, full of emotion and damn fine storytelling.

But one editor too many sent her a rejection this month. It's not just this month, of course, because that would be silly. And she's not being silly, though I still think she's wrong. After years of contest finals and near-misses, she's just tired. Worn out and tired of being hurt. I understand.

Yet I want to give her a flame-retardant suit and tell her to keep going. I've quit before. I convinced myself writing wasn't for me. I missed it from time to time, but I went back to school and ended up with an MA for my trouble. I wrote plenty then. Papers, papers, papers.

I missed romance writing. I read it, sighed a lot, thought how apparently I just wasn't good enough to make it. And then I got an idea. It kept me up at night. I started to write, just for me, and it grew bigger. I kept writing because it was fun when there was no pressure.

That book was pure fun, but I never sent it out. Instead, I started another one. By this time, I knew I was back and the dream was still alive. I finished the next book. Decided it was awful, but I liked the idea. Threw just about everything away and rewrote it. Rewrote it again. That book is HOT PURSUIT, my Golden Heart Finalist.

I am NOT judging my friend. Our roads have been different, and I can't know her heart. But I grieve for the loss because I know she's good. I think (hope) she'll be back. The funny thing about me, when I came back, was I knew I wasn't ever leaving again. I can't. I will not quit because I've been there and it was no fun.

What would it take to make you quit writing? Do you believe in dragging your broken body up the mountain, or would you say, forget this, and withdraw from the race? Everyone's different. There is no right answer. But what would it take? I'd really like to know….

What’s it all mean?

This has been one heck of a week, y'all. I'm still getting used to the changes. I have not sold a book, but my professional life changed in the space of one phone call. And then another call came that iced the cake even more. There have been emails, phone calls, old friends coming out of the woodwork. Mostly, it's been great.

It's also been somewhat distracting. I kind of got a glimmer of what it's like for authors who keep checking their Amazon numbers or need to stop writing and take care of business tasks that won't wait. You can get caught up following a task until you realize an hour has passed since you meant to stop and go do something else like, say, eat. 🙂

And then there's been the tiniest bit of, well, negativity floating my way. Most people are happy for me. A couple are not. It happens, and I understand that.

But I also feel somewhat blown away by it, by the idea that anyone would think I won the Harlequin contest or finaled in the Golden Heart due to anything other than hard work and a refusal to give up. I had this conversation once with a writer who got a fabulous book deal and then had people talking about how her “connections” are what did it for her. Her supposed connections weren't connections. She wasn't the First Dog or anything. (Millie the Spaniel wrote a book with Barbara Bush, you may remember…)

I certainly didn't get to this point alone. I've been lucky enough to have a husband who believes in me, a critique partner who tells me the truth, and an entire organization telling me to climb back on the horse when I fell off. Most of my writing friends know the vagaries of this business from personal experience, but there are always those people who think there's a secret handshake, a password into the temple of publishing.

There isn't, folks. You write the best damn book you can, realize when it may not be good enough, and then write another one. And you always, always act like a professional. That's the only secret I know.

Do you know any secrets to this biz? Why do you think a sensible person typically knows he can't play Mozart overnight but expects to be able to write an amazing bestseller on the first try?

P.S. Party over at the Writing Playground today! It's a Friday celebration by my friends at the Playground, so come on over and have a good time!

Thursday already? And what about Idol!?

Where does the week go!? It's been a strange week in some ways. First, lots of rain. That was good. Wednesday AM, tornado sirens. Not good.

Trouble sleeping, but that happens when my mind is working overtime on a story. Or, in this case, three stories. When I lie down, my brain will not stop writing. The dialogue keeps coming, the words keep flowing, and I just can't write it all down or I won't sleep. I trust that I'll remember the truly important stuff, and for the most part I do.

I've also been watching American Idol, which seems to produce some odd folks. Do some of these people really, truly believe they are any good? Or are they hoping to get a William Hung deal out of the appearance? Because it's amazing who shows up to audition. I can't get over it, and I'm sad for some of them because they believe this is their one and only shot out of the life they have. What about the kid living in his car? They put him through, but I'd be surprised if he survives Hollywood week. I was so sad for him, that he's that young and that deluded (not about the singing, but about his life). He needs to go home, get an education, and do something with his life, not live in a car. He's 17 for pity's sake! He left school in what had to be his senior year. Amazing. Somebody please talk some sense into that kid.

And the girl whose father died in a car accident while she was on her way to the auditions. Whoa. And she could sing her butt off, too. Amazing she was able to audition. Some might think she was cold for pressing on, but I think it's a tribute to her dad and what he wanted for her.

Truthfully, I don't remember but a handful of the people going to Hollywood. Loved the rocker nurse. The beauty queen was scary, but she wasn't a bad singer (though Simon wanted her to be bad). So, guess I'll be tuning in week after week, getting annoyed (like last year, my first watching), and waiting to see if the best singer gets the boot (Melinda, for instance) or wins the whole shebang. Hubby loved Jordin, but I thought her singing voice was whiny. Sometimes quite lovely, mostly whiny. At least for me.

It's going to be a long and irritating Idol season…

What's your reality show pleasure? Are you rooting for Idol this year?