Monday, July 30, 2012


"You are one of those people who goes places in life."

SNARKY RESPONSE: Yep. The Grocery Store. The Office. The Gas Station.

"You are one of those people who goes places in life."

Road Trip! Let's go. I love getting behind the wheel and heading off for somewhere, anywhere. Heading down highways wide or curving country roads, I don't care, just let me go. It's the end of July and vacation time is in full swing!

Niagara Falls, US Side
Whether it's a formal, planned trip or something spur of the moment, I can't wait to get on the road and head out.

In my tiny world, there are a few little routines that accompany even the most spontaneous adventures. Even something as mundane as filling the tank with gas becomes extraordinary.

Usually, I'm a "pay at the pump" kinda gal, but a road trip requires a foray into the convenience store. Simply going inside is a break with routine  and when I step through those double doors, that convenience store suddenly becomes a fluorescent-lit Aladdin's cave of treasures. Of course, the formally "stated" goal is to get bottled water, but there are all those aisles you have to pass on the way to the coolers. Aisle after aisle filled with tasty, high-calorie, low-nutrition wonders. Chips in shiny bags, candy in colorful wrappers, pastries peeking through cellophane windows, and other foodstuffs you'd never even think to drop into your cart in a grocery store.  Somehow, despite my best intentions, I always end up collecting a handful of crunchy, salty snacks along the way to that cooler stocked with bottle waters.

After the gas tank is filled and a bulging bag of snacks is stashed within easy reach, the other road trip routine is driving through the drive-thru to get a breakfast biscuit. Again, breakfast biscuits are verboten in real life, but there is something about heading onto the highway, breakfast in hand, coffee cooling in the cup holder.

Crank up the radio, we're outta here.

What's your road trip routine? Do you have one?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Following Through Can Win The Prize!

Any writer who has attended a writing conference has heard about pitch sessions and most have participated. In most cases, writers who have targeted the correct editor or agent for their type of writing will receive a request for submissions: a query letter, a synopsis, a chapter or two and sometimes a full manuscript.

Do Not Drop The Ball On This Opportunity!

This request is golden for writers aspiring to publication because it moves you out of the "unrequested" slush pile, into the "requested" pile, and that much farther up the line to being considered for publication. Of course, there are no guarantees regarding acceptance, but anything that ups your odds is a good thing.

As a result of this process, I'm thrilled to announce that my novella, Collector's Item, has found a home with The Wild Rose Press. Wow, that sounds so cut and dried. I'm actually loop-de-looping the moon and making noises that no woman of my age should make in public.

This all came about thanks to the Virginia Romance Writers For the Love of Writing Conference last May. There, I had the opportunity to pitch my novella to several agents and editors. I sent out my submission documents as requested and The Wild Rose Press requested the full manuscript.

I had been fortunate to make my first novella sale to them with The Festival of The Flowers: The Courtesan and The Scholar. Would lightning strike twice?

With a pounding heart, I sent Collector's Item to the Senior Editor of the Black Rose Line - their paranormal line. And after some discussion about and revision of my manuscript, they offered, and I accepted, a contract to have Collector's Item published as an enovella.

Major celebrations continue to be held, believe me! I've resigned myself to sounding like a teenager who just sighted the latest heart-throb. It would be embarrassing if I wasn't just so darned excited!

Now the hard work of polishing my novella for publication begins. Working with The Wild Rose Press on final edits, marketing information to be created, a cover to be designed, and a publication date to be set. But it's the kind of hard work we writers dream of while we craft our current Works In Progress.

May you have the same good fortune, if you haven't already. Just remember, Follow Through!

Monday, July 23, 2012


"One must dare to be himself, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be."

SNARKY RESPONSE: Hmm, do the names Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ring any bells?

"One must dare to be himself,
however frightening or strange that self may prove to be."

I'm participating in the James River Writers Book Club, an informal book club for the months running up to the annual James River Writers Conference in October 20-21, 2012. We're reading books written by the featured speakers for the conference and our first book was The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

One caveat – I am a genre reader through and through so this book was definitely outside of my usual aisles. That lack of familiarity with this writer's genre may create a level of naiveté to my review, but here's what I thought. And bear with me, I'll explain why I chose a book review for this Fortune Cookie.

Cover of The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown
In The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown explores the lives of three sisters. Daughters of a professor of Shakespeare, they are named for three of the Bard's heroines and being three, the analogy of the Weird Sisters was a natural. However, the three women are facing personal crises when they are then brought together in a family crisis. How they deal with all these pressures on their lives and each other makes for a truly interesting read.

In a semi-spoiler, I'd have to say my impression of the story makes it tie in with today's Fortune Cookie. I feel that each sister is forced to face the reality of who she truly is instead of the "she" built on expectations or camouflage. As the Bard said "to thine own self be true" and I feel that The Weird Sisters is about the characters' discovery of who that "true self" is and how to accept it.

Oh, and as another "spoiler," the book is written in Omniscient First Person Plural (We not I), a format I was not familiar with and one that took some SERIOUS getting used to. I must say that about one-quarter to one-third through it became less annoying as I just fell into the story. I've heard some folks continued to be annoyed by it to the end, so be warned. Just don't let that put you off on it.

If you read literary fiction, I would recommend this book.  If you've read it, I'd love to hear your impressions.

Monday, July 16, 2012


"All matters of the heart can be resolved with wine and candlelight."

SNARKY RESPONSE: Unless we're talking heart surgery. In which case, wine and candlelight are NOT helpful at all. Oh, and if the matter involves a betrayal of one kind or another, a considerable amount of groveling will be required.

"All matters of the heart can be resolved with wine and candlelight."

As a romance writer, this fortune was very apropos of my genre. This mindset, and setting, works perfectly in the development of a romantic entanglement. Yes, the setting is a bit clichéd, but no matter how clichéd it appears, it is effective. What heart doesn't go pitter pat at the sight of a candlelit table set for two? (Okay, I admit that there are occasions where that pitter-patter is a full-on arrhythmia of phobic anxiety, but that's another story!).

Consider the way candlelight draws you in, creating an intimacy no electric light can completely duplicate. Perhaps it harkens to the earliest days and the security and magic of the fire. And because candlelight works best in a darkened room, yet more is added to the intimacy factor. The darkness unconsciously encloses the two at table in a spatial cocoon. Flickering candlelight softens the edges, disguises minor imperfections, and encourages quiet in voice and demeanor. Within that magical circle of light, guarded from the darkness beyond, the two hearts can focus, one to the other. And where there is a connection there is hope.

Do you feel "all matters" can be resolved in this manner or do you feel that it's another fallacy the Fortune Cookie Seer is circulating as truth? 

Monday, July 9, 2012


Don't stop dreaming, otherwise sleep will get awfully boring.

SNARKY RESPONSE: Actually, I think this one carries its own snark. Starting out all affirmation-like and then twisting back on you like that? And to show how synchronistic this post is to other areas of my life, check out my Facebook Author page (Denise Golinowski/Author) and the pic I shared on Sunday, July 8th. Has to make you smile.

Don't stop dreaming, otherwise sleep will get awfully boring.

Dreaming is an integral part of the sleep experience, even if you don't remember them. Often you may wish you didn't because the sleeping mind is very different from the waking mind.

This brings to mind…dream journals. How do you like that segue?

Show of hands, who has a dream journal? Okay, you really didn't have to raise your hand. I can't see you. However, I'm betting a lot of folks have begun one. Beginning Writers are often advised to keep a notebook and pen by the bed for capturing those sudden flashes of inspiration. What a handy suggestion. How often have you had a brilliant idea just as you were drifting into or out of sleep and promised yourself you'd remember it later only to have it completely evaporate? No, don't raise your hands.

Stack of Shame
Now, be completely honest—how many of you actually kept that dream journal for more than a few weeks? You know—you go out and buy a really nice notebook, something appropriate for containing such creative concepts. Yeah, and a nice pen, something that feels nice in your hand and puts a nice solid line on a page. Then, it's all "wake right up and jot down a note or two" for a few weeks. Then, you dwindle down to a few mornings a week and then maybe once a week until your pen rolls off the nightstand and the notebook disappears under your current "to be read" stack. And I know we ALL have one of those! So, eventually, you have a collection of pretty notebooks with about a dozen pages of scribbles in each one.

And, let's face it, they are scribbles, right? I mean, you're supposed to put pen to paper as soon as you wake up. Come on! You just woke up! Who has perfect penmanship right out of a dead sleep? You can barely open your eyes and that annoying snooze button just won't take its morning beating in silence. And it's hard to form a coherent sentence, much less succinctly describe that Dali-esque landscape with the green cows and knitting mice. Besides, all those drooping trees and melting wax mountains are really disturbing when you commit them to paper. What did you eat before you went to bed last night?

No, seriously, I am in awe of the folks who keep a regular journal, no matter the frequency or intent. To be that diligent and consistent is to be admired. Just someone kick me if I ever mention wanting to start one myself. Kick me and point out that stack of notebooks collecting dust beside my nightstand.

Monday, July 2, 2012


"From now on your kindness will lead you to success."

SNARKY RESPONSE: And "the road to hell is paved with good intentions." Yeah, that little comment will likely get me struck by lightning.

Or, "no good deed goes unpunished." Ouch! Okay, I'll stop!

From now on your kindness will lead you to success.

So, seriously, the fortune cookie sage has handed me an old adage and attached a carrot. The Golden Rule is a universal maxim to which most of us aspire. However, when the act is not spontaneous, but must be actively chosen, there is that tiny bit of self that wonders why, what's in it for me? And here is where the fortune cookie sage dangles that carrot—because kindness will lead me to success. Tiny bit of self is hereby appeased.

However, I must ask, is kindness with an ulterior motive truly kindness? This is perhaps were the fortune cookie sage shows his true "sageness" because he does not explain what act(s) of kindness or what kind of success. Not knowing means you cannot be selective in your kindness but must be kind in all possible instances. And in the end, I believe, kindness is its own reward in that momentary (or longer) sense of warmth and connectedness which is what we all crave, is it not?

Makes ya' kinda go hmmm, doesn't it?