Saturday, April 28, 2007


Did you notice what was missing in my last post? Yes, that's right. There was no Lenora Bell, only Emily Bronte. That's my sneaky way of posting without actually having to write anything. Get those wet noodles out--I've assumed the position.

I just have to give you a snapshot of our hotel room right now. I'm sitting on the bed, alternately cheering and cursing at the television set, because I want the Houston Rockets to win this game in Utah. My bf is curled up (as much as a 6'4" man can curl up) in a comfy chair by the window, reading Eloisa James' The Taming Of the Duke. Yep, you heard that right. I'm swearing like a sailor because T-Mac only made ten points in the first half, and my better half is reading a romance novel.

I only became a basketball fan in the last few years, and he is reading his very first romance novel. Did I choose a good one for popping his cherry?

Have you given your significant other a favorite romance novel to read? What was their reaction?

Friday, April 27, 2007

I've dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they've gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.

--From Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pages in Bloom

I'm going to spend the rest of April chained to my desk, finishing my current WIP, Heart of Ash. So no blogging for me (see NTW post). My parents come to visit in two weeks, and I won't get much writing done while they are here, so it's now or never. Wish me luck, and I'll see you back online in May.

I'll leave you with some pictures of spring in China, in the hope that they inspire your pages to bloom.

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Sometimes things come to you when you need them the most. That's what happened today when I opened my Absolute Write newsletter and clicked on an article about writer's block by Mayra Calvani. You see I've been struggling lately. I sit down at my computer with the best of intentions. And then I inevitably get sidetracked. Last night I spent four hours reading about George Eliot's extraordinary life because I was looking for the right book to have my heroine read. Unfortunately, my story is set in 1853, almost twenty years before Middlemarch was published. One of my critique partners says this should be known as NTW (network time waster) from now on, and is to be rooted out before it can rear its ugly head. Given my propensity for NTW, the article was exactly what I needed to read.

One important point it raised was that lowering your expectations might actually make you more productive. If I set a goal that is impossible for me (20 pages a day) then I'm more likely to write nothing because I get depressed about my inability to reach the goal. But if I try to write five pages a day, I might just surprise myself and get excited enough to write more, thereby surpassing my initial goal.

I know there is only one cure for not writing, and that is to write. Author Elizabeth Hoyt wrote in a recent article on Romantic Inks:

Here’s the deep dark secret that we published authors hide: we’re not necessarily better writers than the unpublished. What we do have is a finished and polished manuscript. Ninety-nine percent of writing is finishing the product...which is why, every day, I sit down and write. I sit down and write even when I don’t feel like it—especially when I don’t feel like it.

I have a long history of writer's block. The most famous example is the college paper I turned in six years late. It was a paper about a Vietnam war book, and I finally managed to write it while I was traveling in Vietnam for three weeks. I somehow needed that historical immediacy in order to finish a task that had been weighing on me for so many years.

Have you ever struggled with writer's block? Have you done anything extreme to jolt yourself out of it, or do you have a simple little trick that works?

I know, I know. Just sit down and write.

I will.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good News

Thank you all for being so supportive! I went to the orphanage again today, and it is so emotionally draining. I was the only volunteer this afternoon, and when I walked into the baby room there were at least ten babies balling their eyes out and no one in the room at all. It made me soooo sad. But I have really good news. There will be a team of surgeons visiting Suzhou in October to perform cleft lip and palate surgeries! They are from Alliance for Smiles, a wonderful organization out of San Francisco.

If you would like more information about the orphanage, you can pm me (link on my website). Thanks, again, for all your kind words and thoughts.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Two Tigers

Today I began a volunteer job at an orphanage. Somehow I just didn't picture all the babies with disabilities. Cleft lips and palates, Down's syndrome, preemies, they were all strapped into cribs, tearing my heart out with their bright eyes and big smiles. The orphanage was as clean and cheerful as it could be, and I was happy to hear them playing Mozart's Twinkle Twinkle variations, but there just aren't enough arms to hold them, let alone families to love them. The adoption rate from this particular orphanage is abysmally low, and I have yet to determine why. Perhaps because of the high percentage of children with special needs.

One tiny sweetie with a shock of fuzzy hair and the spindliest little legs I ever saw, fell asleep in my arms after cooing along to the tune of Frere Jacque. They have their own words to this song in Mandarin, here is the literal translation:

Two tigers, two tigers
Running fast, running fast
One has no ears, one has no tail
Truly strange, truly strange

There were over fifty little tigers in those two small rooms, and over half of them were there because of their "strangeness." It it made me feel so helpless when I saw their legs curling up from disuse, their eyes hungry for affection.

All I could do was sing them a song, and tell them they were not strange, but beautiful.