First things

This blog is about process, and for me, the process has many steps, many paths.

One thing I often do now, just to satisfy my inner child artist and creative monkey, is to make up a dummy cover for my manuscripts. Much like choosing music to listen to while I write, it’s an inspirational thing, designed to keep my mind focused on the book that will be.

Here’s the one I created for “Finding Vivvie’s Shoes”

Finding Vivvie's Shoes

Not to put too fine a point on it, the footprints allude to finding her path, while the shoes to the right are the actual shoes she has to hunt down.


As for what the book is about, here is the description from my grant request:


In November of 2009 I began a novel about five sisters on a road trip, one that might be their last. It began as a trip to reminisce, visit old dance students, participate in a book fest, hunt antiques, and take photographs. Somehow, by the time I finished the first draft in May of 2011, a motorcycle rally, six Amish men, a quilt museum, a nude beach, and a wild country song figured into the story.


The five sisters are the DeMilles. Their mother, entranced with her married name, named each of her daughters after movie stars. Vivvie for Vivian Leigh, Billie for Billie Burke, Claud for Claudette Colbert, Frankie for Arlene Francis, and Rhonda for Rhonda Fleming.
Claud and Billie are twins and designers. Frankie is an artist. Rhonda is a dancer and instructor. And Vivvie writes mysteries. She is the baby of the family, but it is at her behest that the women set off on the sort of family trip they used to take as children. Only Vivvie knows this might be their last such trip, and why.

In working on the book, I used notes on yellow pads, scrap sheets, and card stock. I used software that allowed me organize, outline, and write — my favorite tool, Scrivener, as well as another favorite, NoteTaker, which allows you to create a virtual notebook with links to all your other materials. Finally, I also used Word.

I tend to be a moody writer, totally affected by sounds and sensations and smells when I write. So, I may decide to draw circles with labels in green marker on huge paper, or I may sit down and pound away at my computer – anything that helps me pay attention to my work. Occasionally I still sit at the kitchen table, pen in hand, doodling on the legal pad until I find the word I was seeking. I figure the medium in a rough draft doesn’t matter, and if it helps me get the words on paper, — well, why not?

Such is my process.

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