Congratulations to Ola Norman, who was chosen by my old buddy random.org to win a copy of Diane Chamberlain’s new book, The Dream Daughter.
Ola was lucky number 13, which just goes to disprove that particular superstition. Diane’s book has gotten great reviews and was chosen as a People magazine book club pick. Didn’t I tell you this one was special?
If you click on the title above, the link goes to Amazon where yours truly gets a wee bonus from The Great and Powerful Zon as a thank you. Of course buy it at your favorite bookstore, wherever that is, because, heck, I can’t link to every single store and still have room to say anything here.
Because I feel a need to share my pain and also connect my life to my writing, I thought you’d like to see what’s happening to my summer cottage. Again, yes again. We walked into a disaster area in June after a leak during the winter. Our plumber–who we believe to be responsible–forgot to mention it and left soggy floor boards, moldy paneling and a mildewed ceiling above the trap door his worker left open to better allow varmints and wet, cold air inside our house while we were away.
Of course, I’m not bitter. And before you ask, yes, we do have a new plumber. I would love to tell you we learned something from this. Other than questioning the wisdom of having two houses, nope. We’d chosen a plumbing company who was widely recommended. We went over everything they needed to do in detail. We stayed in touch. We made sure they came to winterize when they were supposed to.So now, all the new wood floors and paneling from our huge 2013 renovation must be ripped out. Luckily our fabulous contractor was already scheduled to come in redo the bath and a half we hadn’t touched the first time. So he agreed to take on the floors and paneling, too. Luckily, too, we have insurance. And despite a large deductible, it will help.
You may be asking yourself what this has to do with writing?
I’ve written over 70 novels. And I have thoroughly enjoyed writing my work-in-progress, A Family of Strangers. Everything was coming along just fine until I hit Chapter XX. I knew, going into that one, it might be tricky. It’s a transition chapter, a chapter that moves the story forward while, at the same time, tries hard not to bore the reader to death. (See, we manipulate you, but we don’t want you to know. That’s in the Writer’s Code.)
I managed the first part fine. But the second part? I knew, as I struggled with it, that XX was the chapter where readers would fling the book across the room and shout “You have wasted my time!”
You do that frequently, right? I know you do.
I’ve learned a lot from our cottage renovations. First, despite the guilty plumber’s suggestion that we just buy a few fans to dry the floors a bit, we were smart. We called our insurance agent, our contractor, our house-watch realtor, and a local company that assesses and remediates damages. Every one of these professionals understood the problem. Every one of them told us to get the wet floors out, or we might lose the house to mold.
Rather than lose my book to mold, I took this lesson to heart. Last week I ripped out the boring chapter and struggled with it for three days. And you know what? It’s a thousand times better. And I am a thousand times happier, even though the time I spent on both versions have put me very far behind schedule.
We could apply this lesson to many things. Are you in a bad relationship? Are you just going to buy a fan or two and hope you can live with it? Or are you going to rip it up and start fresh? Are you unhappy in a job you hate? Are you going to buy a fan or two or are you going to quit and find one you’ll like better?
I won’t go on. My lesson was learned. Bet you’ll enjoy photos of the new floors and bath once I have them.