Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Chills & Thrills

I wanted to blog about my friend Alex's new book, but then I got these photos (and others) from a fellow Keep-My-Ass-On-The-Ground friend and thought they'd make a great lead-in.

Can you imagine the thrills & terror of this ride??? With a record-breaking height of 420-feet and record-breaking speed of 120 mph, Top Thrill Dragster delivers on its promise of thrilling riders this summer at Cedar Point, Ohio. And the following photo says it ALL to me.

For a safer ride where if you relieve yourself it'll just be pissing yourself laughing, take a look at this cute novella:

12 Nights of Christmas: Santa’s Feast
by Alexis Flemingcover art by Bryan Keller
ISBN: 978-1-59596-274-4
Genre(s): Sci-Fi
Theme(s): Christmas
Length: Novella (12k - 28k words)

Alex's book debuts on December 2nd, and you can order it directly at the Changeling Press website, or visit Alex’s personal site.

Alex's daughter, Kelly Ethan, is also a writer, and I can't wait to read some of that girl's offerings...she's a real chip off the ole block, as they say. I get to meet Kelly in Atlanta next July. If her mother and I are such great friends and cut up the way we do at our age when we're together, I'm sure Kelly is gonna age me considerably.

As for my own news, I've heard that I'm finally about to receive a much-needed and long-awaited contract from one of my publisher's, and I've just returned the art cover information for the mainstream Samhain purchased a few weeks ago, so...back to writing and rewriting for me. Have a great day, all.



At 5:15 PM, Blogger Shesawriter said...

You know, there was a time when I was a lot younger where I'd step over bodies to get at a roller coaster. Now you couldn't pay me. And the one you've posted makes me want to run for the hills just looking at it. LOL!


At 5:49 PM, Blogger Merry said...

I would have done worse in my way. NEVER.

That said, Lex's book looks yummy and glad to hear that contract FINALLY came in!

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Daisy Dexter Dobbs said...

Oh. My. Gawd!! That would so definitely be me in the photo, except for the fact that I’m sure I’d never make it off the ride alive. I’m “Daisy the Super Chicken” when it comes to being any higher than a stepladder, and even that’s pushing it for me! LOL

Congrats on your forthcoming contract, Lyn!

At 3:51 PM, Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Alex's book cover . . . that's quite a stocking-stuffer ;o)

At 8:29 PM, Blogger Rinda Elliott said...

I can't get past that picture! Poor girl. I would never. Ever. Get on those rides.

At 11:53 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

I know - gaawwd is right. Maybe in my younger years, but even then never something like this.

Cracking up on Doug's comment - Lex said earlier this week that Santa looked like he was severely ball restricted, said his pants were too high. Your comment made me think of 1st time friends took me to a male strip club here called La Bare's - was my birthday. And one of the guys actually had stuffed a sock in his pants that fell out during his jiggling. He was also wearing invisible braces. Somehow killed the entire mood he was goin' for, but it was a great laugh...just difficult to suppress until we were away from him.

At 12:01 PM, Blogger Jordan Summers said...

That ride looks terrifying. That poor, poor girl. Bless her heart. How humiliating. Congrats on the book.


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Monday, November 28, 2005

In Praise of Age

Even Benjamin Franklin says older women make the best lovers, although he did qualify it with "...because they're so grateful." Bastard. What did he know? The man had 11 illigitimate children, not with the same woman. He wasn't around long enough to witness menopause.

There's been an influx of older women heroines during the past couple of years, and I for one am grateful as hell. About damn time. More women in their 40's and 50's and 60's discovering they can write these characters, too. I was pleasantly surprised to find a contingent of my contemporaries in Reno this summer who were geriatric go-getters, women who could pen passion like nobody's business, traipse up and down stairs for the seminars, call the kids and grandkids during breaks, then whip out the sequins and shine among the stars at night.

One of my 'older' friends still writes virgin heroines for Silhouette, and I've been tempted to ask her if she's stuck in that era for personal or financial reasons. I'm sure heroines with hymens sell well - this gal has been selling that product longer than I've been writing. She thinks that writing "those words" the way I do for my erotic fiction would get tiresome--I feel the same way about a character in awe of a penis.

Give me an older man, too, one with some common sense, the muscles to pick up his own shorts and socks, and the ability to see past the superficial into the sublime. So what if he doesn't have a 28" or 32" waist and he has more hair under his pits than on top of his head? My question is can he cook? Does he know how to assuage a child's fears, buy tampons when his wife or daughter can't leave the heating pad or the bathroom, or distinguish the difference between "I just want you to hold me" and "Let's get it on."

What do these have to do with writing, you might ask? Everything. When you create a character, you have to do more than just assign them a hair color and an age. This is where 'write who you know (you'll hear me preach that one a lot) as opposed to 'write what you know' comes into play. Doesn't matter if you're writing children's stories, science fiction, myseries, or romance--know your characters, and for Pete's sake learn how to layer.

I recently read a friend's manuscript - cute idea, delightful description, awesome setting. Terribly one-dimensional characters. It was as if she was writing what she thought she should rather than what she actually knew. To her, this is her best work. To me, it's a wall-banger. Where's the beef? And I'm not referring to his throbbing member or her moist Hills Like White Elephants. I'm talking about character, depth, emotion, passion, life force. What drives those characters?

What drives yours? Is it their inability to communicate, their exuberance with human contact, their reluctance to share material possessions...or themselves? If you could assign one simple, not complex, sentence to describe them, what would it be? If it's a physical description, give yourself a point. If it's something depicting their thought processes, add a point. If you can pit them against their universe that you've created, go to the head of the class. What makes a character interesting isn't how they look or even how they think (although that's the better of the two)--it's how they use their attributes to interact with others and their universe.

Age your characters--not physically, not with description, but with character, depth, finesse. If you must concoct a virgin (hey, nothing wrong with that), at least show them to be more than the sum of their anatomy. Give them a reason, if you write romance, to sleep with someone other than the fact that they are physically attracted. Otherwise, all you have is another f*** book, whether you illustrate the act graphically or subtly. That is what gives romance a bad name. Make the book more about the relationship, the interconnection, the shared and disproportionate likes and dislikes. Don't overshadow the relationship by adding angst, humor, terror, a mystery--ENHANCE the relationship. Those are merely elements to contribute to the overall romance, not to detract. Quite often, even good writers toss in so many extraneous, external conflicts that they lose sight of the primary goal of a romance...the relationship. If you write suspense, have at it. Ditto for fantasy or whatever subgenre. But if the cover or spine of that book will have the word "romance" attached to it, please develop the relationship and internal conflict as much if not more than you do the external.

See Wendy the Librarian's reviews of romances she's reviewed in November - she explains it better than I do at times.

Don't be afraid to "age" your characters, no matter their numerical value. Layer them so that they pop off of the page. View them as more than their physical characteristics. Even children sometimes possess old souls, and adults often never grow out of childhood. If you don't believe me, read the passages in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird on Boo Radley.

And that's all I'm gonna say about that for today. Happy Writing, Everyone.



At 6:55 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

My ex is still stuck at about 16 *ggg* as usual, great post doll!

At 8:17 AM, Blogger Shesawriter said...

"Age your characters--not physically, not with description, but with character, depth, finesse."

I couldn't agree more. It's called layers. And make them oh so hard to peel. LOL!



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Thursday, November 24, 2005

Blogs Of Note

Too much holiday fun already?

While you’re picking turkey out of your teeth and procrastinating on your writing, here are some great posts/blogs to visit:

Doug’s Birthday Wish List – I DARE you to read this without laughing. All of Doug's posts are worth the read, but this one just had me cracking up.
Merry’s Hot Crab/Artichoke Dip – another juicy tidbit from the fabulous Merry Stahel.
My friend Dee SOLD!!! – Folks, this is one terrific writer you are gonna LOVE!
Samhain Publishing – the publishing house that has recently purchased 5 Belfrites
Rae has a new look! – one of The Belfry Collective’s most recently “sold” authors.
Sonofabeeeeeech, my friend Kris’s blog on the frustrations of designing a web page.
Silver Expressions, a blog spot by fellow Liquid Silver Books authors.
Web Home of Cece Stuart, the best writer of Southern Women’s Fiction in ages. Check out her NEW BOOK!!!
Kate Rothwell’s Schedule as she prepared for Thanksgiving. (Thought I would die laughing reading this one.)
Ladies of The Lipstick Chronicles – 4 extremely talented authors! Two of whom, Nancy Martin and Harley Jane Kozak, pen some well-written mysteries.
No matter what genre you're after, Carla has the latest updates, excerpts, reviews, and "about the biz" info at Toot-Books (IF that link doesn't work - Yahoo is giving me a bit of trouble with it, try copying & pasting:, and no, I'm not saying that just because my book cover of Star Struck is still up there - shame on you for thinking so - lol).

The talented Rinda Elliott, who brought us The Write Snark, has been at it again – check out her latest Café Press goodies, Twisted Fanatics.
* * *
For a good romantic comedy to watch this week:
Home For The Holidays
* * *
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.
* * *
Remember that there are worse things than spending Thanksgiving with the relatives:



At 6:06 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Awwwww thanks babe! Coming from you that's high praise indeed!

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Rae said...

Thanks for the plug, and I'm still laughin' at the cat in the toilet picture. You find the best pictures!

At 4:03 PM, Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Isn't that a dog in the toilet?

Thanks for the plug. Just to show I'm not above whoring myself (me? never!) here are the links to the other two pages of that birthday list:

Part 2

Part 3

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Big cat if that's a cat. *snort* But who knows?


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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Higher Designs

I've never been one to rework old writing. (See the post on flushing what doesn't work - you can't miss's the one with the toilet photo.) For whatever reasons, it's easier for me to develop a new idea and run with it than it is to try training a piece that just doesn't show as much promise as I'd like. Well...I've had my comeuppance this week, and this is the flip side of the coin, if you'll allow me to play devil's advocate.

Considering the holiday, knowing that special hell a writer goes through trying to maintain (weight, writing schedule, whatever else) while entertaining or visiting others this time of year, I was gonna blog something funny about familes and getting together at Thanksgiving, but photos taken of animals rescued during our country's recent hurricanes called out instead. This poor little guy broke my heart, probably because he resembles a "million dollar mutt" (not worth a nickle, but wouldn't take a million for him) who was my buddy for several years.

I have a difficult time *not* rescuing an animal who needs attention. Like my writing projects that are birthed then orphaned, there's something about homeless creatures that tugs at my heart strings. I have the damnedest time not feeding and nurturing anything with a soul. (Here's a closeup of the little fellow, too, just to give you a visual during this diatribe on what's to be done with children of the mind who wind up as strays.)

I've had ideas that were never birthed, those that never made it past conception, but I've rarely had anything "come to me" then die on the vine without at least an attempt on my part of working with it, trying to force it to survive. Force is the operative word here. I'm talking about those stories that appear without warning (i.e. planning), who demand attention then sit like spoiled brats waiting for their lives to come to fruition. Maybe ideas needle me a bit, forcing (there's that word again) me to pay attention. Once I do, poof...they pull a Casper, leaving me gasping like a fish on a sandbar for something to sustain me. You'd never guess by the way I keep house and the way my mind darts from one subject to the next that I'm organised, that I prefer being able to find a place for everything and to even Feng Shui the whole disarrayed jumble so that every time I visit I don't run screaming in horror at the mess in my head or on my computer.

But what of those "pet" projects that refuse to be ignored, not by their demanding intrusions but by that spark of life that you know in your gut exists but can't prove? What of the ideas, false starts, and even hundreds of pages that you work on yet never seem to work into championship winners?

Merry quite often thinks I'm blogging about her when I'm not (especially if I reveal some shared idiocynracy or quirky writer's habit), and this time she may not even read me, but I'm gonna blog about her now just the same. Merry is one of those writers who has tons of pet projects. Tons. Many manuscripts that were birthed and nurtured, but they're not particularly anything but "mutts", for lack of a better word. (And since I'm on a canine tangent, here, indulge my skewed metaphors today, please.) I've done the same thing, but not to Mer's extent. Yesterday I read a piece of hers from the past that still clings to life like some pound puppy who never became a show dog but who definitely contributed richly to her life. Now, I want this pup to survive. There is so much heart in this manuscript, so much not seen to any eye but that of the soul of the person gazing at it. Others have told her (often) "write something new", because she reworks the same pieces, and often they don't appear to change to the critique partners. After re-reading this one (I'd read it a couple years ago) yesterday, however, I had this huge epiphany as to why she's clung to's worthwhile.

I also realized what a hypocrite I am at times--I, too, have pound puppies in my kennel of manuscripts--I just don't have the nerve to show anyone. I felt blessed that Merry shared this one with me again, and I was sorry that I didn't see its value the first time we met. It was the case of an old dog teaching me new tricks, if you will. Visiting her pet pushed me to pull out a few of my own last night and this morning, to examine why I've kept those stories on my hard drive at all. And ya know what? I found a gem or two. Even queried one late last night, knowing I would rework the part of it that displeased me, polish it, and give it one more showing. I also realized that even if it doesn't perform as expected or hoped, I'm not getting rid of it. This manuscript is an old friend who taught me more about writing and characterization than many of the others--it deserves at least a visit now and then from me, even if I'm the only one reading it.

I also realized that I can't force the situation with these projects. They'll come to fruition in their time, when they're ready (when I'm ready).

The beauty of children of the mind is that they never die - they age, but they're still fresh and new if we so desire. They develop character the more we work with them...if that's our purpose. Sometimes they just need a good cleanup in order to be presentable.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

May your families all get along, with a place for each member at the table.



At 12:43 PM, Blogger Merry said...

Tom Clancy asked once in a discussion if anyone knew the definition of writer. His definition? Paranoid schizophrenic. Why?

1. Voices in the head that won't shut up.
2. Fear no one else will read or listen if you put those voices on paper.
3. Pulling your "children" to you and holding them close, because you think no one loves them but you and everyone's out to "get" them when they critique.

See? I knew you were talking about me!


Good post. Thanks for seeing the value in that book. The hero in it is the one that all my other heroes have to live up to.

~ Merry

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Dulcie said...

Even though you haven't read any of my stuff, Sunny, I always think you're talking about ME.

Self-absorbed? Moi???

Dulcie Anne

At 1:14 AM, Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

How do those mental pound puppies get on with the plot bunnies?

Have a great Thanksgiving.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Kris Starr said...

Happy Turkey Day, doll! Hope you have a wonderful day!

(and you can add me to the list of paranoids--*ggg*)

Love ya!


At 5:48 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

You're talking to me again *ggg*

As usual a wonderfully insighful post doll. Thanks for the food for thought.


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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Weekend Writing

They won't even leave me alone for a weekend. How about you? I thought perhaps I'd do some baking, watch a movie, maybe read, but no. The Voices call.

I feel as though I'm in some virtual chat room where all of the characters who have yet to present themselves fully clothed are vying for my attention. Must be the late night movie from last night, Elizabeth. I don't even write historical fiction, but that movie inspired so many things last night. Talk about great script writing, acting, and directing - so many varied people whose motivations and emotions are revealed, peeled like some theatrical onion. I'd never seen it - what a movie.

Mona Sizer (aka Deana James) once told me that every hero has his faults and every villian his reasons. The statement was never more true than in that movie. Anyone else get pumped for writing by simply watching a good film? What are some that brought character studies to life for you? Others of mine were "Rocky" (the 1st one), "Luther" (another Joseph Fiennes, hmmm), and more recently "Sideways".

The following for Angie, who wanted to see all 3 of my book covers but couldn't find them...

Don't have covers for Just Desserts (Ellora's Cave sale) or Leaving Mama (sale to Samhain) because they're both just going to contract. They'll be available before long, though, so bear with me. Oh, and the latter will be written under the name of Bobbie Cole, not Lyn Cash, because it is mainstream, not erotic in nature.

You can find out more about the books under my author page at The Belfry Collective site. Just click on the hyperlink in the previous sentence.



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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Something To Sing About


Okay, so it's Ave Maria, but the eeeee just works better here. I sold a mainstream novel today to Samhain Publishing. Title is Leaving Mama, and I have no clue when it'll debut but will keep everyone posted. All I'm fairly certain of is that it won't be published under Lyn Cash. Any ideas? I'm pretty sure that Nora Roberts and Stephen King have already been taken. *wink*

My friend Lex talked me into submitting this one. Otherwise, it probably would have sat a long, long time while I stewed on whether or not to do this or that with it. But thanks to an insightful friend, "Mama" has a home with an ambitious new publisher that seems like a winner. Hope so.

One of the greatest assets any writer can have is friends. Another is a great critique group. The past year has been a blessing on all fronts. My friend Carla displayed the cover of Star Struck at her yahoo group, Toot-Books yesterday, where I suppose it'll grace the home page for a couple of days. That was really sweet of her. The Belfry Collective has been instrumental (and that's an understatement) in even getting me published this year. Friend and fellow Belfrite Merry Stahel has gone so far as to make prizes for my author days. All of the Belfrites at one time or another this year have donated their time and energy to reading and critiquing my work.

Rinda sent me a wonderful notebook and coffee mug from The Write Snark earlier in the week, and I think of her every morning when I make my coffee. Liz fed me toast and coffee then took me to Borders today, where I picked up a nifty bag of their Holiday brew. Diane read my first chapter attempt at a paranormal and gave it a thumbs up. Sherri, my editor at Loose Id, sent me some promotional information to give me marketing pointers and help with sales.

I know, I know...Christmas and New Year's aren't here yet, but I'm counting a few blessings early. Sometimes life is really, really hard, and crap happens we can't control. Then there are those perfect little slice of life moments that keep us going. This is one of those nights for me, so I'm singing with a full heart.

Thanks, all...



At 6:25 AM, Anonymous Carla said...

**I know, I know...Christmas and New Year's aren't here yet, but I'm counting a few blessings early. Sometimes life is really, really hard, and crap happens we can't control. Then there are those perfect little slice of life moments that keep us going. This is one of those nights for me, so I'm singing with a full heart.**

And you sound like a cheerful canary! YOU GO, GIRLFRIEND! Congrats!!

Carla, also thanking you for the free TOOT-BOOKS plug. :)

At 10:56 AM, Blogger Dulcie said...

Smiling like heck here, Sunny--very big congrats to you!!!

Dulcie Anne

At 4:07 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Congratualtions Babe!!!!!!

Is the book so different that you HAVE to use a different pen name? Raine and I have recently had this same discussion and my take is this. If it were print publishing Maybe I could see using two names for mainstream and erotica but I think we have to work so hard to get our name out there in epublishing, that having to promote two names just undermines us. I mean it's so hard to build a following anyway......

At 4:34 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Aw, thanks, everyone! Yeah, Cece, it's print this time and mainstream to boot. It will come out as ebook form 1st then go into print probably six months later.

At 10:32 PM, Blogger Merry said...

Hmmm...and Hemingway, Salinger, Joyce, Twain and Harte are taken too!

Howzabout a variation on your Cherokee name? Coupled with a descriptive such as "Farsong" because you came a far distance physcially and mentally to be able to sing about your blessings now...

Just a thought!

At 11:23 PM, Blogger Douglas Hoffman said...

Congratulations, Lyn. What a nice present for the holidays!

At 12:38 AM, Anonymous raine said...

I'm LATE, durn it! But I'm still gonna say what I want to say:


At 6:51 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Hm, Mer' - you may be on to something. Raine - THANKS! And Doug (shaking head here and the rest of me quivering) gotta love that "man titty" pose of yours. Hubba, hubba. A man with brains AND pecs...(swoon)...

At 11:51 PM, Anonymous Sylvia said...

Congratulations! "Mainstream", how fitting. I giggled when I first read that thinking that you would think I would find that appropriate. I'm thrilled for you and look forward to seeing this book in print. I miss you terribly and find myself ashamed that I missed your birthday! Happy Belated Birthday! Much love and best wishes.

At 11:16 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Oh, wow, my dear friend Sylvia has visited! (I borrowed Sylvia's name for a character in the mainstream that recently sold. Before we met IRL years later, we first said hello in the Baby Boomer Chat Room of AOL on Christams Eve 1995 (?). Remind me to blog about Sylvia and her many talents some day *wink*.)

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on the sale! May we all have sales next year (okay, so I'm early with that wish but why not?)


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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Make Friends With Fear

Sometimes it is the very act of moving instead of staying stagnant and still that gives us the necessary momentum to accomplish our next goal. Many a creature, including man, has faced Demon Fear only to die of a heart attack or something related to fear. "Deer in headlights" is an expression that best describes the paralysis that short-circuits our brains and freezes us.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar refers to FEAR as False Evidence Appearing Real. All I can say is that the slogan works for me. If it didn't, I'd have caved in many a time to what was more internal panic than some gaping black hole of external force that threatened to swallow me. Or as one friend puts it when I'm tempted to shy away from a task, an interview, a mission..."They can't eat you."

My friend Heather Rae Scott just sold her first book, and I want to brag on her. She's had death, destruction, calamities galore during the past two months. Rejections on manuscripts, friends caught in burning buildings--we're talking children, not just adults, a patient she's sat with for years passing away, relatives hospitalized, a pet dying, her own children traumatized by the events, and her dear grandmother placed under the care of Hospice. Plus other things she hasn't blogged about, so I won't go into airing her laundry in public. My point is that despite all of this she continued to write and to submit her work--and it's paid off handsomely. She sold. If she'd caved in to the fear, even the fear of the unknown, not just the sure things she saw coming, she'd never have been able to move, to act. Courage has a face--it's that of my friend Rae.

Some of us are more afraid of success than failure (raises hand here - must include me...I've had too many friends and family members tell me so for me to ignore the possibility). One friend went so far as to say that when I get money, I only elevate myself to a higher level of poor, that it's not success so much as a fear of being responsible for my own well being that pushes my buttons.

Another friend is just the opposite--she's so paralyzed by the thought that she won't "make it" that she refuses to submit anything, for fear that those who know will ridicule or...the worst for her...pity her. She's so used to being "the golden girl" that she can't stomach the idea that she won't be the best, much less stand and be counted as someone who succeeded.

Writing takes magnificent courage--we put our own lives under a microscope, allowing those who read our words to peer into our souls, our thoughts and dreams, the dark places that even we don't like to visit, much less spotlight for others to view. As one writer puts it: If I get published, the people I don't like will have ammunition to hurt me, to make me feel bad about myself.

Very telling, huh? That one has a fear of exposure? Not really. To me, it's simply that they already hand too much power to others, that they measure themselves by someone else's yardstick rather than their own.

Once we identify what holds us back, as writers and individuals, we're able to conquer our demons, to make friends with the very things that we allow to limit us. We're not puppets, with someone else pulling the strings, unless we string ourself and hand over the reins. Once we realize that it's probably self-doubt more than our egos on the line, we can move forward.

Life isn't a specator sport unless we make it such. Writers are people-watchers, spectators, sure. We're also participants when we take charge and forge ahead. Writing is an adventure. Put on your Indiana Jones hat, crack the whip, and press on. Give yourself permission to fail...and to succeed. Celebrate each step that takes you closer to your goal.

You've read in my blogs about my son. If I've done anything "right" in my life, it was producing that boy. When I got serious about my writing and put my energies where my mouth was, he gave me a Mother's Day present one year that I'll never forget. It was a beat-up felt hat, same color and style as the one worn by Harrison Ford in the Indie movies. With it was a note: Happy Mother's Day to my adventurous mom.

My hat is off to Rae today. Thanks for reminding me that I'm only as strong and capable as my belief in myself.



At 1:30 AM, Blogger THIS! Christine said...

Great Blog Lyn.

Been thinking of you a lot lately. Will cathc up soon.


At 3:19 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

You are just so totally rockin' chick......

At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Carla said...

What a wonderful tribute to Rae and your son!

Carla : )

At 10:12 PM, Blogger Merry said...

I'm so proud and happy for Rae. All the sorrows she went through to get here...

As for The Kid...what can I say? a miracle. A blessed miracle. Of course, I think all kids are (G).


At 12:08 PM, Blogger Jordan Summers said...

Terrific post. :-)


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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Drop Your Pants

A friend sent this to me of a men's bathroom at a new Sofitel hotel in NZ.

Kay Hooper used to say in her bio for her Loveswept books that Bantam published in the 80's that writing was like dropping your pants, and she always followed up by saying "I feel a breeze". (Kay is the author whose work kept me from going crazy after a wreck in 1984, in which I was partially paralyzed for about 18 months. We corresponded for some time, and the newbie here hung onto her every word.)

I live in an ancient home...with everything holding it together so old that when something breaks, it takes an Act of God to get it fixed. This morning, as I was scraping off crappy paint & wallpaper in the bathroom, it was the toilet...rather, the water valve behind the toilet. Somehow these things break, even when nobody touches them, I guess. Finding the right replacement part, fondling water valves as if they were the Shroud of Turin, channeling Robert Pastorelli's character Eldin Bernecky from "Murphy Brown"...revisiting the 80's has already had me bellowing at barking dogs and fiending for nicotine. I wanted to write today, not fuss with stripped threads, matching new valves to old, and debating the differences between 1/8th of an inch and yanking out the entire plumbing system to accomodate one minute malfunction that could quite literally flush my day down the loo.

But isn't that the way it is with our writing, too, when we're working on something old rather than something new? Isn't it always refreshing to jumpstart the muse by letting her run rampant now and then with an idea so new that the words have yet to be formed?

One of my dearest friends has close to forty projects she's started and never finished. This would have me quivering in some detox facility. I like finishing things. I prefer starting them, as she does, but the thought of leaving that many tomes languishing is akin to getting lost in the catacombs of my mind. No, thanks. Ditto for doing as another friend does, reworking the same tired (and by now trite) material until the characters are unrecognizable and the plot has been done by someone else who had the gumption to finish the book, get it critiqued, and submitted.

When is the appropriate time to flush what doesn't work and tackle a new project? It's different for each author, but weigh the consequences. If you've only one book in you, if you're a Harper Lee who can hit the big time with one book that will set you for all eternity, if that one particular project is your epitome of excellence, by all means finish the book. On the other hand, if it's "just a book" and you feel that there are more of them within, that the one you're on is more of a learning tool than a construction whose completion is worthy of your time, bless it and let it go. Use the one that you love that you fear no one else will for its true purpose...and only you can determine what that is. Maybe it's a personal thing--you don't care if it sells, you don't care if anyone else likes it or not. Or maybe you care too much. That's what happened to John Kennedy Toole and his now-classic, A Confederacy of Dunces. Just remember that he killed himself over it--literally. His mother submitted it after his death in the 70's, and the book won the Pulitzer for fiction in 1981. I'm sure his mother was proud of his work, but she'd probably much rather have had her son with her than the award.

Ask yourself if the book you can't release is your life or if it's merely a part of your life. Remember that the balance of power shifts when you allow something or someone else to control you. The multi-talented Robert Pastorelli killed himself. John Kennedy Toole did the same. Kay Hooper (author) and Candice Bergen (actress who portrayed "Murphy Brown") have gone on to other projects and are still doing what they love. I'm not suggesting that your only choice is between death and survival. I'm suggesting that you be the one to decide the direction and the lengths you'll go to achieve either. You decide the quality of your life, as well as that of your fiction.

As Kay says, drop your pants. Then take it further. Make a stand. Pick a direction and run with it. Do so, mindful of your intentions and what you wish to gain as well as what you're willing to give up for it.

Showing up is essential.

Screw the bathroom today now that the valve and piping have been replaced. I'll worry about the cosmetics later now that the primary function of the room is fixed. The room will never grace the pages of House Beautiful anyway, no matter what I do to it, so I'll work on it to satisfy myself and throw my energies into something more in keeping with my vanity (if you'll pardon the bathroom pun).

My "Rinda" mood from The Write Snark :



At 8:32 PM, Blogger Michele said...

Just dropping by to say Thank You for visiting my blog. Now I return the favor and visit you!

I liked reading this post. Troublesome plumbing affects us all, one time or another.
Sounds like you tamed it though.
Loved the bathroom humor. I can imagine a lot of laughing flies on the wall watching first timers' reactions at they use the facilities...LOL

Love the adorable kitty pictures on your other posts. Sweet!

I think I'll drop in now and again if that's OK. I like your writing style...AND looks like there might be another book to add to the ol' TBR pile :-)

BTW- I myself, am a curious kitty. My curious question?: How'd you find me???

Anyway...have a wonderful day..and it was nice visiting your blog.

At 6:20 AM, Blogger Michele said...

Ah , from!
I love her blog. Always interesting.
Thanks for answering my question!

At 11:29 AM, Blogger Merry said...

Now, now. The 40 writing projects on my harddrive are only 37. I've finished three in the last 8 months. This brings the total to 14 finished books, now.

I will finish everything.


Even the quilts.

So there.

Merry :)

At 11:35 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...


Mer, believe it or not, I wasn't even talking about you and your stash. (dying here) Wish I was. You'd handle what I said better than she would. This one is a non-fiction writer bud. REALLY.

(still howling) oops. Sometimes I forget there are others who resemble a remark when I'm pontificating.

At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Sasha said...

Great Post! (love the picture too!)
I've always like Kay Hoopers books, and now that I write as well, I tottally understand the sentiment.

But, like you, I have to finsih what I start. I can't do anything else.

At 3:39 AM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Hi, Sasha! THANKS! Come back and visit any time. (grin)

At 10:41 AM, Blogger Merry said...

Well dang. There's nothing worse than getting all defensive and then finding out that its NOT all about you. LOL

BTW, almost have Mom's quilt done...a little more quilting on one row, finish the edges and she might even get it before Christmas!


At 11:15 AM, Blogger Rinda Elliott said...

Ha ha! I wondered if you were talking about my multitude of unfinished products. See, there are more of us out there...


At 8:30 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

You are a goodess! And an oh-so wise one at that....I swear you could have read my mind...Look for an email from me soon *G*


At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Myrddred said...

What an absolutely fascinating post. I saw it as a call to the addled brain to face the screen and the keyboard once again.

Thank you, Lyn.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Thanks, Myrddred! Thank you, all of you. What's funny is that none of those who posted here are the friend who had 40+ starts without finishes - lol. Guess there are more of us than we realized, huh?

Have a good day, all! On to a new blog if I can stay connected. Seems my friend Heather Rae has sold...WHOO HOO!


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Monday, November 07, 2005

November 7th

Just a quick note (haven't been online much today - watching movies with #1 Son), but wanted to say thank you to all for the emailed, phoned, and otherwise delivered birthday wishes. It's been a great day. My most recent publisher even gifted me by debuting Star Struck for me today. THANK YOU, EVERYONE!!!!!!



At 9:08 AM, Blogger Liz Wolfe said...

ACK! I missed your birthday. Hope it was wonderful. You're 35 just like me, right?
And Yowza on that cover! Stunning!

At 1:07 PM, Blogger Merry said...


Hope you have tons of fun!


At 8:05 PM, Blogger Kris Starr said...

Sounds like you had a great day! And I've told you before, but I absolutely LOVE that cover. :)

Congratulations, darlin'!!


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Sunday, November 06, 2005

My Tribe

I've always prided myself for being one of the Women Who Run With The Wolves, a mammal more concerned with tapping into a carnivorous hunger for life than one whose existence was dictated by fashion. My sense of style for years has been more Banana Republic meets The Tribe of Wal-Mart Joggers than say The Tribe of College Sorority (although I did belong at one time, purely to date members of The Tribe of College Fraternity) in my 20's or The Tribe of Early In-Law Furniture or The Yuppie Tribe that was popular in my 30's.

Even when I had money, got older, lost money, gained fat, I still refused to adopt more than black and khaki with an occasional splash of color. Clean lines with no frills, the markings that others saw clearly stating that "I'm paying attention, I just don't care and refuse to try too hard to belong to Your Tribe."

I met my match this evening when The Kid gifted me, an early birthday present, with two ladies' handbags, one a handmade leather-tooled mini saddle bag with blanket stitching and the embossed desert rose symbol that was popular fifty years ago, and the other an antique white leather Gucci with a silver clasp and the distinctive bar on the lower right front. Simple, clean lines that I love on both gifts, but with them blew in the latent realization that I still don't belong to A Tribe.

But what tribe would have me at my age? I don't truly belong to The Red Hat Tribe, nor to The Garden Club Tribe, The Country Club Tribe, or The Political Candidate's Wife Tribe. Frankly, all of those tribes scare the shit out of me anyway. I can't really afford to join my true tribe, The Tribe of Ralph Lauren, although I do definitely have the bag for it now.

I have never felt the compulsion to accessorize. My ears are double-pierced, yet I rarely wear earrings. Hell, I haven't even colored my hair but once since Clinton was in office. So why now, when I'm somewhere between gregarious and geriatric am I suddenly aware that I'm tribeless?

The Gucci has never even been out of the plastic wrapping it came in other than to perch on some manniquin's arm thirty years ago then be packed away, forgotten until now. Oddly, I have a perverse urge to live up to the bag, to be as flawless as the manniquin that sported the bag, and I realize in the same instant that such a thing is ridiculous. I am flawed.

I look at the Ralph Lauren type bag and smile. We two have aged but well, with character, depth, and sturdiness that only time can form. Neither have us have been used much, but we're not new, and that's okay. Now I want to use it. The Gucci can wait until spring. But I'll use it, too. Maybe by then the woman will wear the bag instead of the other way around.

#1 Son asked me not to get my feelings hurt before he handed me the presents. He thought I might read into it that handing me antiques or near-antiques as a gift would offend. He said he was browsing, and the owner of the shop showed him the purses. She didn't even know how to unlatch the Gucci, but when he did it for her, she told him the item's story. The Kid said he couldn't resist either purchase and hoped I'd like them. You see, he thought the bags would compliment his mother. He already saw her as belonging to The Tribe of Ralph Lauren and to The Tribe of Gucci. He also wanted me to have purses I couldn't overload so that the weight wouldn't pull on my neck and shoulders.

And who says people can't grow past a certain age? I learn something new every day. Today was no exception, thanks to a thoughtful son and two old bags meeting another.

My "Rinda" mood of the day from The Write Snark :



At 8:47 AM, Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Go ahead and live up to the bags, Suns. Sometimes returning to your tribe makes you feel stronger. Kinda like pomp and circumstance. Ceremony. In the end they're meaningless and seem like a waste of time and money. But while you're involved, they give you the feeling of belonging to something bigger than yourself.

At 2:47 PM, Blogger Amie Stuart said...

Awwww what a sweet gift! I love thoughtful things no matter where they come from =)

Early happy birthday sweets!

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Rinda Elliott said...

That son of yours has always been something special. I remember thinking, if I weren't married... and er, older... heh heh

I'll shut up before I freak you out.

Seriously, that's a sweet gift. You are lucky. Happy Birthday!!!

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Merry said...

Kewl gifts!

As far as my tribe? Like Raquel Welch in that movie - WALKS FAR WOMAN - when I'm done with a tribe, *I* leave. Therefore, I belong to the Tribe Of Marches To The Beat Of A Different Drummer.


At 12:26 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Thanks for the birthday wishes & comments. Rinda, The Kid feels the same way about you - I'm used to it by now - lol. And LOL at Mer', even though she's serious and like Ann has given me food for thought. (grin)

And Cece, thanks again for alerting me about Star Struck debuting. WOW.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger THIS! Christine said...

Happy Birthday doll face.

Hope it was a good one.



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Saturday, November 05, 2005

ebooklove day

I think this is my mood for the morning. (design, courtesy of my friend Rinda at The Write Snark - she's added some new designs, by the way)

Four fellow writers and I are having an author day over on Perhaps you can join us later. There's Mechele Armstrong, author of Blood Kiss. Those of you who read the Kinky Kruisin' newsletter might remember her from September's newsletter. Other authors are Flesa Black, Raine Weaver, & Silvia Violet.

Of course, I'll be promoting Mistress Mine, The Big O & Star Struck (which should be out soon). Everyone will be posting excerpts from their books, swapping stories from the trenches, and you might see a "naughty" recipe or two. (Mechele has some that will have you cracking up or panting, depending upon your mood. Her X-rated cinnamon roll recipe is especially good.)

Have a marvelous weekend, everybody.

Pick up a lesson from the animal kingdom today. Take your nourishment where you can get it, don't be afraid to be different, and enjoy your interaction with others. See you in a day or so.

~ Sunny Lyn



At 12:30 PM, Blogger Merry said...

How'd the booksigning go?

Mine went great - sold 3 books during it and gave 21 books to the bookseller and the hotel I stayed at to sell throughout this month!

The hoteliers were also VERY interested in my giveaways - the quilted coasters and fabric envelope and asked if I'd make some up for them to sell int heir gift shop! LOL


At 3:02 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Mine was simply an author day online, not a book signing as yours was. Went quite well - was in great company.

That cracks me UP about your giveaways and the hotel folks asking you to make some for their gift shop - I think that's GREAT, Merry!!!!!!!! Anyone who has seen your handiwork knows how marvelous it is. (grin)


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Thursday, November 03, 2005

3 Things

A dear friend has saved me from having to think of something original today, so I'm stealing her blog. If you're feeling chatty and don't mind wasting some of your writing time, take a crack at the following:

Three screen names that you've had:

Three things you like about yourself:

Three things you don't like about yourself:

Three parts of your heritage:

Three things that scare you:

Three of your everyday essentials:

Three things you are wearing right now:

Three of your favorite songs:

Three things you want in a relationship:

Two truths and a lie:

Three things you can't live without:

Three places you want to go on vacation:

Three things you just can't do:

Three kids names:

Three things you want to do before you die:

Three celeb crushes:

Three of your favorite musicians:

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you:

Three of your favorite hobbies:

Three things you really want to do badly right now:

Three careers you're considering/you've considered:

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy:

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl:

Three people that I would like to see post this meme:

Just a little something so I can take you with me.

Thanks for playing. My own answers are in the "comments".



At 10:40 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

My own comments were:

Three screen names that you've had: SighCo Sis, Clairol Impaired, & Lethal Mama

Three things you like about yourself: ability to bounce back, honesty, & loyalty

Three things you don't like about yourself: I’m out of shape, smoke, & am a tad self-righteous

Three parts of your heritage: Native American, Irish, & Dutch

Three things that scare you: amphibians, arachnoids, & assholes

Three of your everyday essentials: my diabetic meds, contact w/my son, and writing

Three things you are wearing right now: a towel, lip gloss, & a grin

Three of your favorite songs: Someone Like You, Claire d’lune, and Amazing Grace

Three things you want in a relationship: honesty, great sense of humor, & trust

Two truths and a lie: I’ve had an out of body experience, been to Italy, & worked with the FBI. (You didn’t specify what order, right?)

Three things you can't live without: my child, a good rationalization, & self-expression

Three places you want to go on vacation: Australia, St. Croix, & Alaska

Three things you just can't do: out-smart my kid, jog, or water ski

Three kids names: Bobby, Billy, Bubba (I do live in the Midwest)

Three things you want to do before you die: swim with the pink dolphins in Peru, be totally debt free, sell a film script to Clint Eastwood (inside joke, sorry)

Three celeb crushes: George Clooney, Keanu Reeves, Viggo Mortensen

Three of your favorite musicians: Harry Connick, Jr; Miles Davis; Phil Collins

Three physical things about the opposite sex that appeals to you: eyes, hands, shoulders

Three of your favorite hobbies: genealogy, playing poker, reading

Three things you really want to do badly right now: see Lex, sell one particular book, & spend about $100,000 on “stuff”

Three careers you're considering/you've considered: was in pre-med a while, so I guess being a pediatrician; took the LSAT, so an attorney; and I wanted to be an archaeologist at one time

Three ways that you are stereotypically a boy: like working on cars, enjoy baseball, & occasionally wanna just beat the shit out of someone

Three ways that you are stereotypically a girl: I like teddy bears, the bling-bling, and I’m all about the spa thang.

Three people that I would like to see post this meme: Ann, X, Tanya S.A.W., & Douglas - I cheated. Wanted to put everyone I know on there, but I figured 4 would be pushing the 3 limit as it was.

At 11:33 AM, Blogger Ann Wesley Hardin said...

Me and Anna are playing with ourselves over here trying to guess the lie. Come on over and put us out of our misery!


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