Category Archives: July 2011

I love cowboys

I love cowboys.

I grew up watching John Wayne movies with my dad and Clint Eastwood Spaghetti westerns with my stepdad. Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams Jr., and Johnny Cash were always on the 8-track player or the AM radio. In high school, I usually had a Louis L’Amour dime-novel in my backpack next to my Stephen King huge bible.

Living on a ranch, riding horses, exploring canyons and gulches was a frequent day dream of mine. However, reality involved an Ohio farm, a small farm town, and way too much humidity.

I moved out west as soon as I could, but my version of the west keeps including cities, since small western ranch-towns don’t usually need technical writers.

So, what spurred me to start down this Old West trail of thoughts? I read Jacquie Roger’s latest book, Much Ado About Marshals this last weekend. If you like western historical with lots of laughs and fun adventures mixed with fun romance, you’ll enjoy her story about Daisy, a wanna-be detective, stuck in a time when women were supposed to get married and have babies and not go around trying to solve crimes. Jacquie got me thinking a lot about life in the Old West and what life might really have been like.

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a puny wimp I am and how I couldn’t handle it, starting with the outdoor toilets in the middle of winter. However, I would have loved all of the wide-open spaces. But I’d have missed modern medicine. Yet the lack of so many laws and societal rules would have been refreshing. Although I’d miss my computer when I sat down to write my books.
But I sure do love those cowboys. :)

What do you think? Would you have preferred living in the Old West rather than the here and now? What would you have liked about it most? What would you miss the most from the twenty-first century?

Ann Charles

New Mexico road trip

Like most, I often fall into a routine of home to work to home again. Consequently, it was a welcome change when a childhood friend came to spend several days this month. The visit got me out of the house, into the car and away on a great adventure to see more of the place where I live.

The New Mexican landscape is quite varied—surprising to many who think of the State as entirely desert. The arid expanse running from Albuquerque to Santa Fe reinforces that misconception, since it is what most visitors ever see.

We chose to follow Highway 84 north through Española and Abiquiu, home of Georgia O’Keefe’s famed Ghost Ranch, where great rock sentinels and mesas carved by some great geologic event line the valley.

To our disappointment, smoke from the still-raging Las Conchas wildfire obscured much of the expansive vista. Despite the fact it had burned its way south from Los Alamos to an area east of the Rio Grande nearer to Albuquerque, the smell and taste of the smoke was still quite strong this far upstate. The resultant haze washed the skies to pastel blue, or even gray.

Eventually, however, the smoke abated as we moved into the verdant hills and valleys near the Colorado border. The little church in Tierra Amarilla, just south of Chama, stands against the cobalt skies I associate with America’s Southwest.

From there, we drove east through pine and aspen forested mountains to Taos, then south again through the Rio Grande gorge past the cottonwood stands near Embudo. Our journey concluded at el Santuario de Chimayo, New Mexico’s answer to Lourdes.

Legend has it, on Good Friday 1810, Don Bernardo Abeyta saw a light coming up through the soil. He dug with his hands until he came to its source: a buried crucifix. He carried it back to his home parish of Santa Cruz, but the next day the tiny relic was gone. He returned to the original site, where he dug once again and found it anew. The process repeated until it was obvious the crucifix wanted to remain in Chimayo and a chapel was built on the site.

Somehow—and this is not clear—over the intervening years the soil beneath the chapel was deemed to have acquired miraculous curative powers. In one floor of the Santuario, a hole, or Posito (I assume this to be a corruption of “depósito”), has been created to expose the earth beneath. Pilgrims can reach into the hole to retrieve a handful of the wondrous dirt and later, either rub it onto the diseased portions of their body or brew it into a tea. * ugh! * One miracle few ever question is how the Posito replenishes itself, because after decades of pilgrimages and tens of thousands of visitors, the supply is never exhausted.

A peek behind the wizard’s curtain, if you will:

One of my clients with family in Chimayo explained how every week the parish priest or, more often, chapel helpers pay a visit to the local junkyard where the truck they use is loaded with more healing dirt.  Otherwise, the Posito would have long ago become a cavernous pit.

* sigh *

Raymond Bolton

The Purpose of Art…

is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. ~ Pablo Picasso

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to check out the Picasso exhibit at the de Young Museum. It was incredible and inspiring, spanning his entire career and featuring works done in every medium imaginable. Sculptures in ceramic and metal; paintings in oil, watercolor, gouache and acrylic, drawings in ink, in charcoal, pencil and oil pastels; and in each room, blazoned across the wall above the art, quotes from the man himself, who had a colorful way with words, too.

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child was one of my favorites, partly because you can see such playfulness in his approach to art, his experimentations with style and with substance, and you can sense his desire to cut through the roadblocks of mind and create directly from the heart, as a child does so naturally.

The other reason I loved the quote? I’ve begun painting this summer, and I’ve given myself permission not to study or practice, not to seek perfection or work at it. I’m playing, getting messy, coming at the canvas with childlike abandon and a variety of tools – brushes, sponges and palatte knives.

No, you won’t see any of my pieces in the de Young in this lifetime, and Picasso might not think I have a speck of talent, but I like to think he’d applaud my gusto and appreciate the joy I feel when I’m up to my elbows in splatters of acrylic with the sun trickling down through the lattice roof of my pergola and Joni Mitchell crooning through my iPod.

I work at writing, and I work hard. Painting, for me, is playing. (And the power of play should never be underestimated!) It’s a different way to tickle my Muse, to get her laughing and relaxed and maybe a little inspired. I couldn’t care less if my canvases are wall-worthy, though I will be hanging this piece – my very first one, which I painted to Arvo Part’s “Alina” – in my office, to remind me of the importance of taking risks and doing the thing (whatever it is) you think you can’t.

Besides, I rather like it. 

There’s been a thread sneaking through the posts lately, about having the courage to live strong and do what you want, even (or maybe especially) if it challenges you or scares you a bit. I’d wanted to paint for years, but I’d convinced myself I couldn’t. If I were setting out to paint like Raphael that would be absolutely true, and I’m certainly no Picasso. But as the man said – I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.

I’m not studying per se, but I’m definitely learning. I’m in this for the creative rush, for the feel of wet paint on my fingers and to “wash the dust of daily life” off my soul. After an hour or two, I hit the same Zen-like state I reach in a good, powerful writing session. It’s bliss, really – and when I turned forty a few years ago, I committed myself to spending the rest of my life following it wherever it may lead, even if I get a little messy along the way. (And I’ve known for years that I have a green thumb. I figure the green fingers are the perfect compliment!)

Lucian Freud

Lucian Freud died this week, age 88. I like to think that he painted right up until the very moment of his death – painting was his life. I fell in love with Freud’s work many years ago, I’m not sure I can tell you exactly how long though if I thought about when I was in London the first time (calculate, Kate, calculate) then I could say that it was – voila! – 1978 or 1979. I don’t know where I saw his work – a museum, a magazine, the window of a gallery? It doesn’t matter because I was immediately transfixed.

I’ve worked, on and off, in the art business for most of my grown-up life. I’ve collected art, have met many artists, have become obsessed at many different times with many different artists. But Lucian Freud is right at the top of my list and has been since the very first time I saw one of his paintings (and yes, he is the grandson of Sigmund). He was, according to many sources and not just me, the “greatest living realist painter” (Robert Hughes, 1998). Every painting I’ve ever seen is so real it’s almost frightening. He held nothing back, painted people as they were, not as they – or he – wished them to be. Every detail, every stroke, created more reality until it feels as if the painting was more real than the subject of it. He painted mostly portraits and had a few favorite subjects – famously, Leigh Bowery, a performance artist.

Here’s another portrait of Bowery – my favorite. When I saw this painting for the first time, I wanted to write about this man about whom I knew nothing and yet, when I saw this, I felt as if I knew everything there was to know about him. That is art at its highest –

Freud said he was “really interested in people as animals… Part of my liking to work from them naked is for that reason, because I can see more… I like people to look as natural and as physically at ease as animals.” But I’m not sure that’s what it is for me, what I love about his paintings while also being frightened and amazed by them, being hypnotized by them, being saddened by them. For me, it’s the honesty. He captures for me, even in this early more stylized portrait, the essence of the person he’s painting, the person he’s spent sometimes months and even years studying and painting. He doesn’t pretty it up, he doesn’t pull any punches. His art is truth – and that for any artist, is the hardest thing in the world to achieve.

Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever heard a piece of music, ever seen a piece of art, gone to a play or a ballet or a recital, or read a book that somehow changed the world for you? Changed the way you saw the world, the way you imagined it unfurling around you? Made you a different person, a new person, a person better able to understand the world – and the people in it – around you? Lucian Freud has done that for me, many times over.

Mostly, I’ll say, I miss him already. I miss knowing that he’s in his home in Holland Park and he’s painting. He’s got someone sitting or standing or lying in his studio three times a day, and often in the evening as well. I miss knowing that the next time I catch an art auction in the paper or on the news, I’ll see one of his portraits selling for $33.6 million. I miss, most of all, knowing that there will never be another Lucian Freud painting waiting for me so that I can discover the truth about another human being.

Kate

Guest Blogger Ana Ramsey

(the header photo is the Trifid Nebula. Image Credit: NASA, HST, WFPC2, J. Hester (Arizona St. U) et al. See NASA terms of use)

I met Ana a few months ago through some mutual friends of ours. Quite by accident, though as it turns out our friends had wanted to introduce us for a while. *laughs* For good reason, it seems, because I’ve found her to be a kindred spirit. Not in the least because she’s as crazy as I am! *grins and winks* But in part because she also loves Harry Potter and trust me, she writes some awesome urban fantasy!

***

When K.B. asked if I would be willing to write a guest post for Black Ink, White Paper, I was both overjoyed and extremely nervous. I have my own blog (http://anaquana.blogspot.com/), but I rarely ever post to it because I never know what to write or if people even care about what I’m writing. In light of that, I cheesed out and asked K.B. to simply send me the interview questions. But then, as I was hard at work answering said questions, I realized I was going about it all wrong.

I’ve only just met K.B., but in the short time I’ve known her, I’ve come to see that she is the embodiment of pushing one’s self to the limit and beyond. So, I’m borrowing a bit of her spirit today and pushing past my comfort zone and writing an actual post instead of just answering a few questions.

Two weeks ago, I watched the live-stream of the red carpet premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and I bawled my eyes out. Partly because I’m a sap and this wonderful franchise which has shaped my life in so many ways for the last decade has reached a grand finale. It’s thanks to the Harry Potter fandom that I’m writing this guest blog. If not for a mutual friend whom I met through the Harry Potter slash-fiction community, I would probably never have met K.B. She is only one of numerous blessings bestowed upon me because of my love of Harry Potter.

The other reason I was so moved to tears was because of my own feelings of inadequacy. I watched as these masses of people screamed and cried and rejoiced in the presence of J.K. Rowling and the actors who portrayed her characters, and I despaired of ever being good enough to write something that has touched the lives of so many people.

I don’t care about the fame and fortune. In all honesty, I’m far too shy to be comfortable with the idea of book signings and being on panels at conventions. No, what I want to do is make a difference in somebody’s life through my writing. Is that the height of hubris? Maybe, but that’s the reason I write and strive so hard to be published.

That is until that Friday. That Friday I thought very long and very hard about giving up. I thought about packing up my pens and notebooks and deleting all of my Word documents. Because really? What was the point of continuing if I was never going to accomplish what I set out to do?

I know all of you who are reading this are probably shaking your heads and tsking at me, but here’s the thing: it was important that I let myself experience those feelings of inadequacy and failure. I needed to internalize them, sort through them, and let my inner-self decide in its own time that those feelings weren’t worthy of me. Because, while my head is smart enough to know that, of course, I’ll never succeed if I give up before the end, my inner-self is like a small, whiny child that knows no sense of reason. And it’s going to throw a tantrum whether it’s the sensible thing to do or not. Once my inner-self was done with its pity-party, I got right back to writing.

Sometimes we just need to give in and have ourselves a good old-fashioned pity-party complete with cake, ice cream, balloons, and most important of all, a piñata. Have yourself a cry. Chuck your notebooks into a (clean) garbage can. Move your writing files to the recycling bin (please, dear reader, do NOT empty it). Let your inner-self live the reality of giving up if even for just a little while. I bet you anything the little brat’ll wise up and shut up real fast. Then you can retrieve your notebooks and restore your files and balance will be restored.

Ana Ramsey* is a crazy cat lady cum author repped by the fabulous Cameron McClure of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She just recently finished rewrites on her first novel. Where Demons Fear to Tread is the first in an urban fantasy series set in a world populated by all manner of Fey creatures, vampires, shapeshifters, and demons. She can usually be found lurking on Twitter (@anaquana) or gallivanting around the world from the comfort of her chair.

*Name changed to protect the guilty

THE ART OF RECYCLING

I was going to write about comedy this week… and then I read Raymond’s post about selling what you write… and that got me thinking about how things you write that don’t sell are kind of a waste of time—a lot of time—way too much time to waste, for sure… and then I got to thinking about recycling—and how recycling is using stuff we normally would throw away for some other purpose… and, Voilà, that led me to realizing all those screenplays my esteemed partner, Wash Phillips, and I wrote, that never got produced, might just have another use or uses, other than making a movie, that is.

If you remember my last post, I spoke about making a test movie, an animatic production that uses recorded actors dialogue, sound effects, background music, and drawings of story scenes—sort of a story board production out of a screenplay—an unsold, un-produced screenplay.

“And then what?” you might ask.  “It is still unsold.”

In this instance, its use is to enter and win a competition, in which 1st place wins $100,000, not to sell it.

“But if it doesn’t win, this test movie, too, winds up in the “waste-of-time didn’t-sell stack,” you might remind me.

“Au contraire,” say I!

If I take the finished product, replace the drawings with a narrator setting scenes and giving background… like magic, I have, transformed said test movie into what is called, ‘a full-cast-audio’ book, and that can be
sold!  There is a wide market for audio books.

But wait, there’s more! If we color the drawings, and put them back in, PRESTO, CHANGEO! We now have a digital-graphic novel. That’s right, I said, a graphic novel but not just any graphic novel… this graphic novel doesn’t have little dialogue bubbles… this graphic novel has characters that talk… What will they think of next???? The digital book market is growing day by day.  Digital graphic novels are just a matter of time… if they happen to talk… me thinks that would be another plus.

“What about novels that don’t sell?” You might ask.

Maybe I’ll cover that in another blog, at another time. Right now I’ve got to get back to my recycling!

Wally Lane

even after all this time

You guys get a hackneyed job at a blog entry today. You see, life is a bit scattered and chaotic at the moment. Normally I try to write these things the week ahead, but this time around it’s just not happening.

 We’re closing on a house in two weeks, which also means we’re moving  in two weeks. I’m excited. It’s long past time really, this house we’re renting we moved into just after the husband got sent to the Springs, and the six and a half years we’ve been in it make it officially the second longest house I’ve lived in since I moved out of my parents’ house to go to college.

 I like stability. *grins* You’d think this was totally throwing a rod in my life, but oddly enough it’s not. I’m enjoying this. I’m excited. And moreover I’m actually learning to keep up with a routine (of sorts) despite the assorted craziness swirling around me.

 Part of this might be because I’m so jazzed to move and that the house we’re buying is just plain awesome. But I like to think it’s also because I’ve finally learned to adapt some, and that this Taurus isn’t quite so scared of her precious schedule getting derailed.

 I had thought I would wait until after the move to tackle edits on my latest project, but something in my brain just wouldn’t leave it alone.

 So now, in between navigating a new job and watching my living space steadily disappear into a pile of moving boxes, I’m somehow managing to also jump head-first back into writing. (And watch Harry Potter twice this weekend. *grins* A girl has her priorities, after all.)

 Life happens, usually when we’re least ready for it. I catch myself saying things like “when it settles down” or “when things are less crazy” usually in reference to things I want/need to do. Then I snort with laughter. There is no later, there is only now. What I choose to do now impacts that mysterious later.

 Life is always happening, and life is pretty much about chaos. We try to fool ourselves into some sense of order, but time is a human construct and however we try to manage and measure it, it ticks on regardless. The only thing you can do is make use of the now.

Which means, no putting things off. *grins* So simple, huh? I’m fond of the saying - How you spend your time, is how you spend your life. And of the idea that waiting for that perfect moment never gets you anything but a lot of wasted time and regrets.

My writing is a priority in my life, but more than that, it’s a stability. It is the rock in the chaos. That thing I turn to when nothing else seems to be holding still for me. In it, I can find a few moments of quiet. I can find myself.

So if your life is in chaos (or even if it’s not) and there’s something you’ve been putting off doing until things “quiet down” or life “evens out.” Don’t wait! Now is actually the perfect time to start running, or learn to play the violin, or take up dance lessons.

Leave me a comment about something you’ve always wanted to try/see/do and what you think is holding you back from it. I won’t lie, it does take focus, but it’s possible and I can promise you that you won’t regret it.

K.B. Wagers

(photo by Don Branum – for more photos PhoenixBlue
Photography
)

School supplies

Today I visited my local Target store, initially to get coffee, (it’s next door to where I work). Then I wandered toward the back to buy more candy for my office candy jar, (my fellow workers depend on me for the good stuff).

What did I behold as I turned the corner?

School supplies!

I actually squeaked with delight, (how embarrassing for a grown woman). And a co-worker wondered what the heck I was so excited about it.

It usually happens in August but I guess like Halloween in the summer and Christmas in September, the dates have been moved ahead. I don’t care, because this is the time of year when I load up on all kinds of cool writing supplies. Things like decorative notebooks, (last year I had a thing for Disney Princesses), notepads, folders and more.

I’m sure the checkout clerk thought I must have a couple of little girls stashed away at home. But for me, getting organized for writing is just so much more fun if I have cute stuff. My research notebooks are filled with notes, photos, images and brain maps for outlining plots. But all that information isn’t in a sterile environment. There are flowers, peace signs, and yes – even an occasional princess in the collection of binders on my shelves.

It’s a silly ritual, my grabbing armfuls of school supplies. But maybe it harkens back to my childhood, when an early September birthday meant new clothes and the first days of school were filled with fresh notebooks, sharpened pencils and a positive outlook that this could be the best year ever.

 What writing rituals get you excited about putting words on paper?

Deborah Schneider

the independent woman

I’m not a feminist in the greater sense of the word. I like being a woman, and like being treated like a woman, though in no way a helpless woman.

I’m 2 weeks into my 7-week road trip with my 14-year-old daughter, and I keep getting the same question: “Aren’t you afraid…?”

We’ve made it from the Pacific Northwestto Wisconsinin the two weeks, with a few day layover in Nebraska with relatives. People—mostly woman, and women of all ages—that we’ve met along the way, and even including a few of my aunts, have asked me that question.

Am I afraid? Of what?

We camped in a gorgeous state park in northern Idaho… Maybe I felt a little fearful that a bear would come charging out of the woods because our steak dinner smelled irresistible. But we have bear spray, and know how to use it!

I was asked if I worried about car trouble. Well, yeah, in a way. But then my cousin in Nebraska fixed my minor issues, and away we went.

What if you break down in the middle of nowhere? Well, let’s see… I do drive “off the beaten path” because I hate Interstate Highway travel unless I need to get somewhere fast. And my-oh-my did I feel “in the middle of nowhere” driving through southern South Dakota! But I have enough food and water in the truck to sustain us for days! No road we’ve driven on has had zero cars on it (though close) and eventually a Good Samaritan would stop to help. But they could be “bad” people. You can’t be too careful when it’s just you girls.

Refer back to bear spray… *grin* It works on 2-legged threats, too.

We’ve seen gorgeous sunsets and even more beautiful sunrises. We’ve camped in our tent and cooked over the fire—okay, Coleman cook stove, but it has flames. We’ve driven through the Cascades, Rockies, Bitter Root  Mountain ranges, and a bunch I don’t know the names of. We’ve traversed flooded highways—that was a little scary, but if the Motorcycle in front of me could do it, my Ranger made it fine! The deserts were hot, brown, dry, and windy. The Midwest is lush and so humid you can’t breathe deeply.

Am I afraid? Maybe of moving through it too fast and forgetting things I don’t want to forget. Worried my daughter won’t remember the little things that we’ve stopped to see.

Am I afraid because we’re two women crossing the country alone in a 10 year old pickup with some food, water and a tent? Heck no! I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world!

Anna Leigh Keaton

Guest Blogger Gae Polisner

Earlier this summer, when I posted my list of vacation reads and mentioned loving young adult literature, Eden suggested I check out Gae Polisner’s The Pull of Gravity. One look at the premise – and the story’s inclusion of Of Mice and Men and Yoda – and I was sold. I adored the book and I’m delighted to have the chance to introduce you to the author, who in addition to being a terrific writer is also fun, friendly and interesting. In short, just the kind of person we love hosting here at Black Ink, White Paper.

Lisa

***

        Interview with Gae Polisner

1. What is your day like? On a good working day? On a bad working day? And how do you cope with the bad ones?

Because I wear a lot of hats, my days can look very different. I try to write every day (except for the breaks I take in between manuscripts). I also try to swim almost every day which is a part of my writing process. Seriously, my creative juices need to be activated by water. Because I have kids who have busy lives too, and because I have a part-time “day job” I still engage in (as a divorce law mediator), there is also a lot of juggling of those hats. Also, my writing life has been a bit different since right before, during and so far immediately after the launch of TPoG because now I spend such a good deal of time writing blog posts (like this!) and trying to get the name of my little book out there in the world. On a good working day, I’ve written something new (or revised something) I love and am so excited about I want to post a little snippet on my blog or on my facebook page. On a bad day, I swim and swim and swim. Because in addition to the creative flow of the water, the endorphins keep me happy and sane (ok, almost sane). And, yes, there are days I just stay under water.

2. Tell us a little bit about your workspace.

It’s a little faux, drop-down writing desk in my “piano room” where I sit with my laptop. For mother’s day this year, I got a little shiatsu roller chair pad that’s awesome too, so I often have that turned on. On top of my desk are a few trinkets that are writing related including a Yoda sculpture made for me by my younger son. Above my desk on the wall, is a beautiful little landscape painting by my mom.

3. If you had a perfect day, what would it be?

My kids happy, my writing flowing, an amazing open water swim, then sushi with my husband and vegging in front of Mad Men or Entourage with some Red Mango or tropical fruit, or, if you insisted, a really decadent piece of yellow cake with frosting.

4. Who do you most admire in your field (or in general) and why?

In my field, oh man, the list is ever growing. First and foremost, I admire my editor, Frances Foster. She’s amazing, a legend in the business, and at near-80 still totally on her game. She blows me away. A few YA writer names: Francisco X. Stork, David Levithan, K.L. Going. . . seriously, that list could just go on and on. Also, in general, I admire people who get off their asses and do. Not talk, do. I admire people who hang in there. Who feel the fear and do it anyway. And who help other people in the process. I try hard to be one of those people. Sometimes I fail. But the older I get the closer I get to succeeding.

5. If you weren’t a lawyer and a writer what would you be?

Job-wise, not sure. But I wish I were a better dancer and a better cook. Those who know me know that it’s one of my life goals to be able to shake my ass like Shakira. I mean really isolate each lower part of me and shake it. Er. But, have you seen how she can?

6. What is one thing you want to do before you die?

Dying is scary. There are things I just want to do. Period. Now. Soon. Eventually. Some of them (in no particular order) are: write a picture book; get my women’s fiction published; swim a 5-mile or more swim in the open water; return to Italy where I honeymooned but this time stay at the Hotel Ill San Pietro at Positano, set in the cliffs overlooking the Bay of Positano; learn how to shake my ass like Shakira. I might have mentioned that one already.

7. What is your favorite saying/quote/mantra?

Ever since I got published, I’ve found “Keep your eyes on your own paper,” useful. Meaning, some people will get more glory, have more books, get better reviews, sell more copies, etc. than I will. And some will do worse. I just need to focus on what I’ve done and what I can do in the future.

8. What’s the one thing that drives you crazy? At work? At home? In general?

People who crack their gum or chew loudly with their mouths open. At work, at home, and in general. :)

9. What’s your favorite book? Movie? Painting?

YA: Marcelo in the Real World.

Movie? Oh man,The Graduate, Swingers,The Princess Bride, to name a few.

Painting? Lately, I have a newfound love for Van Gogh partly because I’m working on a ms that has a lot of references to Van Gogh. But of all time, the painting that sticks with me always is Paris: A Rainy Day by Gustave Caillebotte. I know the painting from the old board game Masterpiece I played ad nauseum with my sister as a kid. I would bid on it even if I knew it was a fraud because I wanted it in my collection. Also, Monet’s Water Lilies. I mean, really, is there anything more beautiful than that?

10. Where’s your favorite place in the world?

I’m sure you can guess this at this point, but the answer is under water. In my crystal clear pool in the sunlight, with the water and light playing in reticulated patterns as I swim. Or, in the open waters of Long Island with the waves tossing me in an exhilarating, breathless swim. Although, lying on a lounge chair in my backyard in the sun staring at clear blue sky, with a profusion of roses blooming all around me, isn’t a bad place to find myself either.

Gae Polisner is a wife, mother, and family law attorney/mediator by trade, but a writer by calling. The Pull of Gravity is her first novel. You can find Gae at http://www.gaepolisner.com or http://thepullofgravity.com or follow her on Twitter @gaepol.