Writer Wednesday – Pamela DuMond

Writer Wednesday – Pamela DuMond

pamela dumondSo, I finished a book the other day called Cupcakes, Pies, and Hot Guys, and I have to say I had SO much fun reading it! It reminded me of a Christie Craig book – jam-packed with the funny, and a lot of sweetness mixed in, only set in Los Angeles and Wisconson instead of Texas.

Pamela DuMond is a new-to-me author, and I think you all will love this series – so go check her out.

I think this is the second book (or maybe third?) in the Annie Graceland series, but it’s definitely a stand-alone, in that you don’t have to have read all the previous books in the series. Though I think I’m just gonna have to download them all, they were such fun. (Plus – recipes! Margarita Cupcakes, anyone?)

Take a look around her website, and you’ll notice she doesn’t just write the cozy funny romantic mystery – she also writes YA, and it looks wonderful. Here’s her Amazon Author page, too. The first thing you’ll notice there is the fact that she’s the author “who discovered Erin Brockovich’s life story, thought it would make a good movie, and pitched it to ‘Hollywood’.”

Fascinating, isn’t it?


Short and sweet today. May your Wednesday be a good one!

Creative Dry Spell? Suck it Up, Buttercup.

Creative Dry Spell? Suck it Up, Buttercup.

Causes of procrastination - laziness, fear of failure, and perfectionism

Thanks to thegeminigeek.com for the graphic.

Have you been ignoring your work in progress for the last few weeks for any number of really good reasons?  I’m here to tell you that you are not alone; but it’s time to suck it up, buttercup, and get the work done. And while I’m focusing on writers here, this is also true for anyone in the arts who has a dream.

It’s the end of April, and the first quarter of the year is over. Hey, writer. Yeah, you. How are you doing on that latest book of yours? Are you writing at all, or have you burned out? Where are you in your goals that you set up in January? In other words (here’s that dreaded question), how’s the writing going? Or is it going at all?

You are what you consistently do. If you want to call yourself a writer, then look to what you do every day. If writing isn’t on that list, then maybe you aren’t a writer.

Before you get mad or defensive, take a good hard look at your schedule. If you say you don’t have time to write, then take note of how much TV you watch, how many hours you tend to family members by doing things they can do themselves, or how many hours of Candy Crush Saga or Farmville or Bejeweled that you play in a single day. If you turn even half that time into writing time, then not only can you call yourself a writer, but you may actually finish that book that’s been lurking on your hard drive, taunting you. Once you finish it, you can edit it. Once it’s edited, you can submit it (or begin the self-publishing process). Rinse and repeat.

The truth is, those who want to write, write. There is no other answer. So if you aren’t writing, the only person you have to look to for answers is yourself. Why? What’s holding you back?

For many people, it’s doubt. Doubt that you can be any good as a writer. Doubt that anyone will want to read what you write. Doubt that success on any scale is possible for you. But you know what? If you don’t write, then success as a writer ISN’T possible because you don’t have a product for people to read. SLAY THE DOUBT DRAGON. He’s not your friend. The only way to do that? Sit your ass down and write. Every day. No matter what, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes.

For others, it’s stress. You’re worried that your next book won’t measure up to your last book. Or that your editor won’t give you the next three-book contract. Or maybe, it’s been ten years and you haven’t made your first sale yet and you don’t know how much more energy you can put into a career that doesn’t seem to be paying you back either emotionally or monetarily. What then?

Take a break.

Sometimes, a break from writing is just as important as a break from your Day Job.12420082139_KayakingInHalongBay Instead of feeling guilty that you aren’t writing, which can make you resentful, give yourself a day or two off each week. If you haven’t set writing goals (okay, I’ll write for the next fifteen minutes or, I just need a hundred words today), then try that, too. But most of all, be good to yourself.

The writing life is one of discipline. Without it, your books won’t get written and therefore, your words can’t inspire others. If you have the guts to be disciplined about your writing, then you’ll get the work done.

The writing life is one of bravery. You’ve finished the book, edited it, and now comes the time to send it out into the world. Whether it’s a publisher or a contest or putting it up Amazon by yourself, getting your book out there for others to read and judge is an act of bravery, no matter which way you look at it.

The writing life is yours to claim. There’s no secret handshake, no formula, no Blue Light Special at K-Mart that will show you the way. The only thing you need in order to be a writer is to write. Write consistently. Write diligently. Write bravely.

So. What’s your TODAY goal for your writing/creative endeavor? I’d love to know! (Mine is getting 500 words done before my head hits the pillow tonight.)


This article was first published in the Los Angeles Romance Authors monthly newsletter, the LARA CONFIDENTIAL, in August of 2013.

Two Trader Joe’s Reserve Wines

Yeah, I’m all about the under $10 bottle of wine. Why? The economy, of course. Plus, I’m not that sold on more expensive bottles being THAT MUCH better. Hopefully, some day I’ll be able to prove myself wrong, lol. I apologize in advance for the lack of photos – they aren’t readily available on the internet, and my camera battery is dead. Sigh.

Today, I’ve got two Trader Joe’s wines – ever since we met up with that wonderful guy who works at Letitia, who let us in on a secret – wines with a lot number usually come from VERY reputable wineries in the Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles wine countries, we’ve been snatching up the bottles when we can.

Trader Joe’s  Reserve GSM – Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County 2012 Lot #96; Alcohol 14.5% by Volume Vinted and bottled by Liberate Wine Co. Hopland, CA (Okay, not ALL the wines are from Napa, Sonoma, and Paso Robles.)

On the Label: “Bright strawberry, cherry, and raspberry notes with hints of spice and vanilla oak leading to an exceptionally well-balanced finish.”

My Take: If you don’t know what GSM means, let me clue you in to this fairly new nomenclature in wine terms: It means a Grenache, Syrah, and Morvedre blend. In this case, the wine is 52% Syrah, 38% Grenache, and 10% Morvedre. It is what is known as a Cotes du Rhone blend. And considering the times me and the hubs went to France and Belgium and bought Cotes du Rhone wines at the gas stations, and the wines were A-MAZ-ING, we gave it a try.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable ~ Sigh. As my husband says, if you can’t remember the wine a week later, it must not be too wonderful. BUT – the price is good, and it IS drinkable. Check it out – you may really like it.

Trader Joe’s Reserve Pinot Blanc Arroyo Grande Valley 2012 Lot #86 Alcohol by Volume: 13.1% Vinted & Bottled by Reluctant Wine Co.

On the Label:  “This Pinot Blanc is rich and aromatic with a round  mouth feel and displays flavors of fresh apples, mango, honey and citrus.”

My Take: I really liked this wine. It was fresh, lively, drinkable without food, better with food, an all-around favorite for any number of dishes. Not too sweet, but with a hint of sweetness.

My Rating: ~ Very Drinkable ~ get it while you can! These Lot # Wines tend to go fast and disappear.


Thanks for stopping by! What are you drinking these days? Alcoholic or not, I’d love to know.


Big Beauty in Small Flowers

Big Beauty in Small Flowers

When I need my mind refreshed before diving back into working on a novel, I like to “see” through a camera lens. Somehow, it changes my internal focus.

Tapo Canyon hike

On Saturday, Tom and I went on a hike. It was a beautiful, cool morning, and not many people were on the trail. I had my camera with me, because I find I hike better when my mind is distracted.

 winding path two

Isn’t this a lovely path? Not too steep, not too straight, lovely curves with oak trees guarding it. I like to think even hobbits would be tempted to walk on this path.

But what I found my eye drawn to were the smallest of flowers, no bigger than my pinkie fingernail.

cluster purple flowers

Another dainty flower…

small white flower

And yet two more – while I was focusing on the yellow, take a look at the pink one in the background.

small yellow flower

But what took my breath away was this beautiful guy. The biggest Coyote I can remember seeing, he owned the landscape. I was lucky to capture his photo – he obligingly posed a couple of times, staring at us across a huge meadow before running along. This is an extreme closeup, plus I cropped the photo even closer.


Isn’t he gorgeous? The best part about this hike is it’s not difficult to get to, at all. Give me a hat, sunscreen, some water and my camera, and I’m ready to go. It was a lovely, refreshing time that helped clear the cobwebs and steady my brain for the creative work to come.


How do you clear your mind for a creative challenge? I’d love to know!

Coppola and Mondavi Wines

Coppola and Mondavi Wines

Today on Wine Friday, I’ve got a white wine on sale for $11, and a red wine on sale at under $6. As I’m all about the tasty wine under $10 when possible, these two are a good fit for the blog (despite the $11 sale price).

bottle_sauvignon-blancFrancis Coppola Diamond Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Yellow Label  Alcohol, 13% by Volume;  Regularly $14.99, on sale at Vons for $10.99

On the Label: “Dramatic style, vibrant packaging and fruit-forward, smooth wines are the signatures of Francis Coppola Diamond Collection.  Our Sauvignon Blanc delivers a beautiful perfume of tangerine, pink grapefruit, and honeysuckle followed by juicy flavors of tropical fruit, zesty citrus, and a int of minerals.  Delicious with grilled fish or spring greens with fruit and goat cheese. Learn more about our wines at FrancisCoppolaWinery.com.”

My Take: It’s a good sipping wine, a good wine with crab quiche, good with your Easter ham. I don’t know what I was expecting; I’m finding that one Sauvignon Blanc tastes very like another, which is rather disappointing. I suppose some day I should have a Sauv Blanc tasting party, just so I can see if I’m right and they DO all taste alike, or if some have a better something than the others. Hmmm.

My Rating: ~ Drinkable to Very Drinkable ~ and if you’re going to relatives for Easter lunch or brunch, this would be a good bottle to bring along with you. It does have a certain panache, after all, with the Coppola name on it.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir 2012  Alcohol 13.5% by Volume; pinot-noir-bt$5.98 on sale at Vons.

On the Label: ” ‘One of a winemaker’s most valuable companions is patience.’ – Robert Mondavi

“Pinot Noir is a challenging grape to grow in any climate  Winemaker Rick Boyer patiently selects fruit from our best California vineyards to create a wine with classic notes of violet, rose petal and red cherries.

“Become our valued companion on Facebook.”

My Take: Facebook? Hm. Maybe I will click “like” on that page. That said, I like Mondavi wines. They tend to be reliable, solid structurally, and rarely is there a bad bottle among the Mondavi line.  This Pinot, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with it, doesn’t make my Smoking Loon test. (Which is, is this wine better than the Smoking Loon Pinot Noir, which I can almost always get for $5.99?) I usually don’t bring that test up when the price point is so dead on, but for some reason, while this is a perfectly acceptable Pinot Noir, it didn’t hit my sweet spot this week. Which means, of course, I’ll have to try another bottle (because at $5.98, why not?).

My Rating: ~ Drinkable to Very Drinkable ~ Maybe I was just in a mood.


With the continuing unpredictable weather we’re having, what are  you going to be drinking this Easter Sunday?