Sunday, December 28, 2008

Koontz and Kisses

Dean Koontz wrote a children's Christmas tale. Who knew? A bizarre little foray into an android creation by Santa's much maligned twin brother. And it's the sequel to one published in 2004. Who knew? Guaranteed to delight eight year olds with descriptions of snot and boom-whacka-boom onomatopoeias. It's Dr. Seuss meets War and Peace: a sing-song cadence with unique rhyming words but far, far too long for one digestible sitting by a second grader. The reviews of the original tale, Santa's Twin, were much more favorable, but still question: can novelists be successful poets? If you're a fan, might be worth a look-see.


In honor of all that is spectacular about New Year's Eve, I propose a Vortex list of our favorite screen kisses, television or film. They don't have to be first kisses, but they must be memorable. Then, we'll have a bit of fun with the suggestions. Leave your choice(s) in the comment section by Wednesday or email them to me:

What is it that makes a screen kiss great?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Great Expectations and The Writer's Palm

I'm on a blog holiday the rest of this week. Check out a great contest and a December 2007 revival post. Merry Christmas, everyone.


Have a great romance or women's fiction story you want to get in front of major New York editors? My local RWA chapter, North Texas Romance Writers of America is sponsoring a Great Expectations contest. Deadline: December 27th. Membership in RWA is NOT a requirement.

Polish your manuscript and send in the first 25 pages plus a query letter. Category-specific score sheets. Paper or electronic entry. Cash prizes awarded to the top three finalists in each category. Rules and entry form.

Final round judges:
Contemporary—Megan Long/Editorial Assistant, Harlequin Books
Erotic Romance-Raelene Gorlinksky/Publisher, Ellora’s Cave
Historical—Esi Sogah/Editorial Assistant, HarperCollins
Inspirational—Melissa Endlich/Senior Editor, Steeple Hill
Mainstream w/RE—Megan Mckeever/Assistant Editor, Pocket Books
Romantic Suspense—Alex Logan/Assistant Editor, Grand Central Publishing
Single Title—Talia Platz/Editorial Assistant, NAL
Specialized—Chris Keeslar/Senior Editor, Dorchester Publishing
Young Adult— Alvina Ling/Senior Editor, Little, Brown Books for Young

Recently, another author made me aware of the unique features writers carry in the lines of their hands. Of course, this opens up an entire discussion about whether the ancient mysteries of palm reading hold any truths about our inner selves and the path we're meant to follow in this life. How is it possible that even in utero, before the movement of the hands have created patterns of folds, these lines are visible?

Each February when I was young, I'd go to the annual Psychic Fair with my sister. We'd spend the entire day in the realm of the supernatural. Palm readings, tea leaves--you name it, we did it. I remember being fifteen, laying my hands on the black velvet in front of me and screaming inside, hoping she would say the man I would marry looked exactly like my high school crush. I can't remember much about the reading, we lost the sheet of notes my sister furiously scribbled as she spoke, but I do remember Carson Bell wasn't in my future.

In sixth grade, I made a project of studying palmistry, complete with a hokey demonstration--crystal ball and all--of me reading my teacher's palm. He'd Xeroxed his hand several weeks earlier for me to study, and the reading came out remarkably accurate. What happened after put an end to my curiosity.

After I'd nailed almost everything about my first "subject", the remainder of the class would ask me over and over to read their palms. I'd learned a little, enough to be freaky dangerous with the knowledge, and enough to know when not to say anything at all. One day a boy named Kevin asked me to read his palm while we were waiting in the milk line at lunch. Standing there, the pungent smell of corn chips smothered in chili wafting through the narrow hall, I saw the life line on both his hands were cut short. Judging from my sparse experience, in his twenties. The inevitable question most people ask when offering their hands is, "How long am I going to live?"

Kevin asked. It was the first life line I'd seen that didn't wrap around the thumb's mount, the completion of a long life stretched to the wrist. I didn't know what to say, so I replied, "I can't tell you." For six more years, through the halls of jr. high and high school, I'd encounter him from time to time and he'd hollar across a crowded throng of students, "How long?" with a smile on his face. It had become a running joke to him. To me, not so funny.

Today, I'll look at my own. I consider it a project in self-discovery, but I won't look at the palms of others. Maybe the metaphysical types are more highly evolved than I am at looking into the future and holding secrets I'm not sure we have a right to know, but when I hold the hands of family members, I never look. Some things are better left unknown.

And Kevin? Sadly, I don't know what happened to him. I'm hoping when my twentieth reunion comes around, I'll find him, alive and well. If not-if by some cosmic mapping I still don't understand his life was cut short-I'll know I gave him nothing more than the knowledge most of us carry. Not knowing. How differently he might have led his life if I'd blurted out in eleven year old ignorance that he wouldn't make it to adulthood. Would he have embraced life or lived in fear? A small stone dropped into his pond in sixth grade could have changed everything.

So I stay with the safe in this post. The pursuit of self-awareness. If you're a writer, here's what to look for:

~Mercury and Jupiter fingers with rounded tips signify creativity.

~The Apollo (artistry), Mercury (communication) and Luna (dreams, creativity) mounts should be pronounced.

~The "writer's fork" is found at the end of a drooping Head line indicates literary talent. Usually medium-sized.

~A small cross (X) on the Mercury mount is also known as a "writer's cross"

The dominant hand reflects those abilities that are closer and more prounounced in your nature.

Check out the comments section for which of these I have and post your own...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Fourth Kitty and Fourth Estate Books

It's official. I can now be called the freaky cat lady. No, I don't have a hairnet and salmon breath and name my felines things like Nathaniel Pawthorne, but I have surpassed the limit I thought I'd ever reach. The more the merrier, right? The best part is my new acquisitions were shelter animals set to be euthanized this week. I can't think of a better way to celebrate the Christmas spirit and new life than to show these two a much-deserved pampered one. I'll post pictures next week.

For now, I give the bibliophiles a stop-motion animation short 4th Estate Books (Harpercollins) created to celebrate their 25th anniversary. If my book were included, I'd want it to be in the red-light district. Enjoy!

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Sanctity of Elvis

Some things are sacred.

Ask my family which Christmas music I subject them to ad nauseum and you'll hear a resounding "Elvis." To me, while I'm far away from everyone and every place that connects me to childhood holidays, nothing has quite the power to resurrect the Christmas spirit in me more than his music. His songs are every tree-decorating Sunday when his "Christmastime, Pretty Baby" inspired a burlesque striptease of loud holiday sweaters and fits of laughter to last all day, every shingle my father hand-glued on a homemade dollhouse when I was eight, every nasty pecan sand tart my brother insisted my mom make.

With the release this season of Elvis Presley: Christmas Duets, we are subjected to a play list of tracks laid over his vocals by a smattering of female singers of our time. Someone should really tell Carrie Underwood that winning American Idol does not grant her the keys to every kingdom, but even her "I'll Be Home For Christmas" track is stellar compared to a duet with Gretchen Wilson. I feel confident Elvis would overdose all over again if he knew his "Merry Christmas Baby" was forever united with the Queen of Wal-mart. Why not extend the Elvis empire to a "Silver Bells" duet with Rob Zombie? A Fall Out Boy "Silent Night"? Lisa Marie, in all her lip-twitching glory, should be the only one allowed to sing with her father. Just because we have the technology, doesn't mean we should use it.

Wow, that was a theme in my previous novel. Huh.

Anyway, maybe I'm just an old soul with a semi-youthful glow. So to make amends with all of you out there who think marrying Elvis to Olivia Newton-John in "O Come, All Ye Faithful" bliss is the best new Christmas song since "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer", I offer up a way for you, too, to sing with The King. Please don't send me your version. I'll either be listening to Elvis or Rob Zombie-just not at the same time.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Joseph

I'm channeling my inner Julie Andrews (not Oprah. Not.) to offer up a few of my favorite things. You won't find any battery scarfing devices or high end anything on here. That's not me. Just being in Macy's today made me break out into a rash of pretentiousness. I'm happy with slippers to replace my holey ones and a great book. Oh, and a contract. And a time machine, but Hoff's taking care of that, isn't he?

Favorite Thing #1: New Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos
These fall strictly into the "guy chip" category that I'd normally never touch. Anything with flames on the bag to warn you of impending halitosis and bright orange nuclear powder on the fingertips doesn't usually make it into my pantry, but I witnessed a twelve year old reaching excitedly for the bag with a look of pure bliss on his face and thought, "I'll have me some of that nom nom." I only recognize three ingredients, but the soy sauce is the best descriptor. It has a spicy, Asian flavor. Serve with breath mint. And Scope.

Favorite Thing #2: Bath and Body Works Sea Island Cotton Lotion
The genius product writers have this to say: Pure white cotton flows in fresh ocean air. Soft. Clean. Heavenly. Why is clean is always associated with the ocean? Every time I've spent all day on the shore, I've returned smelling like a salty creature of the deep. Nevertheless, it has aloe barbadensis leaf juice and apple and grape extracts in it, so imagine smearing fruits and leaves on your skin and running down the beach and I think you've got it.

Favorite Thing #3: Starbuck's Salted Carmel Hot Chocolate
You know that salty-sweet one-two punch that DQ Peanut Buster Parfaits used to have when you were twelve? That's this at 120 degrees. Yes, paying three dollars for hot chocolate is absurd, but isn't everything at Starbucks exorbitant? Wait for the gift card from your crazy aunt and try it. Don't take the final two sips though. The salt sludge will take a year off your life.

Favorite Thing #4: Superview Highlighters
Highlighters are like Post-its: You either obsess over colors and could rainbow your entire existence or you have utilitarian yellow. I fall firmly into the former category. Superview highlighters are half-size so you can gorge yourself on more colors. The best part is the set that comes with a rappelling-like clip to fasten them together, highly metaphoric for those editing moments when you feel like you'll thrust yourself and your characters off the next plot cliff.

Favorite Thing #5: Netflix
If you haven't made the jump, what are you waiting for? In two months, I've saved more rental money than I contributed to the Blockbuster empire over the past two years. And who doesn't love going to the mailbox and seeing that bright red envelope that screams "Hugh Jackman!" between the utility bill and yet another Chase credit card application? It's like having a movie butler that will simultaneously fetch the most obscure classic and the new release you used to karate-chop other renters for.

Favorite Thing #6: Michelob Ultra Tuscan Orange Grapefruit
Some will say this is girl beer. It probably is. I'm sure, for men, drinking fruity alcohol requires a temporary revocation of your man-card. The bottom line is-it's winter. Wouldn't we all rather be soaking up rays on the Mexican Riviera? Don't plunk down your hard-earned greenbacks on the lime or raspberry flavored Mich Ultras-they are the fluff that bows at the feet of this Summer-inspired beer.

Favorite Thing #7: The Westinghouse Indoor/Outdoor Remote Set
If I actually had this, it would be favorite thing #1. As it stands, the ritual of turning off outside Christmas lights at midnight involves a mad dash to three separate plugs dressed in aforementioned holey slippers and a mismatched homage to warmth. Of special delight is when wet holly branches snap me in the face while reaching for the outlet. A Holly Jolly Christmas, indeed.

Favorite Thing #8: Amazon's Free Shipping
Is it any wonder why Amazon is killing the brick and mortar stores in sales? Amazon tempts me with the dangling carrot of free shipping if I'll add only $5.95. Would I rather pay for shipping or another delicious literary offering? Yes, I believe I will have another.

Favorite Thing #9: Passing a FeedBurner milestone
Thank you to everyone who returns, quiet as Cindy-Lou-Hoo on Christmas Eve, to read the blog and for those who feel compelled to comment. For all of you, I offer up my Favorite Thing #10: an e-card I received this year:

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Quest for Father Time

It's not even Christmas yet, I know, but I wouldn't be doing my time-obsessed duty it I didn't pass along this opportunity. Unfortunately, I'm nowhere near the cities participating in the New Year's Eve Adventure Game: The Quest for Father Time. According to my trusty Statcounter, however, some of you are, so I offer this up as a treat for a memorable way to bring in 2009.

Ravenchase Adventures has put together a world-wide event, promoted as a cross between The Amazing Race, The DaVinci Code and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Here's the game's premise:

The Past

Every year, Old Father Time does his best to keep his gnarled fingers wrapped around time’s hourglass, preventing the change from one year to the next. Though stubborn, Time considers himself fair and has thus created a wild, intellectual challenge for you and your team to solve.

The Present

With a healthy dose of irony, you and your teammates must race against the clock to guarantee that time’s forward progress will continue. At once fighting for and against time, you and your fellow chrononauts will test your mental courage and intellectual prowess against not only that of Father Time, but also that of the other competitors.

The Future

With the help of your map and your clues, you will find Time’s clues and secrets hidden throughout your city. Solve them as quickly as possible, and get to the after-party in time to celebrate your success and welcome the arrival of 2009 in high style. Champagne will be on hand for everyone, but only the most successful chrononauts will enjoy Father Time’s fabulously tacky prizes.

Participating cities and links to more information on team formation and cost:

Honolulu, Hawaii
Nashville, Tennessee
New Orleans, Louisiana
Paris, France
Princeton, New Jersey
Richmond, Virginia

If you hear of anyone who participates in this, pass it along. I'd love to hear about it.

How do you usually spend New Year's Eve?

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Day of Mourning

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved friend. Steadfast in his appearance numerous times during the course of each manuscript, he proved himself most dedicated. Always wanting others to bask in the editing limelight, he unselfishly retreated behind highly proliferating dependent clauses and ten dollar words. His lean two-word stance was the salt of literature, a tandem offering so subtle he eluded the tightening police for years. He never saw himself as redundant, merely offered what he had to give. His contribution to word count will not soon be forgotten.

Goodbye Mr. "his-own". May you rest in peace.

If you have an overused crutch word or writing gaffe you'd like to bury, leave it here...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bookworms, Creamed Corn and Skynyrd

I'm almost convinced I have a tag me sign taped to my back. Twice in one week. This one's about books, and I'm all up in that, so I'm game. Bookworm Award rules: 1) Open the closest book-not a favorite or most intellectual book-but the book closest at the moment, to page 56. 2) Write out the fifth sentence, as well as two to five sentences following there. Despite cat privileges (does anyone else declare these?-when the cat's comfortable weighting a human, said human does not have to move?), I reach:

Dark Rain by Tony Richards:

The goods he was delivering slid around a little in the back. Big brown crates filled up with canned goods, any kind that you could think of. Beets, clams, tuna, creamed corn-name it, it was there. This was all he did, come rain or shine. Deliver the stuff to the grocery stores throughout the area.
And he was usually happy with his lot. Not now, though. Not at all.

Tagged to play: Melanie, Laughingwolf, Pam, Sandra
and Marilyn (because we all know what they say about paybacks)


Since I began writing The Night Caller, my fascination with nineteenth century photos has increased exponentially. I stumbled across this one a few days ago:Do you see it? I'm not one to buy into every potato chip-Jesus thing, but I had a hard time seeing past the dominant image at first. If you cover the wavy hair, you'll see a child in a white hat. Take your hand away, it could be a precursor to a Skynyrd album cover.


Who doesn't love a guarantee? Literature-map is the book version of Netflix's suggestions. Type in your favorite author and out spills a treasure map of proximity to your tastes. Great tool for writers who need to prime their market savvy, too.

That's all the randomness I have to offer today. Wear black on Friday, we're burying our worst writing crutch word.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Feeling the Love and Answers

Before we get down to the business of answers and all things Thorn Birds, I have to squee at the honor bestowed on the Vortex for being named someone's favorite. Granted, she has winner's guilt over a 2007 impasse of epic writerly proportions, which could account for some of the love. Nevertheless, I'll display the avatar proudly. Thanks, Marilyn.

Sadly, no one answered all the true/false questions correctly, so watch for more freebies in the coming weeks. Ask me if I can resist rummaging around a discount bin to score time travel movies or books. Go ahead, ask.

Now for the answers to The Thorn Birds trivia:

1. Colleen McCullough hated the ABC miniseries adaptation of her international bestselling novel (t/f). True. According to executive producer, David L. Wolper, the author revealed her dissatisfaction in several interviews with Australian newspapers.

2. The original week the miniseries aired in 1983, a major airline aired episodes during its evening flights so no passengers missed any portion of the ten hour saga (t/f). True.

3. The McDonald's corporation was the number one advertiser during the miniseries (t/f). False. In fact, McDonalds was so dissuaded by the religious controversy surrounding the miniseries, they refused to purchase any ad time. Later, they amended their position to only purchase ad time before the relationship between Father Ralph and Meggie was consummated.

4. Rachel Ward beat out actress Jane Seymour to portray Meggie Cleary because she had a more authentic Australian accent(t/f). False. Rachel Ward did beat out Jane Seymour for Meggie's part, but not because of the accent. Casting believed Jane Seymour to be too strong an actress to portray the innocence needed for Meggie.

5. Amongst the many technical flaws in the film, cars are seen driving on the right side of the road instead of the left, as is the norm in Australia(t/f). True.

6. The antique church robes used for Father Ralph's wardrobe came from a former priest who'd been excommunicated from the church(t/f). True.

7. Bryan Brown, the actor who portrayed Meggie's husband Luke O'Neill, and Rachel Ward fell in love on the set and remain married to this day(t/f). True.

8. The "ashes of roses" dress Meggie Cleary wore at her coming out party was lost in the men's bathroom at LAX during filming(t/f). True. While shipping off cast and crew to film in Hawaii, a studio assistant left the dress in the men's room at the airport. A mexican soldier found it, saw the studio's address in Burbank and returned it. The dress arrived in Hawaii minutes before the previous post's publicity photo on the beach was taken.

9. The sugar cane fields and beach scenes were filmed in Hawaii(t/f). True.

10. Christopher Plummer won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his portrayal of Archbishop Vitorrio(t/f). False. He was only nominated.

Last tidbit of trivia about the final scene in the miniseries: In the book, Father Ralph dies in the house with Fee present. The Thorn Bird's screenwriter, Carmen Culver, envisioned the rose garden as the perfect place to end the saga. In such a harsh land, she believed, the garden became a metaphor for heaven.

This week: literature maps, false heads and a ceremonial burial of my biggest crutch word. Bring yours and we'll bury it together.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Drohgeda!...Bless You

Guys, check your man card at the door. This post might make you cringe from all the estrogen. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In seeking a diversion from the dizzying blur of final draft line-edits and the copious amount of holiday preparation I haven't even attempted, I offer up a concoction of romantic trivia from the past. To celebrate the latest run of The Thorn Birds on LMN and the evolution of my appreciation since I watched the miniseries the two previous times, a game of Friday True or False?:

Richard Chamberlain would have satisfied my Irishman and Father-What-a-Waste fantasies all in one deliciously bundled ten hour saga had I been born thirty years earlier (true or false?)

Okay, that was just to get you warmed up. Do I really have to answer that for you?

Seriously, here goes. Careful, some are tricky:

1. Colleen McCullough hated the ABC miniseries adaptation of her international bestselling novel (t/f).

2. The original week the miniseries aired in 1983, a major airline aired episodes during its evening flights so no passengers missed any portion of the ten hour saga (t/f).

3. The McDonald's corporation was the number one advertiser during the miniseries (t/f).

4. Rachel Ward beat out actress Jane Seymour to portray Meggie Cleary because she had a more authentic Australian accent(t/f).

5. Amongst the many technical flaws in the film, cars are seen driving on the right side of the road instead of the left, as is the norm in Australia(t/f).

6. The antique church robes used for Father Ralph's wardrobe came from a former priest who'd been excommunicated from the church(t/f).

7. Bryan Brown, the actor who portrayed Meggie's husband Luke O'Neill, and Rachel Ward fell in love on the set and remain married to this day(t/f).

8. The "ashes of roses" dress Meggie Cleary wore at her coming out party was lost in the men's bathroom at LAX during filming(t/f).

9. The sugar cane fields and beach scenes were filmed in Hawaii(t/f).

10. Christopher Plummer won a Best Supporting Actor Emmy for his portrayal of Archbishop Vitorrio(t/f).

The first blog visitor to correctly answer them all will receive an archbishop cone fashioned out of construction paper from me. Kidding. I'm feeling generous, so in addition to bragging rights, the winner will get a copy of Colleen McCullough's novel, The Thorn Birds.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Pick-Up Vortex 10

I was going to blog about something different today, but I feel an overwhelming need to address the masses of men out there who subscribe to the Mystery doctrine of wooing women. If you don't know who Mystery is, you won't give a tinker's damn about the contents of this Vortex 10, but if you're still curious, check out this Talk Soup clip.

Dear any-man-who-thinks-The-Pick-Up-Artist-has-it-going-on,

I use the term "man" loosely. Anyone who buys into Mystery's goal is too immature and self-absorbed to come close to a woman's definition of a real man. I know women are hard to understand. Many times, we are at a loss to understand ourselves, but this self-proclaimed messiah of seduction is not the answer.

I've watched bits and pieces of Mystery's philosophies for two seasons now, enough to gag down a few of his preachings. Why, you ask? Lost is still in reruns. Accompanied by his wing man "Matador" and a steady parade of shallow women who in no way represent most of the fairer sex, Eric von Markovik has dished out plenty of advice. Most of it, crap. Yes, he empowers shy and awkward men with confidence, but when the litmus test is bedding women, you've already lost the game. The inner poise most women respond to will be inevitably altered into something akin to his co-host's implants-bloated and deceptive. I don't speak for all women, but I do speak for the kind of women most of these genuine contestants hope to find:

1)Any man who gives his ego a nickname is a tool. This goes for Mystery or Matador or any other one-word avatar used to perpetuate his own sense of purpose. If you have to name it, you aren't there yet.

2)Why take fashion advice from someone who looks like a pimp? Approaching women in Purple Rain attire does not make you desirable, it makes you laughable. Take the free initial makeover the show provides and stop there. The size of the bauble around your hairy chest is directly proportional to how much women laugh when you turn away.

3)Cry on television if you win the Nobel Prize or are rehearsing a death scene for I Wanna Be a Soap Star. Don't cry because Mystery is digging for re-enforcement of his inflated contribution to society.

4)If you approach women in the grocery store's produce section, you're busted. It's cliche and you might as well have thumped your grandmother's melon for all the interest you'll get.

5)Soul patches and eyeliner work well on very few men. Those men are named Johnny Depp and Johnny Depp. They aren't you. Don't even try.

6)You'd do better to learn the mneumonics of STDs than the abbreviated pick-up artist lingo because the few women this advice works on will have an alphabet soup of disease.

7)Women have built-in pick up line sensors. Coming up to a woman at a club and saying "Hey, do you know whatever happened to Velcro?" will solidify your status as one to avoid because you're either wasted or stupid. Cater an opening remark to the situation, never use the same line twice and you'll have a better "gambit" than any schmuck who actually bought into anything Mystery had to say.

8)Earning the title "Master Pick-Up Artist" might as well be "Master-Bader" to our ears (apologies to my brilliant high school chemistry teacher for his unfortunate name). Why not earn the title of Master of Fine Arts and impress women with more than being coined best kisser by a porn queen?

9)Yes, the $50,000 might be worth going on cable to make a complete noob of yourself, but the price of your soul to be a wingman to an overinflated wanker is too high.

10)Lastly, receiving one of the seven colored medallions is no different from the celebratory Worlds of Warcraft quests you accomplished in your mother's basement. It's not "the best thing that's ever happened to you", it's a sign you're a gullible schmuck led down the brick road of bad dating advice.

Double X chromosome

Monday, December 1, 2008

Defining Success

Every artist defines success differently. Some long to reach the pinnacle of cultural awareness in one shimmering, defining moment of glory. Some believe sweet recognition comes only through the slow, nurtured scope of a lifetime's body of work.

How do you define success?

For one reason or another, this question has niggled me the past month. Perhaps it's because success is a fluid idea, relative only to where we are along the path. What was success to me eight years ago-not entirely different now-has taken on an edge of maturity and appreciation. The process defines me in ways I was only an outsider to then. While I joke about the NY Times list-what writer doesn't?-I can feel the definition of success shifting within.

Imagine a writer who follows the creative path, always held prisoner to an idea that seems to define him. He experiments with different genres, grows in his craft, but this one idea encapsulates all that he is and loves in his work. He toils over its scope and magnitude for over a decade, while his peers mass produce books consumers are hungry for. His moment is coming, he can feel it as surely as he realizes the story he's creating is shaping his own life. And when he realizes success with this one masterpiece, more than he could have possibly imagined, he witnesses a glimmer few will ever know.

Imagine another writer, every bit as much along the creative path, but never stopping to find that one true elusive story of the heart. She is the steady racehorse of her publishing house, a mid-list author who's accumulated thirty books in twenty years, some her best, some utterly forgettable. Collectively, her body of work made it possible to live a decent life as an artist, garner peer awards, and develop a modest legion of readers. She wonders what it must be like for one of her novels to reach past the stratosphere of success, but doesn't toil over the fantasy. She has another deadline to meet.

Would the first writer spend the remainder of his days trying to recapture that glimmer only to fail? Would the second ever find the true diamond within?

If you, as an artist of any kind, could pick your success, which would it be?