Thursday, March 10, 2011


I am dinosaur. Hear me roar.

I recently took a ski trip to the great state of Utah, where I had a wonderful time. The snow was powdery, the people were welcoming, the weather was fine, my legs remained unbroken. And, best of all, I had plenty of time between “ski days” to rest up back the condo with a book in my lap and a mug of tea (or something stronger) at my side.

Yes, I said a book—that thing with paper pages and a cover. I’d brought two with me. I’d given some thought to bringing my Kindle, with its unlimited access to a wealth of digital reading, but I’m nervous about traveling with it. I’m afraid I’ll leave it somewhere—on the plane, in the airport, in the condo—and, poof! there goes two hundred bucks. Not like leaving a paperback behind and being out five dollars and the end of the story.

So, as I often do, I brought a couple of cheap paperbacks, thinking that would be enough for the trip. Not so. I devoured them within days. Faced with nothing but my husband’s New Yorker (his mother keeps giving us a subscription, which we both find boring as hell), I set out to find a bookstore to replenish my supply of reading material.

Which is when I discovered the future is now in Park City, Utah.

There were cute little shops of every description on the main drag in Park City. There were boutiques and antiques and jewelry makers and boot makers. There were drug stores and grocery stores and hardware stores in the little towns surrounding the resort and, even, way off by themselves in various locations so as not to contaminate the legitimate trade, state liquor stores.

But there were NO bookstores. Anywhere. Not just no little independents. No Waldenbooks or Borders or Barnes and Nobles, either. And when I asked, people looked at me like I had two heads. I might as well have been asking for a store that sold buggy whips.

Now, before you folks from Utah start writing in ready to string me up, I’m not suggesting the good citizens of that state don’t read. But Park City and environs are recently developed, and I suspect no one feels the need for a new store to sell them something they’re used to getting from or another online supplier. Just a guess.

As for me, I was eventually saved by the oasis of Walmart in that bookselling desert. (Sam Walton’s monster-child does occasionally have its uses.) I was able to pick up Kresley Cole’s latest paranormal and a romantic suspense novel by a fellow member of the Virginia Romance Writers to tide me over.

Now, the good thing is that Walmart was there, and it had books for sale. The price was right (cheaper than the Borders where I usually buy mine) and the titles were recent ones. The bad news is shelf space was extremely limited, meaning only a few titles, by the best known names, are going to get that space. If you and I, as newbie writers, are going to have to rely on Walmart to sell our books, we’re in deep trouble.
Most of you are shaking your heads right now. Poor, sad dinosaur! Why didn’t she just save herself the trouble and take the damn Kindle? Well, next time I will, and I'll tie it to my wrist or something. Because I have seen the future, boys and girls. Evolve or die.

Donna’s Journal

Action!Actions I’ve taken as a writer. Where am I? What am I doing?

Well, it took the better part of this week and a lot of blood, sweat and tears, but I whittled down my synopsis for Trouble in Mind to the 675 words required for entry in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense contest. (The deadline is Tuesday, March 15, for those of you still considering entry. See my last post for details.) Thank you, Laurie, for all your help and thanks to my critique partner, Linda, too. Now, everyone, please keep your fingers crossed!

I’ll be entering my own Virginia Romance Writers’ Fool for Love Contest, too, this spring. Deadline for that one is April 1 ( I feel a little more relaxed about that one, since the entry allows for the first 50 pages and an optional five-page synopsis. What a luxury! I can just go on and on! (Kidding! I’m kidding!)

New authors, cool web sites, great resources, great workshops, great online sites!

February’s edition of the Romance Writers’ Report, the official magazine of RWA, was dedicated to heart health as part of RWA’s Go Red for Women campaign with the American Heart Association. A number of articles described ways to counteract our largely sedentary profession and provided links to writers’ groups to find support for a healthy lifestyle.

I’m lucky in some ways—my “day” job gets me moving as a teacher of tai chi and karate. In addition to that, I walk and use the virtual worlds of the Xbox 360 to work off the hours I spend at the computer. Still, like some paranormal heroine, my genetic destiny stalks me. I fight both high cholesterol and high blood sugar, the legacy of bad genes. I need all the help I can get.

One of the great suggestions in the RWR articles comes from author Christina Dodd, whose physical trainer boiled a confusing litany of fitness advice down to one simple rule: break a sweat every day. Dodd has started a support group on Facebook, Christina Dodd’s Sweat Achieved, to help herself and others do just that, with the motto “No guilt. No excuses. Break a sweat every day.” (

Another great online site for writers seeking support toward a healthy lifestyle is Healthy Writer (

Ping Pong

Of course our humble blog is all but busting our bulkheads at the news of Sharon's big sale. Wonderful, wonderful news, Sharon!! And congrats to you, Laurie, on your latest contest win! And even better, it’s terrific that your muse is speaking in such great volumes! Nothing like that in the world.

Cheers, Donna


  1. Wow, Donna. That's amazing. No bookstores! Seems things are changing in this industry at FTL.

    Love the "break a sweat" idea. Something I need to get doing again, and soon!

    Enjoyed your journal. :)

  2. I've been skiing a couple of times at Park City - it is a lovely town! Never tried to buy a book there though but I have to admit I always check out the books at Walmart whichever city I'm in. 25% off the published price?? Who can afford not to! But I agree - with such small space for books, you have to be a big name to get in there. Never going to be me!
    Good luck in the competition!!!

  3. I love reading the jounnals here. Donna, love your break a sweat idea too. We all need to do that!

  4. Thanks, y'all! Now everyone get up from your computer and run in place! :-)


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