dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author


So a few weeks ago I mentioned that my husband had come up with a great idea for distracting me when everyone went back to school so I wouldn’t feel sad, or lonely, or like I’d made a horrible mistake and what was I doing thinking I could write full time …?!?!

Bob was traveling for business to Fort Myers, Florida, so I went with him and stayed at the Sanibel Harbor Resort.

Sanibel Bay

I’d been feeling a little frustrated and burned out. Here I was, now a full time writer, and I didn’t have the heart to get much writing done this summer. Turns out, all I needed was a change of venue …

In the hammock

… and attitude …


… because pretty soon I was cranking out something new.

New Office

I was mostly on my own during the day while my husband worked. But he did have one morning off and we took a waverunner tour to see dolphins!

Waverunner 2

Best “first week of school” EVER!

Today is the first day of my summer vacation.  FINALLY!!!!
I have a few goals for this summer I’d like to share.
1.      Finish the first draft of my WIP, GRUNSDAY.  I’m not sure how long this is going to take and especially not sure how I’m going to pull off the climax I have in mind.  I may have to adjust my expectations, but I’ll figure it out as I go.  That’s the joy of being a pantster. The next chapter is often a surprise.  The other part of being a pantster is ending every first draft with a laundry list of changes needed to clean up the mistakes I made along the way.  So, I usually roll from draft one directly into draft two. I don’t expect to get that done this summer, but I hope I’ll be looking for beta readers for draft two sometime in the fall.
2.      Take a mine tour in the Pocono Mountains.  I have an incomplete draft of a historical fiction story in which an archeologist’s daughter makes surprising discoveries in a Pennsylvania mine in the early 1900’s.  I started the draft too late in the fall to take a tour of an actual mine, and I want to remedy that this summer.
3.      Determine the fate of PORTAL. Lack of the mine tour was not the only problem I had with the manuscript mentioned above, which I laid aside after getting 55k words into it.  One of the things I need to do this summer is review the draft, figure out where I went wrong, and determine whether it needs revisions, a complete re-write, or to be trunked entirely.
Sorcia (right) and friend, Houston
4.      Get some exercise. I can’t sit in front of the laptop all day.  Well, I can, but I shouldn’t.  I’ve got the pool, and I’ve got the dog – who loves to walk in the White Clay Creek Preserve.  So I need to get off my butt and get moving.
5.      Refuse to ride the emotional roller coaster.  This goal may be the most important one of all.  Last summer, I was on submission, and I took every rejection hard.  In fact, it was worse being off for the summer while it was happening, because I didn’t have a full teaching day and 60 students to distract me.  There was plenty of time to wallow in misery.  But by the end of the summer, THE CAGED GRAVES sold to Clarion, acquired by the perfect editor for it.  In retrospect, all that angst was a horrible waste of my mind, my heart, and my summer.  This time, I hope to handle all publishing related news – good or bad – with more equanimity.
What are your goals for the summer?

At the beginning of the summer, I posted goals for all the things I wanted to accomplish during my vacation. Today (probably while you are reading this), I am sitting in faculty meetings, preparing for the start of the 2011-2012 school year. For me, summer is over, so I figured it was time to report how I did.
1) I wanted to finish my first draft of VOLTAGE, complete one round of revisions, and send it out to beta readers. I did all this and more! I’m currently working on draft 4, based on reader feedback and my own gut instinct about the weak areas of the story.
2) My second goal was to get halfway through another project, which I was calling DOOMSDAY. Sadly, this story got trunked. It lacked a strong enough conflict to drive the plotline, and I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for revising/rewriting it. I spent a little time exploring an entirely different idea, but mostly I spent the summer with VOLTAGE.
3) I wanted to visit more blogs, and I hope I did that. During the school year, blog visits are generally limited to what I can do over my coffee in the morning and perhaps what I might read on my phone over lunch break. But never, ever during a faculty meeting. Nope. Not ever. 😉
4) My fourth goal was to exercise often. Um, let’s not talk about how badly I failed that one.
5) The final goal I posted was to redecorate the horrendous eyesore that we called “the playroom” into a lounge where my teenage and tweenage daughters could hang out with their friends. I’m happy to say this was a great success! Pictures later this week!
6) I didn’t post a sixth goal in June, but I definitely had one I didn’t want to put into print. I wanted to sell a book. And happily, I met that goal! If the announcement in Publishers Marketplace wasn’t enough to prove to me it was really happening, the startlingly fast appearance of THE CAGED GRAVES on Goodreads did!
So, tell me? Did you meet your goals for the summer?

One of my teacher friends (I think it was Tracy Litchfield) recently bemoaned August 1st as the death knell of the summer. I agreed. August does to the summer what Sunday evening does to the weekend. Then, of course, one of my parent friends (Michelle Gonnella) retorted that for her, August felt like Thank-God-It’s-Friday!
Yes, parents at home with bored, squabbling children are looking at the calendar and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. For us teachers – well, we see the light, too, but for us it’s an oncoming train!
I’m not complaining, because I was grateful to have these weeks off. Many of my co-workers worked their behinds off taking graduate courses all summer. Another whole bunch of my co-workers spent these weeks in the final stages of pregnancy or recovering from same with their beautiful babies. (Seriously, something must have been in the water at my building!)
As for me — I always imagine I’ll set a rigorous writing schedule for myself – but that rarely happens. The sad fact is, if I have all day to write, I get very little done. It’s too easy to wander off task, get distracted, and holler: “Hey, Gabbey! Want to stream some Doctor Who from Netflix?” (She always says yes.)
By contrast, during the school year, if I only get 2 hours to write in the course of a day, you better believe I sit down and WRITE. Like many people, the more I have to do, the more organized I get. So, I have to admit that getting back on the train tracks might improve my productivity, rather than lessen it.
This summer, I met some, but not all, of my goals. Soon, I’ll share the details – but in the meantime, how is YOUR summer going? Do you see that light at the end of the tunnel? Is it daylight – or a locomotive?