My Desk, Three Months Before Deadline

messy desk Even the dog bed is askew. Pictures of my characters. Manuscript pages everywhere. Almonds to snack on. Hand lotion for my weary fingers. My singing stuffed warbler, sent to me by a reader, sits in front of my printer. I can squeeze him whenever I need a bit of June in the midst of February. Thich Nhat Hanh calendar on the wall to keep me centered. monitor picAnd on my monitor, the steps leading from my condo to the beach. Yeah.

Warning: This sight will only worsen in the next few months.


  1. Margo on February 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    How do you find anything Diane! (lol)…actually, I imagine you know just where everything is and could put your fingers on it at any given moment…this is why its ‘your’ office and noone elses…and such a nice reminder of the sea…I love the pic on your computer screen…when things get too stressful, just pull up that pic. (-O:

  2. Diane Chamberlain on February 4, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    You have such faith in me, Margo! No, i don’t know where everything is and I’m constantly lifting papers from my desk in search of thumb drives,computer glasses, bluetooth, notecards, etc. I know organization would help, but after all these years, I can’t seem to change.
    You’re right–the monitor picture takes me away to the beach every time I look at it.

  3. brenda on February 4, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Often my desk at school looks like that. I know you will find what you need.

  4. Denise on February 4, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    It looks like you have almost all of the creature comforts in that room, except for M&M’s and wine. Lol!

  5. Margo on February 5, 2010 at 9:04 am

    LOL with the M&M’s and wine Denise!!!!…my comfort food too, along with Lindt/Lindor round chocolates filled with peanut butter…now those are my real favorites………..
    Actually Diane, I can relate…my art studio has brushes, pencils, tubes of paint and canvas’s all over the place and that’s why it’s ‘my room’ BUT, I know exactly where everything is and if someone asked me, where is the tube of cobalt blue acrylic, I’d be able to find it in less than 5 seconds…which makes me ask you again, how do you do it?…my advise, if it works, don’t change a thing!! (-O:

  6. brenda on February 5, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Chocolate and diet coke…yummm

  7. brenda on February 5, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    Margo-in my other life, when we owned the little Hallmark store, we sold Lindt/Lindor chocolates and Russell Stover-I don’t care if I ever see another one-just kidding. I remember what it was like at Valentine’s Day…wow…the men would come in and buy the most expensive huge Valentines and the huge boxes of candy…the ladies bought smaller ones…so sweet…
    I have not received the books I ordered girls, so I am going to read Chelsea Kane along with Margo (again)…our state has declared state of emergency because of snow…it is headed to my area…not one good weekend since mid Dec…this is an anomaly…thank goodness…

  8. brenda on February 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    My students are going to the theatre tonight to see “Dear John”…some of them went to the opening at midnight last night…it is amazing…they are equating this movie’s popularity to that of the “Twilight” movies…

  9. Diane Chamberlain on February 5, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I feel for those of you with more snow on the way. Did you have to talk about chocolate, though? If it were not pouring rain out, I’d run to the store for a Lindt chocolate right now!

    I just finished Jenna Blum’s Those Who Saved Us, which is one of the best books I’ve read in a while. Just started Chris Bohjalian’s latest, Secrets of Eden.

    AND it looks like Cypress Point has its official new title: The Shadow Wife. I absolutely love this title and think it works with the book on at least two levels. That said, I’m in agreement with those of you who feel it’s a mistake to rename a reissued book. But as we’ve discussed before, I can’t fight this one.

  10. Margo on February 5, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Brenda, I’m glad to hear you’re reading THE PASSIONS OF CHELSEA KANE like me!…I heard on the news where you state
    has been declared a state of emergency…I think you’ve been receiving all of our bad weather…and as we speak, it is snowing in Iowa once again…and more on the way through Monday…back to CHELSEA KANE now, and my lucious Lindt Chocolate/Peanut butter candies. (-O:

  11. Ann on February 6, 2010 at 2:50 am

    The only thing missing in your room is a dog or 2!!! I do love your screen saver – I always keep one that reminds me of good times.
    If we can get out of Greensboro Sunday morning we will be on the way to the Outer Banks for a week – with my kindle fully loaded.

  12. brenda on February 6, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Ann-I think you mentioned before how much you liked your Kindle-have you found any things about it you don’t like???I am reading books online…pretty easy to do-cuddle in front of the fire with computer on my lap…still prefer my books but am waiting on my order from book club and from library…Several of my students said their parents received Kindle and Sony E for C’mas-most did not like them…maybe too busy to determine how they work yet…these kids and their parents have pretty much all the new toys…

  13. Margo on February 6, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Ann, I’m so excited for you…I would love to see the Outer Banks someday, especially after reading all Diane’s books that take place there…have a wonderful time!
    I don’t have Kindle…I still prefer my precious books and doubt that I’ll ever change that way…I’m happy for others that find Kindle useful and helpful to them…

  14. brenda on February 6, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    I have been reading press releases about Diane Meier’s book, Season of Second Chances-release date March. I had to laught when I read what she thought others would write, “A middle age woman gets a second chance…” I supoose authors are most hard on themselves…I am eager to read this book…sounds like something that might be interesting…Are any of you familiar with this author?

  15. Ann on February 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

    Brenda, I love my kindle!! I didn’t think I wanted one but my sister gave me one and it took about 30 minutes for me to realize that I really DID want one. I have not found anything that I don’t like about mine. I still read and buy other books but I read a lot on my kindle. My sisters each have one and we share a library. When either of us buys a book the others have access to it so that is a big advantage. For travel it is wonderful – it is like taking a bookcase with 200 books on it in that little case. There are times that I just have to HOLD a book to read it and I have lots of those. There are books that I want to read that are not available on the kindle so there are reasons to enjoy both reading experiences.

  16. Diane Chamberlain on February 6, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Ann, I hope you made it to the OBX. Which town are you staying in? How near the water? Hope it’s nice enough for some beach strolls.

    I do love my Kindle, with two caveats: I hate that I can’t see images well. Can’t see the cover, the author photo, the illustrations. So for a book in which those things are important, or for a book I’m using for research and want to be able to flip through the pages back and forth with ease, I’d get the “real deal.” The other issue is not being able to know page numbers, which is a problem for books being discussed in a bookclub. If it’s a favorite book, I’ll buy it in hard copy too, so the author makes out pretty well with me as a reader! Just bought THE HELP, even though I have it on my Kindle.

    Brenda, I haven’t heard of Diane Meiers. Keep us posted. Hope it’s a good one.

  17. brenda on February 6, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    I have THE HELP-well worth purchasing…I have loaned it to several others. Ann-if you purchase a book on your Kindle-does that mean you can somehow get it to your sisters or friends also??? Diane-my friends enjoyed Topsail with their family last summer…however, there were two grandchildren, and although they loved the ocean, they have a pool at home and missed that and of course, restaurants…any suggestions for eating out in case they return…although they are thinking of another place near their-Holden or Emerald Isle…that’s where most folks go here who do not go to Myrtle or Hilton…

  18. Diane Chamberlain on February 6, 2010 at 5:49 pm

    I have oodles of restaurant recommendations if they go back to Topsail. Our condo complex has a pool and hot tub, which makes it very nice. Ocean in the front yard, pool in the back. How we suffer!

  19. Ann on February 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Diane, we are staying in an oceanfront home in Duck. At this time of year we like to be near stores, restaurants etc. They have had snow there this year and I don’t mind if it snows after we get there and get plenty of food in the house!!!
    I use my kindle for “pleasure” reading and don’t have most of the problems you mention. I do use lots of bookmarks for my own reasons – sometimes I don’t even know why I bookmarked a page when I go back to it!
    Brenda, when we got our kindles Amazon would allow 6 people to be on the same account [I think that is still true]. The bill goes to 1 person [we reimburse her]. When any of us order a book it comes directly to our kindle and goes into the library that we all use. The other 2 sisters simply have to go to that library and download it. We keep in close contact and always inform the other 2 sisters when we order so they can download it to their kindles if it is one that they want to read. Hope this makes sense – it is quite nice for the 3 of us.

    • Diane Chamberlain on February 6, 2010 at 11:43 pm

      I love Duck and used to have a cottage there. It’s a perfect blend of quiet and civilized. Have a great time!

      I am glad people can share books on Amazon, but I frankly wish they limited the sharing to 3 people, which is closer to the times a paperback book can be reasonably shared. Sorry to look at it from the business perspective, but I can’t help it. Say the Kindle book goes for 9.99, and the author gets 10%. That’s about a buck. So for every six readers, the author earns a dollar. Writing was already a hard way to make a living. At least, though, they have set a limit on the number of times the book can be downloaded to one account. Better than the piracy sites where they give our books away!

  20. Ann on February 7, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I am seeing a whole new picture! I wondered if Amazon was compensating the author for the number of people sharing the book – I guess not. I did hear that Amazon was limiting the number of downloads but maybe the 3 of us have not gone over that number so we haven’t been notified. The only honest way to sell the books is one book to one person or compensate the author with the number of people with access to the book. Thank you for showing me the author’s side of the sale.

  21. brenda on February 7, 2010 at 9:48 am

    I agree with you, Diane, about the Kindle…I have an author friend…my students read one of his books-he sends them to my classes…Dr. Craig Etchison…he has a trilogy for youth…a 4th book in the same genre, a book about Vietnam, and a biography…he has always explained to me the publishing. Also, the first cover for THE WORLD WEAVER was horrible…thankfully, they changed it for second publication…I am Aunt Brenda from Myrtle Beach in his third book…he has retired from college teaching except for one class…difficult to make a living writing unless one is N. Sparks or D. Steel I suppose-go figure…My two favorite authors, yours truly, and another…should have books in movies…etc.

  22. brenda on February 7, 2010 at 10:27 am

    Finished the K. Hannah book. I enjoyed the story because of family…it is about a Russian mother. However, I had problems with the frame story…also reading that part in italics…I am going back and read that part again. I don’t mind stories written in a different voice…have gotten used to that somewhat…but this type of story…is distracting…Have any of you read this one? This is her latest. I maintain that the reason some authors are so famous and well-read is because most folks like a simple story-either in first person or third…many of my favorite classics are written that way. Students prefer one or the other; when they DO read (not often) they do not want distractors…

  23. brenda on February 7, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    After rereading the story in italics, I was amazed. I think what bothered me was the italic print…and the stopping and starting. Reading that part from beginning to end left me in tears…I rec. this book…however one reads it.

  24. Margo on February 7, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Brenda, I bought WINTER GARDEN by Kristin Hannah last week and am looking forward to reading it…I have not read the other author you mentioned D Meier.
    Ann, the town of Duck sounds wonderful!…Diane, if my memory serves me right I think this is where you were inspired by the ’round house’ that became the SEA TENDER in BEFORE THE STORM?…I remember you mentioning Duck.

  25. Diane Chamberlain on February 7, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Margo, the round house was actually in South Nag’s Head (the other end of the northern Outer Banks…confusing, I know. We stayed in it with another couple and 4 golden retrievers. It was funky and great and about to be washed into the sea, so it’s no longer there. If you own “second row from the ocean” property in coastal Carolina, you can pretty much count on owning oceanfront one day. 🙂 And since I now own oceanfront, that makes me a little nervous!

  26. Diane Chamberlain on February 7, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    Brenda, I haven’t read the latest Hannah yet, but I’m glad you went back and read the italicized portion. I’m sure she had a good reason for framing the story that way, and it sounds as though once you got past the pychological block of reading the italics, it really worked for you.

  27. brenda on February 7, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Am reading Tami Hoag’s today…much more straight forward. Of course, I like mysteries…will save this one for my daughter-in-law; she will like it…

  28. brenda on February 9, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I enjoyed the Hoag book-unusual mystery-but I still don’t like some of the language. We are on a snow day today, and I am relishing reading ROSES-historical fiction…saving NEW YORK for later…As of tomorrow, all staff goes to work no matter what the weather. We have now missed 5 days of school for weather-this is unusual in our area. Hope all of you stay warm.

  29. Diane Chamberlain on February 9, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    Sounds like the administration is just throwing up its hands in surrender!

  30. Anna Small on March 3, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I loved the picture – thanks for sharing with us! My dh made me promise on the heads of our children I would keep my writing area in the living room tidied and pretty all the time. It’s a disaster area now, of course – worthy of Superfund aid!

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