Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dental Work ::SHUDDER::

I hate dental work. Well, who doesn’t? Can’t avoid it though. If you need a filling you need a filling. And I did. Was told I did a month ago--and that it would cost $258! Talk about adding insult to injury.

At the time, I blanched and then arranged an appointment for yesterday. That would give me time, I said, to check out dental discount cards. I knew, you see, that dental insurance wouldn’t work. The best rate I could get, even as a member of a writers group was around $80 a month, it would pay only half “accepted rates” and there was a waiting period for any major work.

I’d looked into dental discount cards before but wondered if they could really be worth it. My dentist’s office mentioned Ameriplan. I looked into it and it didn’t look bad at $12 or $13 a month but I looked a little more and settled on Aetna’s dental discount card at $6 a month plus a $15 sign up fee.

What did it save me? Well, the charge yesterday was $120 so I save $138 and there was no waiting period to use it! I’m thrilled—especially since it will also save me money when I get my teeth cleaned in six months.

As for the dental work itself, I was really nervous. I have sensitive teeth. I can’t tell you the number of times dentists couldn’t get a tooth numb no matter how many shots of Novocain they gave me! And since I hadn’t had work done by this dentist before I didn’t know what to expect. I have to say I was thrilled with Dr. Pham at Castle Dental. He was quick, he was nice, and I had very little discomfort.

All in all, it could have been sooooo much worse!

Anyway, if you don’t have dental insurance and want something that helps, you might want to look into dental discount cards. I like the Aetna card and I was lucky that my dentist participates. That's one thing to watch out for--make sure your dentist takes whichever card you want to get. There is a website, that offers lots of different cards. There the Aetna card would have been $100 for 15 months. Also be aware that it can take a week to two weeks to actually get the cards once you sign up online though seems to say you can use them sooner. (I signed up at Aetna's own site and it took about a week to get the card.)


Monday, March 12, 2007


What a great group at the Florida First Coast Writers are! I had a wonderful time presenting my Book in a Week all day workshop there on Saturday. Met wonderful women and felt as if I’d made wonderful new friends. I love giving workshops!

Mind you, the time change on Sunday did make traveling back to Texas....interesting. People who had missed earlier flights had to be rebooked onto flights later in the day so flights were pretty full. I did meet interesting people and had some lovely conversations, especially with a woman named Fran from Florida who was heading to Dallas and then Lake Tahoe.

The more I travel, the more I realize how we are all part of one human family. We all have hopes and dreams, we all have that which scares us. Details may differ, but we are all more alike than we are different and everywhere we go we will find potential friends.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Most Important Part of Writing

When I give workshops, I’m sometimes asked: What matters most in writing? What will help a writer sell?

It’s the emotional and/or intellectual pay-off that we offer writers. By that, I mean do we give readers a reason to care? Will they laugh or cry and feel a strong connection to the story? Do we give our readers something to think about? Do we offer some new idea or insight or way to approach a situation or challenge?

If we do none of these things, then it doesn’t matter how technically perfect our writing may be, the odds are we won’t sell or if we do that readers won’t keep looking for our books.

Think about the last book you read that you love. What is it you remember? What makes you want to read it all over again? Do you see what I mean about emotional and/or intellectual pay-off?

Don’t get me wrong. I love research. I love coming up with interesting plots. It’s how we put it all together that matters. And making our characters so real that readers feel an emotional resonance with them. Or maybe our book will focus on an idea so fascinating that it’s the star rather than the characters. We hit the jackpot if both are true.

If you have a manuscript and it's not selling, maybe ask yourself what the emotional and/or intellectual pay-off is for the reader. If there isn't one, that may be your problem. If there is a solid pay-off, then odds are you're targeting the wrong market or you may need to wait a bit for the market to want what you've written.

Isn’t writing a great career?

Until next time,