Thursday, August 31, 2006

Planning Ahead -- The Blog

This morning I joined Billie and Cheyenne in the backyard as they went about their morning biz. Actually, I always join them. They get into trouble if left alone. Anyway, there was a breeze, a feeling in the air. Fall. Fall is on its way, I thought. Wow.

Instead of thinking about how much I love the season--the weather, the holidays--I thought about 2007. It's only four months away. I have two books coming out in 2007. ALL ABOUT EVIE (HQN, May) and ROMANCING THE WEST (Medallion Press, July). I need to do some heavy duty promoting. Promoting takes time and planning, oh, and money. I need to be selective. I need to start preparing now because, in addition to promoting those two titles, I also need to write, beginning to end, two more books within that same year. I didn't juggle promoting and writing so well this past year. I need to do better.

I'm considering and weighing, pros and cons, of my promotional options. I'm zeroing in on my blog, my website, online romance reader sites, organized readers groups, conferences, contests, and giveaways. Over the next couple of days, I'll be asking some questions and I really hope to hear from regulars and lurkers. I assume anyone visiting here is either a reader or writer or someone within the entertainment industry which means you also read and/or write. I should know. I'm one of you. LOL Any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

QUESTION #1 -- This Blog

One of my goals for next year is increasing readership at this blog. I can sort of track readership via the site meter. Some of you visit almost daily. Some of you I know personally, some I've come to know via blogosphere. Some visit regularly but have never commented, so I'm in the dark as to who you are, but thank you for coming! Some people pop in once and never return. I'd like to here from lurkers and regulars. You can sign in anonymously if you like. Here comes the question part...

* How did you find this blog?

* What keeps you coming back?

* If you're a newcomer, or only pop in once in a blue moon, what would inspire you to visit more often?

Thank you in advance for your help!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Offending the Select Few

Just read a thought-provoking post over at author Tess Gerritson's blog. All of her posts are great, but this one really resonated with me because of a recent concern of my own. Well, it wasn't so much a concern as a musing. She talks about inadvertently offending and losing readers because of something you've written, whether it be in an interview or work of fiction.

A few weeks ago, it crossed my mind that perhaps I'd lost certain readers because of the secondary romance between two gay characters that runs throughout JINXED, CHARMED, and SEDUCED. Reviews from critics on this series were outstanding. Readers who've written to me personally or who posted a review to Amazon or Barnes and Noble have been equally enthusiastic.

All but one.

There's a posted review at Amazon from a woman who read JINXED and liked it, but was totally disappointed in SEDUCED. I'm assuming she didn't read the middle book CHARMED which would have bonded her more with the recurring characters and their plight, but that's neither here nor there. Everything is subjective, so most of her gripes didn't bother me. What got me was this line: "The second storyline, which I felt didn't belong in womens contemporary romance, went into too much detail about the homosexual couple, Rudy and JP."

There are all kinds of reasons that statement bothers me. But I'm not going there. I'd only work myself up on the subject of intolerance. The thing is it did make me wonder if I'd lost other readers because I'd written about a gay relationship in a straight book. Unfortunately, probably. Because this isn't a perfect world. But would I nix Rudy and Jean-Pierre from the trilogy had I to write it over? No. Why? Because they came from my heart. And I will always, always write from my heart. If an artist allows a select few to define their creations, then they are no longer truly artists.

Hop over to Tess's blog and read the shocking reasons why a select few vowed to never read her again. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wild about Wilder

One of my favorite screenwriters/film makers is Billy Wilder. He's responsible for classic movies such as Sunset Boulevard, The Apartment, Sabrina, and one of my all time favorites, Some Like it Hot. This man knew how to tell a story. I tripped upon a list of Mr. Wilder's screenwriting tips over at writer, Billy Mernit's blog Living the Romantic Comedy. Click here and scroll down to his post Wilder Wisdom. Mr. Mernit provides insightful commentary on each tip.

In the meantime, here are Wilder's Ten Tips on Screenwriting compliments of Conversations with Wilder by Cameron Crowe. To me, whether it's a screenplay, novel, or short story, storytelling is storytelling. And Wilder was a master.

1. The audience is fickle.

2. Grab 'em by the throat and never let 'em go.

3. Develop a clean line of action for your leading character.

4. Know where you're going.

5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

6. If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.

7. A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They'll love you forever.

8. In doing voice-overs, be careful not to describe what the audience already sees. Add to what they're seeing.

9. The event that occurs at the second act curtain triggers the end of the movie.

10. The third act must build, build, build in tempo and action until the last event, and then--that's it. Don't hang around.

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Best of the Best?

I bailed on the Emmys last night and watched three back to back episodes of what should have been nominated for best drama--LOST. How is it that a show boasting wonderful actors and AMAZING writing was passed over? The ever insightful, always hilarious writer Ken Levine offers a don't miss review of the Emmys. Unlike me, he made it to the bitter end.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Celebrating Evie!



CASTING CALL NOTICE:
Seeking actress for role of ditzy former Vegas showgirl Sugar Dupont. Must possess strong vocals, outgoing personality and great gazongas.


Well, two out of three ain't bad. A showbiz veteran Evie Parish, knows she has the chops to sing and dance with the best. A Wonderbra should take care of the rest.

YOUR FUTURE PARTNER:
Arch, aka Charles Dupont, a doting older husband.


THE GIG:
Eight days of smooching, fawning, and otherwise making a PDA spectacle of yourselves on a Caribbean cruise.


AND... THE CATCH:
Arch is one of a team of former con men staging a sting to catch a grifter--and under his stage makeup, he's the sexiest hunk ever to don a fake moustache.


This will either be the role of her lifetime or the end of her career.

****

Look what I got! The art department at Harlequin (HQN) finished my book cover for my May 2007 release, ALL ABOUT EVIE. I'm over the moon! I think they did a great job of conveying the tone of the story. I'm also hot on the back cover copy created by the marketing department. Thank you HQN! I'm currently working hard on revisions. I know this book is coming out next May. But somehow seeing the actual cover makes it REAL. So excited. Wa-hoo!

Friday, August 25, 2006

Darn!

Well, darn. HQN sent me the cover for ALL ABOUT EVIE. I have the okay to post it. They sent two jpgs. I can't get the smaller file to download at all. I downloaded the larger file, but when I tried to upload to this blog, the colors looked wacky, all metallic-like. I have no clue as to what's wrong or how to fix it. It really stinks to be a techno-goober. Hopefully, I can figure it out later and share my fantastic new cover with you tomorrow.

Meanwhile it's a day at the library, a night of revisions, and, if I'm lucky, I'll squeeze in another episode of LOST. *Sigh* Totally bummed about this cover thing. Darn!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Discovering Gold

I'm working hard on revisions. I am. But I'm also refilling the creative well by reading and viewing for inspiration.

I recently started Susan Mallery's DELICIOUS, an HQN release. Fresh plot. Snappy writing. A new-to-me author. I hit gold.

Because I often have to write at night, I don't squeeze in too much TV. Aside from SCRUBS, GILMORE GIRLS, and HBOs' ROME, I'm really out of the loop. Yesterday, the complete 1st season of LOST came into the library and I thought, what the heck. I'd heard good things. I planned on watching the first episode last night. I ended up watching THREE episodes back-to-back! Holy wow. I wanted to keep going but I had to get some writing done. It's been a long time since I've discovered a series that hooked me as strongly as LOST. Just like when I discovered FIREFLY, I felt like I struck gold.

As far as reading and viewing goes, what's currently in your treasure chest?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Color My World

I read romantic fiction. I write romantic fiction. I read the blogs of fellow romantic fiction writers. For years (well except the blog part because that's fairly new) that was my world. I lived in a fuzzy, warm, pink bubble. It was really nice. Mostly, it still is. But part of me got an itch. An itch to explore other worlds because, frankly, I was bored with mine.

So I braved the unknown and started reading outside of my genre. Robert B. Parker hooked me the way Johanna Lindsey did way back when. I devoured his Spencer books. Then came Stephen Coonts. And after that Stuart Woods. I also explored western writers, William W. Johnstone and Larry McMutry. Not only did I enjoy these authors stories and writing styles, but I learned how to write tighter. How to take advantage of different POVs. Oh, and how men think.

I started noticing a change in my own writing. It wasn't conscious, but the words poured onto the page in a slightly different way. I'm still writing romantic fiction. It's what comes naturally. It's a genre that allows me to explore certain aspects of life and to spread messages that are important to me. But it's also important to me that I have a unique voice within that genre. I don't want to blend in, and that's an easy pitfall if your only influences are other authors/books within your chosen genre.

Not blending in, means stretching out. No more exclusive living in the fuzzy, warm, pink bubble. For this writer it means opening myself up to other influences. That extends to blog reading. Yes, I still frequent the blogs of other romantic fiction writers. They're my peeps, so to speak. We talk the same lingo, share the same ups and downs. But I now visit an equal number of blogs written by screenwriters, actors, directors, and authors outside of the romance genre.

Here's the thing. We're all storytellers. There is something to be learned by everyone. If even a teensy bit of their wisdom pertaining to craft rubs off on me than Glory Be! I'll be a more well-rounded, more vibrant writer (and person) because of it.

I write romantic fiction and I love it. But in the words of Cole Porter, Don't Fence Me In.

I don't want be pink. I want to be a rainbow.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

We All Make Choices. What's Yours?


The tag line for the upcoming movie THE LAST KISS. I know I'm going to love this movie. I know it from the trailor. I know it because it stars Zach Braff. This Jersey boy has excellent taste and oozes talent.

You may know him from "SCRUBS", one of the few truly clever sitcoms running these days. He also wrote, directed and starred in a gem of a movie, GARDEN STATE. For one so young, he's awfully deep. And did I mention talented? Hard to label Zach as he does it all and does it all well. He's an actor, director, writer, and producer. Oh, and he coordinates mean sound tracks. I'm thinking 'artist' covers it, covers Zach.

Artist, Zach Braff has a killer blog going. Novelists aren't the only ones using blogs as a promotional and networking device. Zach's working the Internet with the same imagination and energy as promo whiz, film maker Kevin Smith. I've been popping in on Zach's blog now and then over the past year and a half. He's pretty good about posting regularly, but now he's really turned up the heat. You see he has a new movie coming out, and it looks like another gem. But maybe not something that appeals to the masses. It's about friendship and love. Life and making choices. Pretty sure there's no stuff blowing up, car chases, or eye-popping special effects.

New authors and mid-list authors have to work their tails off to get the same notice and audience as a NYC best-selling author. I guess it's the same for Indi or 'relationship' artists. Hard to compete with the blockbusters.

So, in addition to press junkets, and all of the other normal promo stuff, Zach's blogging. And his blog ROCKS. Hop over and check out all the bells and whistles. The videos are awesome and I love, love, love his taste in music. Just as I bought the soundtrack to GARDEN STATE, I'll be scarfing up the soundtrack to THE LAST KISS. But the real charm is in his posts.

I'm sure Zach doesn't need my help in promoting his new film, but I'm putting in my two-cents anyway. Because he seems like a nice guy. Because he's uniquely talented. Because I think you'll enjoy his blog. Go, Zach!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Goldberg, Gerritson, and Guyot

This weekend I dove into the revisions for ALL ABOUT EVIE. In addition to killing a lot of my babies, as they say in writer-ville, I'm beefing up the romantic angle and weaving in more details regarding the 'con'. My brain hurts a little, but that's okay. It's all good. Would I have preferred to take a break in between projects? Yes. Like I said, my brain hurts. But these revisions are due at the end of next month. Also due at the same time, a revised synopsis for book two in this series.

My goal is to attack and conquer ahead of time. That way I can take a few days to breathe before diving into the the next contracted book. It all comes down to discipline. Lee Goldberg has a terrific post today. It covers two subjects, discipline and the joys of sceenwriting. Hop over and read. He'll direct you to Tess Gerritson's post on her not-so-joyous screenwriting venture and Paul Guyot's gut-wrenching insight on discipline. Good stuff.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Back to My Roots . . . Sort Of

Typically, Sunday is not a high traffic day for this blog. So I'm going to wade into shallow waters. Let's talk about hair.

Last week, after learning that I'd lost performance work, I decided that I needed to find ways to cut expenses. The first thing that came to mind was my hair. As a natural brunette, it costs bukoo bucks for me to be blond. It's a two process procedure (to attain those 'natural' multiple shades) and, as my hair grows fast, it means frequent trips to avoid icky roots. Even Hollywood celebs look a little on the trashy side with two-inches of dark growth, doncha think?

At any rate, at this point in time, being blond seemed a little frivolous. I told myself that it was time to give my hair a break anyway. It's starting to look damaged. I told myself that I could could ear-mark the money I'd save for book promotion. I told myself that I change my hair color more often than Madonna, it's not like going dark was a big deal.

So why did it feel like a big deal? What's so awful about being a brunette? I was born that way. It's the real me. The thought occurred to me that perhaps, deep down, I feared the real me wasn't pretty enough, glamorous enough. That blonds are perceived as sexy and fun, and ... youthful. It occurred to me that I'd been brainwashed by the media, that I'd sold out a little in my effort to appeal to the casino execs who make the entertainment buying decisions. Lightening my hair was a simple way to cheat nature, to look a little younger, more vibrant. I'm not about to indulge in Botox, plastic surgery or breast implants. I'm not even willing to frequent a tanning salon to attain that beach-babe glow, although I confess I did try one of those new self-tanning lotions. Kind of cool, but too much maintanance. So I'm unbelievably pale. What's wrong with that? I was born that way.

Just as I was born a brunette. Suddenly, going back to my roots felt like a statement of sorts. I'm comfortable with who I am. The real me is confident in her natural beauty. Well, mostly. Due to nature, grey hairs are now in the mix. I'm not that rebellious. Not yet anyway. Maybe some day down the pike. I mean Emmy Lou Harris gave into her silver/grey and she looks pretty darn unique.

I thought my hair dresser was going to cry when I informed her of my decision. She's adventurous and to her, one-process hair coloring is boring. I mean it's not like I asked for an all over Kool-aid blue or red. I asked for plain ol' dark brown. Thing is, now that it's done, I don't feel plain or boring. It's kind of striking, the dark hair against my pale skin. I look like me when I was fifteen, minus freckles across my nose, plus wrinkles edging my eyes. I'm not saying that I won't change my color in the future, that I'll never go blond again, because just about the only adventurous streak I have, extends to experimenting with hair color. But for now, it feels good to be 'me'. I feel oddly content and energized.

My friend, Shelly, sent me a fabulous article concerning beauty and older women. It just so happens to target women in entertainment and it has to do with life experience and confidence. It's a concept I'm striving to accept.

How about you? Do you feel pressured, whether male or female, to alter your appearence? Do magazines, television, and movies influence your perception of what's physically attractive?

Hmm. Maybe these waters weren't so shallow after all.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Switching Gears


Last night, I finished judging three contest entries for an unpublished writers contest. Immediate outstanding obligations have been met. Today the pictures, post cards, and maps that inspired ROMANCING THE WEST come off of my bulletin board. Inspiration for ALL ABOUT EVIE comes out of the drawer and goes back up. I've cast Meg Ryan as EVIE, Gerard Butler as ARCH, and George Clooney as MILO. My stories play out in my head like movies, always have. The deeper I get into the story, the more my characters take on a life of their own and I'm no longer zoned in on a specific 'actor'. Still, glancing up at those photos helps to kick start my writing day, helps to set mood. Underneath those photos are revision notes from my editor, the key story elements I need to zone in on and modify.

I just cleared my desk of research books on cowboys, outlaws, and all things having to do with the American wild west. Now I'm armed with research on all things having to do with con artists, scams, and the FBI. As for Evie, I don't have to research her life, I've lived it. *g* Now all I have to do is adjust my mind set. Wonder Bras instead of corsets. Glocks instead peacemakers. Mobile phones instead of telegraphs. Don't even get me started on the lingo.

Switching gears. Here I go...

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Good, The Bad, and The Realization

Last week was a roller coaster of bad news/good news. One day in particular made my head spin.

My stress level was through the roof due to trying to wrap a story that was already late. I only had a few hours to write that morning as I had to work at the library later that day. I stopped at one moment to check my email. This is the good news part. Abby, my editor at HQN, had sent me a PDF of my cover for ALL ABOUT EVIE. It was so striking, so clever in concept, it moved me to tears. I'm bursting to share it with you, but the art department is tweaking a couple of things and I'm not in possession of the finalized version. But soon, I promise. Soon.

Seeing that cover provided me with a burst of confidence and energy. I plunged back into ROMANCING THE WEST and typed away, thinking, I'm living my dream.

Thirty minutes later, I got a call from my entertainment agent. He started the conversation with, "I have some bad news."

I thought long and hard about how much detail I wanted to put in this post about losing the last of my singing gigs here in the Atlantic City casinos. A place where I performed regularly for the last seven years. I've decided, not much. Mostly because I could really get on my soap box about ageism in entertainment and I fear I'd just come across as bitter. Sour grapes and all that. I'm not here to bitch and moan. I'm here to inspire. So let me take this angle...

The hard ugly truth is, in the eyes of the execs now running the AC casinos, I'm past my prime. Not just me, but almost all of my performer friends. Anyone my age or older. "Beth's had a good long run," one of the execs said. "Time for fresh blood." Young blood, he meant. But I'm not going there. The thing is, I have had a good long run. I've been performing in the casinos for twenty years. I have been blessed. And just because they (the casinos) don't want me anymore, doesn't mean that my talents wouldn't be appreciated on 'the outside'. I could explore other venues. The question is, do I want to? The answer, after a few days thought, not really.

I'm a master at juggling jobs, projects. For the past year I've been singing, emceeing, working at the library, and writing. The library is now my steady gig. The one that helps to pay the bills. I'm fortunate to have landed a day job that I actually enjoy. I still have the emcee gig. I'm behind the scenes so age/look doesn't factor in. It's only once a month and just around the corner. I'm grateful to have it for as long as it lasts. As to any other kind of perfoming, as I said, it would have to be outside of AC. That means travel. That means devoting time to learning new songs or scripts, whatever the gig entails.

I examined the pros and cons. I listened to my heart. I only have so much creative energy and I'm no longer willing to spend it on anything other than my true passion. I used to burn to perform. Now I burn to write. So that's what I'm going to do. Write. I'm still entertaining. It's not like I've retired. I'm simply moving on, striving for new adventures. And you know what? It feels good.

"The best is yet to be" ~~Robert Browning

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Nominations and Awards

There are days when I stare at my computer screen thinking, what am I going to blog about? Those are the days when I feel I have nothing interesting to contribute or when I'm overloaded and too drained to put proper thought into a post. This is not one of those days. Or weeks. I have a list of topics to address. News to share, good and disappointing. I have a lot to say!

This morning my list got shoved aside when I opened my business e-mail. I had a lovely note from The Cata Network informing me that LASSO THE MOON is a single title nominee for their 2006 Reviewers Choice Awards! Um. Wow? I clicked over to the list of nominees. Um. Holy wow? I know several of the other authors listed either personally or by reputation. To say that I'm bowled over to have my work nominated along with thiers is an understatement.

You know, I blog-hopped a while back and noticed some bloggers comments on a recent award ceremomy. I could envision them rolling their eyes, when they typed: If I had to hear one more person say it was an honor just to be nominated... That gripe is lost on me because it IS an honor to be nominated for any award. Someone is recognizing your work as special. Why would anyone take that lightly?

I don't typically enter my work into contests. I am not a competitive person by nature. And, quite honestly, I consider finaling, placing, or winning a crap shoot. Judges are people, too. Meaning no matter how objctive they are, personal taste will somehow factor in. It's human nature. I also find it baffling that if five (or however many) books, movies, songs, artists (whatever) have been chosen out of oodles to be the glowing works of the year--how can you vote one the best? Each project or artist was special in thier own way. After winning an award at last year's Oscar Ceremony, actor/Director George Clooney said something to the effect that, unless each actor performed the exact same part, how could you deem one of them the best? I remember perking up and shouting at the screen, "That's what I'm talking about!" Ah, at one with George. *g*

At any rate, I did not enter LASSO THE MOON for consideration for the 2006 Reviewers Choice Awards. This is a result of The Cata Network and their reviewers. That makes it ultra exciting. And, after scanning the list of other nominees, more flattering. Shouting loud and proud from the bottom of my heart, "IT'S AN HONOR TO BE NOMINATED!"

Thank you for the thrill Cata!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Victory Dance

I have emerged from deadline hell. The curtain is down on ROMANCING THE WEST. Applause, please.

Things didn't go according to plan, in more ways than one. First of all, I gave myself six months to write this book. I didn't factor in time for promoting LASSO THE MOON, my latest release. Nor did I pad time for sub-genre adjustment. I'd just finished a contemporary women's fiction/romance in first person. RTW is a historical romance in third person. It took more than a month to get my head out of 'now' and into the American West, 1878. Oh, and there's the extra time needed for research when writing a historical piece. Right.

So, now I had four months to write the book. But I was writing in circles. I couldn't get past chapter three. I'd backed myself into a corner. How could I build romantic tension when... well, I don't want to give it away. So rewrites were in order. Figured out how to get around that set up glitch, only something felt wrong with my heroine. I didn't get her. 'We' weren't clicking. I realized she was no better than a paper doll. Cute, but one-dimensional. Why is Emily like she is? I asked myself. What makes her tick? Yes, I should have known this up front. I thought I did. But I didn't. So, I backtracked. Found out what had happened in her past. Then I needed a whole timeline, because there are mysteries and secrets in this story.

Now, I had three months to write the book. Oh, but I had to attend the RT Convention. I had to prepare for workshops and production shows. Not to mention the day job and and occasional night gigs--the bill paying jobs. Don't get me wrong. I wrote through all of this, but it was slow going.

Before I knew it I had two months until deadline. Two months to write 3/4 of the book. There was panic. There was joy. Joy because, at long last, I felt connected to every character. Panic because the characters were complex and head strong. They took off in directions I hadn't planned. Synopsis? Yeah. I had one. A really good one. But they didn't give two figs about my stinking synopsis. So I had to trust them, as well as my critique partners, Cyndi and Mary, and, of course, my own gut. BTW, A HUGE thank you to Mary for her keen eye and support and to Cyndi who brain-stormed and problem-solved her butt off!

I wrote like a mad woman, but regardless, for the first time ever, I missed my deadline. Fortunately, my publisher was very understanding. I turned in RTW today, two weeks after my official deadline. Aside from the embarrassment of being late, I am thrilled. I love this book. I envisioned a screwball comedy with a mystery. I ended up with complex characters, a mystery, suspense and humor, and a lot of HEART. Did I mention I love this book?

I don't know why this story was so difficult to get off the ground. Why it took me so long to connect. I never experienced this particular problem until this story. What I do know is that it was worth the fight. I wrestled that bear of a story to the ground and even though I'm a bit dazed, I'm doing the victory dance.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Alive in Jersey

Yes, I'm still here. I'm still alive. A litle crispy around the edges, but still kicking. Between the day job, two emcee gigs, and company, I have been going strong since last Wednesday. I'm still speeding away at the keyboard. I am a few pages away from the end. So. Close.

Consider this another blog-by.

A LOT has happened over the past few days in both my publishing and performance careers. Much to report. Stay tuned.

The Blur

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Until Monday....


Due to a heavy work week and several obligations, I need to take a blog break. I'll be back Monday, August 14. Please come back and visit! Inspiring and informative posts forthcoming. In the meantime I'll leave you in the company of my three bestest furry friends--Billie, Sadie and Cheyenne. Have a great week!

It's All Good

What day is it? (seriously) What's my name?

The past three days I wrote 14-16 hours a day, breaking only to let my dogs outside. I'd step out with them to breathe in some fresh air, to rejuvinate--such as I could in ten minutes. Unlike other deadline crunches, this time I have been sneaking in showers. But even then I still wrote--in my head. As for meals, I've been eating at my desk. Eating while rereading a section to see if it works. Ah, multi-tasking.

I have been sleeping, but I'm mentally fatigued. I look like I haven't slept in days. I'd include a picture, but I'm too vain. *g* Anyhow, can you believe I'M STILL NOT DONE?!

I am, however, very, very close. *g*

I can see it all. Two short chapters and an epilogue. I rarely do epilogues, but this story demands one. Even though I am bone tired, I have to say that I am floating on air. (Although that could be a symptom of mental fatigue.) I LOVE THIS STORY! It's not the story I envisioned. It's better. The characters took over midway through, suprising me again and again. I hope my publisher doesn't refer back to the synopsis I submitted a year ago, because, um, I sorta veered off. Then again I usually veer off, just not this far. But this is better, I swear.

I'm very happy. I'll be even happier when I finish and mail it in. Unfortunately, I have no potential 16 hour writing days left in the week. Today it's back to the real job(s). Today I work at the library. Tonight I perform at Ballys Casino. I'll write in between. Not my preferred way to do it, but it's all good. I'm almost there!

In comments of my previous post, Alison asked, "Do you plan downtime between books?" Gabriele said, "I'm so not looking forward to writing under deadlines." Interesting aspects of a writer's life that I'll address as soon as I turn this book in. Which will be soon. Did I mention I'm very close? *g*

Monday, August 7, 2006

The Blur

This is a blog-by. A whiz-bang note to thank everyone who keeps checking in. I appreciate your shouts of support and I promise I'll be returning for more leisurely (and hopefully inspiring or informative) posts soon. I dealt with Mary Lee. I didn't kill her off as Taylor suggested *g* but she did get her due. I'm speeding toward the end. Sleep? Who needs sleep? Just another cup of java, please. Thank you.

And I'm off.

Have a great day,
The Blur

Friday, August 4, 2006

Loose Threads

Last night I woke up at 3:40am. I know it was 3:40 am. I squinted at the clock. I woke up because a thought popped into my head, or rather a person. Mary Lee Bernbaum.

Arrgh.

Why does she cause me distress, you ask? Because she's a loose thread. Loose threads always haunt my sleeping hours when I'm nearing the end of a story. I lay in the dark, mind churning. I mentally review scenes. Did I fully explain this aspect? Did I ever resolve this dilemma? As a reader, I know I'm disappointed if a writer introduces an aspect into the story and then never goes anywhere with it. Or when they leave something unresolved. I'm not saying I need to have every little detail explained. I have an imagination and sometimes allowing me to draw my own conclusions can be rewarding. But don't set me up for something big and leave me hanging.

Mary Lee Bernbaum is sort of big. This character is a carry over from LASSO THE MOON. She plays an important part in the opening of ROMANCING THE WEST (the story I'm currently writing). An old and on-going issue between this woman and my heroine, Emily, needs to be resolved. In the synopsis I included a scene toward the end of the book that covered this, along with other key realizations/turning points. But in writing the story, that particular scene became unnecessary. Except, I realized at 3:40am, for Mary Lee Bernbaum.

Well, cripes.

If I don't resolve the issue then her role needs to be lessened or striken from the beginning. Without a standoff between Mary Lee and Emily... Mary Lee has no reason to be.

Loose threads. The reason I have bags under my eyes this morning. The good news is my insomnia was not in vain. I think I have the solution. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

My All

My publisher allowed me a one week extension on my deadline. I worked like the devil not to have to use it. I have never missed a deadline. I'm stubborn. I'm proud. I have fierce work ethics. It hurt when I realized I needed that extra week.

The reason I'm not kicking myself is because I know I gave it my all. I sacrificed. I obssessed. But this book gave me fits from the start. It's been tough going. The good news is that I think it's really good. I'm happy with how it's turning out, and by the way, it's not turning out like I envisioned. Then again, it rarely does.

The joy of writing: When the characters surprise you.

The bane of writing: When the characters surprise you.

I don't take this extension lightly and I thank my publisher for being so gracious. I think it helps that, as I said, I've never missed a deadline before. Part of the value of having fierce work ethics. Never underestimate the power of professionalism. Strive for perfection. When you miss now and then, at least you'll know and they'll know... you gave it your all.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

And the Winners Are...

For all of you who entered Alison Kent's book giveaway by commenting on my Sunday's post, this just in from Alison...

"The winners are Joyce, Cynthia, and Juliett! Please contact me with your mailing info!"

Congratulation to the winners!

Nice People

Lee Goldberg shared the uplifting real life story of the week. Maybe the month. Not the part about rapper man or smelly man, but the part about the 'mentor' and the young girl. Proof that there are still some very nice people in this world. Go to his blog and read it. Scroll down to the post BACK FROM GERMANY.

That's all I'm saying because I'm still writing under deadline. Ish.

So, who's the most interesting person you ever sat next to on a plane?