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Showing posts from November, 2006

The Heart of a Writer's Career

The story.

With the wealth of information available on the Internet, a writer can easily be overwhelmed with facts and figures pertaining to the industry. It's important to be aware, to be knowledgeable. But it's also important to remember that in order to be a player in the publishing game you have to bring something to the table.

The story.

Not just any story, but a well crafted, compelling work of art, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Unless you are one of the 'blessed'--a writer who can whip out a masterpiece in a month or two--then this means focusing a goodly amount of time and attention on your manuscript. This means you may have to cheat time away from non-essential time suckers. It's up to each individual to determine what those 'time-suckers' are. Television? Social events? On-line shopping? Virtual games? For me, it's blog-hopping. I've scaled back. But not enough. How do I know? Because whatever time I spend hopping around to see who&#…

Lucy Syndrome

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I Love Lucy. The show and the lady. She's been making me laugh for years and continues to do so via reruns. The other morning there was an episode where Lucy develops a huge inferiority complex. I listened while I ironed my clothes, being careful not to burn a hole in my shirt (like I've done before.)

She tried to tell a joke and bombed because she screwed up the punchline. When she, Ricky, Fred and Ethel sat down to play cards, no one wanted to partner with her--because she was a lousy card player. She cooked breakfast but used the wrong spice on the eggs. Broke the toaster so tried to make toast in the oven and (you guessed it) burned it.

She broke down in Lucy (waaah) tears, lamenting to Ricky, "I'm a horrible wife. I can't do anything right."

It struck a chord with me because most of the things listed above are all true of me. I walked into the kitchen where Steve was making his own breakfast. (He's smarter than Ricky). I asked him, "Am I a Lucy?&qu…

Monday Musings

I survived my my first official workout on the exercise bike. Barely. I was determined to cycle for five-minutes. I puffed and groaned. I had visions of the after-life. But I pedaled on. As soon as the timer hit 5:00, I de-biked. My tingly legs buckled. I collapsed onto the floor where I panted and sweated... and groaned. Cheyenne (dog #2) kept licking my face. I think she was trying to revive me. It didn't help. Steve kindly mentioned that you're supposed to do a 'cool-down' session, not just STOP. I tried not to snap his head off. I know that. But I was dying. After a few minutes, my heart finally settled in my chest. I lived only to almost die another day. After I post this, I'll attempt day #2 of my official workout. Cheyenne's eyeing me with worry.

Today is editor Abby Zidle's last day at HQN. I'm trying not to cry. She acquired me for HQN. She saw the potential in ALL ABOUT EVIE and became my champion in the house. I was extremely lucky to have …

Big Butt Be Gone

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The pie is gone. Along with all of the other Thanksgiving leftovers. Although you can see remnants of it all on my thighs. *Sigh*

To be fair, I'd started to put on a little weight even before Thanksgiving. It's not because I eat too much--I really don't--but because I exercise too little. I used to burn off calories on stage. Now that I'm not performing regularly, that ain't happening. Although I'm mobile at the library, it's just not the same as dancing and singing for four hours at a clip. These days I spend an enormous amount of time sitting in a chair, working at the computer.

While trying to squeeze into a pair of jeans yesterday, I realized I have developed 'writer's butt'. Ack! Desperate, and not being one to join a gym, I wrangled Steve into an impromtu shopping trip. We came home with this. A duel action exercise bike that works upper and lower body.

"You better use this thing," he said. It was sort of pricey and I have bee…

The Meal That Wouldn't End

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I love pumpkin pie. Steve knows this and, being the thoughtful person that he is, bought one for Thanksgiving dinner. Dinner was just the two of us. Steve's not big on pumpkin pie. You see where I'm going with this. Can I actually eat a whole pumpkin pie? Yes, I can. Not in one sitting, but it's only been two days and half the pie is gone. A slice is calling to me now. Pumpkin pie for breakfast. Yum.

Last night, dinner consisted of turkey, stuffing, green beans, and cranberry sauce (and pie). Leftovers. "Yum," I said cheerfully, genuinely. "Thanksgiving dinner #2."

"Yes," Steve said. "And tomorrow night will be Thanksgiving dinner #3."

You see, although it was just the two of us, he sort of cooked for six. I don't mind. This particular spread only comes once a year and I love all of the traditional foods. Thursday night, Steve tossed out the turkey's big breast bone thingy. "Your mom would have frozen that," I said. &q…

A Post About Nothing

You know you're in trouble when, even after scanning several other blogs and the day's top news stories, you spend a good ten minutes staring at a blank blog post, not a thought in your head.

You know you're in deeper trouble when you finally eek out an opening sentence, hoping that if you just start typing the thoughts will come, and none do. Except for this one. A follow up to the initial realization and admission: I have nothing to say.

I'm thinking it's because...

A) I'm still in holiday mode. I did the unusual yesterday. I gave myself the day off. I watched two Doris Day movies back-to-back. Enjoyed a homecooked meal with Steve. Then later we watched 'Cars'. Which we thought would be fun, light fare. (I enjoyed Doris more.) So maybe all that relaxation, which I am not used to, carried over to this morning and my brain's tripping on remnants of turkey, pumpkin pie, and Doris Day.

Or...

B) After glancing at the calendar, I realized how much I have to …

Happy Thanksgiving!

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What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?
Plymouth Rock

Why did they let the turkey join the band?
Because he had the drumsticks

Why did the police arrest the turkey?
They suspected it of fowl play

What did the turkey say before it was roasted?
Boy! I'm stuffed!


Corny, huh? Hey, I didn't write them. I'm just the messenger. Spreading some good cheer for the holiday. I'm very much looking forward to Thanksgiving Day. I'm going to enjoy the Macy Day Parade (via television), have a homecooked meal (via Steve), and watch a holiday movie (via NetFlix). Bliss. I have much to be grateful for, personally and professionally. Were I to compose a list, it would be quite long. I'll just say... I'm blessed. And I am thankful.

Wishing you and yours a day of love and laughter.

Okay, now. Who has a joke for me?

IT!

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Clara Bow. The original 'It' Girl. Elinor Glyn, the writer who pioneered mass market erotic fiction in the 1920s, described 'It' as — "... that strange magnetism which attracts both sexes... entirely unself-conscious... full of self-confidence... indifferent to the effect..."

Translation for many: Sex appeal.

Yesterday in my rave review of Casino Royale, I mentioned that I thought Daniel Craig had 'It'. Reading Glyn's definition and judging by male and female reaction to the man and his performance, I'm sticking by my call. It has little to do with classic beauty and everything to do with charisma. Daniel Craig has 'It'.

Of course the specifics of 'It' (If you can be specific because really it's undefinable) can be different for different people. Personally, I'd add intelligence and a sense of humor into the mix. What about you? How would you define 'sex appeal'? Who has 'It'?

The Spy Who Rocked My World

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Due to my work schedule, rarely do I get out of the house to trek to the theaters these days. Yesterday, I nearly knocked the door off the hinges in my determination and rush to see Casino Royale.

Daniel Craig, a wonderfully talented actor, withstood an angry (read: ugly) out cry from avid Bond fans when announced as the next 007. It had nothing to do with talent and everything to do with looks. At the time, I had recently viewed Craig in Layer Cake. In addition to being a powerful actor, the man had 'It', that undefinable essence, charisma, sex appeal. You know. It. I knew he'd rock as James Bond. And boy, does he ever.

Bartender: Shaken or stirred?
James Bond: Does it look like I give a damn?

That just about sums up the new Bond. *g*

I'm not going to offer a review here. I agree with most of the on-line reviews by movie critics. What they said, except I don't think it was too long. It was, however, complicated. The intrigue kept me guessing even as the credits rol…

A Brush With Fame

There is a rhythm to my chaotic life these days. Mostly I toil away behind my computer--writing my books. Or behind the circulation desk--loaning library books. Or behind the microphone--hawking casino sweepstakes.

Rarely is any of this glamorous. Though once in a blue moon I do experience a celebrity type moment. Always unexpected. Always a thrill. Cut to three days ago at the library.

Medressed down in corduroy cargo pants, a long-sleeved t-shirt, and clunky Doc Martins. Hair in a ponytail and wearing my red-rimmed glasses (glasses similar to the ones I recently saw on 'Ugly Betty'. Huh.) I zap the barcode of two bestselling suspense authors' books and hand them to a male patron. "Anything else I can do for you?"

Patron: Holds up a promo bookmark. "I'm looking for books by this author."

Me:Blink-blink. Blush. "Um. That's me."

Patron: "What?"

Me: Gesturing toward the name on the bookmark, feeling awkward and giddy at the same time…

Passion and Purpose

Bear with me while I set you up for my current musing. Passion and purpose.

I began singing professionally at the age of fourteen. Yup. Fourteen. On stage, every weekend, for a minimal, but weekly fee. Someday, if I ever get around to scanning them, I'll share some pictures. My grandmother dressed me and you can tell. *g*

I sang professionally throughout my teens. I went on the road with a band two days after I graduated high school. I was seventeen. I sang on the road six nights a week, 50 weeks (or close to it) a year, for eight years. At age twenty-five I settled in Atlantic City and I performed almost exclusively in the casinos.

It was difficult to work as a full-time singer in one town, so I branched out. Character actress, dance motivator, emcee. Between all of these things, I managed to keep afloat, although there were times that I had to take on a day job. But even when I had a day job, I still performed. I couldn't imagine ever not performing professionally. I'd drea…

Enough About Me (sort of)

I'm pretty darn self-involved right now as I am currently in some phase of writing (first draft, revisions, line editing) with four different projects. Three of them contracted. One in proposal form. Then there's the preparation for the three Penelope Pageturner storytelling gigs (sponsored by the Atlantic County Library system).

My brain is totally jammed up with these things hence there is a natural desire to blog about one or all of the above. Frankly, I need a break from 'me'. Instead, I'd like to shine a little light on some friends in blogospere.

Anna Lucia announced her first sale awhile back (still happy dancing for her), but today, she gave up the name of the publisher (I'm guessing that means contracts are signed!) and it's one of my publishers--Medallion Press! Welcome to the MP family, Anna. Wishing you mega success!

Scott Oden just learned that his first historical blockbuster, Men of Bronze, did so well in the UK, his UK editor is also purchasing…

ACK!!

Due to a major technical glitch (Not a goober glitch by moi, I swear!), I lost every email in my website email in-box as well as those saved for specific purposes. In total 357 emails and addresses!!!

Ack!!

Gone!

Double ack!!

But, what's done is done. Will. Not. Stress.

If you emailed me because you wanted to receive my (yet-to-be-launched) newsletter, please email me again. I lost your address. Please, forgive me.

If you emailed for any other reason within the past three days, please re-email me. Your note is wherever tech glitched notes go. I just know they're not with me. Please forgive.

I'm off to work at the library now where the computer system has been glitching horribly for two days running. Meaning we can't check in and check out books--or any of the other things we do for patrons--as we normally do. Love technology. Not.

I Feel Good! (except for the bonehead thing)

Man, oh, man. Is it really Tuesday already? I missed you. Truly I did. But blogging took a back seat to...

*Writing and turning in the dedication/acknowledgment page, a Dear Reader letter, and a short bio for ALL ABOUT EVIE.

*Tackling the first 239 pages of 'line edits' for ALL ABOUT EVIE. (They arrived on Saturday. More on my amazing editor and some of my goofy mistakes later.) I have about 70 pages left to go.

*Writing the final two chapters of the proposal for a new book and series. (Just sent that off to my agent. Wish me luck.)

*Saturday and Sunday, six hour emcee gigs. Monday, eight hour shift at the library.

I'm a wee bit burnt, BUT I accomplished a lot over the last four days. In the words of The Godfather of Soul, "I feel good!"

I'll feel even better when I finish those last 70 pages of line edits. But before I go I'll leave you with one of my most eye-rolling bloopers. When Arch disguises himself in a white uniform, Evie considers his dreamy good look…

The Beauty of the Bubble

I belong to a national and local writers organization. I value the workshops they offer, the friends I have made, and the promotional opportunities they afford. I try to give back whenever I can--writing articles, judging contests, teaching workshops--but, beyond that, I'm not all that active. Politics and competition don't interest me, and you'll find that in almost any organized 'club'.

Let's bypass politics, and focus on that other snarly beast, competition. Writers struggle with enough insecurities concerning their own work. When they start worrying about how they stack up against another artist, whether it be in terms of advances, print runs, contest wins, or productivity, they're opening the door for some really ugly emotions and behavior. Who needs it? Not me. That's why I spend most of my time in my pretty pink bubble, working at my own speed, focusing on my own story, and not worrying about how my career compares to X, Y or Z author. There a…

Packrat or Purger?

My husband and I are packrats. We save everything. I'm not sure which one of us is worse. I'm thinking him, although he'd surely say me.

I confess my writing room is overflowing with books, magazines, newspapers, cassette tapes, CDs, conference tote bags, conference workshop notebooks, files containing 'how to' articles, pads, pens, outdated promo items, wigs and hair pieces of numerous colors, various props, costumes, and shoes. Er, yes, my writing room doubles as a wardobe room for my entertainent gigs. Although the garage and spare bedroom are also overflowing with elements from my hey-day as a character actress.

Let's not even talk about my garage. The mere thought of cleaning that disaster zone causes my TMJ to flare up.

My guest room is more managable. We're talking rooting through an overabundance of shoes, purses, and clothes. The closet is exploding as are my dressers. It's insane. There are things in there that I have not worn in 3 -9 years. Thin…

Celebrating Determination

I can't believe we're nearing mid-November. Ack! (Will not obssess on the February deadline. Will not obsess...) My days are packed (whose aren't), but I am happy to report that I scratched three projects off of my 'To Do' list yesterday and made progress on a few others.

Over the past couple of days I've made decent stride on my next book for HQN as well as the 'new book' proposal that I promised my agent. Yay!

Confirmed my three appearences as Storyteller, Penelope Pageturner, and read three of the twelve children's books on my desk (who knew there were so many books about snow?) in an effort to nail down my 'winter wonderland' program.

Cleaned out a closet and dresser and donated three bags of nice coats and clothes to people in need. (more on that tomorrow).

Lastly, after two months of tinkering and trying to create a theme I liked, and then inputting all the graphics and copy, I finally finished my new website!! It's up and running…

I've Been Mocked!

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This just in my in . . . VP/Creative Director of Medallion Press, Adam Mock, strikes again! He hit a home run as far as I'm concerned. I adore the cover he created for my July 2007 release, ROMANCING THE WEST. Fashioned after a 19th century dime novel, it couldn't fit the story more perfectly. Thank you, Adam!
*** Emily McBride is in a pickle. The preacher's daughter secretly writes scandalous romantic adventures. When someone uncovers her secret talent and threatens to expose her double life, she worries her small town friends and the man of her dreams will never speak to her again. Worse, she's growing fond of her new friend, a literary poet, who would surely be horrified by her novels. When the Peacemaker Alliance recruits lawman Seth Wright, he's ready, willing, and able to kick ruthless desperado butt for the covert government agency. His enthusiasm wanes, however, when his first assignment takes him to California to propose marriage to Miss Emily McBride on…

It Takes So Little

I know. I know. I said I was taking a blog break this weekend. But I had to pop in because I just ran across something that made me squeal with delight. Okay. I didn't actually squeal. But I did smile really big and my pulse accelerated. No, I didn't discover a new and wonderous flavor of java. Better. I discovered a new-to-me reader's review of LASSO THE MOON.

Let me preface this by saying that, being a neurotic artist, I constantly question my talent. Especially when I'm in the first draft phase like I am right now on BEING EVIE (working title of book 2 for HQN). I'm writing at a snail pace just now. I'm trying not to judge, and failing. I'm worrying that I've lost my mojo. I'm convinced I'm a hack.

Deep down, I know that I go through this with every book. Deep down, I know the story will click soon and I'll be typing like a fiend. Meanwhile, I wrestle with insecurity. Meanwhile, I break and google myself now and then hoping for a 'sign&…

I have Insomnia because...

My brain's hopping all over the joint.

The good news is, I'm jazzed about each of the projects currently rattling around in my noggin. On the marketing front, the new blog 'look' is up and running, and I'm very close to finishing my new website design.

Writing wise, I'm moving along on BEING EVIE. (Good thing since it's due mid-February.) And I'm making progress on the proposal for a new series. I told my agent it would take me a couple of weeks. That was a week ago. I'm close. Sort of.

I'm awaiting the revisions for ROMANCING THE WEST, but meanwhile I got a sneak peek of the first draft of the cover. Let me just say, wahooooo! Cover artist Adam Mock rocks!

Awaiting line edits (or maybe more revisions?) on ALL ABOUT EVIE as well as the release dates for book two and book three. Between HQN and Medallion, I'll have two novels coming out in 2007 and three in 2008! More bean juice, please.

On the performance front, no singing gigs, but the emcee gig…

Two Things...

#1)Jordan Summers, a wonderful writer and all around super person, just signed a three-book deal with Tor! Mega reasons for celebration, but I'm especially happy for her because she'll be writing the gritty, edgy stories that have been recently setting her soul afire. Burn, baby, burn!

#2) I'm giving myself a makeover. Well, not me personally, although I could use one, but this blog and my website. The website is still a work in progress but--tah-dah!--behold the blog's new look. I liked pink-cartoon-chick, but she wasn't an ideal spokesperson for ALL of my writing. This template struck me as more generic (important since I write contemporary, historical, and paranormal). And though it still screams cheery, there's an edgy feel with all the stark black. Needed an edge. I'm not all fluff, and neither are my stories. I found this awesome template at Zoot's Designs. Truth told, I was quite fond of several of Miss Zoot's designs. There were at least six …

Magical Multi-Tasking

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So was your Halloween all you'd hoped for? I can honestly say I had a blast. I did an emcee gig at Trump Taj Mahal. They requested a witch.

I aim to please.

I actually went as a Celtic Witch with a fondness for dragons. Sorry. No pictures. But imagine, if you will, a darker version of a Priestess of Avalon. My character, Morgandy, and her sidekick Dexter (the dragon) were well received. And gamblers especially liked it when I told them Dexter was enchanted and therefore they could rub him for luck. Dexter was rubbed, pinched, squeezed, and generally fondled throughout the day. Better him than me.

As an additional prop, I carried a book on Wizards and Witches. As it happens, I need to know a bit about Celtic and Wicca magic for a proposal I'm writing. So, in between my emcee duties, I read. Call me the Priestess of Multi-tasking.

What about you? Do you ever squeeze in other 'projects' while on the day job?