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Showing posts from January, 2007

One of Those Days

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I thought Cheyenne was over the chewing phase. Well, except for her own toys. So it was a bit of a shocker to come downstairs and find that she'd gotten in to today's mail. Do you think the IRS will believe me when I claim, "The dog ate my 1099?"
This is a sign of how my day has been going, by the way. Cheyenne promises me that tomorrow will be better. I'll be more productive and she'll be less destructive. I dunno. Would you trust this face?

Writing Wisdom -- Not Mine

You don't want to know what my house looks like just now. Really you don't.

Professionally speaking, the 'to do' list grows only I'm not currently taking the time to physically list what must be done. Which means I'm leaving it to memory, which means things will fall through the cracks, although I usually find them, which means I'll eventually tackle them. There's a odd comfort in the latter part of that run-on sentence.

Just now, day job and sporadic blog post aside, every waking (and on some nights--sleeping) moment is being dedicated to the sequel to ALL ABOUT EVIE, working title BEING EVIE, due in, um, 17 days.

The good news is I'm in the zone. The process is interesting just now. Wish I had time to discuss it. *g* Instead take a gander at these stellar writing tipsprovided by thriller author, Marcus Sakey. Although he calls it 'Celestial Navigation'. I like that. I also like a lot of the tips and the way he words them. Such as:


*Write about…

Blogger Update

Loyal blog readers,

I had to switch over to 'new' blogger. I've been dodging their notices for weeks. This morning I couldn't dodge. So I switched. And thus, those who try to comment may have to sign in differently. I don't know how this new sucker works. Apologies if you have to go to any extra effort. Please don't abandon me. ;)

That concludes the commercial message. Below is the actual program.

The Vexing, the Delightful, and a Warning

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I woke up, brain sparking. Had two more ideas for things that make my head hurt. But I thought, jeesh, everyone's going to think I'm in a crummy mood if I do a Part 3. I'm not in a crummy mood, I swear. It's just the way the blog posts crumbled --or something like that--these past few days.

In an effort to balance the vexing and delightful I decided to do a post about things that make me smile. I was going to make a short list, including two blogs I visit every day for a chuckle and a lift: Ken Levineand Mary Stella. I have them, I mean read them, with my morning coffee. Although I do so with caution as sometimes sipping and laughing at the same time results in java spurting on my laptop screen or out of my nose, depending on the intensity of the snort, and that's just disgusting. But I digress.

So this morning I sip my coffee and read Ken's blog and--Ha!--how does he come up with this stuff? Then I sip more coffee, click on Mary's blog and smile thinking, th…

Things That Make My Head Hurt - Part 2

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Celebrities who don't think they're setting a bad 'self-image' example by maintaining a rail-thin figure.

I don't mean to pick on Ms. Knightly--there are dozens of other female celebs who spring to mind--but she's the one who made the news yesterday, stating she's taking a tabloid to court over anorexic allegations. I don't know if she has an eating disorder or not, but I do believe a lot of women are influenced by what celebs perceive as stylish or beautiful. Personally, I find the super-skinny trend disturbing. I'm not crazy about how mainstream plastic surgery and botox parties have become either. Whether they want to believe or not, they are sending a message and it's not a healthy one.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched ... but are felt in the heart." ~~ Helen Keller

Things That Make My Head Hurt -- Part 1

Promotion/Marketing

Speaking specifically about authors and books, I understand why an author in today's competitive market needs to self-promote. I understand about 'name recognition' and 'branding'. At the very least an author should maintain an updated website, blog, send newsletters (or submit information to industry newsletters), submit articles to industry websites and magazines, and particpate in interviews. Marketing budget permitting, one should run ads in noted print venues, purchase banners and/or author features, schedule on-line chats, hold contests and givaways.

Beyond the above basics there is a whole new world involving book trailors and podcasts and . . . the list goes on. Authors JA Konrathand MJ Roseare marketing gurus. They are also mega-energized. They routinely blog about the importance of self-promotion and offer valuable insight and advice.

I read, I absorb, I practice what is preached within my limit--time and money wise. But frankly, the more…

The Excitement Begins

There are many steps along the way from idea to manuscript to published book. ALL ABOUT EVIEis now in the ARC stage. ARC stands for advanced reading copy. This prepublication edition of the book is distributed to major book buyers and is also used to generate reviews and publicity. Click herefor an extended explanation.

It means other people, aside from my critique partners and editors at HQN, are now reading my beloved story. It means book stores and libraries will start ordering copies (hopefully A LOT). It means reviewers will start offering their opinions (hopefully enthusiastic ones). Even though the book won't be on shelves for another three months, the excitement (which includes a lot of nailbiting and sporadic mini-celebrations) has begun.

Yesterday, I had my first thrill. NYT Bestselling Author, Heather Graham, read ALL ABOUT EVIE and offered a quote (known in the biz as an 'author quote') to use in whatever way I or HQN see fit. It's a marketing effort and can …

Gotta Have Heart

The other day I was thinking about what a story needs to captivate and and hold me until the very end. The answer is heart.

Whether I'm reading, writing or viewing a story I need to care about the characters and what's happening in their lives. I adore romantic comedy, but if it's a slapstick run-on with cardboard characters it's only going to bore or irritate me. If it's a drama where I'm expected to root for the down-and-out or wronged hero (or heroine) then there needs to be a scene early on that allows me to emotionally connect with that character.

Speaking strictly as a writer, I often struggle to 'connect' with my own characters early on in the process. Forward momentum is snail-slow as I feel my way through scenes. But then, magically, finally, I'll 'get' my characters. I'll understand who they are and why they are and what they're after. Knowing the characters' hearts and the heart of the story, provides me with the artisti…

Top Fourth Incident

Continuing with yesterday's theme...

#4 -- The long sash of my wrap-around sweater went in the toilet water when I, well, you know. Yes, I was thinking about a scene rather than paying attention to what I was doing. Yes, I changed my sweater.

Aren't you glad I shared? And my day is just beginning. *g*

Top Three Incidents

Here are the top three incidents (all occurring over the last week) proving that I have contracted deadline fever.

#3 -- Driving to the work, only a five minute drive from home and a route I traverse four days a week, I missed my turn and didn't even realize it until I was a good six blocks past.

#2 -- I schlepped downstairs to make a pot coffee, dragged back up to boot up my computer and re-read the previous day's chapter, schlepped back down to fill my mug--only I'd neglected to add water! I'm lucky the glass pot didn't shatter due to the intense dry heat.

And #1 -- I showered, going through my bathing rituals on automatic as I brainstormed a scene. It took me a second to realize I was washing my hair a second time, only this time with face scrub.

All because I'm distracted from real life, immersed in fiction, determined to meet my deadline. It's a good thing, provided I don't blow something up. I'm still behind, but making progress, and best of all--…

Speaking of Awards...

No, I didn't win one. Hard to win an award if you don't enter a competition and I'm not big on contests. Of course, I could win one if someone else nominated me--maybe--and that would be exciting because who doesn't want to be recognized for their hard work? But the reality is the odds of winning are slight...unless your Nora Roberts or Stephen King. *g* Slight because the competition is overwhelming and personal reading taste enters into judging (I don't care what anyone says) so it's all subjective.

Following me?

I could write an entire post on why I don't enter writing contests. I have in the past and have benefitted, but I've also suffered. In this case, for me, the bad outweighs the good. I just don't go there anymore. In kind, I'm not fond of judging contests either. If asked, I generally, graciously decline. With the exception of two. My local RWA chapter's contest for unpublished writers and the RWA National contest for published auth…

The Forgotten People

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After writing for several hours yesterday, I finally gave myself permission to stop. At that point I'd already been toast for about two hours. I curled up on the couch, flipped on the TV and caught the last half of the Golden Globe Awards. The shallow me likes to ogle the gowns and hairstyles.

There were lots of beautiful people and several entertaining acceptance speeches (Hugh Laurie from"House M.D." took the cake). I especially got a kick out of seeing so many veteran actors, many up for awards.

Meryl Streep, who I adore, won for 'Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy' for her role in The Devil Wears Prada. She looked stunning and she was funny and gracious when listing all of the cast, crew, producers, and I believe she mentioned the screenwriter. But I was disappointed that she failed to acknowledge Lauren Weisberger, the author who wrote the novel on which the movie was based. If she did, I missed it.

Now I didn't see the …

Wishing You Were Here

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Lucky Me... Mostly

To those of you who check in daily, apologies for being away so long. Blogging wasn't in the cards these past few days. I attempted two brief posts on Friday, but they both sounded whiney, so I deleted them. So juggling the day job and meeting writing deadlines is especially tough just now. So, what? I'm lucky to have a day job I like. Lucky to be under contract with two publishing companies. Lucky to have a husband who, instead of asking when I was going to attack the scary multitudes of dust bunnies and leaning tower of laundry, conquered those chores himself.

Lucky, lucky, lucky.

Well, except that while updating my page at MySpace this morning and checking out the page of someone who wanted to be my friend (Yes, I screen. God forbid I befriend some radical hate group), I contracted a virus. Well, not me, but my laptop. Luckily, my virus scan caught and deleted it but grrrr. Okay. Letting that go.

I'm leaving you now to get more bean juice and to attack the source of my anx…

36 Days

Blogger was down for a good part of yesterday, so probably many of you couldn't sign in to post a crazy fact about yourself. Yeah. That was it. *g* But the two that are there are great! Thanks, Feyrhi and Anna!

Pulled a writing marathon yesterday, twelve hours, and for that I have to show six new pages. It may not sound like much but they're six pages that work. I think. And they move the story forward. Definitely. So it's all good.

In my current coming-to-terms mindset, I did a reality check yesterday. On a shiny new 2007 calendar, I pinpointed my February deadline and, working backward, I marked in red the number of days left. There are, as of today, 36 days left. Then I whipped out the calculator and determined the number of pages, new pages, I'd have to write each day to make deadline. That would be five (5). That's if I write the next 36 days with no break. If I miss a day, or fudge a page count, well, you do the math.

I've never resorted to numbering a calen…

Crazy You

Yesterday, I listed 5 Crazy Things About Me. I'm in for another day long writing marathon so I'm desperate for the occasional distraction. Here's how you can help. List at 1 Crazy Thing About You. (2 if you're feeling ambitious) I won't tell anyone. Honest. *g*

Crazy Me

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My social life these days is pretty much limited to what little visiting I do via emails and blogs. Getting me to break away from my writing for lunch or a movie is a rarity. However, there are some events that, if all humanly possible, I cannot miss. Like the annual holiday get together with the performers that I worked with at Tropicana Casino for a seven year stretch. (Some of them worked together for even longer) We were all part of a full-time strolling program and it was one of the most memorable times of my life. Here I forged lifelife friendships with some amazing people. This was more than, hmm, twelve year ago? Many, like me, have moved on to other professions (entertainment manager, PR manager, yoga instructor, school ciricullum specialists, to name a few), but we are all artistic maniacs at heart. No one gets us like we get each other. Even though most of us only see each other once a year, it's like we were never apart. Some things, gratefully, never change. My entire…

Coming To Terms

Galley for ALL ABOUT EVIE... in the mail. Line edits for ROMANCING THE WEST... still in the works. Progress on deadline book... on hold until line edits are turned in (hopefully tomorrow). Progress on revising the new proposal... on hold until major progress is made on deadline book. Status of CREATIVELY SPEAKING (my new interview program at MySpace)... on hold until deadline book is turned in.

Last night, after putting in a day of work-work, and then a full night of writing-work (my routine for the past week), I had to make a mental check list of where I stood with all of my deadlines--contracted and self-imposed. I had to prioritize because, as much as I hate to admit it, I'm not Superman. The good news is, everything will get done because I am--snapping my spiffy pink cape--Super-determined.

Meanwhile, I'm taking the weekend off from blogging because, well, see the above. See you Monday!

" The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person's de…

Stop and Smell the Dried Ink

Yesterday's post centered on the galley of ALL ABOUT EVIE(coming May 2007). I pushed hard to finish that process as quickly as possible--though this does not mean to imply I did a rush job--so that I could return my time and attention to BEING EVIE (working title), the sequel, due into HQN mid-February.

Yesterday afternoon, I received line edits for ROMANCING THE WEST(coming July 2007) from my other publisher, Medallion Press. Yes, I am blessed. I have two publishers. Although this means I have double deadlines. No, I'm not complaining.

My first thought was, OMG, I'm still finishing up the galley on AAE and I only have a week to complete the line edits on RTW. My second thought--after skimming the line edits for RTW--was OMG, thank God, the line edits are pretty light. If I push hard, I can tackle this in two days.
So... after returning home from work at the library, I dug in. I finished the galley for ALL ABOUT EVIE and then dug into the line edits for ROMANCING THE WEST. I …

Stuff Happens

I've spent the past two days reading the galley for ALL ABOUT EVIE. For those unaware a 'galley' is... the pre-publication copy sent to the author by the publisher for final proofreading or to reviewers for pre-publication reviews.

This is the last time I'll see a copy of this story before it goes to print. Since I turned in the original manuscript, it's been through heavy revisions, line edits, copy edits, and now production. Changes, big and small, made along the way. In the process, some typos were made (who changed "bitters" to "mitters"? LOL). Some--although read by me, my critique partners, my editor, and a copy editor--were never caught from the original draft (I had typed "shimmed" when it should've been "shimmied")

This is my chance to catch and correct any typos, including the random extra space between a period and a quotation mark. This is it folks. Talk about pressure. Because you know I'll miss somethin…

Surviving New Years Eve

December 31, 2006

9:30 am -- After attending to the morning pet rituals (any one who has dogs knows how this goes), checking email, rereading last written chapter of WIP and sending off the first third of the WIP to critique partners, posting a short blog message for the new year (one word says it all), updating MySpace (adding friend requests, approving messages, and replying) ... I jumped in the shower allowing myself thirty mintues longer than my normal one hour that it usually takes me to get ready for a gig.

11:15am -- Unfortunately, I was PMSing (any woman who suffers from this can sympathize. Any man with a significant other who suffers from this can imagine my mood). I didn't like any of the five outfits I tried on, hated the hair piece I normally love and which normally saves me time. So in a frenzy I finally settled on the very first ensemble I tried on, hoping I looked classy and somewhat sexy, and hoping I didn't look as fat as I felt (did I mention the PMS?). I yank…