Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dear Diary,

Though disappointed, I was right to cancel my trip to New Orleans. Yesterday tourists were evacuated. Thus attendees only enjoyed one day of Heather's Conference (although I hear it was an awesome day!) before having to scramble for unscheduled transportation home. The good news is, my publishing friends are now out of harm's way. In kind, residents of New Orleans are evacuating as well. I wish them safe journeys and pray that their homes escape damage from the approaching storm. Rock on New Orleans!!

Although I missed seeing my writer friends this weekend, last weekend I enjoyed dinner and dancing with five of my longtime entertainment friends. Given our hectic lives, we rarely see each other anymore. But one friend was celebrating a birthday and another is moving to Vegas, so we just had to get together. This is us before we got all sweaty and tuckered out from four hours of non-stop dancing.

In other news, today I posted at Babes in Bookland. This week's topic: Reinventing your career.


WRITING: Worked on new WIP. Wrote two blog posts.

RECREATION: Watched an old movie with Steve. WAIT UNTIL DARK starring Audrey Hepburn. Excellent writing and acting Creepy.

EXERCISE: Uh... oops.

DIET: Made two weight watchers recipes. Chicken with Artichoke Hearts and a 4-bean salad. Yum!

MOOD: Scattered

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Beat it, Gustav!

In a perfect world, I'd be sitting on a plane just now--thirty-five minutes from touchdown in New Orleans. I've been looking forward to this holiday weekend for a very long time. Heather Graham's Writers For New Orleans Conference. A weekend surrounded by writers, publishing professionals, many of them close friends. I've spent the better part of the past week cramming for a workshop and a performance in a dinner theater show. My bags were packed--ready to go....

Then last night came the news of Tropical Storm Gustav. A projected path has it headed for New Orleans. It could hit by Sunday/Monday and it could be a category 3 hurricane by then. Last night LA declared a state of emergency and announced that they may evacuate New Orleans as early as tomorrow.

Or not. Depends on if Gustav changes directions or peters out. But I was scheduled to fly in this morning and fly back Monday. What if I flew in only to be evacuated the next day along with 30,000 other people?? Although I am an optimism, I also have a healthy imagination...

Heart heavy, I opted on the side of caution (plus also saving my husband much worry). Last night I sent my apologies to Heather and this morning I cancelled my flight. I am so disappointed. I really needed this particular weekend.

That said, my thoughts are with my friends who do indeed travel to to NOLA in spite of the storm as well as everyone who lives in New Orleans and along the coast. Haven't they endured enough for two lifetimes? Beat it, Gustav! Better yet, die a quick death!

Meanwhile, I am determined to overcome my 'blues' and to look on the bright side. Five unexpected days here at home. I can catch up on much needed housework. I can do a full body dive back into my next deadline book. I can update my website. Catch up on my blogs. I can spend some quality time with my husband.

As my friend, Mary reminded me last night, sometimes you have to make lemonade out of lemons. Thus... I am off to squeeze out some sunshine.

What are you doing this holiday weekend?

WRITING: Completed revisions and polishing of EVIE EVER AFTER.
EXERCISE: Zero. Devoted the last five days to revisions and pre-conference stuff.
DIET: After a couple of weeks of being a yo-yo, I am back on track. Lost one (1) more pound! I have now lost 14 pounds total. Yay!
MOOD: Disappointed.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "When one door of happiness closes, another opens, but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one that has been opened for us." -- Helen Keller

Monday, August 18, 2008

Dear Diary,

Holy cow. It's flipping mid-August. How did that happen? In less than two weeks I'll be heading down south for Heather Graham's Writers for New Orleans Conference. In addition to moderating a workshop, I'll be performing in a musical theater show written by Heather. I have a script to memorize, songs to learn. I need to dig through my multitudes of costumes and dig out a pirate ensemble suitable to my character Captain Grace-less O' Malley. (I'm a clumsy pirate. What fun!) Oh, and I need to organize promo items plus a giveaway--and pack!

In the meantime, although I did finish and turn in the additional chapters of Evie Ever After, I'm still in the process of a total read-through and tweaking. Due date: this week.

Coming up this weekend, dinner and dancing with best girlfriends from my entertainment circle. We're celebrating one friend's birthday and wishing another 'farewell' as she prepares to move across country. I need to buy gifts. I need to find something to wear! Gak!

In the meantime, time is ticking on the next contracted book. I brainstormed with Cyndi, my wondrous CP and friend, this past weekend and she came up with a brilliant solution to my problematic plot. It means some major rewriting, but it all good. Definitely for the better. I just need to dig in and do it.

Although my head is spinning at least my brain's not exploding. Yet. Needless to say the only way to get all of the above done in the next two weeks is to stay focused and away from the Internet. It stinks because it makes me feel out of touch, but a girl's gotta do what a .... blah, blah, blah.

Will check in when I can!
WRITING: Completed additions to EVIE EVER AFTER. Working on tweaking said manuscript. Brainstormed and blasted through blocks on the WIP plus the new mystery series!
RECREATION: Attended the NY Renn Faire with Cyndi. Fun and inspiring!
EXERCISE: Got back on track with my powerwalking.
DIET: Cheated something awful this past weekend due to the delicious Renn Faire food. Ah, well. Got back on track yesterday.
MOOD: Scattered.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart, and can sing it back to you when you have forgotten the words." -- unknown

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dear Diary,

The revision letter for EVIE EVER AFTER arrived. I nearly wept with relief. The requested revisions are minor, and not revisions so much as a requested additions. I've been MIA this past week working my way up to these. Today I'm prepped and ready to write those 'additions'. I will be MIA for three more days--deep in the Evie zone.

Here's the inspiration.....

WRITING: Completed a proposal for a new mystery series and submitted it to my agent. Thumbs up! Now I just have to write a few chapters. Meanwhile hard at work on Evie revisions.
EXERCISE: Powerwalked at the beginning of the week, but skipped the past three days to commit more time to revisions.
DIET: On target. Sticking with the WW plan!
MOOD: Positive
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!" -- Ray Bradbury

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Dear Diary,

I know. I know. It's been over a week since I last checked in. What can I say? I've been super busy and best of all focused. I finally finished the synopsis from hell. Woo-hoo! Submitted it--Yay!--then attacked the partial I needed to critique for a fellow writer. I rarely critique other people's work. Tricky business. But this was a special circumstance and I wanted to provide detailed guidance (along with inspiration), so that took a couple of nights.

Last night, I started attacking a promotional project that is loooong overdue. My newsletter. Confession. I have committed a promo sin. Two years ago, I started inviting readers to sign up for my newsletter and then never actually sent one. There are several reasons. Number one: Lack of time. I don't have a personal publicist so this would be yet another thing to squeeze into my schedule. The thing is I'm always going to be crunched for time and I'm trying to explore new and perhaps more effective ways of keeping in touch with readers. I've heard from more than one fellow author that newsletters, when not abused (read: bombarding subscribers too often and offering little more than a sales pitch), can be very effective.

So... I've started the process. Now I just have to decide if I want to go the free route and use the 'Yahoo' no-frills-text-only newsletter option.... or if I want to pay for a service like Chimpmail or Constant Contact. These places offer attractive templates and look like an actual newsletter. Decisions, decisons.

What about you? Do you subscribe to any author's newsletters? Are there any particular features or extras that you enjoy? Do you care if it's text only or an actual template that allows pictures, graphics and such? This inquiring mind wants to know.

WRITING: Finished the synopsis for Into the Wild. Finished critiquing a partial manuscript. Dove back into my current WIP: Out of the Ordinary.
RECREATION: Treated myself to The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (I really want to see Dark Knight but am holding out to see with Steve.) Anyhoo, Mummy 3 was perfect for my mindset. I need a fun distraction and I got it!
EXERCISE: Yesterday, I added distance, increasing my power walk to 50-minutes. Today, I was over ambitious and carried heavier hand weights. DUMB! Between the intense heat and the addded weight, it was all I could do to make it back home. But I DID make it. Call me determined.
DIET: Today I bought two new pairs of capris. I've gone down an entire size and even those were loose in the waist!! Woo-hoo!
MOOD: Hyper
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal." -- Henry Ford