Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Letting Someone Else Vent (for a change)

Tess Gerritsen says it so well...check out her blog post:

No romance, please. We’re mystery readers.

Inspiration, or the Lack Thereof

“Method is much, technique is much, but inspiration is even more.” - Benjamin Cardozo

Lately, I have found inspiration in short supply. I've refused to let myself write anything new because I want to get my novel edited. But I'm not inspired by the novel. To be honest, right now I don't even like it very much, and as a result I do nothing.

What's the answer?

Do I have ideas for a new novel? Absolutely. Will my writing friends groan if I start another new one without finishing an old one? Absolutely. In fact, one or two of them might drive up here and give me one of those head slaps like Gibbs on NCIS.

I do have two short stories to write - both for contests. I suppose I could do that along with editing.

I'm trying to decide if I feel this way because I don't like to edit or if I feel this way because there's something wrong with the story in my novel. I do know that I don't like Lucia flirting with Jed. But I'm not sure how to take that out and still have many of the scenes that I need in there (like her coming to help Jed when he's hurt and when she drops off all the food).

But, I guess that's my problem. And if I'm going to get published, I need to get it done. At least, that's what I tell myself. I'm still not feeling very inspired. But I'll try to take it bird by bird.

I wonder what the stars have to say.

Yahoo Horoscopes (the quickie):

Resist the urge to go the easy route -- it's the challenges that teach you the most.
Oooohh... that one hurts.

There is very little Earth energy around today and this may leave you feeling a little rootless and even confused about your direction in life in general.
Anyone else feeling a little "woo-woo"? Horoscopes:

Your relationship with the material world is undergoing a slow and profound change as your approach to possessions becomes increasingly philosophical. But this may not be by choice as resources have become more limited, especially in your dealings with other people. Running into financial roadblocks may not be a lot of fun, but your new outlook will surely be healthier in the long run.
Oh, goody. So no only am I going to be blocked, I'm going to be broke, too! The fun never ends.

How are you?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I Can't Believe I Forgot

Memory is a crazy woman that hoards colored rags and throws away food. ~ Austin O'Malley

I can't believe I forgot to mention my latest news in this mornings post...

I got a release date for my next Wild Rose Press release, a Sweetheart rosette called "Tickle Fights and Barbecues" will be available for purchase on March 9, 2007!

Also, I did a few minor tweaks to my website. Let me know if you like it.

Have a great day!

A Funny Thing Happened...

Humor is a reminder that no matter how high the throne one sits on, one sits on one's bottom. ~ Taki

I love to laugh. I don't do it nearly enough... but I love it. I have what my husband calls a "refined" sense of humor (i.e. I don't much care for Adam Sandler movies -- "The Wedding Singer" being the only exception), so I'm difficult to amuse. I prefer a play on words to slapstick. Never understood why "The Three Stooges" was funny.

I did like "I Love Lucy" (the scene when she made wine or when she was working that assembly line... they still crack me up).

Frasier and M*A*S*H were my all-time favorite sit-coms. I don't like ANY of the ones that are out now. I liked Friends at first, but it got old near the end and bored me.

I LOVE Gilbert and Sullivan shows. "Pirates of Penzance", "HMS Pinafore", "The Mikado". They make me laugh until I cry. There are so many clever things that you don't catch until you've watched it ten or twenty times... the little things that they put in there for effect. Love. Them.

Am I difficult?

When I write, my characters don't always keep a straight face. But I can't seem to get the hang of all out romantic comedy. The closest was my "Liv Leigh" story -- and I think the main reason that one had so many absurd things in it was because it was my NaNo 2005 novel and I threw in some of the crazy dares.

Still, my characters do occasionally fall of things (porches, chairs, roofs) or have silly pets (rats, ferrets), but I can't seem to maintain the humor the entire time. That frustrates me.

I'm determined to get the hang of it eventually. In the meantime, it does make me wonder how to categorize my work. It's not rom-com, and it's not completely straight romance. I think of it as romance that doesn't take itself seriously.

What about you? Do you like humor? Can you write it? What are some of your favorite funny movies, books or TV shows? What can make you laugh 'til you wet your pants?

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Last Time

"I just overslept. It's a little embarrassing, but hey, it happens." - Mike O'Shea

Had trouble sleeping last night... woke up at 1 a.m. and simply couldn't get back to sleep. After tossing and turning for about half an hour, I came downstairs and curled up on the couch in front of our wood stove. The cat curled up with me, and eventually I nodded off. I woke up once when the coffee pot started at 4 a.m. (my usual automatic wake up time -- don't know why my internal clock is so messed up), then cat moved, I moved and lay there waiting for the coffee to finish and promptly nodded off again.

Woke up at 5:30. Wow.

So, because the DD is already up (it's about 5:50 a.m.) and I have to go walk my mom's dog at 6 a.m. and wake the DH at 6:30, I give you a meme (and kiss writing anything on my WIP goodbye).

I promise, I won't keep doing this...

From Monday's A Bitch:

Last But Not Least

1. Last time you ate Kraft Dinner?

I have no idea. I usually make mac and cheese from scratch.

2. Last thing you bought yourself for no practical purpose whatsoever?

*scratches head* I have no idea. I bought myself a shirt yesterday -- first time I'd purchased any new clothes for myself in I don't know how long. But I'm a pretty practical person, so unless you count clothes or books as impractical (and how could you -- they are both necessary for life), I can't remember the last time.

3. Last time you left the country?

When I was twelve years old, visited my brother in Del Rio, Texas and we crossed the border into Tijuana. I know, I'm wild and crazy...

4. Last time you did a crossword puzzle?

A couple days ago? I love crossword puzzles and will do them online frequently. Brain food, you know.

5. Last photograph you took?

This one at the Dinosaurs! exhibit at our local children's museum:
Anyone care to join me?

Have a happy Monday!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Repetition and Over Editing

“There is repetition everywhere, and nothing is found only once in the world.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I got my final galleys for my "coming soon" Wild Rose Press release "Tickle Fights and Barbecues". Actually, I've gotten them three times, to check for typos and small changes I might like to make.

The final, final is sitting in my inbox right now. I had to take a day or two away from it, because I was seriously sick of looking at it. Please note: That isn't a reflection on the story but, sheesh, I've read through the blasted thing so many times. Three times as a galley, three times in edits from my wonderful editor, and uncountable times prior to submission. I could probably recite the thing from memory.

It makes me wonder how flat a bit of writing could get if we edit it to death. Sometimes when I'm editing (for instance, now with my Camilla story) I get a fresh new idea that breathes life into the scene. But other times, I've written and rewritten and area to death... did I edit all the freshness and life from it? I mean, it may not have passive voice, it may "show" like crazy and use all the senses... but does it have VOICE? Does it still speak to the reader?

It's hard for me because I've looked at it so much.

I suppose that's what (writing) friends are for and thank God for them.

What about you? When you edit, do you mostly add or subtract? I find that I write a little sparsely the first time through -- a lot of dialogue in places with no description and I have to let the reader know what the sam hill is going on. (Note... I had to look up the origin of "sam hill" after I used it ... click on the link if you're curious).

So... editing? Is too much a bad thing? How many times, on average, do you edit a document before you decide it's good to go? Do you mostly add or subtract?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Book Value

A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it, or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a man's mind can get both provocation and privacy. ~ Edward P. Morgan

Brain dead. Must meme. I give you: The Saturday Special Meme

Book Value

1. Favorite Book You've Read?:

It's odd... but whenever I'm asked this question, I automatically go back in time to the books of my childhood. Do you suppose that's because the books I've read as an adult are forgettable or don't stand the test of time?

Books that have made an impression on me, to the point that I couldn't wait to share them with my daughter: Black Beauty (I've read this so many times I've lost count -- it is, by far, the most loved book in my possession), The Prydain Chronicles -- especially The High King, and A Wrinkle in Time.

2. Favorite Book Character?:

Again, I find myself drifting back. Strangely, one of the most memorable characters for my was Ozma from Ozma of Oz. I loved, Loved, LOVED the fact that she could change her head (and therefore her hair color and style and her eye color) every day. Apparently, even as a child I had issues with my looks because, despite that fact that she was evil, I wanted to be her just so I could change heads.

3. Favorite Book Genre?:

Romance of course. But I have a difficult time reading category. I like to have something else challenge me: a mystery, a vampire or whatever. One of the reasons I enjoy Dean Koontz novels is because, along with all that genetic manipulation (or whatever) there's always a romance that makes me sigh.

Still, I read pretty much anything. I have the latest Michael Palmer in my TBR pile, an old Dean Koontz that I've read a dozen times and a YA. Oh, and about forty romances -- but they're all suspense or paranormal.

4. Hardcover or Paper Back?:

No preference. I don't buy hardcovers because I can't afford them. If it's a book I'm dying to read (like "Innocent in Death" for instance) I'll check it out at the library to read and then buy it when it comes out in paperback. You won't find many hardcovers on my shelves, and the ones that are there were gifts, with the exception of "Don't Look Down", which I did splurge on when it came out. I'd forgotten about that until I glanced over at my bookshelf...
Anyone care to join me?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Life Lessons

Those who have succeeded at anything and don't mention luck are kidding themselves. ~ Larry King

So... American Idol last night proved one thing to me (aside from the fact that America is apparently tone deaf):

You never know what's going to appeal to masses.

Seriously. I had it all figured out... I knew who was going home on AI. I was absolutely wrong. Clearly, this isn't just a singing contest, which I should have known all along.

And, honestly, publishing isn't just a writing "contest" either. Not that you shouldn't write the best story you can, using the best grammar and spelling. Still, that's just not enough.

It's about hitting the agent/editor on the right day. It's about writing the right story for the moment (kinda like choosing the right song on AI). And even if you're published, who knows how many books you'll sell?

It's about public perception and word of mouth.

I spend a lot of time blog-hopping, and I find many of the books I read via recommendations from other sites. I've discovered some really great new authors this way. I've also occasionally slapped my forehead and thought, "What was that person thinking when she called this the best book of the year?"

There's simply no pleasing everyone all the time. You just need to find a way to please enough people and the right people and you're all set.

Ahhh... life lessons from American Idol. Who knew?

In other news, Syl has a book trailer for her soon to be published novel:

Book launch date is May 19, 2007

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Making it Better

“I was fascinated by the effects that could be achieved by editing. The cutting room became a magic workshop for me.” - Leni Riefenstahl

Yesterday, I decided to go ahead and enter the contest I'd been thinking about. I printed off the entry for one last go through, sat down at the breakfast bar, red pen in hand. I figured that it was pretty polished (after all, I'd been through it half a dozen times and THREE of my writing friends had), but it might need a few tweaks.

Huh. Guess it needs more than a few...

My daughter (a budding writer, herself) was watching, and we had this conversation:

DD: "Is that your writing?"

Me: "Yes."

DD: "Why do you change it after you write it?"

Me: "Because it can always be better."

DD: Looks at all the red marks. "Gee, you sure made a lot of mistakes."

Me: Defensive. "They aren't mistakes, I'm just making it better!"

I got the final galleys for my latest Wild Rose Press story, "Tickle Fights and Barbecues" yesterday morning. I checked it over and fought the urge to made a dozen changes. I did request two because of multiple word use (I used "because" THREE times in two paragraphs -- how did I or my editor not catch this?)

I'm half dreading the day when I have my first novel published, hold it in my hand, open in and think: OMG!!! Look at that gerund! I used "because" three times on that page! What a lame metaphor! That could have been written much tighter! What was I thinking????

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


“Words -- so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.” - Nathaniel Hawthorne

Okay... show of hands: how many of you read the dictionary?

I'm not the only one, right?

Yesterday, during DD's history lesson, we learned that it took Noah Webster TWENTY YEARS to write the first dictionary. He studied a dozen foreign languages and agonized over spelling. He's the one who gave us "jail" instead of "gaol" and "plow" instead of "plough".

But, sheesh -- TWENTY YEARS? That is some respect for words. It's a shame that folks don't feel the same nowadays.

Can I admit to being horrified at all the internet (and text messaging) slang? I use it now and then (because LOL tells exactly how I'm feeling, and DD allows my little one to remain anonymous with as few letters as possible). But I hate the acronyms that adulterate the correct spellings: cya, ur, etc. I even read somewhere that teachers are now accepting those spellings on tests! YIKES!!

If I thought Shakespeare was hard to understand when I was a kid and *mostly* spoke and spelled English properly, how on earth will the next generation feel? Or, worse... will they care?

My daughter, who is a voracious reader, was constantly asking "what does (insert word here) mean?" I finally got her a dictionary of her very own.

She's seven years-old.

Yesterday, she ran down to the basement and said, "Mom, what does 'griddle' mean? I looked it up in your dictionary and mine and can't find it."

Turns out she'd spelled it "grittle" and hasn't quite learned that whole seek until you find thing, but I'm working on it. Still, instead of telling her that a griddle is a type of frying pan, I helped her look it up.

I hope I have passed my love of words to her. I think I have.

Many days, I'll find her in her room, lying on her stomach on the floor. Reading the dictionary.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Editing is Murder...

"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile." - Robert Cormier

First off, go check out the cover for Syl's upcoming book -- it's great!

So... I'm still working through my Camilla novel and have hit my first big bump. It's a small thing, really, but it's one of those "kill your babies" scenes. The bit I want to remove is nothing terribly important and it falls to the wayside as the book progresses. I thought about it and thought about it and decided it doesn't contribute enough of anything to keep it in there.

But two of my favorite scenes are directly related to it. And I don't want to let them go...

I've spent the last couple of days (aside from that pesky time in the ER) trying to figure out a way to get rid of that thing and still keep the scenes. I think it can be done, but was it worth the lost time?

The worst part is that I'm sure this will happen again. And again. And it's hard to let go of something you've worked so hard on...

Kill your babies.

Maybe I should re-read "On Writing" again and get inspired.

Anyone have any great ideas on editing? How do you do it? My editors at The Wild Rose Press typically send me 2 - 3 edits on my stories. The first is mostly just grammar (and the "rules" like passive voice and show don't tell) and tightening up the writing. The second is all about content and more tightening. The third is usually pretty minimal, just a couple last comments.

I kind of like that idea, except I can't get past content, even the first time through. It is how I do crits for my writing friends, though. I'll go through once and catch all the little grammatical things first, and then go back and harp on plot inconsistencies and such. But for my own stuff? That's tough to do.

So, 'fess up -- how do you do your editing? I need all the help I can get!

Monday, February 19, 2007


Stumbled across this post at the Deadline Divas... You must go read it if you want to laugh -- but, be warned. Do not read and drink any beverage at the same time unless you want to snort it through your nose.

What are you waiting for? Go forth and laugh.

Fun, Fun, Fun...

“If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it.” - Herodotus

I spent a good part of the day yesterday with my mom at the emergency room -- she fell several days back (have I mentioned that she's 73 y.o.?) and thought her arm was only bruised, but it hasn't been getting better. At the urging (nagging) of a fellow writer (doctor and horse enthusiast), I finally talked her into going for an x-ray. After umpteen hours, it was discovered that she'd broken her shoulder. The folks at the hospital were awfully nice, but it took so long. I'm tired and utterly brain dead even now (I would have slept past 5 a.m. but the cat woke me up). So, instead of my usual wit and repartee (LOL), I give you a few fun things to do:

Talk about your opinion on overused phrases or word in romance at Lynette Rees blog post at the Wild Rose Press authors blog!

Judy challenges us to be part of the Camel Book Drive. She also shared a new fun quiz.

Enter the contest at the Debutante Ball's "grog" (group blog).

Enter to win chocolate, a book and a gift certificate by signing the guest book at Allie's website.

Paperback Writer gives us yet another way to get the juices flowing: Dictionary Impossible. Try it and find new things to write about!

For February's contest, the Running With Quills authors are offering an autographed book from each of the Quills to one lucky winner -- that's SIX books!

Sign up to win more books at the Writerspace Author contests.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Random Weirdness

I don't pretend to be captain weird. I just do what I do. - Johnny Depp

For Sunday, I'm giving my brain a day of rest, so I give you this meme:

randomness...feed your mind and your blog

Week of February 18: list 6 odd things about yourself.

1. I love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. LOVE them. I will eat them for any meal, and will occasionally pass over a "real" dessert to have half a PB&J sandwich instead.

2. I don't read just one book at a time. I typically have at least two fiction and one non-fiction book being read concurrently. Today, I have it the other way around: one fiction book ("Slow Burn" by Julie Garwood) and two non-fiction books ("You on a Diet" and "Wishcraft"). I also have several magazines I'll read each month.

3. Taking a bath puts me to sleep. I swear some day I'm going to drown in the tub. I can't bathe in the morning -- showers only -- because after a bath, no matter the time of day, I will curl up and snooze.

4. I'm horrifically shy and yet love to be on stage. I was involved with drama my entire life as well as choir and I aced my speech class. But when I have to be "me", I'd rather curl up and die than meet anyone new.

5. I don't sit still well. I always need to be doing something. Even when I'm in front of the TV, I'll have a book or needlework. My DH loves to go out on his boat, but it drives me crazy because I'm not "doing" anything... It's always go-go-go for me. I'll probably drive myself into an early grave, but I can't seem to stop!

6. I love trivia. I could watch Jeopardy for hours. Trivial Pursuit is one of my favorite board games (but I can never find anyone who will play with me!). One of my favorite books I own is called "Why Do Dogs Have Wet Noses? and Other Imponderables of Everyday Life" by David Feldman. In fact, I probably cram my brain so full of trivia that I can't remember anything else!

What about you? Wanna spill the weird beans? If you do, post a comment and let me know!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

It's All About the HEA

Love is my religion - I could die for it. ~ John Keats

Watched "The Notebook" per Allie's suggestion. As with all Nicholas Sparks stories, the love story is amazing, but he can't leave well enough alone. And, Allie, I shut down my computer before getting your email about the end. So, yes, I was frustrated and annoyed that I would get invested in these characters and then have it end -- while not as unhappily as many of his books, still not happily.

If he had just ended it with the "young" story, all would have been well. But the movie showed me the reason (again) that I've stopped reading his books. I'm all about the HEA.

I remember watching a movie with Denzel Washington, the name of which escapes me, so I'm heading off the IMdB for a minute. Hang tight....

(la, la, la, la, la...)

Oh yeah: Fallen

It was a great story -- intense, exciting, interesting and I couldn't wait until the bad guy got his.

(Warning: spoiler ahead)

Guess what? The bad guy didn't get his. Denzel's character -- a character that I was fully invested in? He died. Bad guy got away -- in the body of a cat, no less.


I'm all about the HEA and I want it to be really happy, not a little bit happy. I want the bad guy vanquished for all time, I want the H/H desperately in love in what's forever because clearly, they will live, healthy and hale for decades to come. I want the loose ends tied up neatly in a bow.

Real life is depressing enough. I said this to a neighbor yesterday, and Little Miss Sunshine said, "No it's not -- it's sunny outside!".

Yeah, but 84 y.o. ladies are still assaulting 11 y.o. boys in their care.

I don't want to read about that.

Happily. Ever. After.

It's the only way you'll gain me as a reader.

And, yes, in any questionable books (i.e. Pretty much anything outside the standard romance genre) I read the last few pages before I even look at the front.

What about you? How do you feel about endings? Is bittersweet okay? Or even outright sad (like the main character dying)?

What's the biggest thing that turns you off from a book? What turns you on?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Editing is Work!

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did. ~ Newt Gingrich

A new site -- Romancenovel.TV ... cool. For instance, here's an interview with Christina Dodd about her road to publication:

I'm editing one of my three novels with the intent that it will be marketed this year -- preferably by summer. It occurs to me as I write that word that June is only four and a half months away. Somehow, when I set that goal back at the end of January, "summer" seemed an eternity away.

I've only just finished chapter three AND some changes I've made will require a complete reconceptualization (is that even a word?) and rewrite for the end of the story. In fact, at this point, I don't know what the climax of the story is -- except I need to have my hero called away unexpectedly.

I deleted an entire chapter (chapter two... which was cute and sweet and absolutely nothing happened to move the story forward). And I'm getting so good feedback from my group. Because I don't want to just keep moving forward and then end up making changes that will affect mass portions of the story again, I have been going back and implementing much of the feedback I receive before continuing. At about 60,000 words, two weekly posts of 2,000 words or so, it will take my 3.75 months to have it all vetted. That's cutting it close.

I'm trying to write the synopsis (horrifically bad first draft) while I edit. Of course, it's going to be massive and will need editing, but that's okay. I'm better at paring something down after it's written (comes from trying to write for Womans World).

This novel is actually the second I wrote as an adult, and I plan on returning to the first when this one is edited. I also want to finish my mystery, but I need to figure out how to have the H/H solve the mystery without such a deep reliance on DNA testing -- since, in real life, the tests take longer to complete than they have time to wait. I'll figure it out.

In the meantime, I'm still writing short stories for submissions every month (I have three out on various editors desks awaiting responses -- and I HATE WAITING) and work on the craft.

I wonder... does any author ever think they're done learning and they finally have it all figured out?

++++++++++Edited to Add:+++++++++

Found this blog post, and had to share it. If you're an aspiring writer, give it a look!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Booking It...

“Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.” - Amanda Cross

"I love romance. I'm a sucker for it. I love it so much. It's pathetic.” - Drew Barrymore

I have to be honest... I think I'm starting to see sneering and bias against romance everywhere and am wondering if I'm uber sensitive or it's my imagination. For instance: I give you this weeks "Booking Through Thursday" --

Booking Through Thursday

So, in honor of Valentine's Day . . .

Love stories? Yes or No?

Of course, yes, yes a million times yes! Even Dean Koontz includes romance in his novels... do you think I read "Watchers" for the genetically modified monster? Nope, I read it for the love story (well... and the dog).

If yes, "romances" as a genre? Or just, well, stories that have love stories? (Nobody's going to call "Pride & Prejudice" a "romance," right?)

Here, I have to disagree. I absolutely believe "Pride and Prejudice" was a romance. It was very definitely an exploration of the biases that occurred during the period BUT is was, IMHO, first and foremost a romance.

And, yes, romance as a genre. I have to admit that I'm not in love with most category romance, but it's a good love story that I look for when I'm choosing a book. I just prefer a strong plot to go along with it.
Was it my imagination, or was there a sneer in there?

The amazing thing is that the vast majority of people read romance (maybe not exclusively -- I read lots of stuff myself) and yet, it's some how embarrassing to admit that you like it (i.e. Nobody's going to call "Pride & Prejudice" a "romance," right?).

I have to admit that I often wonder what the librarian at the Kelley Library in Salem (where they actually have lots of paperbacks) thinks of my IQ when I plop fifty+ romances on the counter to check out. There's a stigma attached.

It's like, when I was a teenager and I bought a Neil Diamond album (it was "Love at the Greek" in case you wondered -- and, yes, it was vinyl) for my mom. I sandwiched it in between Pat Benetar and Def Leppard. I didn't want anyone thinking that I liked Neil Diamond (though, I did... shhh...)

I feel like I should add a couple of deep thinking books along with my romances. I don't, and I hold my head up when I check them out. But still, why (oh why) is it that people think only silly bubble-heads prefer to read romance?


I really should give it a rest. But every time I decide not to bemoan the fact, something shows up and slaps me across the face with its glove.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

I don't understand why Cupid was chosen to represent Valentine's Day. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon. ~ Author Unknown

We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love. ~ Author Unknown

In celebration of this day of love, I offer you: How To French Kiss! They offer many helpful suggestions AND even have a list of warnings.

Who knew?

Related WikiHows:

How to Kiss
How to Kiss Passionately
How to Not Be an Obsessive Girlfriend
How to Make Her Fall in Love

I have this vision of some guy working through the steps on "How to Make Her Fall in Love" by pulling out a slip of paper or looking at his cheats on the palm of his hand (though, his hand would probably be sweaty, so that may not be a great idea).

I may have to use this in a story.

What are you up to today?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Being Accountable

“Accountability breeds response-ability.” - Stephen R. Covey

Yesterday, I teased Charity about disliking NaNo and then essentially writing 58,000+ words in 35 days... but the fact is, her feat was amazing to watch. I have to admit to being just a little bit jealous that she did it on her own.

Sadly, I need NaNo. I can set goals for myself all I want, but without the accountability to someone else, it's far too easy to watch them slip away without being accomplished. Sometimes, it's true, that the goals must change for some reason (I'd intended to finish my mystery by summer, but have switched my focus to something else), but sometimes you just stop working on that thing.

And no one notices except you.

I've been posting daily writing accomplishments in an unused classroom at WVU for the past couple of months. Originally, there were seven or eight other ladies in there with me. It was a great motivator -- to have to 'fess up to whether you'd worked on writing and/or achieved your personal goals. Having to put it in writing for all to see is a wonderful way to keep moving forward. But lately, the number has dwindled. In fact, for the past couple weeks it's only been three of us and in the past three days... only me.

I'm still posting, because I like to put what I did, or didn't do, down in black and white, but I'm not sure how motivated I'll be to continue doing so if there's no one to see.

It's not that I accomplish nothing if I don't have someone looking over my shoulder. I do. But I certainly push for more when I have to account for my time to someone else. Don't we all?

What about you? Are you more motivated when you have to show someone else what you've done, or are you great at doing it without the outside accountability factor?

Monday, February 12, 2007

Kickiness and Other New Words

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end; then stop. ~ Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

That's just what Charity, the hater of all things NaNo did -- and in 35 days to boot! Go congratulate her on finishing the first draft of her latest YA effort, "The Fine Art Of Holding Your Breath" (which is a title I love).

I, on the other hand, have done little the past couple of days. I recently wrote a short story in first person that I thought was a hoot. It was a new kind of voice for me, but I enjoyed writing it and then I enjoyed reading it! Next, I wrote a response to a prompt in my writing group on Friday -- and used first person again. I liked it again.

Lately, I've been going through the drafts of all my novels (there are four) and, though I like them and enjoy the characters, I don't LOVE any of them in the state they are in. The one I've been editing (Camilla) has some stuff that is flat out boring -- and shouldn't be.

I like that kicky new voice. I don't like those old novels. So, what can I do about that? Do I see if one of the novels could be revised "kickily"? Do I write something new (a collective round of groans just sounded from all my writing buddies)? Do I see if I can inject "kickiness" into third person in one or all of those novels?

Fact is, I don't want to write something I don't love after it's done. The only novel I did that with (Liv) had some issues that I'm trying to work through -- and it was less the novel itself than the characters and situation that I loved... though, that would be a big part of the novel, wouldn't it?

So now that I've rambled your ear off, I'm going to go try to kick it up a bit on Camilla. Maybe I'll write in first person for a scene or two and see what it looks like -- I wonder if I could write in first, get that kicky sound in and then switch it back over to third?


See what happens when I sleep in until 4:30 a.m.?

What kind of writing do you prefer - kicky or straight-faced? Third or first POV?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Book Meme

The worst thing in the world is to try to sleep and not to. ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

I need to sleep past 3:30 a.m., oh please, oh please...This is getting ridiculous. And, though my body is awake, my brain allows no original thought at this time. So I give you a book meme I stumbled across at David Card's blog.

1. You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

Blue water by A. Manette Ansay

2. Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

I read romance... I crush on practically every hero I read! I loved Cal from Bet Me, and all three heroes in Nora Roberts "Chesapeake Bay" series, definitely Brody from THE BOOK (not, oh-so NOT the movie) Angels Fall. And there are so many more.

3. The last book you bought is:

The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason.

4. The last book you read:

Angels Fall by Nora Roberts (I had to re-read it and get the awful movie out of my brain)

5. What are you currently reading?

Heartbreaker by Julie Garwood

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

You, on a Diet by Mehmet C. Oz and Michael F. Roizen

6. Five books you would take to a deserted island.

Oh, this is impossible.

I'd have to cheat and take some of those series composites that they publish now... something like Nora Robert's Donovan Family series, or the Born In series.

Maybe if I took the Lord of the Rings, I'd actually finally finish "Return of the King".

I'd probably grab Anne McCaffrey's "Dragonriders of Pern".

Maybe an encyclopedia.

And lastly, I'd definitely take some really big, comprehensive survival guide.

7. Who are you going to to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

I'm not tagging anyone specific ... but if you read this and want to play, feel free!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

What's the Worst Thing?

The total history of almost anyone would shock almost everyone. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Do you find it hard to give your protagonist a serious flaw? Something that can, at times, make them ugly or unlikeable? After all, as authors don't we want our H/H to be shining examples of humanity?

Oh, of course they can be impatient or obsessive compulsive or sloppy ... but a serious, heavy duty flaw? Man, that's tough.

What about making really awful things happen to them. I mean REALLY awful. Can you take their parents, their children and their dog? Can you basically do a Biblical Job on them where they lose everything, including their health?

I hated Danielle Steele novels. HATED them. Not because they were cheesy or over the top, but because she destroyed her characters before building them back up again. She was the master of -- what's the worst thing that could happen to your H/H?

They depressed me. Yeah, yeah, I know it always ended up okay, but I just couldn't take that trip with her and her characters because 98% of the book was so terribly sad. Then the last four pages were all about how wonderful life ended up after all that tragedy.

I have a hard time torturing my characters. Oh, bad things happen to them, sure. But I never kill their pets or their children. I frequently consider what the worst thing is that could happen to them, but I seldom write it. Sometimes I wonder if that makes me a weaker author than I could be or if it makes my stories less compelling.

But I can't write what I wouldn't read.

What about you? Can you torture your characters? And, do you like to read books where they're torn to pieces and struggle back to their feet?

Friday, February 09, 2007

Just For Fun

I posted a prompt in my writing group this morning that included a trip to one of my favorite sites -- Humorscope.

Here's mine:

Capricorn -- You will discover the secret to becoming a great artist! You can stick anything you want on the wall, the trick is to make people think deep thought went into it. For example, spray-paint a bathroom plunger gold, and stick little angel wings on it. Call it "Life In The Details."
Sounds a little like my writing. I fool a lot of people into thinking that deep thought went into it. I'll tell you a secret... come closer... you ready? I'm not deep. Shhh... don't tell anyone.

From Yahoo Horoscopes:

If you're feeling distant or detached around a romantic partner or a close friend today, take it as a sure sign that you need to spend some time alone soon. Your emotions may be telling you that aligning yourself so closely with this person, while wonderful in many ways, could be causing you to lose sight of your own objectives in life. You don't have to isolate yourself for a week on a deserted island -- simply enjoying a quiet night to yourself may be all you need.
Oddly enough, this is my one night I actually do get to myself. DH plays hockey on Fridays. I love this. I get control of the television... my one and only day of the week. Now, if I can just stay up past 8:00 it'll be awesome!


You’re likely to be in a very determined mood today, but the negative influence of the moon could make you appear a little distant and a little short with people. You’ll need to draw on all your reserves of warmth to keep things sweet; keeping a piece of blue agate might help enormously.
Well, crap, I'm all out of blue agate.

And that whole "distant and short with people" thing? Um... that's me pretty much every day.

And last, but not necessarily least,

A confidential connection offers advice in business. Your financial prospects definitely improve now! However, an ethical question nags. Do your best to get through unsettling demands on your time.
Glad to hear about that whole financial thing. You see, my clothes dryer just broke and I have my heart set on this great new washer/dryer set that's going to cost a couple grand. Ouch.

Ethical questions seldom nag. I think we all know, deep down, what's right and wrong. It's all a matter of what we do about it.

Anyone else want to share their horo-day?

Teaching For the Future

The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book. ~ Author Unknown

I clearly have editing and good writing on the brain at all times lately. Comes from doing edits on my latest story at The Wild Rose Press, I suppose (those editors are great, but MAN do they make you work hard).

I homeschool my daughter. She's in third grade right now, and yesterday she had a spelling test and a language test. In both, she had to write sentences -- One was a declarative sentence using the contraction for "are not" and one was a sentence using a spelling/vocabulary word, "demolish".

Both sentences she wrote were done in passive voice, and I almost told her how to make them active because that was the first thought to enter my mind... not that she'd contracted "are not" correctly or gotten her spelling word right.

The thing is, I know I write in passive voice all the time. I'm especially bad about it here on the blog because I don't feel like I need to analyze this particular writing sample for utter perfection. I try to be grammatically correct and avoid spelling errors, but beyond that? I work too hard the rest of the time on my writing.

Still... poor DD is starting to have creative writing for some of her assignments. Do you suppose if I teach her about all the big writing mistakes now (passive voice, show don't tell, etc) she'll be a whiz by the time she's a teen?

I wish someone had told me when I was younger. Maybe it would have kept me from the bad habits I have to break now.

What do you wish your teachers had taught you?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Yeah... What She Said

Allie has a great blog post today. If you're an unpublished writer, you should give it a look.

Actually, even if you're published you should check it out.

And while you're at it, sign her guest book for a chance to win chocolate. Oh, and some other stuff, too. But mostly it's all about the chocolate.

Why are you still here? Go.

Believe It Or Not?

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." -- Tom Clancy

The news this week has been particularly odd and frightening. If I wrote this stuff in a book, no one would believe me.

Missing Thai Woman Reappears 25 Years After Boarding Wrong Bus - This one boggles my mind. I'm horrified at what this poor woman had to go through, not to mention her family!

Atlanta Father Admits Intentionally Poisoning Children in Attempt to Sue Campbell Soup Co. - What? Just... what???

Michigan Man Pleads No Contest to Sex Pact With Girlfriend, 15-Year-Old Daughter - Yeah, the man's a creep and should be jailed. But the mom? Should be shot.
I look at some of these stories (I won't even go into the married w/three kids astronaut/kidnapper/attempted murderer) and flash back to the times that my study group reads my writing (or anyone else's for that matter) and says, "That's hard to believe."

I frequently use things that have actually happened to me in my stories. And I'll get feedback: That could never happen, I can't believe someone would do that, etc.

Uh... believe it.

Truth is stranger than fiction.

What is something that has happened to you that people would scoff at if you put it in a story?


So... Sunday, TiVo recorded the Criminal Minds show, "The Big Game" only the actual Big Game ran over, so I only got the first half. Grrr... I deleted it, not wanting to start watching it when I couldn't see the end.

Then I found out it was part one of two! ACK! I checked... it wasn't being repeated according to my program search. THEN last night at 8:40 I discovered that IT WAS BEING REPEATED - but TiVo won't automatically tape repeats on the season pass, so I wasn't recording it. And I'd missed the first half. I manually taped the end, figuring some was better than none. And then realized, that if I'd've kept the one from Sunday, I'd've had the whole show.

Man, I'm still mad.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Do Not Disturb

“Privacy is not something that I'm merely entitled to, it's an absolute prerequisite.” - Marlon Brando

A few days ago, Judy blogged about her new "office". Yesterday, Charity mentioned the three rules for writing and added a comment about not being able to write when someone hovers behind you, watching each word appear on paper.

Yesterday, my DH was called in to work at 1 a.m. and I knew this would result in his early arrival home. Sure enough, he plodded through the door at about noon yesterday.

I write at two times: first thing in the morning and again after lunch while my daughter completes her seatwork from our schooling in the morning.

I can't work with music on -- I'll end up typing the words or losing track of my own story as I get involved with the story in the song. Music is very important to me, but I can't tune it out. It isn't background.

I can't work with someone else in the room, even if they're ten feet away. It makes me oddly nervous. So, with DH wandering around yesterday, I couldn't get stuff done. Additionally, he can't work without music, so if he's in his part of the office in the basement, it's on.

I know lots of people go to the mall or Starbuck's or wherever outside of their home to work. I don't think I could accomplish anything like that -- I'd spend too much time people watching or just generally being distracted.

I know that Tori writes in longhand during the commercials of shows she watches on TV. I would never be able to do that either! TV is oddly hypnotic, and I find myself unable to turn away, even during commercials.

So... I need quiet and privacy to write. Thank heavens I typically have both every day -- though it is one of the reasons I'm up before 5 a.m. every morning. That way, I'm pretty much assured of at least a little bit because no one else is crazy enough to get up this early, except the cat.

What do you need in your writing environment?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Okay... It's cold here. I've refrained from complaining, because Charity and Anno had it much worse. I've also refrained because we've had such a wonderfully mild winter. Until now.

But yesterday? With the wind chill it was -21 degrees. Of course, that could be because the freakin' wind was blowing at 40 mph. My poor dog (who is not little) got blown off her feet when she went out to do her duty.

The birdies were either very brave, very stupid or very hungry. Maybe a combination thereof. I saw one nuthatch clinging desperately to the suet basket when a really bad gust hit. His feathers all went backward and still he clung, until... whoosh! He was blown of and tumbled in the wind. I imagine he eventually managed to fly, but poor baby.

Of course, the big feeder in the back ran out of bird food midday -- I had hoped it would hold on one more day. But, no...

And I figured if the birds were desperate enough to fly in that weather, they deserved to have food there when they arrived, so I bundled up and trudged a couple hundred feet in freezing cold to refill the thing. The entire time I poured seed in there, I heard birds all around me (chickadees in particular are very bold).

I'm glad I did it, but MAN did my face get cold. Still, ten minutes later when there were dozens of birds facing the cold and the wind in order to eat, I figure I had it way better than they did. Five minutes in the cold was worth it to make sure their bellies were filled.

Can you imagine being a wild animal out in weather like this? We are so lucky.

What makes you feel fortunate?


In an addendum to yesterday's post:

Dear Charity --

Let me clarify my statement that I don't like Price.

I used to like Prince. I own two of his records -- though they are on vinyl if that tells you anything. I saw "Purple Rain" in the theater. I happily danced to "Let's Go Crazy" and "1999".


When he went through all his nameless-symbol-formerly-known-as crap, he annoyed me past caring. And I don't like him, or his music, anymore.

Who's lutefisk?

Monday, February 05, 2007


dis·ap·point·ment (dĭs'ə-point'mənt)

1. The act of disappointing.
2. The condition or feeling of being disappointed.
3. One that disappoints.

I couldn't find an appropriate quote for my blog post, but did find one that made me giggle, so I'll share it:

“Educational television should be absolutely forbidden. It can only lead to unreasonable disappointment when your child discovers that the letters of the alphabet do not leap up out of books and dance around with royal-blue chickens.” -Fran Lebowitz


Was anyone else thoroughly disappointed with the commercials at the Superbowl yesterday? I admit, I only watched the first half (I don't like Prince, so we tuned out during halftime and then I went to bed shortly thereafter -- yes, it was early, but how else do you think I manage getting up at 4 a.m.?). I did tape the second half (for the commercials), but ... is it even worth watching them?

I also have "Angels Fall" on TiVo. I watched half of it, but was sorely disappointed. I know, I know, the movie is never as good as the book -- still, I think it was horribly miscast. Heather Locklear did okay, but Reece was a brunette in the book (was referred as such a number of times, especially at the beginning), so that bugged me.

And Brody? The guy was absolutely wrong. The sheriff? Wrong. His wife? Wrong. Maybe the chick who died... she was okay I suppose, but then we don't see her much. They did Joanie okay. Lo? Totally wrong. Linda-gail? She was supposed to be a blond.

And the script? Sheesh... did they ever smoosh it to make it short enough for TV.

I suppose part of my issue with it was that "Angels Fall" was one of my absolute favorite Nora Roberts books. I didn't like the movie. I am, in fact, currently rereading the book to get the movie out of my mind.

So what things disappoint you?

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Make 'em Laugh!

I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose. ~ Woody Allen

Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails. What puts man in a higher state of evolution is that he has got his laugh on the right end. ~ Max Eastman

I love to laugh. I have a strange sense of humor, so it's not always easy to make that happen, but when it does, I'm yours for life.

My post yesterday was deadly depressing, so to counteract its effect, I give you: FIVE THINGS THAT MADE ME LAUGH (recently).

1. Eileen Cook's blog post, "I'm Cool". (Eileen typically makes me laugh anyway... have you read the excerpt for her book? No? Rachel Vater used it here on her blog. LOLOL... Guess that's number 2.)

3. (No, I didn't miss one. Did you read the above?)

4. This book ("The Merchant of Menace")- it's where the protagonist meets her "significant other"'s mother for the first time. It's a giggle fest from beginning to end - despite the fact that there's a murder:

5. Singing goofy songs with my daughter (sorry, can't really share this one). She recently watched "Singing in the Rain" and now we sing -- "Moses supposes his toes were roses, but Moses supposes erroneously" or "Make 'em Laugh!" (her personal fave). I'll get her up in the morning with a serenade of "Good mornin', good mornin'!" Hearing her laugh, really laugh, can make my day.

What about you? What makes you laugh? C'mon... share. We can all use a good belly laugh.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Tell Her I Sent You!

I have another writing friend who's started a blog, and she has some really interesting things to say (not to mention being owned by a very cool cat named "Fiddy"). Her name is Gay Walker.

Why don't you swing by her blog. Tell her howdy. Give Fiddy a pat. Make her at home in the blogosphere!


How NOT to Be a Contest Judge

“Don't mind criticism. If it is untrue, disregard it; if unfair, keep from irritation; if it is ignorant, smile; if it is justified it is not criticism, learn from it.” - unknown

“Criticism should not be querulous and wasting, all knife and root-puller, but guiding, instructive, inspiring.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I made a mistake yesterday. Yes, I know: shocking. But it does happen now and then.

Before I mailed out my contest entry, I decided to go over some feedback I'd gotten last year on a similar entry (it was for the same book, but the beginning has changed quite a bit).

All I remembered about that contest was the wonderful feedback I received. And it's true -- I did get some amazing feedback from one of the judges (ironically, she scored me the lowest, and I appreciated her the most!).

I'd forgotten, however, that another judge hated my entry with an all consuming passion (so, it was confusing that she rated it higher than the other judge). She ripped it to shreds, and not just for grammar or overall writing. Nope.

She tore my characters to pieces and then, when that wasn't enough, she told me that the entire premise was unbelievable.


In that same packet, I had one judge give me 100 and say that the thing was ready for publication, but it isn't her that I think about. Nope, no way. It's Vitriolic Woman.

The thing is, the judge who rated me the lowest said a few similar things, but she was kind. I read her feedback and nodded, and thought, "I can fix it." and tried to do just that.

I have a pretty decent ego. I think that a person who is writing for publication has to... or else why would we think anyone would want to read what we've written, let alone pay for it?

Still, V.W.'s feedback was enough to dent my ego deeply, to the point that I couldn't write yesterday. I'm working on editing through the same story and all I did was stare at it and think, "What if it is all a bunch of hooey? What if my characters are weak or stupid or unlikeable? What if the premise is poor?".

If I had been a brand new writer without a decent support group, if this had been my first contest or the first time I'd taken the plunge and shown my babies to someone, V.W.'s critique might have been enough to chase me from the dream of publication forever.

People like that shouldn't be allowed to judge.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Library Bias

“For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.” - Ernest Hemingway

I can't believe I'm quoting Ernest Hemingway considering how much I hate his work. Still, I think I finally found one thing of his that I do like! That quote.

Do you ever read over something you wrote and feel amazed that it came from you? I've been working through one of my novels, and every now and then I stumble across a particularly good line. Not that the rest is sludge (at least, I hope not) but sometimes I laugh at my own work or get choked up... and that seems really strange to me.

I do like this book. I hope the agents and editors do, too.


My library director has decided that she will no longer order any paperbacks for the circulation in our town library. Period. If she can't get it in hardback, it won't go on the shelves.

Additionally, she typically refuses to order any romances that I request -- sometimes the reason is that it's not in hardback, but not always.

Near the front desk of our library there is a display of recommended books. All of the employees put out one or two of their favorite books. Many of them I've read and enjoyed. But the director always puts out those heavy literary tomes or tragic non-fiction. Nothing light. Nothing fun. No mysteries or sci-fi or (*gasp*) romance.

I often wonder if people like that think too much about what they "should" read and not so much what they would enjoy reading.

I don't only read romance. I read just about anything. I do have to admit a prejudice against many so-called literary novels, because most of the time they end unhappily. I'm not reading to grow as a person, I am reading to be entertained. If growing happens, fine. But I refuse to get attached to a character and make them my friend and then have them die, or have their hearts broken, or have their child killed or their dog or whatever (the only exception to this for me was "The Guardian" by Nicholas Sparks).

I will never force my daughter to read "Where the Red Fern Grows" or "The Yearling" or "Old Yeller". If she chooses to read them when she's older, fine. But even now, thirty years after I read them, they depress me just thinking about them.

Thankfully, there is one library in our system who has nothing against paperbacks. They're forty-five minutes away from me, but that's okay. There's a Christmas Tree shop down there, too, so it makes the trip worthwhile.

Still, it's frustrating. Next time I see her, I plan on reminding her that more readers prefer romance to any other genre (and thanks to RWA, I can print off cute litte pie charts). And if she wants to get her circulation numbers up (and she does -- because her job depends on it), maybe she should consider loosening her stance just a little.

And that is my rant for the day. It may just be that I am in a "mood". I started doing my taxes yesterday.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

A Great Article by a Good Friend

Allie has her writing article posted on WOW! Women on Writing. It's a great article called "Character Trouble? Try Man's Best Friend." and has some really good info.

Go check it out!

PS. She also has a great February giveaway -- involving Lindt Chocolates -- if you sign her guestbook.

Thursday Thirteen

A Meme or two, just for fun:

Thirteen Books I Want to Read This Year:

1. The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason (it's sitting there on my shelf, beckoning me ... but I have work to do first)

2. The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Crusie, Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart(it isn't out yet, but it will be... it will be...)

3. The Boys Club by Charity T. (of course, this one isn't published - yet - but I have high hopes)

4. Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (again, not out yet ... I have a lot to look forward to this year)

5. Paradise USA by Allie Boniface (Not out yet, but it will be soon!)

6. In The Stars by Eileen Cook (not out yet... are you sensing a theme?)

7. Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward (Nope, not out yet)

8. Firestorm by Rachel Caine (Hey! This one's actually been released!)

9. White Lies by Jayne Ann Krentz (this one is actually in my home)

10 - 13. Don't Tell, Have You Seen Her?, I'm Watching You, and Nothing to Fear -- all by Karen Rose (and HEY! These have been released, too!)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Um... you'll have to look in my comments section cuz I can't seem to get that cute little box to work. Sorry :-(

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Now for one more about books:

Booking Through Thursday

What are your reading habits? Do you tend to read at specific times during the day, or does it vary from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute?

I read whenever I can (which isn't often enough): while I eat (I know, I know... you're not supposed to do that. Too bad.), while I cook dinner (reading and stirring are easy enough to do -- it's not like patting your head and rubbing your tummy), sitting in the TV room with DH while he channel flips (I HATE channel flipping -- really, how can a guy see if he likes something in only four seconds?), before bed. I wish I could set up a "regular" time to read. Maybe I'd get more of it done then!

Anyone care to join me?