Saturday, December 30, 2006
But I am semi following the plot and instead of going back to change mistakes as I think of them, I make myself notes on a sticky. (Now I just need to NOT lose the sticky!)
Oh, and I managed to polish off another 9 pages yesterday in spite of the interruptions. I'm over a third of the way done:)
Okay, off to have coffee with a friend and I have a lot more writing to do today!
Friday, December 29, 2006
That's like Gena Showalter speed! I won't get that much in today as I have to work on some quick nonfiction stuff and get an entry ready for a contest.
Late last night I got my career plan finished, though I have a couple of things I need to check out first. I may post it up here if anyone is interested.
Okay, back to writing so I can get to my novel!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
I have written another eleven pages since my birthday! So Dash is coming right along. I would love to have the first draft done by the first of February, but that may not happen. I need 60 to 65 thousand words. I finished last night with 17,255. Wish me luck!
Friday, December 22, 2006
I don't think I have ever felt better in my life.
The next happy thing I wanted to report?
I wrote ten new pages yesterday on DASH! I am almost up to 15,000 words:)
I am going to kick butt today too! Cause it's my birthday and I'm going to tell everyone no!
Thursday, December 21, 2006
I am going to take a break from blogging for a while. I plan on enjoying the festivities, spending time with my family and writing my butt off. I am at 12,000 words now... I'm going to channel Gena Showalter and hope to have twice that by the time I return!
And just because I am not blogging doesn't mean I won't be reading.
Happy holidays to you all!
Monday, December 18, 2006
The Christmas Tree Timeline
11:00-Ice princess is working. Mom has to finish an article so Dad and son run up to a CHRISTMAS TREE LOT! Since we only had like ten days till Christmas we figured we'd have to compromise.
11:30- Mom and Dad jam it into the stand while Ethan takes off with a friend to pick up his sister's Christmas gift.
1:30- Ice princess comes back from work and she gets the lights on it.
10:30- Son puts on bulb ornaments.
9:am- (next day) Mom puts on the rest of the ornaments.
11:00- Dad pulls the tree topper out and puts it on.
Fun, huh? Well, we all worked on it, though not exactly together:)
Now, dd is at a skate seminar, son and dad are going fishing and I have another article to do.
But since I am alone, I may take a nap:) That would be a cool Christmas treat!
Friday, December 15, 2006
I made french toast and bacon on the camp stove this morning, much to my children's delight. I have a french press so I was able to drink quality coffee without having to resort to cowboy coffee. I also did a great deal of cleaning. My daughter laughed at me and said, "Mom, you're bored cause the computer isn't on, aren't you?" She had a point. I had nothing to do. I scrubbed and cleaned, read the paper, kept the fire going and made a big breakfast because I had nothing else to do. Gawd, what did I do before I had a computer and Internet Access?
Okay, off to write an article. or take a nap:)
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Stuffed my face full of the chocolate covered peanuts mom sent me yesterday. Thanks, Mom, you diet killer you. Ah well, today is another day and if this season's Biggest Loser can take off 214 pounds, surely I should be able to manage forty. Gah.
Am having a couple of the children's friends over for a traditional Hanukkah meal this Friday night. We are not able to have a Christmas party this year...when I told my friend that she laughed and said, "Oh, so your changing religions?" I told her I would do it just one night for the food. I know, I know, traditional Hanukkah food is fried in oil. I'll make it olive oil, okay? It's heart smart! Am having latkes with sourcream and applesauce, honey puffs and whatever I dig up. Should be fun.
Am still denying myself all pleasure.
Finished another article yesterday. Have three left. Then I'm going on vacation, baby! Well, not actually going... just taking a break. From nonfiction anyway. Have a bunch of stuff to do in Fiction. YAY!
Okay, I'm outta here.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I have realized that:
- I can't smoke because it'll kill me and is way too expensive, anyway. This pisses me off because I used to LOVE to smoke. I'm a smoker masquerading as a non smoker and I am going to have to live my whole life like that. That, my friends, is pisser number one. Those of you who have never smoked will not understand.
- I can't drink because it will make me want to smoke. (See pisser number 1.)
- I can't eat because it makes me fat and raises my cholesterol level which will also kill me. And by eat I mean really eat. Not salads with vinegar and olive oil, or lean peices of chicken or beef grilled on bbq. NO. I'm talking bout eating. Like salads with bacon bits and blue cheese crumbles. I'm talking bout big juicy burgers with cheddar cheese. I'm talking bout chocolate, cheese cake and tiramiso!
- I can't shop because I have no money. Our children are way too expensive for me to shop. My 15 yo daughter wears Victoria's Secret and Hollister. I wear K-mart and Pennys. Enough said.
- I can't have sex because my dh and I are on different shifts and the kids are almost always here. And when both those things are not happening in tandem, we are exhausted!
- Did I mention that I can't smoke?
You know what I can do? What's left for fun? Exercise the experts say. Exercise. Oh joy. Sorry, people, but exercise is not what I would call fun. And believe me, I've tried. Curves, running, walking, weight training, tennis, bike riding, yoga. Nope, not fun. You know what would be fun?
Dirty dancing with the dh on the top of a table, sucking on a peice of chocolate, in shiny new name brand clothes while I held a cigarette in one hand and a Mojito in the other.
Now that, my friends, would be fun.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Yesterday, I cleaned my own house and decorated for Christmas. All but the tree is done. Dh and I did a little Christmas shopping. A nice day.
Weekly to do list:
Write Infant Heart
Write Daddy Nursery
Check on sources for Mom heart
Get sources for Downsizing
Write Mom Heart
Get sources for infant Salmonella.
And of course, I'd better finish rewriting the second and third chapter of Dash and finish up the rest. I have entered it in several contests and should I get asked for a full I should probably be ready for it. HA! Then onto the new YA my agent wants to see.
Friday, December 08, 2006
We did get a reprieve. After the meeting, the mom wasn't sure what was going on. Then the caseworker called her and told her that they wouldn't be taking the kids... this go-around. My daughter and I are heading over to clean up the house on Saturday and babysit the kids while she gets an MRI. She will have to have surgery on her knee. Which means eight weeks of being pretty much immobile. So we will no doubt have the babies here for a bit at some point. Seeing how no one else is allowed to take them. Sigh. So for the moment we don't have to make a decision. But it will no doubt come. But not right now.
Thanks for the support! Hopefully, I can write now!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The condition of their home deteriorated over the last few months. Mom didn't keep herself or the children very clean. The house was gross. Last time we were there (last week) there was human poo on the bathroom floor and slugs and ants weaving their way through it. We thought about calling children's services, but didn't. I decided to go in and clean up the house for her.
Mom had no upbringing whatsoever. In and out of foster homes and parents who were druggies and alcoholics. She simply had no idea how to manage a home, raise children or keep it all together. Of course, raising three children is difficult for the best of single mothers, let alone a woman who was raised the way she was. And now, with no support system (none of the other family members is allowed to take the children except us) no money and no car... I can't even imagine.
Anyway, CSD got there before I did. they have leveled more charges against her and are petitioning to take the kids away from her again. I CAN'T take all three. My children have made so many changes in their lives these last few months... and even in the summer when we could send them out to play, it was incredibly difficult. I live in a thousand square foot house with four people, five cats and two dogs. We are already overcrowed. We could possibly take one. The middle girl who is almost three. The oldest son would fit into our lives better as he is away at school all day, but he has a ton of issues and he drives my own children crazy even though they love him. My beautiful baby Karen... I love her so much, but she just turned one and would take so much supervision. And my dh is head over heels in love with Zoe. She calls him Dad. As in "Dat's my dad!" As she says everytime we see her. We tried to tell her, No, that's uncle, but she would just knit her tiny blond eyebrows together and insist, "No, my DAD!"
So we could save one though my ice princess is a bit resistant. But what would we say to the eldest who is seven? Sorry, auntie and uncle could only take one and they chose your little sister? Chances are slim they will find a home that will take all three. Gawd, what a mess. And there are SO many of these little waifs in the world.
What to do. What to do.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Twice while driving it yesterday, the clutch slipped. Which means I need a new clutch. Again. Dh says I am hell on clutches because this will be the third time we've replaced it.
Merry Christmas, Teri, you get a new car. New to us, anyway. Dh refuses to buy a new one. Says it depreciates too much.
Currently looking at: Aerios, Kia Sorrentos and Sportages, Jettas (which I really want, but they are spendy!)
Wish me luck.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Yep, three glasses of vino, vin, wein, de wijn, vinho, вино, 酒... or whatever you want to call it, makes rejection letters humorous rather than frustrating!
I loved the character, but not the writing. I loved the writing, but didn't fall in love with the character. A fun and authentic voice, but not for us right now. Too old for us. Too young for us.
Snort, cackle, and hee.
Gotta love how many ways editors have developed to say no.
So remember, next time you get a rejection letter that makes you go "Hmmm." Wine.
In other news, I am smoking right through my December articles. Hoping that I really will be done by the 20th so I can enjoy vacation with the kids. You know, sleeping in, eating too much, etc. Hubby is going to do the Christmas letter. He is one of the best jingle writers evah and is going to choose a Christmas song and rhyme it to that. So I am so off the hook here.
The ice princess is going to be taking a seminar with Scott Brown, who I think was a 2 time Canadian gold medalist. It will be good for her to see how someone else coaches. She will also be getting a 45 minute private lesson with him. Costs a fortune, but hey, we are in it up to our necks, so might as well finish it out. She has been making murmers about college lately, I keep wanting to tell her "NO, that wasn't the deal. We have been shouldering your ice skating which is about as much yearly as a state university costs. Put yourself through college with coaching!"
Actually, I think it is OSU that is near a big ice rink. That wouldn't be too bad and she could teach too. And trust me... coaches make a fortune. Do the math. Meg's coach get $65 an hour. She has about 15 students. That's almost a grand a week for 15 hours of work. At least I think so. I'm not that good at math.
In other good news... I lost six pounds last week. Even with the vino last night. HA!
Monday, December 04, 2006
I don't want to.
Actually, I sorta feel like I've been hit by a bus. I don't think I'm getting sick... I'm just tired. And I can't see too well, either. I think it's because I don't have my new glasses on. I can't seem to remember to wear them enough to get used to them (I've never had glasses before) so I can't see with them and I can't see without them. Double blind.
I have seven articles due this month and I'm going to try to get them finished ASAP so I can have the rest of the month off. Like a vacation or something. Yeah, right. A vacation in which I have to write the Christmas letter, send out the cards, finish the Christmas shopping, decorate, bake and in general make merry. The making mischief, I mean merry, part, I'm good at... the rest of it is kinda making me tired.
The Christmas letter is kinda getting me down. I am "known" for my Christmas letters. I use all of my sarcastic wit and really go off. This year, I have no idea what to do. Last year, I announced that I had a spanky New York agent. What do I say this year? Um, yeah, still have the spanky New York agent... no, I haven't sold a book yet, but by golly, I still have that agent.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I have heard all the arguments for fake trees, but I just don't get it. Unless you live in a place where you have to weigh the cost of a real tree against giving presents, all I can think of is, why?
Why have a tree that doesn't smell like Christmas and oranges? Why have a fake funny looking tree in place of a fragrant, dark, magical thing?
One of my daughter's best friends never had a real tree. Mom hated vacuming up the needles till Easter. She used to come and hug our tree before we decorated it. This is a child who will always have a real tree when she grows up.
Did anyone read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn? I will never forget the scene where Francie and Neely win the biggest tree on the lot on Christmas Eve. The guy hucked the tree at them and these two little kids managed to stand up as the tree hit them. The prize was the tree itself which they drug home with pride. They'd never had a Christmas tree before and they stood it in the seldom used front room in their flat. There was no coal to heat the room and no ornaments, but Francie would bundle up to sit in the icy room and stare at and smell the tree. Magical, magical.
Living in Oregon means there are tree farms galore. Most cater to families with hay rides, gift shops, petting zoos, and hot chocolate to warm you up after you choose and cut your tree. One old barn even has a giant barrel wood stoveset in the center. The kids, dh and I go out every year to choose that year's festive tree. My son always says, "Everyone has to agree!" My daughter says, "I want a big one this year!" and my husband says, "Don't forget, when we find 'the one' we have to circle it and go Loo loo loo, loo loo loo, loo, loo." (Ala The Peanuts Christmas show.) But we never do. (What does mom say? "I told you to wear your damn boots!")
Somehow I don't think heading off to the store to buy a new plastic tree would be as fun:)
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
My daughter is having a PMS induced meltdown.
My son spent the morning freaking out that he wasn't going to get all his homework done instead of actually doing the work.
My dh was pissy because he had to go back to work after seven days off.
Me thinks it's a martini/margarita night.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Eggnog. Especially with rum and cognac:)
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped. And like so many moms, I ended up doing that myself. Ho ho ho.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? colored
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No.
5. When do you put your decorations up? Second week of CHristmas, unless my daughter gets a bee in her bonnet and does it earlier:)
6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Fudge, fudge and more fudge.
7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Thinking that the lights and celebrations were all about me. (My birthday is the 22nd:)
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Eight. Friend told me.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Nope.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? The same old, same old. Ornaments that have more memories than class:)
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it? Hate it. Cold. Can't drive.
12. Can you ice skate? Yes, but not as often as my daughter does. Somehow spending a gazillion hours in a rink at 6 am take the fun out of it.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? One of those barbie heads that you put makeup on.
14. What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Watching my children.
15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Pecan pie.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Watching all the Christmas Movies with my kids. Especially White Christmas with my teenage daughter who has an inexplicable love for old musicals.
17. What tops your tree? A homemade cross.
18. Which do you prefer giving or Receiving? Giving to my kids. Such a blast. It makes the same magic you felt as a kid come back.
19. What is your favorite Christmas Song? Anything on the Kingston Trio's Chrsitmas Album. It just isn't Christmas until I hear their mind blowing harmonies.
20. Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? Yuck.. but I eat them anyway. LOL
Let me see... I tag Rachel, Kerry and Elizabeth:)
I managed to get the last three articles for this month finished and have a lovely week of vacation before I have to get busy on December's articles. I should work on fiction, but frankly am not feeling very motivated. My agent read HOT/Dash and pointed out a few plot problems to me and I'm just like ... eh. She's totally right of course, but just not feeling the urge to write, right now, you know?
We brought our former foster kids to the house today. I just love those kids. But I can't let them come back. I was pulling my hair out after two hours. I sent my daughter with the DH to take them home as I'd had enough! It is very sad to see how they are living now, though:( The filth and smell is unimaginable. Mom looked like she hadn't bathed in a week. Very tragic. Those little ones don't have a chance:(
Well, say a little prayer or light a candle that I will get my writing Mojo back!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Gawd, the last week was like never ending chocolates. Didn't get enough done, but it was so worth it. I flipped a coin to see which one I'd read first and even then it was tough. Which one did I like best? I couldn't even begin to guess as each was so inventive and fabulous. Maybe the authors will send me a pix and the back cover blurb so I can put them up tomorrow. Until then, I created an award ceremony to celebrate each one of them. Enjoy!
Best cover hair: Adios To My Old Life. This is Breck worthy hair. Of course, having it draped across an electric guitar helps!
Most inventive title: I Was a Teenage Popsicle. How could this one not make you wonder and go "Hmmmm."
Cutest cover clothes: I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You. Is it just me or is the Gallagher school uniform the cutest thing ever?
Grossest moment: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation. When the dead snake squished between Amy's toes, I truly felt her nausea.
Scariest Moment: I was a Teenage Popsicle: When Floe wakes up ten years into the future and realizes that all the girls are wearing unitards. UNITARDS! Just kill me now. I have seen into the future and it doesn't bode well for us old people.
Best Setting: How to Ruin a Summer Vacation. It's set in Israel and the American Amy gets to see an Israel most of us have never glimpsed. (Including a lot of a hunky Israel guy!) Which brings us to...
Hottest Hottie: This one was a toughie. Every guy had their delectable good points. Avi is a sexy commando in the Israeli army, Taz is a gorgeous, formerly frozen, sensitive rebel type, and Josh is adorable. But I have to admit, I have a serious yen for Jaime, sensuous, intelligent Jaime from Adios to My Old Life, with his streaky green eyes.
Best love scene: Yeah, I know, this is YA. But don't you remember making out when you were a teen? Now, Cammie and Josh from I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You, only shared warm kisses. Probably because Josh knew subconsciously that Cammie could kick his ass if he got out of hand. Floe and Taz, from I Was a Teenage Popsicle, also shared warm kisses... probably because they were both still getting used to being unfrozen. But Amy and Avi from How to Ruin a Summer Vacation and Ali and Jaime from Adios to My Old Life, shared real makeout scenes... the ones I remember from highschool. The hormones made it hot, no matter how far you actually went. Though the poolhouse scene was smokin', I would have to say that the moments Amy and Avi stole out in the Israeli dessert were the hottest.
Best Girlfriends: I'd Tell You I Love You but Then I'd Have to Kill You without a doubt. These roomies would do anything for each other including blowing out a car tire and swinging on the side of a house to spy on your guy. Now that's friendship.
There you have it... My awards for my favorite YA books on the shelves. But don't take my word for it, go get them for yourselves!
Monday, November 20, 2006
Writing is a business. Most of us get that. It's only personal to the writer who worked on something, thinking it was good and then gets the word that its not so much. Professional jealousy, watching a friend's career rise, while yours just sits there, is tough as well. Even if you are thrilled for that person, it can make you feel insecure.
I know writers who've sold their first book, then spend years waiting for the next bite. I know multicontracted writers who have had an editor tell them, please don't submit to us again. Another multi contracted writer had her agent tell her that her proposal would never sell, even though this writer already had about ten books out... only to have the book sell and start her career down a whole new path.
How could you not be insecure? But being insecure at times is almost looked down upon in this business. "It's a business! Get over it!" is often heard over the lists. Yet other businesses have insecure workers. People who second guess themselves in their own particular arena, afraid to present a proposal to the boss for fear it will be shot down. Insecurities are normal. They overtake most of us from time to time.
I think about Hemingway and Steinbeck. I know that Steinbeck particularly, was beset with insecurities with every book he wrote. One of the reasons he drank was to keep the insecurity monsters away. At times, he couldn't face the typewriter, sure that whatever he wrote wouldn't be good enough. I know less about Hemingway, but know he drank heavily, and wasn't particulary successful in his private life. Could this writer warrier have been plagued by the demons of insecurity?
East of Eden is perhaps one of the best books I have ever read. If Steinbeck, one of the greatest writers to ever type a word, can feel insecure, than why can't I, unpublished author of little young adult books, feel the same way? And yet, you really can't admit to it much without being made to feel that you are doing it to get attention/pats on the back/affirmation. Made to feel guilty or somehow less professional. When did asking your peers for affirmation, pats on the back and encouragement become a bad thing?
When did insecurity become a dirty word?
We all admire the confident go getters in this country, those so sure their success will come that they take the plunge and keep on going. But what about those who have moments of self doubt, those who take a deep, shuddering breath and then do it anyway? Don't they deserve our respect and admiration, too?
Just a thought.
Friday, November 17, 2006
So the chances of me doing anything on Dash are very slim. I do need to get my last manuscript out to the GH today. The deadline draws near. Wish me luck, people. Probably the only way I can talk my dh into letting me go to Nationals is to be a finalist. HA!
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Then there's me. I have tried to write fast. Finished a book in a month once. Of course, it totally sucked and even after I revised, my agent wanted a gazillion changes. And then I have books like DASH (the book formerly known as HOT). They seem to take forever, and I do mean forever. Now granted, in between fiction writing, I'm writing a gazillion non fiction articles. But honestly, writing the first draft is often like pulling teeth, in the old days, without gas or pain killers.
It disturbs me.
I felt much better after hearing author Cherry Adair speak. She said she hates writing first drafts and has to force herself to sit in a chair and write for 15 minutes. Then she gives herself a five minute break.
I do the same thing. I write for a few minutes and then pace, or fold a load of laundry or do dishes. Then come back. Believe it or not, I write better when chatting with someone online about writing. When I can vent. When someone else is pulling teeth. When I don't feel so alone. Very strange.
Oh, and a shout out to my son. As some of you know, he's in a college program to finish his diploma and earn college credit at the same time. At the end of two years, he will have an AA degree and his diploma. Anyway, he took his placement tests yesterday (he has been in precollege classes for the first term). He blew the writing test out of the water! Nailed 119 out of 120 questions and the guidence counciler wants to put him directly into Writing 121 instead of putting him into a lower class to get him ready for 121. And he just turned seventeen:)That's my boy!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Raiders of the Lost Vagina
Romancing the Vagina
Saving Private Vagina
Fun with Dick and Vagina
Monty Python and the Holy Vagina
And my personal favorite: Dude, Where's my Vagina
And yes, my son participated. His addition? One Flew Over the Vagina's Nest.
Oh, and happy birthday to my boy who turns seventeen today.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
A wonderful writing day yesterday was. Met one of my writer friends for coffee and treats yesterday morning. It had been a while, so we had tons to talk about. Getting our manuscripts ready to send to the GH, our current WIP's, my inability to sell a book, etc, etc, etc. Was most fun. Had coffee and a treat that we both thought was a bit too sweet. It really started the day off right. We were supposed to go to our chapter meeting, but decided to skip it and work on editing and plotting instead.
So I came home and whipped out a non fic article, got out my scissors, stacks of sticky notes, and the plotting board my dh gave to me. I decided to go ahead and plot out the rest of HOT/DASH and write it... even if my agent doesn't like it. I do and I want to finish the story and who knows... maybe I can do the contest thing with it until it gets noticed by an editor. Stranger things have happened! At any rate, I want to finish, so I spent the next five hours, plotting, plotting, plotting. First I cut the synopsis up and taped together events as they might happen in chapters. Then I made notes on 3x5 cards for each chapter. Then I color coded the stickys. I had one for each major setting, one each for the POV of both the hero and heroine and one for the backstory for each of them. Then I chose a color for the kissy kissy scenes and one for the major conflict scenes.
I ran into problems right away. I could see where the competition scenes were and realized I needed to move things around to evenly space them in the book. I noticed one chapter that was lacking in stickys and one of the main story arcs happened too soon. I began talking to myself while my family carefully skirted me on their way to the garage, (I was on the floor). I noticed that the heroine had the complete POV in one chapter so I started the next one in the hero's POV. On each of the POV stickers, I would note the main plot points of what happens in their POV and their emotions at that point. I have a CP who is constantly going on about emotion. Her thing is "How does that make him/her feel?" Makes me dig deeper, so I jotted some ideas down as I plotted. I feel pretty darn good. The first three chapters were easy as they're already written. I just put together the little colored sticky books and tacked them on there. I left the last three chapters blank, because I want to see how it goes till then.
I've never plotted so extensively before. And the sticky notes/plotting board works because you can see things in a glance. I'll let you know how successful and useful it really is.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Am changing the title from Smoking Hot to: Need some help here people. Fast!
It's set in Seattle and features a caterer who entered a locally televised cooking contest to save her ailing business, only to find out that the secret celebrity judge was the man she jilted at the airport six years before.
-If You Can't Stand the Heat...
-Judging My Heart / Don't Judge My Heart
-Made with Love
-Into the Frying Pan
-Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire
-A Pinch of Love and a Dash of Desire. (Or, since this is a series, it could be a Pinch of Love and the next book could be a Dash of Desire, except I am not as fond of a Pinch of Love as I am a Dash of Desire.)
-Seasoned with Love
Edit: Got my new Title: A Dash of Desire.
I also loved Can't Take the Heat and Kiss the Chef. I may change it again at some point, but for this contest it's Dash of Desire:)
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I've been taking my kids to the polls with me since they were tiny. My MIL used to work the polls so we would visit her once in a while. Once, my dh and I couldn't make up our minds on who to vote for for governer in the primaries and my son kept telling us who it should be. We called the campaign headquarters for each one, asked a few key questions and, by golly, the kid was right. I told the campaign worker that and she invited us to the ball that night to hear the results. Dh had to work, but the children and I went. What a fabulous experience. By some miracle, our guy won and the energy in that room was amazing. Better yet, my in laws saw us on TV yelling and screaming. Joyful moment. Tonight, I have a board meeting so we can't go... I just hope it's short so we can see the results come in.
I love this part of the democratic process. I was the girl who used to take voter registration cards to parties in the eighties. How weird is that?
Monday, November 06, 2006
Hard to explain, but let me try. Cause I am just in that sort of mood. My mom had a boyfriend and then they had me. Roommate stole boyfriend and had halfsister. Mom got pissed and married room mate's dad. (Single white female has nothing on this situation!) So I had the privilege of growing up with my halfsisters/step neice's grandfather as my stepdad... but I didn't know that at the time. He was just dad. Got that? No, we are not from the hills of the south. This took place in Puyallup, Washington.
Of course, I didn't know any of this till I was fifteen, which is just a "fabulous" time to figure it out.
Fast forward 37 years. Mom leaves 85-year-old dad for biological father. Biological father gets lung cancer. (No, mom has not been overly lucky in her life) and I am attending bio fathers funeral.
Turns out the man I knew all my life as sort of a Brother in law/Uncle figure is one of the town drunks and led quite an interesting life. I have intoxicated people I don't know patting me and calling me Terrah Jean. Who the F*%# is Terrah Jean? Oh, that's me. Then there is all the drama on who is going to sit where, who should sit in front? "So and So shouldn't sit in front, she wasn't his wife, he met her first though, and look, there's Terrah Jean! Oh, little Terra Jean! Oh my, she's grown."
I ignored my mother's furious eye signals that I should sit up front with her. I wanted to stand near the back. By the exit. My half sisters had the same idea and we all stood together. Wearing sunglasses. They're the only people I know. And they called me Teri.
Then a white van pulls up. Two armed gentlemen get out and open the passenger door. A guy in a bright orange prison jumpsuit hops out. I watch, mouth open as he comes and stand next to us. The guards are there too. My teen daughter, who had the unfortunate luck to lose the coin toss and had to come with me, whispers. " Um, Mommie?"
"Yes, dear?"I answer.
"Who's the convict, Mommie? And why is he standing with us?"
"I don't know, dear." By this time I just wanted a great big huge drink. Straight up. On the rocks.
One of my half sisters leaned over to us. "That's our brother," she whispers. "Gary Junior."
I lean over to my daughter with a crazed smile. "That's your uncle, dear. Garah Junior."
I will have to talk about the wake some other time. The wake in which I actually began to believe that my name was indeed Terrah Jean, and I meet cousins that I not only didn't know that I had, but I didn't want to know, period and where my lecherous, drunken uncle gave my daughter a vintage VW painted like a Lady Bug.
Is it weird to look back on a funeral and giggle? I'm sorry that he died, but the whole bizarro experience was, well, sort of humorous.
Friday, November 03, 2006
- The publishing world goes home for the weekend. How dare they? Don't they know they should be reading/buying my books on Friday? Doesn't my agent know I am dying for news? On my new idea, on passes, etc? They want weekends off? The editors want time with their families? WTF?
- I have to see how much I accomplished on my weekly to do list. Most of the time I don't do too badly. This week, I didn't accomplish that much. Oh, a few things here and there, but honestly? It was one of those weeks where I don't really keep track of what I did. Started out with good intentions, but you've heard the old adage, the road to .... yeah.
- I am exhausted by Friday night. Too many early mornings in a row, but Friday night is the ultimate in a driving and staying up night as my teens roam the ends of the earth... and want me to drive them there.
- Fridays mean one more mail day before I have to wait till Monday for a check. I usually get my check on Fridays, sometimes Saturdays and sometimes Mondays. I hate Sundays. When I get paid on Friday it's like a fiesta around here cause the kids know I'll slip them a little extra money for the weekend frolicking. I usually don't cook on payday Fridays. When I don't get a check, a little hope goes out the window.
- Friday means one more week that "my sure to sell" book hasn't sold.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I actually like being busy with work... It means I'm being productive. Moving forward. As much as we bitch about deadlines, it still means we have work. Which is a very good thing in the writing world!
Anyone else feel like this?
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
What if something happened? What if he didn't make it through the surgery? Her son is 16 and daughter 13. They live in the basement of her FIL's home to help take care of him and the farm. Not to mention losing your life mate of 18 years.
He made it through surgery and the outlook is very good. He should be fine. But no warning, no nothing. You life just changes in an instant. Makes me want to hug everyone.
But I have to tell you, I came home and appreciated the hell out of my husband.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Last night, the kids and I went to a Halloween party. Much fun and frolicking. It was a family party so got to visit with relatives. Poor dh couldn't go. He had to work, but the rest of us had a blast.
A very cool thing is that I finished the OTE proposal and sent it off. Not sure if it will do any good, but hey, I finished it.
Friday, October 27, 2006
Now I have to get a list of all those titles together and make sure the document is in the right folder. Theres a couple of problems with this.
- I don't have all my work. Basically, I've just put them in a general folder along with interviews, etc. Some were misplaced and while I've tried to keep a link to the online copy of everything, I know I have missed a bunch.
- I've changed computers a couple of times. Of course, I saved them on floppys, but some of my floppys won't open.
- The names I have on my doc.s don't match the title they were published under. I am not a good title person. I let my talented editors come up with that. For instances, my doc says Children's Carseats. The actual title it's finally published under says, Oops Don't do it Again: Everything you Need to Know About Buying, Installing and Using Carseats Correctly. Chances are that will sell better than children's carseats... so I have to go through the iParenting's entire online archive and try to match my docs to the online names and gather the ones I missed. Right now, I am just saving the links, but eventually I will want to copy and paste all my missing articles into my now neatly organized folders.
- Can we say tedious?
In other news, I have two crits back on my proposal. Well done! I still have some stuff to work on to address the editor's concerns. One of my main problems is the characterization of my main character. Unfortunately, she is most like the actual girls I know. She pretty much has everything. Lots of money, parents who adore her, looks and friends...plus being a fab figure skater. 90 percent of the figure skaters I know are just like her. So I gave her parents who are breaking up to give her more sympathy. her perfect world isn't so perfect anymore, but that doesn't come across in the manuscript... So I am going to go over it again and see what I can do.
The thing is... Okay, let's see if I can explain this... I think she is the one teen girls will like better, because they want what she has. She has the name brand clothes, the cute car, the hockey guys all over her. They will want to be her. As adults... we will like the other girl better because we will sympathize more with her... she's had to fight and claw her way up and is determined. As adults, we know she has more character. I didn't make the rich girl a bitch and have the poor girl be the good one. That's cliche. They can both be bitches, but they both have good things about them too. They have a visceral reaction to one another that leads them to see the same events from very different viewpoints. So that is my delimma. Sigh. I just have to find a way to get that across early. Okay, enough complaining... I will just have to find a way to make the rich girl more sympathetic... Or maybe just understand her motivations better.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
I spent the last two days pouring over the first three chapters. When I say days, I mean the entire day... from 5:30 am till about 10:00 at night with barely any breaks for eating or driving kids. The manuscript is better... I think. Hard to tell after looking at it that long. I think I did what the editor wanted. I just hope it's still coherent whole with all the changes. I am a better writer now. My voice is more developed and I hope that came across. I refuse to get my hopes up, though. What ever happens will happen.
Better run and catch up on my nonfiction.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
I got word yesterday that the editor who said she would love to see On the Edge again if I revised it, would still love to see it. (she originally gave me the R in April so we wanted to see if she was still interested) Now, this is a long shot, but I am willing to revise the first three chapters with one eye on her comments. She had quite a few, so she was at least somewhat invested in the book. But, honestly, it's the last shot my little skate book has.
So here's where you all come in. I want a few professional writers to go over the proposal with one eye on the comments and do a critique. I am not going to use the Cp's who had already gone over it when I was writing it and my fav CP is swamped with work this week. At this point, I have one chapter done.
I usually frown on doing this sort of thing in a public forum, but feel pretty comfortable with most of you... also, my agent already has it, many editors have already looked at it, so I am pretty much not worried about someone stealing my work.
So anyone game at checking out a few chapters of a young adult skate novel? One at a time? I'd be so, so appreciative. Just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monday, October 23, 2006
NO! I did not get an offer! The title was things I look forward to this week, not things that have happened! Trust me. I would be a little bit more open if I did:) I winked because I am not a big believer in Karma, though my agent did tell me I should enter the GH because as soon as I commit fifty bucks.... Something will happen to make me forfeit it:)
So, no, Don't get your undies in a bundle. No offer.
- A short to do list that includes, two articles, prep for two more articles, revising chapter three as it comes in from my Cp's, and developing ideas I have for three more YA's.
- Enjoying the front yard that my dh and I finally got cleaned up yesterday.
- Getting a check from my main client.
- My children being in school.
- Finishing up Cherry Adair's, Edge Of Danger.
- Taking a whole bunch of stuff to the dump!
- A sleepover this Friday Night where I will descend upon my best friend's home and inbibe margaritas and watch as many Sex in the City episodes as we can. (her family is gone)
- A Halloween costume party Saturday night that my teens can go to.
- Finally getting a call from my agent telling me that I had an offer on my book. (that's just thrown out there for good karma;)
Friday, October 20, 2006
Con: My dh woke me up at 3:50 am and I couldn't get back to sleep.
Pro: I did get a lot done this morning including the article from hell.
Con: To finish the article from hell, I had to call Scotland. Twice.
Pro: I am right on track for making as much money in one month as I have ever made.
Con: ON THE EDGE is officially dead after I got a rejection yesterday. Unless the editor who wanted me to make massive edits will look at it again.
Pro: LIPS is still alive.
Con: It hasn't sold yet.
Pro: I finished the proposal for HOT
Con: It took me five months to write three chapters! (but the foster kids came so it was understandable.)
Pro: The foster kids don't live here anymore.
Pro: The foster kids don't live here anymore.
Pro: The foster kids don't live here anymore.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
So can anyone be a writer? I think this concept comes from a society that tells our children that they can be anything they want to be. Anything they set their mind to. There are people who believe that children are born blank. Clean slates. What is this? A leftover from Roussou? (sorry, I know I slaughtered his name, but am too lazy to go look it up) That children are born naturally good and the world corrupts them?
I don't buy it. Children are born with personalities. I know. I had two. Not enough for a clinical trial, but there you go. I do believe that environment helps to mold them.. for instance, fisher boy can be aggressive, defiant, and contentious. In a different, less stable home, he would probably be more of those things. In a more patient home, he might be less, but they would never completely go away, because that rebellious trait is a part of who he is. ( I know, he got it from his mommy:) genetics do play a part in who we are.
So, if we are all born with certain personality traits, it isn't a far stretch to believe we are all born with certain aptitudes. Of course, not everyone finds out what that aptitude is, but I think we all have them. Different types of intelligence. Different perceptions on our world. So can anyone be president? I don't think so. Being a polititian requires certain personality traits, such as intuition, a love of being with people all the time, and the ability to think quickly on your feet(okay, no GW jokes here! LOL) Not everyone has or can develop those traits... even if they wanted to. Now, I think desire goes a long ways, but I don't think desire alone can change someone into someting they are not.
So can anyone be a writer? I don't think so. What does it take to be a writer? Love of words, of course, the ability to be your own boss, the ability to self motivate, the ability to live with no guarantees, (a huge stumbling block for a lot of people) the ability to take rejection, the ability to be alone a good deal of the time and of course, the ability to write in a clear and cohesive manner. I actually think that the ability to communicate by writing is the easiest of those to learn if you wanted to be a writer. Set rules, guidelines, etc. The imagination to come up with a well thought out plot, is a different thing. Some people have little or no imaginations.
So, no, I don't think that just anyone can be a writer. Just like I could never be a mathmatician... even if I wanted to, which I don't.
What do you think? Can anyone be a writer?
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I've finished four things on my list and one of those was (drum roll please) finishing chapter three of Hot. My muse forgave me when she saw I was serious and came back to help. I admit that most of it is crap. But some of it is actually pretty good. One part, one line actually, was so good that I felt the heroine's reaction to the hero saying that line. I internalized it and tried to get down what I was feeling. Her physical reaction to hearing the line, what she would feel, pysically. Good stuff. Now I have to try to revise it and get it out to my CP's. Not easy because I have a gazillion nonfiction things to do.
Oh, I have teacher conferences this week for my highschooler. Um yeah. Never been. Never wanted to go. Since she and I go over homework all the time, I have a pretty good idea of how much she's learned. Should I tell them I really don't care about grades? I care about her education? Should I tell them she has never been to school, isn't much into acadamia and would far rather be doing something physical? Should I tell them I brought in a specialist when she was eleven and she was diagnosed with Dyslexia? Should I tell the Spanish teacher that 200 words in five weeks is too many and my daughter will never learn Spanish that way? Does the teacher care about her students learning Spanish or does she only care about getting through the packet? Should I tell them how I really feel about the currant state of public education? Um no, probably not. Once a rebel always a rebel.
At any rate, I am incredibly proud of her. She has never been to school. Never had a lab science class. Never had to rush from one classroom to the next or ask to go to the bathroom. Never had to juggle quite so much and she is doing it. She's always had a lot on her plate, but school is totally foreign to her. She's made some good friends, but really holds herself away from the drama. She had enough drama at the rink and thinks most of the kids in school are immature.
Can you tell I am proud of her?
Monday, October 16, 2006
Without further ado... This week's to do
Do more research for Goodnites Round Up
Write Goodnites Round Up
Get expert source for Adoption Medicine
Get anecdotal source for Running Interference
Get expert source for Running Interference
Get anecdotal source for Breastfeeding Journal
Get expert sources for Breastfeeding Journal
Get expert sources for Fertility Journal
Get anecdotal Sources for Fertility Journal
Write Adoption Medicine
Finish chapter three in HOT
Revise chapter three HOT
Revise synopsis for HOT
Saturday, October 14, 2006
The past couple of weeks has been spent in a flurry of nonfiction madness. I finished four articles this week. Four. But I don't need my muse for nonfiction, so whenever I try to work on HOT she completely disdains me. I try to lure her back with promises of roses, chocolates, and undying devotion, but she no longer believes my promises.
She merely raises an eyebrow and turns her back on me. She has pronounced me fickle.
She obviously doesn't have a mortgage payment.
I should threaten her with Nano. That would get her back. Last time I did that we both worked overtime and she nearly went mad. But it did bring us closer together.
Oddly enough, I have never put it together that the more I write fiction the more comfortable and compliant she is. When I let other things get in the way, she goes on vacation.
So I am going to go plod away on this chapter without her. And we all know how difficult that is.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
On a brighter note, I recieved my first check f0r fiction writing last night. The certificate and check for winning third place in the Pasic BOYH contest came yesterday. And the awesome thing about that is that my first check for nonfiction was seven years ago and you guessed it, it was $25 dollars too.
Must be a sign! Right?
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I didn't know I was going to be an uber Mommy. When they placed that first little bundle into my arms I thought, "Oh my Gawd, Robin Williams is right. He does look like a little old man dipped in 30 weight."
I was bewildered, befuddled and bothered by young motherhood. I was bewildered cause I didn't know it was going to be so damn hard, befuddled from lack of sleep and bothered because no one had bothered to tell me what it was like. I was also bothered because five months into it and I was preggers again. I hadn't even gotten used to the first one, let alone another one!
The second time they handed me a little bundle I thought, "Oh my gawd, another one. I am never sleeping again."
I was right.
So there I was, a young mother much more prepared to be a hippie stoner chick than a mom.
Then it hit me. I was a mom. I had no idea how to be a mom because my own Mom is... kinda flaky. So I went to school to be a mom and enrolled in an early childhood education program at the local community college.
And that was just the beginning. From tactile games to acting out books, I spent every waking hour "developing" my kids. I read everything I could get my hands on concerning nutrition, development, and education. I chose to homeschool them. Each stage they were in had its corresponding books to read. I carted them to swimming lessons, gymnastic lessons, museums, fieldtrips, and minitrips. We went on picnics and nature walks so they would be attuned to nature, I bought them pets so they would be responsible, dress up clothes so they would be imaginative. I got them involved in sports so they would be fair and know how to work in a group. We threw parties so they wouldn't go party somewhere else.
I became an uber mother with an eye on the prize... two functioning responbsible adults who live outside my home, so I can enjoy a guilt free retirement.
I (pant) Am (gasp) Almost. (heave) There. (gulp)
Monday, October 09, 2006
I think I'd have to disagree with that. Mondays are like the first day of school... A fresh start, almost like a do over. I used to love the first day of school... and I pretty much hated school. But the first day was a fresh start full of new possibilities. I always thought that this year would be different. This year, I would be pretty and popular and studious. I was a smart kid, but something about going and picking up office supplies always made me think that things would change. They never did. I was still the bright rebel who would skip school to go to the canyon to read and smoke. But the possibility for change existed and that was enough for me.
Mondays are like that for me now, only I really have changed and found all the things I was looking for (and NEVER found in school), purpose, self discipline, ambition, fulfillment. Because I love what I do for a living, I love getting started again. I know I can write on the weekends, but the publishing world doesn't, so I can't expect word from my agent or a new editor. (My regular editors often work on the weekends) I don't get any publishing news on the weekends and am usually so busy running around or spending the time with the family that I don't really get a lot of things crossed off my weekly lists. Opening up my computer on Monday mornings is like shopping for school supplies; it holds some promise of bright things to come. This week, I could hear from my agent. This week, I could get an interesting assignment. This week, I could land a fascinating writing job or find a new market. Even if it turns out to be fairly humdrum, that doesn't change the shiny freshness that is Monday.
Mondays to do list
Find anecdotal sources for Leukorrhea
Find Anecdotal sources of Exercise Baby
Finish chapter three on HOT
Call Angel Source and get interview
Get sources for Goodnites Round Up
Find Sources for Breastfeeding Journal
Find Sources for Fertility Journal
Write Angel Profile
Write Fertility Journal
Send proposal to agent
start preliminary plotting on FAT
Friday, October 06, 2006
Starbucks CEO: I'm sorry Mr Shareholder, but we won't be able to open the 40,000 new Starbucks around the world that we'd planned to open.
Mr. Shareholder: (worried) Why not? Is there a down turn in the market? Have people switched to drinking tea? Do you know how many people are depending on this?
Starbucks CEO: I know, but it turns out we are too successful. People think we should scale back, not be as successful. They have decided we are a monstrous octopus putting little neighborhood coffee places out of business.
Mr. Sharholder: (Confused) But isn't that how capitalism works? if you are successful you grow and if you aren't you go out of business? Didn't we start as a small neighborhood coffee shop in Seattle in 1971? Has the government decided to change? Put controls on how large a corporation should grow?
Starbucks CEO: No the government hasn't changed. And yeah, we did start out like all the other little corner coffee shops, and we grew because we were smart and savvy, but now that we're a giant corporation we're getting smacked for our success.
Mr. Shareholder: But haven't we done some great things with our success? Aren't we on Fortune Magazine's Best Companies to work for? Didn't we make the list of Best Corporate Citizens?
Starbucks CEO: Well, yes. And besides the hundreds of thousands of people we give jobs to, we have started numurous foundations for commmunity giving, including the Make Your Mark program where we match employees volunteer hours with money, Money for Parks and City Arts programs, the Ethos clean water program for third world countries, and countless other community programs. That doesn't include the support we are now giving to the coffee growing communities.
Mr. Shareholder: Then what's the problem? We're not only successful, but we give millions of dollars away to nonprofits and community programs. Can the little neighborhood coffee houses do that?
Starbucks CEO: No... I think they can only employ just a handful of employees. They do have floats in local parades though. We can't do that. We're too busy giving people a nice meeting place so they can get together to work, hold bible studies, have family talks, dicuss books and education and a gazillion other things and basically to hang out. Before we were around, going out to coffee meant Shari's or Denny's. And you know how good the coffee was there!
Mr. Sharholder: (Shuddering)Yeah. Plus, at those little coffee shops you never know if you are going to get a fantastic cup of coffee or the worst crap you've ever tasted. At least we have quality control. So why shouldn't we open 40,000 more stores? We are in business to make money, right? Isn't that what businesses are supposed to do?
Starbucks CEO: You're right. Free enterprize and all that. Viva Le Coffee!
I wish I were going to Emerald City conference to meet and greet with friends and fellow authors. Now that would be a weekend to look forward to.
Must get an article done and pick up my glasses before I go. Yep, I'm old. I need glasses. They told me I was right on the borderline of needing bifocals, but I said no. I have heard of too many people's sight really getting messed up because of bifocals.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
You see, I'm not married to an alpha male. My hubby is short and balding. In fact, he's been balding for as long as I've known him at age 24. He likes to say he didn't get any hair until he was 13 and started losing it at 17. My male is funny. And silly. Likes to make up crude little jingles. He's very emotional and gets teary eyed over sappy commercials. He's more of a little banty rooster, all crow and no bite. He does have some awesome character traits, though. His absolute devotion to his family. An incredible work ethic. (My male does ALL the laundry, for crying out loud!) My car always runs, the bills are always paid, the refrigerator always full of food, (Yes, he does 95% of the grocery shopping, too) the wood shed always full by fall, the animals always healthy because he puts on their flea medicine, makes their vet appointments, etc. He makes my coffee every night so it's hot and fresh when I wake up in the morning. Plus, he works fifty to sixty hours a week. And fishes with his son, goes to the mall to shop with his daughter and takes me out for starbucks or drinks. And yes, he makes me tired. And no, you can't have him.
But he's definitely not an alpha male. I am too much of an alpha female to be really happy with a in your face, forceful kind of guy. (Though my hubby is sort of in your face... he is very hyper!)So my heros end up being a bit blah... because in my mind a real hero is the guy who sticks around for the not so happily ever after part. It's what they do after the sun sets.
So what kind of character attributes is an alpha male supposed to have? Who is your favorite alpha male?
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I've thought about that a lot lately because I heard from an old cyber friend who hasn't made it. I haven't spoken to her in years, but she was one of my first writer friends in the business. I heard from another friend several months ago who was my first writing mentor many years ago. These women haven't made it. Haven't gone any further in their writing than when I first knew them. Why?
I am defining someone who has made it as someone who has achieved financial goals. (very narrow, I know, but this is nonfiction) For instance, I wanted to make a decent living writing part time. I've done that and consider myself a success even though it takes full time writing to make a part time wage
I have two other dear, long term cyber friends. Both wanted to be full time freelance writers. One kind of fell by the wayside and chose a different direction. Very talented woman, but something about a freelancer's life didn't agree with her, so she zigged when she could have zagged. My other writer friend quit her job and within a year was making more money a month than she ever had working.
What's the difference between those who make it and those who don't? I've been writing professionally for about seven years now and have seen a lot of writers come and go. I have also seen those who keep at it and end up making it. Why did I "make it?" I have very little formal education and have faced tons of adversity, including a husband who was less than enthusiastic at the beginning. Now, every writer is different, but there are a few common attributes in writers who have made it.
- Desire. A burning desire. These people don't just want to see their own book or article, they want to write. To see their words develop on the page and then see the finished product with their name on it.
- Stubborness. As in teeth gritted, knock me down and I'll get up EVERY DAMN TIME kind of stubborness. Blind, irrational, hard headedness.
- Willingness to learn and diversify. Learning is hard. But in order to make it in this business you have to continue to learn and strive. You also have to be willing to diversify. My one friend who is making so much money has diversified. She is editing, writing for trade magazines and writing books.
- Know your limitations. I would never be able to work as a copy writer because it would bore me to tears. I can write on many topics, but don't ask me to do technical writing. I could never write science fiction either. Don't go down a road you know you really don't want to go down. It will show in your work.
- A thick skin. I am working on this. I whine and moan on occasion. But I don't let the rejections or disappointments stop me. See above on stubborness and desire.
What other attributes do you see in writers who have made it?
Monday, October 02, 2006
Don't get me wrong... I love my Cp's. They are fabulous. But we do seem pretty hung up on the rules of writing. Let's take backstory first. This is one of those rules that every critique group knows about. Backstory, even a couple of paragraphs, slows the pacing down. Where is it written that stories have to shoot out of a cannon and not slow until the bang up finish? Whatever happpened to the slow build up of a book? I just reread Scruples by Judith Krantz. This was her first book, or her first blockbuster at least, and I have reread it so many times I've memorized parts of it. Almost EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER INTRODUCED has backstory. Fascinating, interesting, backstory. Even if the character is minor to the book.
Then there is POV. A one sentence POV shift, one that reveals more about the characters or story, is caught and reviled. But Nora Roberts does it all the time. Even in a single scene, the headhopping can make my own head spin. Now, I understand, Nora can get away with stuff others can't, but oftentimes, she makes it work.
Adverbs. I have taken to noting adverbs when I read, probably because they are such, gasp, no no's. Almost every book I have ever read has an -ly word at some point. I did read one romance that had so many it was frustrating, but that was also paired with stiff dialog and clunky prose. Maddening. But if we're supposed to write tight and an -ly word can take the place of an eight word description... what's the harm? Over use? Yeah. I can see that. But sometimes, it seems to me that an -ly word is the best word for the job.
Distancing with a "he asked himself" Okay, the idea when you are in deep POV is that the internals don't need to be underlines because they are pretty much always internals right? (If I'm wrong here please let me know) But tons of books use this on occasion. Sometimes it does seem right.
Never, if ever, use the word was. It's passive. I can't tell you the literary acrobatics I've done to keep from using was in a sentence. Again, this is a word I see all over other books. Do they not know you aren't supposed to use was? Am I taking these rules to literally?
Again, I am posting the disclaimer... this has nothing to do with my own Cp's who are very astute and usually right on the money. I do the same thing when I judge for contests. But are we doing the world a favor by maintaining such strict writing rules and regulations? Or was we paving the way for a bunch of books that are written strangely alike?
Another disclaimer, I am as yet unpublished... maybe there's a reason for that:)
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Except of course, I have to get up at 5:40 am. That's not so good. But I have about an hour and 30 minutes before I have to have the ice princess to school and I use that time to wake up, check my email, check a few blogs and figure out what has to be done for the day.
At 7:10 I take ice princess to school and stop at the gym on my way home. Fisher boy isn't awake yet and I usually workout for about an hour.
Get home, wake up the boy and start on working. I usually grab an instant breakfast that can be slurrped while I work. This is my favorite time of the day. The DH is still in bed(he doesn't get home until about 3am, sometimes later) and the boy is usually finishing up some homework, so we sit and work quietly, sometimes talking about what we are doing and sometimes just sitting together companionably. It's nice. Warm.
At 12:15 I run him up to the college and come home to wake up the dh. Or sometimes, like I'm going to today, I run over to the highschool and take the ice princess some lunch and we sit in the car and talk about her day while she scarfs.
I get home about 1:20 and chat with the dh while he gets ready for work and I clean house. I also try to work a bit, but it depends on how talkative he is! LOL
I go get the ice princess at 2:40, about the same time the DH takes off for work. We come home, watch part of my soap and we talk until she starts school around 4.
Then I go get the fisher boy around 4:20. Come home make dinner and we all work until TV comes on or they have somewhere they have to be. I like it when they don't have to go anywhere... then I kick back and try to fit a chore or two in before I have to help with homework.
Then reading until I fall asleep between ten and eleven. It will be really nice when I don't have to take the boy to school!
But I seem to get a lot of work done in that time. Not so much on the house... I told my son today that our house isn't cluttered... its dirty! I like the new schedule because I get a lot of alone time with most everybody. Nice.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
I loved being a homeschooling mom. I watched as my children learned to read and understand the basic concepts of math. (turns out that was all I could teach them!)While other moms put their kid on the bus for the first time, my children and I snuggled up in the bed to read some books. I was a homeschool Mom and my life was good. (This is about writing, I promise)
About halfway through my journey, I discovered the Internet and a way to make my long dormant dreams of becoming a writer true. I threw myself into writing with a passion. I had always written, but the Internet allowed me to rub virtual elbows with other writers and learn about the business and when I chose to write, I wrote about homeschooling. I wrote essays for homeschooling magazines and hit upon a column or two. Soon, I had a book out. As my children grew, I branched out and wrote of other things. When my next book was in process, I decided to make it for all moms and Day Tripping was born.
You can't be a writer and not learn how to let go. Ideas and articles are rejected, magazines and markets fold. Books don't sell. The letting go process should get easier, but it doesn't. When I scored my agent, a couple months shy of a year ago, I thought I would be a published author by now. It didn't happen and I find myself having to let go of On the Edge and the Rink Rats series. No, it's not completely dead, but its getting there. LIPS went out almost three weeks ago and it still hasn't sold yet. I know, it usually takes longer than that, but so many of my friends sold within a couple of weeks of their manuscript going out that I just assumed... It's good, better than anything I've written. But it's time I let go of the idea that LIPS would sell right out of the starting block.
I look down the road and I only have a few more years until my children are both gone. Even as I've had to let go of being a homeschooling mom, I will have to let go of being active mom... the one in control. But I'll always be a mom. Just like I will always be a writer... even if I have to let go of manuscripts, I will always be a writer.
Monday, September 25, 2006
I had a heck of an evening yesterday. Could have sworn it was Monday morning not Sunday night. First, one of my fav editors has left her job. Not sure why. Heard from the big boss that I should send the articles due to the editor to her. Okay. So I tell her I have been unable to find anyone as an anecdotal source for one of them. Heard back and that was cool. Not ten minutes later, I hear from another anecdotal source that she has decided that she doesn't want her name published. GAH! This is an article the big boss was already looing at so I had to tell her, "Psych! I know I turned it in but I have to rewrite. So sorry." Talk about looking like an idiot.
I could really use some good news this week!
This weeks to do
Send questions to old dads' sources
rewrite potty plan and resend
Finish computer games and submit
Write potty peers
get sources for choline
get old dad's anecdotal sources
write old dads
plot out first five chapters on plotting board
rewrite chapter two of HOT
get started on HOT three
Figure out how writer's support is going to go
Friday, September 22, 2006
I admit it, I love TV. I am not one of those people who prefer to listen to classical music rather than watch the soul destroying, mind sucking, boob tube. Not that there is anything wrong with classical music mind you... I often listen to it in my car, but I am a self admited TV freak. I was raised with it and adore it and for the most part my kids do too. Neither one of them has a TV in their bedroom and TV has become a family thing. Something we do together.
Anyways, this is a big week in TV. Season premiers and series premiers galore. This is a list of shows my family and I have already watched or are looking foreward to.
Men in Trees: This got lukewarm reviews, but I loved it anyway. Sort of like Sex in the City meets Northern Exposure. Both two of my favorite shows. And I spend most Fridays sitting at home waiting for a child to call for a pick up so it's something I can watch on a regular basis.
The Biggest Loser: Awesome as always. Except where did Jillian go? And I really felt sorry for all those people who traveled there with hope and then told to go home and do it themselves... we all know how difficult it is to do that!
Gray's Anatomy: Luscious, luscious, luscious. Met every expectation.
Gilmore Girls: They must get rid of Logan this year. Ditch him. I liked Jess and the Dean much better.
Heros: This looks so intriguing! I can't wait to see what they do with it!
Desperate Housewives: Love this show! Don't care if last season wasn't as good as the year before... I still love it.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Okay, I was over at Jenna's blog... no, I haven't got her link up... but I'm working on it! Anyway, she has pix up of her characters... who she thinks they resemble and I decided to do the same thing.
So here's Cally. Rachel Bilson isn't a perfect Cally as she looks about 3 years too young, but hey... I procrastinated long enough.
And here's Weston. I know he looks like Heath Ledger, but work with me people!
He could be a chef right? I think he's hot enough!
Now to finish plotting!
In other news, it was MRI day yesterday. Absolutely hate them. They always ask, "Are you claustrophobic?" and I always say, "Well, I wasn't the first six or seven times I did it, but now? A little bit!"
They blew a vein getting the contrast in and then I went through the roof when they finally found another one. GAWD! And after the scan my hubby took me out for Lemon drop martinis. That's my MRI day thing. Good stiff drinks.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Indent: Left: 0", Right: 0", Automatically adjust right indent when grid is defined, Adjust space between Asian and Latin text, Adjust space between Asian text and numbers, Tabs: Not at 0.5
Well, that's clear as mud. Asian text? WTF? I'm not writing in Asian text. What are they talking about?? Also, when I make a header and enlarge it, sometimes when I move the curser down a few spaces it is 12. font and sometimes it is the same big font as the header? WHY? How come when I do bullet points in one part of the article and then try to do it three paragraphs down, the bullets are in different places? WHY? And how come the margins sometimes change on me when writing? Is it me? Should I take a class? Get a degree in Microsoft word???
Also when I try to paste the stupid article in the body of an email I get a warning that says I don't have Active X enabled and the formatting won't be correct. Sometimes it does that with web pages. What the heck is Active X?
Monday, September 18, 2006
Yesterday, we went to a family birthday and bbq. It was fun, very kicked back and they had good vino. What more can you ask for? Okay, on to the to do list.
Weekly to do
Write games and special needs.
Get anecdotal sources for potty plan.
Check on all expert sources on articles due next week.
Do plotting and research on HOT.
Get sources for vaccine story
Write Vaccine story
Make new articles due list
Pitch a few articles to editor.
Start on chapter three HOT(notice this was left over from last week!)
Send sources their articles
Write Potty Peers
Get info for old dads and Autism
Write Potty Plan
Guess who's going to be on the computer a lot this week!
Friday, September 15, 2006
Have a great weekend. My chapter meeting is tomorrow and we have guest novelist Cherry Adair speaking and Theresa Meyers from Blue Moon communications will be there as well. We are all going out to lunch afterwards:)
READ MY LIPS got third place in the Pasic Book of Your Heart Contest! I placed, I placed:) YAY!
Thursday, September 14, 2006
But this post isn't about headhopping, it's about back story. As you know, I am working on a category romance, one that I am targeting for HQ's Amercian Romance line. The first chapter is pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. One thing I've noticed about Cats is they have more backstory/internals in them than most other books I've read. They probably have to have more internals, especially, because they have such a short amount of time to invest the reader in the characters lives.
But again this post isn't about internals, it's about backstory. I have a couple of questions. My story is about a chef who enters a cooking competition and one of the judges is the man she loved and jilted six years prior. He doesn't know why she jilted him and I am not letting the reader know for several chapters either. But the backstory is very important to this book. There are times when the heroine, thinks about her choice, wonders whether she did the right thing, etc. How much is too much? A huge part of the conflict between the hero and heroine is because of their former relationship. Now, I elude to it often in brief flicks, but I have a scene that is about a page of the heroine remembering how her family reacted to the news that she was not only running off to get married, she was moving to Italy to study cooking. The family crisis this caused is the reason she never showed up. Again, I elude to the actual event that caused her to jilt the man she loved, but I don't come right out and say it. (I am trying to build a little tension here by leaving the reader in the dark. Of course, the reader will know before the hero does and hopefully by that time they will be thinking, tell him, tell him!)
My question is... how much back story is too much? Keeping in mind that this is category romance, how much will slow the story down too much? I Know the rule is like NEVER. But in reality authors use it all the time. Any opinions on backstory?
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
My husband had just woke up and I was lying in bed with him. My stomach tightened. In my experience, no good can come from a conversation that starts out with, "I have a confession to make."
"I bought something yesterday."
I relaxed a bit. It wasn't one of "those" confessions. But then my mind whirled. He'd been checking out vintage Les Paul guitars on ebay. Had he bought one? We were trying to save up enough money for a trip to Hawaii. Had he blown the trip?
"What's that?" Cautious now.
"I bought an eighth."
I am a child of the eighties. An eighth means only one thing in my book, an indulgence we gave up years ago when we decided to stop partying and raise children. I sat up in bed.
"You what?" Imagine my voice raising five octives on that last word.
"An eighth of coffee."
I lay back down. An eighth of coffee?
"You know my friend Andy? He went and bought a half a pound of coffee and I bought an eighth of it. Amazing coffee. The best coffee in the world. Like incredibly expensive coffee. I felt like I was doing a drug deal."
My brow furrowed. "Just how expensive was it?"
"You don't want to know."
"Yes, I do. Just how expensive can it be?"
"Almost 200 a pound."
"What?" (the octive thing again) "That means you spent like 25 dollars or something on an eighth of coffee!"
"It better be damn good coffee."
It was. Drop dead and die good coffee. Now, I love me some coffee. I drink it black except for my Starbucks, but other than that I am a purist. And this coffee was to die for. Rich, nutty, dark on the tongue, it left an amazing aftertaste that's hard to describe.
But in order for coffee to be worth that much it would have to hop out of my refrigerater, grind itself and leap into my cup fully made.
But that doesn't keep me from enjoying it!
Monday, September 11, 2006
Finish revising chapter two in HOT
Finish synopsis for HOT
Write chapter three in HOT
Send out questions for TBI anecdotal sources
Make new files for articles due
Make articles due list
Get sources for Potty Training Plan
Get sources for computer games
Get anecdotal sources for Potty plan
Get anecdotal sources for computer games
Get sources for pneumonia
Get anecdotal sources for pneumonia
What's top priority on your list?
Friday, September 08, 2006
Any ideas on how to fix this?
UPDATE: Yeah! All fixed. Thanks Bonnie!