Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Still here, still busy

I wish I could find my desk. I know it's here under all these papers, because I'm sitting at my keyboard and monitor. That's the only clue though. This is what happens when fiction and nonfiction collide. So, I'm going to play what's on my desk. I'm not including the normal stuff like my fax machine, printer and inbox.

  • Right in front of me are two note pads.One has a number scrawled in my son's handwriting and says Annie. I have no idea who that is. Neither does he. I asked. The other one has several numbers for Headstart on it for my Zoe Munster. Oh, wait. that isn't a note pad, it's a Winco reciept.
  • A blue folder with all the fostercare important papers in it.
  • My four Gotcha entries with the judges notes on them. They loved pretty much everything about it. I keep it in front of me so I can read the comments over and over. I'm weird.
  • A horizon pediatrics business card.
  • A box of business cards from three years ago. My website is now gone and I changed my email address, but I love the logo I had designed for me and the saying on the back, "The only reason for being a professional writer is because you can't help it." Leo Rosten. I keep them because I want to make new ones some day. I usually don't have them on my desk but baby keeps getting into them and 400 business cards on the floor isn't fun to pick up.
  • A little ceramic pot with pens and pencils.
  • A purple silverware tray holding my stamps, staples, hole punch a bunch of other people's business cards and my gum.
  • A little ceramic noteholder that says Texas Bluebonnets and has a pix of the flower on it. I think I won that in Jill Monroe's seasons contest a long time ago. I keep my weekly to do clipped on it.
  • A pile of papers that includes my article tracking sheets, the envelope I have to send my final Gotcha entry in and more foster care stuff I'm supposed to be filling out and sending in.
  • A W9 form from a magazine
  • My husbands check book cause he was doing his banking last night
  • A calculater. (Same thing)
  • A gazillion different colors of post its from my plotting board.
  • Books. My market guide, my journal, my moleskine pocket planner, a YA book I'm planning to read and my AP Style guide.
  • My coffee

No wonder I can't get anything done!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Mondays to do

Let's not talk about the weekend, shall we? Suffice it to say that it was very hectic and non productive and included a trip to the urgent care with baby girl. All is well now. Kinda.

On to some good news and this weeks to do. Dash of Desire is a second place finalist in the Gotcha Contest. Now I have a couple of weeks to review the judges comments and sending it to the final round judge, Susan Litman, Senior Editor for HQ.

I am so happy it finaled. This tells me that I really can write adult romance! Unfortunately, my little manuscript is not done and what should I do if I get a full? Note to self: Pray for a miracle.

This Week's To Do
Write four articles before the 1st.
Write 50 pages in Dash
Make new articles due list
Update tracking records
Pitch new articles for favorite editors
Research other markets for my nonfiction work

Short, sweet and not very realistic wwith my wee foster girls. Have no choice though.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Why I like Romance

I am doing this because at the moment I am HATING my book again.

A friend of mine made me very uncomfortable the other day when he asked me, "Are you really writing romance? Isn't that like prostituting your talents? Do you really like romance novels?"

His thought was that I was so witty and intelligent, how could I like them. What I told him was "Mantitty and mullets? What's not to love?" (Borrowed freely from the fabulous Smart Bitches)

But honestly. Read a good romance and you are instantly transported into another life. A life where you always know the right fiesty thing to say and you have the best hair ever. Like hair that Breck execs would envy. You have this incredibly hot alpha male chasing you. You get to wear great clothes at least part of the time, even if you are dirt poor. (Because someone lends you something or you remake something in your grandma's trunk, or something.) And you know how it's going to end... Happily.

What's not to love? Or you can read a book so full of symbolism and death it makes you want to slit your wrist, because after all, there is no hope in the world. Take your pick. Me? I'll go for happily ever after every damn time.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

They're Here

No time to chat. Both are sleeping and must write!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

They're coming!

The wee girls will be here today.

Baby got her cast on yesterday. She will wear it for two weeks and then get a splint on for a week, then she'll done. Bad news? My lil Zoe Munster has hand, foot and mouth disease and has large infected cankers in her mouth. They are infected because her teeth are so bad that the bacteria complicated the viral cankers. Sigh. We will have to really push the liquids on her.

My Sil is coming over to help because once again we have nothing. CSD is buying wee baby a crib that she can't fall out of. We have a bed for Wee munster and they are giving us clothing vouchers for them both. But we have a lot of work to do today. The certification lady is coming as well to give us emergency certification again.

And I have four articles that need to be finished before the end of the month. That doesn't even include Dash that needs to somehow get finished too... Fun fun! But, you know, there are many momwriters out there who manage everything. I will just have to learn to write in small chunks!

Monday, January 22, 2007

More On Kids

The family meeting (which is what they call DHS telling Mom why she is getting the kids taken away) and the actual court was horrific. Found out more about why they are taking the children and got to watch my niece fall apart. Horrific.

We may get them today or tomorrow. Already talked with the caseworker on how to avoid what happened last time from happening again. (burnout on my family's part)We are coming from a better place this time-- both of my kids are in school all day so they get a big break during the day. My son is all for it, my daughter is cautious and wants to know how long.

How things will be different:
  • We are only taking two.
  • The state will give me money for some in home assistance and outside day care.
  • My bil and sil are becoming certified respite caregivers for us and will be taking the girls overnight from 5pm to 5pm once a week.
  • The children will have twice weekly visits with Mom.
  • They will be taking the girls to all doctor appointments.
  • The oldest girl will be going to Headstart.

So it will be very different from last time. I've learned a lot and realize that my own energy source is much more limited than what it was when my babies were, well, babies. I have to work. It is important to me and my family. I have worked hard for my career and I love it. I think that is part of what went wrong last time.

But my heart does break for the boy. Am praying that grandma and grandpa will be able to take him.

Okay, off to get work done while I'm able!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Foster Children Revisited

So I got a call from my brother yesterday afternoon.

The baby had been taking to the hospital the night before for emergency surgery. Mom has been charged with negligence and the children are being taken away. Actually were As some of you may recall, I took in my niece's three children last summer, the first time they were taken away from her. Lurved the wee ones but keeping them here almost put me over the edge. But I also fell in love. So dh and I are headed to Juvenile Court today to see if we can keep the girls here with us. I can't take the boy. He is too hyper and has too many issues. Poor little fellow... We can't keep both girls for long term, either. I'm concerned about the babies arm... Can I trust the group home to care for it properly? My SIL would love to have the baby... she is just starting the process to adopt a chinese baby so she is a perfect place for baby K. How many times will this happen before they take them permanently? So it looks as if I will be caring for a hurt one year old and a two year old for a while. Poor little creeters.

The world is a very sad place sometimes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Didn't get a lot of work yesterday.You see it was a snow day and my teens went nuts. Of course, it didn't help that I had teens show up on my porch at 8am bouncing in front of my window. A ten minute flurry later and my son and daughter were dressed and off, no doubt to go bounce on someone else's porch. They created a snowman so huge that motorists were stopping to look at it and take pictures. Will post a pix later. Thing was over ten feet tall and the base was as big a VW BUG!.

But because it was a snowday I had to bake oatmeal cookies and fix a huge thermos of hot chocolate. Son came up to change clothes and get goodies to take them back to teen contingent who all praised my name. Then I began simmering soup for dinner. Had name praised again when they all came back here to hang out and had hot soup. Then son spent the night with friends and daughter spent the night at friends and dh and I stayed home to do laundry.

In other words, I got nothing done yesterday.Today is another snowday, but they are at someone else's house. Let their mom or dad make cookies today!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Sweet Sixteenth- Plans upon Plans

Too tired to think of a title. Heck, I'm not even sure I can think of a post. HA!

Before I forget, a big shout out to my writer friends in Oklahoma and other states hit hard by the ice storm. Hope everything is well, and I'm thinking about you!

For some reason I have been staying up late and sleeping in. Did that today, even though it's a Monday. It's a holiday right?

So the sweet sixteen party planning is still going full force. It is a black and white party with silver being her accent color. We are holding it at my niece's house which has much more room and way classier. In fact, it probably has five or six thousand square feet. It is also so beautifully decorated that we will have to spend less on decorations. She is in love with the romance period so there are already a lot of flowers, candles, and garlands.

We did go and buy the black and white silk flowers that we're mixing with the real flowers. We also picked up about 20 yards of tulle, several garlands and sealing wax with a stamp for her invitations (which we HAVE to get out tomorrow since people may have to buy clothes for the party. Only black and white, you know!.) We have two chocolate fountains for dipping and a lighted fountain that turns the punch different colors. We plan on using a white punch of some kind so it won't spill on the floor! With 35 to 40 teens... something is bound to spill!

Here are the cakes she is getting her cake from... she wants the size and the ribbon from the dotted one and the design of the tiered one.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What I know

These things I know:

  • If you get a bunch of packages from PR people all the time, husbands don't even notice little moleskine planners that sneak in.
  • You do get ammune to the waiting. Sometimes you think, "this could be my week," and then you wake up and laugh maniacally.
  • The new proper way to sneeze is in your arm. Son told me, friend Linda reminded me. (What? Did she hear me sneeze into my hand all the way from Michigan?)
  • My five year plan is going to kill me.
  • When my teen's whine, "You're always focused!" whenever I chide them for interrupting my work, I know it's because they want me to do something for them...not that they want my attention or to spend time with me.
  • Like weddings, sweet sixteen parties can get way out of hand. And it's still a month away.
  • If you have a husband who does laundry, works all the time and is faithful... Keep them no matter how sarcastic they are:) You get a lot more writing done.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I bought....

One of my resolutions for the new year was to stop spending money. I honestly wanted to do this for my dh who is the main check writing man. When it is time to do checkbook man, double check the credit card receipts, etc, I want him to happy with me. Not groan and ask, "My God, how many Starbucks does one woman need in a month?" (um it isn't just me buster, now we have two teens who are addicted to them as well.) Or "No Wonder Macy's gave you the platinum card!"

But... even though I gave him all my credit card (Except Macy's cause a girl just has to have her Macy's) I realized that my former much beloved and maligned credit card is saved at my favorite store. Amazon. So I don't even have to have it! My mind whirls just thinking about it. So last week I ordered the 2007 writer's market guide (cause I am kicking my career into full gear and must have one this year) and a Moleskine planner to match my Moleskine journal. Lurve Moleskine. Now I have never been successful at keeping a planner before and I don't know why I think I will be able to keep one now, but I just had to have it! Had to. I would be successful because this was a Moleskine planner. My little finger trembled before I hit the submit order button. You can check them out here-

Unfortunately, my dh works swingshift and will no doubt be here when delivered. But his displeasure won't make my pleasure any less. I'll be good next month, right? And I can always use the "I can write them off!"

Monday, January 08, 2007


Just got up, so not sure what I'm feeling this morning. On Mondays it's hard to tell. And I haven't had my coffee yet.

On Friday took son to see Blood Diamond. Last night, took Dh. I was that impressed. I've never given much of a thought to Leo Dicaprio's acting skills. Far too busy appriecating his other, much more obvious, assets. But he blew me away in this movie. How does he makes his eyes change to reflect what the character is thinking and feeling? It was a fine, fine movie and all elements were there. Incredible acting, amazing directing and a good solid script. Too violent for my tastes, but I am going to have to research if it is true or not because if it is, I probably won't be purchasing many diamonds. But I'll have to verify. (Not that I purchase that many anyway! Snort.)

In writing news, I didn't make my 50 page goal in Dash. I topped out at about 40. But. I did go back and make a lot of the necessary changes needed so the next 8 to 10 chapter make sense. I have a little bit more to do And then I can move on. But I do have the same goal for this week... 50 pages. And being a chicken that means all week until next Sunday. I know how to hedge my bets:)

What does everyone else have on the old to do list for this week?

Friday, January 05, 2007

I did it!!!!

The the plot point by plot point outline was a huge help. HUGE! I got to where I'm at and then started writing down ideas. Basically just brainstormed. Then I envisioned it in my head and had almost all of it, just not how to put it together. Then I went out for coffee with my good friend Kari (See links session to check out her fab blog) and we hashed it out! YES! Then I came home and played with our ideas and bullet pointed the rest of it out! I have to do a little tweaking to the first eight chapters, but nothing major.

So now all I have to do is finish it!!

Sleep & Stuff

First the stuff... in the first to days of the week, (not counting Monday, cause that was a holiday) I wrote 38 pages on Dash!Then I ran headlong into the muddy middle. Now you'd think that because I had the plotting board this would't have happened. That was the idea, anyway. But no. I need to update the plotting board cause I have gone way off course. I looked at it and shuddered last night. Instead I am going to try something very easy to get me started again. I am going to do a point by point outline of ever plot action. Very plain language, not worrying about emotion or anything else like when you try to create a synopsis. Just this happens and this happens, bullet by bullet. I am hoping by writing it out, I can just sail right past the middle on to the end. Wish me luck. I HAVE to get back on track and SOON!

Now for the sleep.

I used to have the gift of sleep. As in I could do it anywhere, anytime, Now? Not so much.

Oh, I can sleep alright. In the middle of the day. Gawd, I love a good nap. Snuggling under the covers with my weiner dog. Letting everyone else go about their day without me for an hour or so. Actually when I nap I can sleep for about 2 hours if I let myself. In fact, I don't know just how long I can take a nap for because Someone either wakes me or I set the alarm clock. Of course, when I do, I usually regret it because then I can't get to sleep at night.

Now I either have a hard time sleeping or I wake up at like 2am and can't get back to sleep. Sure I doze a little, but not for any length of time. Since Dh is on swing, I usually wake when he comes home. Now I either sleep again or not. I never know. Things bug me that didn't use to. Animals. The TV. My husband, the hampster, running around doing his chores. (He is sort of obsessive compulsive over the house being tidy at all times and the laundry always being done. We have two teenagers, one of them a fashionista daughter, five cats and two dogs. Tidiness at all times is a dream he just can't let go of.) So all night I hear tap, tap, tap, as he scurries through the house in the neverending war against bits(on the floor, couch, counters, whatever) and laundry. That is why we call him the hampster spinning around on his little wheel. ANYWAY.... It didn't used to bug me. Now it does.

Or else it's the writing. My head fairly spins with ideas, plots, plans. How to get more done in a day? How to make more money? What I can do to torture my characters? That kind of thing. I obsess over my career or my kids. It never stops. And unfortunately, I am the type of person who NEEDS eight hours of sleep. I get less, I get more bitchy. Some nights are fine and I get enough sleep. But many, too many, are not.

And there you have it. My name is Teri and I have sleep issuses.

And I didn't even get into Restless Leg Syndrome. Yes, people, it's real and it's the creepist thing evah! hey. Hmmmm. I could use that in a plot.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly About Career Plans


I have this career plan, see, (check post beneath this.) and now that I have my career plan posted next to my computer I can see the things I am working for. Yay! Keep me focused, right? That's the good. The bad? I have SO much work to do. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a five year plan... NOT a one year plan. The Ugly? Me, when I get up an hour earlier in the morning to get everything done. LOL

Honestly though, I really am more focused. And even a bit more organized so I can keep up with everything. And I am still kicking booty on Dash. I'm over 25,000 words! I'd love to make thirty the next couple of days, so I could say that I was officially half way done!

Gotta run. Have three more pages to make today's goal!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Five Year Plan

Okay, here goes... anyone have any suggestions let me know:)

Career Plan Teri Brown 2007-2012


  • Earn a minimum of sixty thousand dollars by year 2012
  • Join PRO and then PAN (when able) via RWA
  • Join NINC (when able)
  • Join PASIC (when able)
  • Attend RWA National Conference when published and every other year after that.
  • Attend RT the years I don’t go to RWA Nationals
  • Attend two regional conferences every year.
  • Enter a minimum of three contests every year.
  • Create more time so I can work uninterrupted hours.
  • Double my nonfiction income until I start consistently selling fiction books
  • Join Freelance Success

Strategy To Attain Goals

  • Use a daily and weekly action plan to track my work to make sure I’m on pace.
  • Pay attention to the market. What’s Hot? What’s Not?
  • Once I sell the first book, establish myself in YA fiction and series romance. Try to publish/write five books a year.
  • Study the romance works of Shirley Jump, Jane Porter and Pamela Britton, who write the way I want to write. Also study the YA work of Mari Mancusi, Simone Echols and Bev Katz Rosenbaum, who write the way I write.
  • Continue to study my craft with books, workshops, writing classes and my critique partners.
  • Read as many award winning books in my genres as I can.
  • Judge two contests a year.
  • Study the market.
  • Once contracted, develop an extensive mailing list of readers and book sellers.
  • Start developing a trade magazine client base
  • Send out three queries a week
  • Suscribe to RT Magazine
  • Update my goals every December
  • On signing my first contract, get a website.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Eat healthy so my mind and body can keep up with my demands
  • Exercise daily so I can have the endurance to meet my goals.