My New Years Resolutions

Posted by on 2:15 pm in General | 1 comment

Every year I, like millions of other people, make “New Years Resolutions”. However, I like to think of myself as different. ‘Cause you know, who wants to be like everyone else.  So I try to make my resolutions more like goals. Goals should be attainable, realistic, and within our control right? Not ideals that we have no possibility of ever reaching or that we can strive for but are ultimately out of our hands – like for example – world peace.  I would love to make one of my goals this year getting an agent, or seeing my name on the cover of a book. However, the fact of the matter is, I can’t control how an agent will react to my query or when Red and Grey will be published ;-). There are many thing I can control about my writing though. Those are the things I put on my “goal list”. (Yeah – I make a real list 😉 nerd here.) I decided to share a few of those goals here on my blog. – Read more – and read more genres.  More on this one to come – in fact a whole blog post about this will be up next week. – Write Daily – I have two stories I’m “halfway” through. Meaning I have written over 50,000 words on. I really want to finish both these stories. Plus I have another story that is “nagging” at me and desperately wants to be told. I need to write, every single day, no excuses. – Send 50 queries for Red and Grey. Or, you know, as many as it takes to get an agent, maybe only two. 🙂  (If anyone’s wondering last year I sent 30.) – Attend Surrey International Writers Conference. Not so much a goal as a given – but I put it on the list because it’s easy to check off and makes me feel good to accomplish it. LOL So, what are your goals for 2011? Planning anything...

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Merry Book-mas, and Happy December

Posted by on 7:33 pm in General, Monthly Updates, Randomness, Updates | Comments Off on Merry Book-mas, and Happy December

Happy December one and all. In our house we exchange gifts on December 25th. This year, much like many past years… and many future years I imagine… Christmas had a distinctly bookish theme. Yes, my family believes in supporting the publishing industry at Christmas each year. We do, after all, have a personal stake in seeing it not fail 😉 This years the total number of books my five person family swapped – 41. Yup – 41 books changed hands among us. The most went to my eldest son, he got 10. The lions share of his new books where series starters. We are trying to help him find some new and interesting addictions…I mean reads 😉 Others were continuations of a couple series he was already hooked on. I scored at the bottom of the list this year – I got 7. Not that I’m complaining, they are all books I am excited to read. Including an anthology of Steampunk short stories I’m itching to start. Just thought it was funny I ended up getting the fewest books- usually I get the most. 🙂 How has your month been? (mine has been good) Did you see the eclipse on Winter Solstice? (to cloudy here) What are you most looking forward to in 2011? Next blog post – My New Year...

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Home again, home again, and all that jazz

Posted by on 6:51 pm in General, Kudos, Randomness, Updates | 2 comments

I know I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, but just for that ever elusive “record” I love the Surrey International Writers Conference (SiWC). If there is a better conference put on by a more wonderful group of amazing and talented people, I’m not aware of it. SiWC is the perfect size, not so big you get lost in the crowd not so small that no one with a big name comes.  Kathy Chung the conference coordinator this year did a spectacular job.  All the presenters were amazing and in each session I learned some tidbit that will help me along as a writer, or a person. So yes, I love SiWC. In addition to all that, it was fantastic to see my writer friends and catch up with them, Rose, Elissa, Tyner, Pam, Peggy, and Angela (P.S. there is an interview with me on her site – more on that tomorrow) of the Book Broads not to mention the countless others I don’t have the space to name. Then there are all the new people I got to meet this year at Surrey. Allow me at this point to take a quick moment to say congratulations to Tyner for his story placing second in the Annual Surrey International Storytellers Award Contest. Excellent job. 🙂 Plus this year I got to meet in person two of my Tweeps who I have been conversing with all year on Twitter but never set eyes on(@natgreyangel and @LornaSuzuki) . That was way cool. Amidst all the wonderful, and there is so much wonderful, there are always a few moment or a few speakers that stand out. For me this year there are four people I would like to mention/thank in particular. kc dyer : I can’t begin to say what an awesome and inspirational person kc is. She has been so important to me as I’ve progressed as a writer.  I’m not sure I would have gone past my first year of writing if not for her belief, encouragement, and support. This year sitting in her panel on steam punk and having a blue pencil with her was fantastic. – kc – thank you so much for our words of advise on how to strengthen my manuscript and for providing them in such an optimistic and encouraging way.  I came home eager to get started and excited about the possibilities this year held. Arthur Slade: I’ve never stalked anyone before, this past weekend Arthur Slade was generous enough to allow me to stalk him around the conference. Meaning I attended each session he gave or sat on a panel in and even got behind – or in front –of him in line to eat a couple of times. Not too shocking given the size of the conference and my interest in the steam punk genre. 🙂 In all seriousness he was incredibly gracious with his time, answering questions about the genre, my manuscript during a blue pencil and just bantering with hubby and I during free time. – Mr. Slade – Thank you for your time and your sessions which were both interesting and informative.  And thank you for saying I was the least creepy stalker ever and for choosing not to get the restraining order. I am...

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Do agents really care about my Bra?

Posted by on 2:01 pm in General, Randomness | Comments Off on Do agents really care about my Bra?

Do agents really care if my bra matches my panties? Probably not. In fact, I’ll go out on a pretty safe limb here and say no. They couldn’t care less. So why was it so important I have my favorite set of matching bra and panties clean to take with me to SiWC? I know my husband was wondering that very thing when I told him they had to be washed before we could leave thereby delaying our trip at least a few hours. I could see the wheels in his head turning. “The agents won’t see your bra – just wear a different one.” Yeah, I know that… But when I was little, my mother used to tell me when I was scared or nervous that looking my best would help. So I’ll spend hours picking just the right clothes to wear on the outside and I want to know that I am wearing something pretty underneath too. So when I walk into my ten minute pitch session wearing my pink polka dots, will it make me pitch any better? No, the bra has no magic pitch mojo. However, I will feel more self confident knowing I am “dressed for the part” and that may very well affect the way I pitch. So we wait for it to dry and it’s traveling with us to Surrey to make it’s non-appearance and work it’s non-magic. But I’ll know, even if the agents never do....

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Old song, poignant new meaning

Posted by on 12:44 pm in General, Randomness | 1 comment

So for a while now, I have considered the lyrics to the song “I Have a Dream” by ABBA to be an inspiration in my writing life. I heard it for the first time watching Mamma Mia. It was sung by Amanda Seyfried and I fell in love with this version of the song.  I have it on my iPod and I must admit I can never listen to it just once. Then yesterday something changed… I picked my kids up from school and we were heading home, my oldest (10) asked why September 11th was special. My daughter (7) immediately claimed to know the answer and begged to tell him. I relaxed into my seat and said “sure” thinking it should be interesting hearing her take on the events of nine years ago. I honestly didn’t expect her to know the answer. I’ve never told her, but I wanted to know what she was learning through school, or the “Friend Net”. At the same moment she started to talk this song came on. My daughter sometimes has trouble coming up with words, she doesn’t stutter exactly but she stumbles, often struggling to find the right word or phrase to complete a thought. She often repeats the word “and” or “uhm” as many as six or seven times as she attempts to express herself. I’ll admit that this often makes me crazy and I want to jump in and provide her with the word. Yesterday though, this urge didn’t hit me, because I totally understood her struggle as she began to describe how nine years ago four planes crashed. I found myself desperate to hear how her innocent mind and tender heart would describe the people who took over the planes. In her words they were “crazy people” unaffected by religion, region of the world they lived in, or political affiliations. It was so apt I felt tears well in my eyes. Then she began to talk about the firemen and rescue workers, she struggled again to find the word “hero” and once again I sympathized. Not because they weren’t but rather because that word seems to woefully inadequate. How can you call someone who runs into a collapsing building to save the life of another a mere hero? How can you relegate a person who sacrifices themselves on a plane to take it back from terrorists to the simple category of Hero? It seems like there should be a bigger word. Something with more syllables and letters. More tears gathered as I heard my unbiased child, with no notions of conspiracies or politics, simply talk about the people of September 11, 2001. She spoke about the people, including the children, who died. The hero’s, some who lived and some who didn’t. And the crazy people who made the choices that day leading to those planes crashing and all the deaths. And through all this, the lyrics to the song poured softly through the speakers of the car. A backdrop to the innocent version or 9/11 told from a child’s eyes. I realized she’s right. September 11th has been turned into so much, but it’s really about the people that were touched by the events of that day. I have another dream. I dream that people will become less...

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Thinking about dreaming

Posted by on 8:51 am in General, Randomness | Comments Off on Thinking about dreaming

The past few weeks I’ve been having a lot of stress dreams. Most likely because I am waiting for a lot of things to happen and they don’t happen for a while. Actually quite a few should be resolved this week so the dreams are getting more frequent and intense. Fortunately, I’m one of those lucky people who has lucid dreams. Wikipedia makes it sound ubber cool and existential really it just means my dreams are extremely vivid, I remember them very well, and at some point in the dream I realize “hey this is a dream and I’m in control I can do ANYTHING I want because it’s not real and I am in control.” So I do. I take over my dream and make everyone and everything in it what I want. My mind wraps around the dream the minute I become aware of the fact that I’m dreaming and takes over. But I have to be careful, sometimes if I realize I’m dreaming my body will throw me out of sleep and wake me up – which is a pain because it throws me right out of REM and I’m always tired the next day if that happens. Except, it ends the dream which is nice, there is one dream in particular I always wake myself up from, the driving stress dream. I hate that dream.  I am trying to drive from the wrong seat, either the passengers seat or the back seat, and one of my kids is in the car with me. I shiver just thinking about it. Here’s the thing, I like being a lucid dreamer. It’s fun. I never know where my dreams are going to take me and even when my mind takes over sometimes my brain comes up with scenarios I would never imagine in reality. That’s also where some of my  story ideas come from. Cat’s Revealing started as a lucid dream. I ended up changing a lot of details but the seed of the story started as a lucid...

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Follow Friday – The Smart Bitches

Posted by on 9:48 am in Follow Friday, Randomness | 0 comments

Yeah, I know, I’ve been MIA the past few days and I haven’t done a FF in weeks then I show up with a blog title like this. What can I say, that life sometimes. So why follow Smart Bitches, Trashy Books… oh so many reasons. First off, their funny. They tell it like it is. Ever looked at the cover of a novel and thought uhm what the… . Yup… so have they. Want to know who won, check it out here. They follow the romance market in the business world and keep their readers informed, but keep it at a level that is understandable. I personally have never picked up Bloomberg Business Week or any other business publication. But thankfully, the Smart Bitches are paying attention, and I am paying attention to them. 🙂 They are also helpful, with frequent book reviews and their HABO (Help A Bitch Out) posts that help people track down books they read a long time ago and can’t remember the title and author of. I’m amazed how quickly their Blog readers come up with the title and author based on snippets of plot from a book, some of which were published 20 years ago. I have to say reading the site has helped me learn a lot of what NOT to write in my romance novels. What people don’t want to read and what doesn’t work.  Reading some of the snippets of plots and some of the comments people make about certain phases I find myself thinking – are my plots that contrived? Do I use language that flowery and metaphors that are craptastic? I like Smart Bitches because it makes me think. Mostly I enjoy the site because at heart I am a fan of the genre. I like romance and they handle the topic with a mixture of honesty and humor. I think the people writing for this Blog are intelligent, savvy and creative individuals who know the romance market and do a great job sharing their knowledge with an edge of wit. So today my Follow Friday goes to the Smart Bitches.  Check them out at their blog, or follow them on Twitter @SmartBitches Happy Friday...

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One fourth of the way to enough

Posted by on 7:19 pm in General, Query, Randomness | 3 comments

When I started the query process for Red and Grey I set a number.  It was the “enough is enough” number. In other words, this is where I draw the line and call it quits number. Because, at some point a person has to realize that the manuscript they are pitching is not going to sell. I didn’t want to become one of those people who became blinded, tied to my project, and unable to move forward. Locked in a cycle they were unable to escape and chained to a manuscript that was long dead. So I needed to give myself an end date. It wasn’t about giving up so much as about moving forward. Realizing this wasn’t the right project and choosing to keep making progress. The number I set with the approval of my best friend and my husband was 100 rejections. Today I received my 25th. The rejections have varied greatly. I’ve gotten: – form rejections – very kind personal rejections – requests for pages that turned into rejections So, it’s all good. But today I realized I was a fourth of the way to my “enough” number.  How do I feel about this?  My emotions are mixed to be honest. I’m proud of myself for having gotten this far, and not being ready to quit. I’m disappointed by my growing pile of rejections. At the same time, I know that one day when I’m published, I’ll be able to encourage some other aspiring writer(s) with my binder full of researched agents with notes about when I sent queries and when I received rejection. (The binder is beautifully decorated by my five and seven year old by the way.) Finally, I’m excited. Why, two reasons – first because in the midst of sending those 25 queries for Red and Grey I haven’t just sat around and waited to see what happens. I revised and submitted a short story to a magazine and I rewrote a novel and submitted it to a publisher. (The short story was rejected, but I’m still waiting for the verdict on the novel, keep your fingers crossed.) The second reason – I still have 75 queries to submit – and that’s 75 chances for someone to say yes they want to read Red and Grey and with luck represent it. Will I still stop when I reach 100, even though I have proved to myself I will keep pursuing other avenues and new stories? In all honesty, I don’t know. I love Red and Grey (the character’s not the novel). I would hate to see them relegated to living under my bed (figuratively speaking) but I might let them sit for a while and come back to revisit them in a year or two after I have 100 rejections under my...

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“Just had that”

Posted by on 9:13 am in General, Randomness, Revisions | 2 comments

Nope, it’s not an expression, it’s how I remember the three words I most overuse and have to search and destroy when I finish writing. In fact this is my fist line of revisions after I finish a story and do the initial read through for typos. I go to the Find/Replace feature in Word and start with “just” and work through the document starting at page one and eliminate all non essential uses of the word. Which, to be honest, is pretty much all of them. Then I do “had” and then “that”. Most times when I use these words they are unnecessary, so why do I use them? I have no idea. But I seem to be fond of them. It’s incredible helpful to do a hunt for them, especially when I’m on a word count limit and need to cut words. I love to see my word count go down by cutting unneeded uses of these words. In fact as an exercise I wrote this entire blog post without using the words “just had that” except where they were encased in quotes. (As I read through it I ended up cutting a “that” and a “just” from this tiny little blog post how sad am I? 😉 ) I hope by eliminating these words it makes my writing tighter and flow better. My phrase might grow with time as I  learn more of my problem words and start eliminating them from my writing. What are your problem words? What do you hunt for and eliminate from your...

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Thinking of Summer Reading

Posted by on 2:28 pm in General, Randomness | 0 comments

or as they are often referred to Beach Reads. I know what books I took on vacation, you can see my list here.  I didn’t make it through the whole list I finished Three Days till Dead and On the Edge. I’m currently working on Doppelganger and enjoying it when I can steal a few minutes to read it. Out of curiosity where do you go to get your summer reading ideas.  One of them is Flashlight Worthy books that just put out a whole list devoted to Beach Reads. Another idea is to check out the blogs and websites of authors you enjoy and see what they are reading. What are your thoughts, feel free to share in the...

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