Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Funny Scenes...

I was thinking this morning, while choosing a funny scene from All or Nothing, that isn't love funny? What is more fun than falling in love? the thrill of the chase? the making up? the tension? the drama? all of it can tumble away in the blink of an eye with a laugh. That's what makes someone human--our ability to laugh at ourselves. For, what is more funny than being utterly vulnerable together?

I think that's why I love the romance genre so much... because in all things, in all situations, you put together a hero and heroine and there is always comedy before passion. At least, in my experience. Ha! don't know what that says about me... You get mystery, intrigue, comic relief, and then, that blissful happily ever after that little girls dream about. In my life, I'm lucky. I tell my kids that they are part of my happily ever after... that their daddy is my prince charming. And the day we got married, was my princess day.

Oh, don't get me wrong. Before I met him, I had to kiss a lot of toads along the way. :) And we can't always be princes and princessess. Somedays I wonder if Perry's been eating flies. Of if I'm not acting more like a wicked stepsister than the heroine... God has a phenomenal sense of humor. If you can't laugh with him, what's the fun of living?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Wine Notes...

This week is for celebrating. And abject terror. I sent my official final draft of All or Nothing in to Elizabeth yesterday - thanks to feedback from my Temecula Writer's Group... special thanks go out to Dan and Denise Harmer. Denise is now my hero. You have a gift for technical writing. A gift that skipped me, I might add! *embarassed to the max with the majority of my repeated technical errors.* Let's all pause for a note of thanks to the proofreaders out there. All right? ;-) Let's move on!

I felt like I was at AA last week during writing group - I admitted that whenever I pause in thought during heated writing - I type a comma. this results in TONS of revisions as my comma splices are identified and plucked out, one by one. Does anyone else have such bad writing habits?

So - all worry aside that Elizabeth will receive All or Nothing and want to throw it in the trash! - This week will be for celebrating. I need to scare myself up a bottle of Ruby Cuvee from Southcoast Winery... EXCELLENT offering, I might add. Ideal for celebrations.

Friday, April 25, 2008

To be Two Again...

Oh, to be two and a half again...
To not care that you're covered in sand. To grab on to your mommy when a wave plows you over. To know that she'll be there to catch you and bring you up to the surface again. To build sand castles and see magic in the air when a kite takes flight on an unseen breeze. To trust. To love. To laugh. To live. I suppose that's what Jesus meant, when he said let the children come to me. We all need to remember what it is like to be truly childlike. Ellie and Rachel are my teachers. They're my education on how to dance like no one is watching. How to be goofy and fun and that it's more fun to hear your favorite song a hundred times than to skip around the radio looking for something else. If I were two years old today, I'd want to dig the deepest hole I could. To look for seashells. To sit and let the waves slap at my legs. To spend all day with my mom and dad. To play. To eat too much ice cream. To fall asleep on the way home and know that I'd wake up in the comfort of my own bed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Point of View

I've been reworking All or Nothing - per my editor's comments - to look for Point of View violations. Point of View, interestingly enough, is also the focus of my writer's group this month. And, it just so happens that I've learned a few things in the process of fixing these Point of View errors.
  1. You generate suspense when your character/reader doesn't have all of the information.
  2. The need to go back and reread something for clarity is all but removed when the POV is right.
  3. Deciding who has the most to lose in a scene - and therefore should be the POV - is a challenge. A BIG one.

I've got 30 pages or so to finish and then I can call it a book. Read it one more time and send it on its merry way to Elizabeth. Who, incidentally, has the same name as my sweet Ellie. A God thing? Maybe. I'm just terribly grateful for such a professional, wonderful editor. She's really helping me become a better writer and I am learning to love the process.

Does anyone else feel that when you are forced to edit something, nothing is so juicy as all of those ideas that are floating in the aether? I have to force myself to edit when all I want to do is idea generate. To plot and plan. I have three books waiting to get started - new ideas, not to mention the three ideas on the back burner to be rewritten from scratch. *SIGH*

30 pages. Not insurmountable. Just need to knuckle down and get it done.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What a week.

I found out on Wednesday night that I had tonsilitis. What adult gets tonsilitis? Me, apparently. At least it explains my ping-ponging fever, and why I could no longer swallow. Perry was sick last week, me this week, I'm praying the girls stay healthy.

I'm 50 pages from being done with my first pass at revisions - then it's off to the next phase - the Editorial phase - of which I've never been on this side of the coin. Scary! exciting! I'm so ready. Reading all of these authors - these women on the Wild Rose Press message board - I can't wait to say that my book is on the market.

I'm also toying with several ideas on stories for the White Rose Line. So, we'll see what happens next. For today, I need to go play with Ellie. Rachel and Perry are doing the Dino Dad Day at school. Ellie needs some mommy time. If I can work in edge wise around Grandma. Ha!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Coffee and comments

Listening to: Flight 26
Drinking coffee.
Going through e-mail.
A stack of edits waiting to be entered.
Another week about to begin.

This week, I'll be spending more time at my work work - and less time dealing with new contract stuff, working with marketing at TWRP, etc. The contract is signed and on its way back.

We spent the weekend in Carlsbad, enjoying the sun, surf, and sand. Perry built the most amazing sand castle I've ever seen. Every kid on our part of the beach came by to help out. I have the most amazing husband in the world. It's nice to have him back after he was so sick last week.

The girls are sleeping. I'm going to work a bit on All or Nothing - just wanted to keep honest, as blogging every day is part of my New Years Resolution. Or I should say, new LIFE resoultion. It helps my brain stay flexible. The ideas are coming like water. I'm very impressed with the group of writers at TWRP and need to be able to keep up!


Friday, April 11, 2008

Where do the ideas come from...?

I'm in a think tank meeting, and I was just realizing that I am one of those people. Those idea people who think, why not? Why can't we do this? instead of that? And what's more... Where do all of the great ideas come from?

I think that most great ideas must stem from people being ticked off in one way or another. Wondering why something doesn't work as well as it should. Or why there isn't a better way to do something. Quicker. Faster. Cheaper. Better. Or maybe that's just me.

I've been thinking about agendas and organizing and planning, and really - I make fits and starts at it - but the question of the week is - what is your 5 year plan for writing?

That one has kept me up at night. So here's the deal with my writing background. I have always written. I used to dictate to my mother and she would read me back my elaborate tales. I fabricated great stories about riding on fire engines, or seeing a gorilla jump up and down on a policeman. (Some call this fibbing or - lieing. I call it a stellar imagination.)

so, I've always written. Since I was a child and could put pencil to paper. When I hyphenated words after consanants. When I misspelled everything. Okay, so I still need to edit myself - but who's asking. The point is, writers write. Because they have to. Because it is in their blood. Because they need to have that fix. Create that universe. Live in an alternate reality. It's who we are.

So, my 5 year plan for my writing is - to be the best writer I can be. To never give up. To write as many stories as I can. Enter contests. Publish multiple titles in e-book and print. To hone my craft. And, to learn how to juggle the important things, and let the little things drop where they may.

I have a few quotes from the prolific Nora Roberts that really made me understand my craft. And what I need to do to get to the next five years.

(I'm paraphrasing - but this is what I remember from her interview...)

"Write. Write the best story you can. Write what you would want to read. Enjoy
your characters. If you don't enjoy them, no one else will, either. Don't play
favorites. And remember, there are 88 keys on the piano - and think of all of
the beautiful and different songs and types of music."

(This is me again) Every story and character is a unique universe. And with regards to my process, I guess you could say that I write with my heart. I write what I have loved to read, or love to read now. Sometimes it's historical. Sometimes it's a mystery. Sometimes a thriller. But there is always a love story at the heart, because I'm a hopeless romantic. As my daughter Rachel reminded me the other day...

"Every story should start with Once upon a time and should end with ...And they lived happily ever after..."

We only have a limited amount of time on this earth - and personally if I read a book, I want to be entertained. To escape for awhile. To fall in love with a place. The sights. The smells. To miss them when I close the cover. And that, my friends, is how I want to write everything I pour my heart into.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A few minutes to organize!

Listening to: Flight 26 - XM Radio
Things to Do:
  1. Plan and Solitude
  2. Write list of things to do for work
  3. Write list of things to do for kids/Perry
  4. Write list of things to do for me

Today's schedule - thanks to my new online friend - is to plan and organize. I used to do this all of the time - but things have been most frenetic this week. I am a planner. I have to be, as I work from home and if I don't I have that ever present pile of papers staring me in the face. Taunting. Waiting for me to address them. Good heavens - I haven't even filled out my last two months of expense reports! Talk about needing to make a list of things to do.

Today - edits need to go on the back burner.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Author Page Up on The Wild Rose Press

Well, ladies and gentlemen...I'm officially "in the garden" as they say. I have my author's link up on The Wild Rose Press website. View it here...

I'm also meeting some fantastic fellow authors - the ladies in the garden are most prolific. It's actually most exciting and gives me a great deal of hope that All or Nothing will be more than a single title for me. Those who know me well know that writing has always been my heart's desire. And, wow. Here we are in rewrites.

Speaking of rewrites, here's a note as to progress:
I'm up to page 87 of 304. I feel really good of about 80 of them. (The page number/total changes as I rip scenes out, rewrite the POV, and I have to admit - some I mourn the loss of and others I can't believe I ever clung to as if a liferaft in a stormy sea!)

My overwhelming issue has been with my supporting cast, if you will. Yes, it's interesting to know who they are and how they think and feel, but as Elizabeth has reminded me again and again, the story is about RuthAnne and Bowen. And come to think of it, I'm a glosser over myself when I'm reading chapters such as these. AND when you gloss over your own chapters, that would be a big warning bell I would think.

The Online Writer's group I've joined is really neat. So far, I've "met" an author/cover artist from San Diego - and Canada - and various other well wishers who all lend phenomenal support. I've evaluated my character's opinions about me... (yikes. Never suspected Bowen would consider me a gossip!) and all of that. Crazy. Now I am looking to consider my writing process. Well, fits and starts seems most appropriate these days.

I have a stack of half finished plot outlines, WIPs and scraps of paper with ideas that I had at 3:45 am - which apparently is when my brain wakes up with creative fervor! my body however, flings a pillow over my head and forces me back into a restless slumber. That is, until I'm summoned by two year old Ellie to soothe a nightmare, fetch a cup of water, and now for heaven's sake! take her to the potty. She's 2! she potty trained herself and doesn't even use her pull up at night! must limit her fluid intake prior to bedtime. MUST. *sigh* Maybe I'll finally get the hang of motherhood by the time they go to college.

Of course, last night - my inspiration is this love of time travel romances that is flitting through the garden. I have one in my drawer - in need of a rewrite since many elements from that one migrated to All or Nothing (my stories are by no means monogomous in their pre-published formats).

SO - perhaps this one - Working title "The Hawk and the Raven" - a 3:47 am inspiration - might get my attention next. I will say this. Seeing all of these amazing women working on multiple projects, juggling family, career, life, the universe, and everything is incredibly inspirational. I finally feel like I've found where I belong.

Until tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Guess who was more excited to meet Jasmine and Aladin? Rachel or Me?
Ellie is missing from Pic as she couldn't stop climbing the Cave of Wonders, and had to be removed by her daddy - whom I am quite sure was bummed about not watching Jasmine. Look at her! I would have been bummed, too!
This morning, Rachel slept in and I spent some serious snuggle time with Ellie watching Dora. Then we wrote names on her Leap Frog clickstart computer. She's learning how to use the mouse. She's also digging the song I taught her to spell her name - what 2 year old can spell Elizabeth? Mine can. :) So proud. Then Rachel came downstairs, hair looking more like Madeline Kahn after becoming Mrs. Frankenstein, asking when Grandma was coming. HOLY COW. My mother's coming out this weekend. My house! Where's the housekeeper! What about my rewrites????

Then I remembered. Priorities. First my immediate family. Then my extended family. Then the rest of my life (writing, work, etc. etc.). I've added a new plate into my juggling routine. I now have to write in order to remain accountable. BUT - suddenly, it's all I want to do. BUT - therein exposes my need to prioritize. Daily. Hourly. By the minute. What the heck am I doing blogging right now, anyway?

Anyway, after a nice note from my editor, I'm able to breathe again. Did I mention how cool it is to write for TWRP? They are endlessly helpful, my fellow authors are enormously encouraging, and I feel I'm drinking from this well off creativity - so much I'm overflowing! However...

It's impossible to maintain a certain level of excitement for an extended period of time. I'm also going to have to step back from the message boards so I can get something done today other than lurk. Ha. SO - this morning, I'm contemplating the questions that the moderator of our online author's group asked of us. Namely:

  1. How does your main character feel about you?
  2. What position do your characters sleep in?
  3. Describe your story in under 25 words.
All challenging. I love this. So, I'm submitting my responses -and must go back to solving the world's bibliographic problems! so that I can pick up my kids and take them to the park. Oh. And go to writer's group tonight. Thank heaven for an understanding husband. If only I could find him underneath all of the laundry.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Things to do today:

Listening to: Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am
Things to do today...

1. work
2. work work work
3. edit All or Nothing for POV
4. send in contract!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5. e-mail my editor (grin!)
6. pick up the girls
7. dinner? what the heck can I make for dinner?

The phone hasn't stopped ringing all morning. It's been one of those days already. So much to be done, and where to start? That's what I get for praying to be organized. I started plotting my short story submission for TWRP today - and want to work on that...

SO, guess what I'm having to do now? Amazingly, it's the same thing I talk to Rachel about constantly. There are things you WANT to do and things you HAVE to do. The trick is, the careful balancing act that keeps you in the middle. How much of a Libra am I today? :)

Well, if that doesn't explain my mood. Out of balance! Out of my element! Thank heaven for the writers groups and messages of encouragement. Time to make a list of Have Tos so I can get to the Want Tos!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Overwhelmed, and ready to work...

SO, now the real work starts. All or Nothing - a historical romance, set in the American west - the story of RuthAnne Newcomb and Bowen Shepherd - the patriarchs of the Shepherd clan - whose story I hope to continue writing.

BUT, here goes. I'm the mother of two little girls. Rachel's 4, and Elizabeth is 2. They are my world. The girls, and my sweet husband - who took us all to Disneyland on Friday to celebrate All or Nothing's recent success. :) Sounds corny, but yeah. I got my first book contract, and I went to Disneyland!

At any rate - I also work full time for a large corporation and spend most of my days attempting to be a professional person. If they could only see me in my home office. We joke about my going to work in my bunny slippers and robe. Some days, it isn't far from the truth. NOW, Rachel goes to Preschool, so I have to get my butt out the door - wearing clothes and makeup and having actual conversations wiht real adults. It's kind of exciting for all of us. Let alone, that she's learning sweet little songs like "Where is Jesus?" and making friends that I've never met. I'm loving it, and hanging on a little tighter to Ellie all the while. Their childhood is not something I want to rush. Four years already, and I feel like life is on fastforward.

Still, in the past year, I've refound my ability to write. Something I lost except in fits and starts since the kids came. Last year, I wrote a shortstory that won an award. I completed, and I finished All or Nothing. It's been in revisions every since. And now, after some divine inspiration, stepping out on trust, and the support of my phenomenal writer's group - TWRP has put their trust in its success.

Here's to the future. Here's to a budding career as an author. Here is to RuthAnne and Bowen. For all of her strong will and his hard headedness - they found each other. A story wove around them, and the bandit they worked to capture. And here we are. As my mentor Nancy Taylor Rosenberg said, "Writing is re-writing." and you know what? It's okay by me.

Tomorrow, the contract goes in the mail. I continue to attack the dreaded POV and weather report issues that I'm sure plague my story. I continue plotting WIP #2 "The God Quotient" and WIP #3 "Mammoth Secrets" - we'll see which one takes off first. And, another day goes on. I am so blessed to have a hubby that is behind me, even if all of this process mystifies him to no end, and two little girls who hang on me. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I have never been more nervous or excited all at once.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I'm in the Garden!

Well, it finally happened today. I think I'm having an out of body experience. I'm really doing it. I'm getting published. I am an author. I did it. I have an editor who believes in me, my ability, and everything I've read and researched about them is wonderful. My editor gets back to me, she is giving me great advice, I have my notes and I'm off to start the next revision.

She sent the contract...and all of the paperwork... and I didn't get one of those knife-in-the-heart moments, when the rug gets pulled from your feet and you realize they want money from you. Not a moment's hesitation while reading the contract, wondering, are these people for real? It is just good business. An excellent plan. Talk of cover art, edits, galleys, and production.

I'm doing the happy dance! All or Nothing is going to be published... BREATHE.

Thank you, Wild Rose Press for believing in this book!

Now, the real work starts. Once again - I'm thrilled to do it. I have reams of papers to read and fill out, and edits to begin.