Monday, May 31, 2010

What I Learned While Working The Census

Some of you are probably aware I have been working on the census and not my writing. This isn't by choice. My husband and I found our business impacted by the economy and we needed the extra income.

I began the job with some preconceived notions, most of which were wrong. First, I just knew that the poorer sections of town, the ones plagued with the most crime, posed the most danger to me personally. I entered these areas with great trepidation, constantly on the lookout for dangerous situations, ready to flee at any given moment. The truth was, people in these areas were kind and courteous to me. They were welcoming and almost always offered me a seat and a cool drink.

My next assignment was in a more affluent area. I gave a big sigh of relief as I drove to the much posher neighborhood. This feeling of well-being lasted until the third house, where I was met by a man in his bathrobe who was carrying a gun as he walked on to his deck to ward me off. You would have been amazed at how quickly I scampered back to my car. In this same area I met a couple of homemakers who could easily qualify for the nomination of witch of the year. One took great pleasure in asking me to come back 4 times, only to be too busy each time to answer four minutes of questions. The other was rude and ill-tempered for no good reason that I could see. Finally, there was the house with three cars parked out front. I both rang the bell and knocked on the door because I couldn't be sure that my knock could be heard over the blaring noise of the television or stereo coming from within. After the second round of knocking on the door, a hand cautiously pulled aside the blind. Thinking I looked pretty harmless, I waited for the door to open. Much to my surprise a voice from within informed me that no one was home.

So, what have I learned from these experiences? Money doesn't buy good manners. An upscale neighborhood doesn't guaranty personal safety. And, there are crackpots who live in the good neighborhoods as well as on the other side of the tracks.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Smitten With Books

Since Niama had posted about Jennifer, I figured it would be okay to share this with you. Is this young lady not adorable? What a fan, Jennifer! I'm jealous.

We'll need to remember to post whenever our other members have books to come out. Help me to remember!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Endless Summer is Here!

Summer. Young hotties. Love Triangle.
Endless Summer by Jennifer Echols is finally here!

On May 25th, the story of Lori, Sean and Adam is the perfect book to escape to the lake with...even if it's on your couch!

"Lori can't wait for her summer at the lake. She loves wakeboarding and hanging with her friends--including the two hotties next door. With the Vader brothers, she's always been just one of the guys. Now that she's turning sixteen, she wants to be seen as one of the girls, especially in the eyes of Sean, the older brother. But that's not going to happen--not if the younger brother, Adam, can help it.

Lori plans to make Sean jealous by spending time with Adam. Adam has plans of his own for Lori. As the air heats up, so does this love triangle. Will Lori's romantic summer melt into one hot mess?"

And did I mention that as a bonus, the award-winning novel, Boys Next Door, is included? Two books in one! Does it get better? I think not!

Endless Summer is available at bookstores everywhere or you can buy it here!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I love Stan Lee.

I've never met him, but I have collected his creations for years. He is the creator of many of the Marvel Comics stories and characters that are now coming to big screen. Because of my fascination with his stories, it was my dream, ever since I was ten years old to become a Comic Book artist. I even went to Art school to pursue my dream.

Obviously that didn't work. I am not unhappy about that decision (OK, maybe not by much), but after seeing the movie Ironman 2 this weekend I remembered how much I wanted to draw those stories.

Do you know that in every Marvel Comic movie, Stan Lee shows up? In the Hulk he was the un-named guy that drank the tainted drink from Mexico. Can you spot him in the new movie?

I wonder how Stan Lee feels about his creations going to big screen? Lets face it, the technology is at a place that can actually do the stories justice. I know I get completely enamoured by what I see. I can only imagine how Mr. Lee reacts. I look for and see the nods toward other characters and movies that are being made. (See the picture of Thor's Hammer? You have to watch all the way AFTER the credits to get that little tidbit)

In my fascination, I forget that not everyone collected comics like the X-men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spiderman, New Mutants, Spiderman (I could go on and on). I get the little hints and I already understand their motivations. A friend of mine complained that there was too many gaps in plot and logic. I just went with it, willing to accept it because I was seeing those characters I'd read come to life.

Why do I love Super Hero comics and the movies about them? It is there, that I first saw stories that explored the Anti-hero, Like Wolverine (my absolute favorite Hero). Initially most stories were cut and dried-Good Vs. Evil, then it changed bringing in the grey areas of moral choice, and how villains and heroes were pushed to do good and bad things. That's when Spiderman found his black suit and fought his dark side.

Great stuff.

Funny, but I began to look at my writing and realized I was doing what I set out to do--with words. I am writing a Dark Urban Fantasy that brings in all those elements I mentioned above. It has people with strange powers, action, shady deeds, and moral choices.

Now all I have to figure out is how to put Stan Lee in my story.....

So, what influenced your writing?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Getting Down To It

As Southern Magic VP, I had to really search my imagination for programs in 2010. I don’t know about you, but it feels like I’ve been through every program more than once. It's possible the reason for this is because I’ve been at this trying-to-get-published thing too long. Maybe for someone starting out it's all new.

But for someone who’s been trying to publish for MORE than a few years, it's difficult to find incentive to come to a meeting. Everyone has such easy access to online programs and classes now, there’s almost no need to go and meet with the writing peeps once a month.

So, looking at next year (yes I’m in charge of the first couple of programs), I’m trying to get creative and think outside the box.

What would you like to see next year at Southern Magic? Would you like more interactive programs? Story boards and critiquing? Speakers … and if so, what kind?

Would you be interested in a couple of half-day editors/agent programs and then pitches? If so, would you prefer agents or editors (or both)? What type of program would you like editors/agents to talk about? Industry? Craft?

Lots of questions, I know, and I’m not stopping there.

We seemed to have hit a point where those who volunteer all the time are having to take a step back to get more time for our writing. We all have day jobs and families. If you haven’t volunteered, what’s stopping you? Terrified you’ll drop the ball? Not sure what to do? What would be the incentive to get more involved? What if we had a position-elect for all board positions? You could “intern” and observe your predecessor so you didn’t feel like you were falling into the deep end of the pool come January 1.

Would you like to see the positions simplified and spread out among more members?

Please comment and let me know on a few of these. If you prefer, please comment anonymously.

Thanks for the input, everyone!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


As a mom with a full-time job, I’ve always had to squeeze time out of my busy schedule for writing. I’ve been writing steadily for about fifteen years, but for the first few years it was hit and miss, a little writing here, a little writing there. No pressure or time constraints and no real goals, other than to finish the manuscript I was working on . . . at some point.

In my forties, with the ugly Five-O on the horizon, I got serious about my writing. If I was going to do this, I’d better get cracking, I told myself. I was going to finish this darn book and get published before my fiftieth birthday.

Good grief, fifty! Where did all the time go? If I didn’t do this thing by then, it was all over but the crying.

Shows you how naive I was, with no real idea of the odds and difficulties I would face as an unknown writer on the road to publication. Ignorance is bliss, they say.

At any rate, with Doomsday looming ahead, most days I managed to carve out some writing time. I had a goal, a self-imposed deadline to meet, with ‘dead’ being the operative word.

Fifty, sheesh.

D-Day crept closer and closer.

As writing daily became a regular habit, I began to get anxious if I didn’t get my daily dose of prose. There were still plenty of days when life intruded upon my creative efforts, so I cut myself a little slack. I set a weekly goal of writing a chapter a week, which for me averages anywhere from 2500 to 3700 words. That way, if I missed a day because of work or the kids, I could make it up the next day without feeling guilty or anxious.

Did I mention that guilt is a motivating factor for me? Guilt is my friend and my enemy. It keeps me on the straight and narrow, but it also makes me crazy as a June bug.

I finished the fantasy manuscript I was working on before Doomsday, but I didn’t get published. I have the pile of rejection letters to prove it. A quite impressive pile of rejection letters, I must say.

Fifty came and went and I kept writing. I decided to try my hand at something else, a romance about Addy, a small town Southern florist and a hunky immortal demon slayer named Brand. Lo and behold, thanks to luck, prayer and a lot of help from friends, DEMONS IN DIXIE sold! Whoo hoo!

Now I am facing my first deadline set by the publisher and not my inner nag. I have a 30,000 word novella due in July. Having learned a little about time management and goal setting over the years, I’m trying to write 10,000 words a month. A highly doable goal, I think, given the fact I haven’t quit my day job or turned in my mom card. I reached my goal in April and I’m aiming for 12,000 words in May.

When you set out to eat an elephant, take small bites. That’s my philosophy and it works for me.

What about you? Do daily/weekly/monthly goals work for you? How do you get yourself motivated and keep your butt in the chair?

Oh, and by the way, I’m fifty-three. Life didn’t end at fifty and neither did my passion for writing.

Or my ability to dream and reach for that brass ring.

Hmm, wonder what I should shoot for at sixty?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

True Confessions

By: Debbie Kaufman

This is actually my first attempt at a writer’s confessional story. You know the ones – where we bare all our dirty little secrets?

What’s my dirty little secret? Well, I used to be a contest slut, but I’ve abandoned that avocation and moved on to the big leagues.

Now, I’m an auction whore.

That’s right. An auction whore.

Every year in April the itch starts to build, and by May 1st I’m bidding like a woman possessed. I’ve bid on earrings of all types (my other little obsession), books galore, a ten day trip to Italy, baskets of kid’s soaps, lunches at RWA National, critiques from editors, agents, and authors, and, most recently a guitar that was used and autographed by Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees fame. Okay, the last one was my husband who when I told him it had just been added to the list of items yelled out (with little decorum I might add), “Bid ON IT!”

Did I say that the opening bid was $300? I think I just went from back alley auction whore to high class auction escort.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about Brenda Novak’s annual auction to raise money for diabetes research. It’s a huge extravaganza with offerings that literally fit the bill of “something for everyone.” Now, I admit the editor/agent offerings can get a little pricey at the end, but the author critiques can be a real bargain and come in every flavor from YA to erotic.

Another great bargain this year is Brenda’s Mentorship contest. This is my favorite offering this year and is an unparalleled opportunity for the lucky winner.

This year my obsession moved to a new level. I organized a category for my other blog sisters, The Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog (okay, so I’m a blog ho too!). We put our own donations into the mix in the Blog Bounty from Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Category. Say, I think we need a cutesy name for the Romance Magicians category next year! I'll organize it.

We were generously joined by agent Chelsea Gilmore of the Maria Carvainis Agency. Find her offer to critique your 50 pages with a ONE WEEK turn around under agent evaluations.

So, why am I so obsessed with this great cause? Well, I did say it was a confessional, right?

It’s because I’ve lived with diabetes for twenty-eight years now. Of that time, I’ve been on insulin for twenty-six years. I have tried to be aggressive about taking care of myself, but you’d be amazed at what it takes to mimic the function of those tiny little islet cells that God created to manufacture insulin.

Frankly, it takes a lot. I have worn an insulin pump for almost twenty-four years. I was quick to obtain a new continuous glucose sensor when they came out about three years ago. I am as close to the bionic diabetic as I can be. Despite all of this, managing this disease is a real, daily struggle. And, it’s one I will inevitably lose unless a cure is found. To date, I have had two laser eye procedures and I visit the retina specialist every three months.

The idea of becoming a blind writer is not appealing.

There are a lot of ugly diseases out there and a tremendous amount of good causes. Brenda Novak has made this one a no-brainer for you to participate in by offering so many wonderful items.

So, what are you waiting for? Get bidding. Uh, NOW! Oh, and if you are a first time bidder, please put my name in where it says how did you hear about the auction. I could use the extra bidding money at this point. :)

Okay, so tell. What's your dirty little secret?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Thought I Knew Her

When I began my current WIP I was confident I had my heroine all figured out. I knew exactly what she looked like, her tragic backstory, even her OCD quirk of separating M&M's by color before eating them. OK, that's my OCD quirk, but that's beside the point. Bottom line, I thought I knew this woman as well as I know my best friend. It was the hero that had me stumped. I had no idea what he looked like or even why he was in this story.

Fast forward several months. I'm looking at my heroine and asking, "Who ARE you?" The backstory is the same. She still looks the same. Her GMC is still even the same. So why has she suddenly become a stranger to me? And the hero? I still have a little trouble "seeing" him but otherwise he's become the proverbial open book.

I always laughed when writers said their characters had taken over the story or refused to "talk" to them. I thought to myself, "it's your story, you're making it up so why are you blaming the characters?" Ah, the bliss of ignorance.

Have you had characters hijack a story? Or (as in my case) go into hiding and refuse to play? How did you handle their bad behavior? I'm not sure it will help, but I'm about to have a stern discussion with a certain lady I thought I knew.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Less is More

Speechless. That is the best word to describe how I felt when New York Times bestselling author, archaeologist, and tea expert, Gail Carriger, agreed to an interview. After reading her debut novel, Soulless, she quickly joined the list of my  favorite authors. Her website best describes her novels. The “Parasol Protectorate Series books are comedies of manners set in Victorian London: full of vampires, dirigibles, and tea.” Whether you like romances, steampunk, urban fantasies, comedies, mysteries, or alternative histories, you are sure to find yourself swept away in a delightful time once you open her books.

Ms. Carriger's obligatory biography reads: Ms. Carriger began writing in order to cope with being raised in obscurity by an expatriate Brit and an incurable curmudgeon. She escaped small town life and inadvertently acquired several degrees in Higher Learning. Ms. Carriger then traveled the historic cities of Europe, subsisting entirely on biscuits secreted in her handbag. She now resides in the Colonies, surrounded by fantastic shoes, where she insists on tea imported directly from London. She is fond of teeny tiny hats and tropical fruit. The Parasol Protectorate books are: Soulless (Oct. 2009), Changeless (March 2010), and Blameless (September 2010). Soulless won the ALA's Alex Award. On April 18, 2010, Changeless became a New York Times Bestseller in Mass Market Paperbacks. Soulless has been nominated for a Compton Crook Award and a Locus Award. Ms. Carriger has been nominated for a John W. Campbell Award (vote here).

I cannot express my gratitude to Ms. Carriger for agreeing to this interview. Please be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Soulless or Changeless along with a tin of English tea!

 1.    Who is your heroine, Alexia Tarabotti?

Alexia is a soulless parasol-wielding spinster with a head for trouble, a gay vampire best friend, and a werewolf problem.

2.    Who is Lord Conall Maccon, Earl of Woolsey?

Alexia's werewolf problem. The head of BUR (Queen Victoria's Bureau of Unnatural Registry), alpha of the London werewolf pack, and big fuzzy tempest in the teapot of Alexia's quiet well-ordered life (so to speak).

3.    What problems does Alexia face in Soulless, the first book in the Parasol Protectorate Series?

Alexia accidentally kills an unexpected vampire and gets embroiled in London politics, local scientific societies, and some very suspicious octopuses.

4.    Changeless, the second book in the series, was just recently released and takes Alexia to Scotland, the backwater of ugly waistcoats. What sort of creatures and challenges does she find there?

Aside from the waistcoats? Well there is a good deal of ghostly interaction, some very bad weather, more octopuses, and an unanticipated love of haggis.

5.    When is Blameless going to come out, and can you give us a hint at where Alexia's adventures may take her?

Blameless is out September 1, and Alexia is off in pursuit of Important Stuff traveling through Europe and into the company of a Frenchman with a very large beard, a German with a very small dog, and Italians wearing embroidered nightgowns.

6.    What is steampunk, and what attracted you to writing in this genre?

Steampunk is the love child of a BBC costume drama and Hot Topic. What attracted me? Isn't that self explanatory? (Seriously though, if you're super interested visit the steampunk page on my website ~ it's far more exciting and in-depth. )

7.    What is your writing process?

Generally speaking it involves sitting down in a chair, raising my hands to a keyboard, and pressing down on one key after another in succession. There is also usually a large quantity of tea involved, a few notebooks, and some general attempts at procrastination involving podcasts, blogging, and (erm) interviews.

8.    What is your favorite part of the writing process?

Editing! Especially the first "red pen" pass when I really get to eviscerate everything I've just written. It's immensely satisfying much in the same way as weeding.

9.    Would you share any writing advice you received that you found to be completely worthless or just flat-out wrong?

"Write what you know." Pah. Seriously, for fiction? If you don't know it, just make it up, it's probably more exciting that way. Still not happy? There's always actual non-fiction books or, horror of horrors, wikipedia.

10.    What advice do you have for pre-published authors?

Sit down, write the book, the whole book. Send it out. Forget about it. Then sit your arse back down and write something completely different.

11.    What is your favorite tea?

 Twinings English Breakfast gold label from England (not the red box found in the US)

You can friend or follow Gail on Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal, or Blogspot. Or join The Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group and take over the world one sip of tea at a time. You can also play the Alexia paper-doll dress up game.

Thank you, again, to the ever gracious Gail Carriger - I've already pre-ordered Blameless.  Until September, I will have to be content re-reading my copies of Soulless and Changeless

 All comments through Friday, May 14 at 7:00 PM (it's my birthday - I have to have cake and ice cream sometime!) will be entered to win a copy of Soulless an or Changeless accompanied with English tea.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hmmm, Which Writing Book Should I Buy Now?

A friend of mine has a blog called Books on Writing and I've been enjoying her take on the different books she posts on. The information she shares is helpful. Be sure to check it out.

Like most writers, I have quite a few on the subject and some I wished I hadn't wasted my money. Not that the authors didn't know what they were talking about, they were just boring. I will say if someone recommends a writing book, be sure they have a copy and use it often. Buyer beware if they say, "I heard that's a good one" but don't own it. I bought one on that recommendation and regretted it. Who has $10 to $25 to waste?

So remember, most people won't recommend a book they own and don't like.

One I suggest you check out is SAVE THE CAT! by Blake Snyder. I like his style of explaining things. It's easy to read and he has a quirky sense of humor. The book is actually for screenwriting but it can be applied to novels without a problem. I bought it when I read on another blog (can't remember whose) how excited the woman was about the book. She even claimed it helped her become published. So who can ignore that recommendation?

I do have several more I enjoy and use that are for storytelling in general, like THE WRITER'S JOURNEY by Christopher Vogler, CREATING CHARACTER EMOTIONS by Ann Hood and THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE by William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White.

What book(s) on writing do you find to be most useful?

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Kiss is still a Kiss

A Kiss is still a Kiss...

I have to admit, I hate writing intimate scenes. It's so intimidating! I don't want a kiss to come off like a "how-to" video--"The woman places her hand on the man's shoulder and steps on tip-toe, angling her face approximately 25 degrees to the right...." Ick.

I want to capture the pure magic of that first touch of lips, the first slow slide of his hand down her spine, the touch of her fingers on the stubble of his jaw....

But I digress.

What made me think about kissing scenes was a video I watched right here on Romance Magicians, a compilation of great movie kisses. Some of the kisses were great. Some weren't exactly inspiring. And knowing how hard it was for me to write a great kiss, I wondered how hard it must be for actors to perform a great kiss. Because some of them are apparently very, very good at kissing on demand. I've noticed.

I have a few favorite movie kisses, you see. Yes, I keep a list. And probably at the very top of my list is the kiss between Cora (Madeline Stowe) and Nathaniel (Daniel Day Lewis) in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS.

Cora and Nathaniel are in the middle of a highly-charged situation--the fort in under siege from the French—and Nathaniel has already gotten crossways with the British commander, who happens to be Cora's father, because he refuses to allow the colonials to leave the fort to check on their unprotected families, who are in dire danger from Indian war parties. In the middle of this fear-filled night, Cora and Nathaniel come together in a kiss that makes my palms sweat every time I watch.

What really works for me in this scene is that it's so obviously highly sexual and explosive, set as it is in a tense and desperate moment in the movie. And yet, it never comes off as anything but deeply romantic. Some passionate kisses can sizzle but lack the deeper sense of soul connection. This kis is my all time favorite because the actors and the setting created the sort of romance that we writers long to recreate—and our readers long to savor.

I also love the kiss between Bridget and Mark at the end of BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY. The situation is completely insane--Bridget (Renee Zellweger) is running through the streets of London in her knickers, chasing after Mark (Colin Firth), whom she's afraid she's driven away by some unguarded comments in her diary, which he accidentally read. When he calmly tells her that he's just gone out to buy her a new diary, she realizes that he's the solid presence she desperately needs in her drama-fraught life, and they share a kiss that melts the snow falling around them.

For a completely different reason, I love the first kiss between Clara (Joanne Woodward) and Ben (Paul Newman) in THE LONG, HOT SUMMER. Ben is a drifter, the son of an arsonist, who insinuates himself in the life of Clara's family, the wealthy but deeply disfunctional Varners. Clara is a teacher, a repressed, highly intelligent woman with dry wit and a love-hate relationship with her overbearing father. When Ben sets his eyes on her, she wants desperately to be appalled and disgusted.

But there's something about him that fascinates her, as well, and when he catches her late one night in her father's general store, where he's working as the manager, he lets her know in uncertain terms what his intentions are. He means to have her. He doesn't hide the fact that her father has chosen him to marry his spinster daughter, and he's figured out that it's smart to do whatever will Varner wishes. But underlying the mercenery pragmatism, Ben conveys the fact that he finds her entirely desirable on her own merits.

No wonder Clara, whose long-time boyfriend is sexually ambiguous at best, can't keep up the struggle long when he kisses her. It's not a happy kiss, or a very long one, but it's the first real crack in Clara's ice, and it was a great moment.

So, those are a few of my favorite screen kisses. What are some of yours?

Friday, May 07, 2010

Where's my @#$%&! happy ending?

I've spent the last twenty years secretly dissatisfied with what I was reading and not really realizing it. How so?

Well, I like thrillers, mysteries, and novels of suspense. I read a lot of Clancy, Baldacci, Grisham, Flynn, Grafton, and Meltzer. All of these writers know how to produce a great story that keeps me up turning the pages, but in many cases, I would close the book with a slight sense of disappointment when the hero didn't get the girl (or didn't even try).

It's not about sex scenes, though I never object to a few well-written encounters. ;-) It's about the emotional build up between the MC and the love interest, and getting the payoff at the end. It's about finally resolving the sexual tension that's been hovering over the story for 300-400 pages.

Maybe I didn't pick up on it because Follett, Finder, Francis (hmm, there's good stuff in the F's) and Cussler usually gave me some kind of happy ending, even if it wasn't an HEA. Grisham too, on occasion.

It was only recently, after spending the last 18 months devouring romances that I came to recognize that sense of disappointment for what it was. I'd just never given it much thought before (unusual for me, I know).

What brought on this moment of self-awareness was David Baldacci's book TRUE BLUE. (SPOILER ALERT!) I had a hard time putting it down, and he even built in some sexual tension between the heroine and the guy she starts pal-ing around with. I spent the whole book waiting for the payoff, but at the end there was none. NONE! Not even a kiss.

He's probably setting this up as a mini-series, but for me it was as if he set up a joke and failed to deliver the punch line. The joke was on me.

If you like Baldacci, TRUE BLUE won't disappoint, but if you're looking for even a hint of HEA, just keep looking.

So now, when I pick up some of my old favorite authors, I do it with full knowledge that I'll probably enjoy the book, but I won't get my happy ending.

If only I'd realized this years ago, I could have been reading romances all along.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

A Day Late & A Dollar Short: Hijacked by Life

Hi Everyone! I've been so busy I missed my blogger deadline for the Romance Magicians. I was supposed to blog on May 5, but I got bogged down and didn't even check blogs online yesterday. Today I'm just coming up for air before I get back into my writing hole. Frankly, the muck and mire still exists and I don't have any *smart* erudite thing to blog or say. Therefore, I've decided to blog about why I'm bogged down.

Here it is in a nutshell:

*distracted to bits and pieces by the life and writing roller coaster of highs and lows

Here it is in long version:

*company for a week
*cleaning for company, cleaning up after company left
*cooking for six
*touring the Southeast and AL with 2 cars, 4 adults and 2 teens
*coping with bad news about a sudden death in my SIL's family
*coping with more bad news about my FIL's declining health and the VA's bureaucracy
*caught up in the news about the flooding in Nashville and worried about friends who live there
*caught up in the news about how the Opryland Hotel was destroyed
*trolling the RWA site for ANY information about the National Conference
*trolling TWITTER and Facebook for more information
*buying supplies
*waiting for CPs to return my rough story sketch
*reading through judge comments and determining which, if any, I can use in the next revision
*rewriting a story sketch for the 4th time
*talking to my CP in Virginia about the Conference (she's a GH finalist) and what we'll do to offset the disappointment if it's canceled
*moderating an online workshop for my sister chapter, Heart of Dixie, for the first time
*fielding emails about who gets what money where and redoing it three times to reflect new students
*getting new students enrolled on Yahoo
*writing more stuff for my story sketch (see how I was writing here?)
*celebrating with my fellow writers when the Conference was saved! Look out Mickey Mouse, here we come
*still plodding along on my story sketch and figuring out what to put where and why include it anyway
*talking to CPs in AL and VA about entering another MS in the category romance section of the MAGGIES (yes, I'll do it--nothing to lose)
*booking my flight to Orlando (woohoo!)
*explaining to my DH and my DD why I absolutely DON'T WANT THEM IN ORLANDO WITH ME for the conference
*moderating online workshop and trying to learn stuff
*printing certificates
*mailing certificates
*going to the dance studio to watch my DD dance before I watch her dance at the recital
*missing one dance and staying for another dance
*more writing and emailing of story sketch to final CP for poking holes into the story
*ten loads of laundry including sheets and towels
*grocery shopping and cooking for three again
*sunshine and blue skies making me want to play and not work at all
*reading for pleasure in the sunshine
*writing, there's always writing
*wondering why I am writing when this business is so tough
*still writing

Oops! I forgot to blog on my blog date!!

But I hope you all can forgive me after reading my list of reasons :-)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Pretty Scenes, Lined Up in a Row

I read once that Diana Gabaldon, author of the famed Outlander series, never writes in a linear fashion. Various scenes come to her, she writes them, then later figures out how to connect them.

I've heard that other authors write the ending first so they know how everything has to end up.

And there are probably authors who start right in the middle and work outward toward each end. (Although this strikes me as a very confusing way to write!)

I have always been a linear writer -- starting at the beginning, and hacking my way through the word jungle til I reach the bitter end. But with this manuscript, I'm trying it differently and writing scenes out of order. It's not exactly Diana Gabaldon's method, but it's new to me and has given me fresh energy. We'll see if it works.

How about you? Do you write linearly or Gabaldonly?

Saturday, May 01, 2010


For the past few years, I’ve been telling myself that “when I grow up” I want to be a writer. It wasn’t until recently it dawned on me that I already am and have been for quite some time. It all started, for me, when I was in elementary school and my great-granny gave me a Virginia Slim’s calendar (hey, smoking was cool in the 80’s). The pages were peppered with notes of what happened to me that day (I actually still have it) .

As I grew older, I tried writing poetry. I even wrote, albeit not very well, a novella while in high school. But, I didn’t understand or appreciate my fascination with reading and the use of words. I certainly didn’t realize my compulsion to do just what I’m doing now – writing.

In fact, when college came, I ignored it. Writing wasn’t a real career. As anyone that writes knows, being published and making an independent living off of your work is not automatic or guaranteed. So, I didn’t consider it a real choice. Rather, I’ve been “on the fence” about writing professionally for the past ten years. Dabbling, but not really committing to my passion to create.

Though I’m still in the early stages of writing a book, I’ve finally recognized that I am already a writer. Just because I’m not making an income or established as a known author doesn’t make this any less of a truth.

So, when did you realize you were a “real” writer?