Thursday, April 30, 2009

Here Piggy Piggy

My city and county shut down all the schools for a few days due to the SWINE FLU PANDEMIC. Or is it the "STORM OF THE CENTURY?" Not sure, but in an effort to prevent future lawsuits, err, probable but not caused infections, or any real sense, the county shut everything down. 

Ah, now how long will the school year be? Do I need to panic? No. My daughter is old enough to fend for herself and so I could write to my heart's content.

I finally plowed through the second scene in the the second chapter. It took me 4 or more hours to work on it, but it reads better. Not great, but better. Then I worked on the 3rd chapter and polished it. It took about an hour and a half to do three scenes. Whew. 

Tomorrow I polish up my synopsis and edit it and my query letter. I must get this out the door soon.

I also have to take care to stay healthy--and sane in an insane world.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Yesterday I went to my second tutorial at the APPLE store. This time I remembered to bring my silver card that would give me access to the great one-to-one portal. Wow, insert card and voila, a whole new world is opened!

Well, it's not that simple. First, I was introduced to a young man who was prepared to walk me through all my MAC questions. We skipped basic keyboarding etc., because, well, I'm not completely ignorant when it comes to computers. We entered into the portal using my membership number on the silver credit card. Then the young man proceeded to teach me all kinds of cool things and make my MAC world a little brighter.

I now have ITUNES on my MAC Account! I can get music now!! I am so excited--well I can after I take both Laptops into the store and have them configured on Friday (whoot!). I am also versed in IDisk and Mobile Me (a bit). IDisk is a wondrous way to back up my files to a big computer in some sky located in Neptune--not really--but it feels that way to me. Any way, here is the BEAUTY of this IDisk. I can access all my files and work on them FROM ANY COMPUTER I USE ANYWHERE!!! How amazing is that? I am shivering with excitement about it. Whoot!!

Now that brings me to all the passwords and user names I have to remember. I have one user name for the majority of my APPLE connections, and another for -- let me refer to my little silver APPLE notebook--Mobile Me. I will learn more about Mobile Me and IWeb at my next session. 

Oh how did I ever live before the MAC?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Will I Ever Finish Chapter Two-Scene Two?

I'm bogged down. Stuck in mud. Wanting to move forward, but catching my feet and tripping. When I think I have a solution, I go to write, and it drops away--it doesn't work. And this is the second chapter. I need it to read well. I want my first three chapters to be GOLDEN. I need them to go to Ellora's Cave. I have sworn off all contests until I finish the revision AGAIN and I keep finding more stuff to fix. Argh.

I spent 3 hours on the second chapter. Most of them on the second scene. I am desperate to make my mostly Alpha male not come off as a slime, so I've toned down a lot of what I had written. But then I lose the erotic elements that I want to showcase. Double argh.

I am devoting 1 hour to it this morning. Then I am moving forward to Chapter 3, regardless if it the second chapter is finished. I need this to work for me. Perhaps moving forward will give me some insight. At this point, I want to cut the damn scene altogether, but that leaves me hanging at the end of the first scene. The other solution is to call a trusted writing friend and ask her what to do. Another solution is to vomit anything onto the page and see if a fraction of it is fixable. 

I want to submit this piece and get it out of my hair. I have a pretty good query letter and my synopsis is shaping up nicely.  I am determined to have three chapters to send by mid-May. I think that's what bogging me down. The self-imposed deadline. But once I am finally "called"--this will be my life.

Hair pulling and gnashing of teeth come with the territory--all writers suffer from this angst: published or not!  

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Weekend Break

I am still on medication, but I am definitely on the mend. I can't wait to get the test results back so I know what I am dealing with and we can fix it! Friday night I went shopping with my daughter and then home to cookout. Just as we were wrapping up a late night grill session and getting ready to sit down, the doorbell rang. My crazy, ineffectual neighbor showed up with her 10 yr. daughter -- locked out. The whole scenario was weird. I think if we hadn't pushed for her to call her husband to see if he was home with the other two children, she'd have stayed the night. We finally convinced her to go check if he was home after three unanswered calls. We told her to leave her daughter with us until she got home and knew if she could get in. We got a call a few minutes later, yeah, he was home. So my daughter walked her's home and we finally ate our meal at 8:30PM! 

Now what husband comes home after his wife and daughter, walks in the door and sees they're not there, and doesn't freak out about where the other half of his family is????? I tell you, there is a story in this situation. One I am afraid isn't good. But what to do? I feel for the children. But I don't know what is going on other than idiocy and complete lack of planning. These two shouldn't have had one child, let alone three. So sad. But unless I see evidence of real abuse, I cannot do a thing to help them. 

On Saturday I hosted a baby shower for my other neighbor. It was so much fun. And I met some wonderful people. We had all ages here from teenager to grandmother. Beautiful homemade blankets, quilted and crocheted, were given. Blankets with the baby's name on it, presents for big sister, adorable clothes, practical items. As always, bring a group of women together and there is laughter and a sense of hope for the future. And we are all very happy for this family. She'd had a terrible miscarriage, one that almost killed her, nearly a year ago. Now they are welcoming a new baby girl into their family and they are ecstatic. 

This family is a good family. A family where all are involved in the process of parenting, loving and raising the children. And what a difference it makes. Their first child is a delight--a bundle of love and affection filled with hugs and enthusiasm for all she greets. I have no worries for this family.

Two days: two views. 

Today we are focusing on family here at home. First my darling daughter has an early voice lesson. Off to the best voice coach we go. Then when we return, we've planned omelets and bacon we three. Then the usual homework and hanging out, grilling tonight, chillaxing with each other. Our daughter is 14, almost 15, and she is a mature (usually) and giving individual with optimism for her future. I'd like to think we had a bit a of a hand in guiding her in that direction. 

We have three stories this weekend. One a sad family filled with characters that could be in a OPRAH Book Club novel. In another, we have an Inspirational Love Story filled with family and love and values. In ours? Well, I guess we are the contemporary romance version of a SuperRomance. My DH and I met nearly 24 yrs ago, had a whirlwind romance and got married after six weeks! The real work didn't begin till after we said our vows. But we had one mutual goal, one plan, from which we never veered: we started our family when we became a couple. Neither one of us had great family backgrounds, I on my own at 16 and he without a dad early in life. But we were determined to have a strong family. Our family may not be a big one. But it is a strong one.

I wonder why some people fail to see that family requires effort? 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Woohoo--Kiss Scene Attacked

Well I've been tackling a myriad of issues with the story this past week--a little in the AM and a little in the PM. AM I work on the MS and PM the query and/or synopsis. Given my health and all the doctor visits, I feel pretty pleased about my progress.

The kiss scene is addressed and changed. Not perfect. But my hero is not a sleaze anymore (at least not to me). I went through the first chapter with a great judge edit and then I hit it today with my own spin. Worked out well--I had distanced myself from it so it was easier to tackle.

I woke up with a lot rolling in my head re: this book and a tag line for the 4th book's query. Figure I may as well start laying down the groundwork for the next pitch/query now. Any rate, have an idea for a scene at the end so I jotted that down in scrivener. And then I wrote down and saved the tag. Then I worked on the kiss scene--yeah to sexual tension, not actual action. 

All and all a productive week for me. Whew.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wow! My Query is Shaping Up

I have learned something very new about myself when it comes to query letter writing. A little bit a day makes the pain go away. That and an amazing set of CPs!!! I have been plunking down stuff for a week now, editing, revising, adding, subtracting, and generally mulling. I learned that queries, if mulled in the shower, also reveal themselves to me in moments of brilliance in the shower. 

Hmmm? What is it about me and the showers? Whatever it is, it works.

I sent off my first attempt at anything reasonable to my CP and a new writing accountability partner. And I got good feedback. That is the second thing that is important about this whole process for me. I need the feedback. What is working? I have the idea. But that's my strength. My weakness is in execution. I can come up with the framework, but I need a bit of tinkering. 

Did I mention I love my CP?

I'm happy I have something to work with and can use to send out to publishers. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Dreaded Synopsis *gulp & gasp*

The morning stunk. Period. 2 hours at the doctor, blood work drawn, unreasonable weight gain in a month (argh and double argh), and general distraction of follow up phone calls about all the above. Bottom line: I am being tested for everything that can cause my immune system to drop lower than the deepest well and cause me to bloat up like a beached whale. Seriously, I think the only thing I wasn't tested for was ingrown toe nails. Sheesh.

So, no chapters completed this morning. 

And after a brief battle with myself, and a few nudges by an accountability partner, I edged into the synopsis. Yuck and yuck and yuck.

First, the synopsis I sent out with the GH reflects a completely different ending -- one based on another dear CP's influence of losing it all (love my romantic suspense friends LOL). Second, I incorporated something new and it is not in the synopsis (I really don't want the scores now that I am at this point--again). Third, I realized I have bits of wonderfulness in it, but after reviewing my craft corner notes from a wonderful author in my writing chapter, I need to redo a lot. 


Sigh. Gasp. Grunt. And Groan.

But I did a bit of cutting and pasting--tossing and revising--hunting for index cards--review of the facts, just the facts madam--and now I know I need to go back in with the lessons I've learned and revise again to my heart's content. 

The good that came out of all this is that I like my new version a lot better so it'll be easier to write the synopsis. Plus, I am in revise mode in the mornings so the story is fresh in my mind and that will help me write the synopsis. And finally, I managed to clean up all my files on the computer for this story so it will be easier to revise and write the query/synopsis for the novel.

Sigh. Gasp. Grunt. And Groan.

Tomorrow I am praying I have a good writing day. I want to have zero interruptions in the AM so I can work diligently on my revision. I am not picking up the phone, even if it is the lab reports, until after 12PM. I can call back for that info. And In the PM, I will continue tweaking my query and my synopsis. 

Baby steps. Baby steps.

Oh, how I wish I could leap instead of crawl to the finish line.

As soon as my health is up to par, I am celebrating with a full day of writing!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Just When I Thought I was Home Free

I got sidelined again by the dreaded bacteria in my system. Apparently, hot flashes aren't accompanied by fevers of 100 degrees. Darn it! Called the doctor and had to go in for a rosephin antibiotic shot to battle the peptostreptococcus magnus bacteria refusing to leave my system. Argh!! That meant going and getting squeezed in where they could fit me and pretty much ate up an hour and a half of my time. Blah. But the nurse was kind and the shot didn't hurt as bad as the last time I had it.

Let's hope it works! Meanwhile, I head back to the doctor for a follow-up tomorrow morning at 8:30AM to see if I am healing properly. God, I hope I am. I am so sick of this interfering with my life. And I am a bit frightened as well. This is a bacteria in my abdomen! Visions of hospitals and IVs and more doom dance through my head on a regular basis right now.

The only thing that is keeping me sane is the writing. I managed to work on the first two chapters this morning. I utilized a judge's edit (very kind!) and feel better about the story overall. And the comments about the beginning were good, so no need to change much other than the "kiss" scene. I think I can manage it. This afternoon I plunked down some more stuff for the query by cutting and pasting different ideas together as well as pieces of another short synopsis I had written eons ago. 

Now to work on the actual synopsis. I have one. It's not perfect, but it is done. I plan to go into it and make sure I have all the main plot points in it, as well as something that shows my characters and my writing voice. Baby steps. It's all baby steps. I figure if I spend an hour a day on the dreaded and dastardly thing, I might have one ready by May 2nd.

Writing stories is so much more fun!

Monday, April 20, 2009

My First OnetoOne Visit at the APPLE Store

I got a MAC 10 days ago and I couldn't be more thrilled. First of all, it is just the coolest and fastest laptop. And second, it has the capability to run my SCRIVENER program. And I LOVE that program. 

But here is the confession: I am so illiterate and confused by all  my technology that it paralyzes me from learning about it. I have an IPhone and I don't have music on it! I am pathetic at learning new tech and become impatient and give up if it appears to difficult or time consuming to learn. And I suffer from an innate distrust of turning my computer over to the powers that be to work on it. What if *gasp* the books I'm working on mysteriously disappear? 

I have a memory stick--I back up my work--it is an irrational fear. And I plan to conquer it once and for all.

That's why I paid $99 for the yearlong 1to1 classes, held weekly, to learn about my toys and make them work for me.

Today's lesson was supposed to be about my IPHONE and syncing it to my computer. And, if time, learn a few more little bells and whistles. I went to my appointment and the expert working with me, Brian, was a patient and kind man who dealt with every roadblock calmly and confidently. 

Good thing! The first thing I went there to do was impossible without syncing my IPHONE back to my old HP. Apparently, the phone will lose all contacts due to nothing being on my computer. Don't ask. I don't understand it either. 

What it means is that my HP and my precious MAC will have to go to the APPLE store and be configured together. Sounds almost sexual, but it is technical. Two things that worry me about it are being without any computing ability for more than a day and trying to find the passwords for all the HP stuff (which is an ongoing frustration). 

Despite my fears and worries, I plan to bring my toys into the APPLE store on Friday afternoon (after working all day), and leave them in the capable hands of the technicians. Of course, I'll have EVERYTHING I have worked on this week saved on my memory stick. 

The second roadblock we had was the fact that I couldn't log onto the PORTAL for one to one, because I didn't bring some silver, credit card thing with my membership number on it. Why didn't anyone tell me I needed it? Or, if they did, why did I forget.

At this point, I was quite ready to leave. What was the point of staying? But my very nice and patient instructor led me through some other things that made the visit worth my while.

I learned how to add folders to my mailbox, add rules to move mail automatically, and had a great time reconfiguring my mailbox. I also had fun learning more about how the bookmarks on my browser worked. It is so easy to navigate from page to page as well as tab to tab (and I just learned how to open the new tabs as well). We made folders for my saved websites and played around with navigating through the browser. And we changed my home page as well.


On Friday I will bring my computers to the APPLE store and have them synced. On Tuesday, the 28th, I return to the APPLE store, with silver card in hand, to learn more about this amazing machine and sync my phone to it.

I know my family is super happy I paid for the lessons. My daughter literally breathed a sigh of relief when I told her about my classes. She didn't want to teach me about my computer (she has a MACBOOK PRO) cause I am too impatient. 

But my teacher today was very patient and his calm demeanor made me want to stay and learn more.

I hope he's my teacher again next week!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Scrivener Keywords Equal Easy MS Navigation

I am very glad I trudged through the tutorial that came with this program. I learned one amazing trick: the keywords can be divided into subsets. I just went through the keyword menu and created CHARACTER, PLOT POINT, PHYSICAL ENCOUNTER folders. I move all the pertinent info into those folders and then here is what is wonderful. Want to know how often the character shows up? Go to the keyword in the subset and click on it. Then click search. Voila! All the scenes where that character shows up are visible o the story binder column. Then it's easy to traverse between each scene. Also it is easy to see if you have underused or overused a minor character. And for the plot points, when I click on the plot point in the keyword (this must be entered into the keyword section), the scene where the plot point unfolds pops up. 

Wow! How easy is that!!?? Pretty dang easy!

I've managed to add in setting to all the keywords for easy searches. Now I am ready to handle adding the hero/heroine elements of meetings, tension, contact, physical union. It'll be interesting to see how this tool can be refined for my future writing and new novels.

I'm extremely excited about BUILDING a story from scratch, or semi-scratch, in Scrivener. Right now I am backtracking and working out kinks with the 3rd MS, but, in subsequent books, it'll be from start to finish.

I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!! For more information about this cool program, visit the Scrivener website.

Wind Refills the Sails

Yesterday I had to go back to the doctor to deal with the stupid belly button wound. I was nervous, but after taking a mega pain pill, I enlisted my DH to drive me to and from said dreaded appointment. Apparently, pain medication just makes me not care that it hurts like hell to get my belly tortured with gauze and pressure. But the good news is that I no longer have to endure the pain. I just have to heal.

First breath of air returns to the sails of my writing. Being in pain and throwing Personal Pity Parties does dampen the enthusiasm and motivation. Now those doldrums are banished.

Second breath of air in my sails meant meeting another writer and connecting over coffee. We didn't really write, but we talked about our goals and made plans to meet again. At last! Someone who I can connect with in person. How novel.

Third gust of air in my sails was receiving the critique from my fabulous and generous CP. Once I managed to get the document to open in MAC's version of Word, I was able to see her comments and edits. Voila! Print, read, digest and ready to input into the Scrivener program!!

While today is not a day I usually write MS, I've decided to implement the one hour a day rule at minimum. That way, I will get moving forward. In addition, I must spend at least one hour a day during the week (M-F) working on my query and synopsis for the third MS. By the end of the month, I had better have something to show for this commitment.

Ah, finally, I am feeling like my old self again. But let it be said, rejection and losing contests are easier to overcome than health problems. A lesson learned: take care of oneself especially when one is *gasp* over forty!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Derailed by Health Issues

Well on Monday I had stupid sebaceous cyst removed and it hurt like the dickens. Now the medication and the general discomfort, plus the knowledge that I am getting the dressing changed and it will hurt again today is weighing me down. I am not accomplishing anything except reading about writing, slight revisions, and learning to use Scrivener. Yesterday I didn't even do scrivener. Today I plan to do it a bit in the afternoon, but I am frustrated by the fact that the stupid printer won't allow me to print from the front tray due to the computer change. And I have read the manual on line, managed to figure it out twice, but haven't figured out how to make that default setting. So it is a huge pain. And then my CP has graciously sent me more pages with comments but for some reason all the comments are at the back of the story instead of woven throughout the story. ARGH.

I've got the third MS inputed. I know I need to work on a query and a synopsis as well. But I can't seem to wrap my brain around it. I think I will use a craft corner lesson on the bloody thing to get me started next Monday. I'll revise in the AM, do synopsis and query in the PM. Some of the places I am targeting don't require the first three chapters so I will send to them first. Meanwhile, hi ho hi ho... it's off to the doctor I go for my torture time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Scrivener Tutorial

Due to a minor surgical procedure yesterday laying me up for a day, and a home inspector arriving this morning to give the thumbs up/or down/ about our home before the first year of the new home construction phase is finished, I didn't manage to write at all. Ah, the best laid plans of mice and....

Any rate, derailed, and bogged down by long phone chats (three--I feel special), I did the tutorial today and it has something about a split screen/edit cut and paste that I will attempt with my next import. I figure I may as well just import and play around with all the novels on the program at some point. The more I learn, the more proficient I will be in using this program.

Many things are exciting about the program and after reading the tutorial and playing with the buttons, dragging icons etc., I feel I have found the perfect first draft/revising tool for me. However, at the end of the day, the final product must be imported as a word document via a word processor. I think the writing program on my MAC will suffice, but I am asking my DH to partition my computer so I can still use Microsoft Word in my revisions.

I miss my comments and notes, in the sidebar of my WP document in Word, but I think I can overcome the grief very easily with all the other bells and whistles I gained with the Scrivener program.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Scrivener--Importing My MS

I decided to import my third MS/WIP into the Scrivener Program and play around with it. I know. I said I wasn't going to do it, but I took the plunge. First I did a blank, non-formatted document. Then I cut and pasted all my individual scenes into different folders. Then I called my CP and we spoke about it. She said she uses the Manuscript format. So I imported all I had worked on into the MS format for novels. Now I have folders and scenes cut and pasted but I am miffed because I have no idea how to use the program's specific formatted chapter headings and I've tried by playing around with various buttons and so forth, but to no avail.

A few things I found cumbersome:

*cutting and pasting (obviously) an entire doc into either the blank or formatted MS
*not being able to figure out how to add a "CHAPTER" formatted folder into the MS when if full edit mode
*not being able to get word count for total MS in MS format, but able to do this in Blank formatted doc (blah)
*clicking around from keynotes to the main body of the doc
*not sure how to undo erasing an entire amount of work as I was cutting and pasting, but easy to fix by going back to the imported scenes on blank format and copying and adding into the document later.

A few things I loved:

*seeing the notecards with the synopsis of each scene in the format as I worked. I wrote a synopsis for each scene (great memory tool!). It's easier to see how the story is progressing with these mini pictures on a cork board
*the ease I anticipate in the future of juggling the scenes
*working on an individual scene, focusing on the scene in it's own space before doing it in totality with the rest of the MS
*KEYNOTES -- while a pain to start them up, I have labeled each main character that is in the scene. I can go through and do a search for the characters and make sure there is balance or OOPS did I forget about one or three? I haven't done it for all of them, but as I revise I will add them in.
*I used the top of the scene card to note the setting in brief. Interesting to see where they are at a glance on the cork board view.

In a way, just going through the process of importing and reviewing each scene really set the stage for the next phase of this revision. The changes I make will be noted in the note cards. I think this will be easier to do from scratch, because less cutting and pasting, just adding and moving around. But the effort will be worth it. My CP LOVES it. And she and I write in similar styles, so far I see the benefits outweighing the negatives.

Blogging on Romance Magicians

I'm guest blogging on Romance Magicians. Come read all about it at Romance Magicians

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Scrivener--The First Step into a New Program

I got turned onto Scrivener by my CPs back in NoVA when they got their MACs. I loved the index card format and the way they could shift scenes on screen at a glance. Very very cool stuff. And it suits my style of writing as I am big into index cards and I like creating character profiles and more before I start my first draft. Every since I saw that program, I've coveted one. And then my daughter got the Macbook Pro as an 8th grade graduation gift and a "sorry we're moving you away from all your friends and your life bribe." And then I REALLY WANTED A MAC. But the HP stayed alive almost one more year. 

Now the death of the wireless card has set me free.

Loaded the Scrivener onto the computer on Friday. Instead of using my current WIP to learn the program's bells and whistles, I decided to play around with a crazy YA idea I've had for about a year and input my ideas as they came, randomly, onto the index cards and into the program. As it builds, I'll learn more about how to utilize the program. After I finish my WIP and query it, I will start using Scrivener to begin revising my 4th MS and I'll let you all know how that goes. I will start by inputting all my index cards and then add my scenes -- after I import the written document from my memory stick.

Scrivener seems intuitive to me, except without anyone else showing me the bells and whistles, there have been a few "learn by doing" mistakes. I accidentally lost a few index cards when I pushed a button. Oh well. But the "trash" doesn't empty automatically so I didn't really lose them. And the tutorial kept talking about a "snapshot" you can take of your work, but I didn't see that feature on the program. I'll look at the tutorial again and maybe this time I'll retain the information.

So far I have set up 6 cards. Each card can be custom labeled and given a color. I have character cards--attached to the main page next to the index card onscreen, concept cards, and cards about the specific subject matter. Each are color coded and each are labeled. You can see the entire set of cards on a corkboard via the "draft" button. That allows you to see the story as it is building at a glance. You can see it as an outline or each page individually. I will add scene cards as they come to me. Eventually I will need to separate out the categories so that all the scene cards are in their own document (I think). 

Stay tuned. I plan to add a few more cards/pages to my playing around story tonight. And after I get my 4th MS into the Scrivener program, I think it'll be fun to share how the process unfolds.

Happy Easter to Everyone!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Friend is Published!

Please take a moment to check out Barnes and Nobel or Amazon's book websites for my dear friend's book, THE WITNESS TREE AND THE SHADOW OF THE NOOSE, a Civil War ghost mystery for chilren ages 8-12.

I am so very proud of her. She is an amazing writer!

Squee Karen!!

PRO Pin Officially Recognized Today

I know that compared to the other accomplishments and achievements of the writers in our chapter (publishing, manuscript requested, GH finalists, RITA finalists, and more) I am small potatoes today with regard to the PRO status recognition, but I don't care. I am proud that I finally had the courage to take the next step and go for the status. I could have done it years ago, but I didn't. I'm glad I didn't, because if I had known then how hard it is to get published, I don't know if I'd have kept up my end of the bargain: writing.

Any rate, there are some who achieve their goals and dreams so much faster and I am very proud for them. But I am a slow learner. I have a lot to learn as far as my craft and my understanding of the business. I can't wait to figure out how to balance it all and make it work for me. If getting a book published takes forever, then so be it. There will be other avenues to explore along the way to publication. Just being a part of two great romance chapters and blogging on one as a guest has been wonderful. And I am meeting other writers who appreciate me and my views. I like that as well.

Well, tomorrow is Easter. I hope I can step in and be profound. If not, Happy Easter to Everyone!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Next Generation of Computing!

Well waiting has it's interesting perks: I lost my wireless connection in my old PC and we researched the issue online and learned the issue is a problem with the HP laptop I've used for three years. Argh!! So what to do???? Well, in this case, I got my dream come true today: I got my MAC!! I am so excited about it. And I am eager to learn all the bells and whistles.

Wait. Is that my techie daughter and husband laughing and snickering about me learning about this lovely and wondrous toy??? Well, no more laughter folks. I am serious. I am truly going to get with the program and understand this machine and my IPhone completely!! I signed up for the weekly tutorials via the one-to-one program they have at the Apple Store. And I can't wait. There are so many things I want to use this amazing toy for in my writing.

I already got my first part: the Scrivener Writing Program only for Apple!! Wahoo. It's perfect for my type and style of writing. Right now I am just playing around on it with a fun idea I have for a YA that may or not be sellable but that's not the point. I just want to play with the idea and learn the program in doing so.

Me? Learning? Wanting to understand techno stuff? Yup. It's not my forte. I put it right up there with algebra, anything astronomy, and all physical sciences--it's just not for me. And my family will attest to the fact that I am not a person who enjoys reading manuals. Frankly, they didn't give me a gift one year for Christmas because my daughter sagely said to my husband, "put it back: she won't read the manual." And she was right.

But darn it, I want to know this machine. There are sooooooooo many wonderful things I will be able to do with it super easily. Like start my own website, and be more professional, and figure out how to do a hyper link (unlike on this blog which is not intuitive for me at all). Well.... I am no longer hiding behind my ignorance. I will be taught. I am an intelligent person. I can learn this if I have a patient instructor.

So stay tuned: I will be writing about my tutorials on a regular basis. 


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Waiting and Waiting and Waiting

Well I just realized it's spring break up north so I won't hear back from my CP till next week at the earliest. No way I can wait till the end of that week to revise, so I will start on Monday. I have company coming on the 28th which means I will be taking a break again. But if I don't start the revision, I will have nothing to query.

I am waiting for a new grill--it's springtime in the south. Finally.

I am waiting for my motivation to kick in.

It will--Monday morning time to hit it again.

Boring post--but then life is pretty much mundane at this point.

What do I do when I am forced to wait and my energy levels start kicking in?

Clean. Post articles on FB, debate politics, stir up trouble ;), reorganize stuff.

Oh, I need to get writing again.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My MS is still Not Here!

I am waiting till Monday. Then I must get started again or I won't have anything to query. In fact, I won't even know the bloody story anymore. I am enjoying getting the house in order, and getting ready for Easter and our company, BUT I want to get started on the revision. I am not going to wait past Monday after my clean up. I will peruse and begin revision that day.

Now back to making menus and dusting.

A boring life, but a necessary one!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Fever

This week has been one of catching up on old stuff I set aside as I wait for my CP to send me back my last 80 pages of my MS. I have enjoyed it. I've gone shopping for a new dress for the GH and I have planted my herb garden. I played with a friend last Wednesday, and I caught up on paperwork for the household. Yesterday I went to Michaels and got frames for pictures I want to rehang in my bedroom -- the frames were 50% off! I am also getting ready for Easter and my Easter Sunday Company. On Saturday I go to the HOD meeting and I get my PRO pin officially given to me at the meeting (must remember to bring it LOL). I am looking forward to that positive event after not finaling in the GH. As happy as I am for everyone else, it's hard to be a cheerleader when I want to be the person being cheered for. I admit it. So these little tangibles I have control over help me get over the disapointment of not finaling.

Spring Fever isn't a bad thing. I remember doing the same thing -- kind of-- back when I put on pantyhose and worked all day, 9-5 for a living. I remember being so sick of the "sameness" of all the work and my colleagues and I would go outside and play football or go to a nice restaurant and sit outside and enjoy a lovely meal al fresco. Any rate, I believe these feelings of wanting to escape and play are quite normal for this time of year. And I wonder if I should plan for that feeling every year! I wrote a lot until end of February. I finished my third MS's revision, I wrote a book in a week, I took 3 classes in the new year. It was time for a break. I deserved it.

What do you for a break? Do you believe it helps the creative juices flow? Does it help you face the computer again and start writing?

Or do you believe you should write every day? I do something every day, but isn't this writing?s

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Business Brain

I decided that part of the reason I am in limbo is so my brain can wrap itself around the business side of writing. To that end, I've already started looking for clever taglines for my professional business cards as well as my future website. I am also going to do the following:

*read through my pitching workshop lessons
*prep my query letter for the third MS
*critique my synopsis and revise
*prepare my spreadsheet for querying
*research web design sites

I'm also going to take some very necessary time to vamp up my garden and house so I won't feel "guilty" about how much time the writing is taking up.

So time spent in limbo is actually good for the writer's life.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

In Limbo-

I am waiting to move forward on my MS because I have a CP who will send me her critique next week. I don't want to make any global changes until I read the rest of her comments. She and I have agreed on about 90-95% of the issues I want to address so I value her judgment tremendously.

While I wait I've spent time fritzing around with the following activities:

*checking out my rewards program with Am Ex
*cleaning house (true desperation)
*finishing up my character workshop with April Kihlstrom
*looking for cool tag lines for my non-existent website and future professional business cards
*calling my friends
*reading blogs
*reading FB comments
*cooking for other people
*writing my own blog
*planning a baby shower
*wishing I had more local writing friends
*hanging out on my veranda and sipping wine

I am getting very bored with all this and want to get back to work soon!!

But I will--I will--

Friday, April 3, 2009

Procrastination Anyone

Well I guess the wind blew out of my sails pretty hard when I didn't final in the GH. I've blown air into them a few times and managed to read through the MS, and work on my character workshop. Other than that, I've spent the majority of my time trolling through blogs, playing on facebook, reading taglines on websites, planning business cards, and fritzing around.

I simply haven't been focused.

I know that it is okay. That down time is fine as long as I inject some effort into the actual process of writing. But I am in a bit of a limbo as I am waiting to hear back from my CP about the last 80 pages of the book and I am in a class in which I have only focused on one character.

What to do about it?

I think I will impose the timer rule.

1 hour on writing and half an hour off for the rest of the day until 4pm. I have company coming for dinner, the usual household chores and cleaning to do, baking, and more that I want to accomplish. The writing will be my work, the other stuff my "break."

This will be in place till Monday. Then I will have to start working on the global fixes in my book.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

To Do Today

Finished the MS--like the ending and that means I want to keep the beginning the same, but just flesh it out a bit. I know the global fixes. I know the tiny fixes. Global first -- might not need to handle the tiny fixes if that occurs.

So I am medium pleased with the book. The story is decent. The scenes are good. I have some ideas about what I want to do to add tension and layer in greater attraction. I know how to make my hero heroic and not sleazy in the beginning. And I know I have to get started soon.

But first I want to finish up my character workshop classes and work on my hero a bit more. I will do that, think a bit about the heroine, and then I will start the revision on Monday. I like what a writing buddy said. She said to call it "learning" and then it won't feel as much as "here we go again."

I just finished a book by a favorite author and I loved it. She published it in 2007, which means it was probably finished in 2005. There is a lead time into getting these things out the doors of the publishing houses. All kinds of repeats and passive voice and telling but the story was GREAT and the hero and heroine were well drawn. It was a great story. I've been so worried about the "rules" of writing that I forgot about the "story being the point." I wanted to read her book because I was drawn to it. And she is a fabulous writer. No writer is "perfect." Every writer is working toward improvement in their own craft. And that's all I am doing except I am not getting paid to do it -- YET. I will. One day I will get published. Period.

More about that in another post.

Now my happy news. Two people I know and care about are PUBLISHED. One is my first critique partner and she is published in children's fiction. As soon as I figure out how to paste that info into a blog (because I am blog challenged... see any pictures in here? I don't like figuring out all the techie stuff), I will. And another friend I met last year at a retreat in Charleston who is also my other critique partner's SIL has A FOUR BOOK CONTRACT!!! Yay! After 16 years of writing. And I am soooo happy for her.

As soon as I find out how to post that information, I will do it!!

When I hear stories about people like my friend's SIL, it gives me hope that I am not whistling dixie and I will get published one day.

Hooray for my friend's victories!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Read Through Blahs Pt. 2

Well I'm almost finished my read through and I know I have to rework the beginning BIG TIME. It is soooo chopped up due to the contest entries etc., that I lost the soul of the story. Frankly, I am having trouble liking the story or even trying to pitch it at the conference. I have plenty of ideas about pitching the fourth book. I have decided to work on that one in June and see where it is by the conference. If it feels like the better book, I'm pitching it instead. Or getting it ready for the back up should 3 get shot down.

Number 3 doesn't feel like my book anymore. But I guess all authors go through that pain at some point of the process.

I had a bit of an epiphany last night/early this morning. I realized that once this one is out the door, in a way, I am liberated from it for a while so I am very motivated to get it out to editors. So I am very motivated to accomplish that goal.

Now, a few blogs to read and then --- drum roll --- the last pages of the book.