Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One More Sleep!!!

I leave tomorrow--it's about a four hour drive and I am picking my CP up at the train station as well. I can't wait to see her!! And she's a finalist in her category. I am praying she wins. She soooooooo deserves it and I hope she gets a serious bite for publication. She's an amazing writer--I'm lucky to have her in my critique corner.

Calling for TAMIFLU prescription as a precaution, but I refuse to get sick. Absolutely refuse!

Just about ready to be seen in a cocktail dress. Hair's colored, highlighted, and styled. My hairdresser is awesome, and she showed me a quick way to make my hair look MAGGIE Night gorgeous. I'm heading to Icing to get a few sparkly things to put in my hair as well. Chin, upper lip area and brow line are waxed and prettified. Today I get a mani/pedi.

I'm also going to the grocery store to stock up on wine, goodies, and water.

And I'm getting phone numbers inputted into my cell phone. This time, as opposed to Nationals, I will not be caught without them.

My work bag is almost loaded and good to go. I have my business cards ready, with blurbs on the back. I rewrote my pitch for The Fantasy Contract to reflect the changes. I have my index card with people's names on it ready to keep me on track should a miracle occur and I actually win the MAGGIE. Would be awesome, but I'm happy either way. And I have my Presenter intro ready to go as well.

Just have to pack and load up the car. OMG OMG... this is so exciting!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Two More Sleeps

Yesterday was very productive for me.

I managed to finish my scene cards--check! Five hours of hard labor, but worth the time and effort. I added a few scenes (now I have to write them LOL) and I moved some scenes around. I'm always pleasantly surprised by how shifting my process to long hand writing opens my writing eyes up to new ideas and ways to handle the MS. In doing this exercise, I also managed to find a reasonable scene to work on for my homework. A kiss. And it turned out beautifully. Even got a good comment from the teacher and that made my day.

I also got laundry done. Woohoo.... and dealt with the in-box. Now I am raring to go. I do have a wild card in the stack of to-dos--sprinkler dude is coming out "sometime today" and I had him out yesterday as well. I have a hair appointment at 3PM. Darling daughter comes home from High School at 4PM. I don't want her dealing with a strange man while I am out. All points bulletin has been sent to darling hubby (who arranged this event for today) and he'll have to come home if the dude hasn't shown up by 2:30PM.

I have packing lists, shopping, and the car to tune up. I plan to write as well. I want to keep tweaking the scene cards, add elements to them and play around with my ideas. I need to look at my pitch cards and start my packing lists as well. Today.

Good times!

I can't believe it's almost here... continuing to pray for health.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Three Sleeps till Moonlight & Magnolias

I have only 3 sleeps to wait till I hope in my SUV and drive to Atlanta for the Moonlight and Magnolia's Conference. What I hope to accomplish before I load the car with luggage is not monumental having scaled back on my personal expectations.

First, make my scene cards and hit the revision a scene at a time to reflect my new thoughts about the WIP. I've given up trying to come up with something to submit for the homework in my SEX BETWEEN THE PAGES on-line workshop. There simply isn't time. And I need to focus on the overall MS. I know what I need to do to fix the stages of intimacy, but now I need to get the inner-critic out of my head and just write.

Second, get the car ready for the road. I have a wonderful little place with lovely he-men who take excellent care of me and my truck. I'll go there tomorrow and top off the fluids, make sure the tires have lots of air, and give it the once over. On Tuesday, they run a special for the ladies. Used to be ladies' specials meant drinks with the girlfriends, and, if we were lucky, Chippendale dancers. Now ladies' specials means a tune-up and getting the tires rotated at a discount.

Third, go through the in-box and get my life in order. Temporarily.

Fourth, laundry. No amount of wishing makes that deed go away.

Fifth: hair and nails done.

Sixth: a detailed to-do list regarding the care and keeping of a teenage girl during Homecoming Weekend so that the hubby keeps his head on straight. Now I ask you, why do men need this information when we travel and why do we need nothing? Whether we work outside the home or not, this is a universal problem. We just KNOW what to do. They don't pay attention and assume it's seamless. Ha.

Seventh: organize travel package and travel work bag.

Eighth: make packing lists.

Ninth: pack.

Tenth: get wine and goodies ready for the trip. I may even bring champagne. Even if I don't win the MAGGIE Award, I already feel like a winner. This is a fantastic event and I am seriously looking forward to it!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Come Find a Hero with Me at Romance Magicians

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Less Balls... a Sense of Whew... Wiping Brow

Managed to reset the bones in the first revision. PTL!!
Managed to start finding a bit of enthusiasm and time for DD's birthday party on Saturday. Her real bday!
Managed to make amazing din din.
Managed to disappoint a few.
Managed to excite a few.
Managed to feel accomplished.....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Juggling Life's Balls

I am getting my act together, but wish I had had a calendar in front of me when I said "yes" to some things this year. Oh well. Lesson learned. Once again, I must learn to staple my fingers to the chair and sit on them before I type the words... "of course" to the "it'll be easy" stuff.

I have learned that I am better at judging contests and reading manuscripts and organizing my writing and writing than I am at any job remotely resembling admin work. Why do I find myself in this pickle? Slap my fingers next time... please... and on top of all this, I have school priorities and volunteering. Why did I say yes to the hospitality crew? Why? Why? Why? It is NOT what I had hoped for.... but I digress.

Sooooo..... before I get to the Maggies and all things cool and wonderful, I have the following to-do list of family and work priorities:

*judging three contest entries/very cool/love doing it
*critiquing an MS for a dear friend and hoping my tight writing style doesn't war too much with a more melodic style.
*family time: that means going to Octoberfest, church (yeah a real one!) and cooking, cleaning, usual chores.... did hubby say he wanted to see me as well? Darn! Oh but he's cute....
*writing time: seriously resetting the MS bones and hoping I have my act somewhat together before M&M
*SEX BETWEEN THE PAGES: reading the lectures (and using them a lot!) and trying to eek out homework answers.
*getting ready for the MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS CONFERENCE--yeah, it included shopping so I hit KOHLS and got some new tops and jewelry for the event. Woot! Sale!
*writing an intro for PUBLISHED MAGGIE AWARD
*practicing pitches for M&M
*more family stuff like writing checks for my DDs events in the near future
*planning a 15th bday party for my DD
*planning a vacation -- we haven't had a real vacation as a family in over a year and NOTHING will stop us from this time of reconnecting and bonding, not even my silly "yes" fingers.
*house ready for birthday for DD
*birthday party for DD
*concert for DD on her bday
*church with DD for her bday and more
*every day life chores (my least favorite being the ongoing battle with the laundry and the bathrooms.... oh and grocery shopping)
*watching a friend's child--making phone calls--catching up on correspondence

That's life in a nutshell for now.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Writing-It's Not Easy, but It's Worth It in the End

Why I write --I get to drool a lot!

I am in major first revision mode. It's a lot of shuffling and shoving of scenes, cutting scenes, pulling hair and, at times, an "aha" moment occurs. Here are some pictures of life in my "writing process." My desk and office area--enter at your own risk. The post-its reflect different thoughts. The papers to the left are the next scene. I am currently working in no particular order. Trying to reset the bones of my story.

Here are some more stacks of scenes. The glop in the middle is the biggest section I need to revise. I changed my hero's career during the first draft while doing my book in a week. I may not be able to salvage much, but I believe bits and pieces will work in this version. I am saving this pile of barf until I move though some easier changes.

*Sigh* my current working collage for the story. Whenever I get stuck, I look at this lovely montage and my engine revs up.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Monster Revision

Well I am working on the revision. Today I rearranged all the scenes, found where B fit into C spot, and retooled ideas about the original MS... course I wrote the dang thing in a week, set it aside to finish the third MS, reread it before I went to Nationals, agonized about the final polish of third MS after I returned. And NOW? What on earth was I thinking? AAAACCKKK.

I thought I knew what I wanted to say with this story, but it is again taking a life on and a new path. I am cobbling together my monster. But it is a heck of a monster! The core is there. It is there. I keep telling myself that as I struggle to revise, retool it. But it isn't easy. There are papers and scenes in piles all over my office room floor. Seriously, my cats can't even find a path through this madness.

WHAT WAS I THINKING? My original concept is the same. My brain is in overdrive trying to make this fit a certain market, or not, but also incorporate the SEX BETWEEN THE PAGES WORKSHOP. My goodness--so many things to think about... and I am questioning my ability to write now.


Who doesn't?

I am officially peeling myself off the ceiling.

But I do want to pitch this at the M&M Conference. Ha Ha... this is the start of my hysterical laugh.

But I am going to do this... I am I am.

Meanwhile, I continue to make lunch dates, volunteer (cause I am nuts), and pray I can complete my ridiculous goal by the time set by my own standards.

hahahahahahaha-- will do it. will do it...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Patrick Swayze--I'll Miss Him--A Class Act

I can't believe he's gone. Always kind, humble, genuine, and loved his wife. He had this look about him, slightly surprised, and bemused. Conceit didn't enter into his attitude and demeanor.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What Happened to the Weekend?

I spent the majority of my weekend writing, organizing my revision draft documents, and catching up on my workshop lessons. I also met two friends for a writing group discussion. We're forming a brainstorming, accountability, professional growth and writing support group. I am glad. I miss my CPs up in DC, and this will be a wonderful new beginning to my writing year. We discussed how we would approach our meetings, maintain our focus, and how to prioritize what was important to us as writers. Rather than sending pages and critiquing, we're focusing on story development and professional growth. Of course, we'll read each other's work, but that won't be the focus of the group.

I have high hopes for our trio. I'm excited about our future. And I'm happy to have two writing friends nearby my home. People I can call, vent to, plan with, and celebrate with... I love my larger organizations within the RWA, but this is nice as it is more intimate.

Plus no one else gets me excepts my writing friends and the people closest to me who support my dreams and goals.

My revision is going okay. I am not sure where my monster is heading. Right now, I am not worried about beautiful writing, more about the overall bones getting reset. I'm pushing myself to get the monster into second revision mode before the end of the month. Work smart... work smarter... some of the writing is awful, but I know I can improve the structure. It's the story I am fiddling with--and trying to strengthen. I honestly wish I'd taken the FROM THOUGHT TO PLOT workshop a year ago. But oh well.... this too shall pass. I hope to have a decent set of pages to enter into the Golden Heart this autumn. It's pretty erotic, so no high hopes, but it'll be good to have the goal and meet it.

I'm entering the third book again. But no revisions. Nothing. Nada. Just the synopsis and the story ... as is. And then I'll polish the fourth as best as I can up to 50 pages and work on the synopsis. Another reason to do the GH--have the synopsis ready to roll out to other people.

That's the only contest I am entering this year. Really paring down my contest stuff till next year. I am heading back into the 2nd book after I first draft the Golfer story. I'll do it in December--or maybe early January. Yeah, plot it out with the BREAK INTO FICTION book and then get it out of my brain in January. Then it's revise the 2nd book -- haven't looked at it in a while, but I am ready to tackle it.

Today I managed to work through 3 scenes quickly just for story, and some light editing. But the real work will be in the 2nd revision stage. Pant. I was surprised because I had a lot of household stuff to work on. But the scenes were pretty straightforward. Now I head into the next batch of 4 scenes. Blah!!! I want to get this bad boy's bones reset.... fast! I am working faster.

Surprising myself. But I am driving myself to work hard and smart cause I want to get my books lined up and ready to roll for submissions and pitches.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 My Memory

I was there... in D.C. Fairfax, VA. I was expecting a love seat delivery. My husband called me on the way to work to tell me about the strange "missile" and to turn on the TV and watch. I did.

Two big burly guys came to deliver my couch.

We watched the 2nd plane go into the second tower, live. Me and two large men who'd never met each other and had nothing in common other than the delivery. We were stunned. Cried. Worried. And we were bonded.

I called my church; pray I said. Pray cause two planes are still out there. My husband saw the plume of black smoke rising out out of the Pentagon's hit. The other plane crashed and spared more lives... but so many lives lost.

It took my darling husband 3 hours to get home. I ironed. I prayed. I knew my daughter, a second grader at the time, would be safer at school than at home. I continued to iron.

Ironing out wrinkles of pain, wrinkles of worry, wrinkles of anger, wrinkles of agony.

I ironed hard. I prayed hard. I hoped hard.

I cried hard.

My DH finally arrived home. We picked up our darling daughter at the bus stop. We sat on the deck and listened. To nothing. No planes overhead. Phone calls. Brother calling. Our lives have changed forever.

We circulated in the neighborhood. We created bonds. We were a family of Americans in a diverse land.


I'll never forget.

This day will always, forever, be my memory.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Working & Thinking

I managed to work through my sound homework for the SEX BETWEEN THE PAGES workshop. Good lesson. Big AHA moment. Must pay more attention to the sounds in my life--but I am a visual and kinetic learner. Oh boy--and there's a shock jock in my story!

Met a writing friend and walked today--talked about the pain of revising. It's tough, but worth it and after a bit I do get into the process. It's just the first pass through that is painful. Breaking bones and resetting them into a new "person." But the 3rd and 4th pass will make it worthwhile.

Starting to get excited about the MAGGIES and seeing my CP/dear dear friend.

I am itching to work on the 5th and 2nd book. First the 5th must go into first draft. Then the 2nd must be AACK revised. Fun. Good times ahead.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tired but Progressing

I am sleep deprived... insomnia and worries and silly life stuff keeping my head reeling and unable to shut down. This morning was the most difficult. Had gone to sleep at 11PM and up at 3:30AM--no more rest for me. But after and hour plus of frustration, I got up and went to my office to write.

I managed to knock out my two scenes and finished the first pass through of the first three chapters (much more must be layered in re: details), but the story is getting underway and I feel good about the new direction it's going. Actually it only needed a career change (haha).

Now I am catching up on my homework for my SEX BETWEEN THE PAGES on-line workshop with Mary Buckham. I am not reading the new lecture (eyes too tired) or attempting to finish the second homework assignment, but I am digesting info. And I learned I am a vocally unaware lady.

I can talk, but I tend to tune out noise as I am overwhelmed by the hum and buzz.

And that's something I need to address. And become more aware of--yikes. And I need to layer the emotional reactions to the voices and tonality of my characters.

But we all have strengths and weaknesses. I can write to my strengths, and I will learn to improve upon my weaknesses.

Onward Ho!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Creative Avoidance 201

Okay, I bagged walking ALL WEEK cause I said I had A DEADLINE. Self imposed, but real. And what did I do day 1? Well...... I read through some articles from RWR, and then I managed to do countless chores, and then I called and arranged for golf lessons, and then I went to the grocery store, and then.....

Well. Not. Good.

But I did get an idea about how to solve a plot problem. And I looked at the ms. And I worried about it.

Hmmm. Not good. Enough.

And then there is the endless loop of injustice about the life in general ....
And then there is my DH happy about the "to do" list being completed....
And then there is I.... not happy with writing, but happy with life goals.

Today was one of those days.... distracting.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

I'd Trade it All for Her

My daughter is the best part of my life. She's smart, talented, funny, loving, and just a delight. And her talents haven't been rewarded... again... I don't know why, I just know it is what it is and God has a reason but her pain is palpable.

I ache for her.

But I know she is meant for cool, wonderful things....

But I wish I could make it better....

I would give her my MAGGIE finaling to see her get what she wanted. I would take a bullet for her. I would do anything for her. But at the end of the day, the greatest gift I can give her is the gift of continually making lemonade out of those gosh darned lemons life seems to give us.

Lemons aren't sooooo bad. They teach us to eat the bitter pill of disappointment. They teach us to squeeze the life out of what we are allowed to eat. They teach us that rind can be used to create ZEST for LIFE.

Zest... I believe in my heart that life's disappointments might actually be the zest... the flavoring that ultimately ups the ante of our journeys.

And I believe BALM -- comfort -- prayer -- new directions are all part of the journey.

And if I ever win a big award, the first person I will thank after God is her. For she has given me the courage to try and fail and try and win the next time around.

Blessings aren't always easily visible. But if we look for them, we discover them.

Today I honor my daughter. A true blessing .... I am curious to see how she unfolds her life.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Confusion and Aacks

I loved so much about my first draft of the fourth book until I heard what the publisher of the line I was targeting was looking for.... argh.

I love my heroine. Her spirit. Her reason for her choices. And I love the secret history between her and the hero.

Now I am floundering. I am trying to figure out how to fix my original story idea and have it ready to pitch in a month. But my brain is not cooperating.

I know what I originally wanted to tell and show. I know what she believed. I know why and how he broke down her defenses.

I don't know how to reconcile the beginning thoughts with what I know now....

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Very Distracting Day

First of all, I had GREAT intentions this morning when I got up. I was ready to ROLL. This my disclaimer. I have my first draft neatly bundled into scenes, index cards waiting for ideas, my story bible at my right hand, and my computer turned on.

First distraction: emails about the HOA. BLAH BLAH BLAH. Second distraction: a long walk that should have been positive, but became draining due to the first distraction. I don't want to visit the discussion again. I keep trying to steer it to better, fun topics. But right now it's like trying to take a bone from a pit bull. It ain't happening. I will find a way to get around it, or avoid the walk. Third distraction: doorbell ringing with contractors who want to dig in my yard and move sprinkler heads and lines. Now why can't they CALL FIRST? Argh again. Fifth distraction: a school commitment. I signed up to help at my darling daughter's high school. It's hospitality stuff. Easy right? I think so. I'm already missing the first big shin dig due to my MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS Conference (WOOT!!!!!). So they may fire me -- one can hope.

Despite all the distractions, I managed to work on my revision. I added a scene, worked on the original first scene (now number two), and brainstormed ways to up the ante/tension. Then I read through all my lecture materials for my SEX BETWEEN THE PAGES workshop. Lots of notes made on my index cards for future incorporation into another pass through of the book. Layering layering layering.... I read through my last blog comments and replied, and now I am gearing up to finish reading the rest of my friend's first 45 pages of her first draft revision. Woot!

I managed to get a lot done despite the distractions. It is amazing how much one can do in an hour here, a half an hour there, and a bit of time later at night. Uninterrupted stretches of time don't always occur in this household, but I have learned how to squeeze the most out of the time available.

When we are raising families, wives, school parents, and friends this is vital. One day I may have lots and lots of time, but I tend to do better with a busy full life. It impacts my writing in positive ways (well, except for the HOA stuff--but I know it'll find its way into a book--somehow-- so it's not a total waste of time.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009