Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Moving On to New Beginnings

Yesterday the Teen graduated from High School. I thought I'd cry, but I didn't. I cried at the Cast Party because that is where the Teen's friends and life has revolved for all these years. I'll miss the "Crew" and all their running in and out of the house. I'm glad I have been and hope to continue to be their Drama Mama.

But the graduation itself was anti-climactic. Frankly, when there are over 700 students graduating everyone is just relieved when the last person's name is called. It was truly like a well-oiled machine. The speeches were tired and unrehearsed (in one case unprepared) when the officials spoke. The students who spoke did a great job (because they actually wrote speeches and for them this was NEW).

Complete mayhem afterward... 7000 plus people trying to connect with each others, a flurry of photographs while juggling diplomas and programs and coats and books and cell phones, and hasty hellos and goodbyes.

I was glad to get into the car and drive to the restaurant. Even the Teen was glad it was over. All our tears were shed during the Cast Party. I loved her people and I will miss her people. Advanced Production was her home at her high school. And that's what she'll miss.

Now we're off to new beginnings. Next on the horizon for the Teen is her entry into University. I can't wait to watch my War Eagle fly!!

Meanwhile, I'm off to a new beginning as well. I'm returning to the writing full speed ahead. I have to revise the beginning of my manuscript and I have to do it well. The changes will cause a ripple effect throughout the manuscript, but I am ready to dig in and do the work. I'll start revising tomorrow and continue through the weekend. I've promised the Physicist to emerge in the evenings to keep him company, but during the day, I am committed to working.

Because this is what makes me a professional. I've programmed myself to work hard and to get the job done. I've allowed myself ample time to noodle the story and brainstorm the changes. I have given myself permission to be a Mom first this week, but now I am parking my Mom Mobile and getting into my Writer's Wagon. It'll be a long and bumpy ride, but I'm confident I can do this...

I just have to get into the chair and start. So until I finish my revisions, I will be in my cave, hiding... I will emerge on Facebook and Twitter for brief breaths of air and socialization, but other than that I'll be off the Internet.

Wish me luck. Cross all appendages. Drop pennies in a well for me.... I need good mojo!!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Busy Days and Wild Ways

Life has gotten incredibly busy. The Teen graduates in one day from High School. There have been cast parties, graduation parties, and we've even managed to squeeze in a birthday dinner for the Physicist. Poor man has played second fiddle to the Teen's end of the school year activities for years. 

All that changes this year. I thought I'd be sad about the Teen graduating (yes I was a child bride and I had her when I was 13 haha), but I'm excited. Not going to lie. I'll miss her tremendously when she heads to college, but I am ready to give up my lunch lady and morning wake up call duties. Oddly, what I will miss a lot is seeing her perform on stage. I hope she will audition for roles at Auburn University despite majoring in Math. And I will also miss her friends coming over and making themselves at home for countless sleepovers and discussions about life, the universe and everything. 

She has great friends. I love them all and wish them well in their futures. I cried during the cast party. And I cried during voice recital. No doubt I'll cry during the graduation ceremony. But they were bittersweet tears. She's grown up. Her friends have grown up. We have done our job and raised her as best as we could. Now we have to trust that she will soar on her own. 

So we've had something going on every day since last week Thursday. And we won't get a reprieve until this Thursday. The Teen still needs her Senior year pictures made (the writing's to blame or just our busy schedules but the world didn't fall off the gravitational plane because of our procrastination). We're going to Burritt Mountain Wednesday afternoon to take them. I promise to take pictures with my camera and post them on the blog. I hear it's beautiful up there.

Meanwhile, back in my writing world I've been trying to build a website which got put on hold when the designer wasn't able to come through for me. So now I am attempting to work through it on my own with the Math Genius Teen's help during this summer. I might need a web presence at some point so a little effort here and there will make the difference.

I've also received an opportunity to work on one of my manuscripts with an editor. While it's not a contract, I'm over the moon because having that kind of guidance will help my writing mature. I want to become a better writer and I want my stories to resonate with my readers. I have a quote that I cling to which says "the world is waiting for you to get it right." I'm working toward that goal. All this fabulousness means I have to noodle the story again. Rework the beginning. Play with the suggestions. And I have. But I have approached it very gingerly. 

Why? Well, the graduating Teen is partly to blame, but there is also my realization that it will be better to act like a master carpenter while making these changes.

Measure twice. Cut once. Measure again. Build new walls. Then add the details. 

I'm trying out ideas. Jotting notes in my little booklet and talking to writerly friends about the first meeting between my hero and my heroine. I'm being patient (ha... can you hear the collective laughter of every single one of my friends, family members and CPs?). Patience isn't my strong suit but I must move slowly. I am considering this writing gig as a road with speed bumps. Each bump is there to slow me down and make me think carefully about where I am going. 

I want to get to the destination. I don't want to veer off course. I want to arrive with not just this story worked out properly, but with a master plan for all my stories. 

Stay tuned! Things are getting wilder all the time.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Computer Meltdown & Winner of WORTH THE RISK

A short post to remind everyone to back up their work onto a portable hard drive. I'm glad I did!! My entire computer's hard drive is backed up onto a portable hard drive every day. Good thing I do this because my trusty little laptop Mac is hosed. Yup. HOSED. I can't tell you how painful it has been to watch my Mac slowly die. Yup. Painful. So now it's at the Apple Store where I hope it is fixed SOONER than later, but the truth is I could be without my own computer until next week.

Not a huge big deal except I can't restore my hard drive with all my email contacts, some of them very important like editor and agent email addresses, until my computer is returned to me. Sigh. I have to say, I'm more upset about losing email viability and my instant connection to the Internet. All my lovely bookmarks are -- well -- they aren't on the Physicist's laptop.

So that has put me in a bit of a bad mood. Just a bit. And of course all this happens during my struggle to craft a new story. One which has been giving me fits. And it all happens while I'm taking an awesome online class with Roxanne St. Claire so now it's hard to post my homework. And I'm in the middle of trying to get a website made and posted which means emailing the designer and working from a "blind" position.

Oh, did I mention my WORLD is on the Internet? Yep. I am a slave to it in so many ways. Most of my friends don't live here. The friends I do have here work full time jobs and/or are busy writing so the only contact I have with them is via email or Facebook or Twitter.

Oh, how I miss my tweetdeck. Sigh.

I do have the Physicist's laptop at my disposal, but I feel like an interloper in a foreign land while I'm using it. The keyboard is unfamiliar and the way my hands rest on his bigger computer hurts my wrists. I am, to be honest, bereft.

But at least I will have my hard drive restored to me very soon. Hopefully no later than Tuesday.

And now, because I'd rather celebrate than whine about life anymore, here is the winner of WORTH THE RISK by Robin Bielman.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Break Out the Bubbly and the Dark Chocolate: Celebrating Robin Bielman's Debut Novel WORTH THE RISK

Hi Everyone: I can't wait to introduce you to a very special writer friend who has her debut novel WORTH THE RISK debuting this month. Robin and I met during the 2009 MOONLIGHT & MAGNOLIAS Regional Conference. We were Maggie Finalists and sat at the same table. I had so much fun getting to know her and we've kept in touch during the years that have followed. I'm so happy for her about her debut and can't wait to share her writing journey with you all.

Pop*Bubbles*Pour--Welcome to the Veranda, Robin!

Author Robin Bielman

Thanks so much for having me, Christine! You are awesome to invite me, and I’m so happy to be here. 
I'm happy you are celebrating your debut! How did you end up becoming a writer? 
I’ve always liked to write and after I graduated from college I got a job with a local production company where I wrote commercials, corporate videos and cable programs. That led to freelance writing when I had my kids, and finally to writing fiction. I really wish I’d realized earlier that I wanted to write novels, but it’s always taken me a while to figure things out.
I'm a late bloomer as well. But now here we are: writers talking about writing.  What is your favorite genre to write? 
I love to write contemporary and paranormal. 
Are you a plotter or do you follow the muse? 
I am a total pantser! I love sitting down to write and letting my characters lead the way. Since writing WORTH THE RISK, though, I do briefly outline my stories, just so I have some idea of where I want to go. But that often changes—and I love when that happens! I love when my characters take me in a direction I didn’t see coming.
I think you might become a hybrid writer, Robin. A Plantzer as Roxanne St. Claire likes to call the method. How do you relax after a writing day? 
Relax? What’s that? Actually, at the end of the day my favorite thing to do is curl up on the couch with my hubby and watch TV.
I do, too. It's the perfect way to chill. What do you read? What are your favorite genres? Who are your favorite authors? 
I wish I had more hours in the day so I could read more! My favorite genre is romance and I’ll read anything in that genre. I love it all! I also love young adult and women’s fiction. I have tons of favorite authors in those genres, so how about if I share my two favorite authors outside of those genres ~ Jim Butcher and Thomas Sniegoski. I have a major crush on the heroes from both of their series.
Gorgeous cover!!
Oh, I'll have to read their books. Yummy heroes are a definite hook for me! What is your current project? 
I recently finished a second novella that features McCall, a character I introduced in Worth the Risk. (I love him!) And I’m currently revising a contemporary YA novel.
McCall sounds super divine. I can't wait to read my copy! Where do you get your ideas for your stories? 
My idea for Worth the Risk started with my hero, Dean. I’m a big fan of Outside magazine and I was reading an article about the Best Jobs when one on heritage protection caught my interest. I knew right then that I was going to write a story about a guy with that job, and who loved the environment more than anything else. Then I came up with Samantha – the girl from his past that he’s never stopped loving.
Love the way you got that idea. I'll have to start reading Outside just to find new stories. How long were you trying to get published before you got the “call?” 
I’ve been writing fiction for five years. I love being in my writing cave (I’ve named it Maui) and losing myself to my characters, but there were definitely days when I wondered if I’d ever get the “call.” I truly believe things happen when they’re supposed to happen, and this was my time to happen.
I agree. Everyone has a different path and journey toward publication. How did you celebrate the “call?” 
First, I jumped up and down and squealed! Then there were lots of hugs from my family, tears from my mom (over the phone), and then more jumping up and down. The next night my hubby took me out to dinner.
Sounds like a lot of fun and excitement. Dinner out with hubby is a great way to celebrate the news. Was the “call” an actual phone conversation or an email or a snail mail? 
It was an email. I was so stunned and delirious that I had my hubby read it to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. A phone call with my editor followed. We talked for almost an hour and I couldn’t stop smiling. He was/is awesome! I felt immediately comfortable with him and he had such nice things to say about my book. I am thrilled that my first book is coming out from Entangled Publishing and I hope to contract many more books with them!
I'm very excited to watch your career blossom with Entangled. Do you have an agent? 
I don’t have an agent – yet!
You will soon! What advice would you give aspiring writers? 
Oh my gosh – I often still need advice myself! I guess the most important thing is don’t give up. Keep. Going. And enjoy the journey. I always tried to remind myself that I was lucky that I got to do something every day that made me happy. Regardless of the end result, time spent writing is a gift.
I love your take on writing. "Time spent writing is a gift." Very well put. What encouragement can you give writers who face rejection? 
There's a teaching I like to read whenever I’m feeling down about my writing. It reminds me to keep a positive attitude even when it’s really hard. It’s a Cherokee teaching called Two Wolves:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.
He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?" 
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Robin, I love that story. I'm printing it out and putting it on my happy wall. 

Christine, thanks again for having me here on the Veranda! You’re wonderful company!

Here's the blurb just to tease you.... 

Their love was ancient history...until their paths crossed again.
Samantha Bennett put Dean Malloy out of her mind five years ago, when he broke her heart after a summer fling. But now he's back in her life, and ready to steal a heritage protection contract that could make or break her career--if he doesn't steal her heart first. Samantha's vowed to hate him, but it's more than anger heating the competition between them.
With sparks flying across the conference table and sizzling in every touch, Dean proposes a weekend liaison. Anything to have Sam again; anything to get her out of his system. But the unresolved feelings between them complicate both their personal and professional lives, and one wild weekend could turn into a disaster that would destroy the one job that means more to Samantha than anything. For a shot at it worth the risk?
Read the first two chapters here:

Robin Bielman lives in Southern California, a bike ride away from the ocean if she’s feeling really adventurous. She loves books and baking and running on the treadmill while watching her favorite TV shows. When she’s not reading or writing her next story, she’s spending time with her high school sweetheart husband and two sons, most likely watching, playing, or discussing baseball. She drives too fast, drinks too much caffeine, and if every day were Cupcake Day, she’d be a happy camper! She loves to connect with readers. You can find her online at or on Facebook - and Twitter -!/RobinBielman

And remember, a lucky commenter will receive a copy of Robyn's book WORTH THE RISK!!