Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Regroup? Surely You Jest.

Whell.

And just when I had a plan.

One of my relatives is having a personal crisis and has come here for a few days for some R&R - that would be rave and rant.

I'm so happy she did because she needs to know she has people rooting for her and people firmly on her side and people who love her.

But my regrouping is a little out of the question right now. Maybe I can cram it all into Sunday.

Or Monday.

Because I have to get started on the manuscript again.

I will finish the sucker by January 31.

I will.

And the book I was going to start?

I read the cover.

But that's the way it is.

People first.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Regrouping

Our family enjoyed a wonderful holiday, and I hope you and yours did, too.

This week will be a transition back to sanity for me. While the major hoopla is over and done until next year, we have one more group of guests coming for New Year's.

The lull until they arrive on Thursday will give me a few days to think about my work in progress.

I had planned to finish the first draft by the end of November, before the Holiday Crazies commandeered my life. Didn't happen. I have about 20,000 more words to go. I will finish by the end of January, unless life throws me into the middle of a lake in some way.

During the frenzied days leading up to Christmas, I had bursts of thought about my protagonist, some of which I was smart enough to note on stickies. These are plastered around my desk and calendar.

I'm going to sort through them and attempt to put them into some kind of order. Some of the ideas may not work, others I know will. I'm crossing my fingers that my subconscious comes through with all the things I didn't write down.

Bottom line . . . I hope to have a solid plan for the ending before I start back into my regular writing routine next Monday.

This manuscript is either romantic suspense or a romantic mystery. I have trouble choosing the correct genre. I've always known how it will end, and a few weeks before the frenzy began, I discovered which man the protagonist chooses (which had been a problem). But now I know why she chooses him. And I have a better sense of the order things need to take to reach the ending I envision.

If I take these few days to really think about all this, and translate my notes into a good list, the remaining words should flow like good wine.

I hope.

Say a prayer.

Light a candle.

Ask your muse to call mine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Short and quick. I'm outta here until Monday, when I'll be back with a new writing post.

Stop reading these blogs for a few days and spend the extra time with your family. Say "Merry Christmas" to your neighbor. Practice a random act of kindness. Smile :) Everyone will benefit.

Did you notice? I made a Top Five list - LOL - Top 5 Things to do the last few days before Christmas.

I wish all of you the best Christmas ever.

See you next week.

Christmas hugs to you all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Whatcha Gonna Do?

I try to post something about writing on Mondays, but I'm having a hard time getting my head to go in that direction this morning. My little brain is too scattered around the stacks of unwrapped gifts - which are finally all in boxes! - and strands of ribbon and rolls of paper to pay attention to me.

Every once in a while it flits over to my work-in-progress and sends me a quick IM about something or other. I'm hoping my subconscious is hard at work filing these snippets away and will retrieve them for me when the time comes in another week or so.

If nothing else, I guess my focus on Things That MUST Be Done has given the other part of my brain a chance to recharge. It most likely needed the vacation, but now I think it's starting to get bored.

Bored creative brains think up all sorts of nasty, evil, and fun things to do. I hope most of them are transferrable to my characters.

There are one or two, however. . . .

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten things Santa says:

10. Ho! Ho! Ho!

  9. Careful, boys, this roof's icy . . . uh, oh.

  8. That's the tiniest chimney I've ever seen.

  7. Rudolph!

  6. He wants WHAT?

  5. Whoa! Look at the size of that stocking.

  4. Why is everything always in the bottom of the bag?

  3. Milk and cookies, milk and cookies. Just once I'd like a beer and chips.

  2. Donner. Blitzen. Kick in the afterburners. Mrs. Claus is waiting!

And the #1 thing Santa says:

  1. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This and That

First, thank you Elizabeth Spann Craig over at Mystery Writing is Murder for presenting me the Blogging Writer Award.



I'm honored to receive this award because Elizabeth designed it herself. And she did an excellent job. That alone makes it special.

Here are her award rules - simple and easy:
You can post this image to your blog…or not.
You may share this award with others…if you like.
You may adapt or alter this image in any way.

I may share with others - but not until after the holidays.

Thank you, Elizabeth!

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Second, on Monday, Chuck Sambuchino at Guide to Literary Agents posted Footnotes: 8 Articles on When Writing Becomes Revision. It's a great post written by guest writer Nancy Parish at The Sound and Furry. Good stuff all around here.

- - - - -

Third, Janet Reid posted the most amazing song the other day. If you haven't read this, all I can say is . . . you gotta - "It didn't win, but I loved it most". Me, too!

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And finally. Off to a local writer's booksigning - Nancy Glass West, then a haircut, then to finish preparing for my live-in handyman's birthday tomorrow.

See, I have stress way beyond just the holidays.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Stressed?

How stressed am I?

WE COMPLETELY MISSED A CHRISTMAS PARTY because I had the wrong day firmly set in my head AND had even written it on the wrong date on my calendar. Unbelievable. I never miss anything fun. I was sure the party was Saturday night. But when I pulled out the invitation to check the time, I saw it had been Friday night. I'm so thankful I didn't know the time. Imagine showing up at Neighbor-You-Don't-Know-Too-Well-On-The-Next-Street's house the night after.

I just mailed off a We're-Sorry-We-Missed-It Christmas card. And I still feel pretty stupid.

This kind of stress is something we can apply to our characters. Something happens, and the character is pulled in all directions, stressed to the max. Maybe there's lots of things going on in her life. She stumbles over a body on her front sidewalk at night coming home from the hospital where her mother is on death's door. She opens her door, and her little Maltipoo runs out into the street, barely escaping the wheels of a passing car, and into park on the other side. Pile it all on and then have her do something totally out of the ordinary.

I hope your day is less stress-filled than the past month or so of mine have been.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten things adults think about at Christmas:

10. Christmas Songs

  9. Sweets

  8. Parties

  7. Christmas Dinner

  6. Decorating the tree

  5. Christmas Cards

  4. Where to hide unwrapped gifts

  3. Wrapping

  2. Shopping

And the #1 thing adults think about at Christmas:

  1. Time

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Drum Roll Please

Finally, after finally overcoming all the technical difficulties,
the post I wanted to make two weeks ago.




Miss Madison Paige Clark

Madison is my newest niece. Isn't she beautiful?

I can hardly wait to see her in person and hold her. However, those pleasures will have to wait until Christmas.

The anticipation is right up there with waiting for Santa.



Monday, December 7, 2009

Anything You Can Do

First off, I want to thank Mason Canyon over at Thoughts in Progress for providing directions for me to put up The Animal Rescue Site button - over here on the right. Please click through once a day to help shelter animals. Two clicks and you're done. And while you're at it, click on the link to Mason's blog, too. It's beautiful and filled with lots of info.

Now, on to today's writing post. It will be a quickie because I have to be somewhere by 9:30 and I'm still in my jammies. Unlike those who prepare, I just come here and write off the cuff. Maybe I should take the hint.

Anyway . . .

I'm competitive. I'm persistent.

Those who know me and read this are shaking their heads. Those words don't tell it how it really is. How it really is, is don't tell me I can't do something or don't tell me you can out-do me on anything. Anything.

Those words punch every button I have. In writing parlance, they're a strong motivator.

I want to win, and I keep at something until I learn how to do it. As long as I enjoy what I'm doing. If I try something and don't like it, all bets are off. Like snorkeling. But that's another post some day.

This post is more a motivator for you about what it takes when we write.

Some days those words flow like wine. Other days they don't. Be persistent. WANT to get those words down. WANT to finish that revision. WANT to make this piece the best damn piece you ever wrote.

When it's done, send it out. Don't dawdle. Are you going to get smacked with rejections? Most likely. Don't give up. Send it out again. Start another piece. WANT to win.

If you want to win badly enough AND do everything you know to do to get there AND don't be stubborn about it, you will. It may take a long time. Or it may not. There are no absolutes in this business.

You may win in a way you hadn't anticipated, but you will win.

Some of you are saying ... She said she's persistent and then she says don't be stubborn. I don't get it.

There's a difference between the two. I know. I'm a little bit stubborn, too, about some things.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday's Top Ten

Top ten things kids think about at Christmas:

10. Christmas Songs

  9. Candy Canes

  8. The Grinch

  7. Snowmen

  6. Reindeer

  5. Decorating the Tree

  4. Hanging Stockings

  3. Seeing Outdoor Lights

  2. Presents

And the #1 thing kids think about at Christmas:

  1. Santa

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Holiday Giving

It's the holiday season once again. That time of year when we get caught up in giving.

We remember everyone one way or another, even if only with a brighter smile or an hour at the food bank. Or a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever the appropriate greeting is for you. For some of you, that greeting may be Bah Humbug.

It's also the time of year people forget about homeless animals. We do all right remembering homeless and in-need people, but we tend to forget about our furry, feathered, and scaled friends.




You can help. Every day. And it takes only seconds of your time.

The Animal Rescue Site.

If you have time, read the short daily shelter story.
If you have time, vote for your favorite shelter during grant contests.
If you have time, make a holiday purchase for the pet lover in your life.

But visit every day. Please.




How can your resist that face?

One click, and you're done. Your click feeds at least one animal every day.

What a way to give.

In case you're wondering . . .

The first photo is Arf - aka Shiner - Blue Heeler extraordinare. It's a few months old - taken over the summer. He's broadened through the shoulders now, but still has that same goofy charm.

The second is Woof - aka Wrangler - rescue Border Collie. Four and a half. The alpha dog among the two.