Monday, December 31, 2007

2008

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! May we all have many lucrative sales and read many wonderful books.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Snip

I thought I'd share a snip from today's progress.

Bound by Honor copyright 2007 Carol A. Spradling

The blurred image of a woman’s face melted in front of Leah’s eyes. Two blue marble-like orbs swirled above a small, pink mouth that stretched grotesquely wide. No white squares showed between the lips. Was it possible the woman was toothless? The voice echoed distantly, mumbling, but never became clear enough for comprehension. She blinked and the face contorted further into long, geometric lines. Her nose remained stationary and as the head turned from side to side, it gave the illusion of the nostrils sliding about, adrift within a hairless boundary.
Frigid fingers, dripping like icicles touched her cheek and pulled open her mouth. Cold pewter pressed against her tongue and a thick liquid slithered down her throat. Snakes, she thought. Her stomach rumbled as the reptiles slid home. She shivered and gagged as the nose slid off of the woman’s misshapen chin. Leah glanced down in time to see it hop about the floor and then vanish.
“Don’t you know how to prevent this?” asked the molten lips. The voice, though distant and billowy, was becoming more distinct. The woman placed the brown bottle on a table. “He must have carried some kind of a prize for you to be so careless. I can’t say that I blame you. I’ve known one or two of my own.” She lifted a lock of Leah’s hair. “Or did you get this way on purpose and he threw you out? Too bad you weren’t part of my house. A girl like you would have been a favorite. Of course, you’d have to adhere to my rules. I don’t want a man to leave behind any lengthy reminders of his visit, though it does happen from time to time. That’s why I take care of those things posthaste, can’t have my business suffering for it.” She made a clicking noise with her tongue and turned to leave. “Such a shame.”

Saturday, December 29, 2007

A hare at a tortoise's pace.

I've hit a really good stretch in BBH where the words are flying. I really hope to take advantage of the next few days and crank out a big section of story. Keep in mind, I am a slow typist so even at record speed, my progress will be slow. I love having uninterrupted time. That and a blue moon.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Tired

As I drove to work this morning, I looked over at a plane preparing for takeoff. I was so tempted to turn and go to the airport, walk up to the desk, and say, "Give me a seat on the next plane. Destination? I don't care, just let me board." I am past the point of exhaustion. I won't go into what has sent me there, but I do not like it.

On a brighter note...I worked through the snag. Everything is humming again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I hope this wasn't a wasted week.

Ugh. I have spent a solid week on one chapter. It is driving me crazy. I know what it needs, but don't know what to add. I need a physical action to take place. What I have is...Two women are bringing contraband grain to a family. A huge no-no. I went down the checklist. They could get caught. They could have a problem with the horse/buggy. They could be received badly. They could not make it to their destination. Thinking...thinking...time to bring in a really bad villain. Any thoughts?

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ya try to get fancy

I thought I would try to spruce up my Christmas cards. I looked all over town for a gold pen. That would be festive. I couldn't find any. However, I did find a silver one. Yes, the Abominable Snowman did enter my mind. (Silver and Gold) I thought, silver...tinsel...Christmas, this will work. Aaaakk. First, it doesn't show up well on the envelope and second, it looks like pencil lead. Eh, I bought it, I'm gonna use it. At least it won't smudge.

FIL Update.

Not the news we hoped for. My fil is coming back nicely from the second heart attack. (Honestly, I would think the hospital would bounce his behind out of there to keep from putting up with his stubbornness.) The thing with him is, he is such a nice man that even when he is doing things that should make you angry, you aren't. You don't meet many people like that. In all the years I've known him, I have to say, even when I knew he was furious, he never acted on it. Amazing.

Anyway, he is getting some test results in. Not good. Cancer. The doctor has said that although it is the slow moving kind, they won't operate because it is in his lung near his heart. He starts radiation on Monday. Maybe that will be enough. I did say he was stubborn.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Not what I had in mind, but still a good morning.

Since I write best in the morning, I decide to get up at 5:00 to work on BBH. This will work well due to my time tonight will be spent chatting live at Coffee Time Romance. I know. A shameless plug. Who would have ever thought that someone who was described as a person afraid to talk to her own shadow would be so audacious? It's all part of promotion, what can I do?

Anyway, I digress. With two hours of writing time at my fingertips, I opened my folders. For some reason, all I managed was tweaking a few chapters. This was not what I had in mind. I gave it lots of thought on my drive to work. I started at the top of the scene and followed it, letting it play out in my mind. As I got to the section that stumped me, I heard a huge clatter. The solution was simple. Although important, this scene lacked action. Never one to disappoint me when action is needed, one character burst onto the scene with an unplanned entrance, (the source of the clatter) the clog burst free and everything moved expediently.

Here I sat in the middle of heavy traffic and no way to get this down. With no choice, I put the scene on a revolving loop in my mind and weaved in between cars before I forgot anything crucial. Not 8:00, I raced to my desk and jotted everything down. Ah, how long until lunch so I can get to my computer? :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Question

I have been over at the forum following a few threads. One in particular has been rather enjoyable. There have been several snips of people's ms's that have been poetic and lyrical when read. For me, I tend to shy away from this style of writing because it is an art form that eludes me. However, maybe I can sneak up on it from behind.

What I wonder is, how does one write beautiful prose without heading into that purple area that nauseates readers? Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Still here, mostly.

Just a quick note to touch base. My attention has been split lately.

We've had a health emergency concerning my father-in-law. Although still in intensive care, he keeps asking to be released. He is such a great guy. I hope they give in soon.

In between visits, I did manage to get final edits back to my editor. This process is very nerve wracking.

I'm glad to see everyone is still hitting the keys.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

ENCHANTING THE LADY by Kathryne Kennedy

Who said all romance books are the same? For those people who think they are, they should take a look at Kathryne Kennedy. Her books take on aspects from many genres, blending them together with creative imagination.

ENCHANTING THE LADY
"The imagination of J.K. Rowling and the romance of Julie Garwood
all rolled up into one fabulous novel." Erin Grady, author of Whispers
Please visit: KathryneKennedy.com

Friday, November 23, 2007

If only that were true.

Okay, I admit it. I borrowed this from Marianne. It was too funny not to share.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Word Count.

How does everyone determine word count? I have heard two rules of thumb. One is Word's word count. The other is to multiply 250 times the number of pages. I have heard that publishers use the 250 count. Is this to be used when the first page of each chapter starts at mid-page?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I've been tagged!

Got this from Jen this afternoon.

Four Things You May or May Not Know About Me (Glad the cutoff was four. This could get embarrassing.)


A) Four jobs I have had in my lifetime:
1. Substitute teacher.
2. Administrator.
3. Cashier.
4. Office manager.

B) Four movies I would watch over & over:
1. Kate and Leopold.
2. Eh, sorry, can't think of more.
3.
4.

C) 4 places I have lived:
1. New Smyrna Beach, FL.
2. Bainbridge, Ohio
3. Ormond Beach, FL.
4. There is no fourth

D) Four TV Shows that I watch:
1. Lost
2. Pushing Daisies
3. Dancing With the Stars
4. American Idol (only when Jen keeps talking about it)

E) Four places I have been:
1. Grandfather Mountain, NC
2. Washinton, DC
3. Boston, MA
4. Aspen, CO


F) Four people who e-mail me (regularly):
1. Jen
2. Jane
3. Jeanne
4. I need another "J"

G) Four of my favorite foods:
1. Mexican
2. Potatoes (I'm Irish, it's in the DNA.)
3. Chinese
4. Salad (gotta have something to balance the potatoes)

H) Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Beech Mtn., NC
2. Ireland
3. Germany
4. England

I) Things I am looking forward to this and next year:
1. Getting an agent.
2. Seeing my book on a store shelf.
3. Spending time in the mountains.
4. Bliss.

Okay... I tag Jane, Nina, Precie, Jenny C.

Monday, November 12, 2007

SOME NERVE by Jane Heller

SOME NERVE is a contemporary novel featuring Ann Roth. Honesty and integrity are not the tools for a celebrity journalist, and nice is not what her editor is looking for. When told to get a story on the most reclusive personality since Howard Hughes, Ann pulls out every creative trick in her arsenal. It isn't enough. She must face her paralyzing fear of heights. Physically unable to do so, she goes back to her magazine empty-handed. Fired, she returns home defeated. Taking on local fanfare of hair salon openings and the like, Ann is given a second chance when the man who cost her her job is admitted to the local hospital. Geared up, she is determined to get her job and her reputation back.

With great minor characters and no sluggish areas, this book was very easy to get into. Ann had a great voice and personality that I found endearing. (I did find it jarring with the number of parentheses the author used.) I could feel the anxiety as Ann tried to overcome her fear, get the story, and prove herself. In the middle of the book, the story took a sharp turn, almost with a feeling of being a different book. Although we see growth and change in the character, the amount that was shown seemed out of place with the style of the story up to this point. There were a few believability issues that I struggled with, and I thought the ending was predictable.

Overall, I'm glad I read it.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What a kick!

I just completed my first interview. (g) This is surreal. As soon as I know the posting date, I'll let you know.

Edited to add: Feb. 13.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Getting reacquainted

While finding a resting spot, I looked over the unfinished books vying for my attention. Hmm, which direction do I want to go? I never was one who was comfortable leaving things half-done, so I decided to go back to Bound by Honor.

I love these characters, their time period, and their story. The thing is, I'm having a hard time getting a good hold on it. I don't know where to begin. Is that odd? I considered filling in missing chapters, nah, not comfortable with that. How about fluffing flat chapters? Uh-uh. I think I am going to start at chapter one. If it is completed, revise it then move on. Sounds like a plan.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

FINISHED!!!!

Coming in at a whopping 78,250 words, FOR MERCY'S SAKE is finished. I added over 11,000 words during revisions. I really like writing in this manner. I found it much easier to add than remove material.

In celebration, I went to B&N, wanting to see what was popular in this genre and to treat myself to a new book. As I went up and down the aisles, I kept thinking about something an agent mentioned in a rejection letter. Make sure to draw me in. I looked at several books, reading the backs, the beginning chapters, random sections. Sorry, I wasn't drawn in. Ready to give up, a lady with a hand shopping basket came into the aisle. I didn't know her from Adam, but I thought, eh, why not? She didn't stand a chance.

I stopped her before she got to the first shelf. "Who do you read?" I asked as bold as thunder. We were meant to meet. She looked at me as plain as anything and told me, "I read everyone." Jackpot!! She lifted her basket and said she fills one of these a month. She was there for her fresh supply. Naturally, I couldn't let her go now. I asked what period she liked. She said she preferred historicals, but she can't find many of those (stern glare to agents and publishing houses), so she is forced to also read contemps. She proceeded, at my urging, to tell me who she reads and what she likes about them.

Filling my arms with as many of her suggestions as I could carry, I waddled to a table. Armed with a large coke and an ultimate brownie, I dove in. I saw her points about each selection. Once again, out of a dozen books, only one had an opening that wowed me. I replaced each book to the shelf before the cafe asked me to leave for taking up so much table time.

I can't say that I came away knowing what is popular, but I do know what one avid reader is looking for, and I am definitely in the ballpark.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

When did this happen?

First, I am not that old, but when did 'snuck' become a word? I can remember teachers becoming irate and bleeding all over, an otherwise perfect, 5000 word essays at the five letter word. NO SUCH WORD, they would carve across the top of your paper and hold up in illustration so the entire class could learn. Needless to say, I cringe at the sight of it now. Hearing that word is worse than nails on a chalkboard.

I know, you laugh and roll your eyes. That's fine, you grew up when Pluto was a planet. haha

Editing note: Too funny. When finished, I did a spell check. That's right, snuck came up as incorrect. *Loud exhale and huge grin* Vindication! Yes, I am not alone.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lady of the Glen by Jennifer Roberson

I never do reviews but for some reason, I feel compelled.

I have to confess. I have made three attempts to get through Lady of the Glen. I can't do it. I know this book is a favorite of many, and I hoped it would be one of my top picks, too. I found myself skimming every time I turned the page. When I started skipping pages, I knew I had to stop.

For my lack of interest in this book, I'll take the blame. I am going to assume that it is no fault of the author, it is all me. In truth, other than a couple of things that could be overlooked, Miss Roberson tells a good story. It really bothers me that I could not finish it. I can't express how badly I wanted to read it through and enjoy it.

If you are looking for comments on this book before reading it for yourself, my opinion is, read it. This might be exactly what you're looking for.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Book trailer

My book trailer is finished. Woohoo! For not knowing anything about the medium, I like how it turned out. If you haven't done one, you should. It was so much fun. Okay, it was fun after the frustration of learning how the software works, figuring out what should go in it, finding all the components, and several failed attempts. Yeah, it was fun. I want to wait until I have release dates and an ISB # before making it public, but I had to share, too excited to keep this just to myself.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Pointer Sisters?

I'm so excited.

Because of everything else that was happening, I put FMS on hold while I tended to the present needs of COF. Today, I am back with FMS. I sure did miss this story. I started off by glancing over the character list. I found myself smiling at the names of the people in this story.

I'm sure all writers can relate to this. Although all of your story's are near and dear to you, the current one you are working on tends to hold a special place. Perhaps it is the excitement of what is happening in the story -- everything is new and fresh. Or, it could be that you have grown in your talent and the story shines earlier and more easily than previous wips. Who knows?

I was amazed at how easy it was to slip back into this story and these characters. I have missed them and am glad to be back. Writing is way too much fun!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

On its way

My edits are back with the editor. I hope I sent the right file. hehe So now we wait.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Favorites

While editing, I found certain words/phrases tended to stick out more than others. Not because they were incorrect, but because I used them a lot. I was curious, do you have favorites that seems to get a workout in your writing?

I find that I am partial to the words: plopped, flopped, and slitted.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Hand grenades and horseshoes

I am so close. The entire book has been read and tweaked three times. The epilogue, after two attempts, is almost there. I just need a way to give it that kiss good bye. Two to three sentences should finish it off, but I can't quite figure out how to get it to happen. I need that 'ahhh' paragraph that makes you close the book with a smile. I have until Friday. Let me step away for a while and allow inspiration to strike.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Midpoint

I have gone over the ms for the second time and the epilogue is almost finished, but I have reached the point where I can no longer tell right from wrong. For instance, is it "Yes, sir." or "Yes, Sir."? Everything is starting to look like a mish-mash of words and punctuation.

I received some very good advice and hope I can follow it. This wise woman said to not even consider the final read through until I have allowed myself to be well rested. She's right, but how do I corral all of these annoying 'what about' thoughts in the meantime?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Jane!

I had to pass this on to all of you. My friend, Jane Richardson, has received her cover and a tentative release time of Oct/Nov for her book A Different Kind of Honesty. You can take a peek at JaneRichardson.blogspot.com

Congrats, Jane!!!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Flyboys

While we were on vacation, my husband bought the movie Flyboys. He watched it almost every day. Should I remind you we were gone for two weeks?

This week at work, I learned one of our students was a stunt pilot for James Franco in the movie. Although this was cool, my husband wasn't this excited when I told him he was going to be a father. Men!

For me, it took a while to understand which part he played. It wasn't until he said, "I saved the girl" that I was able to place his character. Admittedly, I didn't pay close attention to the movie. I will next time.

It was nice talking with him and hearing about all the behind the scenes activities. He's going to get me a poster from the movie. If he does, my husband will be hard to live with.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sue

This is too funny. On the way to work, I called my sister to ask about a gift idea for an upcoming birthday party. After coming up with no idea, she asked how the writing was going. I happened to mention my thoughts for the new wip. Effervescing, she bubbled over. "That's my kind of book! Oh, you have to add___." LOL

She is an avid reader and can down an average-size paperback in an afternoon, but I don't think she is grasping an author's timeline. At the earliest, I see me starting Fade in January. Okay, FMS took 5 months, but still, it will be a while before a rough draft is in her greedy, little hands. I hope I can pacify her with a finished draft of FMS in the mean time.

Monday, September 10, 2007

And on the horizon...

Am I insane or is this normal? Personally, I blame Jen for planting the idea in my head.

I have an idea for a new wip. Naturally, the timing is atrocious. I scribbled down the basic ideas for later. This cannot have my attention right now, no matter how loud it screams. But I do think it will be a good story. I am wondering what genre it will fit in since it doesn't appear to be a traditional story that has clear guidelines.

Okay, focus. Edits, first. FMS, second.

Friday, September 7, 2007

New writer

Have you ever had someone ask you to read a sample of their work? I'm sure you have. Our first reaction is generally, uh, okay. Hmm, do I really want to do this?

Last night, I was asked to read a snip from a new writer. When it was prefaced with, I've been working on this for __years and have __words, you can imagine my thoughts. To be fair, I asked if I could wait until the morning to read. I start closing down at night and can't make much sense of anything.

I just read her piece. This girl is good. Not that I'm an expert, but I am very picky. She had me leaning into the screen, staring bug-eyed at the words. Not many writers have that affect on me. Why she put this down, I'll never understand. From listening to her last night, I doubt she'll stop now. She has that writer's excitement. The serendipitous ideas were flowing, and she couldn't get them down fast enough.

Jenna, you're off to a great start. You have what it takes. Keep those keys clicking.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Website

The website is finished, well, minus my photo. I'll add that as soon as I get back from vacation. In the meantime, if you wanna take a look--http://CarolASpradling.com.

I hope to see you over there.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wah!

I don't know what happened. While I wait for other things to click into place, I decided to work on BBH. For the past three hours I have been fluffing chapters. This was the kind of stuff that makes you happy dance your way to bed when finished. While working on this one chapter in particular, I pushed the down key and nothing happened. It said I was at the end of the chapter. Not true. I know what else is to happen in this chapter and we were a long way from finished.

I very carefully looked around to see what was happening. When I came back to the screen, it was blank. My stomach dropped. Not only was all the stuff I had worked on tonight gone, so was the original. This was an important chapter. I remember writing the original, it took quite a few days to get it the way I wanted.

Tentatively touching the chapter number on Word, it asked if I wanted to revert to the saved program. I know Word saves everything after so many minutes. I held my breath and clicked, yes. Up popped the chapter. I scrolled down, searching for any hint of the gold I had added. Nothing. (sniff, sniff) I need a cookie.

So back I go to the top of the page, hoping I can remember all the things I added. Why does this never happens on 'iffy' nights?

Monday, August 27, 2007

With time to spare

I set a goal to have the first draft of FMS finished by the end of August. I made it!! I am so excited. I am going to let it rest while I do the revisions for COF and then go back, clean it up and fluff it out. This is so exciting.

I didn't want a few unfinished chapters hanging over my head and not be able to get to them. Talk about torture. Yes, I admit it. I'm a type A personality and can't stand to have anything unfinished.

YEA!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Crit reaction

Two critters just gave me their reaction to the 'big scene' in FMS. It scared them. Hehe. Warned by the one critter, the other refused to read the scene until the next day for fear she'd not be able to sleep. Yea!!!

Separation anxiety

I have two chapters left to write in FMS, my first stand alone book. I've heard writers talk about a sadness they feel when coming to the end of a story. Last night as I looked at the notes for the last two chapters, I understood what they meant.

Not to sound weird, but it's like you prepare yourself to say good-bye to people you care about. I suppose that's a good sign. I hope readers feel the same way when they finish the book.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Name change

Sorry about the name change. I look at it and shake my head. Can you believe CarolSpradling.com was already taken? I was forced to throw the A in. Not happy about it, but what can I do?

It's becoming real

http://wildrosepublishing.com/authors.htm

Take a look in the middle of the first column.

What makes you tingle?

Book tours, fame, cash. When you think about being published, what is that little something that you look forward to experiencing?

For me, I think the biggest thrill would be to see someone who is reading my book and watch their expression while they read.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Growing up

I am the type of person who normally has to have everything figured out before I begin and then proceeds at breakneck speed to achieve my goal. Hard to believe I chunk write, huh?

The past two weeks have been such a cyclone of activity. At one point, I found myself wanting to hide in a corner and wait for everything to go away. I would sit at me laptop with the solace that I could at least escape into 1760. That didn't even work. I sat there wondering how I ever managed to put a subject and verb together, or why I even wanted to.

The logical side of my brain patted the creative side and jumped into action. Prospective. That's what I needed. Order. What has to be done now, what can wait?

Last night, I sat once more at the laptop and finally, words starting flowing into place. Yes! I think I have it figured out. Balance. Not exactly a simple realization for an 'all or nothing' kind of girl.

There's always more to learn, isn't there?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Websites

To all of you who create websites--applause, applause.

I am in the process of having mine built. I know, I thought the same thing as you, eh, how hard can it be? For crying out loud, I built a blog. Ha!

After looking into the finer points of templates, I decided if I were to embark in this route, I needed something professional looking. So, the search began for a webmaster. This brought me completely out of my comfort zone. Plus, I had no clue as to how to begin.

Thankfully, I was given the name of a talented web mistress. She jotted me a quick note with a few general questions, which I replied to with answers that were even more vague. Yesterday, I got the first glimpse of what she concocted. Impressed doesn't begin to describe it.

We are fine tuning the details but rest assured, this is much better than anything I could have attempted. I don't know how she did it, but she is able to capture the essence of my writing style. Having looked at her portfolio, this is her strength. Whether contemporary or historical, her creations reflect the author splendidly.

I'll let you know when it is finished.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Too funny.

I'm sorry. I'm cracking up. I have this line in a chapter that cracks me up, I'm talking belly laugh, every time I read it. I can visualize it so clearly. The thing is, it is in a very tense, stressful scene. For this character to say what she does is priceless and then to have the reaction from another character follow...I'm rolling. I need a Kleenex.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Jack


Meet Jack. He's staying with us this weekend while my son is at drill. Isn't he cute! He's half Siberian Husky and half Eastern Gray Wolf.




Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fantasy

I admit it. I secretly had fantasies of what a writer's life is like. I imagined myself sitting on the front porch, looking out over a lake, pounding away at the keys. All else was taken care of, magically, I suppose. It was my fantasy, I never left the porch. I have an inkling that my dream was perhaps a bit skewed. LOL Stop laughing, okay, maybe a chuckle. It is funny.


The fantasy is generally better than the reality and that's why we write. So, what are your fantasies of an author's life?

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It's happened!!!

Hi everyone,

I have news! I have been offered a contract from http://www.thewildrosepress.com/ for Cost of Freedom, and she has requested a partial for Bound by Honor. My head is swimming.

Monday, August 6, 2007

News

I have some news. The editor of a publishing house has asked to talk with me about Cost of Freedom. I'm trying to stay calm, but I'm about to explode. That's all I can say right now, but eeeeeeee

Sunday, August 5, 2007

I made my word count goal

I made it to 60k, but I still have more story to tell. Nice situation to be in, wouldn't you agree? I won't be able to add more tonight, due to research. I thought this could wait until I returned to writing BBH, but I am watching the Revolution series now. I have until Wednesday to glean as much info from it that I can. We are changing over to "air card" wireless, so I'm returning all of the Internet cable devices. The Tivo style device is part of this cable package, so I will lose that service. Eh, I'd much rather get Internet anywhere, at anytime. Yeah, I'm addicted.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

tick, tick, tick

I was curious about something. From the time your screen pops into existence, to the time you start writing, how much time do you spend taking care of business? Not household finance and things like that. I mean, reading and answering email, checking the boards, socializing on the blogs--thank you, Google reader.

Granted, all these things are necessary. *cough* Just curious. For me, weekdays don't count. I have a lot of down time at work, soon to end come September, so I can do all this when I'm bored. The weekends are another story. I think it takes me about an hour before I actually get to my writing. I don't think that's too much, is it?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Plain and simple

This was passed to me in an email, and I thought it was very sound advice.

Erasure is as important as writing. Prune what is turgid, elevate what is commonplace, arrange what is disorderly, introduce rhythm where language is harsh, modify where it is too absolute. The best method of correction is to put aside for a time what we have written, so that when we come to it again it may have an aspect of novelty, as of being another man's work; in this way we may preserve ourselves from regarding our writings with the affection we lavish upon a newborn child.~Marcus Fabius Quintilianus

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The homestretch

I have finally conquered a difficult chapter. At one point, I even considered tossing it. But the boys finally co operated. Now, it's full steam ahead.

I love this part of writing--when you start the climb to the climax. All the pieces you've carefully laid in place are coming together, the tension is building, and you can see the finish. The writing happens faster because you know what's on the horizon and you can't wait to get there. This is what you hope happens with the reader, and if done right, it should.

See you at the finish line.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

I'm bushed

What a productive weekend. I have the remainder of the book plotted and all the questions that developed along the way are answered. I brought in a huge amount of tension, which I had fun spending a lot of time with. I tied up all the loose ends, gave the bad people their comeuppance, and arcked everything with the right degree of bend allowance. Sorry, aeronautic term. My boss would be so proud.

The one snag I have is a conversation between Daniel and a ship's captain. A lot of important information is being divulged to the reader, but it is coming across in a boring manner. I wonder if I need to cut the scene and include the info later. I think it might be wise for me to let it, and me, rest for tonight and take another look tomorrow.

What a weekend!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

So far this morning...

I got up early, sneaked into the kitchen to be quiet, and am now racing against a dying battery. I managed to do some major plotting of the last section of the book. I have two questions left to answer and then write it out. I did a quick check with the word tally. As of right now, I'm at 94% finished. I have a feeling I will go way over the projected 60k.

I am so excited about what's getting ready to happen in the story. I don't know how outline people do it. God love ya, I just couldn't do it. When I began with the initial concept, I never suspected the things that are about to happen. Isn't it great that we can write in different fashions?

Friday, July 27, 2007

I like it

I've figured out how to hurt my mc. This will be good. They will have trauma for a long time afterward and not one visible scar. Well, maybe a few bruises. Now, I just need to figure out a really good reason for the antagonist to do this. I have a reason, but it needs to be strengthened. I don't quite have it, but I'll know it in time.

Finally

I finally made it through that chapter. As I finished writing last night, I noticed something. I knew it was coming, but now know, it has to be done soon.

It's time to hurt the mc's. Yeah, I know, but it has to be done. I have a vague idea which one it will be. I've been sprinkling foreshadows all over the place. Now, (thumping finger on chin) what to do with them? I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Grrrr

I spent the entire day on one of those chapters that just would not come together. I ripped that sucker apart so many times, I wanted to wad it up and toss it in the trash. Finally, I narrowed down the problem. That's always good.

In this chapter, I had to bring in a bit of backstory. Hence, the title of this post. Originally, what I had was soooo boring. It read horribly. Once I realized what was going on, I was able to cut to the chase. I tossed a couple of pages of details into oblivion (and really, this info won't be missed at all.) I only mentioned things that were of absolute pertinence, added all of the other essentials to bring the scene to life, and did a happy dance. Okay, the happy dance comes tomorrow after I've polished it more, but the music is cued up and the intro is playing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Minority report

What would a blog be without a HP post?

I admit it, I have not read, nor do I plan to read, any of the Harry Potter books. With that said, I am curious, what is it about these books that have caused reading to become popular again, especially among the youth?

I know the ms was rejected several times by agents, editors have commented that they would never have guessed this type of popularity, and even some authors have stumbled over her writing style. Yet, she is highly successful.

So, why? Those of you who have read the books, what made you put life on hold this past weekend and neglect everyone and everything while you devoured book seven?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jennifer

Just a quick note. My daughter is off to Cuba today for ten days. It's the second time she's been there but this time, I'm a little nervous. I can't go into detail on a public forum, but keep in mind it's still a communist country. It's true what they say, parental worries never stop. They also become compounded with an adventurous daughter who is overly trusting. She likes to remind me that she's also intelligent and knows how to take care of herself. She's right on both counts, but you understand.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Perseverance

I never thought these words would come out of my keyboard, but...I can't wait to edit. Most writers prefer the creative flexibility of writing the original story. Don't get me wrong, that's a thrill. But, I have finally conquered my latest writing obstacle, and I'm very anxious to go back and remove all the previous hiccups in my wip.

Have you ever spoken with someone and could tell they were bursting to tell you something, but were wary of saying it because it might not be received as intended? In an early chapter of FMS, I had this experience with someone who submitted a crit to me. She very cautiously mentioned that I should try to incorporate more _____. Not knowing what that even meant, I blinked, reread, scratched my head and quickly accepted her offer to explain. After our talk, I kind of knew what she was talking about.

Her suggestion perched on my shoulder each time I wrote, sometimes even whispering in my ear, this is a section that could benefit from her comments. Although I was starting to recognize where to incorporate it, now I needed to know how.

I studied her suggestions. I read over a few blurbs from other authors who had managed this technique. It wasn't sinking in. A few days ago, as I fluffed a scene, one sentenced stopped me cold. I looked at it and thought, what if I change my scope slightly here and jiggled this over there. That's it! This is what she was saying 45,000 words ago. Finally, I understand what she was talking about.

Hence my excitement. Gotta get to edits. I can't wait. I admit it, when trying to grasp a new concept, it generally takes me the better part of a book to get there, but the good news is, I do arrive.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Confused

I have a question. I heard a low grade grumble vibrate through the publishing world and thought I would ask about it. There seems to be a set distinction between publishing houses, resulting in a snub of smaller houses. I understand and appreciate that some pubs are larger and more established than others. However, from what I've heard, this attitude has trickled down to some authors being unrecognized. This is what I don't understand...When a person's books are on shelves in national book chains, how can an organization state that a person is unpublished? Can someone explain this to me?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Craft

Let me start by saying, This is NOT a rant. I am not aiming this at any one person in particular.

However...I have heard several people mention "Craft", so much so, that I cringe everytime I hear the word. I came across this blurb by an author and felt she said it perfectly.

“please STOP reading the craft books if you haven’t yet written a complete book yet. I cannot stress this enough – if you’re reading a book on craft and you haven’t yet written a book that you can plug your own experiences into, you’re not going to understand that craft book on the level you need to. Just write the book – the whole book – write it in order, out of order, in any genre or POV you need to but get it down. Don’t get so caught up in the things you think you need to do for pre-writing that you don’t get the actual writing done. Save the energy you expend doing index cards and things of that sort for the writing. Trust me, the craft books will make so much more sense after the writing is accomplished.”

Sunday, July 15, 2007

My weekend

I'm taking a little break. I have spent the entire weekend, fluffing out and polishing the first three chapters of FMS. I think they are now completely finished. Thank you ladies for your help in narrowing down what was missing. The chapters now have a much deeper tone and richer quality to them.

I chose to write the first draft of FMS with a light hand. I find it easier to go back and add material opposed to cutting. Plus, I would berate myself for wasting all that time on things that would get snipped if done the other way.

One thing I also did was to make a cheat sheet for myself. I find that I tend to continue with similar habits--I forget to include one thing, over emphasize something else. So, I had this brainstorm, as my grandma used to say. When my beta ladies zipped back the first chapters with their comments, I went over them and asked, what exactly are they saying here?

I then composed a checklist of things to go back over and look for when a chapter is 'finished'. Yeah, we all know the definition of that word--revisions. I am in hopes that as I familiarize myself with the list that it will become second nature as I write the original draft. Oh, wouldn't that be lovely?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

"Good evening."

Sound familiar? Alfred Hitchcock's famous opening line. One other thing Mr. Hitchcock was known for was appearing somewhere in all of his movies. Sometimes the cameo was so small, he was undetectable.

Seeing some lively debate about characters, got me thinking about cameos. I'm sure we have all based a character or two on a real life person. If not in full, at least a mannerism or two. How could you not? To have the flesh and blood illustration right in front of you to study while other people interact with them as a bonus, talk about making your life easy.

I know that I have used my son as a sub-character. Hmm, who else? Oh, yes, three friends of the family. One person in particular might not find this flattering. What can I say? Your personality is larger than life. My daughter? Not yet. Her personality doesn't fit well in the 1700's. A fact that she's not overly saddened about.

Now for the real question. Are you like Mr. Hitchcock and will make an appearance in your story? I know, I know. All of our characters have a glimpse of us in their makeup. But, is there anyone that is all you? For me, not yet. But wouldn't it be fun to do?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Author's fingerprints.

It's happened to all of us. You hear rave reviews about a book and based on this information, you drop everything and rush to get a copy. You clear the rest of your day and read, read, read, thunk. You hesitate to begin another chapter because you know the misery will continue. Trying to be positive, you force yourself to turn one more page. It has to pick up. Everyone loved this book. Is it you? You're desperate to have that same lovin' feeling as everyone else, but it's just not happening. To make matters worse, you can't quite place what it is that is missing from this book. All you know is, it isn't doing it for you.

I call this the author's fingerprints. This is what separates one author, one book, from another. It's that magical sprinkling that captivates a reader and makes us love certain books and authors. And yes, sometimes, for whatever reason, an author can forget to add this to their own work.

I know of one author who is loved by everyone, at least it seems like it. Although, my sister and daughter, couldn't get passed the first chapter, but that's another post. Anyway, when you listen to the readers, there is something just a little different that draws them to this author. But one thing you will always hear is, I don't know what it is, there is just something about the way she writes.

Writers need that unknown element. As indescribable as it is, reader's recognize it when it's there and when it's missing. So, what is the special something that you sprinkle over your work that makes people say, I don't know what it is, but it's there?

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy 4th of July!!!

Fireworks, cookouts, and watermelon. What else says Independence Day to you?

As the author of pre Revolutionary War novels, I want to wish everyone a happy July 4th!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I've been tagged.

Cindy tagged me. Here are 7 random facts about me:

1. I can't touch type.

2. I am a certified SCUBA diver.

3. I failed my first driver's permit test.

4. I was born and raised in Florida, I even have Indian ancestry, but can't tan for anything.

5. I'm allergic to penicillin.

6. I said, yes to my husband's marriage proposal after one week of dating. In all fairness, we did go out every night that week before he asked. I suppose it's still iffy after 28 years.

7. I'm afraid of birds.

Now I need to think of seven people to tag. Hmm, whom to tag:

Jen, Jenny, Jane, Helene, Beth, Eve, Sheila

Two in one day

Congratulations to Dan Walsh for signing with an agent today. His book is holiday themed, so make sure you look for A Christmas Soldier in November, 2008. Sorry I don't have a snip to share, but I know you won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Was that fast or what?

Take a look at the second column, sixth name from the top. It's Jane!

http://wildrosepublishing.com/authors.htm

People only like the middle of oreos.

I have finally reached that point where I can see the end. That doesn't mean I'm close to finishing though. Although I'm still in the middle of the ms, I am getting ideas for scenes that will lead to the climax of the story. Ohhh, I like what's ahead. I really hope I'm able to keep the reader guessing all the way through. I need to write a quick note so I can remember what I have in mind. Work can get in the way, can't it? (s) I have a feeling that this scene will trigger two or three more. Don't you love it when you reach that point in your writing. I feel like I'm at a train station. Steam shoots out against my legs as I hurry to get aboard. The train jerks to a start and slowly chugs from the station. Full steam, that's what's ahead.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

End of month

With all of the distractions that came with June, not to mention the discouragement and mini-meltdowns, I still managed 9,000 words. Not too shabby. I am making nice progress and getting a little excited with what's taking shape.

I do need to come up with some conflict to help smooth the time period between two upcoming chapters. I have learned one thing. (Oh, I hope I've learned more than one thing.) Anyway, no more expectant mothers for awhile. You have to be so careful with timelines when you do that. I see why so many authors toss that twist in at the end. Cowards. (s)

Of course, since I never like to read that, naturally, I wasn't about to follow suite. (Lip thrust forward and hands on hips.) That's the lazy way. Woohoo, taxi. Follow that bus. I'm ready to climb on board--and step on it.

Isn't it amazing what it takes to humble some people. I always did have to learn things the hard way.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Scratching head

I'm trying to figure something out. I read a book yesterday and actually enjoyed it. I know, leave it there and move on. Not to be so. As I thought about the story today, I got to thinking about it from a technical aspect. The plot was basic. Would the mc choose A or B? From page one, we knew what her choice would be. Hey, when a hot guy is choice A, how do you think the story will end? So no surprises, no twists, no gasp moments, just a very simple plot. I'm okay with that. Sometimes, I actually prefer it. These types of stories are what I consider "comfort reads". You know the kind where they don't have you on the edge of your seat. You aren't anxious for the next chapter. Instead, they leave you with an 'ahhh' feeling all the way through. For my money, I'm glad to have the option.

Anyway, I say all this to make this observation. Having been down the submission road more times than a large crit group, I started wondering. What did this author's query letter look like? Boy stumbles across misplaced girl. He takes her home and makes her decide if she will stay or leave. Hmm, I doubt it, but really, what could have been the hook that made this agent say yes? Not that I mind, but it's all too subjective for me.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Jane

First, YYEEEAAAA!!!!!!

Sorry, I just had to get that out of the way. My friend, Jane, has received a contract for her ms, A Different Kind of Honesty. Not to gloat, but I knew this would happen. She is a fantastic writer with an incredible story. WOW!!! I'm so excited for you, Jane!

If anyone would like to see a snip of her ms, there is one in my archives (April 9, Do I have talented friends or what!)

*Applause* Applause* Confetti* Champagne Corks Popping*

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Admit it, you do it too.

I was reading over a scene that had been resting. I became so engrossed in the story that as I turned the page, I found myself getting excited to know what was to happen next. Scrolling down, the words ended. Ugh, I was so disappointed. I forgot I was the author and needed to finish the scene. It read so well, I felt as though I was the reader enjoying the story. Mmmm, what a great feeling. I love it when that happens. This helped remind me that I might be onto something.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mediocre Blues.

We all go through it. I'm curious as to your methods of pulling yourself from it. I refer to self-doubt. To overcome this, do you revert back to the reason you write--because you love it? Do you partner yourself with inferior writers to make yourself look better--hey! Do you compare yourself to already published material, scoff, and audibly declare that you write better than this drivel? (My personal favorite.) Or, do you avoid your laptop for a few days until the mood passes? Of course, this could be a bad week and I will be full of vim and vigor in a few days. But until then...what about you?

Monday, June 18, 2007

We survived.

The house is quiet, eerily so. The commotion of early June has faded to ghostly echoes. There is no longer a trail of clutter to make appearances known, nor do trunk loads of groceries mysteriously disappear. When more than one bag boy has to be mandated to assist your cashier, something is amiss. These anomalies are to be pondered in the vacuum of time. So distraught by the disruption, the family pup struggles for normality and seeks solace with the master's increased attention. The invaders have gone back to where they came but with the promise to return, and most likely be even more rejuvenated for their next attack. The current inhabitants smile, wipe a tear from their eye, but vow to have a better strategy in play for next time.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quick check-in.

I thought any progress this month would be futile, but so far I've racked up 4,000 words. That's surprising to me since both of my children were home for two weeks. (They leave tomorrow.)

My daughter is nonstop energy. She is the type of woman who (and does this daily) wears out one group of friends by dinner and then will call several more to pick up the slack. Then out she goes again.

My son is the opposite who relies on one-on-one attention. Since he has been away for a couple of years and his friends have moved on, his activities are limited.

So...as far as my writing accomplishments for the month have gone, I'd say it's been successful. Oh, and if you're wondering which one of them takes after me...I'm heading out the door for a three day conference but will probably be a wall flower who barely socializes. I guess they both do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Sometimes, you gotta let off a little steam.

I'm starting to think my blog reads like a roller coaster ride. I see why writing is a solitary profession. I won't go into details, if you're a writer, I'm sure you have it figured out.

As a writer, I try to stick to the kiss method. I can weave all the intricate plot points and twists I want, but basically, if I don't keep it simple stupid, as far as writing style goes, it's gibberish. Have you ever read something that left you scratching your head? Sure you have. Now I'm not suggesting we lower our skills to a lower reading level. That would be ludicrous. What I am saying is:

Know your audience. Be honest. If your material is for a certain age or demographic, write it accordingly. Don't force your wip on the wrong group.

Know your story. If you can't be consistent, why do you expect it from your characters? Nothing irks me more than when reading a piece and something in it just doesn't fit. Your characters need to be true to the setting, plot, and period. Don't make them look and sound like ninnies.
Know your capabilities. First, I am all for continuing to grow and learn. However, don't force things on others that they don't want, especially when you've camouflaged it in an attempt to impress.

And know yourself. You may have aspirations of being the next best______. Why? She's filled that spot, but there is room for you. Don't be a cheap imitation. Be genuine. Let the world see what you can do. You might surprise yourself at what that is.

Sorry to get a little preachy there, but come on, people. Have some pride.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Thank you!

I want to take a minute to thank those of you who have faithfully critiqued my wips. You have suffered through everything from serious head hopping to shattered confidence. I can see so much improvement in my writing and it is all due to you. I can never thank you enough. One of the great things that has come from this experience is (This should be the part where I shout, I signed a contract. sorry, no...hrm, not yet, (wink)) The best thing is...because of your patience and diligence with me, I am able to pass this information on to others. You'll note that I didn't say knowledge. I can't. Although I try to do my best and remember everything I've learned, it isn't a part of me in the way that I can claim it as knowledge. I, and my wips, are works in progress. But what a gift to have you who care to help me get better. Oh, just so you know, don't go far. This in no way lets you off the hook. I still have much more to learn and need you guys as much as ever. Just know, I am very grateful. Thank you, Carol.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I think this is a good thing.

Does this happen to anyone else? It seems like the scenes that give me the greatest struggle are the ones that people enjoy the most. I don't know why that it is , but it does seem to work out like that. I had a scene that I thought was a dud. When it was critiqued, I got great comments. Go figure. The good part is, I have a scene that I'm currently working on that is taking quite a bit of effort. I find great comfort in hoping this will follow suite and be a favorite scene.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

This is such torture.

I am at work and have absolutely nothing to do. This happens frequently during this time of year. I am so tempted to go get my memory stick and type away on my story. The thing is, my boss pops out of the classroom without notice. Grrr.

It wouldn't be so bad if I was still constructing the initial layout of the story, I could scribble notes on paper and have done that many times. But all the bones are in place, and I need to flesh it out. I have to look at the screen and fiddle with it to make it happen.

To occupy myself, I have caught up on crits for other people, haunted the forum, workshop, and visited any, and all, blogs I can find. You're welcome for the increased hits, btw. Since Yahoo IMing is off limits on this computer, I generally busy myself with emails, but someone got a temp. job for the week. *smile*

Big sigh. If anyone needs a crit--gimme. I would love the chance to be productive.

Monday, June 4, 2007

All warm and gushy.

Ohhhh, I just love it when I write a scene and think it's good. For me, this is the test. When I return to a passage several different times throughout the day. I'll reread it slowly, savor each word, and each time, my heart melts. Oh, it doesn't get any better. Sigh.

So, what is it for you that makes you know, 'Yes, this will get 'em."

Saturday, June 2, 2007

I know what I want.

I read a book last week that has stayed with me. Not that the story was memorable, but because of the thoughts I had when I finished it. I really liked the premise for the story. The concept and the characters were completely believable.

However, I felt what the author had written was only half of the story. The book was one dimensional with no subplot and very little conflict. She had two minor characters who popped up only three times in the entire book and lasted for 2-3 pages per appearance. Their existence seemed forced and this left me annoyed and irritated. Then, when she had one character blurt out a secret that could have easily created more depth to her tale, she never brought the subject up again.

Since finishing the book, in 2 hours, I keep thinking, if she had developed the characters and the story more, built the conflict (had conflict), put the character's happiness in jeopardy, it would have made for a really good book. As it stands, it's okay, barely.

I think it is staying with me so well because I realize, I want my writing to be more than okay. I want people to read it and think about it afterward with a completely satisfied feeling. You know the kind of feeling I'm talking about. That warm cozy, hot chocolate by the fire feeling. The kind that makes them see your book in the stores and pick it up with eagerness. They don't even have to read the back cover but race to devour the content. All because they know they can trust you to bring them to that place where the adventure and the ride will be nothing short of complete.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

End of month check in

I know there is still a few hours left, but I'm finished for the night and month, totaling in at 32,867 words. I have all the bones in place, now I look forward to getting the chapters in shape and fleshing them out. This will be fun. The story will take better shape now.

Monday, May 28, 2007

I'm dancing and it's not even my birthday.

I passed the halfway mark on FMS. Don't look at my progress bullet because there are still three and a half days left in the month, and I want to wait til May 31st to post the grand total. I can't wait to see where it ends. This is the most I've written in one stretch--ever. June will be slow because my children will be home for two weeks. Hmm, I think they should visit with their friends, don't you? I hear a peanut butter brownie calling me to the kitchen in way of celebrating. It would be rude to not answer, wouldn't you agree?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Just a little reminder for myself for when I panic.

Today, someone asked me about my writing style and my use of outlines. I thought I would post something about it here for when I get stuck and convince myself that I don't know the first thing about writing. When that happens, I can come here and remind myself of what used to work for me.

Basically, my wip's start with barely a glimpse of an idea. I'll think about it and watch it grow. See who shows up, what their connections to one another are, and what their problem is. Many times, the story will change so much it barely resembles my initial idea. That's one thing I've learned, whether you use an outline or not, allow your story the latitude needed to change. Don't make it adhere to one idea. If you will follow where it leads, you will have a much more enriched story.

Speaking of outlines, I never use one, but at a certain point, I do try to order my chapters by using a timeline date in the title of the file to remind myself of what's happening and when. Since I write in chunks, sometimes I'll insert a file between two established chapters and label it with the previous chapter number and an 'a' after it. It can get confusing. That's why I need to constantly check to see if everything is in order and if there are any holes.

I love the freedom that comes from not using an outline because I'm constantly amazed at the things that pop up out of nowhere. Also, if I need to fill in a hole, or add more subplot, I can say, hmm, I'll get to know that character over there a little more, figure out what kind of mischief they can create, and tuck it in where needed.

I never said my process was pretty, but it seems to work.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

This is how it works for me anyway.

I was reading over something I wrote when I first started writing. One sentences stood out. I thought, it's easy to see this is older material. Not that it was hideously wrong, but it read like I was parroting another author. This is natural. When we first begin writing, we base everything, style, format, voice on things we have read. Since I have established my own writing voice, earlier imitations are easy to spot.

Have you ever noticed when you pick up a book by an author you're familiar with, you expect it to read a certain way, even though there are different characters and situations between the covers? You know this author's voice.

Voice is not difficult. It's you, telling the story as if you were that character. Before you begin a story, you will see certain characters and settings, not always all, generally, a few at a time. As you place them in scenes, watch them, listen to them, how do they react? This gives you the voice of your character.

Don't allow someone else to tell your story. No one will be able to bring your characters to life the way you can.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Not all important scenes need to be climactic.

Okay, I admit it. Last night my main thought was reaching the next 1000 in my word count. But when I typed the first sentence, I knew the word count was no longer my concern.

I had finished a scene in my female mc's pov and created a scene break. I read the first sentence after the break, stopped, and thought, that's odd, I was now in my male mc's pov. Deciding to follow him and see what happened next, I gave him the nod to lead the way and away we went.

He and I were equally surprised at what Anna did in this scene. I realized that while Anna directed the scene, in order to experience and understand Daniel's uncertainty and fear of her actions, we needed to see this from his pov. I have never written a scene like this before. What she does in the physical is symbolic for what she is actually doing. Confused? It took me a few sentences to see what she was actually doing, but I am very happy with the outcome.

Right now, the scene is a mad arrangement of actions, and I have much work ahead of me to format it to where it will make sense to a reader. Even then, it will be one of those scenes where you either get it or you don't. I'll do my best to make sure you get it because it is one of those scenes that stays with you after you've finished the book.

And as far as word count goes, yeah, I made it past the next thousand mark.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Congratulations, Jen!

Congratulations to Jen for finishing her second book, By The Pale Moonlight. It is a YA and quite enjoyable. Her ending explodes with excitment.

Jen answers a few questions posed early in the book, only to leave you irritated with new developments (in a good way). You will hurt for the characters and become so connected to the mc that you will want to reach right into the book and be there for her. All the while, you sense a strength surge up from the mc that she didn't realize she had. The discovery of it takes you back for only a second before you jump in the air, screaming, Yes!

The cruelist act will be for the sequel to not follow immediately to the store shelves.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Historicals and sales.

Sales for historicals are still flat.(So if you are a fan and want this to reignite, go out and buy more books. Editors, however, are asking for historicals—as long as they are sexy).

The above sentence is a quote from Kristin's blog. She got it from the people at Borders.

For me, whenever I go to B&N (we don't have a Borders nearby), I can never find anything in the, rather limited, historical section that looks appealing. Kind of a chicken and egg thing, I suppose. It makes me wonder, are sales flat because of a lack of good historicals, or is there only a small showing of historicals because stores aren't buying enough of them?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What a productive day.

I am so excited, I wrote 1,800 words today, bringing my overall total to 20, 271 words. Yes! I also came up with a few chapters that will deepen the overall story. I don't know how long this will last, but I want to do as much as I can while it's flowing.

This morning while in my writing frenzy, I got an email. Guess what! I've been asked for a partial by a really good agent who is respected and spoken highly of by top tier agents. WOOOO. I need to get my submission package together so I can send it out tomorrow. I'm so excited.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Hanging head in shame.

This is the first time this has ever happened since I began writing. Yesterday, I did not write a single word in my wip. I spent all day (aside from work) doing crits and offering advice for a reading list. This was my own fault. I know I did not have to do as many crits as I did but, I couldn't stop. I saw the wips sitting there, all lonely with basset hound eyes, I couldn't help myself, I had to do it. I just hope my advice is useful. Hey, if I want people to crit my work, I have to be willing, right? I'll write an additional amount today to compensate. Even with yesterday, I'm still on task for my monthly goal, and no one is more surprised than I.

Friday, May 11, 2007

If only it was this easy every time.

Don't you love it when you're thinking about a scene and you start asking yourself how all roads led to this particular scene. You ask yourself, what is it that lurks in this character's past that has brought them to this point in their lives. And as you let your thoughts wander, all these little flashes of scenes and characters pop into your mind. You think, my, my, my, I never expected that from you. And in return, they give you a 'wait til you see what else I'm hiding' look.

What's even better is when you get a scene and although it is completely disconnected from what you've been writing, you write it anyway because you can't pass up that delicious twinkle deep in the mc's eye. Several scenes later, you have an aha moment that links everything together. You sit back, in need of a cigarette, at how beautifully these things have all joined together.

These are the moments that make all writing aggravations and struggles disappear into oblivion. Sigh, gotta love it.

It's a quandary.

This is something I've wondered about. Clothing buyers go to fashion shows to discover what's hot for the season. Where do publishing houses and agents go to know what to look for concerning the bestseller list? Is a questionnaire circulated to find what will be the envy of the literary circuit? I know there are conferences to network, but does this achieve the same affect?

Friday, May 4, 2007

Decisions

I really enjoy this new wip. It's moving along well and the story is deepening, but I'm trying to decide how much depth to give it. Do I want it to be light and fast or a bit weightier? There's nothing wrong with it being either way, I just need to decide. Some of the chapters I've completed, I like where they are and think they're fine, but... Maybe I'm giving this too much thought. I should just let the story play out and see where it ends. I can always go back and add more depth to it.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Whiplash

I'm not sure about something so I thought I would post it here and see if anyone has any ideas. In my limited experience, historical fiction (hf) is written with a slower pace, more detail...it's just deeper, for lack of a better word. Historical romance (hr), I'm finding, is light and fast. Or is it? The new wip I'm writing seems to run ahead of me at breakneck speed. It could be because I prefer hf, or maybe I'm just not used to the routine of hr. I have placed a few chapters up for crit and while I think the pace is fast and furious, the responses I have received is the pace is right where it needs to be. So, should I just go with it and see where I end up, or should I force it to comply to a watered down version of hf? I hope I will be able to write in both genres. You wouldn't think there would be that much difference between the two. Oh my, yes, there is.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Finally

You know what it's like to work on a scene that has been a fight to get it in order and on track. After many, deletions and rewrites, I have almost made it to the crest. I love that point in writing where you know it is all down hill from here and will be smooth sailing with a possible small hop at the bottom. I can almost see the characters with their hands in the air, screaming, wooooo as we peak. Then that wonderful high as we get to the bottom and race to the next chapter to experience it again. Would this be considered a 'writer's high'? All I know is, it is this feeling that keeps me chipping away at a new scene. Okay, I had to take a minute to share, time to get back on board. We're almost ready for the drop. That's it, hands in the air, here we go, wooooooo!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Nervous Nelly

Well, my new baby took her first step, wobbled, but stayed vertical. In other words, I put my first chapter through a crit group. I was very anxious to know if I was getting the overall feel for the genre and writing it accordingly. So, to ease this apprehension before I had 50K in need of major overhaul, I decided to brave the icy waters and toss FMS in head first. The person who critted for me did me such a service with her honesty. She pointed out several areas in need of tightening and an unnecessary item or two to rework. All in all, I think I can go forward safely.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Time for a confession

As I have mentioned before, BBH has been an uphill struggle to write. I have finally given in and placed it on hold for a while. The reason for this is, the entire time I have been writing it, I have had a different story stubbornly forcing itself upon me. I know, you never give in to a demanding child. But, you can also take only so much.

So, I have been secretively writing a new book. I wanted to see if it would pan out before I mentioned anything about it. Since I have reached 6,000 words and know what will happen in future chapters, I think it is safe to say, I'm onto something. I have resisted writing this for the obvious reason that I felt as though I should concentrate on BBH, but also because it is a slightly different genre.

As soon as I get to a place where I have a snippet to share, I'll post it and introduce the latest production. It does have a name, For Mercy's Sake. That should give you a big clue as to the genre. :)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Yes, I am.

At lunch today, I was talking with my sister about the frustration involved with becoming published. My niece looked at me and asked, Aunt Carol, are you an author? *blink* I turned to her and said, "Yes, I am." I looked back at my sister and said, "Just not published." It felt so good to hear my niece's question and better still to give my answer. Your work in print isn't what defines you, it only makes more people aware of it.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Update on Jen

This is so exciting, and I get to say, I knew her when! Jen and 'her agent' have moved to the revision stage. Yes, the agent has told her he would like to represent her and has asked for a few revisions to Faking It. Wow, so exciting. I can't wait to see this book on the bookshelves. Way to go, Jen!!!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Do I have talented friends or what!

Just as I sit on pins and needles waiting to hear the latest news from Jen, I get a note from another friend who has been asked to submit a full for her ms. Wow! Way to go Jane! Jane has been generous enough to allow ms to post a snip of her work. I know you will enjoy A Different Kind of Honesty, by Jane Richardson.

An excerpt from A Different Kind of Honesty
Balanced on the chair she’d pulled up below the loft window, Maggie contemplated the snowy white landscape stretching away from the house. Here and there, clutches of black pines or a cluster of red roofs dotted the countryside like handfuls of scattered beads on an unfinished embroidery. At some hidden point in the hollow of the valley, the stream from Nina’s garden joined the river and uncoiled away, reappearing on the distant fields like a length of black glitter trim stitched across the undulating curves of a down-filled comforter. It had a name, this river, but she couldn’t remember. No matter; her heart had named it for Ramon.
On Christmas Day in London, surrounded by Danny’s flock of nieces and nephews, she’d watched The Snowman on television and wondered what it would be like to fly wherever she wanted over snowy landscapes like this, maybe find a place to belong. She smiled, remembering the ear-splitting arguments over the TV schedules; Danny’s father lapsing into furious Cantonese as he protested his right to watch the Queen’s Speech, while the rest of the huge extended family voted for the beloved animated film, now as much a part of a British Christmas as turkey and mistletoe.
Mistletoe...Danny had kissed her under the mistletoe, his usual fraternal smacker followed by a hug as big as a grizzly’s, and though she’d shrieked and hugged him back the same way as always, her thoughts had flown to the man she should have been with at Christmas; thoughts of loving him under the mistletoe, removing an opaque white berry for each kiss shared until they’d stripped every sprig in London and New York.
The man she should have been with...she’d buried the thought deep amongst the torn wrapping paper and ribbon and the stripped carcass of the festive turkey, waiting to be thrown out with all the other yuletide debris. Danny had asked her to pull the wishbone with him, one pinkie already hooked around the bird’s furcula, wiggling it in her face. Pull a wishbone, make a wish. She’d complied just to shut him up and it snapped, dry and abrupt, leaving her with the largest part and Danny with his best, self-satisfied, ‘I-told-you-so’ look.
She’d never believed in wishes.
Until now.
Turning away from the wintry picture-postcard, she stepped down from chair. Across the room, the man she’d made a crazy, hopeless wish for just a week ago slept peacefully, one arm thrown over his head, the outline of a smile around his mouth. If he was dreaming about the night they’d just shared, no wonder he was smiling.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

It wasn't me, but I'm still excited!

I'm posting this for two reasons. The first, to encourage all of us to keep at it. The second, to boast of my friend. The author of Faking It has received a request for a full ms. I know that happens, but he seems VERY interested. His request was very encouraging and extremely promising. If you would like to take a peek at a snip, you can link her blog in the sidebar. Way to go Jen Hendren!!!

Monday, April 2, 2007

Card carrying member

After several months of deliberation, I have joined the Historical Novel Society. I don't know what I hope to gain from it, but I'm keeping an open mind. If any of you are also members, give a wave.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

No one's safe

In the past, I have been told that I spare no character. They're right, I don't shelter my mc's. If something bad is going to happen, a mc stands as much of a chance for it to occur to them as a minor character.

Yesterday, I had an idea for something to happen in BWM, nothing as horrible as you might expect. And true to form, I'm not going to be protective. The bad thing is the intended character is the most innocent of the lot. Don't worry, I'll keep that in mind. I'm not completely heartless. This will take a little research so I know my boundaries.

It's nice to get ideas for future chapters while composing current ones.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Back to work

Almost all of the conversation scenes are in place and I'm ready to move on to some action. *rubbing hot little hands together* I can't wait. After the passiveness of conversation, I think I'll start with a good ole fashioned, knock down drag out, fist fight. Nicey-nice politeness can only go so far. It's time to get a little forceful. Hmm, thinking, thinking. The smell of testosterone is filling the air.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Double whammy.

They came on the same day. I have to admit, this hurt. Both partials have been rejected. I was really hoping for either of these agents but, it's not to be. One was a straight form rejection. The other said, she liked my writing, creativity, and found many riches, but it didn't lift off the page as much as she'd like. She did say fiction was a very tough genre. *shrug* Not sure what to make of this. So, back to square one.

A good sign.

I remember when this happened while writing COF. I get an idea for a scene, which in actuality is a new thread. This thread will run into the next book. So as I see the thread at length, I have to hop back and forth between the two books while hastily jotting ideas for different scenes. This is fun. I know, I'm strange. The thing is, I get excited about this thread, and it's hard to go back and work on those scenes that are lying in the dust, "resting". I don't mind writing ideas and even ordering chapter events in future books, but I have a rule about working on the next book until the current one is finished. It is too tempting to leave the current one behind. I don't want to end up with two unfinished works. Nope, can't do it. Also, if anything changes or becomes enhanced it could completely affect the next book and, you know what that means. Huge edits. Ugh, who wants that if you can avoid it? Anyway, this is always a good sign. I see plot continuity, and I do a happy dance. You aren't looking for me to demonstrate it, are you? Trust me, it isn't pretty.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

It must be the Slimfast!

What a productive lunch I had. Not only did I get 350 words down, but I also discovered something quite intriguing about a character. The funny thing is, I knew in the beginning of COF there was more to this character than what they let on. Well, today I uncovered their little secret. Who would have ever guessed? Obviously, not me. I made lots of notes and tucked it away. Sadly, we won't get to enjoy this new little tidbit until book 3. I can't wait to write this chapter. I am so tempted to jump ahead and do it now. I love it when this happens.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sigh

A very small part of me says, keep it to yourself, but a bigger part says, this is the reason you created this blog, to allow others to see the path of a would-be novelist. So, *big breath* I heard back from my full today--No. Of course, I'm disappointed but reason is salving the wound quickly.

If you will allow me. When the full was requested, it was accompanied with a note saying, if my love scenes were steamy enough, I might stand a shot. I knew from the beginning my love scenes were more of the sweet nature. But, I sent it anyway. The thing is, my book keeps getting measured to romance standards. It is not a romance book, even though I'm certain that's where it'll be shelved when published. (See, I haven't given up. :))

Am I overlooking something obvious? I have targeted agents who represent historicals. Just because there is a romance in the story, does that make it a romance book? Not according to RWA. Trust me, they pointed this out quite clearly.

So. I still have two partials and a smattering of queries adrift. I know there's an audience for this type of story. I just need to find the agent who also knows it.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Comedic timing, gotta love it.

When I write, I tend to experience everything that happens at that moment, whether it is ambivalence, anger, or sadness. I would hate to write while in front of a mirror. I'm certain, I appear to be quite the drama queen. However, I tend to get very involved with the 'layer' I'm working on and sometimes get tunnel vision and things slip past me. Today, as I re-read a scene, the last line cracked me up so much, I was literally rolling with tears. The image I set up was so unexpected and so perfectly timed, I lost it. I love it when that happens.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Back on track.

I've had another break through. Something has continued to niggle at me while I've been writing. Being a chunk writer, this usually goes away as new chunks develop. But this time, it kept growing. I went back to the basics of writing that we all learned in elementary school. I asked myself, what are the three main things every story needs? Plot, characters, and conflict. Plot. Yes, there is a distinct plot from start to finish. The characters are set in place and have been developed well. Conflict. There is conflict. Wait...there are 'mini' conflicts. Things that happen in individual chapters that are resolved within that chapter or carried into the next. That's it. Where is my central conflict that threads through the entire book? A-ha. That's what's missing. Back to the classroom. Conflict: man against elements, man against himself, man against man. Yup, it's that simple. I can't believe how blatantly obvious the lack of overall conflict was staring me in the face.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

BBH progress update

BBH has become such a challenge. Well, maybe I should say, version two is quite a challenge, ahem. To get a better handle on the storyline, I sat down today with paper and pen and wrote each character's name across the top. Under each name, I listed their part in the story, how they were to interact with other characters, and what their end result would be. Finally, I can see where plot lines will cross and how I will get the characters to that point. I thought COF had an intricate plot. That was nothing compared to this. You know, I could easily make this a very simple story with one or two plot points, but this will be so much more interesting. BBH is a challenge, but I can't wait to see how it develops.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

And then comes the rainbow.

I was asked for a fifty page partial from a top tier agency. eeeeeeee

Friday, March 2, 2007

A little rain.

Today, I heard from the agent from October. She has very nicely declined. I know everyone says to not take it personally and to remember that this is an extremely subjective business, and they are right, but...well, you understand. When I first read the item she commented on, I thought, "How am I supposed to fix that?" What it came down to was a matter of personal preference. I do not begrudge her opinion at all, but it's not something I can change. Oh, well. I still have one partial, one full, and a scattering of queries still afloat. So, we'll see what happens.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Anybody have a coin?

Hmm, I'm trying to make a decision. I'm at the point where I have all of the historical facts in place for BBH and now the characters are speaking to me. This is always good. The thing is, when one character starts going, others chime in. Again, all good. However, with COF still in limbo, I have thought about sending more queries. I am trying to decide if I should send them now, before I get too heavily involved with BBH, or if I should just ride out what's already out there and bury myself in book 2. My thinking is, if I send more, I can consider my query process finished and concentrate solely on writing. If I don't send more, I will constantly be nagged with the notion of unfinished business. What would you do?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Research, research, and did I mention, research

I needed to add more base to BBH. After scrutinizing each research book at B&N, I found Patriots. I love this book. This book not only tells of the events that occurred but also goes into so much of the behind the scenes action. It gives details as to why things occurred, the thoughts of everyone while it happened, and what would happen if it had not occurred. I became so incensed with the things I read. I hope to pass this passion on to the reader of BBH. And fwiw may I just add, Sam Adams is my hero--and not because of the beer. I truly believe if it had not been for him constantly sticking people's noses back into the British actions toward the Colonies, we would never have become a country.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Time to get back in there.

Splitting my attention between the demands of editing and soliciting Cost of Freedom while trying to write Bound by Honor is quite taxing. I am very glad I can focus on one project now. For a little while, I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get back to writing. To be honest, it scared me. I like the story I'm working on and was bothered that I would lose my relationship with the characters. (Fellow writers, you understand.) I think it all stemmed from knowing what's ahead and wondering if I can live up to the expectation. When you write your first book, there is such a blissful naivety that all you do is write, no thoughts to anything else. I spent last night re-familiarizing myself with BBH, checking to see if I had enough research, scrutinizing plot lines--these types of things. This morning, I started at chapter one and reread it. Something clicked. My fingers started tingling, anxious to thump keypads. I can't wait to get back in there and see what happens next. Hope you'll follow along with me. :)

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Oh, boy.

Whew! I thought once the full was underway, I would feel better. I think I have only exchanged my relentless headache for a nauseous stomach. It's out of my hands now, so I will try to concentrate on BBH. Actually, it will be good to get back to writing opposed to editing. I hope I remember how. (g) *sigh* I will try to remind myself that even if nothing else happens, I have experienced something very unique. Who am I kidding, come on full!

Friday, February 2, 2007

One step closer.

I have been asked to submit a full! Woohoo!! The request came in response to a regular mail query. I'll admit it. When I saw the envelope in the mailbox, I had attitude. For some reason, I associate regular mail with rejections. This could be based on my experience. Anyway, I ripped it open, expecting the usual reply. This time, there was a hand written note at the top of the page. Again, attitude. I've had a few hand written 'not for us' scribbles at the top of rejections. Halfway through the first sentence, I stopped and reread the note. This isn't reading as I expected. This is rather nice. My mind has become so accustomed to mail rejections, it refused to accept a positive note. I glanced down at the letter and noticed this is quite a bit longer than the usual rejection. Let's start again. I can't be reading this correctly. She wants to read more--she wants a full.

I spied my laptop, neatly packed up. It would take forever to get an Internet connection. I had to tell someone. Never has my laptop booted up so quickly, especially with me chanting, "come on, come on." Jen was online and if anyone can relate to what I was feeling, it was her. Having just gone through the same thing a week prior, her emotions were still fresh. She was so patient with my jabbering and slow typing. Thank you, Jen for being there.

So, I am in the process of one last polish for any stray threads that need to be snipped. Gotta be picture perfect. I'm certain at some point, I will look back at this time and think I was such a goof, but for right now, yeah, I'm a goof but at present, there's no other way to be.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

While we wait...

I thought it might be interesting to address a few of those curious looks that come across non writer's faces when they listen to writers talk.

Yes, it's true. Writers look at their characters as completely separate entities from themselves. (And yes, we are aware they are figments of our imagination. :) )

Also true is the knowledge that a character can and will do and say something that will catch the writer completely by surprise.

Writers also lose control of characters and have to follow/stumble behind them to see where they are going and what they plan to do next.

New characters will pop up and demand equal attention.

And, yes, sometimes we have to deal with attitudes that, if a character isn't careful, could cause an unfortunate occurrence to be met with in their near future.

I reiterate. Yes, we know they are fictitious, but if we don't experience these emotions, how can we get you to experience them, hmm?

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Still Alive!

In October, I was asked to send a partial to an agent. I haven't heard anything from them since placing my manila wrapped hopes in the mailbox. With white knuckles, I waited twelve weeks for a response. At that point, I took a deep breath, mentally accepted what others were trying hard to not say, and typed off an email. Hey, maybe she never received it, it's possible. Always grasping for that last straw. Today, while browsing around, my inbox beeped. I blinked several times at the return address. It was my agent from October. My eyes flicked to my buddy list. Yes! Someone was there. Her shocked voice came through my voiceless machine loud and clear. OPEN IT! All those months I had wondered how I would feel when faced with that particular email. Now I know. Numb. I clicked the button and tried to tune out my friend who was trying to come through the wires after me. "Yes, we have received your submission. It will be a few more weeks before we can get to it." Ugh, my heart. My heart. Okay. It could have been worse. It wasn't a no and that's still promising. So, at least I know I'm still in the running. I'm going to need nitroglycerin by the time this is over.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Round one

Twelve hours, two friends, numerous rereads, and endless tweaking--oh, and let's not forget the unrelenting headache, but it will all be worth it if she says yes, I'd like to read more. What am I talking about? How I spent yesterday. This is such an odd experience. I am a jumble of emotions while I try to remain focused enough to present an agent with the best possible sample of my work. I know, I made it shine before querying her but when you get a request for a partial, you become a fanatic. I am so glad I have friends who understand this and jumped in to help me comb through the requested material. This is one business where you can truly feel the same level of happiness for someone else as you would yourself. Perhaps it is due to the fact that everyone has plodded this road with me and has been there every step of the way. Thank you, ladies. I couldn't do it without you.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

What a morning!

I started my day by sending e-queries. After returning from the post office to send queries with sample chapters, I got back on line and found I already had two responses to my e-queries. Hmm, this could go either way. One e-mail was a nice decline, but the other wants me to send a partial. Woo-hoo!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

And they're off!

I sent out the new queries today. I have no idea what to think. It is scary, but what else can be done? This batch is queries only. I will send the queries and sample pages on Wednesday when I'm able to go to the post office. I wonder if people ever miss this part of the process. Let's hope I get to find out. :)