Friday, December 31, 2010

JibJab 2010 Year in Review

Oh, boy. Love the folks over at JibJab for coming up with this one...they never disappoint, do they?

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Now is a great time to reflect on the year. I went back through my old blog posts and found the one I wrote back on January first about my goals for 2010. They were:

*Get more partial requests off my query
*Write every day
*Get an agent who believes in my work
*Drop 20 pounds by hitting the gym daily

I'm happy to say I went three for four.

*I did get more partial requests off my query. I got tons of them!
*I wrote just about every day with the exception of day trips to the ocean or mountains or a few days taken off to go to RWA National in Orlando.
*I did get an agent! And she's great!
*I haven't lost 20 pounds...yet...but P90X is still going strong and I plan on finishing the program.

Overall I think I did pretty good. My goals for 2011, you ask?

*Sell a book in The Crimson Bay Series to one of the major publishing houses in NYC.
*Find an editor who believes in my work like I do.
*Write every day
*Spend more time enjoying the little things rather than worrying about them.
*Finish another two books: the third in The Crimson Bay Seres and another (maybe a paranormal YA??? I'm tossing ideas around...)
*Final in the Daphne duMaurier Contest
*Final in the Golden Heart Contest

After writing this list out, I realized how much I'm expecting from myself this year. Oh, I realize some of those are lofty goals, but I'm shooting for the moon in 2011.

What about you? What are your goals for the year? Where do you wish to see yourself at the end of 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Writers Alphabet: A-Z


A-gents believe in the value of a good book. Give them something to believe in.
B-logs are the ultimate networking tool. (And quite fun to boot!)
C-ontests help build your writing bio but
D-on't count on the scores to mean a thing.
E-dits are a necessary evil.
F-acebook will distract easy enough but you still need to
G-et down to it and write!
H-ell, the book won't write itself.
I-nspire others and so inspire yourself.
J-ump chapters or scenes if you get stuck.
K-ill your darlings--no matter how much it hurts.
L-ocal writing chapters provide unwavering support.
M-anuscripts will be changed again and again. Hold nothing dear.
N-ational conferences are a great way to meet other writers.
O-pen your work to both pos/neg feedback.
P-artners to critique your work are a must.
Q-uestion everything. Does that -ly need to be there?
R-ough drafts are just that: rough.
S-ave early and save often.
T-witter is a writers vortex--not many useful pages escape.
U-nderstand marketing trends, then write what pulls you anyway.
V-alue free time away from your WIP.
W-rite! Write! Write! Now Write some more!
X-cuse mistakes here and there.
Y-ou must remember it's a process. You'll get *there* eventually.
Z-ebra Mochas from Starbucks are an essential muse booster. (At least for me--mocha addict--remember?)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I've fallen in love with Fallen

I've had the most gloriously relaxing last couple days. I haven't gotten much done around the house other than reading, editing, and writing, and I feel guilty...but oh so right.

After a few hours writing yesterday (I broke through the Chapter 17 hump!), Bailey assumed his usual position:

He was probably wondering what took me so long to slide back into our daily groove. He didn't seem to have as many problems cuddling right up to his position beneath my chair. Doesn't he look content?

After writing an accidental 5000 words (when, really, I was just editing and cleaning scenes up and adding little things here and there), I decided to take a break and read a bit.

I picked up this:

Isn't that the most gorgeous cover you've ever seen? (Other than mine, of course. *Ahem) (WHICHREMINDSMEDARKTIDERISINGCOMESOUTINONEMONTH!ONEMONTHPEOPLE!AHHHH!)

Sorry. Back on track.

I had never heard of Fallen until I walked by the gorgeous cover in Borders a few months back. I stopped in my tracks. Picked up the book. Stroked the cover. (Oh yes I did.) And then I put it back on the shelf. I was still deep in the conflict of Immortal, Beloved and I can't usually read any one else's work while writing my own. I thought I'd pick it up again once I was finished writing my own novel.

But the premise of the book stayed with me. The idea of a guy (later known to be a fallen angel) walking the earth for eternity, waiting miserably for his soulmate to return to his arms is so...romantic. Torturous, yes, but those times they get to be together? Heaven. The idea that they CAN'T be together, yet are still pulled to each other like magnets was enticing. Soulmates. I can tell that they'll be together eventually, and just can't wait to see how that plays out.

I'm already IN the story and I haven't even picked up the darn book.

So guess what? I asked for the second book in the series, Torment, for Christmas.

(Equally beautiful cover, don't you think?)

You might be wondering why on earth I asked for the second book as a gift instead of the first...well, as it happens Fallen sneaked into my shopping bag when I was leaving Borders a few days before Christmas. (YES I paid for it! I just didn't mean to buy it. I mean, I was buying presents for other people! It's Christmas! I wasn't supposed to buy for ME. But I did. And it felt great.)

Imagine my surprise when I actually got Torment! Using the few days after Christmas as wonderful vegging/de-Christmasing time, I picked up Fallen and glided through its pages. It's so lovely in so many ways but the connection between the hero and heroine are what had me hooked. Ever felt pulled to a person and have no real reason behind it? Like the middle school crush on the jerk that you know isn't going to play out but you can't stop staring at him over your lunch table? Yeah, that's what these two are all about.

I read the book in two days (all 460 pages) while still managing to plug away at my own novel (which was a first for me). I put down Fallen. I picked up Torment. And now I can't wait to read Passion, the third book in the series, when it comes out this summer.

I'm about 50 pages from the end of Immortal, Beloved. The heroine has been kidnapped. Vampire elders have already been slain. The hero just realized his destiny...and hers...and realizes that although he'd give his life fighting for her in this final battle, once she's safe they can't be together. Steep price to pay for the sins he's committed. And the hero and heroine from the third book in The Crimson Bay series, creatively titled "Third Book in the Crimson Bay Series" have just met. Sparks are flying. She hates him. He's hooked.

Ah, I love this writing gig.

Hope your holidays were great!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve is at the Miller house this year, as its been the last five. I decided against the traditional turkey and potatoes dinner and went with a more Italian feel (although we're Portuguese, not Italian). We're having mozzarella sticks, sourdough spinach dip bread bowls, lasagna, green bean casserole, french bread, and a salad fit for a king. I'm making everything from scratch (minus the casserole--thank you Best Mother Ever). Should be delicious, traditional or not. I've spent three days shopping, cleaning and prepping for TODAY where (after this blog post) I'm going to park my feet in front of the oven for five hours.

There is one tradition that will remain the same this year: Every year I light a bunch of different candles and sprinkle them around the house. At the end of the night I go around snuffing them all out...but the last candle, the one perched on the living room window sill, gets blown out by the youngest at the party.

After everyone leaves, Santa will stay up way past midnight watching some old Christmas movie on TNT (PLEASE let it be Christmas Vacation this year!) and struggle to put together the kids' gifts for Christmas morning. Some things never change...

Whether your Christmas is full of the lovely familiar or nontraditaional food and new-to-you family, the Miller clan wishes you and yours the merriest of season traditions.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

How I Landed My Agent

I got an email the other day from a blog reader (love love love those). She said she's on the agent prowl for her urban fantasy novel and asked a ton of questions about how long it took to find my agent, The Call, my path to submission after signing, etc. I thought this information might be a useful blog post--after all, I love reading other "How I Landed My Agent" stories.

I wrote Enemy, Beloved in the Spring of 2010. I edited, critiqued with a handful of writers and readers and rewrote problem scenes. I wrote my query letter. I revised my query letter. I revised it some more and asked friends to read it and tweak it. I wrote my synopsis. I revised my synopsis. (See a pattern here? You've got to nail all three!)

Around May of 2010 I sent out fifteen queries. Of those queries I received two partial requests and one full request. The full request led to an offer of representation.

I signed with that agent. I revised about a month on his suggestion to make the novel "darker and hotter." I did. He sent Enemy, Beloved to one NYC publishing house. I received a rejection about a month later from that house.

This past September I parted ways with my agent due to his opening of an e-pub. I had already contracted my romantic suspense with The Wild Rose Press, and didn't want to sign my paranormal Enemy, Beloved, with another. It's not that I have anything against e-pubs, it's just that I have a *feeling* (or hope against hope) that this one will go further.

So (against Husband's advice) I sent out another ten queries right away. (He thought I should take some time, revise some more and finish writing the second in the series. I was angsty and roaring to go!) Of those ten queries I received two partial requests, both of which led to offers of representation.

The Call came on Halloween--BEST HALLOWEEN EVER!! Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates and I talked about dogs, writing, home life, Dark Tide Rising, etc. It was very comfortable right away--a great fit. I asked a few questions. (I was so nervous!) I asked for a day to consider her offer. (Although I knew at that point she was the agent I wanted to represent my book.) I called the next day and accepted her offer.

Since then, Enemy Beloved has gone on submission with three houses. I haven't heard back yet, but it's the Holidays and with that comes being patient as all heck. I've heard that the publishing industry comes to a screeching halt the month of December. They weren't kidding.

So that's where I stand. If you'd like to read the query letter that got the requests, it's pretty much the blurb found under the "Books" tab above. On the actual query, though, I had the genre, word count, correct salutation and brief bio.

I would absolutely love to hear other "How I Landed My Agent" stories, so if you've got one, please share! Hope that answered your questions, blog reader! If you have another, don't hesitate to comment away or send another email! *grin

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dried up muses and P90X

Lately I feel like I'm stuck in quicksand. My WIP doesn't seem to be moving. I can't seem to write past the vortex that is Chapter 17 no matter how many times I sit down at the computer to write.

I don't think I've lost a single pound after three weeks of P90X. Seriously. I'm bound to be one of those exceptions to the weight-loss guru's program rule.

(*I'm convinced Tony Horton is an alien sent to punish the human race in cruel and unusual ways. Crunchy Frog, anyone???)

It's easy to succumb to the sinking feeling. My brother-in-law asked me yesterday if I'd been writing through the rainstorm pummeling Northern Cali. I hadn't. It was unusual to say the least...rain is where I get my inspiration most days. It cleanses the grog in my brain and refreshes my muse.

It's easy to get stuck fifty pages from the end and dwell on the fact that all the words coming out are garbage. They really are garbage. (And I'm not looking for external reinforcement here because, trust me, I know what I'm capable of and the new stuff I've written is far from it.)

But I realized something this afternoon. I took a huge nap (way abnormal) caught up on my sleep hiatus (Hubby's office Christmas party last night--waaay too much fun) and woke up with all sorts of writing energy. I made a mocha and typed away while Tank and Princess watched Shrek 4. (Oh, I know the mocha might have something to do with the weight-loss thing, but everyone needs a splurge or two.)

I checked my word count before starting edits: 68,000 words. I didn't type a single thing onto dreaded and empty Chapter 17, page 1. I edited Chapter 15-16 to the point of Immortal Delirium. When I reached the end of Chapter 16, I rechecked the word count: 70,000.


I actually managed to edit...I mean write 2K without meaning to? Cool concept.

I took my measurements. In three weeks on the P90X program I've lost 3/4 of an inch on each thigh, an inch on my waist and 1 3/4 inches off my lower abs. (I'd weigh myself but my scale is currently in the garage being used to weigh Mustang parts...don't ask.) I lost something. May or may not be weight, but my jeans are fitting more loosely and the inches are melting off. Pretty cool.

I realized that even though I feel like I'm standing still, I'm really not. I'm sweating. I'm getting healthy. My body is changing for the better. I'm editing. I'm perfecting my craft. I'm learning how to write through those wicked, wicked, doldrums (IHATETHEMIHATETHEMIHATETHEM!!!) I'm learning that writing as a career isn't all roses and flowing inspiration.

Muses really do dry up, even in rainstorms that last for weeks. And weight really does come off with hard work, even if you can't prove it. I've just realized that if I stop focusing on the struggle and focus more on the slow and steady process, the work is getting done.

I'm a happy girl. *grin

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Performance Anxiety

If you've done any kind of sport, you know what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about that crazy nervousness that sets in before you compete, before you cross that Start Line or enter that stage. Ever been so scared of performing your best that you freeze? I'm right there.

In my writing, I mean.

Immortal, Beloved is at 70,000 words. (That's {hold on, lemme open my word doc and check to be exact, here} 239 pages.) I'm a mere 20,000 words away from my finish line...and for the life of me I can't seem to move forward.

Typically the endings fly off my fingertips. I can push through 50 darn near polished pages in a few days to reach The End.

But that's not happening this go round. It's not that I don't know what needs to happen, because I do. I know how and where every single loose end is going to tie up. I know where my hero and heroine will have their black moment. I have the scene in my head. I know who is going to die in the final battle and who will live and who will be changed forever.

But I can't seem to write the darn thing. I'm having major performance anxiety.

Yesterday I chopped apart the pages I wrote for Nano and rewrote them. I finally reached Chapter 17: The Unwritten Blank Page. But before moving forward I had to know if my last 50 pages were up to snuff. (Oh, I forgot about that song. Snuff, that is. It's one of the only Slipknot songs I lurve. Check it out.) So I sent my last 50 to my crit partner.

Oh, it was bad.

She'll say it wasn't, but it was. It was exactly what I needed to hear because, come on, really, I knew deep down it wasn't good enough.

And now I still can't move forward. I've got to delve back in and make those 50 pages shine. Now, though, I'm not sure if my lack of drive to move forward is because of the way I edit and write, needing to perfect everything before I write something new, or if it's due to this darn Performance Anxiety.

What about you? Do endings fly off your fingers? Are they the hardest for you to write? Do you get the same nervousness I'm talking about when you're about to write your climax? Have you written The End yet? I wanna know...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Silent Sunday: I wish you joy.


“When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace,
love, prosperity, happiness... all the good things.”--Maya Angelou

From Bailey's home to yours, we wish you joy this holiday season.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Writing the Perfect Heroine to Match the Gothic Hero

I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off this morning. Between Christmas parties at my kids' school and my ass-kickin' P90X routine (60 min every morning), and shopping, and laundry, etc etc etc, I haven't had time to breathe...until now...and it's almost lunch.


BUT I was overjoyed to see some of you liked my post on Gothic Heroes the other day and wanted more!

So, how does one go about matching a heroine to these dark bad boys?

You have to know the factor that hooks the reader to the Gothic Hero in the first place. Readers need to feel that urge to find out how he will be redeemed. Throughout the book there should be doubt, uncertainty, his spirit tainted, redemption out of reach...but eventually he finds his saving grace IN HER. THE HEROINE IS HIS GREATEST FLAW. SHE IS HIS WEAKNESS. Whether or not he is good for her, he can't seem to pull himself away. Only through HER LIGHT AND LOVE does he come around.

Think Twilight's Edward Cullen and Bella Swan.

He believes his soul is damned. He knows if he gets too close to her, he'll hurt her. But despite himself he can't stay away. Through her love for him, through her innocent eyes, he begins to see the good person she sees instead of the monster staring back at him in the mirror.

Making sense?

To match the Gothic Hero, heroines must be
but feminine.
and at times, defiant of him or his overbearing rules.

Above all that, the ONE THING she must be is unambiguous. She has to have strong moral compass.


Because the reader is focused on the moral ambiguity of the hero. The reader is confused by him and how he will be redeemed in the end. The reader, then, should be rooted in his counterpart. Her moral code must come out first and not deviate. She should be secure in her beliefs to lead him to his retribution.

Think Annakin Skywalker and Padme:

If you think back to the Star Wars movie, you'll remember that her will, her moral compass, never wavers. She is his soundboard. She is his strength, his rock, trying to guide him in the right direction. She is a heroine in her own right: strong, cunning, intelligent.

Side note: The Gothic Hero's love interest must give a little at the beginning of their relationship. Remember your hero. Put yourself in his shoes. If she gave little understanding and very little empathy, the Gothic Hero would be just as likely to walk away and never look back as he would to kiss her. So be sure not to make your heroine too rough and too mouthy. The key is complement, not repellent.

In Batman Begins, Rachel Dawes (the Assistant DA of Gotham who fights crime the legal way) balances out Bruce Wayne's Batman persona (who fights crime his way). Could they have chosen a better heroine for that hero? I think not.

She sees a redeemable quality in Bruce Wayne, the tortured boy who saw his parents murdered. She sees the sensitive, love-worthy man behind the caped vigilante.

Her strong moral fiber eventually leads to her demise (sorry for the spoiler if you haven't seen The Dark Knight) and spirals an already angry Batman deeper down the rabbit hole. (But for the series, the writers needed to keep him dark and angry, remember?)

Of course there are going to be variations to the heroines who balance out these bad boys. Of course there are going to be instances where the perfect complement to the Gothic Hero you've written is a Gothic Chick who needs to be redeemed herself. But this is the framework from which to build your Gothic characters.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Writing the Gothic Hero

I'm currently a tad stuck with the hero in my WIP. I think it's because I took too much of a writing hiatus (no new pages in two weeks--longest dry spell to date) and my hero's voice kind of faded. It's not that I don't still LOVE him or think he's one of the strongest characters I've written, it's just that his voice wasn't ever-present in my head anymore. I couldn't see and hear what he'd do in every situation I threw him up against. (And he's got to be ready for what's to come! These next fifty pages are going to turn his world upside down!) That's when I started researching to get to know my hero better...

There are three types of Gothic Heroes


This guy is the classic overachiever.
He stands behind his own moral code.
He often does "good" by performing rebellious acts or breaking laws.
This guy sacrifices his own well being so others may have little things like freedom and love.
This guy kicks some ass, breaks some laws, but does it all for the sake of his own special brand of "justice".
He could also possibly bear personal responsibility for some failure in his past.

*Think Batman saving Gotham.

*How'd this picture sneak in here?


Oh, these are the dark, dark, dark bad boys.
They're secretive
Very conflicted over something in their past and
Fatally attractive.
They're also extremely arrogant
Jaded and
World weary.

*Think Anne Rice's Lestat from Interview with a Vampire

*Or Edward Cullen from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight, if you prefer.


These guys are fascinating
Dark and
They're obsessive
And can also have their own moral code (although they willingly sacrifice little of themselves to achieve their end goal).
One of the key components to this guy is no matter how close he gets to the flame, he doesn't ever think he's the one who's going to get burned.

*Think Annakin Skywalker from Star Wars Episodes 1-3.

*Or maybe just veer from the gothic hero for a moment and look at this...

*See? Isn't research fun? (Side note: He was my pick to play Edward Cullen. Wouldn't he have been fantastic?)

Seriously though, after researching the three types of Gothic Heroes, you may be asking yourself the same thing I was...Why On Earth Are These Men Heroes? Brooding and moody? Troubled pasts? Burdened by secret guilt? Jaded and arrogant? I don't know about you, but in real life those traits don't scream Dating Quality.

The Promethean Hero is appealing because although he is doing wrong, we, as readers, can somewhat understand the logic behind his moral ambiguity. Sure, Batman is killing people...but he's killing inherently evil people. He's cleaning up the streets of Gotham, right? We want to be the heroine at his bad-ass side, whispering in his ear, telling him to do right...when what we really enjoy is the duality in his nature.

The Byronic Hero is appealing because...well because they're bad boys. They can never accept praise because they think they're the villain. They don't feel worthy of love. Heroines see the sensitivity behind the tough guy act and fall hard. Only through the heroine can the Byronic Hero step into the light. Don't you just want to be that heroine who turns the bad boy good?

The Satanic Hero is appealing because they are secure and defiant and constantly search for meaning outside of the traditional norms. They have a sense of purpose that draws heroines (and readers) in. They have a fire burning within them...a passion, if you will. Heroines and readers alike hope that by being that Satanic Hero's leading lady, that passion will translate into their relationship. (It often does, fyi, at the cost of other things in the heroine's life.

I think I know where the hero in my WIP falls among the Gothic Heroes. He's Byronic all the way..but what about the hero in your WIP? Is he solidly one? A blend of two? I'm curious to hear what's being written out there...

Also, did this post interest you? If I did another post on what type of heroines are best suited for Gothic Heroes would you find it helpful? I've researched hours and hours and would love to pass on the information if even one person found it as useful as I have. (You can either comment or email.)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monday Blog Hop!

It's Monday again (how'd that happen?) and it's time for a blog hop!

Here's how it works:

•Follow as many authors as you like. Just follow the Linky list and hop from author to author. The idea is to find as many "new to you" authors as you can, and hopefully some great new reading material as well. Leave a comment as you hop from blog to blog! We'd love to chat with you!

•Follow the Meet an author Monday host (Cali Cheer Mom) along with any of the wonderfully talented authors on the list.
•You will need to enter your name and blog url into the Linky tool.
•Grab our super cute button and place it in a post. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!) If you don't create a post for the hop, your readers won't have a place to comment, and the hop will stop with you. So create a post, paste in the Linky code and start hopping!
•The purpose of the hop is to meet "new to you" authors and discover great new reads. Follow as many authors as you can. Leave a comment and introduce yourself!
•If you'd like to share the Linky list in a post on your blog ( Please do!) just follow the link and grab the code.

Hope you have a great week!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Roll with it

Everything comes in waves.

Deaths and births come in threes. Then for years, nothing.

Words flow off the fingers for weeks...then nothing.

It's just the way it goes. I've learned to run with it. Ride the writing tide, so to speak. November was definitely a writing month for me. December's not looking so good. I mean, rain is forecasted for this week so I suppose it could turn around, but I really wanted to finish Immortal, Beloved by Christmas and it's looking more like the end of January.

Around the Miller household we're fighting fevers and chills. It's only expected...we've been healthy most of the year. It was our turn to catch the flu bug after avoiding it so long.

After gaining a few pounds during Thanksgiving week (oh, the food was scrumptious) I'm back in workout mode. I'm four days into P90X. I. Am. So. Sore. Every part of me hurts. I think even the tiny little muscles in my eyelids are trembling from exhaustion. I haven't been on a solid workout program since late spring...let my "fat jeans" tell you, it was high time to get back on the horse.

So whatever is thrown your way this weekend, know that everything comes in waves. Writing flurries fall eventually...but the storm will come again and you'll finish that book in a heartbeat. Sick kids get better, then get sick again the next time they touch some filthy restroom doorknob. The pounds you gained during turkey-time will melt away...albeit with a ton of sweat and tears.

Roll with whatever wave you're on with the knowledge that life is a cycle. Enjoy the downs because it means there are highs right around the corner waiting for your return.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Sights for Sore Eyes *Part Two*

Have I mentioned I've been busy lately? Let me put it this way...the day before the Jamestown trip (see post below) the fam bam and I drove to Santa Cruz to help The Pesty Older Brother Who Is All Levels Of Cool Without Trying move out of his beachfront apartment into another apartment that's further from the sand, but still all kinds of awesome. While the munchkins and I were waiting for Husband and Brother to off load some furniture in the new place before the rain poured down, we took a walk.

The rain had just cleared, but not for long. Dark clouds lumbered across the sky. Winds picked up. Local beach goers walked home.

We walked out.

I'm not afraid of the rain in the least. If it had poured while we stood in the sand, and we got drenched to our socks, I wouldn't have cared. I wouldn't have ran in. I probably would've been the Crazy Lady on the beach who stood there, face and palms up to the crying sky.

How could I turn away from this?

Or this? Princess and Tank threw driftwood into the sea, laughing as it got tugged out by the tide.

When we finally reached the waters edge, rain began to fall, dusting our coats. It was then that I noticed the little fellow above. See him there standing so still? (No, he's not only standing still because it's a snapshot. He stood still enough for me to get CLOSE to him. I think he was as mesmerized by the beautiful sights as I was.) He was so tiny and small up against the backdrop of the sea and it made me think of how small we all are in the grand scheme. *I'm trying really hard here not to use the "Dear God, make me a bird, so I can fly far, far far away" line from Forrest Gump.

But really, me and that still bird and the swelling ocean and the falling rain and my laughing kids had a moment that day.

It was beautiful for more reasons than the scenery.

After moving was done and we met back up again with the whole family, we took a walk on the wharf. (I think you can see its shadow on the horizon in one of the above photos.) I noticed something as I flipped through my pictures from this trip. I took zero pictures of the wharf. I've been there countless times. I know its subtle turns and open-faced crab shacks. I know the sweet-smelling candy stores and bawling sea lions. But every single time I go, I'm amazed by the sea. I ALWAYS come home with pictures of the ocean taken from the far end of the wharf.

Here's the picture from this trip:

Stunning, isn't it?

Do you feel rested from your Nano flurries yet? How'd you fare? Are you a Nano Winner? A Nano 2011 Hopeful? What have you done to rest your mind from all that wonderful writing?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sights for Sore Eyes *Part One*

After slamming a gazillion words into my WIP the last few weeks (okay not a gazillion, but geez, it felt like it) I realized I couldn't see straight. So I took a trip up to Jackson, a quiet old-fashioned town nestled in the Sierra Nevada's, where the air smelled like pine and snow and Christmas and I let all my Nano worries fall to the mountain floor.

I found the 1897 Train Station up there, which still runs train rides during the day and a few Santa filled ones at night. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of my train, but I did manage to snap a pic of the steam train from the Back to the Future III film.

It makes its home there along with a few other steamers that are just too cool not to ghost your hands along. The three mile long trip snaked through mountain passes, between towering pines and chugged along open valley flats. The views were so beautiful...

There was even a violinist on board, serenading the passengers. He was AWESOME.

He swore he could play any Christmas song requested from memory with either his violin, the banjo strapped to his back or the harmonica in his pocket. I rattled off a few tunes, trying to get him to trip up, but he knew them all. Let me tell you, he Rocked the train and Made the trip. I wish I'd gotten video of him playing on the train, but when I got home I youtube'd him and found this:

*If you have a few minutes and appreciate blue grass, give it a look. In between the random talk, there's bouts of musical genius.

On the way back, I wandered around the train grounds a little...okay a lot...and found this sun-kissed spot...

I wish I'd brought my notebook or a better camera. This was taken with my phone and did not do nature justice. It was a beautifully chill night with the promise of snow in the air. Frosted grass crunched beneath my feet. The water was still, the thoughts flowing. But I had to move on. It was too damn cold to stay for long.

After leaving Jamestown I headed east and dropped down into Sonora. I stopped at Dorthea's Christmas Shoppe, a quaint little place just outside of town. Dorthea's has the most unique Christmas decorations EVER. You know, the handmade ones you can't find at Target or Walmart or any other big chain. I get a few ornaments there every year so that no two ornaments on our tree are the same. Makes for interesting Christmas Day talk about who likes which best, what year we bought it, how old the kids were, etc, etc. Here's the two I bought this year:

*Once again, the pictures don't do them justice. They'll sparkle right up with the Christmas lights.

On my way out of town, trying to beat the sunset, I saw this...

...and had to stop to take it all in. That tree is as red as the church.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Natural storyteller, I was not

One of the most asked questions of a writer is "When did you first know you wanted to be a one?" For the longest time, my answer made me feel a little embarrassed. I didn't know I wanted to write until a few years ago. I didn't write as a least not anything anyone thought was good. I wrote the typical short story project in high school and it was easy to write, but somehow didn't measure up to my standards. I got good grades, but my friends' stories were so much stronger. I wrote many things for my English classes in college...but my stories were often dry and flat.

So when a story struck me two years ago, I seriously thought I'd be crazy to write it down. Now that I've written four books in those two years, and have managed to pump up the story lines while finding my voice, I realized I've been a storyteller all along.

No, I've never published in journals or anthologies or have stacks of childhood journals stocked away.

I played Barbies. And I played hardcore; all hours of the night, long after my friends were tired of the same ole story lines. Barbie play always started the same--at least in my world. Barbie had an awesome life with an awesome two-story house and an awesome pink convertible (who could ask for more???)...but something was missing. Her other-half (whom was never named Ken, fyi) would come around either as a gardener, new neighbor, cabin checker on the Barbie Cruise, etc, etc, corny etc.

They'd fall in love at first sight. They'd be swept away into dances, dates, dinners, first handholds, first kisses, marriage and children. I'd create their happily ever after, just to sit back and smile...then do it all over again the next night.

I was seriously addicted to Barbies until an embarrassing age. Ask my friends. Okay don't.

Looking back at those stories I created, I don't think it's such a stretch that I've become a writer. I simply didn't have the tools at the time (or the confidence) to put the words to paper.

And now as I sit back and watch my daughter LOVE Barbies, I can't help but smile.

Not all story tellers start the same. Not everyone's journey leads them from logical point A to logical point B. Sometimes the greatest stories are developed between two friends dressing up Barbie for the ball well past midnight.

Tuns out I was a story teller all along...just not the "typical". What about you? When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Was it something you always knew? Or was it something you recently discovered?

Friday, November 26, 2010


Hook the reader from the first page, first paragraph, first line.

Catch an agent's attention from the get-go--they don't have time to read until the action pics up after chapter five.

Everyone knows you have to SMASH your beginning. You should start out with a scene that evokes emotion, shows not tells the important traits of your main characters, and sets up the conflict for the rest of your book. But you also have to start with a scene that is true to the rest of your story. You should clue the reader in as to what kind of a story they're going to be reading.

Personally, I like dark romances with super-protective alpha males who aren't afraid to fight for what they want and paranormal creatures who feel real...but I still have to be able to sleep at night without thinking I'm being stalked by something that could actually be lurking in the shadows behind my door. Know what I mean? (I want to be swept away to another world when I bend back the binding, not living in my own with creepy creatures.) If I open a book in a bookstore and skim the first few pages yet read nothing about a vampire, shapeshifter, or some kick-ass magic wielded by some kick-ass hero or heroine, I'm going to pick up another book and try again.

Yesterday someone asked me, "How did you know where to start your book?"

I said, "Start from the moment your hero or heroine's life changes. Throw in some major conflict, possibly introduce them (and me as the reader) to the other leads in the story. And let the reader know what style of story (and style of writing) they can expect from the rest of your book."

The person said, "I have this idea...(then went into the idea which I'm not about to share here *wink), and the beginning is rock solid. After that, though, they have to go on this journey (think Lord of the Rings without the focus), and then the action picks up again later...about a third of the way through."

Let me say, firstly, that I'm one opinion...and I'm not even published yet so I don't know how much my opinion counts anyway. Secondly, I think their idea was good. They could easily start at the third point in the book, when the characters are flush into the action, and weave backstory in as they go. Their book wouldn't feel like a let down. (Meaning: If I started a book with a kick-ass action scene teeming with conflict, that's what I'd expect all the way through. If I came to a hundred page hiatus with nothing but a single character's journey, I'd probably put down the book and push it aside.)

So YES beginnings have to be good. YES, beginnings are important. YES, you should spend time crafting your beginning so that you can catch the attention of that coveted agent, then that coveted editor.

But this is true for the rest of your story. You should put just as much time into the last two-thirds of your book as you did making the first-third shine.

Now I have to put my own words to use. I'm working on the last 20K of Immortal, Beloved right now. The climax is approaching. All my characters are joining together to fight the impending evil. Oh, I'm excited. Someone's going to try to unleash creatures from hell...and he's going to succeed to a certain degree...but my characters will put up one hell of a fight. Some will die. Some will live. All will love.

Today, put your beginning aside. Stop mashing it up. Take a look at your middle and grow from there.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Give Thanks

I'm thankful for many things this season...starting of course with family and friends.

This week my husband (or SuperHusband as I call him now) mopped the kitchen, vacuumed the living room, watched the kids, did laundry (oh my stars), and even cooked a meal or two while I typed away. (Hey, ramen and mac 'n cheese are meals as long as I'm not the one hovering over the stove!) I imagine that it could be hard for a significant other to understand the desire to write...sitting at the keyboard for hours a day, crafting a story that Just. Won't. Let. You. Quit. I imagine that a significant other could get angry that a writer makes little or no money and writes because they can't imagine ever stopping. But SuperHusband was been understanding and sympathetic and has even picked a rose or two for me to dote over while I write.

SuperThankful for SuperHusband and our SuperMunchkins.

I'm thankful for critique partners who steer my poor, misguided manuscript to stormier waters. I like stormy seas...they're much more fun to sail than a flat calm and doldrums just plain suck. Likewise, my story needs a little wind, a little wave, a little conflict. Nobody likes a sagging middle. When I feel like I'm sailing off course, I hand over my manuscript to one of my wonderful readers and they send it back, tweaking the mast, changing course a bit, and even throw in some obstacles that I hadn't thought about when I planned my what role a particular magical piece of jewelry was going to play until a main character asked about it. Yeah. It got that bad for a bit. (But don't worry poor little misguided manuscript, you're all better now.)

I'm thankful for all the people who've emailed or tweeted or facebook DM'd me saying they want to buy a copy of Dark Tide Rising come February 2. And most of you aren't family or friends! That's fantastic and I'm beyond flattered.

I'm thankful for my agent at Spencerhill Associates and my editor at The Wild Rose Press. It's such a wonderful feeling to know that there are people who believe in my work and the world that I've created so much so that they're investing their own time and energy to see it come to life. I'm eternally grateful.

I am, as always, thankful for the little things life has to offer. The breeze brushing through the olive trees in front of my window. The fallen leaf bumbling along the street. My new puppy who is at this *very* moment chomping on my right's still on my foot, fyi. I'm thankful for the surprise smile, the light in my munchkins eyes, the "I'm proud of you" hug from my parents.

I'm thankful for it all.

Happy early Thanksgiving everyone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

It's official

FYI (in case you didn't know), five thousand words is a lot for a single day.

I managed four thousand yesterday and another thousand this morning, so I reached 70K...which means my Golden Heart entry is going out ASAP.

Fly, little birdie, fly!

I'm burnt out on writing, as you can imagine (15K in a week plus editing is a lot...too much in my opinion) I'm signing off for Thanksgiving.

Oh, and a little someone we adopted wants to say hi...

Ain't he cute?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Silent Sunday

I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all. ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

*I'm on a mission to hurl at least 5000 words at the WIP today. I'll be up all hours of the night. Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I've been writing like a madwoman this week. Husband has been uber supportive, leaving me alone, kid-free (gasp!) to write my brains out. Wednesday I put myself under a harsh deadline: 15K words by Monday. The reason for such insanity, you might ask? Because I need to mail out my "completed" book to RWA's Golden Heart contest by then.

It should be doable. 15K words in six days boils down to about 2500 words a day. Surprisingly, I think I'm going to finish ahead of schedule. Thursday I wrote 4500 words. Yesterday I wrote 3000. They're rushed and new and scattered, but they're there.

I think I may end up being an inadvertent Nano winner this year. After our Disneyland trip (where I didn't write a lick but had oh so much fun) I realized I wasn't going to finish Nano. You can't really expect to skip four days and still hit the 50K word mark...but if I keep up the grueling pace I just might do it!

So if you don't hear from me today, tomorrow or Monday, you'll know why. I'm under deadline! Go, you crazy Nanoers out there, Go! I'm right there with you!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Walking Water

Hubby and I celebrated our 12 year dating anniversary this weekend. Yes, we're dorky enough to celebrate both the day we started dating and the day we said "I do". Our wedding anniversary is in June...a looong five months away from our dating anniversary, so I figure why not celebrate both? Is it greedy to ask The Husband to remember not one, but two, dates out of the year? I don't think so. Is it selfish to want roses on two occasions? Maybe. But is it a bad idea? Nope, no way.

When I read this poem from Terresa Wellborn of The Chocolate Chip Waffle blog, it instantly reminded me of The Husband and I and the road of our perfectly imperfect marriage. Not to mention the combination of words are simply brilliant. Try reading it aloud. It flows off the tongue like melted chocolate. And if you really want chills, whisper it.

Walking Water

I married
a vision of us, mirrored,
graced with trust,
hearts compassed against eternity
as time rose to meet us.

You are water,
I am land,
and I have become pharisaical,
loving lampless,
counting offense in silted steps,
each word a watermark wrung wet.

Mirrors have nothing to do with us,
only locketed light,
footpaths trod not to temple
but withered hand.

I am learning to rudder the good night
on waves of wheat-backed gold,
place manna in open mouths,
defy land and
walk water.

--Terresa Wellborn © 2010 by Terresa Wellborn. All rights reserved.
--This is part of Magpie Tales 37.

Write something inspirational today. Tell your significant other you love them. Hold them tight. That is all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A difficult topic--Suicide

Today's blog post is taking a somber turn. A childhood friend of my husband's took her own life this weekend. We just found out yesterday. Everyone we know, everyone who knew her, is in a tailspin. It's so hard to believe that someone so full of life could be gone...just like that.

Though I don't know the ins and outs or the whys of her situation, the SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education) research states that depression is the strongest risk factor for suicide and although we don't hear about it much, suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year. Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care, yet 80% of people who actually seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.

Now more than ever it's important to know the symptoms and danger signs of someone who is contemplating suicide. Please educate yourself so you can possibly save a loved ones life.

Warning Signs of Suicide
•Ideation (thinking, talking or wishing about suicide)
•Substance use or abuse (increased use or change in substance)
•Purposelessness (no sense of purpose or belonging)
•Trapped (feeling like there is no way out)
•Hopelessness (there is nothing to live for, no hope or optimism)
•Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
•Anxiety (restlessness, irritability, agitation)
•Recklessness (high risk-taking behavior)
•Mood disturbance (dramatic changes in mood)

Additional Warning Signs of Suicide
•Talking about suicide.
•Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
•Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
•Preoccupation with death.
•Suddenly happier, calmer.
•Loss of interest in things one cares about.
•Visiting or calling people one cares about.
•Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
•Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

Remember, what you see on the outside is much different from what a suicidal person sees and feels on the inside. Don't brush off their feelings. Listen. Console. Give them another way to resolve their feelings by seeking professional help. And if you are someone who is having these feelings, try to remember that suicide doesn't just affect affects everyone who ever knew you. Reach out to one of those loved ones now. You are not alone.

I've listed some resources below that are extremely helpful.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/ 7 free and confidential

SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education aims to prevent suicide through public awareness and education and features information, news and resources.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide.

*Edited to add: Here's the quote from today's "Love" widget on the right sidebar...
"I like not only to be loved, but to be told I am loved."--George Eliot

Tell the people in your life that you love them every single day...starting today.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Life and Craft

Okay, okay so I've been MIA around here this Veteran's weekend. I have a great excuse...Hubby and I took the FamBam to Disneyland! We haven't been in two years, since Tank was one year old, so it was a great experience--tons of people and crowds and lines--but great nonetheless. We went to Ariel's Grotto for dinner and met all the Princesses (which was, of course, our little Princess' favorite) and had breakfast at Goofy's Kitchen and The Storyteller's Cafe. In Storyteller's, there's a great wall mural that I had to take a picture of:

In case you can't read it, it says "The life so short, the craft so long to learn."

Ain't that the truth?

I can't believe I've been actively pursuing a writing career for two years. Two years. It feels like I just started. Already I've written four books, landed two agents (lost one of course, but rebounded into the stars) and have met so many wonderful writers, authors, editors, agents, friends. Yet even through all the networking and workshops and slaving away at WIP after WIP, I feel like the darn learning curve is steep and hard to climb. Seeing the writing on the wall in black and white (or brown and tan, as it were) reminded me that a writer's journey is never done. There's never a point where one can sit back and relax and let the story tell itself. You have to slave. And learn. And drink copious amounts of coffee...well, at least that's my take.

Speaking of all things Disney and slaving away at your craft, my sister-in-law has mad cake-making-designing skills. (Like my little segway, there?) Take a look at her newest creation for a local elementary school fundraiser:

It's all edible, right down to Cogsworth's face and the broomsticks on each side. Don't know how she does it. I'd seriously rather write a book than take the time to detail out numbers on that tiny clock's face. If you missed the post where I showed pics of her AMAZING Thomas the Train cake, you should go HERE right now. It's unbelievable and completely edible, down to the track, cargo, EVERYTHING.

In other news, I'm now "officially" the President of the San Francisco Chapter of Romance Writers of America. I'm so excited to see what the next few years have in store. All I know is, if there's more family time, Disney trips, cake eating, writing, and networking with the best ladies in the business, I'll be one happy girl.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Nanowrimo: Program in which participants write 50,000 words in 30 days.
As in "I'm going to participate in Nanowrimo this November!"

Nanoing: The act of participating in the Nanowrimo program.
As in "Don't bother me this morning, or any other morning this month, I'm Nanoing."

Wrimo: Person who participates in Nanowrimo
As in "Wrimos unite! Let's get this novel done!"

Nanofried: Term used to describe a person who is physically, mentally, spiritually or emotionally drained thanks to the gruelling Nanowrimo pace
As in "I'm sorry, Sparky, I shouldn't take you for your walk today, or tomorrow, or the next day, I'm Nanofried and my eyes are blurring. Is that your leash or your tail?"

Wrislo: Person who participates in Nano for the fun of it and writes at their own pace with no intention of finishing 50,000 in 30 days
As in "I'm going to participate in Nanowrimo, but I'm going to be one of those keep-their-sanity Wrislo's."

Nanomania: The craziness that happens around the world in November
As in "Nanomania is sweeping the world! One gazillion words have been written thus far!"

Nanobuddy: Person who agrees to go through the Nanowrimo process with you, posting their word-count-meters on your site as they go
As in "Come on, Nanobuddy, you can do it! Don't get discouraged by my 40,000 word count on week two, just keep plugging away! Write at your own pace, but you're gonna lose!"

Nanotorture: What happens to homes and families wherein one person is participating in Nanowrimo
As in "Make sure to stock the refrigerator and do all the laundry before Nanowrimo begins, so you're not nanotorturing your family by ignoring them for 30 days."

Nanobug: The insatiable desire to participate in Nanowrimo every year
As in "I love Nanowrimo so much, I'm going to do it every year! You should do it to! You need to hang around with me more and maybe rub fingers with my computer so you can catch my Nanobug!"

Nanowinner: Term used to describe a person who completes the goal of 50,000 words in 30 days.
As in "I did it! I'm officially insane, but I'm a Nanowinner! Where's my badge?"

Nanoloser: This word doesn't exist in any language. If you compete in Nanowrimo, you've earned non-loser status.

Nanodementia : Term used to describe a person who believes their Nanoing has no ill effects on those around them.
As in "I do NOT have Nanodementia! You have clothes to wear, give me a what if you've worn the same thing since November began a few weeks ago. I think body odor is becoming."

Nanobyproxy: Disease whereby someone is kept up to speed on all Nanohappenings thanks to being best friends/related to someone who is participating. Can often lead to Nanodementia and the break down of social relationships.
As in "I think I need an Advil...and a lobotomy. Would you stop that incessant tap-tap-tapping already?!? Get away from me! I'm tired of having Nanobyproxy!"

*So whatcha think? This was way fun. The sentences were cheesy and dry, but it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet. Got any other good Nanoisms to add? I'll update my list and repost it later if you've got a good one!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where the birth of a NanoDictionary happens.

I grabbed my cup of coffee this morning (Starbuck's home grounds with natural Caramel flavors--Yum!) and sat down to write a blog post. I spent some time perusing through blogs I follow (as I usually do), saw most people drowning in Nano's wicked waters, and found other helpful information on agent-editor contract negotiations.

Usually that's all it takes for a hint of a post to spark.

Not today.

I'm Nanofried. That's a new word. And during Nano month you're not supposed to edit, so there you have it.

I'm about 3K words behind where I need to be. (My Nano meter on the site desperately needs to be updated, but that takes time, and my time is either spent writing or catching up around the house.)

I can imagine that doing Nanowrimo might be a little like what it must be to be up against a deadline. (Didn't you hate all those teeny-tiny words clumped together just there? There'd be a better way to write that sentence, no? But no eidting, remember? Heh. There I go again.)

Anyway, you have to pump out your story. You have a time frame to do it in that seems darn near impossible. Everyone around you is cheering you on. You can finish! You can succeed! You're so close! Dedicate yourself to writing!

And then the world steps in. Children beckon (or whine, holler, scream, fight, and generally distract from your work-in-progress). Laundry piles up and you're tired of wearing your sweats all day--okay, so this could never happen, but still. Your family is starting to notice and intervene by bringing over Gallon bottles of Tide.
Dinner consists of Macaroni-and-Cheese and Ramen bringing you back to your college days. You don't mind, except you remember the Freshmen Fifteen because of all that instant food. Ugh. On top of all that, there are serpent-like writing destroyers that shove their poisonous heads into your perfect writing world: birthdays, bridal showers, baby showers, weddings, family gatherings, out-of-towners visiting, the Queen coming to town, Pink playing nearby, yada, yada.

But above all that, you write anyway. You feel productive. A sense of accomplishment washes over you. The fact that you've managed to create something in such a short amount of time makes you proud like no other writing endeavor has before.

I don't know who said it, but it's a great quote anyway: "Do not fear the winds of adversity. Remember, a kite rises against the wind, rather than with it."

Now get Nanoing. Catch up. You can do it. (I think I'm seriously going to start a Nanowrimo dictionary. Whatcha think?)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Monday!

It's Monday again and it's time for another Blog Hop! Authors! Have a book out? Are you under contract for publication? Make sure you join in the hop. This is a great way to network your blog and let readers know who you are!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Silent Sunday


"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible."--T. E. Lawrence


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Release Date!

Dark Tide Rising Official Blurb:

Depend on a man? Never! Emily McAllister wants nothing more than to control her own life, but when a vision of her best friend’s murder grips her, Emily's forced to put her trust in the straight-laced sergeant responsible for closing the case. The police believe the drowning was accidental but Emily, haunted by dreams of the killer, knows better. Police sergeant Mark Thurgood is interested in facts, not premonitions, and he's tried to steer clear of the ocean since rescuing two lives from its icy clutches. When danger threatens the free-spirited Emily, he's determined to stay by her side. It isn't until Emily finally begins to trust Mark that she realizes her reaction to him may be more than physical attraction. But when a detail emerges from the murky veil of her dreams she questions if the man she's fallen for is actually a killer.

The hunt for the man (and killer) of her dreams begins
February 2nd, 2011.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Write Anyway

It's Day 3 of Nanowrimo. Allow me to break down the first two days...

Day 1
I'm excited! Everyone is so motivating and likable and the excitement is contagious!
I'm writing! I'm still editing as I go, refusing to slash the throat of quality for the sake of quantity and HEY it's not going too bad!
I've only reached 600 words? Huh. Feels like more...
Kids mutiny! Must get groceries!
Must watch Iron Man 2!
I'm content to catch up on my words tomorrow.

Day 2
I'm ashamed of Day 1. For crying out loud, it was ONE DAY of writing dangerously and I failed. Day 1 is hanging its head in shame, but my cupboards are full and my kids have fallen in line.
I'm writing! Oh yeah, words are flowing. They're good, rich words.
Hey, look at that, I've reached 1000 words by noon. I'm not such a loser after after.
Do I really need clean clothes? Nah. Another chapter must begin NOW.
I'm writing! Look at me go! I reach 1500 words.
I'm stumped...dah...dum.
Judge Judy!
More writing. The words are sluggish, but they're there.
Would you look at that! A plot hole the size of the grand canyon.
I'm stumped...dah...dum.
Write Anyway! Make no sense! Pound keys!
Become manic, laughing like Count Dracula with each keystroke.
What's that I spot waaaay over there! Yes! A bridge! I've written my way over the mind sucking abyss! Huzzah!
Collapse at 2 am. Fulfilled.

The purpose of my spastic post? Write anyway. Don't let expectations get you down. Try to edit as you go, but when you get to a problem area, write through it until you get to the other side. Watch your shows. Do your chores. Don't abandon your sanity to write 1668 words a day. Do everything you normally do, and in the face of all that normal day adversity, WRITE ANYWAY.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A letter to Evil

Dear Nanowrimo,

When I first heard your name and what you expected of those in your presence, I thought to myself that although your requirements were steep, they weren't unmanageable. I wanted to be in your company. I wanted to wear one of those spiffy badges that said I was a Nano Winner--one of the elite. A writer capable of throwing logic aside and wearing the "insane" hat for the month of November.

Acting on those requirements of 50,000 words in 30 days...which breaks down to about 1700 words per much harder than it seems.

Maybe it's because I don't write a certain amount of words per day. Some days I write 500 (like yesterday). Some days I write 3000. Or maybe its because now that I have an agent again (HUZZAH!) I have to write a synopsis for Book2 and go back through Enemy with another fine tooth comb. Yeah, maybe that's it.

My time is stretched thin. My mind is jumping between books. Or maybe Nanowrimo is just so hard core that it's sending me to my knees.

Nano, I bow down.

Your ever faithful but drowning servant,

P.S. Yes, I know it's only Day 2. I can hear your evil laughter from here, so shut your wrimo trap. I'll catch up...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fall in Love with Fall Winner! WAIT! There's more!

I'm thrilled beyond words for a few reasons today...wait...not thrilled beyond words because then I would be jumping around too much to write and, well, here I am...anyway, I'm thrilled. Just. Thrilled.

Fall is in full swing. Nights are hazy. Clouds are heavy. My house smells like sugar cookies. I'm in absolute heaven.

If that isn't enough, I have a winner for the Fall in Love with Fall Giveaway. Julia (from the comments section of the original contest post), won Victoria Dahl's Crazy for Love and Elisabeth Naughton's Stolen Fury! Congratulations! I'll be contacting you via email to get your address. Be checking your email box.

If this beautiful overcast weather isn't enough for you, and you're not Julia (who should also be too thrilled for words that she's won), then maybe you can celebrate this next reason by jumping up and down with me.


Yup. You heard that right. I am now represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates. See? Good things are happening this time of year.

NaNoWriMo is undoubtedly included in all that goodness.

That reminds me...Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it's back to the WIP I go! *insert crazy annoying dwarf whistles here*

Friday, October 29, 2010

Giveaway Reminder! Goodies!

You're invited to participate in the Fall in Love with Fall Book Giveaway! It ends on Halloween so don't miss out.

It's no secret Fall is my favorite season. Between the leaves changing color and the rainfall inspiring me to write, I'm happy as a clam.

Me+Happy=Book Giveaway!

Lucky for you, right?

Victora Dahl's award-winning novel Crazy for Love

And an autographed copy of Elizabeth Naughton's Stolen Fury

Being a follower of this blog is a must.

Enter the contest by commenting on this post or the original one from September (which can be found under "Pararomance Contests" under "Labels" on the sidebar).

Extra entries will count as follows:

+2 Adding this contest post to your sidebar (shoot me an email or mention it in the comment so I can check it out)
+2 Blogging about the contest (shoot me another email or another comment so I can give mad thanks)
+1 Twittering this post (make sure to add @KM_Miller so I know you did it)

The contest will end October 31st. I mean, what other day in Fall would be more appropriate for a blog celebrating paranormal writing?!? (Now I wish I had some Halloween themed novels to dish out...maybe next year.)

Good luck and Happy Halloween! Be safe out there this weekend!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lisa Sanchez Signing!

I talked about the value of critique partners the other day and how an honest read can give you focus and purpose. There's another awesome aspect of the critique partner gig that I failed to mention. It's the pride that comes from the success of that partner. One of my critique partners, Lisa Sanchez, had her first ever author signing Tuesday night. I downright glowed watching the room fill with family, friends, writers, and readers, all waiting to hear her talk about her writing process. I felt like a proud mama, listening to her read scenes so familiar to me.

I might've been more giddy than she was when she signed books for a LINE of people.

I couldn't miss the opportunity to snag a pic of the two of us together.

And here's the group of writers who went to Olive Garden after (minus Killian McRae who was behind the camera), from left to right: me, Lisa Langdale, Lisa Sanchez, Brenda Pandos, and Robin DeJarnett. These ladies are awesome writers, authors, and now friends.

If my first reading goes half as smoothly as hers did, I'll be a happy, happy girl. Way to go, Lisa!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Out with the old...

You wouldn't believe it if I told you...but for the last five years I've been cooking on a stove almost twice my age.

I call it The Green Machine. It's a 1960 GE. (They know how to make 'em, let me tell you.) And as of yesterday, it's gone!

There's nothing wrong with an avocado green appliance, really there's not. It served its purpose, cooking for my family for years and years with no problems. Okay, okay, so it was hideous...but it was free. I couldn't really complain, especially since new appliances can run upwards of two thousand dollars!

Now feast your eyes upon this...

Oh, I'm in heaven. I can't wait to start cooking on it. I'd love to blog more, but I'm heading out for a plot session with my fabulous critique partner, Lisa Sanchez. Her signing at the Tracy library was awesome last night--I can't wait to post pictures tomorrow!

Have a great one! *grin