Saturday, May 29, 2010

Feeling a little inspirational...

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.--Anton Chekhov

That's one of my favorite quotes coupled with a pretty nifty picture. The quote is actually pinned above my keyboard for a constant reminder to "show not tell" in my writing. Now write away!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Another Summer, Another End

This morning I was reflecting on how another summer managed to sneak up on me. June is brimming with bridal and baby showers, birthdays, parties, graduations and vacations to "relaxing" places. (Though often times the planning and packing takes away some of the "relaxing" part.) Being pretty much a lifetime student and former high school teacher, the whole year seems to end with the conclusion of school. January 1st doesn't seem nearly as "new" as June 1st with nothing but summer days ahead.

So after today, my year is done!

I got to thinking how much different this year feels than last year. My flights are booked for RWA's National Conference in Orlando (yes, it was moved due to the floods), the hotel is reserved, and I even have my brand new laptop bag begging to be used. At this point last year I was in the same place when considering all of those things...

...but I'm not in the same place when it comes to my writing.

Kiersten White did a post a few days back about "last year-this year". Read it here.

I think writing things down that way gives a great concrete comparison. That, and I love lists.

Last year: I started and finished book 1, then realized it wasn't good enough to be published. Booked trip to RWA to learn what I had to do to make this my career.
This year: I started and finished books 2 and 3. Booked trip to RWA to pitch these awesome stories to agents and editors. I'm so in love with Book 3...and by the response I'm getting, I think other people are too.

Last year: I hadn't met a single writer, agent, or editor.
This year: I meet a wonderful group of writers every single month (SFARWA and BDRWA), have a published critique partner (Hi Lisa!), and have met too many agents and editors to count. And they're all FABULOUS.

Last year: I hadn't entered a single contest.
This year: I entered the Golden Heart and didn't final, although my scores were good. I entered the Daphne and also didn't final, but my scores were phenomenal with one "published, award winning" judge saying she can't wait until my entry is published so she can finish reading it.

Last year: I was writing through the night.
This year: I write mornings and afternoons only.

Last year: I sent out 100 queries on book 1 and received 100 rejections.
This year: I sent out 10 queries on book 3 and received 4 rejections and 3 far.

Last year: Writing everyday.
This year: Writing everyday.

Last year: I wasn't sure if I could cut it in the writing world.
This year: I know I's just a matter of when.

I simply can't wait to see what the next year has in store!

(Oh, and did I mention I'm giving away a free signed copy of Eve of Samhain by Lisa Sanchez or a $15 Starbucks giftcard when my follower count reaches 100? If you haven't hit that "follow" button yet, it only takes a minute...and I'll be glowing in radiant thanks when you do!)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Round Here

I've decided to let you in on the run-down of my mornings as of late. I seriously need to start manuscript #3 sometime soon otherwise I might get sucked into the Internet realm and never return. To get you started with some mood music, take a quick listen to one of my all-time favorite songs, Round Here by the Counting Crows.

So here's how my mornings go once Princess is in school and I'm perched in front of the keyboard. (Complete with crazy head-talk and all!)

"I really need to do some editing or tweak my synopsis...but a quick check of my email wouldn't hurt. I'm bound to have a rejection or two and maybe (fingers crossed) a request for my manuscript."
"Damn, one rejection. Oh, a youtube link from a friend! I must watch to lift my spirits!"
"Hmm...I've never heard of that band. They're pretty good. I should google them."
"Wikipedia shows they're new out of the bay area. Love local bands. And they have a blog!"

(After 10 minutes perusing through their blog posts...)

"Their blog rocks! I wonder how my blog's doing...I should do a post."

(After 10 minutes writing a post...another 20 spent checking up on all my writing buddies blogs and commenting like the wind...then another 20 catching up on publishing buzz through agent blogs...)

"I should put up some linkie-dos like some other writers' blogs...they're all pretty hip, and hey, I've always wanted to be hip! But wait, in that sidebar is a facebook badge. I wonder if any of my 'friends' have anything interesting to say?"

(Pound keys over to facebook...)

"Oh look, more requests to be my 'friend'. I'm popular. Finally. I must look at what this long-lost elementary school acquaintance has been up to all this time."

(After getting sucked into the facebook stalking vortex that is oddly satisfying, I check my own profile page)

"Hey! Look at that! Someone tweeted their post onto the facebook wall. I really need to learn how to do that. I should check my twitter account."

(Logging into Twitter...but alas 'too many tweets'...must fill coffee cup and try again...)

"Man, look at all these twitter posts. These people are part of some secret Twitterati, hell-bent on world domination through endless tweets. Holy-croley. I should twitter my little heart out to catch up."

(After 5 minutes retweeting posts and coming up with something creative to say about what I'm doing, then another 10 minutes looking through tweet history, I sit back. And take a deep breath.)

"What was I suppose to be doing again? Oh yeah, editing and tweaking my synopsis. Right."

(Open word doc and stare at the cursor speed. It's slowing down...or maybe that's just my eyes blurring)

"I wonder if I have any requests sitting in my inbox? Oh look!"

And that, my friends, is how the vicious cycle goes Round Here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pararomance's First Contest!

That's right, I'm having a contest to reach 100 followers on my blog!

Let's get to the goodies first...

I'm giving away either a SIGNED copy of Lisa Sanchez's paranormal romance novel, Eve of Samhain,

Or a $15.00 Starbucks Giftcard.

The winner will get to choose their reward, but I'd pity the fool (in Mr. T's voice, of course) who turned down the change to ogle Lisa's super-sexy (yet adorably tortured) hero Quinn Donnegan.

The rules are simple. To be entered, you must "Follow" my blog and leave a comment on the "Author Spotlight with Lisa Sanchez" post which can be found under the "Author Spotlight" label on the sidebar.

You also get one bonus entry for each thing on this list: (And who doesn't love a bonus or two?)

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

(Each of those above can only be done for bonus points once. Thanks to those of you who'd so graciously tweet the contest every day...but I couldn't possibly add up all those bonus points until it ends.)

The winner will be announced once my "Follower" count reaches 100. As of May 25th, 2010 I have 35 followers. Shouldn't take too long, right?

Let's get this ball rolling and have some fun! Good luck!

Thanks to those of you who've already joined since the interview yesterday! Can't wait to give away a copy of this book! (Or free coffee to one tired writer!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Interview with author Lisa Sanchez!

I took some time to interview Lisa Sanchez, an up-and-coming author whose first paranormal romance novel will be released tomorrow!

1-Eve of Samhain, your debut novel, will be released May 25 by Omnific publishing. What's it about?
Eve Of Samhain is a modern spin on the Irish legend of the Gancanagh, or Love Talker. The Gancanagh is a male faerie, cursed with an orgasmic, yet deadly touch. Sex with this gorgeous, bad boy sends you spiraling into insanity. Yikes!

Quinn, our hero, is weary, jaded and riding out what he believes are his last days when he meets the protagonist, twenty one year old, Ryann Pierce. There’s an immediate physical attraction between the two, but of course love is never easy. Ryann throws Quinn for a loop when she doesn’t automatically fall at his feet like every woman before her. The feisty Ryann is more than a pretty face and a meaningless piece of tail. She’s special, and Quinn finds himself falling for someone for the first time in five hundred years.

2-How long did it take you to write?
The first draft took me four months to write. Not too bad. The editing, the rewrites? Yeah, those took a bit longer, lol.

3-When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing since I was a child. My mother used to give me random topics to write about and I’d go to work spinning goofy tales about Superman peanut butter (Do you remember that brand?) among other things. As a freshman in high school I remember reading Gone With The Wind (One of my favorites.) We were given an assignment to write a scene for a sequel. Sort of a “what happened next” type thing. Yeah…my paper was titled Back With Bunyons. I’ve got an odd sense of humor, what can I say?

4-Are there any other novels in the works?
Yes! I’ve actually penned the sequel to Eve Of Samhain. The protagonist in book two is a character you get to know in book one and that’s all I’m gonna say. Don’t want to spoil anything! My goal is to eventually write a book for each of the four friends. You’ve met three of the friends in EOS. Book two introduces you to the fourth and final protagonist.

I’m also polishing a romantic suspense right now that I’m really excited about. The hero is raw, wounded and gritty and I think I’m in love with him. Ha!

5-Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
Finally an easy question! Lol! J.R. Ward is my favorite author right now. The woman has an amazing voice, and the way she can weave a tale with layer after layer just blows my mind. She’s my hero for sure. I also love Diana Gabaldon, Gena Showalter, Charlaine Harris and Sherrilyn Kenyon and Karen Marie Moning (if you haven’t read her Fever series, you’re missing out!)

6-What's your typical writing process like?
Oye! Well I’ve got three daughters, so my schedule is pretty hectic. I usually try to get my writing done in the morning while the girls are in school. There’s too much distraction when they are home for me to concentrate. Afternoons are a wash because by then, I’ve morphed from mother into taxi, and am driving back and forth from tumbling classes and cheer practice.

7-What part of that process would you say is the hardest?
Dealing with rejection. Yep, the “R” word. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you write, we’ve all dealt with rejection. Writing is very subjective. What floats one persons boat leaves a bitter taste in someone else’s mouth. The key is learning how to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep writing.

8-The easiest?
Dialog. I’ve got a house full of cheerleaders and the maturity level of a fifteen year old. Slang is my best friend and it springs forth at regular intervals like Old faithful. Oh, and shmexy times. I seem to be pretty good at writing the smut scenes. Who knew? My friends don’t call me Smut Queen for nothing 

9-What gave you the idea for Eve of Samhain?
I’d entered a short story contest, and the prompt was something like “Girlfriends, Ghouls and Gorgeous Guys.” I’d been reading a lot of vampire fiction (still am) and wanted to try something different. I hit Wikipedia, did a search for mythical creatures and found our sexy boy. Woot!

10-And finally, what are your plans for the eve of your release date?
Hmm…lets see…I’ve set aside two hours where I’ll probably lie in the fetal position, praying people will like my book while simultaneously regretting my gratuitous use of the word “assface.” After that I plan on whooping it up and partying like a rock star. (Sssh…don’t tell anyone, but, I’ll actually be sitting on the bleachers in my daughter’s cheer gym watching her tumbling class and gossiping with the other moms. Real life=boring. Ha!)

Thank you so much Lisa for stopping by and taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions! Can't wait to hear rave reviews about this book!

Eve of Samhain can be purchased from Omnific Publishing's website here.

*Interested in getting a SIGNED copy of Eve of Samhain for FREE? It's easy! Today officially marks the start date of my 100 Follower Contest! Read the tab above (where I'm giving away a free SIGNED copy or a Starbucks GiftCard), then drop back down here and leave a comment to be entered! Let's get this party started! *grin

Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm in deep, deep trouble

Oh for pity's sake...

All the good shows on television are ending and I'm still glued to the couch giving my knee the rest it needs.

The Amazing Race is long gone. America's Next Top Model finale was Wednesday. Vampire Diaries ended last Thursday (*not that I watch it...*ahem). And my favorite show, The Biggest Loser, airs its finale Tuesday.

What on earth will I do? Seriously, people, I love to read...but for some reason I just can't bear to finish JR Ward's Lover Unbound. I have no idea why. And until I finish that one I refuse to pick up another. I think part of me believes if I start another story I'll never come back to finish this one...and Viscious' story deserves to be read. It really does.

At last month's SFARWA meeting I got autographed copies of Barry Eisler's Fault Line and Monica McCarty's The Chief. I cracked open the first pages of The Chief and was immediately pulled in. I snapped the book closed...

Can't read it yet...nope.

I'm being ridiculous, I know. But with my good shows ending and my unfinished read idling on my shelf I feel like trouble has come calling.

I guess I better get this knee iced so I can start moving around. Lord knows The Husband would like me to start being a little productive.

On a very side note: It's kinda been a blessing in disguise me being out of commission and The Husband having to pick up the slack by taking over my duties as High Priestess of the house. He's definitely realized how wearing my job is...and when it was time for him to go back to work last night I think I saw him skipping out the door. Mothers, Caretakers, Wives, Homemakers YOU ROCK.

Being Susie Homemaker is not easy to say the least (especially when you're trying to look good doing it)...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where would you go? Who would you be?

Recovering from knee surgery is rough on the brain. Seriously. There is only so much television you can watch and let me tell you, there's trashy Court TV on in the afternoons and THAT'S IT! I've edited my last manuscript, wrote and edited my query, edited my synopsis, and now I'm back to vegging. I also only have about fifty pages left of JR Ward's Lover Unbound. It's deliciously good, but I'm just not in the mood to finish it yet.

All this build up leads me to today's post. I'm in serious need of brain stimulation. Bear with me.

If you could live in any novel, as any character, where would you live and who would you be? (Oh boy, I hear the Bella's of the world jumping up and down from here. Quiet, you.)

I thought about this one a lot. My immediate response was Rebecca because Manderley is simply too beautiful not to experience first hand...but who would I be? The murdered wife? The guilty but forgivable husband? The meek and tortured new wife? Or how about the evil, yet somehow sympathetic Mrs. Danvers? As appealing as they are, I'll have to pass on every one.

Or what about JR Ward's series The BlackDagger Brotherhood? It would be pretty cool to be protected by those strong and sexy alpha males, that's the truth...but where's the fun out of the bedroom? (Not that you'd ever have to leave, of course.)

I think I'm going to choose Harry Potter...any one of the series. Show me one person on the planet who wouldn't want to live at Hogwarts and I'll show you a liar. I wouldn't want to be a pesky muggle or an instructor. (It's tempting to say I'd like to be Snape or Dumbledore, but Snape's got too much drama going on bouncing between Good and Evil and Dumbledore has too much responsibility in all that. I'm looking for fun, remember?)

So Hogwarts it is. I'm riding the train, shopping in Diagon Alley, taking wizarding classes and loving every second. And I think out of all the characters, I'd like to be Ginny Weasely. She comes from a stable family whose house brims with love. Okay, they're weirder than hell, but I bet once you joined the ranks you'd have a blast. And who wouldn't love to be around her twin brothers for a day?!? I bet they'd make me laugh so hard magic chocolate milk would come screaming out my nose. She's innocent and cute, separate from the drama plaguing Harry, Hermione and Ron, but still a brave player in the grand scheme.

And she gets the guy. Doesn't get better than that.

So just for fun, if you could jump into any story, live amidst any pages, where would you chose? And whose shoes would you wear for a bit?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My own Confession

Have you noticed something different about my blog? Yup. That's right. I got a brand spankin' new header, personalized just for me. I've been trying to figure out how those computer savvy folks do it for months now...and today I finally gave in and just asked for help.

Help came in the form of my wildly talented critique partner Lisa Sanchez. Her blog, Confessions of a California Cheer Mom, features snippets about her soon-to-be-published novel Eve of Samhain. Today she posted the first look at the cover art from her debut novel. You should sneak over there and take a peek. It's got sex appeal to spare!

Seriously, I owe her a giant over-the-internet bear hug for the beautiful header. Lord knows my attempts were pixely (I don't know if that's a word, but today it is!) and pathetic failures.

I think I'll get back to doing what I do best...tearing apart my synopsis and piecing it back together.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Top Ten Things Not to Say to an Agent

Another Top Ten Tuesday! Woohoo! This one's going to be fun. Let me first say that I'm unagented, searching for representation for my last romantic suspense and my recently finished (Yippee!) paranormal romance. I obviously haven't figured out exactly what agents are looking for, but I've learned a lot of things from people in the industry about what agents are NOT looking for. (This info comes from agents, editors, or published authors I've met and personally talked to.) I thought it'd make a hilarious Top Ten Tuesday post. Please, people, for the love of all that is Holy, don't think for a second that I would've tripped on one of these hurdles. Some things are common sense...

...then again reading some big named agent tweets, maybe not..

Top Ten Things Not to Say to an Agent in a Query

10. "Email me if my log line sounds interesting enough to query you." *I mean, really? Agents get thousands of queries a month. Do you really think that your log line is so unique, so "have to have it" that they're going to take time away from their existing clients to contact you? No. They're not. Query the story right away. Don't ask permission. And follow their guidelines!

9. "I'm the next Nora Roberts." *Okay, I haven't heard an agent say they're read this one, but I couldn't imagine it would go over well. Don't say you're the next Nora Roberts...prove it. Knock 'em dead with your work. (And remember Nora Roberts wrote three novels before getting an agent. So if you feel the need to say this one, keep working.) **Side note: I don't feel there's a single thing wrong with wanting or striving to be the next Nora Roberts...

8. "I'm the New York Times Bestselling Author you've been searching for!" *Well, gee, I'm sure they appreciate the heads up, but this is their profession. They're able to judge from your work alone whether or not you can get there. Just a thought. It's kind of like a baker needing a sign differentiating between bowls of sugar and flour.

7. "To whom it may concern," *And with that single opener, you've earned yourself a rejection. Agents don't want to be lumped into a massive query submission of four hundred random agents and editors you found online. They want you to pay attention to them and their submission guidelines and rightly so...aren't they going to pay attention to your and your career when they sign you? Pay them the same respect.

6. "Confetti and candy are included in this box. You can thank me by email." *I had fun with this one. I've heard from an agent who came to speak at SFARWA a few months back that she once received an unsolicited manuscript in a giant box with candy, rose petals and confetti. She said the second she opened the box, her office was a disaster. Not the first impression you want. If you have to sugar coat your book with bells and whistles, write another book.

5. "I've queried everyone in your office and they all rejected me, but I think this one is right for you." *Oh boy. First, most agents say that once you query one agent in their office and receive a rejection, it's the same as getting a rejection from the whole office. They work closely together...don't waste valuable time by parading between them. No means no.

4. "I have three manuscripts I've written over ten years. I'm going to query all three." *First, I think if all you've written over ten years is three books, you're not going to have a solid career. Agents and publishing houses want to publish writers who are going to continue writing at a steady enough pace that they can build a following. Three in ten years won't cut it, I'm afraid. Second, you shouldn't query three books at once. Pick your best one and query that one only.

3. "I've attached the whole manuscript for your convenience." *This one may not sound like a no-no, but it is. You need to read agent submission guidelines either from their website or Publisher's Marketplace. Sending a manuscript when they didn't ask for it insults their intelligence...and yours. And most agents won't even open attachments. Period. Can you imagine the kind of computer viruses they get on a daily basis?

2. "I've CC'd this query to my lawyer so there is no chance of copyright infringement." *I wish I could say this one is a thrown-in phony, but it's not. I picked up this example from an agent's tweet this morning. (It's actually the inspiration for today's post.) How could a writer wanting to build a career really think this idea is a good one? Do you really not trust the agent you're querying? Do you really think they're going to try to steal your work? Come on. If they like it enough they'll want to sign you, not steal your ideas and pimp them out to other writers. I've heard the saying before and I'll repeat it now. "Agents don't steal ideas, Writers steal ideas."

And the number one thing you should never say to an agent in a query is...

1. "I have an idea for a book and I was wondering if it was something you'd represent before I started writing it." *Simple answer: No. Write the book. Query when you're finished. Agents bounce ideas with clients, not writers who may or may not even finish the book. Why waste the time?

I hope some of these made you cringe and some made you laugh. A few of them were written in jest, but most of them were *sadly* real examples from agents who open our queries. Now go forth and query your book! But please, please, don't do any of the Top Ten. It'll save you some headache.

So that's all from CouchBoredomLand. Wish I could say I'm breaking out of this fabric hell sometime soon, but I think there's a few more days ahead of me. Oh the joy! *disappearing grin

Monday, May 17, 2010

In Good News...

I'm starting off the morning in a great mood! The bandages come off my knee today! And finally...FINALLY...I'll be able to move and bend a little bit. The pain is nearly gone with the occasional shooting blast of heat still piercing the inside of my knee from time to time.

I'm sick and tired of watching television. I don't know how people do it. Being couchbound since Friday has driven me batty. I'd be reading like a madwoman but for some reason (and I think it has something to do with the narcotics given during surgery), my eyes blur after about a page. The headache ensues soon thereafter. It's a bummer because my To Be Read pile is enormous and not going anywhere.

On another bright note, I assumed my usual position in front of the T.V. this morning, ready for another boring day of old movies like Dumb and Dumber and The Craft.

The last thing I expected to be interested in was The Impact of Bruce Lee on the World...but that's exactly what I watched while Princess got ready for school. What caught my eye was an interview with Bruce Lee's wife. Here's a recent picture.

I don't mean to be rude, but I kind of expected him to be married to someone who looked like this...

Guess that's proof opposites attract. (And on a side note Michelle Yeoh is so bad ass.)

I mean, Bruce Lee revolutionized the way KungFu movies would be filmed and viewed FOREVER. He influenced the likes of Jackie Chan and Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. (Did you notice the familiar yellow striped jumpsuit when you watched it the first time? I did. *grin) Though the show kept my interest (especially the part about his wife taking him from Hong Kong and burying him in Seattle--weird), it was the end that had me rewinding my TiVo again and again.

Choice of spouse aside, no one can deny his skills...and the ping pong thing is just too funny!

Do something for me today--get out of the house and do something fun. Take advantage of every minute of today. I wish I could do a hundred things that I simply can't. Do one for me. *big grin again

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Day 1 post-surgery: I watched It's Complicated, Forrest Gump, Judge Judy, UFC, The Unlocked Treasures of Jesse James, The Real Secrets of the DaVinci Code, edited the hell out of my *now finished* manuscript, and listened to music from the Forrest Gump soundtrack on YouTube (because it's just that good).

Today the TV is off (until the Survivor Finale tonight), and I've been listening to all kinds of music on Pandora from the Beatles to Buffalo Springfield to The Fray. Here's my favorite of the day:

As for my progress, the swelling is down, the pain is a little more intense (now that the surgery meds are out of my system), and I'm tired of being out-of-commission. I'm counting the days until I can be up moving around again...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Surgery Update

Okay, so I never thought I'd say this (though I prayed about it every day)...

...this surgery is already so much different than the last.

I was admitted to the surgical hospital at 10am then waited in a very cramped pre-op room for Dr. P to pull me back to OR. The place smelled like a putrid mix of stale Simple Green and hand sanitizer. My feet pushed against the bottom of the bed so bad that every nurse who came to check on me asked my height and whether or not I wanted a longer bed. I didn't want anything. I didn't even want to be there. (And that was my response most times.) I'd say, "Just get me in and get this thing over with."

I waited 2 hours, watching patients check in, repeat their medical information for probably the millionth time as I had, then get prepped and wheeled back for surgery. Although I was the first one admitted into the pre-op room, I was the last to leave. Nothing like making an anxious gal wait.
EDITED TO ADD: Although the waiting was horrible, I was smart enough to bring my JR Ward "Lover Unbound" book with me. I read over a hundred pages...and I kept reading until my eyes blurred from the words instead of the drugs. Good stuff.

And even though I was sporting a bright red allergy bracelet, and told every person who crossed my path that I was allergic to the typical anesthetic, when the anesthesiologist came in, he told me that exact medication is what he scheduled. I mean, really?

After he asked a few questions and realized how much of a lightweight I was, he got a weird look in his eye and said, "Well, I guess we'll figure out something to give you." Great. Just what I needed to calm my already skyrocketing heartrate.

When I got into the room I was so scared. The monitor behind me was beeping so wasn't until an OR nurse came and held my hand, stroking it back and forth, that I realized the beeping was my racing heartbeat. And with the snap of the anesthesiologist's fingers, I was out like a light.

I woke up an hour later with an oxygen mask on, my knee in ZERO pain, and a ringing in my ears. The surgery lasted twenty-five minutes. Recovery lasted ninety.

Now here I lay, in my bed with my knee wrapped up and iced (and above my heart of course), still in minimal pain. If you want to know how bad the experience was the last time they worked on my knee, just picture the absolute opposite of what I just described. I am so thankful for all the prayer emails and well wishes...they were heard and cherished.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oye, Friday

I go in for my second knee surgery Friday morning. I've officially re-torn my right inner meniscus. In the first surgery (back in 2001) the doctor tried to suture my tear back together. It appears the repair didn't work. The flap that tore has now ripped off completely and is floating around my knee joint. Not fun.

So Friday my new doctor is going to shave down my meniscus (the only option I have left),and remove the floating piece. Needless to say I'll be MIA around my blog for at least three days. Until I get off the pain meds I don't think it's safe for me to create a blog post. (You should hear the cooky things my imagination conjures up when I'm loopy. I'm such a ridiculous lightweight.)

And if you're wondering why I haven't posted the last two's because I've been writing like a madwoman! And I'm officially finished with manuscript #2! Hells to the yeah! Took exactly three months, endless amounts of coffee, one crashed computer (did I mention my computer crashed day before yesterday), and one massive 70 page writing mulligan.

Revisions here I come! *grin

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Do the Write Thing for Nashville

Two posts in one day! Woo-hoo! A record! This was just too good a cause not to post.

Do the Write Thing for Nashville. Lend a hand to people in need and help your writing in the process. Can't beat that.

Taken straight from their blog: "Items will be bundled into categories such as signed books, advance reader copies, critiques, etc., and we will sell "tickets." We haven't decided on ticket prices yet, but they will most likely range from $10 to $20."

Sounds like a bargain! If you're an aspiring author, or just want to help out those in need and learn something along the way, stop by and take a look!

Read Like a Writer

I went to SFARWA's monthly meeting today. As always the ladies are awesome and inspiring and a well of information I tap every chance I get. (I meant that I tap their well of information, not the ladies themselves! Ha!) The camaraderie alone is enough to make me run--not walk--to those meetings. If you aren't involved in a writing or critique group I can't emphasize their importance enough. Find one. Jump in with both feet. Trust me. The knowledge you gain is invaluable.

On to today's guest speaker! Barry Eisler graced the group with his presence. His new book Fault Line is going to be great (like his others, I've heard) and I can't wait to bend back that binding and delve into the world he's created. (After I finish my own, of course!) Not only was he really approachable, he had many words of wisdom for an unpub like me. (Or maybe I should start calling myself a "future pub"...yeah, I like that better.)

The best of his advice was "Read like a writer". I've found since I started this crazy writing journey that I can't read the same anymore. I dissect sentence structure. I analyze plots and subplots. I break down characters, thinking about why something works for them. Or why it doesn't. Reading has lost some of its sparkle. I thought it was just me.

(Don't get me wrong. I LOVE to read. I LOVE books. And I always have. I wouldn't be writing if i didn't. It's just that I'm a completely different reader than I was before I started writing. Other writers, feel free to weigh in or disagree...)

Eisler believes this is the way it has to be. It's the way we learn to make our own writing better. His advice to writers wanting to learn their craft is to pick up their favorite book and find their favorite passage, then figure out why it's working for them. The same goes for what doesn't work, of course, and that may in fact be the most telling piece of all. Why do you put a book down after a page or chapter read? What takes you out of the story and makes you go, "Eh." And why isn't this the same for everybody?

I didn't realize I was doing this was a comforting feeling to know that although I'm not multi-published (yet) and not on any NYT lists (yet) that I'm perfecting my craft and heading the right direction. (I'm trying my hand at this positive self-talk thing...I think it's working. Now if I can just get this darn Universe to get in line. *grin)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Oh Jeremiah

Found this passage graffitied on a park bench:

It reads:

Jeremiah 29:11-13
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Of all the things I've seen written on park benches, this one had me stunned down to my shoes. Totally unexpected.

And after the very polite* conversation I had with Frontier Airlines about transferring my flight to Nashville due to the flooding, I needed this. Jeremiah was right...I don't know the plans ahead of me. All I can do is leave things up to Him, deal with what I have on my plate and have faith that things will work themselves out the way they were meant to.

Hope your day brings you something just as unexpected.

*By polite conversation of course I mean they slapped a smile on their face while charging me $100 cancellation fee. And I responded as politely as I telling them how sub par their company was in customer service compared to their partner airlines and how I'd never fly with them again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Oh Sunny Happy Day! Not really...

Sun is shining in California. Birds are chirping, busily making nests outside my window. April showers have gone and left me with nothing but sun-shiny May.

And that means I'm in heaps of trouble.

You see, I write so much better when it's rainy and stormy. My ms would probably be finished by now. If you want to keep up on my progress you can check it out in the "snippets" tab above along with the blurb from my last ms (That's garnering much interest right now, by the way! Go Dark Tide Rising Go!).

My original goal was 85,000 words, although my goal isn't word count at all. I just set the number there because I thought my last ms finished at 77,000, so this one should be in the mid-eighties. It was kind of a rough estimate of where I thought I'd be by the time I was finished. Boy was I wrong. In such a good way.

I'm at 83,000 words right now and I'm writing the climax as we speak. Seriously, the other open tab at the bottom of my screen is my WIP, ready to go. I don't know where I'm going to end up, but I'm guessing around 90,000? A little unexpected being that when I started this puppy I said I tend to get stuck around 70,000. My first ms (which is not in the snippets section) was the exact same word count as Dark Tide Rising. Odd and seriously unplanned.

I keep hoping to have hours upon hours to myself (with no kid interruptions...yeah, I'm not holding my breath) to bust this WIP out. But when I look out my window all I see is bright sunshine calling my name. I bet if we got a giant storm right now I'd whip through this ending...

And now I have a brilliant idea! (I'm digging through drawers looking for headphones so I can hook up to Pandora.) They've got to have rain stations somewhere, right?

Alrighty, wish me luck! Oh, and did I mention I bought myself an early "finished WIP" present?

Hey, I'm nearly there!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I love being a writer

First, I can think of a million and a half reasons why I love writing and being a writer. I'm sure if I sat down long enough with this blog post it'd be the longest yet. But it is called Top Ten.

So here we go.

10. I get to set my own hours. Okay, this one's awesome. Usually I feel most creative in the mornings. I sit with my breakfast and coffee and write as much as I can. But if something comes up and I can't get to it...I just write later in the day. No biggie!

9. I get to wear whatever I want to work. Usually I chose pajamas. *grin

8. Those pesky ideas in my head finally get the voice they need. Most writers I've talked to say they started writing because they had a story idea that wouldn't go away. Until one day they got that story down...and hopefully finished it! (And yes, I'm talking to you Novelnan! You can do it!) If I didn't get my ideas down I'd live the rest of my life wondering "what if". "What if" I could've written a bestseller out of this story? I'd hate to wonder something like that all of my days.

7. I fall in love with my characters. It's the most amazing feeling to watch a character grow and change before my very eyes. I'd like to say I know everything about the character when I start writing, but I don't. They develop like children and I love them...I just hope I don't end up killing one of them off at some point.

6. I can take my work with me where ever I go. Week long trip to Bora Bora? Sign me up! I can take my story along and pound away in the airport, on the plane, in Bora Bora under a grass canopy with a MaiTai. Ahhhh...hard day at work...

5. I get to network! Who doesn't love talking about what they love? Talking about writing or the writing industry only makes me feel more connected to this business that I'm going to be a proud part of. Twitter I still don't get, but I suppose I will eventually.

4. Rejection. Did you hear me right? Yup, that's what I said. Rejection. Every time I get a rejection it tells me to write harder, more precise, smarter. It fuels my fire and I truly do get better every time I write. Eventually I'll perfect the craft and all those rejections will have got me there.

3. I get to do what I love every day. I am blessed to have a husband who supports me. One who doesn't mind the laundry piling up and the dishes in the sink. I simply love to write. The fact that I can do this on a daily basis really is heaven.

2. Attainable and Unattainable goals. I think everyone should have these all the time. There should be goals you know without a doubt you can reach. Finish a book this season. Go to writers groups, conferences, workshops. Save money. Then there should also be goals that are so lofty that you have to claw and scream your way to them. New York Times Bestselling list, anyone? Yeah, that's about right. Somewhere after my few years of teaching and before I started writing, I lost those goals. I wasn't a very happy camper and couldn't figure out quite where I went wrong. I'm telling you now, it was here. Set goals and don't let go.

And the number 1 reason I love being a writer is...

1. The writers, authors, editors and agents I meet along the way. I used to think everyone in the publishing industry was scary, mean, crude, and business-minded with no desire to help an unpub like me. Wrong! Okay, they are business-minded, but the rest is wrong. I've met and personally talked to NYT Bestselling authors, RITA winners, Edgar nominees (Hello Sophie!) and editors and agents who've graced country-wide Top Ten lists on their own. Each one of them has been kind, welcoming, helpful beyond words, and have become great friends. Among writers I am home.