Wednesday, June 30, 2010

So You Think You Can Dance Rocks!

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but I'm a HUGE fan of So You Think You Can Dance. Maybe it's the seven years of ballet under my belt...or the sixteen years of baton twirling...or the seven years of cheerleading...oh, I'm sure it's the fact that I could never in my wildest dreams come close to their level of perfection. I'd like to think it's because I appreciate beauty in all its forms with writing and literature being no exception. Whichever the reason, the show is awesome.

Last night the show took a flawless ballet dancer and paired him against a "pro" hip-hopper. The performance gave me chills, had me laughing out loud, clapping with the beat, and had me on my feet at the end before I knew what I was doing. The routine was awesome, perfectly played up to the male ballerina's strengths.

I knew I was going to like it from the start. The premise is a ballerina who's in therapy to fix his ways and get more funky. Right up my alley as my bachelors degree is in Psychology...LOVED IT.

In order to get a true appreciation for how good Alex Wong is in his own right, you should watch this video first. It looks like he's at some sort of solo competition and is, once again, flawless.

If that wasn't awesome enough, you should watch him do hip-hop. Before the routine (on the clip I can't find), Alex Wong says that hip-hop is the furthest thing from his form. He's never done it. He's never studied it. And he sure as hell hadn't performed it side-by-side with one of the greatest hip-hoppers on the planet. Watch him rise to the challenge on the show last night...

Wasn't that worth rooting for? Oh yeah. I'm shifting from Team Billy B. to Team Alex Rock.

Letting the cat out of the bag

Meow! I promised I'd post my query blurb today and I don't want to disappoint...Here it is!

ReVamp's hottest Vampire Rehabilitation Specialist has been burning moonlight looking for a cure to what's ailing the blood supply in Crimson Bay, California. The mysterious infection is causing vampires to hit the streets and act like...well...a bit like Dracula when he's cranked out on venti mocha vamppuccinos. Neither her arranged marriage on the blood-smudged horizon, nor the threat of shutting down her clinic can tear DYLAN'S eyes off the prize--proving once and for all vampires aren't blood-lusting primal creatures. The last thing she expects while prepping a newborn for coven induction is to be spun for a wet and wild loop by the bronze-skinned, muscle bound vampire she finds beaten to a pulp and sprawled out on her bed.

Little does she know, the shape-shifting goon squads dead set on oppressing vampiric rights have a dark trick up their flickering sleeves. They’ve sent a sheep to sleep amongst the wolves…

Shape-shifter by birth, assassin by rank, and vampire by damned unfortunate circumstance, SLADE just wants to penetrate the coven of leeches, complete his risky assignment, and high-tail it out of there. Everything he’s been taught tells him to keep his distance from parasites, especially dead sexy ones hell-bent on proving the blood-sucking species is inherently good. Despite himself and shape-shifting law, he’s fired up; ready to take Dylan six ways from Sunday….with a Blood-Blasted cherry on top.

When Slade’s next target is unveiled to be Dylan, the one who‘ll ultimately save the vampire race, he must make a choice: complete his task and assassinate the love of his life, putting an end to the vampire uprising or die a traitorous death at the hands of his shape-shifting brothers and kick-start all-out war.

*In other fantabulous news, I'm now officially represented by Robert Brown of Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency! I'm absolutely thrilled about the possibilities...stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm a lovely blogger!

Oh, I love getting blogging awards! Here's another from fellow writer Aubree. Check out her blog here.

Thanks so much for choosing mine as one you come back to again and again...I enjoy every single comment I receive and appreciate every single of you 56 "followers" more than you know. It's a pleasure sharing my journey and makes me want to throw my arms into the air and scream "You love me! You really, really love me!" (Do you remember that Oscars scene? Yeah, she was off her rocker.)

Anyhow, today is going to be full of fun. It's the princess' birthday and everyone's coming over to bbq and jump around in a jumpyhouse smack dab in the middle of a scorching California heatwave. Should be a blast.

And I think it's high time to share the blurb from the story that got me a contract, don't you? Stay tuned tomorrow. *teasing grin

Friday, June 25, 2010

Character driven vs. Plot driven fiction

You could read a slew of blogs or articles reporting on the differences between character driven and plot driven fiction. Some writers say plot driven fiction must occur when the characters are cardboard, emotionless, and undriven themselves. When the characters fall short, unable to move the events of the story by their own motivations, fears and desires, the plot must propel them forward. Others say character driven fiction is complex and churns inside the plot like the sun in our galaxy. They say when the plot fails to deliver, and the events are too stagnant or too forced, the characters must come to life in order for the story to take to the skies.

I'm sure there are arguments to be made on all accounts, but I'm not here to argue.

Someone asked me yesterday how to tell the difference between character driven and plot driven fiction.

For me I think it's simple.

If I think back to books I've read, pencil to mouth, eyes to the heavens, certain parts of the story become clear. Was it Mrs. Danvers from Rebecca and her ever-present scowl? Was it the tattoo on Rhage's back in Lover Eternal, twitching its scaly tail when preparing for battle or love? Or do I think of the murder of Mr. DeWinter's wife and the subsequent trial? Do I think of what happened between A-Z of Rhage hooking up with "whatever her name was"?

That's how I decide. If I can tell you the names of the characters, get a clear picture in my head of what they look like, and tell you their internal conflict YEARS after I've read the book, it's probably character driven. If I remember the series of events leading to a particular climax, but forget the names of the characters or their conflicts that reached that point, it's most likely plot driven.

Now, what about those books where you can remember both parts equally well? Either you have the brain of an elephant, in which case I'd like to borrow your brain someday (if you find a way to invent brain transplants or neurological stimulus transfer--my new name for the process--let me know)...where was I? Oh yeah, if you can remember both parts equally well, the characters and the tiny pieces of the plot, then you either have a great memory or it's both and fun-fantastic writing.

If you think about that book you remember both aspects about, was it a NYT bestseller? I bet it was. Think about Harry Potter. You've got some characters or some scenes in mind, right? I bet you could break down the basic plot structure of the entire series given a few minutes and a cool drink. Think about Twilight. I bet you could do the same. Pride and Prejudice? Check. And pretty much any Nora Roberts novel will produce the same outcome.

That's my goal, right there. Forget this character driven versus plot driven B.S. I want to write both equally well. At the same time. Oh, and I wouldn't mind being the person who invented that brain transplant thingy-magoo either.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"The Call"

If you've been in the publishing industry for any length of time you know about "The Call". It's the ringing of the phone or opening of an email that changes your writing from hobby and healthy obsession to budding career. It's an agent offering representation for you and your work. It's the culmination of years of study and hard work, sleepless nights glaring at the glow of your computer screen. It's the moment you realize your self-worth as a writer was balled into one tiny message. (When really, your self-worth should be that you're dedicated to being a writer, shouldn't it? Yes, yes, it should.)

I got that amazing call this week. I'm barely holding in the screams over here! WOO-HOOOOO! Can you see my grin stretching ear to ear and my arms pumping the air over my head???

I've been working with an agent these past few weeks, tweaking my manuscript to make it more marketable on his suggestion. Finally *finally* I received an offer of representation. The contract is in the mail and let me tell you...if that postman/woman loses that envelope I will hunt them down and stake them with their own letter opener. Of course I'm kidding. Of course. I'd stake them with their flying golden envelope pin. No, no, I wouldn't. I'm not that twisted...only in humor folks, no worries. (Okay, now I'm concerned about the possibility of a jail sentence for threatening a postal worker at this point!) (Can I just say again, for the record, I'm joking? Hehe)

As soon as I know the agent has signed his part and it's a 100% GO, I'll give the deets like who and what. And hey! I'll finally post that blurb! I'm so excited and can't wait to head out to celebrate!

I'm on my way! *insert thousand watt smile here

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Top Ten Things Alpha-males would NEVER do

I don't know about you but I love rough and ready heroes who stomp through the pages of romance novels with dominance and confidence, yet fall to pieces from the softest touch of their woman. Notice I said "their" woman...deep down we like the possessive streak in them too. When I think of strong alpha-males from recent books I've read, Wrath and Rhage from the Black Dagger Brotherhood come to mind. They're courageous and strong, would stand up for their woman under any circumstance and would never, ever think of living without her.

Got the picture yet?

Good. For Top Ten Tuesday this week, I'm flipping things around and shaking things up. I give you "Top Ten Things Alpha-males would NEVER do."

10-Make you pay for a date. Can you imagine reading about a lovable hero who kept "leaving his wallet at home"? Not too hot.

9-Wear a Hawaiian shirt. Okay, unless you're in Hawaii or at a luau themed birthday party for your Great Uncle Harry, this is beyond unacceptable.

8-Wear socks with sandals. I'm sorry, I just can't take a man seriously when he's confused about the weather feet level. If the weather is warm enough to wear sandals, do it and leave the socks at home. Period.

7-Carry a murse. Oh, Lord. Man purses? Really? How much stuff does a hero need to carry? ID? Credit card? Protection? Those things can fit in a leather wallet just fine. The jury is still out on messenger bags. I think those are situationally all if you're a teacher or lawyer and need to transport papers, files and binders, I suppose the rules could bend a little. But on a regular basis? Not so much.

6-Fake curse. I want you to imagine Jack T. Colton from Romancing the Stone. I want you to remember the scene where he comes down the mountain, shooting the creepy man in the tailored white Columbian suit. When he peeks beneath the underbelly of the bus and sees his woman in distress what does he say? "Darn it, are you okay? Shoot, he tore apart my birdcages." Nope. He lets his temper flare saying all kinds of bleepage I can't mention here. Atta boy.

5-Plays air guitar. The image that comes to mind is going on an awesome date with a self-proclaimed alpha-male, going back to his place, ready to be romanced like only alpha-males know how. As he turns on some mood music, Queen blares from the speaks and he rocks out like he would in private--busting out his sex face and all. That's when I hit the door.

4-Overly aggressive or obsessive sports fanatic. This one's tricky for me. I LOVE sports, especially football. But if he's one of the guys with season tickets, tailgating after every game, glued to the Draft every season, screaming obscenities at other fans, there's just something missing. And I think I know what it is...if he's showing that much attention to a sport, how much attention is left for his woman? I'm betting not much...unless she's an off-season gal.

3-Wear jorts or japris. For the fashion naive, jorts are jean shorts and japris are jean capris. Unless your hero finds himself in Regency Scotland, pants and shorts should remain at their appropriate lengths in the right fabric.

2-Be abusive to his woman. I know this one is of a much more serious nature than the others, but I couldn't leave it off the list! I don't care which type of abuse, no woman should be treated like they're unworthy.

And the number one thing an alpha-male would NEVER do...

1-Give up...on anything. Most of all, he would never give up on his woman or their love. Remember Jack from Titanic? That's the kind of love women are looking for. Love that transcends race, status and time. A love that holds on when there seems like there's nothing left to hold onto.

What about you? What are some things you think an alpha-male would NEVER do? Care to weigh in?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Whipple me senseless

“It is of great use to the sailor to know the length of his line, though he cannot with it fathom all the depths of the ocean.”--John Locke

Natalie Whipple, repped by Nathan Bransford of Curtis Brown has a fantastically helpful blog that I frequent more than I'd care to admit. She's bright and witty and I can't wait to get my greedy paws on some awesome YA for a change. (Stephenie Meyer just ain't pushing my buttons anymore.)

I've been blogging a lot about editing lately (oh so sorry), but it's only because the evil manuscript chomping monster has taken control of my computer. Seriously, a hairy looking spider crawled across my computer screen yesterday. While it was in my lap! Beyond gross.

Back to Whipple: she wrote a blog post the other day called "The Importance of Hating your Book" that completely summed up my feelings on the editing process. I thought you might like to read about what a rising star might have to say about what little 'ole unpublished me is going through at this exact moment. You can read it here.

And here's a little poem I wrote two minutes ago to jump-start the morning. (Warning: What you are about to read is not good for the eyes. The author has not had her morning coffee, nor does she claim to be a poet in any shape or form--in fact, author does not claim to have a sense of humor either, yet here she is, still trying. However, if any money shall be made from the copyrighted words below author shall receive hefty payments of chocolate truffles delivered on the 1st of the month for the rest of her life in lieu of monetary payment.)

Editing! Stroke!

Editing, oh, editing
How I love to trudge through your waters.
Ands and Buts catch in the rocks of your shallows
along with wrongly worded adverbs and bristly starfish.
I backstroke in my dialogue and butterfly in my voice.
No matter how hard I anchor time and place
your tide still pulls out, tangling my lines.
Editing, oh, editing
How I drown in your currents of hope and purpose.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


I don't know it all. Far from it, in fact. But there are a few things I do every day is a new day.

On top of editing, I've been planning a bridal shower for my sister-in-law, cleaning and cooking like a madwoman and taking care of my usual motherly summer duties (like taking kids to play dates and sports events). I've held it together rather well, with only the minor occasional freak-out. (Very typical of type-A personalities, I must say.)

But yesterday I lost it.

It seemed like every room I cleaned was dirty within two minutes of me walking out the door. Every time I looked at the kitchen sink it was full of dishes again. And every time I came home from the store there was something I forgot to pick up. I'd finally gotten my living room and kitchen cleaned and decorated for the shower, and walked into my son's room to put away laundry. I kid you not--I couldn't put a thing away. The mess was unbearable. I made my way to his bed, zig-zagging around Handy Manny's tool set and Spiderman four-wheelers. I tripped on Mr. Potato Head (totally wrenched my knee avoiding his damn pointy green hat), sat down, and had a good cry.

The Husband came in and found me a few minutes later. He asked me what I was doing (with a half-laughing, half-concerned "are you having a meltdown?" look on his face). I told him "I just needed a minute". He said something like "Want me to leave you alone?" I shook my head, dried my tears with some clean baby wipes, and got back to work. I kept thinking tomorrow is a new day. Hell, six o'clock is a new hour and there are things to do.

No rest for the weary, I suppose. At least not around my house lately. (After working a 13 hour shift this morning and 4 hours sleep the night before, The Husband cleaned out the rabbit's cage and hosed off the patio for the party this afternoon. He grumbled, but sucked it up too.)

That brings me too another thing I've figured out along the way.

Even though we celebrated our 8 year anniversary with a fancy-dancy trip to San Francisco a few days ago, there's a deeper level of appreciation when he offers to mop the kitchen floor and do some laundry than go somewhere romantic. Don't get me wrong...there's much to be said for a kid-free night out...but there's something about a man with a mop that's sexy as hell. Love is shown that way, people, not with roses or candlelit dinners.

Now if I could just figure out how to get my kids' bedrooms to clean themselves.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Who doesn't like being recognized for doing something great? Not this gal. I am a Leo and that might have a little something to do with my *all eyes on me, all eyes on me* complex. Just a little.

But I got an awesome blog award yesterday from Katrina Lantz.

Ain't it purty?

The original blog-badge-maker-person (wouldn't it be awesome if he/she really had that title like on a big gigantic badge on their chest? heh.), assigned these rules for accepting the award:

1) Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award. (Did it above! Thanks again!)
2) Share 7 things about yourself. (Below)
3) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you think are fantastic for whatever reason! (In no particular order...)
4) Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

7 things about me:

1-I can't watch horror movies. Just. Can't. I get too scared and can't sleep with the lights off for weeks after.

2-I sleep with a 6 inch serrated boot knife tucked under my pillow...just in case.

3-I have a thing for new cars--I've had loads of them. Oh, and fast cars. They're like magnets too.

4-Through 18 years of school I only missed one homework assignment and it was in the third grade. I wish I was joking.

5-I sometimes ghost write words on my lap when I watch movies. OCD much?

6-I'm *slightly* addicted to Starbucks.

7-I prefer oceans to mountains but need both each summer and winter to balance me out.

Alrighty, there's my seven! As for the other rules...there are nine blogs on my sidebar that I stalk--I mean follow--religiously. Take a look at those for starters. Here's a few more writers/authors/amazing ladies to bump the tally up to fifteen:

1-Katrina Lantz (Thanks again and again!)
2-Adventures in Writing: Isabella
3-Casey McCormick (She's a well of knowledge-check her out)
4-The Story Siren
5-Natalie Whipple
6-Stephanie Perkins

Enough blogging awards and blog-surfing shenanigans. I'm off to edit more and clean less. Ah, the life...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Edits go a little like this...

It's hard to describe in words exactly what I've felt like this week. I've worked SO hard. Teaching 150 high school students a day was never as hard as juggling two rugrats, household duties and two projects. I know I mentioned I'm editing two manuscripts at the same time and bobbling between romantic suspense and paranormal romance...but every time I sit at the computer with my cup of coffee and open that word doc I feel...

...well...I feel...a little like this guy...

Did you catch the part near the end where the whitewash seemed to eat him alive and then he popped out (surprisingly) still surfing?

That's how I'm hoping to come out of this editing process.

With an offer of representation. *big fat (and hopeful, praying my little heart out) grin

Saturday, June 12, 2010

In which I invite you to have a good laugh at my expense...

Ha ha ha ha!...Ha ha!...Ha! Ahem.

That's better. Now that I got that out of my system I can write with more focus.

I've always believed in the motto "laugh at yourself first before others start the trend."

Maybe it's because I've been a colossal klutz for as long as I can remember. Stubbing my toes on door jambs, dropping things, pinching my fingers in hinges, and tripping over my own two feet are common occurrences around my house. And that's okay. I've come to grips with the fact that I'm an AWESOME mulit-tasker and that's why certain things fall know, like the ability to walk in a straight line or think clearly.

The last part is the inspiration for today's post.

I haven't been thinking clearly lately. I think it's because half my brain is in Humboldt during a massive rain storm, chasing down a killer (edits for Dark Tide Rising) and the other half is in San Francisco shifting into a vampire and searching for a cure to what's tainting their blood supply (edits for Enemy, Beloved). There is simply no room for day-to-day happenings. Case in point: I was invited to a birthday party on June 13th. I read the invitation carefully, checked my schedule, and wrote it in under Princess' t-ball game. In my head, it was clear as day that the party was Saturday, June 13th.


The party is TOMORROW--Sunday, June 13th. I drove to the party and back home again in gusty wind warnings with two kids past their nap time. You'd think that would've been a recipe for disaster.

But I laughed almost the whole way home. I mean, really...who does that? Who misreads invitations and shows up a whole day early? I've heard of guests showing up hours one but no one shows up the day before! *big goofy grin

It's just something else to add to my list of things I've done that should've been embarrassing but instead were hilarious! Also on that list is going to a funeral with smudges of chocolate chip on my upper lip (I looked like Hitler and no one told me--classic), and tripping on the stairs in college in front of everyone.

Every had one of those moments? Something really embarrassing that just wasn't because you couldn't stop laughing at yourself? Laughter really is the best medicine, isn't it? Now I'll go to the party tomorrow and laugh along with everyone else.

I'm such a dork and I wouldn't have it any other way. Now I've got to dive back into those chilly Humboldt waters to finish off my first round of edits. I'm almost there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Interview with Alice Gaines

Today I'm interviewing multi-published author Alice Gaines. If you haven't had a chance to curl up with one of her books, you're truly missing out. Her newest release, Miss Foster's Folly, is about to be released and bound to garner the same rave reviews as her last.

Welcome Alice!

1-Miss Foster's Folly is set to be released June 14th from Carina Press. What's it about?

It’s about a spinster from Gilded Age Manhattan who inherits a huge fortune and plans to sleep her way across Europe. Unfortunately, the man she chooses to rid her of her virginity insists he wants to marry her.

Juliet Foster and David Winslow, the Marquis of Derrington, spend most of the book fighting the battle of the sexes in reverse. He wants her heart. She wants his body. Eventually, they both get what they want.

2-What gave you the inspiration for this story?

The idea came to me in a flash at an RWA meeting. Our editor guest challenged us to come up with a hook for a historical romance, and I blurted out “A wealthy spinster wants to sleep her way across Europe.” Ta da!

3-When did you begin your writing career?

1990, almost exactly twenty years ago. I had a horrendous day job that I could only tolerate by escaping into fantasy for hours at a time. I’d just bought my first computer, and back in those days, you couldn’t do much with them but actual work. So, during the day, I made up a story, and at night, I wrote it down. I didn’t tell my husband what I was doing for weeks. Fate stepped in, and RWA national was having its national convention in San Francisco that year. I attended, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

4-What would you say is the hardest part of the writing process?

Rewriting. I hate rewriting. I know that makes me a bad writer. Bad. But, there you are.

Also, there’s a scene in Laura Kinsale’s Flowers from the Storm that I’ve tried to recreate in one of my own books for years. I never get close.

5-The easiest?

Dialogue. I hear voices in my head all the time. I only have to write them down, and I look brilliant.

6-What would I find on the top of your To-Be-Read-Pile?

Laura Kinsale’s Lessons in French and Charles Pierce’s Idiot America. I usually have one non-fiction and one romance going at a time.

7-What advice do you have to new writers?

Don’t let the bastards get you down. It’s amazing how perfectly delightful and intelligent people (editors and agents) can have the astonishingly bad taste to reject your stories. Unfortunately, that’s the world we all have to write in. Whatever you do, do not let them steal your love of storytelling. The best revenge is new pages.

8-Tell me a little about Carina Press and your experience with them.

Carina brings all of Harlequin’s savvy and expertise to e-publishing. I’ve never dealt with a publisher quite like them. We have a monthly on-line and conference call meeting for staff and authors. We have almost weekly training sessions in marketing and social networking. The covers are gorgeous. My editor, Jessica Schulte, is a living doll. (She, at least, recognizes my greatness.)

One of the very smart thing Carina is doing is to put a reasonable price on the books. I’ve never understood why e-books have to cost as much as books that have to be printed, shipped, and stored. Honestly, I think readers are ready to revolt over the price of books. I hope they discover Carina and realize their reading doesn’t have to take a huge chunk out of their budget.

9-What would you say is your biggest folly?

Oh, lordy. I’m of the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” generation. Drugs weren’t my thing, and I prefer soul music to rock-and-roll. I’ll let your imagination go from there.

10-And finally, are there any other books in the works?

Always. I have an idea for a series flitting around in my head. It’ll be historical about three young women schoolmates who play tricks on each other, mostly involving men. One will be very tall, another a full-figured woman, and the third will be extremely intelligent. Each will be determined to maintain her independence from men, and each will fail when the right man comes along.

~Thanks Alice for stopping by and sharing some of your insight into your writing process and what's going on in the mind of a pro! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Miss Foster's Folly!

Miss Foster's Folly is available through Carina Press here.
Or through Amazon.

You can also find Alice Gaines on her blog.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hurts so good


That's the word of the week around here. I'm going through intensive physical therapy on my knee, trying to get the strength back that was there before. I've been told by my physical therapist that aching, stretching, pulling pain is good pain. Through some of the exercises I seriously feel like my knee cap is going to explode from pressure. Not pleasant to say the least.

I squirm on the massage table as he bends my knee back to screamingly uncomfortable angles. He's mentioned putting duct tape over my mouth more than once. In fact, today I think I scared onlookers.

But through the pain I'm getting stronger. The exercises are widening my range of motion. I can walk better--gimp no more! Stabbing pains are a thing of the past. And this is just the beginning. I have two weeks left of therapy and by the time it's finished I should be ready to rock the EFX machine like I did before.

When I get home from therapy, I dive right into revisions. I'm revising two books, remember. I wish I could show you the edits from Dark Tide Rising. I think there's more blue "revision needed" ink than black type ink. There's something inside me that twists and turns in my stomach as I fix the issues present on every page. Will it ever be as good as I want it to be? Will I be able to do the story and characters justice? And will people read it?

The pain continues on a completely different level... the form of uncertainty.

I edit my heart out anyway, knowing if I focus a little more and work a little harder, the story will get stronger.

Just like my knee.

I think I should just get used to pain on all levels. And when I'm completing triathlons and writing bestsellers (hey, I can dream loftily can't I?--and I can make up words like loftily too!), then the end result will have been well worth the pain needed to get there.

Time to get to editing and remove that band-aid from the manuscript one page at a time!

Monday, June 7, 2010

By faith, persevere

I went to church yesterday and heard a great sermon that spoke to writers, artists, and dreamers of all sorts. Believe it or not, it was the story of Moses. I'm not going to get into a religious debate here or relay the entire message because...well let's be frank, (okay, you be Frank, I'll be Dan) (because really Dan is a much better name than Frank) (oh, calm down Franks of the world I'm only joking)...where was I before I was attacked by parenthesis? Oh yeah, I'm not going to go over the whole message because it's in the Bible and if you're interested that's where you should start...and grow.

Hebrews 11:27 states "By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the Pharaoh's anger; he persevered because he saw Him who is invisible." Moses, despite being the son of Pharaoh's daughter and having the power, prestige and treasures of Egypt at his disposal, wanted more--he wanted to follow a Godly life, believing in that which he could not see. In choosing that life he was mistreated along with the other people of God.

How might this play into the writers' hand, you might wonder?

Plain and simple. If you're committed to a cause (getting published), you'll have to pay a cost. The road won't be easy--it's riddled with query hurdles, bottomless pit slush piles and many nights alone sitting in front of you computer screen. But if you really put your nose to the grindstone, you'll get there. I firmly believe it.

The sermon got me thinking about my college years and the journey to my BA degree and then my MA and then my teaching credential (all before I was 27 years old). I knew I wanted to teach junior high English since I was a freshman in high school. My goal was set in stone. I was going to get there. And believe me, you haven't seen stubborn, ironclad will until you've met the likes of me.

I studied my arse off in high school so I'd have good enough grades to get into college. I didn't party as much as others. And that's an understatement. Instead, I dedicated myself to sports and clubs that would look good for my "college resume". I was making myself marketable, even then. I went to Humboldt State University and lived the same type of life. While others where drinking and smoking, I was studying. I spent hours and hours in the library, stayed up many nights writing papers, and didn't make many friends. (Let me tell you though, the friends I did make are ones for life.) Don't get me wrong...I had the time of my life. College years were the BEST. It's just that the short term headaches were minuscule because I had my eye on the prize. The cost didn't seem so bad because I was so committed to the goal. And I got there in a very short amount of time. (I entered my first classroom of 9th and 10th graders on my 22nd birthday. Talk about speedy.)

The same philosophy goes for writing. Put your head down, work hard, don't lose sight of the prize. Nora Roberts has said to complete a book you just "you sit your behind in that chair and type". Sounds easy. Anyone who has actually finished a book knows otherwise.

If you up the ante on your commitment level...if you give yourself no other option than finishing this book...if you dive into the writing world and submerge yourself in the business, the cost of toiling and fuming over mistakes, character flaws, editing, etc, etc, etc, won't seem so steep.

There's a great article about breaking into the publishing world here. And how else do you break into the world other than writing that dreaded query letter? The article goes over agent query insight and ways to make yours better. According to the article 80% of people say they have an idea for a book. Approximately 2% actually start it and far fewer than that actually finish. I wonder if the statistic dove deeper how many of that 80% actually reach the end goal?

The more important question is where are you in the writing process? What's holding you back? Is the cost worth the prize in the end? Can you see the goal?

I can tell you where I am now that I've committed myself to being a published author--I'm in the same place I was in high school and college. I'm busting my behind working toward a writing career. The journey is long and bumpy and the learning curve is steep, but I'll make it there eventually...hopefully sooner rather than later. I'm currently deep editing BOTH of my manuscipts; one for a small press, the other for an agent.

I honestly believe if you have FAITH (maybe a little like Moses) and persevere to the point that you've extinguished all doubt, you'll make it! (Care to weigh in, Mo? Go you!)

And here's a little comic to jumpstart the morning writing session...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Holy Editing, Batman!

Yowzer! Blam! Zap! I totally rocked Enemy, Beloved last night. With my trusty mocha blast at my side, I stayed awake until nearly 1am, pushing characters around and showing them who's boss. They behaved...for the most part. I had to put the smack down on my hero, Slade. Overall, I'm conquering the powers of evil writing, one day at a time.

Okay, okay, I'll be less dramatic. When my manuscript was "finished" it was 97,000 words. It's now nearing 100,000. This week alone I've added 14 pages, deleted 8, and broke apart a flashback scene, flittering it around the novel in revealing bits and pieces. I've also added a cool little bit to the end (that really should've been there to begin with--why oh why didn't I think of that before?) and made the tone of the whole story a little darker.

Dark and world-building...that's my goal. Actually scratch that. Dark and gritty and empire building...that's more like it. I have about a week to finish the edits (on an agents request--isn't that the coolest addition in the world?) and I'm gonna rock it.

How did I get all this finished in such a short amount of time, you ask? Let me show you where I went this week...

That's a beautiful Capitola beach, people, and it was fabulous. The weather was perfect--70 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze. No one was on the beach. It was just me, my family, and the damn pesky seagulls.

Wouldn't you buckle down and write your little fingers off too? Oh, and take a look at where I spent my mornings...

Pretty nice digs, huh?

My work station had the best view in the world...

You can't see it here very well, but every time I got stuck on a nasty little scene, I'd look up over the ridge of my laptop and see the ocean.

Now THAT'S the way to buckle down and write. Take that forces of evil! Hahahaha!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Getting to work

I'm going to have to be MIA around here for a day or so. I have to (regrettably) turn off my internet and focus on edits for Enemy, Beloved. (Have I mentioned the title for book #2 yet? I don't think so. Oh, so excited to finally let the cat out of the bag!) (Another side note: The title will probably change if/when this puppy gets picked up, but for now, that's what I've decided to go with.)

There's interest in the book (that I can't reveal just yet--hold tight), but I really have to buckle down and make some fantastic changes. It's going to be a ton of work and I don't have much time. I'm hoping I resurface (with blurry eyes and a masterpiece--wish me luck) by Thursday.

Until then, don't forget to "follow" and earn a chance to win Eve of Samhain or a Starbies card! I could really use the followers! Thanks people! *grin