Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sept 30

As this month ends and a new month begins, I am feeling way behind. It doesn't help that my internet is slow, my browsers freeze and I am unable to reply to groups. I've got four books out on query and in various stages of revisions- which means they are like an entire house being remodeled- complete with saw dust, drop cloths and such. I've reached the point where you feel as if it will never look good again. :) I feel bad that I am unable to catch up on the wonderful blog posts of friends. To read the growing pile of good books published by friends. Perhaps it was yesterday's MA deadlines that put me behind or the trip to the wedding. Perhaps it was also the internet troubles and recent colds, but I look at all the work to be done and all the apologies to give out and shake my head and sigh. There is nothing for it but to pick a spot and begin. :) Please know that I enjoy your comments and appreciate your following and hope to extend the same courtesy to you, soon. Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Sept 29

There was a wonderful article in the Sunday paper two weeks ago about a woman who spent thirty years as the sole cook and server in the midnight kitchen at the local children's hospital. It told her story-how she loved to cook and worked her way into the kitchen. How she saw a need to have food service in the dead of night- when parents could leave a sleeping child for a few moments, when nurses or doctors could take a breath. When people who hadn't eaten all day needed something warm and nutritious. The hospital allowed her to come in and run a grill. This grandma quietly developed her talents and spent them helping people-giving small comfort to any one who wondered in in the dead of night.
Writing can be like that. We develop our talents, write our stories, find our small publishers- only a few get the big splashy name and the big splashy money. But that doesn't stop the rest of us from developing our talents and letting our stories find there way into the hands of those few who need them. So- even if we never make a best seller list or six figure advances, like the lady in the midnight kitchen, we have served our talent well. Cheers!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sept 28

It is cool here- in the 50's F and the sun is bright. A strong wind rattles the windows. My giant desk calender has crinkles from cup rings and bent corners. It is covered in doodles and crossed off days and notes of deadlines to meet, birthdays, weddings, trips out of town, conferences that I wanted to attend but didn't make for various reasons, page count deadlines, revision deadlines... On Thursday I'll rip off the old and start fresh with a new month- more notes, more deadlines, more scribbles, more birthdays and conferences and trips. And smiley faces... I find myself always drawing smiley faces. :) Cheers!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sept 27

I am home safe. The flight was wildly bumpy and there were times we were literally flung about. But I survived and when the air smoothed out, they served cookies. Another happy metaphor don't you think?

The wedding was lovely. My niece was a pretty bride and looked so very happy. It made it all worth while. I hope you had a good weekend. Cheers!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sept 24

I opened the deck door to let the dogs out this morning. It was foggy and the deck has a portico over top. The entire frame work was covered in lacy spider webs which were all sparkling with the drops of water from the fog. It was as if fairies had come in the middle of the night and decorated my deck with crystal lace. I love this time of year.

Oh- to let you know, I will be traveling tomorrow. I leave bright and early at 6 a.m. My niece is getting married on Saturday and I may or may not have time to stop by and say hi. I will be back at it on Monday. So, I hope you have a safe and fun weekend. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sept 23

I am revising/copy editing/polishing the middle grade book for boys. Still I know that things will be missed. It's the nature of the beast. Every time I look at it I find something new to fix. Then when it sells the editor will find something I've missed. Then the copy editor will find all kinds of things the editor and I missed. Then we'll read over the galleys and find a few more. Finally the book is in print and inevitably a reader will shoot me an e-mail about an error they found. :)
It's easy to get all paranoid and never send the work out...waiting for the day it's perfect. I'm afraid that day will never come. The best you can do is your best-plus have a second and third pair of eyes look it over-then your best again. But sooner or later you have to let it go- send it out- and when people find errors- thank them, fix the errors and keep going. It's all part of the process.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sept 22

It's the first day of equinox of day and night. We have thick fog covering our day light and I've been thinking about our current culture of judgement. I think it started with reality shows-American Idol- Cake Wars- America's Next top Model. The world judges, points, pokes and dismisses in harsh tones and mocking laughter. It goes against my sensibilities. The current culture of snark. Perhaps I am naive. Perhaps I still cling to the childish idea that every person has worth. Every effort has meaning and no one has the right to snark. (Think of the evil stepsisters in Disney's Cinderella- why do we champion that kind of behavior?) It's a cruel world. The truth hurts. You can't be coddled with false self esteem. Perhaps, but here's the thing...if snark and judgement make for stronger better people, why isn't the world a better place?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sept 21

I worked in my garden over the weekend. Weeding I came across a miniature rose peaking out from under a hosta. My kids gave me the rose plant two years ago for Mother's day and I had planted it in the garden where the rabbits promptly ate it down to a stub. But it grew back, surviving under the hosta. Even more lovely were the brilliant red flowers it produced- in secret-under the bigger plant. You had to get down close to see them, but they were there. Great metaphor, don't you think? About life in general...there is magic to be found in unexpected places if you look real close.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sept 20

I am stupidly competitive. What I mean by that is I struggle with the word "enough." I currently have six novels complete and in various stages of query and yet, yesterday someone asked me if I was writing... and I said no- then felt guilty. Crazy!
I follow write goal on Twitter... I start to get itchy when others celebrate their 2k or 5k words done for the day...and I don't have any words. But it's only been 6 days since I finished my last book.
Six books is enough. Right? I mean seriously- it's crazy to write anything more until I sell off some of this inventory.
Thus the trip to Hobby Lobby and the purchase of yarn and knitting needles- I am going to learn how to knit socks...I am going to walk away from #writegoal on twitter. I am going to concentrate on selling what I have. I will not write anything new until January. LOL. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sept 19

I would like to wish my Aunt Marnie a very happy, happy birthday! May your day be filled with love, family and cake! and your year be full of joy and promise.

I would also like to say congratulations and good luck to my friend Jerri on this her wedding day.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept 18

In conjunction with yesterday's blog about writing myths, I've been reading on the Novelist Inc loop (Novelist Inc is a group for writers of all genre's who have more than two books on shelves) so many stories from wonderful, mid-list authors about books that editors loved but marketing didn't buy. I'm reading the same stories over and over by multiple authors of series that were dropped and books that never panned out. So it is hugely naive to think that the reason a writer gets rejected is because they are not good enough at the craft- or the book wasn't well written. I learned long ago it was wrong thinking to believe that this kind of constant auditioning wasn't part of the life once you got published.
The good news about this for unpubs is that you are indeed living the author life by writing books on spec and "auditioning" them to agents and editors. Welcome to the writer's life.
(Now I know that some people never have to write on spec- but for most genre fiction in today's market, auditioning is typical. So do not despair! And most importantly do not disparage yourself or your talent. Remember it's the journey not the destination.) Cheers!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sept 17

Myth: once you are published agents want you to call them when looking for representation.
Myth: once you are published agents and editors will treat you differently.
Sigh. Yes, I believed those myths. Unfortunately I have received more rejections since I've published then prior to publishing...and my prior to publishing rejection count was in the 550 range.
Fact: Working writers like actors are forever auditioning to get a slot. (I won't talk about the very few exceptions.) Even some darn solid names need to audition. I remember listening to a long time bestselling author speak about her agent search. One agent told her she wasn't good enough for him. Another said he didn't want to work with someone with her numbers...
Agent hunting is like dating, finding the right match can take a lot of work and rejection. I started searching for an agent for the middle grade boy book last night. Sigh. Am totally intimidated by some of the agents descriptions of what they want. Translate to: wanted woman with Marilyn Monroe's curves, Betty Davis eyes, Julia Robert's legs and Meryl Streep's talent. Ideally she'll never age past 26, holds three degrees from Harvard and won a season of Top Chef. Better yet, a toss of her hair will bring me an auction from book publishers that will run into the million dollar range, movie rights to match Harry Potter and Disney will make a theme park... all others need not apply.
Um... I wrote a simple book for boys that might be fun... *shrug*...apply anyway. You never know.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sept 16

I've completed the first draft of the middle grade book for boys. I've now started into the revisions. So far so good. I still really like it and in this business that's the best you can do. I hope to send it off to my beta readers (my nephews) this weekend and see what they have to say about it. Then more revisions and querying.

Meanwhile, the book I wrote last spring for Harlequin--which was rejected last month--is up on my desk. I'm going to add a 100 page subplot to make it a single title book and send it out to a couple of publishers to see if there is any interest in it. Never say never... :) Cheers!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sept 15

We are halfway through September. Crazy. I saw my first Christmas toy ad on television last night. There is Halloween candy displayed at the front of the stores. Soon the Christmas section will be up. Still, I love Fall. All the tailgating and football, the back-to-school, the colors and scents, fruits and vegetables and the hint of winter in the air. It is my favorite season. Cheers~

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sept 14

Today is my last stop on the mini blog tour for Mr. Charming. I'm over at Morgan Mandel's Double M blog. If you get a chance, please stop by and say hi.

Thanks for following and I hope you all have a good Monday!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sept 13

I waxed philosophical on my Sunday blog. I worry when I do that. Is it "value added" for my readers? Am I wasting their time? Maybe I should have written about something practical like how to write a synopsis or how to use twitter to learn...anything to advance their career. Then I just wrote what was on my mind. Because readers are big people. They can choose to read or not read and maybe, just maybe someone needed to read what I was thinking about.

Have a nice day everyone! Cheers~

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sept 12

The view from my window is thick, wet fog. The lake and sky are one silver wall behind the foreground trees. Those trees include the french pussy willow which is nearly bare. The neighbors birch trees with their clumps of yellow and green leaves and peeling yellow white bark. Our own ash tree is one third bare branches in dark brown, one third clumps of yellow leaves and one third still green and waiting to turn. There are piles of yellow compound leaves scattered around it's roots. The grass is surprisingly green with the cooler wetter weather. It is making some last minute growth before the frosts to come next month. The fog leaves the air smelling of damp leaves and wet ground and muffles sounds cocooning us all in the depths of its clouds.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Sept 11

Today I have a guest over at my Sunday blog- It is my good friend Carolyn Brown who has written something like 36 books for Avalon. She talks about her brand new single title series for Sourcebooks. Carolyn is down home funny and a real hoot. So, if you have time, check her out. (Don't forget to leave a comment so she knows you were there.) Cheers!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sept 10

I am out and about today, having lunch with fellow author Marin Thomas. I can't stress enough the importance of getting out of the office. It helps to "fill the well" so to speak. To get out into the real world allows the creative mind to relax a bit. Sometimes you'll see something that stirs the imagination and helps you through the next scene or that tough bit you were working on or even spurs the next book idea. so, please schedule some down time at least once a month. It's good for the soul. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sept 9

Now that summer is over--almost officially--I have redesigned my website. I generally change up the design twice a year. Once for summer vacation and then back for the regular year. I think you need to keep your website active. Add bits of information. Change colors and styles. So that readers who visit your website can see that it is more than a place holder. That you update your information. If they get in the habit of checking your site once a month or so, then they won't miss a book release or a good review. Think of it as washing the windows on your store front. People are easily distracted and bright and shiny wins the day. ;) Cheers!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sept 8

I know this is kind of silly, but when I'm in the middle of a first draft of a book, I'm always amazed at how long it takes. Somewhere in the unrealistic part of my mind I truly believe you should be able to write a book as fast as you read one. Of course, the rational part of me knows better. Even at the unrealistic rate of writing 20 pages a day it takes 20 days to rough out a first draft. At ten pages a day it takes 40 days, and at 5 pages a day it takes 80 days. And that's only the rough draft.

So, in a way, writing is like long distance running. You start off and try to maintain a certain pace. The rest is simply mental. At the one third mark you start to wonder if it's possible to run 5 miles, even if you've done it before. At the two thirds mark you are tired and start debating whether it's worth it. Whether what you've got isn't enough. Whether your goal was unrealistic or not for this day, this temperature, this route. None of the mental second guessing matters if you just keep going. Because you will reach the end...and you can know that you did it...

The next day, you do it all over again. :)

Monday, September 7, 2009

Sept 7

Took the day off today to spend with family. But wanted to stop by the blog and say that I hope you had a safe and happy holiday! Cheers!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sept 6

I hope you are having a lovely holiday weekend. I am spending it writing, and doing some fall cleaning. Last night people set off fireworks over the lake to celebrate the change of seasons. I've been thinking lately that as Americans we sometimes push ourselves too hard. We are raised that ambition equals success and, as the little gecko in those insurance commercials says, success equals hard work. But hard work is useless if you don't put it down sometimes and take the time to sit on the deck or patio with a cold beverage and watch the dragonflies. Or play with your kids or grand kids. While Labor day is a celebration of labor and work, in a contrary way, I think it should be a moment when you take in all the wonderful things that work brings you. So my advice to you today is to put down the writing. Step away from the computer. Let go of the guilt of not putting so many words on paper and go out- fill the well-breathe, play, live. Cheers!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Sept 5

There was a heavy fog on the lake this morning. It left the trees dripping and the grass wet. The leaves are slowly turning yellow, brown, and red. Some trees have given up and are already shedding so that bare branches stick out among the green and yellow. The lake itself is still as glass. It's the time after those who built their homes and raised their babies here have left; and before the migrants stop for coffee breaks on their way south. Change is in the air, along with the acrid scent of burning leaves and crisp fall.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Sept 4

It's nice to be back in my office and on the Internet. I hadn't realized how much of my life depends on connection through the magical mystical airwaves. This is the official last Friday of summer here in the United States. As this weekend coming up is Labor Day- the second in the traditional three day weekends that bookend the summer season. So, I will be changing the website back to normal work day web design this weekend. Summer reading, summer day dreaming are behind us now. Cool days and the smell of burning leaves ahead.

I've found different seasons mean different writing moods and stories for me. How about you? Does a change in seasons affect how you work? Cheers!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sept 3

Must be close to a full moon... my internet access was "accidentally" cut off- and we have been calling to get it back on for nearly 24 hours. Thank goodness for libraries with wifi access. So the view from my room is far from here as I sit in a laptop station cubical and hope that it's okay to log onto an unsecured network.

Let me take a moment to talk about how great libraries are. In these difficult economic times, the library is a great resource for internet, movies, books, music and more. Best of all it costs nothing to get a library card so access to this wonderful bonanza is free!

Of course, 7 of my books can be found in libraries. If you don't see copies at your library, please request them. All my books are still available for purchase. This library has three of the seven. So, today if you have time, stop by on the way home and check out what your library has to offer. Cheers!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Sept 2

I've had several new promo opportunities show up in my in box. Unfortunately I haven't been able to take advantage of all of them. (Is my perfectionism showing? lol) There are only so many hours in the day and some of those should be spent with your family and friends. Balance is the hardest thing for me and something I am constantly working on. Learning how to pick and choose- whether that is book ideas, agents, promo opportunities- is important. Unfortunately I tend to want to choose it all- like a kid in a candy store. I often spend time wondering if I could have chosen better- but, that kind of thinking is a waste of time and energy. Choose we must, my inner Yoda says. Letting go of the rest-priceless.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Sept 1

The year is flying by... should get a soft helmet, goggles and a flyer's scarf to keep the bugs from getting in my eyes as time whooshes past, blowing my hair back.

Thanks for everyone who stopped by yesterday's blog tour and left a comment. You all are great!

One stop left on the mini blog tour and that is September 15th at Morgan Mandel's double M blog. I'll keep you posted. I have no idea if the blog tour was a success, but I think it introduced me to a new audience and introductions are important. So, I will do another blog tour for my next book, Dream Man, in January. Happy Tuesday, everyone!