Thursday, December 31, 2009

Dec. 31

Happy New Year's Eve everyone! I hope that your holiday is safe and fun. I'm making ham and beans and our traditional Stromboli. Funny how traditions get started. The Stromboli was a treat that I could only fix once a year when our children were young and so I fixed it on New Year's. It is yummy and a relief when we are tired of ham and turkey from the holidays. Now the family teases that however the Stromboli turns out will determine how good of a year it will be. So, here's to perfect Stromboli. Stay safe! Cheers~

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dec. 30

Happy Birthday to my Dad! May your next year be filled with blessings and happiness. May your next play (he writes fun, boo-hiss, melodramas) be produced off, off Broadway :) and may you find success in every venture. Hugs!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dec. 29

Doesn't it feel as if December should be over all ready? I mean, we had the big work up to Christmas and now it's over. So December should be over, right? :) My Mom says not to wish your life away. She is right. My January calendar is full and I am impatient to get on with it. Still this morning when I was doing dishes I looked out the window at the snow covered ground, the bare brown branches of the woods behind the house and there-to my delight- were rays of the rising sun. They hit the branches just right so that only a few select tips shone with a golden light that you rarely see. They sparkled as if a small handful of gold winged fairies alighted on select branches. The effect didn't last long. It was the moment when the light was at the right angle. So awesome. And here's the thing, if it were January already, the sun would be at a different angle and that fairy light would have never happened. So- here's to living in the moment, no matter how impatient we are to see it gone. Cheers~

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dec. 28

Happy birthday to my sister-in-law, Sherry! I hope this year is filled with wishes come true. Sherry is set to be a first time Grandma sometime in February. So, it will be a year full of excitement.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Dec. 27

I had to take the Christmas tree down yesterday. The poor thing died an early death this year. It was very brown and by the time we got the ornaments and lights off most of the needles were on the carpet and tree skirt. Still is was fragrant to the end, smelling of pine and outdoors. The remaining bits of the tree will go out to be recycled for mulch for the local gardens. It was a good tree that added oxygen to the air while it grew. It nurtured birds and bugs and small mammals while it reached out it's branches to the sky. Then it was cut down, bringing the farmer income and stimulating the economy. When put up in my house, it warmed and comforted us with it's twinkling lights and decorations. It's bright smell filled my home for a full month. Now the recycled remains will go to nurturing other trees and bushes. I think all in all the tree is a perfect example of living a life rich in purpose and meaning. Cheers~

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Dec. 26

Christmas is over and Saturday chores commence. There are big fat flakes of snow falling from the sky as if we were a snow globe that someone shook. There are deer trails in the snow going down to the edge of the lake for water. Tiny mouse or mole trails under the snow as well. It's clear they can't see where they are going as the tiny trail zigzags around the deer trail. All the geese are gone. The only birds are tiny finches that flit from snowy branch to snowy branch. It is after all the dead of winter.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Dec. 25th

Okay- what are you all doing reading blog posts on Christmas? hmm? Go- spend time with friends and family-lol. (And if you aren't Christian-please take this wonderful day off and do something fun-like go to a movie or something. Blog posts will keep.)

Wishing you the very merriest of holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dec. 24

Happy Birthday to my dear friend Marin Thomas. May your birthday wishes all come true. And for my readers- Marin's latest novel A Cowboy Christmas (2 stores in one book) is on book shelves now. ( I found my copy at Walmart) Or click here to buy on line.

Happy Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Dec. 23

I'm working on critiques for the Master's program. I am always at a loss as to what to do when someone clearly has a fun writer's voice and understands grammar and point of view, but the scene has no story purpose. One has two characters meeting- only one is a main character and the secondary character while interesting may or may not be important to the story- 16 pages. (Nothing new re: the mystery is discovered.) Another story is a funny snark day in the life of the heroine-first chapter-12 pages-that has no story question and she meets no one new-the plot does not begin. Sigh.
So, I talk about scene purpose; goal, motivation and conflict; along with starting with a hook or action. But I worry that they will look at me blankly not understanding or will argue that I'm wrong. Which I could be. After all published books don't always follow "rules."
I tell myself, all I can do is tell them what I think, what my experience is and then wish them luck. I hate critiques. 5 down--3 more to go.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dec. 22

As promised-tada! Linda Kage tagged me a few days ago and so I'm going to play along. As part of the drill I'm to tag three others, but with the holidays, I'll keep the tag to myself for now. So, here are the questions and my answers.

1. What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have? I last wrote a letter to my Grandma. My last finished manuscript was a middle grade book for boys. I still have an 8th grade notebook full of short stories. Which include an end of the world, last person alive kind of story, a time travel to Queen Elizabeth's court and a Star Trek fan fic piece. :)
2. Write poetry? 3. Angsty poetry? Nope. :)
4. Favorite genre of writing? Romance- love the happy endings.
5. Most annoying character you’ve ever created? The last sister in the Morgan Trilogy-Beth, was a spoiled beauty. I struggle with that point of view. But it was worth it in the end because "The Lovin' Kind" was named one of the top ten romances of 2006.
6. Best plot you’ve ever created? I think my current plot is the best plot I've ever created. Which means when I start my next book it will be the best plot I ever created-because I learn so much with each book. I hope to get better and better.
7. Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?
In Dream Man, the missing woman is really... nope won't give it away. But you can preorder it now at the wild rose press. :)
8. How often do you get writer’s block? Never- too much going on in my head.
9. Write fan fiction?
in 8th grade-lol
10. Do you type or write by hand? Type- my handwriting is atrocious. I can't always read it. I'm so used to typing it's difficult to hand write.
11. Do you save everything you write? Only the finished stuff- I usually delete tons of pages while revising - think of it as sculpting and throwing away big chunks that hide the view.
12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it? Yes- all the time. My first book, Saving Samantha, was rewritten six or more times- changing settings, plot twist, etc.
13. What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written? My current wip. I always love the book I'm working on now the best.
14. What’s everyone else’s favorite story that you’ve written? I still get fan mail for "A Wanted Man" -You can find it on-line or in your local library.
15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama? *smiles* yes!
16. What’s your favorite setting for your characters? Where ever they want to be.
17. How many writing projects are you working on right now? I have seven complete projects out on submission.
18. Have you ever won an award for your writing? Yes, several- I've listed them on my website.
19. What are your five favorite words? When editors call and say: "Love it! Want to buy it." :)
20. What character have you created that is most like yourself? I think they all have bits and pieces of me in them which makes them quirky, don't you think?

There are six more questions but I am lazy and never follow rules, so you get the first twenty. Thanks to Linda for the tag! Please check out her blog and see what her answers were-and discover the six missing questions.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Dec. 21

Just a few short days before Christmas, and everything is right on track. The tree needles are falling off in a fast rush. The presents have all be opened- including stockings-since we celebrated when the boy came home. I have no more gifts to purchase as the girl wants a shopping trip to the "mother ship" of malls for her present. And since she is working every day this week-said trip will happen after Christmas when the sales are on. :) Even the puppies received their gifts in the form of new collars, already. My wonderful friend Debbie Z sent me a gift in the post and I opened it right away! She shook her head at me and told me I should have put it under my tree. ;)

Hope your week is filled with goodness and light! I am thankful for having you in my life. Cheers~

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Dec. 20

It is the last Sunday before Christmas, the day before the darkest day of the year. I'm very much a person of the light. Since moving to northern clims I've had to use a light box starting in September up until April as the darkness is hard on my body. So, I actually count down the days until the winter solstice because I know that after that day the sun will return--slowly of course, but still it does return. Hope is a powerful and happy thing. While January can be bitter and cold, it brings with it ever increasing daylight and the promise of better times ahead. Cheers!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Dec. 19

I hope that in all the holiday madness you are taking time every now and then for yourself. I have declared today a personal holiday and am hanging out in pajamas. I have promised myself a nap if I need it and lots of doing nothing. Sometimes doing nothing is the best kind of something to do. Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dec. 18

I enjoy the cheeriness of Christmas lights. I think they really help to dispel the gathering darkness of this time of year. I enjoy driving through neighborhoods and seeing the creative displays. There are deer and Santas and snowmen and carolers and angels. Houses drip in white or blue icicle lights or are outlines in green and read and blue. One neighbor has a huge blue spruce in his front yard that he has completely covered with tiny lights. It's like a living Christmas tree. If you get a chance take a ride and revel in the light display. It's sure to bring a smile to your face.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Dec. 17

The work has arrived for my next semester of the MA program. I have residency early next month and for it there are eight critiques of 10 plus pages to read and write up papers on. I already put together my travel plans and will take the train this time.
Don't forget you can pre-order a copy of Dream Man right now. Send me proof of order and I'll gladly send you a holiday card with a signed book plate. It makes a cool gift for the readers in your life. :) Have a great day!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Dec. 16

Holiday time is difficult to get writing work done. Most agents and editors are dealing with vacations and end of year wrap ups. It is not a good time to send out queries. That will come toward the middle of next month. Writers are also busy with kids home from school, holiday celebrations to prepare for and attend. So unless you have a deadline-and some do-I suggest you make smaller goals for the next few weeks. Goals such as: reading one new craft article or blog. Creating a writing plan for 2010. Reading a book for enjoyment. Re-reading a favorite book with an eye toward character/plot and dialog. Or even go out with friends and listen to their stories. Use the time to fill your creative well with ideas and leave the worry about "accomplishing" something until after the holidays are over. Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dec. 15

Hi- How are you doing? Yesterday was one of those frustrating days when you have a lot of little things to do but the internet is so slow it just makes you wait and wait. This is a good time to practice living in the moment. To let go of the long list of things that "must" get done that sit on your shoulders and simply breathe in and out and look around and enjoy the sunshine or a wagging tail- the flit of a finch outside your window. I take the time to stretch, get a drink of water, take care of me. This is also a good thing to do when you are stuck in traffic or a long line at the store. Smile at the people around you. It just may brighten their day. Cheers!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Dec. 14

I promised my dear blogging friend, Ann Victor, that I would link my blog to hers. She is offering a wonderful contest with unique prizes from South Africa. Click on her name and read the rules on how to enter.
It's Monday and one of those days when it seems you have a million little things that have to be done right now. So, I won't keep you. Please leave a comment and let me know how you are. Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Dec. 13

There is only one weekend left until Christmas. I don't have my cards addressed yet, do you? I have half my shopping done. Mostly books as they make great gifts. Hanukkah is here already. School vacations begin soon and the household will be full and busy. Before I know it-- it's a new year. I would love to be able to make time stop so I can catch my breath and savor the moments. As my grandfather used to say, "No matter how long you live, life is short." Thanks for spending your precious time with me. Cheers!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Dec. 12

I want to say Happy Birthday to my nieces, Alisha and Jessica, and to my nephew Patrick! May your next year be filled with happiness and dreams come true.

Today's tip for writers: don't forget to read, read, read. I think I'm making that one of my new year goals. To read more then ever before. Cheers!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Dec. 11

I still have Christmas shopping to do. How about you? Are you one of those people who has all the gifts purchased by October? Or are you like me, searching through stores last minute? I have found I do more and more shopping on-line. It avoids the crowds. It's not as much fun as being able to pick something up and hold it when you purchase it, but it is kind of cool to get packages delivered. Books make great gifts and I know so many wonderful writers that books tend to be my favorite gifts to give. What are your favorite gifts?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dec. 10

Happy promo news to share. Dream Man is now available for pre-order at this link: Dream Man yay!

Also I wanted to share the fabulous book trailer Linda Kage made for this book. I tried uploading it here but it just kept spinning and spinning and now the blog is late. sigh. Click here for the Youtube link.

Also- Since books make fabulous Stocking stuffers and gifts for the readers in your life. I will send a personally signed Christmas card and book plate to anyone with proof of pre-order for Dream Man or purchase of Mr. Charming. Simply contact me at nancy at nancyjparra dot com, include your proof of purchase and snail mail address and I'll include a Dream Man sleep mask in the package. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Dec. 9

Yay! I just got an e-mail saying my January release Dream Man is available for preorder later this week. When it comes up, I'll supply a link.

The view from my window is snow, snow, snow. :) I woke up to see tracks around the lake and just now heard coyote calls. We have a fenced yard, but they are wily animals and so I will have to keep an eye on the little dog. No more letting her out on her own. There was a big fat rabbit in the yard yesterday. I bet the coyote was after the bunny or one of the many fat squirrels in the woods. If I see him, I'll try to get a picture. I like coyotes--just don't want them to hurt my dog.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dec. 8

Today there is snow. Small but steady flakes are falling from the sky. The lake has a thin coat of ice on the edges and that is covered with white stuff. They are talking up to ten inches. The big dog loves the snow. His black bits of coat turn white while he sits out in it and glories in the smells. The geese moved on a few days ago. They must have known the cold and snow were coming and decided to try a warmer clime. There isn't even any wind. Simply soft, silent snow. Will go out soon and push it from the walks and try to keep from having to move ten inches at once. Cheers!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dec. 7

I'm still working on promo-little bit by little bit. I have bookmarks. I am making more sleep masks. The wonderful and talented Linda Kage made me a book trailer that I hope to put up on my website and blog soon. I just sent out a blurb for a combined postcard to go out to libraries and booksellers.I've completed two blog posts for my blog tour. Have two more to go. I sent updates for links to the writers organizations websites. Gosh- what am I missing? I'm certain there is more. Makes my head spin.
Meanwhile I have seven books out on submission. As soon as I get a rejection, I send out more submissions. So, if I'm not writing right now, that's okay. Right? Cheers!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dec. 6

My son goes home today. Sadness. But I am happy to watch him build his own life and become more than a boy in my house.
On a happier note, I am meeting with a group of lovely writers today. Being with them for a few hours will help take the sting off the day. Friends and family are the most valuable things in life. I hope your day is filled with both!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dec. 5

Only two more Saturdays until Christmas. Well, isn't that crazy? I'm counting down more for the equinox on the 21st because after that day the days start to get longer- more sunshine. That to me is a really good thing. How are you doing on your holiday season? I hope you stay safe and enjoy family and friends. Cheers!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dec. 4

It's Friday. The geese have landed. It's snowing and the white stuff is sticking to the ground. I tried taking a pic of the geese on the lake but they came out as black dots among the tree branches. Sadness. So, I'll put up the pic but you'll have to take my word for it. My son is here on a visit. He leaves Sunday and so I won't be doing much in the way of writing. But I will try to sneak in in the early mornings and post at least a note to let you know I'm alive. I hope you have a fabulous weekend! Cheers~

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Dec. 3

It smells like snow, but we are lucky so far this year not to see the white stuff. I'm not big into shoveling. I'm working on writing blog posts for my January blog tour. I've been lucky to have a few wonderful bloggers agree to host me. Now, I'm not doing 49 blogs, not even close. Why? Its not because their aren't great review sites and bloggers out there, but because most of my friends will follow the tour and leave comments, and it isn't fair to them to send them to 49 different sites. I know, I know, it's all about exposure and the perception of being famous, but seriously, I'm into writing a good book more than tooting my own horn. If that means I'll be forever stuck in small press, then so be it. The stories will be passed down to my grandchildren and maybe even their children and so it's the work that matters, not the flash and dash of magazine ads, or trash and trinkets as bookmarks, postcards and pens are called. (Or maybe I'm wrong and it is all about who has the biggest fireworks display. shrug. If so, I accept and embrace my wrongness.)
I think the blogs I'm writing are fun. I hope come January you'll follow along. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Dec. 2

The view from my window is a quiet sort of sunshine today. The lake ripples in pockets and is still in others. The geese are gone. No, wait, I spoke to soon. I can hear them in the distance. It makes me smile but this time of year the lake is used as a coffee break spot on their way south. What I mean by that is they fly in around 9 or 1o a.m. in huge flocks, honking and whirring and splashing down. They stay for an hour, then as if on cue they all fly off to continue the journey. More come in around 3 pm. Stay a short time then fly off to where ever they spend the night. This coffee break activity lasts about a month. Then they are gone to parts unknown. In the spring they return but not in the same way. Perhaps they are in more of a hurry then to get to their nesting places. Who knows. Funny how we are all creatures of habit. cheers!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dec. 1

What are your plans/goals for this month? I hope to set up promo for my January book and write proposals for second and third books in a series should the first book that is out on submission sell. Besides that I don't really have a direction for the end of the year. I've written three books this year-I pretty much have written three books a year since I started on this journey so many years ago. The funny part is I never run out of ideas and I never stop learning how to be a better writer/story teller. So, it really is a lifetime labor of love. Cheers!