Friday, April 30, 2010

April 30

I can't believe it is the end of another month already. Time flies whether you are having fun or not. lol. I am a bit swamped. I have requested revisions on two books-not the books I sent out this week. Plus 13 days left in this semester for the MA and three books, three reports, 30 pages, and evaluation reports to fill out. I suppose it's time to quit procrastinating- even if the sunshine, lake and the flowers call to me to, at the very least, stare out the window. Have a fabulous weekend everyone! Cheers~

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April 29

Yesterday I sent a fresh draft of my thriller off to an agent. We'll see if I hear back. Monday I sent off the middle grade book for boys to a different agent. Submissions are the hardest part of writing. Rejections- although they can tell you important information about the work, sometimes- can bring you down. It makes you afraid of submitting. But there are many jobs where rejections are common place. Think about models, actors, artists, they may be beautiful, talented and special, but perhaps the creative director, stage director or editor has something else in mind. Just because they don't get hired doesn't mean they quit going to auditions and go-sees and galleries. It's part of the job. And so as writers-we submit, submit, submit. Because you never know when your work will be the very thing the editor or agent is looking for.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April 28

That silly robin tried to build a nest-again-on the portico post right beside the patio door that goes out to my deck. I had to knock down his hard work, twice. Then stand by the door for a couple of hours and discourage him from coming back. The dogs thought it was big fun. Later that afternoon when I was mowing the lawn, I saw that he had picked a new spot, under the two story deck beside the walkout basement patio door. Sigh. This is better though. We rarely use the basement door and the dogs aren't allowed in that part of the yard. (It's the part with the terraced strawberry garden. You know, the sight of the great bunny massacre of '08.) Animals can be persistent and I think human beings can learn a lot from them. Have a great day. Cheers~

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

April 27

There are leaves on the trees! This is a truly exciting event for me as I live in the north where most of the year they have bare branches. The leaves popped out in the last three or four days. They are spring green and new as they unfurl. Some are tinted red or yellow. It is cool here-in the 40 degree F range. The wind is howling around as if it were March not nearly the end of April. But the leaves are defiantly happy to be new born. They unfurl slowly like sails long hidden from storms. The sounds they make as they rustle in the wind adds to the the music of the birds and the chattering of squirrels. Cheers~

Monday, April 26, 2010

April 26

Happy birthday to my son who turned 22 yesterday~ I love you and hope that this is your best year yet!! XO

I was happy to attend the Chicago North-RWA Spring Fling conference this Saturday. So many wonderful people there. What a great time. My talk on perseverance and perspective really hit a note in these hard times. I gave away chocolates, chocolate hand lotion and a small red badge of courage to the writer who had written the most. I showed off my horrible stack of rejection letters-from the rubber stamped query letters to the "Dear Sir or Madame" notes. Then I showed off the inch high stack of rejections since I've been published. Wow, it was rough putting that bit together. But my point being that if you are writing full manuscripts and sending them out, then you are living the same life a published author lives. (Minus the book on the shelf, but that will come with time.) I've heard this a lot and believe it to be true: the difference between a published author and an unpublished author is perseverance-which is a nice word for stubborn and/or muleheadedness. (Is that a word? if not it should be.) :) Cheers~

Friday, April 23, 2010

April 23

Do you know how to smooze? (For my purposes the word smooze means to get to know and entertain people in a party/conference setting for the purpose of gathering contacts.) I have to admit that I am not so good at smoozing. I think it stems from the fact that sometimes words come out of my mouth that shouldn't. Knowing this I'm very careful in a public setting to watch what I say, which means my smoozing is less then smooth and becomes awkward for the person I'm trying to smooze. I've been working on this since my first national conference in 1996. And still, I've been known to stick foot in mouth. (Like the time I spoke to an industry professional while waiting for an elevator. She noted I was published and asked me about it. Then mentioned I should try X publisher to which I infamously made some smart remark about the number of rejections they have sent me. Only to discover she was indeed a high ranking editor at X publisher. Right. Thank goodness my name tag was turned backward at the time.) This weekend I'm off to yet another conference to have fun with friends, to give a workshop and...yes, you guessed it smooze. Deep breath. I tell myself, the only way to get good at it is to practice and that means taking the risk that I will indeed stick my foot in my mouth once again. But, like any skill, you have to risk being bad at it to get good at it. Wish me luck ~ Have a fabulous weekend. Cheers~

Thursday, April 22, 2010

April 22

Earth Day and going green are terms thrown around these days. Save the planet. I grew up on these terms. In a sense it's about looking beyond your nose. I've always been big on recycling and reusing in creative ways. I never really bought into the consume, consume engine that runs the economy in the United States. (Ah, Capitalism.--No this is not a post on forms of government or economies. :P) I think Earth Day is good because it makes us all stop for one moment and think about our actions and reactions, what our needs are versus our wants, and whether cool new technology is really any better than old. Take e-readers for example.
Yes, electronic books save trees, but what is the trade off? The energy it takes to run the machines. Um, yeah, coal, wind, solar, nuclear energy. So is it really a save? And batteries-how good are they when they are not recycled and lead and acid get leached into the soil. Seriously do you recycle your batteries? It isn't easy, is it? Trees are renewable and they filter our air. Plus paper books can last while an electronic book can disappear in a second...when the power goes out.
Just saying...and yes, I have e-books available because I believe in to each his own. ;) Still I'm not running out to buy the latest reader. When asked why I'm behind the times, I'll simply give a peace sign and tell them I'm saving the planet. Cheers~

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

April 21

I'm giving a presentation at the Chicago North-RWA Spring Fling conference on Saturday. Now, I'm not one of those people who writes out her talk on note cards and practices in the mirror before hand. But instead, I spend days, weeks, playing with ideas in my head over what I want to say, and gathering tools, toys and such for show and tell. I've bought chocolates to give out as an interactive tool. People love prizes. I'm also going to drag out my volumes of rejection letters from back in the day when agents and editors mailed you there no thanks. Including the ones where they simply rubber stamped my SASE with a "no, thanks" in red ink. Seriously, only the post office made out on that one. I've gathered articles and examples from other writers. Soon, I'll sit down and put together an outline. Then Saturday I'll show up with my bobbles and gadgets and boxes and chocolates. Hopefully we'll all have a good time. Cheers~

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

April 20

My nephew Ethan makes his confirmation today. Congratulations Ethan, I hope you have many blessings and happy days to come!

I have been blessed by hearing lots of good news from writing friends. Several have signed with new agents. Others have sold new books. I love the Spring. It's a good time to submit and have your work submitted. Best of luck to all the fabulous writers celebrating new opportunities. Thank you for giving me an excuse to celebrate with chocolate. :) Cheers~

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19

I have a question for you authors. Do you read and/or agonize over your bad reviews? Google alerts popped up a link to a review of one of my books where the reviewer wanted/hoped the bad guy would stab the heroine and do her in. Wow- that's a lot of hate for a fictional character, don't you think?
I did not click on the link. Here's why. There is nothing I can do to change the book at this point, it is already published.
You can't please all the people all the time and that book got some very solid reviews from all the other reviewers who have read it.
Not every reader is your audience. Each writer has an audience of their own. A group of people who get what it is they write and how they write it. This group always wants to read more even if one book is not as exciting to them as the rest. This reviewer is not my audience.
This does not mean that I ignore all the bad and only look at the good. the wonderfully wise NYT Bestseller, Julie Garwood says this, "Never believe your own press-good or bad." I agree. I believe in the work as I write, revise and edit. After that it's out there for the world. Good or bad it doesn't change who I am or what I do because that part is not in my control.
Still I like to think that "hating" a character means that I got the reader emotionally involved one way or the other. So, I did my job. :)
How about you, how do you handle your press?

Friday, April 16, 2010

April 16

I'm off today to have lunch with the lovely Joelle Charbonneau - a funny and fabulous debut mystery author. Joelle's book, Skating Around the Law, will appear in bookstores this Sept. Joelle's the only writer I know who can create a mystery set in the midwest which includes a camel who wears hats.

Oh- also here is a fabulous link to a blog written by Jennifer Cruise that brings a little reality into the writing life. Check it out here.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

April 15

It is so lovely here. The pink magnolia/tulip tree is in bloom so I took a couple of pictures for you to see. These are not from my office window but from the living room window. The little patch of tan you see in the corner of the yard is the new garden we put in. It's actually 16' x 8' so it's larger than it looks. It has a forsythia, a yew, and two azaleas. I have all the windows open and the wind chimes are humming happily. My allergies on the other hand are not happy but medicine takes care of that. :)
I love the in-between times-when the air is soft and pleasant-not yet hot enough to turn on the AC but not cool enough for a sweater. The sun is out. Lovely.
I'm being followed around by a new character-he doesn't talk much but he is rich with possibilities. I've been plotting out his story line in my head. He patiently waits for me to get where I need to be to write it. Hope you all are having good days with your writing. Cheers~

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14

Oh boy, computer issues. I have been researching new laptops in my "budget" (think cheap). Last time I bought one without researching much-it was pretty, what can I say? This time I'm more careful. I have discovered the big tipping point issue. This laptop has very little - 510MB- memory. Oh, boy. I remember when I bought it thinking that I was only word processing-not gaming or doing much graphics and surely I couldn't use all that memory. Well, gee, the memory sticks I use as back up have 1G of memory-twice that of my current laptop. Duh! *slaps forehead*
Thank you for bearing with me as I solve my little crisis. I am stubborn and it is my stubborn nature that kept me from tossing the thing out the window last month and buying new. Hopefully soon I'll be back to blogging on time and reading and participating.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April 13

We have sunshine today and the trees are all popping out in pale greens, lemon yellows and soft pinks. The wind is fierce, whipping up the lake into wild waves. A Mallard duck pair has decided to nest in the woods. The leaves are still bare enough you can see them on the ground. We are still in the daffodil phase, although I saw a row of happy red tulips yesterday. My pink magnolia tree is budded brightly and will flower within the next ten days. The white star magnolia's are already blooming. The sky has changed from the bright clear blue of fall/winter to the hazy blue white of spring/summer. I'm working hard to catch up on my writing. It's cool enough out that I don't envy the ducks bobbing on the lake. I'm content to sit by my window and enjoy the sunshine on my shoulder as I work. cheers~

Monday, April 12, 2010

April 12

Happy Birthday to my brother Paul who turned old yesterday. :) May this be your best year ever.
I never realized how important my computer equipment is to me until things went south two weeks ago. I know, I keep talking about it. But yesterday it took me over four hours to review and revise 30 pages and e-mail them off to class. It is time to get new equipment. I find it sad but after doing the math, that equipment cost me around 50 cents a day to use and when I say use, I mean use. I work on-line between 12 and 14 hours a day seven days a week and it has been on countless trips through countless airport security scannings. So it has been decided that I will look into new equipment. Hopefully that will get me back up to the speed I need to accomplish what I want to accomplish in a day. I'll keep you posted.

On a happy note here is a link to a great review for DREAM MAN, You gotta read reviews.

Cheers everyone!

Friday, April 9, 2010

April 9

It's Friday and the sun is out and the threat of snow is going away. Two years ago we had snow in May and then as early as October so I am not too upset about yesterday's flakes. I am working on this month's workshop/presentation I'm giving at the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling Conference. There will be prizes and chocolates given out. I think writers are motivated by little things like that in a session. People learn in many different ways so when I do a presentation I try to include reading material, and hands on exercises as well as talking. That way I reach as many people as I can with my presentation.
Sometimes I'll be in a workshop and the presenter will say something that sparks an idea and then I'm busy writing down what's in my head and I no longer listen. So I don't mind if attentions wander. What do you like best in a presentation?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

April 8

It is cold and we actually were pelted by bits of snow and rain. Shiver. I just glanced out my window and the lake is up. The fuzzy yellow seed pods are falling off the puzzy willow mixing with tiny snow flakes. Wading along the shore is a large blue heron with a black and white eye and an orange bill. He seems oblivious to the falling snow and petals. It reminds me of a Japanese scene reflected in the shimmering water. Lovely.

I hope your day is warm and your writing going well. cheers~

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

April 7

I'm afraid my blogging has fallen into a bit of a slump-in most part due to the sad shape of my computer and my horrible experience with a virus protection program that I can't seem to uninstall. But reading rants is certainly not why you take the time to check in, so I promise to stop that. And I ask you to be patient if the blogs are late because its a day to day thing.
The month of April is full of wonderful opportunities. I am enrolling for my third semester in the Master's program. I am presenting a workshop at the Chicago-North RWA Spring Fling conference April 23-24th. There will be a book signing and I'll have copies of DREAM MAN and MR. CHARMING there to sign. It is open to the public if you want to pop in. A portion of the proceeds go to literacy.
Spring is the time of severe storms but also the time when all the bulbs pop out to flower in their many lovely colors. It's a time of mud and muck and baby ducks and geese at the lake. I'm looking forward to the ups and downs that bump around before summer settles in. I hope you'll continue to share it with me. Cheers~

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

April 6

As promised I am happy to say that wonderful author and inspirational speaker L. Diane Wolfe of Spunky fame has passed on the Beautiful Blogger award to me. According to the rules, I am to provide a link to the person who gave me the award (see above), name seven things you might not know about me, and pass the award along to seven other wonderful bloggers.

1) I lived on the Island of Guam for 18 months.
2) I've lived in over 14 places around the US-all I consider my home town.
3) I love twisty mystery TV shows like the X Files and Fringe.
4) I have an AA in Electronics Engineering and used to work on Top Secret satellite equipment.
5) I hate going to the spa and getting "pampered."
6) I make fabulous canned bread and butter pickles.
7) I used to have an incredible fear of dogs. (Strange I know since I now have two of my own.)

I hope you all have a great day and no one has the computer battles I'm still having. Cheers~

Monday, April 5, 2010

April 5

Last week I won a blog award from the wonderful L. Diane, I promise to blog on that tomorrow. Today I am ranting a bit. (I know I seem to be doing that a lot lately. sigh.)
I purchased new glasses complete with expensive lenses three months ago. Two weeks ago I noticed chips in the top edges. What? How? I've never had glasses chip there before. Were the lenses cut wrong to fit the frames? I did what any self respecting consumer would do- I took them back. This is what they told me. These are expensive polycarbonate lenses (Scratch resistant, etc.) and clearly I used some bad chemical to clean them and thus disolved them. Yes, that's right I must be at fault and those chips are actually the lenses crumbling. No, I said, I use what you gave me to clean them. Huh, they say, well... do you wear hairspray? Because if you use hairspray you can dissolve these lenses. Um. What??!! No, I don't use hairspray, much to the dismay of my fashionista daughter. Well, clearly I did something to the lenses but since they are under warranty I can replace them for half price. Half price? How much is that? $150. But I only paid $170 for the entire glasses three months ago. Well, when you use hairspray or say Windex on the glasses they dissolve and you have to pay for your mistakes.
I asked for the manager. She gave me the same story- Windex, hairspray, etc. Then offered to replace them for free if I swear not to use Windex or hairspray this time. (Which I didn't use last time.) Then she looks at me and says- oh, do you cook? I blink. Yes, I cook, all the time. "That's it then," she says. The heat of sticking your face in the oven to pull out things and standing over the sink to strain noodles probably is what caused your glasses to crumble."
(Pause. blink.)
She said that-seriously. So the answer is to not wear my glasses while cooking and hope that I can see well enough so that the food doesn't hit the floor. Sigh.
Or better yet- in two years when my insurance will let me purchase new glasses, insist on lenses that aren't made of poly carbonate. sheesh. Okay, rant over. Thanks for listening. :)

Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday weekend- Easter, Passover or Spring Break, which ever you celebrate.

I spent the afternoon outside in the garden, cutting down the old ornamental grass and bundling it to recycle, weeding the beds, mucking the dog yard and creating a new winding bed in a corner of the yard where grass refuses to grow-think neighbors trees and lots of shade. So I dug it up today. I will add dirt and some of the same kind of bushes the neighbors have on their side of the fence and make it look deliberate. Perhaps a bird bath to go with it. I love Spring. Cheers~

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April 1

I was sitting in my office with the window open enjoying the warm Spring breeze when I heard laughter and a woman's voice say, "April Fool!" More laughter joined in. I couldn't see who was talking or what the joke was but I smiled. Happy April Fool's day, everyone. I don't do fool's jokes and I hope not to be fooled too much. Still it's nice that it is finally April. The grass is slowly turning green and I saw crocuses and daffodils blooming in the neighborhood. It seemed like a long hard winter this year. Spring is God's promise that nothing lasts forever. Cheers~