Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30

Some where, someone is cranking on the handle of time and making it go faster. I swear. Tomorrow is July and the year will be half over. Yesterday I went through a week's stack of mail- got a paper cut , some bills and lots of ads that had to be shredded. lol. I have sorted and filed all the info from class. I have three projects to work on- fixes to the story that was critiqued, improvements to a YA and my thesis work which has 30 more pages due July 27th.
My garden is little worse for the wear in my being gone. I dined on fresh green beans and peapods from my patio pots. The tomatoes will be fully ripe soon. The grape vine is loaded when the grapes turn purple there will be more jelly to be made.
The sky is blue. The air is that perfect mix of warm and cool and school is out so the sounds of children playing float in through the window. Hope your day is good. Cheers~

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June 29

Oh, boy, was I tired Sunday. It dragged into Monday when I came home to much yard work to be done. I raced the clock on the dog yard mucking, the mowing and trimming and weeding and finished before the lawn recycling man came to pick up clippings. Then it was off to the store to find food. No time for blogging.
I'm glad to be back today and hopefully will spend the day sorting through all the information I was given and filing and cleaning, etc. I've also got new ideas for a couple of my wips and want to get to that. It was a busy week and I missed my quiet life and the view from my room, but at the same time it's good for a writer to get out and experience things like a plane ride with lightning the entire trip. It helps when you create stories.
How is your week going?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 26

Still at school. The last day is Sunday. Today the morning was filled with critique workshops and the afternoon was guest speaker, thriller-writer, David Morrell. He spoke again tonight and then there was a book signing and reception. The first hour he spoke about the history of the business and the state of things today and he was pretty much dead on. Then he spoke about following your own light and not trying to chase trends. Good stuff all around.
Tomorrow is the last day. We go until four pm and then travel the hour or so to the airport and fly home. So, no blog tomorrow, but I will give you the low down on Monday morning.

Hope your Saturday was wonderful and have a happy Sunday. Cheers~

Friday, June 25, 2010

June 25

I am sitting out on the balcony of my hotel room which over looks a small waterfall. Listening to the water is relaxing for a tired brain. The surrounding trees are deep green and solemn. The sky is a pale blue with small white clouds like you see in old biblical pictures. The pink poking through the bottom of the trees is from the lowering sun.
Today was filled with three hours of group critiques and the afternoon was a wonderful module on how you can use newspaper and blog articles in your mystery/thrillers. As Law and Order says: Ripped from the headlines. There was much discussion about how you can twist the headlines to create a unique and page turning plot. Cool.
Tonight there is an alumni book signing and wine social, it is a great opportunity to smooze and get to know writers from all over the country. But I have retreated to my balcony to rest and regroup. Tomorrow is another jam packed day and I want to be ready for it. Cheers~

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 24

Today sped by with three student teaching presentations- one on the hero's journey (lots of good info there); one on plotting for pantsers (great, funny and good info); and finally one on personality disorders and how to create cool characters by mixing and matching characteristics.
After lunch the amazing Victoria Thompson gave a three hour module on clues and red herrings in mystery stories. (Yes! I finally really understand what that means and that I did it intuitively. Now I can call it by its name. lol)
The day ended with a meeting with my new mentor/adviser and setting the course for the rest of the semester to ensure I am ready to graduate by next June. whew.
I hope your day was good!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 23

Today was the first full day of my third residency at Seton Hill University. The school is wonderful. The buildings crazy cool. You can picture the people who have traveled the halls and stairwells in the past. The staff is great. Its hard work but very, very interesting. I've met some wonderful people and read some great books. Today we discussed the over arching genre reading book- "Ain't She Sweet" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Then we had a class on genre theory. The afternoon was dedicated to the accumulation of a semester of readings in genre of choice. In my case it was mystery. The evening was dedicated to a presentation and IT advice.
Busy, busy, busy. :) Cheers~

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 22

I'm at school. I took a car to a train where I got off and took a bus, which let me off at the tram that took me to the airport. Then I flew to PA and got back in a car and arrived at my destination. LOL All I needed was a boat.

It's late, and I'm exhausted. I'll try to post more tomorrow. I hope you had a good day. Cheers~

Monday, June 21, 2010

June 21

Happy Summer Solstice. It is officially the first day of summer and the longest day of the year. Starting tomorrow the days will once again begin to grow short. Sigh. As a lover of the light, this is always the best day of the year for me. Of course, I'm listening to thunder as I type but weather is what it is.
I leave for school- MFA residency program for the SHU Writing Popular Fiction- early tomorrow. So the blogging will be very late and perhaps sporadic for the next week.
In the meantime, think about summer reading. What are you reading now? Do you have any summer reading goals? I heard of one where you read 100 books by the end of summer-that's a lot. Still reading is what writers live for, at least I do.
My next book is HeartSick by Chelsea Cain. It is supposed to be a terrifying thriller. Think Silence of the Lambs with a female evil killer. Great plane ride read-don't you think?
Happy Solstice!

Friday, June 18, 2010

June 18

Since I don't blog on weekends, any more, I wanted to say Happy Father's Day! to my Dad and all the dads out there. I hope you have a fun filled weekend full of celebration and love from your family.
I remember my Dad hacking all the shrub out from under the big trees in the woods and then setting up a picnic with foot-long hotdogs, roasted marshmallows and flapping table cloths. It was still out back yard and yet far, far away. :)
Here's to Dads and bon fires and family. Cheers~

Thursday, June 17, 2010

June 17

The soccer/football world cup was on the television last night while I was in the kitchen making/canning triple berry jam. I thought how wonderful it was that people all over the world watched these sports programs. That we could hit a button and be connected to people in South Africa, Uruguay, and all the other participating countries. When my kids were little we did the soccer thing, but I find it interesting that in the United States we aren't as connected to soccer as everywhere else in the world. Still how cool that team sports can unite the world if only for a little while and highlight our sameness and celebrate our differences.
Today, the sky is blue again-we have been told that it won't last, so I'll be out painting my fence and trimming bushes. But when the sun goes down, I'll be in the kitchen making penuche fudge and listening to the next soccer game, wondering if my friends across the world are doing the same. cheers~

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 16

Sun! and wait- what color is the sky? Is that blue? Really? Thank goodness, the humidity of the last week has made it hard to breathe. But today I have the windows open airing out the house before it gets too warm.
I'm hard at work finishing up the homework and other details for my trip to PA for the next Master's program residency next week.
Yesterday I saw the announcement that publisher Little and Brown is opening a new crime imprint called Mulholland. Awesome agent told me this morning that the thriller is already there-she knew before it was announced and sent the book to them. How cool is that?
Funny how a little sunshine and dry air can lift the mood. I hope that you are enjoying good weather where you are. Cheers~

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15th

Another month is half over-sheesh. The sun has finally come out popping through hazy clouds. Everything is green even the houses and fences where the mold has flourished in our recent rain forest-like weather. The lake is riding high on it's banks, dark and murky from run-off. The birds call, robin, dove, cardinal and sparrow. They alight on the leaves and shower the ground and branches with water droplets from their movements. The sky is still hazy and barely shows the watered sunlight. The constant hum of lawnmowers and trimmers is stopped for a moment by the wet grass. A light brown deer with big eyes and big ears pops it's head out of the deep shadow of the woods to nibble at the neighbors day lilies. Everything smells of dampness and dark musty odors of mud and mold.The view from my window is its own kind of quiet, sparkling and at once attractive and repulsive. cheers~

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 14

It's Flag Day. So if you have one, wave it proudly. We live in a good country-USA. It's not perfect, sometimes far from it, but it has clean water and good roads. The best part about the USA is that so many people work hard to create a better life at the local, state and federal level. The news likes to show only the bad, so we forget sometimes, but there are plenty of good people- teachers, parents, bus drivers, volunteers and community activists all trying to make life better in their community. Inspiring.
Have a great Monday. Cheers~

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 11

Friday and I am out in the world, with coffee and my lap top. It is threatening to rain but people are in a good mood due to the warmer weather and the fact that the weekend is around the corner. Do you vacation in summer? If so is it a family vacation or a writer vacation? If a family vacation do you still find yourself taking note of scene and setting for possible books later? Do you jot down notes on characters you meet? I do. You never know when someone or something will be the very thing a book needs.
Have a good weekend my friends. Cheers~

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10

Awesome agent sent me a list of 30 or so publishers she is contacting about the thriller. Then we wait two to three weeks to see what the reaction is. It is summer time which slows things down as editors are people, too, and go on vacation or attend conferences this time of year.
I have been running around like a crazy woman yesterday, today and tomorrow are all filled with appointments. Plus I have received everything for the week in PA for the Master's Residency program; seven days running nearly 12 hours each of intensive study. I am still reading one book that must be done by the 22nd and now have critiques to do...and next week to do it all in. :D
What happened to slowing down in the summer?
Hope your day is filled with bright spots. Cheers~

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9

Blogger is acting up...again. Yahoo is acting up, as well. It must be some kind of bad bio rhythm. :D Both my internet browsers froze this morning and I had to restart the entire computer.
Delays, delays, delays. Do they make you stop writing? I have pens and paper everywhere. So, for me they are little more than a frustration. It is difficult to get letters out if you plan on e-mailing them, or say good morning to friends and family if you plan on using the web. But that doesn't mean you can't write a letter and snail mail it or *gasp* pick up the phone.
The trick is to not let little things ruin your day or your goals.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 8

I hate having to be proactive. It's a pet peeve with me. I want people to do their jobs, listen to my complaints, not forget I'm standing here and most importantly not make me jump up and down and do crazy things to get something I want. Perhaps I want the world. After all squeaky wheel gets the grease. But darn I hate to nag. I hate to send off reminders. I hate, hate, hate to have to be proactive and say, "Look, I know you aren't listening so I will bother you until you hear my demands."
But just because I hate it doesn't mean I don't have to do it...all...the...time. Sigh.
I think of Sandra Bullock's character in the movie "While You Were Sleeping." She eats at the same hot dog vendor every day. Tells him "no onions" and yet, every day, she has to pick off the onions. Why? Because she was a sweet girl or better yet invisible. It was a great way to "show" how unseen the character was.
Some people don't have a problem returning stuff, pushing their way to the beginning of the line or demanding they get what they ordered. These people also seem to have little patience or concern for people who are not like them. "eh," they snort. "You should have started complaining right away." As in it's all your fault if someone doesn't give you what you want.
Pet peeves, lack of being heard, or even the ability to step over anyone who gets in their way are all great character traits that tell a story in themselves. They "show" character, not "tell." Think about who your protagonists are and how they would react. Ensure you have a good mix in your story and use your own pet peeves to bring a character to life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7

Sorry so late today, but when I was trying to blog this morning, blog spot was having none of it. Something wrong with the system they said. So, I waited until now. We have simply gorgeous weather here today but my thoughts and prayers go out to those who were hurt by the tornadoes this weekend. May God bless and keep you safe.

I hope you all have a great week. Cheers~

Friday, June 4, 2010

June 4

The revisions to the thriller are done, but I am spending the day reading it through one more time and spell checking one more time. :) I always have a hard time letting go at this point because I just know there is a typo in there I still haven't found. sigh. But if I don't let go then awesome agent can't send it to editors. So- I have set myself a deadline of today and off it goes. Now, must let go-errr-one finger at a time...

Have a happy weekend everyone! Cheers~

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 3

Awesome agent has sent me some tweaks to the manuscript. So I'll be busy today. I'm all for tweaks. It seems no matter how many eyes read a story there are always a typo here or there. I say taking the time to polish to perfection gives the manuscript the best chance. So, no more procrastinating for me. :)
On the good side, I do have three sections of fence painted. (It takes 2-3 hours per section.) And all the carpets in my house are steam cleaned. So procrastinating does have it's perks.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

June 2

I am procrastinating something horrible. I spent the day yesterday steam cleaning carpets in the entire house. Then I went outside and painted a section of the fence. By the time I came in and got cleaned up storms were coming through and the computer had to be shut down. Why do we procrastinate? I think for me, strangely enough, fear. Even after writing over 30 manuscripts and selling ten books, I am afraid that what I choose to write this time won't be the right thing. For every three books I write, I sell one-not because they aren't wonderful well written stories but because there is no interest in the current market place. So it's like rolling the dice. Will the story I choose to write and revise be the right one? In the end I write anyway. I love all my stories and since I can never predict what will hit the market, all the procrastination is silly. That said, perhaps tomorrow I'll choose to start my next book. :)
Do you procrastinate? Do you know why?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1

Happy June First! Do you have big plans for June? I know some writers who get more writing done in summer and others who take summers off because there is simply too much family to find the time. Right now I'm between projects but I have three or four books brewing in my head and will make a decision soon on what I'm doing. Meanwhile, it is hot and dry here so I'm catching up on things around the house.