Monday, January 31, 2011

Jan. 31

It's the last day of January. I'm doing final edits on the cozy before I send it out to my agent. I am lucky to have a great reader/editing coach, friend who looked it over and gave me tips. I never worry about asking someone's opinion on what they think may make any of my books better. What I worry about is that I may never be able to do it on my own. But that's a silly worry, really. All books-when published properly- go through several readers- agent, editor, copy editors-who help to make the book better before it's published. I think it would be worse if everyone said, "Oh, the book's perfect." Right? I mean, then you're a sitting duck for readers to tell you just where you messed up. Book publishing is a collaborative art. As long as I know the critiquer has my book's best interests at heart then I can look at changes with an open mind. That's the trick. Finding people who are helpful, not hurtful.
My writer friends, do you have beta readers or cp's? Have you struggled finding helpful ones versus ones that gleefully tear you down?
My reader friends, please know that there are errors in every book. Even though books go through a whole team of people, we are all human. Editors, typesetters, printers, all human and humans are not perfect. But we are working toward giving you the best book possible. Cheers~

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jan. 28

A belated Happy Birthday to my nephew, Nick. Hope your day was good and your year the best yet!

What are you weekend plans? I think this will be a good movie weekend- I am debating seeing Black Swan. I'm a bit afraid of it... Sometimes critic picks don't work for me. I like simple old fashioned happy love stories, wonderful scifi stories, funny comedies. I think I'll wait and rent The Fighter- I like a good follow your dreams to triumph story, but I don't care for boxing and seeing it on a huge screen... no thanks.

It's too cold and snowy here to do much else, but go shopping or to see a movie or play. How about you? What fun things are you planning for the weekend. Remember play is important to your artist soul-especially when you're a grownup. Cheers~

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jan. 27

The view from my window is snow. Tiny flakes that make the air completely white. The sky is white. The ground is white. The lake is white. The only color comes from thedark brown and gray of the bare trunks and branches of the trees and those are accumulating white on their edges. I saw a blue jay and a chickadee dancing around each other hoping one would find food the other could steal. All the deer tracks and bedding areas are now hidden in fresh snow. The coyote tracks have disappeared into a blinding white covering.
The good news is that even in the storm there are signs of Spring- signs of hope. The magnolia is the first to bloom each year. In the fall it makes hard buds. I noticed yesterday the hard shells have opened and the fuzzy, pussy-willow buds have emerged and and are growing. So let it snow. The magnolia grows on, laughing in the face of old man winter. She knows he can't hold out forever.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Jan. 26

Happy, happy birthday to my little girl. May your life be filled with joy and happy surprises.

It's my birthday, too, and this is our first birthday apart. Instead of pink cake with sprinkles, I'm making gluten free chocolate with coconut frosting. Instead of working, I think I'm going to go read a fun book, bake, do a mani/pedi, watch a movie in the middle of the afternoon, and snuggle with little dog. Decadent, right? Cheers~

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jan. 25

If you are interested in getting a peek at the book I'm currently editing for submission, go to my Tuesday craft blog: I wrote about character building and used my current main character, Toni Ryder, as an example.
Next up on my to-do list are taxes. My method of saving tax receipts and expenditures for my writing business vary. But usually include a large envelop where receipts are stuffed. Then every six months, I pull them out and identify and tag them in my receipt book. So that when tax time comes, I'm ready to input totals. I know there is software available and people input monthly, but alas, I am a procrastinator and thus the large envelop method works best for me. How do you do your taxes?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jan. 24

Did you write this weekend or did you play? I worked on edits and I went to see a good movie. I was lucky enough to manage a bit of both. If you're a reader, did you read? What are you reading now? They say people don't read any more, but I disagree. I know people who consume books like candy. Sometimes five or six a week. Kids are reading that's why the Young Adult Market is so hot right now. Adults are reading. Sure there are movies, television shows, games and social networks to grab time and attention away from people, but human beings are a race of story tellers. Books will never die. I don't have as much time to read as I would like, but I still read. I have a JD Robb book up next in my reading que. What are you reading?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Jan. 21

I've been reading about negative thinking and how it effects your life. Many writers procrastinate as a way of staving off fear. Fear comes from negative thoughts. Thoughts like, even if I write this book no one will buy it. I can't spell so I can't write. The first chapter isn't perfect so I can't move on. These are all negative thoughts. "What's the use?" thoughts. Here's the use, Fun, Play, Adventure. That's the use. Learning. That's the use.
I once made a flippant comment that I wanted "Well, she tried" put on my tombstone. A friend chided me and said that was negative. I disagree. There is nothing negative about trying. It's in the trying that we live. Success and failure both lead to more trying. Don't they?
The point being that negative thoughts and beliefs are just that-thoughts and beliefs-not facts. It's okay to have them, everyone does, as long as you keep trying. It's when negative thoughts block you that you need to address them. Put them back in their place. So that you can try once again and live. Cheers~

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan. 20

I admit it. I procrastinated yesterday. Instead of doing work I needed to do, I spent the day telling myself I needed to do things but actually doing other things instead. What makes me do that? I think the root of the problem is that our internal creative artists are children and children can drag their feet and throw tantrums when they feel like they are being pushed. They don't care about adult agendas like imaginary deadlines or productivity. Do you have days like that? I think the answer is to stop and ask yourself what is going on? Why can't you settle into work? Do you need to back off of your word count for a day? Do you need to take ten minutes and put on your favorite music and dance? Maybe stop and put together a puzzle or get out crayons and color a picture. Perhaps the most important thing is to listen to your inner artist and figure out what you really need to do to give yourself the energy to continue on with the dream.
What do you do when you discover yourself procrastinating?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Jan. 19

Attending graduation for the Master's program is mandatory. I like that. It gives you a glimpse of the wonderful celebration that comes at the end of all your hard work. Plus you get to support people who have stood in the trenches with you and helped along the way. Each graduation a student gives a speech. This January's speech was wonderful- here's the most important thing that was said, "Writers write. Writers write. Writers write." He did not say- writers get published. He did not say writers make millions. He said, 'Writers write."
We write journals, blogs, nonfiction, fiction, articles, business texts, hospital guides, histories, science studies, treaties, words on shampoo bottles, warning labels on drugs, ad copy, screenplays, novels, novellas. We write words and sentences and paragraphs and pages.
Writers write. What are you writing today?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jan. 18

How are your 2011 goals coming along? I broke mine down into monthly goals and at the beginning of each month will break those down into weekly goals. It keeps me on track.
I'm set through June and my graduation. I think my July goal will be to take a vacation. :D

The world outside my window is a silent frozen tundra. I was surprised to see a little bird when I shoveled off the back deck yesterday. I pushed snow down on its hiding place and the bird came out yelling at me. It kept yelling for a full three minutes before it fluffed it's feathers and flew off. The only birds I've seen lately have been crows and then very rarely. So I felt sorry for the little bird. The good news is that light is returning. We now have 26 minutes more daylight then we did last month. That thought makes me smile. Cheers~

Monday, January 17, 2011

Jan. 17

I have to acknowledge Martin Luther King day. It is amazing all the work the civil rights movement did and how it changed the United States. There is much more work to be done. That is why this holiday is important. So that history can be viewed under a microscope and reflected positively in today's society. To help us see how far we've come and how far we have yet to go.
I think my stories come out of my personal study of human beings. Characters come to life with all the imperfections and social viewpoints of real people. I think it's amazing that despite our natural tendency to divide ourselves into groups, and tribes, good guys and bad guys, we humans have the ability to see how all people are equal. We don't always act on it. That is part of being human, but we can understand the concept and that makes us wonderful. Doesn't it?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Jan. 14

This weekend the month will be half over. We are into the new year and I have galley's sitting on my desk for this year's book. I'm sorry I can't tell you the release date. Every time I ask my editor, she says, "I'll let you know." Galley's are a good thing. They mean sometime soon- perhaps May or June the book will be released. The important part is to ask your librarian to order it this month. Their budgets are as fat as they will be this year, and the book is most likely already in their catalog.
So if you have time please go down to your local library and request, "The Counterfeit Bride" by Nancy J Parra.
The excerpt and bits of the first chapter can be found on my website. Thank you and Cheers!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jan. 13

I am home safe. There were many concerns about the weather, but it all worked out fine. My head is still a blur about all that I learned in school. Thank goodness for good note taking and handouts. The people in the program from the professors to the students really make a difference. They're all interested in genre writing and look at it from a practical (craft) point of view, an academic point of view, and a business point of view. I think the mix of genres is one of the best parts of the program. When we attend conferences and cons we tend to attend those only in our "chosen" genre. But there is so much to learn about other markets and other types of stories that can enrich your own genre. It's something to think about.
Hope your day is grand. Cheers~

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Jan. 12

Good morning, last day of classes. I'll be going home with a bag full of handouts and a notebook full of new ideas. I hope to share some of them with you in the Tuesday blog. The weather is touch and go. Please send out positive thoughts that I get out of the airport tonight and get home. Thanks~
Hope your day is wonderful. Cheers~

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jan. 11

I am halfway through the school program. Things are going along very well and I'm enjoying the process and what I'm learning. Unfortunately there is little time for anything else like blogging. So I'm popping in at the break of dawn to say-hello! And that I'm still alive. There is snow here but not as much as last year so that is great. I hope everyone is having a wonderful week.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Jan. 7

I have arrived at school and have seen several wonderful students in the hotel lobby. It's going to be a lively stay. We start tonight at 7. So I popped in to wish you all a happy weekend. Don't work too hard. Cheers~

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Jan. 6

We have sunshine and 24 degrees F. I spent the morning running errands in preparation for my trip to school-tomorrow-gah! Time flies- which means I'll be back before I know it wondering what happened. I still need to pack, check in for my flight, print off my ticket, check the train schedule and-oh, yes- finish my homework. :D
The key to doing things that are scary is: 1) do not panic! 2) have a sense of humor when things go wrong.
My blogs will be spotting from here on out. I may get to them at night after class. Take care and have a fabulous weekend. Cheers~

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Jan. 5

I finished the Cozy Mystery rough draft last night. It ended at 72,000 words. My goal was 70,000. Which makes me happy because I got to 60,000 words and thought, "there is not enough story here." But I told myself it's okay write it anyway. We'll fix it later. And guess what-there was enough story. At least for the first daft. Whew.
School date is fast approaching. I've still got to finish my homework and pack.
How's things on your end? Is it a busy week or are things humming right along in the zone?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jan. 4

Seriously, blah. Do you ever have a day when you are interrupted every time a thought gets into your head? Until you want to pull your hair out--give up--throw something? Yeah, today is that day. I have a book to get to those precious words, the end. I have two blogs to write. I have packing and critiquing and dusting (It's Tuesday.) and the phone keeps ringing and the dog is in and out and...and... GAH!
Time for yoga breathing. In and hold and out...Nothing I do is going to make or break the world. The sun is shining. This, too, will pass. :)
How is your day going? What are you working on? Cheers~

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jan. 3

It is the first Monday of a new year and all the holidays are over. Whew. Things are not back to normal here, yet. My darling daughter, (dd), is still home from school and is working many hours so there is chauffeuring to do since she does not own a car. I leave for my week at school on Friday. (The 4th out of 5 residencies for my MA.) Gah! Is all I can think. I'm still critiquing work for workshops. I need to figure out what I'm packing, etc. Plus I have a self made deadline to finish a book tomorrow. No Pressure. lol
How about you? What is on your plate this first week of the new year? Are things back to normal yet? Cheers~