Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Give it to me, baby!

I'm wanting to build a section of my writing craft library on characterization. Tell me the best you've found on this, if you don't mind! I love using recommendations!

Fall Candy

Halloween sucks major when you're on Weight Watchers. Thought I'd share that with you, in case you didn't know.

Yanno those mini-Reeses Cups? They should be illegal. They're like CRACK.

Hooters, it's not just a restaurant anymore

So B, my husband, is 42. That's got to be on the brain. Keep that stewing in the background, for this story. And I swear on the lives of my four kids that this story is, sadly, 100% true.

B has this Hooters shirt that he had SIGNED by the waitresses. Am I kidding? No, I am not. He never wore it because he didn't want to LOSE the signatures in the washing machine. Whatever.

One day, B runs out of t-shirts and reluctantly puts on The Hooter. I happily wash it. The freakin' signatures stay. And thus, a monster is created.

So here he comes out of the bedroom, doning this ... thing. On his way to the BANK. The bank where he has to go INSIDE to sign some papers. I said, "You're wearing that to the bank?"

He looks down at his shirt like he has no idea what I'm talking about. "Yeah, why?"

I said, "It's like something an immature 18 year old would wear, all excited about his fraternity's drunk night out with buckets of hotwings."

And he says, totally straight-faced, "Well, you have to remember I was only 32 when I got it."

ONLY THIRTY-TWO! Like that's some youthful number that'll explain away this ... this ... holy hell, I can't even come up with a good term for that thing. I simply stare. You know, that look that is totally blank, that look that can only be described as, "I have no response to that."

And I stood there thinking, This is what my life has become.

He goes to the bank. He returns. I said, "What did Justin think of your shirt?" (Bank guy). He said, "How'd you know he said something?"

Gee. I wonder.

Drawing the Line

When do you scrap it all? When do you look at a manuscript and think, "No way in hell"? I have a manuscript like that right now. The premise of the story is good, I love the characters, but there's SOMETHING in it that's just not ringing true to my "voice" and it's drivin' me NUTS.

My goal is to revise a chapter a day. Considering the revisions this book needs, that's a lot of writing. I won't be a total idiot - it could end up being a chapter per two days, and even at that, we're talking two weeks to get it done. The first three chapters have been revised so many times, I shudder to think of each chapter taking as long as those three did.

Here's the problem: I have two people wanting to see the work. One's an agent, one's an editor. And since it IS a good story and it DOES have good characters, and since people DO want to read it, I can't find myself able to walk away from it. So I guess I oughtta stop bitchin' about it and get the revisions done. I mean, I won't really know how good it is until it's finished, right?


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chaos reigns. As usual.

So I actually went to do a blog update the other day. Typed out this incredibly long thing and hit PUBLISH. THEN I got a message saying blogger was doing maintenace. Figures.

So this past weekend was supposed to be the KOD Writing Retreat. Well, Rita - bitch that she was - decided to change those plans. There was this crazy paranoia in my town. I was at Walmart and thought maybe I should get some more oil for my lamps I have, some water maybe. I'm not one to really prepare for things (shocking revelation, isn't it?). Well, there was no lamp oil to be found. Or oil LAMPS. Or water. Or batteries. It was crazy. While there, they announce that they just received some water. This mad rush to the back of the store to get some fed into me, and I found myself in line. What they had were the cases of water where you get like 24 sport bottles. I got one (limit one per person, and of course, I was alone.) Then some people tried to STEAL it. It was soooooo unreal. So there I was, with one little case of water for the six of us. Well, seven, because Shari already booked her flight for this retreat, so she decided to come for a visit anyway (more on that in a bit), no batteries, no oil for my oil lamps. I did get gas - and that night, our town ran out of gas! It was really, really weird.

And then Rita changed course and we didn't get a DROP of rain. Figures. I'm so taking back that case of water.

As I mentioned, my fab fav buddy Shari came to visit. And I got sick.

Like... WAY sick. Unending breathing treatments, drugging myself with Xanax and Flexeril to force my chest muscle to relax and not spasm in an attempt to breathe. After two days of that - I finally got better. How fun for Shari, right? Needless to say, we watched a lot of movies.

I did get the revisions from her for the first two chapters of LIES, so that's good. I'm hoping tonight to revise Chapter 3. Once that's done, I can send it to those that requested it. And, the really fun part (at least I thought it was fun) were the character sketches we created one day. B was home from work that day, and omg ... not only is he not a reader, he's firmly established in our minds that he'll never be a writer either. However, his completely clueless comments provided a crapload of entertainment for the two of us. SCANDAL is really coming alive, and it's really looking good. On top of those two projects, I also reopened FORESHADOWED, and it's got great possibilities and I'm encouraged by the progress I've made, as little as said progress is at the moment.

I've set some goals, both long term and short term. Short term: Sell by Nationals. If not that, then at least have an agent shopping my stuff. Which means I gotta boogey bigtime. Long term goals: I want to write for more than one house, and I'm plotting and planning books specifically to target certain houses. I hope that little plan works. Even if it doesn't, it's a plan, right? Right. I love when you agree with me.

Other news? Hmm. Oh! Just found out today that Jayne Ann Krentz has a blog! It's really great, so check it out. And for those of you that posted on my thingy about your blogs being added to my blogroll, I'll have that updated soon. Promise. Also, if you have sites you like to visit, let me know! I'll be happy to add them, too. If you find them interesting, I bet we will, too.

Of course, a little reminder that my website is up. It's still got some work to go, and there are forums that are kind of neat. I'm not really active there yet, but hope to be soon. Don't forget to check out Romance Divas for new and cool stuff and just for support in this really odd profession.

And I'm really, really, really going to try my best to not only post here regularly, but also return to blog hopping. I miss that sooooooo much. So what's new with you guys? Update me!

I'm about to hit PUBLISH POST. I swear, if it messes up again, I'm going postal. My dad was a postman for 35 years. He trained me well. Redneck Texas Postal. That would NOT be pretty, I'm a'thinkin'.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Check out Romance Divas!!!

Free Workshop with Author Of The Month Candace Havens:

Candace Havens presents Fast Draft: How to write your first draft in two weeks. Really.

Week of September 18th, 2005

Fast Draft is way to get through the terror of the first draft in a fast and efficient manner. Why draw it out over several months, when you can have a first draft in just two weeks? Using creative techniques you'll learn how to write more pages a day than you ever thought possible. This class works for new writers as well as seasoned professionals, and allows writers to flesh out a story fast to see if it will work.

Q & A with Deidre Knight:

During the week of Sept 18th, Super Agent Deidre Knight will be answering questions in a special section of the forum aptly titled, "Ask Deidre". Don't miss this opportunity to get those questions answer and get to know this fabulous woman!

See you online!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Big Apple

I want to visit New York City. I've always wanted to visit there, but I've never had the opportunity or funds for that particular adventure.

I'd like New Orleans. I always wanted to visit there, too. I've been to Baton Rouge, but only for like two hours and no sight seeing, but New Orleans has such a rich history - it's been on the list of places to visit for a long time. And both places, NY and NO, are often used as settings for novels.

Now both have been changed drastically - I wish I could have seen the Twin Towers. And of course, it's going to be a long time coming before New Orleans is back on its feet, and I'm sure even then, some things just won't be the same. Just like New York won't ever be the same.

But regardless of waiting to go until after the faces of these cities have changed, I still really want to go. I don't know if I'd like NY full-time. The noise, the darky scary places, and public transportation. I'm not used to those things. I'm originally from Dallas/Ft. Worth, but it's not like NY. We all had our own cars. True, we had cabs and buses, but there was never a reason for me to use them. I'd had a car since I was 15. I just drove where I wanted to be.

I went to Chicago once for a FABULOUS weekend. And when I packed, I put that new (at the time) hand gel sanitizer in my purse. The idea of public transportation freaked me out a bit. I mean, you hear about what happens on subways and heck, even in cabs. That's like infection just waiting to happen. So I packed my gel and then had the person I laughed at me for three days over it. Admittedly, I didn't use it as much as I'd thought, but just in case, I was ready.

When I stayed in Chicago that long weekend, we'd go out and it would be 3am and the city was still wide awake and people everywhere. I was shocked when I realized how late it was one night - it seemed like maybe 10pm with the amount of people still milling around the city sidewalks. That's how I imagine NYC to be. After all, isn't it called "The city that never sleeps"? But for a visit, for a long weekend, I bet it'd be so exciting to see all the places I've read about. I just read Julie Kenner's THE GIVENCHY CODE and she mentions such lovely places: The Plaza, Grand Central Station, St. Patrick's Catherdal. *le sigh*

The more I read about NYC, the more I forget about things like subways, muggings, etc., and think of the delicious things like Madison Avenue and all the shops there.

Of course, I'd need about $100,000 to TRULY enjoy myself.

Do you have a place like that? One that you'd never really wanted to visit, but then reading about it made you want to go REALLY REALLY badly?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Break out the chorus of angels!

I wrote.

22 pages.

And now B is making dinner so I don't have to stop - and I didn't even ask him to. Apparently, the mental drought is over. Of the requested material, a full chapter just went out to my CP Shari for feedback and a lot of red ink. Now that I started again, I can't seem to stop. And I owe you all here for not giving up on me.

So a super special thanks to all of you here that put up with my whining and excuses and moaning of life in general, especially Allison and her scary boots, Chris and D, who probably know me the best and knew what to say to punch my ass in gear. Of course, I'm not 100% sure how well D knows me, since he refuses to tell me a name.

Also special thanks to Bryan Roth, evil poet extraordinaire, Dadio, Gary Brand, LE for his patience and unwaivering belief that I'll succeed, and MAF with his repeated attempts to shrink me. You guys rock.

I'd linger, but I'm being beckoned by a story to tell. Hee!

Well, I think I may have found the ticket

I finally went blog hopping today. It's been like a month since I did that. I should have known it would help - reading other writers and seeing what all they're going through, and it's so nice to know I'm not alone in my misery of non-writing.

Last night I thought a lot about this subject. Thought about what my friends were saying, what people were writing here, and what the voice in my head wanted me to hear. It boils down to this: I want to be a published author. I really, really truly want that.

And there's only one way to get it. Period. I must write, and I must write well. I thought about the different works I have in progress, from the one that's finished and needing revising to the ones that are started to the ones I've got just floating around in my stormy little brain. Although some are quite daunting and make me want to curl up on the couch again, a couple of others were so relieved to see light shining down on them, acknowledging their existance again, more little scenes for them started popping up.

One of the things I'm going to start to do is writing down scenes. Right now, I write from beginning to ending. Maybe I shouldn't. Maybe I should just write the scenes as they come from whatever story they emerge out of. I think it's that perfectionism again, wanting to do it a certain way, even if it's painful and my instinct is saying to STOP doing it that way, or believing that that way is the ONLY way. If I allow myself to write a scene, even if it's in the last 3/4 of the book, that may prompt even more writing. Maybe. Heck, at the rate I'm going now, it sure wouldn't hurt to try it that way, right??

I'd sit and chat, but I have some writing I need to do. I'll report back later with my progress.

Thank you all. Yes, even you, D. ~razz~

If you visit here and

I don't have your name on my blog roll, please PLEASE let me know so I can add it.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

As requested

I was talking on the phone with Dadio who does my webdesign (and it's fabulous! Check it out!! And he's available!!!) and bemoaning my lack of writing lately, including on the blog. It's so sweet, really, the amount of people trying to help me break through with what my problem with this may be. I'm indebted forever.

One of the things I mentioned to him was that I had written my only completed novel on the laptop, not on the PC. It's a wicked cheap laptop, can't get online or do ANYTHING really but type on it, but the problem with it is the keys. You have to literally PUNCH down each letter. It's not a fast thing to type on by any stretch of the imagination.

Then a dear friend of mine GAVE me a 17" monitor. And I got back my super comfy, super cool leather office chair. I had transferred all of my writing stuff to the PC so I could sit here and type it all out - big screen, cool chair, all comfy and easier to mail out to critiquers since I don't have to save to disk then send, etc.

But now I don't know. Maybe being away from the computer area is what's holding me back. I sure don't intend to use that laptop anymore - talk about carpal tunnel with shoving those keys down. I tried my alpha smart, but with the tiny window it was kind of driving me nuts. Maybe I need to get that out again and see. Maybe just moving away from this area of my house, where I spend SO much time as it is, would help me break through this wicked stage.

It's not writer's block. My brain is still going a billion miles an hour with that stupid first chapter revision and with the other stories I've started. It's just that there's no DESIRE. I know I have to write anyway - at all costs, I MUST WRITE. Even if it's crap, I need to write. But just the idea of opening up WORD to write right now makes tears form.

As you know, I don't get any support here at home regarding my writing. If anything, I think it bugs the crap outta him that I have this "little hobby" at all. Thankfully, I don't give a rat's ass what he thinks, but still, it doesn't make for a happy writing environment, especially if he's on his off days (3 days at a time.)

Everyone I talk to (and trust me, it's a lot, apparently, that are concerned over this) says I'm making up excuses. Yes, I am. I know I am. But that doesn't change the desire to start writing. I can't even get through craft books I so desperately wanted to read. I can't hardly BLOG anymore, as you all know. Dadio thought maybe I was burned out. I laughed and said, "Hell, I'm CRISPY!"

Like Chris said in an email to me, I was the one that wouldn't be satisfied. I'd read and re-read, changing constantly even though she and Shari would say it was good to go out. You all know the fear of putting yourself out there for possible rejection, but so do I. This isn't a new thing for me - I've been rejected a thousand times. (SLIGHT exaggeration, but you know what I mean.) Maybe it's perfectionism. When I wrote the other day, and it was so, so SO bad, maybe because it wasn't clicking and it sucked I decided to just let it die away. If it can't be perfect, then maybe I don't want it. Which would be incredibly stupid thinking - no one sits down and writes a final draft out of the gate - of COURSE it's not going to be perfect. So maybe that's not it.

Maybe I'll just sit down and write nothingness. That's what started my last novel. It originally opened with, "She sat down at the keyboard and let her fingers fly over the keys, her brain flooded with ideas that needed to break free. She had no idea where to start, so she just let her brain tell her where she needed to go." And from that, I ended up with a 100K word novel. Of course, I later went in and took all that crap out. But that IS how it started. Maybe that's my thing - I have to type that jibberish before I find the substance.

So here's another rambling blog entry. I'm sure I wouldn't have bothered if Dadio hadn't practically threatened me to do it. (grin) I'm teasing you, John! But he's right - at least I'm writing SOMETHING.

Tomorrow is a brand new day. Maybe I can approach it with a brand new mentality. Maybe I just need to cry until there are no more tears to wring from my body. Maybe I need to run away, where I don't have to worry about money, or kids, or marriage, or laundry or dishes or anything else under the sun. Maybe it's time to just...escape.

At least into a good book from my own mind.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Yes, I'm still breathing...

Many thanks to those that have written me wondering where I am. Unfortunately, Karyn, no, I haven't been busy writing. I've been busy doing nothing.


Well, I did join Weight Watchers. So I guess that's something, right?

My funk is still here. I can't write. I tried to write one day, and it was such crap - I mean, even two days later it was crap. I try to read craft books, to spur me on or something, and I can't even concentrate on the page, much less take notes. I have been sick the last few days, but even that's not an excuse since it's been almost a month since I was going to start writing fulltime. I just don't know...

My critique partner is ready to send me yet another manuscript. I told her I'd be all over it - it's not like I'm doing anything else, right? This was her reply (hope you don't mind, Chris.) "You were always the aggressive one willing to work on her manuscript until it was the best you could do no matter what anyone else said!"

What's happened to me? I have no idea. I'm not even visiting writing blogs anymore - I'm not replying on the writing email loops anymore. I've got my wonderful, beautiful site up and going (Dadio - you do so rock!) and yet...nothing. What will it take to get my ass in gear again? I have no idea. If I KNEW, really knew what was wrong, I'd fix it. But...I don't. I don't know. I just feel... hmm... lost. I'm floating around, with no destination, no hope, just seeing where time takes me and not being in control over it. I'm like a heroine that's too dumb to live.

In just a couple of weeks, Shari's flying down and we'll be attending the KOD Writing Retreat in San Antonio. One of the things they just said in an email was to bring a work in progress and highlighters. Holy crap - I have nothing to show them. NOTHING. I haven't worked on anything. Deidre Knight wanted my stuff and I'm too much a loser to get it done and to her. And now the KOD thing is coming up and all I feel is panic, and Evan Fogelman is going to be there!!!

I have a feeling that if I don't get my brain wrapped around this problem soon, I'm going to miss too many opportunities and I'll have killed my own career before it even got started.

I have nothing to contribute to the great literary blog world today. More than anything, I wanted to let you know that I'm still here, but still not writing. Maybe tomorrow morning I'll be able to blog hop and see what the rest of you fabulous people are doing, and that'll jump start me into some kind of motivation over *something*. Hell, over ANYTHING.

Thanks for hangin' in there with me. You guys are the best support anyone could dream of...