Friday, December 16, 2005

I Survived!

The week is just about over. Everything is winding down. And I'm still sane. (Well, as sane as I can be.) Yes, it's been a busy and stressful week but things have been good. I got to play with my students during our Christmas party (in which they had relay races and the boys had to skip. I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my cheeks.) I visited my local family to play Santa. I finished up my shopping, made out some bills. I finished rereading my CP's manuscript. Started a little packing. Got some cool food and candles from my students. A few other things too, which were nice and a pleasant surprise. Oh! And I managed to come away with a copy of Suz Brockmann's Breaking Point at my local RWA book exchange. I was thrilled. I got a copy and had it signed during Nationals, but I specifically got that one for my best friend. For myself, I was just going to wait until it came out in paperback. Now I don't have to!

My plane leaves tomorrow morning bright and early. I expect to see snow when I land in Rhode Island, but I don't mind. I just can't wait to get there. I've got 4 books packed and two notebooks. I've got my computer disk with my current manuscript on it in my carry-on and I've left every scrap of teacher paper on the kitchen table. Even though I only visit New England twice a year and can't imagine moving back permanently, there's just something about going back for Christmas to the place I grew up. I still call it home even though I haven't lived there in over 12 1/2 years. Maybe it's being around family. Maybe it's the cold, snowy weather. Maybe it's the memories of growing up.

Wherever you are, I wish you and your family the merriest of holidays and the happiest of new years. May all our dreams come true in 2006. See you when I get back!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Time Travels

It's already almost Monday! Every day is flying by for me. Let's see. Thursday I didn't actually get to cleaning the house. Now, come on. Did you really think I would on my bad-weather day?

My 7th grade play of "A Christmas Carol" (the hiphop version the kids wrote) went great at the PTO meeting Friday night. I was so proud I almost started crying!

Yesterday I took that hellish exam to add ESL to my teaching certificate. Wow. It was a LOT harder than I thought it would be. Still, I'm glad it's over. The rest of the day I just read- my CP's work and my brother's Aerosmith autobiography. (Not done with either.)

Today I started the day wrapping Christmas presents, making a list of the gifts I still need to get and then I went to my other brother's house for my 4-year-old niece's birthday. I hadn't seen them in a while so it was a nice, relaxing afternoon.

When I left their house I did a very bad thing. I went to Barnes & Noble. I had to go in for a book for my local RWA book exchange (for our Christmas party), but even before I got out of my brother's driveway I knew that I'd end up buying a new book for myself. It didn't matter that I bought 2 last week. Or that I have about 31 in my TBR pile. I HAD to buy one for myself. I swear, it's like a sickness. So, I bought Julie Garwood's Murder List for my Austin RWA meeting and I bought Jennifer Crusie's Getting Rid of Bradley for myself. I've never read anything by Crusie, but she's just so hilarious in person, I thought I'd treat myself to one of her books. So now I have 32 books to read, which should take me through to next Christmas. Great! I won't have to buy a book at all in 2006.

And yet, somehow I know the sickness will once again take over.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Woohoo! Snow Day!!!

Okay, so it's actually an ice day, but I'll take it! Yes, we'll have to make it up in the spring, but right now I DON'T CARE! Besides, we've only had one other bad weather day in the 4 1/2 years I've been here in Austin. It's a nice little break every once in a while.

Austinites don't know a thing about bad winter weather. (I did learn a thing or two about blizzards and cold weather growing up in New England.) Yes, I got freaked out driving home last night. But it wasn't the weather that worried me. It was the people who don't know how to drive in icy conditions. It's quite funny really. The whole city seems to be freaking out. Most schools are closed, along with a bunch of city offices. And yet, people are still trying to get out and about. Of course there are tons of accidents, which aren't funny at all.

So, what am I doing on my surprise day off? Well, I promised myself that if we had the day off I would do some cleaning. Haven't started that yet, but I do plan to. (You know, so I don't have to face the studying I should be doing.) Since I got up at 8 (2 hours later than normal), I've watched stupid TV shows, had a couple of cups of tea, looked outside at the layer of ice on my car, answered & sent some e-mails and I even ordered a care package for a soldier through Treats for Troops. (Can't tell you what a wonderful feeling I had as I shopped for the soldier I "adopted" a couple of months ago) I also plan to read my CP's manuscript. I've been promising her a complete read through for over a week. She must think I've abandoned her! And yes, I've even scheduled some time for me to study as well. A couple of hours anyway. I thought about reading. I have to finish that Biography of Aerosmith in time to return it to my brother over Christmas. And I bought a couple new books last night. Christmas stories, of course. (Maybe I knew that we'd be out of school today when I stopped at the bookstore?!)

Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, I hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Hmm, such a big word and such a bigger mess it creates! I should be studying for my exam on Saturday. But I'm not. I'm blogging, reading other blogs (gotta stay caught up, don't I?), making out bills, decorating for Christmas, and even considering CLEANING instead of studying. The idea of working on my book or reading has not really occurred to me. Well, that's not ENTIRELY true. I did pick up a book of 3 short Christmas stories that I bought last year and never had a chance to read. (Found it in one of those boxes of decorations!) But, I promised myself I wouldn't even think about reading or writing until my hectic days were over and my Christmas shopping was done. We're probably looking at Saturday, December 17th. I say that because I'll be out of town for the holidays and that's the day I leave. I plan to have a very relaxing 2 weeks of reading and writing. Yeah, I just remembered that my mom and stepdad now have the computer hooked up in the house (they've only been living in it for a couple of years) so I'll be able to take my new WIP with me to work on! Well, those dishes won't get done with me sitting up here. Until next time I want to procrastinate...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

And Yet More Techno Gadget Issues!!!

Freakin' printer won't print! Says I'm out of ink. Funny, it was doing just fine SECONDS before it stopped working! (With an ink cartridge that's only been in there for a couple of weeks and I assure you, I haven't printed THAT many pages!) Oh, to be a best-selling author so I could have an assistant who could deal with all this technical crap, handle my website and basically fix my computer problems when I just innocently look up and say "Oops!"

Monday, November 28, 2005

Remember To Breathe

I've been feeling very overwhelmed lately and I've just decided to take a breath. SOOOO many things are happening around me, with me and yet I keep adding more. I've got an exam to study for, a Christmas party, a stampin' party, a book I'm reading, a book I want to be writing, progress reports to organize, essays to grade, other tests to grade and send notes home about...and all this is within the next 5 days!

My book is going to have to wait. Surprisingly, that's okay with my hero and heroine. They know that I intend to do their story justice and so they're willing to wait and let me get a little settled before I dive back into their story.

Then tonight, I got a call about that ESL volunteer job. They want me for the Monday night class for the next 2 weeks and then for next semester! I jumped at the chance, but that's just something else I've added to my pile. Of course I want to do a great job and I want to keep working hard for my day job. But there never seems to be enough hours in the day!

THEN, I found out one of my nephews had some medical issues today. He's fine, but my heart twisted inside my chest as I listened to the story. Once I talked to him and got him to laugh a bit, I felt a lot better. But then I remembered life is too short. Yes, I want to do a whole bunch of stuff, help others out, keep people happy around me, but you know what? I'm much too young to have a heart attack or stroke from stress!

So, earlier tonight, as I was making my to-do list, I decided just to stop. Instead of worrying about work, exams and ESL, I asked myself what I WANTED to do tonight. So, I'm reading Lisa Gardner. Tomorrow I can make a new list. I'm getting my priorities back in order and I'm going to be selfish for a little while.

The moral? Take care of yourselves.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

More Proof That Computers and I Don't Belong Together

I just reported some spam. No, not the actual spam in my e-mail account. I reported my 7th grade play and all my spelling lists for the next 3 weeks as spam. I knew I should've just printed them out at work!

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Not Enough Time

Here it is, minutes from Sunday morning and I'm running out of time! 24 hours in a day just isn't enough for me to do all that I want! And 5 days away from my day job just isn't long enough either.

As for my Thanksgiving break, it has been glorious. I avoided the crowds of Black Friday and stayed home to watch the pitiful display of Texas Longhorn football. Yes, they won, but they played like crap. I rented 3 movies- Fever Pitch (which I loved since I grew up in RI and totally understood all the Red Sox passion), Miss Congeniality 2, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner and day. I read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in 2 days. I thought about going to see the movie, but my manuscript SCREAMED to me! So, I've been typing and plotting and planning (oh my!) for a HUGE chunk of yesterday and today. Tomorrow I have a bunch of school work to do. I'm also forcing myself to get up early with the alarm so that I can break my cycle of going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning and sleeping until 9 or 10. Wouldn't look good for me to show up to work at 9 when school starts at 7:50!

And now I only have 3 work weeks before Christmas break. 3 hectic, stressful, busy weeks. How on earth can I get everything done when all I want to do is work on my new book??? Okay, enough chatting. I'm going back to my typing so I can get a few more pages done before I go to bed. Oh, hell. Who am I kidding? At the rate I'm going, I'll probably be up for another couple of hours. This new couple is so ready to be front and center. They cannot WAIT to get together and they seem to want me to have their rough draft done by the start of the new year. Don't know if that will happen, but I can definitely see it as a possibility. I've already started scoping out January and February contests to enter with this new one. My own goal is to have it done completely by spring break. However, Jacey laughs at me and Ryan just shakes his head. They apparently have a different time-table than I do.

OH!! Speaking of creative differences with the writer, the hero of book #3 took quite a bit of my time today to explain that the plot I so lovingly started crafting for him is most definitely NOT what happens. Since I learned with this last manuscript that I must allow my characters to tell their story, I just obediently took notes from him and put aside my own plot plans. The heroine remains the same. The hero says at least I got that right.

Okay, now really. I'm going back to my manuscript.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hounded But Happy

HOUNDED by my new hero and heroine to jump right into their story. They figure I've already handwritten 200 pages of a rough draft, so what's the big deal? Why do I need some time off in between books? Hounded also by the hero and heroine of the 3rd story to make sure I have good scenes for them in this 2nd story too. Even the heroine of the 4th story is dropping perfect one liners into my head for her. The only silent one is the brooding, tormented hero of the 5th book. The reluctant hero. I'm sure I'll soon start hounding him for little nuggets of information since he plays a minor role in book 2. (Although he is hinting that the heroine for his story isn't going to work out and that I should just leave him alone. I can sense that the woman I thought would be perfect for him isn't quite right. But there ain't no way I'm leaving him alone!)

HAPPY because I wouldn't want it any other way. Happy also because I now have 5 WHOLE DAYS to spend however I want! I intend to read, write, type, watch some movies, watch a little football and maybe do a little work for school.

Monday, November 21, 2005

A Sacrifice For My Craft

Okay. I've been subbing at this place and teaching ESL classes for the last couple of weeks. I would love to work on a regular basis for them next semester. It's volunteer and at night so it wouldn't interfere with my day job. Today I get an e-mail asking if I want to be the regular instructor next semester for the Tuesday class.

Why did I know this would happen?

My local RWA chapter meets on Tuesday nights. I could easily miss the meetings for 4 or 5 months, but it's 4 or 5 months. I thought about it for a little while, but I just can't give up my meetings. Writing is my non-paying second job. This is the attitude I have toward it and I feel if I take the other volunteer position then I'll be taking away from my writing. (Or at least th chance to mingle with other writers and hear some great speakers.)

Now, granted I am very interested in teaching ESL and I've wanted to find an outlet for this part of me for quite some time, but my writing and my push toward publication are still, ultimately, my top priority. I could sit here all night and debate with myself about it. And next semester when I'm stuck subbing again, I might be kicking myself. But as much as that decision pains me (and the writing of the response e-mail), I have to follow my heart and my heart is always with my characters and their stories.

Of course, things could go another way. They may come back and say how about a different class on a different night? Perhaps it's really not as dramatic as I'm making it out to be.

On the writing front, I mailed off my GH entry today! Yay! I am OFFICIALLY and TOTALLY done with UCOD! For now, while I freak out with all the grading I have to do even with a break starting tomorrow afternoon, I'm reading The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner. Then, on Wednesday I'm renting the 3rd Harry Potter movie. Then Wednesday, Thursday (and Friday maybe) I'm reading Goblet of Fire. And THEN I'm going to see the movie. I figure I'll start working on the next manuscript, RESISTING RYAN, sometime over the break as well. Who knows? Maybe I'll go watch the movie that inspired my latest hero!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Golden Heart Moments

As I type this, I am printing out my synopses for the GH. I printed the partials and burned the CD last night. I thought I'd get this entry in the mail today, but I had a hard time cutting my synopsis down to size. But now it's done. I'm so relieved. Of course, I found a very, very minor issue with the manuscript that I needed to correct as well. So minor that I don't think anyone but me would notice and be affected, but still I needed to fix it for my own peace of mind.

So, the work is done. The entry will be mailed Monday after work. I am now COMPLETELY done with UCOD. I'm moving it to my "Finished manuscripts" folder.

Now comes the time to assist my CP with finishing her GH entry. It shouldn't be that hard. After all, she's brilliant! Except, I can't open the document she sent me today because she left it password protected.

So, I'm thinking of starting right in with the next book. Or I could read. Or I could watch TV. Or surf the Internet. Or pay Go Daddy for my domain name. Or make some dinner.

School is going well. I had a day off this last week so I could go to a conference for English Language Learners. What a wonderful experience! I had an awesome time. And then, I got called to substitute teach an adult class of ESL students. Of course I said yes. It turned out to be me and 4 women. I was much more comfortable and confident than the week before and I had so much fun! We studied a bit for their final exam and then we had the youngest woman show us how to do some dance. I agreed to this only if she agreed to explain everything in English. It was so much fun and once again I came out of that class with the feeling that this is what I'm truly meant to do (well, besides writing, of course!). What an awesome feeling to be in a classroom with students who actually want to learn and who don't give me attitude!

Of course, I still love my 5th, 6th and 7th graders too. They continue to amaze me everyday. I get upset or angry about something and then one of them says or does something to make me proud. I truly feel I've got the best of all worlds.

Monday, November 14, 2005

So Long, Farewell...

Today I dropped UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS in the mail to the editor. Almost 18 months after it was first started. 15 months after it was first requested. 2 months after it was last requested. It's been a wild and emotional day, but I'm so proud of my work.

First, my printer has issues. I changed cartridges on Friday only to find that it wouldn't print AT ALL then. I e-mailed tech support. I read the manual. I followed the manual instructions. I followed the tech support instructions. I waited a day. I followed a few of my own instructions. (And heard some really bad noises.) There was absolutely no way I'd be able to print the manuscript unless I went to a copy place.

BUT THEN...My brilliant CP stepped up and offered to print my baby, the query, and the synopsis AND THEN she offered to meet me during lunch today so that I could still make my self-imposed deadline. How wonderful is she?

SO, my printer is still not printing. A computer guru from work is giving me more advice. I still have my GH entry to print.

But my baby has flown the coop.

I usually love printing a manuscript out, taking my time to put the package together, whether a partial or complete, and allowing the pride in my work to dominate my world for those few hours. Without my printer, I was deprived of that yesterday and I think I miss the closure of that experience. Yes, Grace and Ethan will be around in at least the next 2 stories, but my time to say goodbye to them as a main couple was cut short. Still, they needed to go. I needed them to go.

I learned a lot about myself over the last 17 months and I know I've grown tremendously as a writer in that time. Regardless of the outcome of the trip to the editor, the chapter contests, and the GH, I will always love this story and I will always be thankful for the chance and ability to share it.

Monday, November 07, 2005

...And The Hero

Ryan: Hey! What about me? I expect equal time here.

Chris: (grins) Sorry, Ryan. You know I love you.

Ryan: Yeah, well. I just want to make sure you'll be listening to me too. Just because I'm not crazy like T (sorry, T) obnoxious like Shiner (sorry, Shiner), or stubborn like Ethan...

Ethan: Wait a minute! I'm not stubborn.

Jacey: Stay out of this, Ethan. Ryan, what makes you think you're not stubborn?

Ryan: Come on, this is me we're talking about. (Turns to me) Chris, tell her.

Chris: Actually...

Ryan: Women! (rolls his eyes) I'm outta here. (Turns back to me) I'll talk to you later about this.

Jacey: (Blocks the doorway, arms folded across her chest) And what about me?

Ryan: (His gaze roams up and down her body) I haven't decided what I'm going to do to you yet.

Jacey: Don't you mean with me?

Ryan: (A hint of raw hunger dances in his eyes) Not necessarily.

Meet The Heroine of My Next Book

Chris: Jacey, I've been rereading the 200 pages I wrote for you over the summer and there's a huge problem.

Jacey(glaring at me from across the room): What?

Chris: The plot is too close to Grace's. I don't know how much of that 200 pages will still make sense.

Jacey: As long as Ryan and I get all the love scenes you've created for us. (Stalking toward me) And I do mean ALL the love scenes.

Chris: (Rolling my eyes)

Jacey: Hey, don't roll your eyes at me!

Chris: But there's more to your story than just sex.

Jacey: I know, but don't stress so much about it, Keach! Just let us tell you our story in our own time.

Chris: (Now glaring) I don't want to wait for over a year and a half like I did for Grace and Ethan's story.

Jacey: Oh, there's no way in hell I'll wait that long. Don't you worry. If you sit back, relax and let Ryan and me do all the work, we'll have this done quicker than a Curt Schilling fastball.

Chris: Okay, and in layman's terms how long will that be?

Jacey: A couple of months. 4 tops. I guarantee it. BUT of course, that's if you'll quit your bitching and just listen to us.

Chris: Bitching? What are you talking about?

Jacey: You know exactly what I mean. We can't help you if you don't shut up.

Chris: Okay, okay. I promise to write the story you dictate to me instead of what I think I want to happen.

Jacey: (Plops her elbow on the desk and rests her chin in her palm) Good girl. (With a twinkle in her eye and a mischievous grin, she adds): Now, back to these love scenes...

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Woohoo! Break Out the Cyber Champagne!

I FINISHED!!!! I literally spent all weekend revising, but I'm done. I've sent UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS off to my critique partner for a final read. I'm hoping I fixed everything she alluded to in her last e-mails, and that if she picks up anything new to fix this time around that it only takes a few short minutes. This puppy is in the mail to the editor on Saturday. The weight of finishing this novel is off my shoulders.

When I thought I'd finished back in June, I still had a terrible weight on my shoulders. I knew it wasn't right, wasn't the best it could be. This time, I have no doubts. My story is complete. My characters are content. My debt to my fallen friend (the woman this book is dedicated to) is fulfilled.

I'd been saying to my critique partner that typing "THE END" to this book didn't have the same feel as any other. I felt a lot more subdued. I'm proud of this manuscript and I truly feel it is my best work to date, but I don't have that "shout from the rooftops" feeling. I think part of that is the fact that it took me so long to write it and it took soooo much out of me. Also, I was so sure my last manuscript was going to be "the one" that I think I'm more cautious now. I feel like I've matured a hell of a lot as a writer through this manuscript.

But you know what? In the end, it's still a MAJOR accomplishment and I'm so very excited about this book. Between the GH, the other 2 contests and the editor's request, I hope to be sharing lots of good news with you in the future about this one.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I just love my 6th graders! (For now. I'm sure if I give them time I'll want to strangle most of them again shortly!!) We had our Crash production tonight and it went so well. The skit was about 11 minutes long, they had a lot of good laughs and the few parents that came to the PTO meeting enjoyed it. I have to say, I was extremely disappointed with the turnout of parents and families. Most of the people there had a kid in 6th grade. That was it. Maybe a handful of parents with kids in other classes came. Very disheartening, but the class went and performed like troopers! We get to do it all again for the whole school tomorrow morning.

On the writing front, I mailed my GH entry form. First time ever!!! There's no turning back now, I guess! I also mailed out 2 contest entries. All three are for UCOD. I'm thinking of entering the one that got rejected by Bombshell in a few more contests and making it the single title story it was always meant to be. But, that's a ways off.

Over the last couple of days I've been critiquing for my CP Deb and I'm floored again by her talent! I literally read for hours and lost track of time! And now, I have to wait for the ending! How cruel is that?

Then, while I was reading her work, my characters (all of them, mind you!) started chiming in with little details of their stories. You know, the next 4 after UCOD. It's going to be quite a challenge but so much fun putting that series together. Now, I just hope someone buys them! To that end, I'm going to work on my synopsis tonight a little. Then this weekend my plan is to completely finish the revisions to UCOD so that I can send it back to my CP for a final read. I'm so excited about working on it and making the awesome story even better!

I've also started to seriously think about putting a website together. I am SOOOOOO not technical, but I figure it can't hurt to start now before I'm published. I'm going to reserve my domain. (See, I don't even know if I'm using the terminology right!) One step at a time. Maybe I'll ask for money for Christmas so that I can hire someone to take care of all the technical details for me. I just think I'm at the point in my writing career that warrants a website. I'm not published, but I feel so close. Hell, it still may be another few years before "The Call" comes through, but why wait?

Any thoughts, comments or suggestions on this topic are more than welcome. Well, I'm off to play with my synopsis and have a cup of tea. I'll update over the weekend with the details of my revision process, whether it's heaven or hell.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

I did It!

UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS is done! I'm so happy with it. 400 pages. A villain who gets what's coming to him. The required Happily Ever After. Two compelling secondary characters who will star in later books. A final battle that is fitting of the characters and the villain. I actually got tears in my eyes writing that and I'm not sure if the tears were for the hero and heroine, the villain or all three of them! Of course, I still have MORE revisions to do, but I can start those tomorrow. For now, I'll just bask in the glory of typing THE END!

Saturday, October 29, 2005


Methinks me free. Me also thinks me had too much caffeine already this morning.

My 6th graders just finished reading Crash by Jerry Spinelli (about bullying) and they begged me to let them do a play about it. So, last Wednesday I finally agreed. Only problem is they want to do it for the next PTO meeting which is this coming Thursday. No problem. I gave myself the homework of writing the script that night (last Wednesday). While doing that, I started thinking about my struggle with the ending to my book. Once the play was written, I started jotting down more ideas and playing around with what I already have for my story. Today, I'm back to writing that pesky second to last chapter. I think I might be able to finish this book. I have no plans this weekend except continuing to cough up a lung. So, with my Rocky soundtrack playing I'm headng back to my book. I'll let you know what happens. Right this minute I'm off for another cup of tea.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Book That NEVER Ends

That says it all, doesn't it? I trashed chapter 17 because it didn't work with these characters and now I have nowhere to go. I'm in the driver's seat without the keys. I just can't end this book. I'm not terribly upset. I'm just completely surprised that I truly have no way to end this. Or should I say I can't see a way to end it. I guess I need a break, but the kicker is I haven't even been working that hard on it. I've spent most of the last couple of weeks watching baseball at night. Oh well, I guess I could also pick up a book to actually READ instead of trying to write my own for a while. But for now, I'm going to concentrate on getting my 2 contest entries ready and mailed and then if I still don't have an ending I'll get typing on the next book in the series, the one I have 200 handritten pages from my summer vacation. It's just so comical that I can't finish this book because until this book I was writing 2 a year. This one is now at 1 year and 5 months. I just keep telling myself that it will end when it's supposed to end. Until then, I guess I'll just go watch some more baseball.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A Gutting

I've just finished revising chapter 16. I love it. The story is great. The end is near. I started reading chapter 17. I love it. It's great. The end is even closer. But...

Chapter 17 doesn't fit this book. It's an awesome chase scene and showdown between the heroine and the villain, but it can't be with these characters. I've been trying to fit it all together for days now, but it just can't be done. I've accepted that fact. I've removed that section from the manuscript and stuffed it in another folder to use later with someone else.

Now I've got to go give Grace and Ethan the ending they deserve.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Road Block

No, the manuscript, the REQUESTED manuscript will not be going out on the 21st. Or the 24th. Or the 25th, for that matter. I haven't even touched the manuscript since the weekend and here it is Thursday again. What have I been doing? Watching the Astros make it to the World Series. (YAY HOUSTON!!!!) And that's pretty much it. I have no excuses. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm hoping to work on it tonight and maybe finish tomorrow. Then Sunday I can get on to the next round of revisions. I'll let you know...

Friday, October 14, 2005

The End Is Near. Really.

Hello, hello! It's Friday. I've graded my last batch of 1st quarter papers, entered grades in the computer, and finished my lesson plans for next week. Now, I get to go back to work! I've been working every night this week on at least two chapters of UCOD and the book is coming along wonderfully! I LOVE it! My goal was to have this puppy in the mail to the editor by next Friday. One of my critique partners sent me some notes and I've decide it'll go out when it's ready. If it's next Friday, great. If it's a few days after that, fine. Bottom line, I certainly DON'T want it going out before it's ready! But, I'm soooooooo close! I've got two more chapters I'm supposed to be editing and expanding right now. I'll get to it.

I just had to think for a while on what my CP Deb had to say. It's funny though. One of the main things she pointed out is something that I usually don't/ can't fix until the very last draft. I have to see the entire story out before I can go back and make those changes. This is a stage in my rewriting process and it's ALWAYS the stage before the final stage. The point where all my character and plot arcs come together and connect to make an awesome story.

So, I'm going to finish my 3rd draft tonight and celebrate tomorrow by going to the Texas Longhorns game against Colorado. I'll think about my revisions a bit, but I won't do a thing tomorrow. Sunday I'll construct my cover letter and begin revising my synopsis. If I have time, I'll start the last round of revisions. I'm hoping one of my critique partners will be able to do a final read for me just before I print it for the priority envelope I'll send it in. The 21st, the 24th or the 25th. Whatever day it goes in the mail it doesn't matter as long as it's the best story it can possibly be at that moment.

Then it's on to the next one!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Happy Birthday To Me!

Hi! I'm another year older. I've had a good weekend. My Texas Longhorns beat the crap out of OU yesterday, my Patriots won today, my 2nd favorite baseball team (Houston Astros) won in the longest postseason game ever and are headed to the next round of the playoffs. I had a nice meal and a cake with family today. Went to a party with family yesterday and had good food, good drinks and good fun! Today we sent the 2nd cousin off to continue his journey. It was a sad time since we don't really know when we'll see him again, but it was WONDERFUL having him here.

But, now I need to get back to work. The school book fair is over (YAY!) and we made some great money for our school library. I have an exam to take in December that I need to start studying for. I have French lessons to prepare, report cards to do this week and parent conferences tomorrow. And of course, I have the book to finish! I'm so excited about getting back to the book. I'll do some tonight while I hopefully watch the Angels beat the crap out of the Yankees. Then tomorrow I can get back to a normal writing work schedule.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Too Much To Do, Not Enough Time

Hello out there! I know it's been a while since I last blogged. I just hadn't realized how long it had been! I've been busy with the relatives and school stuff. Absolutely no time to work on any writing, which makes me sad, but I'm going to try and do a little today. The boys are all out at a hardware store. Mom's downstairs ironing. I'm sending and answering e-mails. I just got confirmation that my Texas teaching certificate will be available online in a couple of days and my paper copy will be in the mail. I'm a home-owner! Yay! I bought a condo and signed the paperwork last Friday. Some other relatives have been displaced due to Hurricane Rita, so I offered to let them stay in the condo until they're allowed/ able to go home. Oh, and on Thursday, 9/23, I checked my mail before I picked up the first cousin. In the mail was a letter from the original editor who worked with me and kept encouraging me (even as she rejected everything). I'd asked her if she'd still be interested in reading Under Cover of Darkness and she said YES! So, not only am I scrambling to get the school book fair over with, to make sure the relatives are enjoying themselves, to gather lessons for my French class and revising chapters with the help of my CP Deb, now I need to focus on completing the entire book for the editor! I'm going to try and get it in the mail to her within the month. We shall see if that's possible!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Wohoo! Skating Again!

No worries. I asked one of my BRILLIANT CPs and now I'm not stuck anymore! Only thing is, I've got some serious rearranging to do before I can get through chapter 8. But, this should be fairly smoothe sailing after this chapter since a bulk of the rest of the novel is written and will only need to be tweaked. Still don't think I'll make my self-imposed deadline for Thursday. Oh well. It'll end when it's supposed to end.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Curses! Foiled Again!

I'm stumped. In the start of chapter 8, I'm stuck. I like where chapter 7 ended and I love where chapter 8 is going, but the simple, one scene that connects them is escaping me at the moment! I've demanded that my characters talk to me and share their wisdom with me, but I think they're content with making me suffer. Maybe because I've been listening and jotting ideas down from the 3rd and 4th heroes. Maybe because I've been so productive and everything has been flowing for a while now. But Grace and Ethan really aren't that vindictive, at least not with me. So, what the hell is messing me up? And I can feel it in my bones that it's a simple solution. One that I'll go, "Oh, duh! Why didn't I think of that first thing?" But with the entire manuscript riding on this one scene...the pressure is on. Although, I'm not frantic about it. I know it'll come. It just means that I won't make my quota of finishing chapters 6-11 this weekend. Oh, well. Who really suffers in the end? As long as I love the story that emerges, not me. I'm off to watch a comedy and maybe make another plea to my hero and heroine.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Here I Am!

I feel like I haven't blogged for ages! In truth, I've just been busy with that pesky little thing called "the day job." It's been a full week, that's for sure, full of ups and downs and me questioning my sanity. But the thing that kept me sane (Well, as sane as I can be) was knowing that I could spend the weekend working on my wonderful, prize winning manuscript!

I've got a ton of things to do this weekend, including sleeping in, but I have writing goals. I have every intention of meeting them. I expect to revise 6 chapters between now and Sunday evening. I'm also going to clean the house, run some errands, go to Julie Ortolon's party for the release of her latest trilogy. Oh, and let's not forget the papers I have to grade. And the progress reports I didn't get to do during this last week. And some book fair stuff. (Thankfully my French class doesn't start for a few more weeks!)

See, I've got relatives coming into town starting next Thursday. A couple that live here and were just on vacation and a couple who live in different countries. The relatives from other countries I haven't seen for 2 years and 4 years. I'm so excited! BUT, I must have the first draft of my manuscript before they arrive so that I can concentrate on visiting with them. So, no more talking! I must get back to work!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Voices...

Okay. In my head, right at this very moment, I've got ten people talking to me! But you know what? I wouldn't want it any other way! Most of these characters play some part in this current manuscript, but others don't even make an appearance until the next book. So, here's the rundown...

Book 1- I've got the hero and heroine of this one, who are extremely patient with me. They're just happy I'm finally back to work on their story. I've also got the villain, who wants me to add more face time for him. Greedy SOB.

Book 2- Then there's the heroine of the next story, who doesn't really believe in love. Oh, and her partner is in here too. And of course her hero is camped out upstairs too, but he's the most patient man I've ever met. Both of them are in book 1, but they know nothing about each other...yet.

Book 3- THEN, there's the obnoxious playboy who keeps hounding me. I've tried to tell him to just go have another affair or two until I can get to his story, but he's not listening! And of course we have his lovely, unsuspecting heroine who plays a supporting role in book 1. I've kind of hinted that she's going to end up with the playboy, but she balks at that everytime. She reminds me her brother (the hero of book 1) would kill her if she gets involved with his obnoxious buddy. Poor girl! She has no idea what she's in for when I get to book three!

Book 4- And last, but certainly not least, is the hero of the 4th book. He says nothing. He just stares at me from the darkest corner of my brain. It's like he's challenging me to write a story for him. If I didn't already know and love him, I might actually find him and his actions kinda creepy! As for his heroine, she's in here somewhere...

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Military Additions

Since I'm writing stories about military men (and maybe women, in the future), I decided to add a section of links on my blog to miscellaneous military "stuff". I'm including some authors who write about military heroes and a few websites that show support for the troops. As I discover more authors and websites, I'll keep adding to the list.

I've been interested in soldiers and their experiences ever since high school. For my junior and senior year, every book I read outside of required school reading had to do with Vietnam soldiers. I've never been very interested in politics, so the political aspects of wars never appealed to me. I was much more interested in hearing the common soldier's perspective and how his life changed. (I think this interest stemmed from my love of The A-Team and just grew from there!) When I was trying to decide what I wanted to be, I thought about becoming a psychologist to help soldiers deal with PTSD. When I was in college, I spent a few Veterans' Days in Washington D.C. at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (What an awe-inspiring experience!) During my senior year in college, I did an internship with the Vietnam Veterans of America. (Another wonderful experience!)

As far as I'm concerned, whether I agree or disagree with the government's decisions concerning the military isn't relevant. The point is, these are our soldiers, fighting for our country and I believe they deserve our support. I intend to do what I can.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Is It The Beer, The Music or The Voices In My Head?

Another 18 pages today. Okay, some of them were written for the old, crappy version and I just cut and pasted, but the end result is the same. Each scene I added opened more doors for future scenes either in this book or one of the following books. I know I've written at least 10 of those pages today. In addition to grading some papers, picking up books for my classes at Barnes & Noble (I didn't buy a book for me, but I did buy a CD!), grocery shopping and visiting the lovely local post office. I mailed a letter to an editor who requested this manuscript a while ago asking her if she still wanted to read it. I stressed that I've been honing my craft since our last correspondence and that this one also won the Merritt RS category this year. Hey, the worst she can say is no, right?

It feels like everything is falling into place in the manuscript. FINALLY!!! After a year and a half. The story emerging is definitely the story of the hero and heroine and not what I wanted. As for my enthusiasm, I can honestly say I haven't been this excited in over 2 1/2 years, since I was last targeting single title. I finally believe in my abilities again. I believe in my characters. I've fallen in love with my hero. And my heroine is someone I'd definitely like to have as a friend. I'm even being so bold as to say I expect to have a rough draft of this new version done by the end of next weekend. I've alerted my critique partners that I expect to pull them into active duty between September 12 and October 9. My birthday is October 9, so my present to myself will be the completed version of this manuscript. Then I can take a week or so off before diving into the next project. (You know, the one I handwrote 200 pages for over the summer.)

Okay, I know some of you are curious about the title. I've had a few drinks while I've been working since dinner. The music? The CD I bought this afternoon, Celtic Woman, a PBS special they've been playing whenver they have a telethon. I don't give money during the telethon (I don't make enough to give to charities), but I loved the music so I bought the CD. I'm finding that Celtic music is my most inspirational music. Strange since I don't write Celtic stories. The voices in my head? Well, I expect that's self-explanatory, especially to any writer!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Why Do I Want To Do This?

Simply, because I can. I've spent the entire day writing. I've added at least 14 pages to my newly revised manuscript. I absolutely LOVE my characters, even with their quirks and strange personality traits. Part of me wants to continue on during the night, but the sane part of me states that sleep is essential. I still have over 100 pages to add, but I'm not worried. I've got a great idea of what to add and where. I still have the final showdown scene to write (according to these characters in this particular setting) and I have a bunch of other minor areas to tweak. I LOVE my manuscript again! I can't believe I'm saying that after so long, but it's true. This couple is extremely special and this has been my first attempt to examine the characters' inner feelings and emotions in a story. I've delved into the characters' backstory before, but never have I played around so much with their emotions. It's truly a unique experience and it adds so much more to the story. I think I'm still a plot driven writer, but with practice I think I'll be able to weave in character evolution as well while the mystery/suspense unfolds.

I write because I have to. The stories build within me. The words demand to be written. I have no choice but to listen to the voices in my head. Most days I get crap for listening, but some days (like today) it makes all the other aggravation worthwhile. And as I type out the conversation my hero has with the heroine as he walks away from her in his stupid attempt to protect her, I think maybe, just maybe, this manuscript is "the one."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A Glorious Day!

It's been a glorious day and all I've done is read. I started Sandra Brown's Honor Bound early this morning (about 1 a.m.) and I just finished it. Yes, I did actually sleep in that time too. And eat. That was my 3rd book in the last week. I get into these...I don't even know what to call them. I read like crazy for a week or two and then I go back to writing. I guess they're like sessions of inspiration??? I did consider picking up another book and continuing my lazy afternoon, but I really do want to get back to my own manuscript. So, after a quick dinner, I plan finish up my interview with my hero and begin my heroine's interview (and finish it before I go to bed). Then tomorrow and Monday I can focus on my writing. Okay, I do have to put in a few hours correcting some papers...maybe.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Oh Mon Dieu!

So, I'm working the aftercare program at school (glorified babysitting). One day, the other ladies and I sat around talking about the clubs we're offering the students. I noticed that we have foreign language club listed, but we don't have an actual teacher for this. The ladies and I start talking about the languages we took in high school and college and how we hardly remember much of them. Without a true gift for languages, the five years of French I took have virtually disappeared from my brain. We continued talking and thought maybe we could set it up so the kids learned simple information in a few different languages. I casually mentioned that I've been trying to pick up my study of French for some years now but just haven't actually gone and done it. End of discussion. End of workday. I happily went home to interview my hero and watch TV.

Well, somehow the boss of the aftercare program must've thought I seriously wanted to TEACH FRENCH. The next day when we were talking about the club again, she informed me that I would only have to teach 2 weeks in a row (one hour a week) and it would be every few weeks. I guess there was some kind of look on my face akin to horror because someone added, "It'll be easy. We just have to download lesson plans." We can just teach them colors, numbers, simple phrases, they reassured me.

Are they nuts? Have either of them ever had to prepare lessons? Where would I find the time to download lesson plans and make fun lessons for an after school club? Didn't I have enough to do with my 3 Language Arts classes, 1 Science class, 3 sets of Big Buddies to organize, a test taking class to prepare, a book fair to organize and award winning manuscripts to write? Oh yeah, I did want to try and have a life this school year too.

But after a while, I started thinking about this. I've been wanting to pick up my study of French for years. Plus, it'll look good on my resume, especially since I hope to someday be working with English Language Learners on a regular basis. The kids that will be in the club will most likely be excited and that will inspire me. So, I guess it won't be so bad after all. A bientot!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

What's In A Name?

A lot. I've decided that Under Cover of Darkness isn't right. I liked it originally, but now it just doesn't sit well. I feel like it's too long and it's not dramatic enough. So, as I'm resurrecting the current book of my heart, I'll search for a new name.

Today was productive. The villain revealed some exciting information to me that will change the whole direction and feel of the book. I've started brainstorming (with the help of my Kiss of Death chaptermates) the hero's motives. It's awesome. I can't remember getting into this much detail of a character's backstory. This was probably part of the problem with my in-between manuscripts. I already feel like I know more about my hero than I ever did while writing the 317 pages that made up the story until last night. Since I'd been targeting Bombshell (heroine driven stories), I already know a lot about my heroine. Still, I look forward to uncovering more of her personality and motives.

A happy birthday goes out to my best friend, Nancy, and to another friend, Emily McKay! I hope you both had a chance to have some fun and spend some time with people who love you.

Friday, August 26, 2005

And Away We Go!

I searched through the manuscript, found the things that I loved and that my characters insisted I keep. Then I cut the rest. 55 pages. Gone. (Okay, only in another scrap file.) What a relief it was getting rid of those pages! It literally felt like a weight was being lifted off my shoulders. Seriously, and I know this is going to sound ridiculous, my heart even felt lighter! When I got finished cutting, I was surprised that I still had 266 pages. I can definitely work with that. It's been gutted and the result is the bones of a story that I can once again love and, most importantly, enjoy writing.

Rejection #34

Yes, it's true. After 4 months I received a rejection from an agent for UCOD. And quite honestly, I could care less. The book's not done anyway. I've got a buttload of revisions to do. And the manner of the rejection made me wonder why I'd want to do business with these people in the first place. I sent a SASE envelope and a slip of paper for them to send me when it was received at the office. (For some strange reason I've never done the postcard thing.) They mailed my rejection back in that. What about my partial???? I did not say they could recycle the manuscript pages. I sent a bigger envelope for returning that too. THEN, on the actual letter, it says "Dear Author" with my name written above author and nobody bothered to sign it. Hey, they could've had someone from the cleaning crew sign it with the agent's name. How would I know the difference? But they could've at least had someone, anyone sign it.

The good news? In my quest to write at least one line a day, yesterday I actually wrote 13 lines! A few of them were even worth keeping. I also started going through UCOD again and accepted the fact that I have some heavy duty revisions to do. But, I decided to take it one chapter at a time. During this plotting and planning, I ended up writing to a few people about my dilemma concerning single title vs category. Those who responded said basically the same thing: write the book the way it needs to be written, the way I need it to be written.

I'd thought that Bombshell was exactly where I wanted to be. I realize now, it isn't. I love Bombshell books and can't imagine a month without them, but I'm not a Bombshell writer. As much as I want to be, I can't be. Last year, I thought I wrote heroine driven stories with little romance. After soul searching and struggling to find my place, I realize that I like a little more romance than the Bombshells I've read include. I have plots that span over 3 and 4 books with the characters wandering through revolving doors. I want darker characters and grittier suspense scenes. In short, I want to go back to single title.

When REBEL HART won the Wisconsin Fab Five contest in 2003, it was a single title story. When the editor requested the full, it became a category. Because that editor kept encouraging me, I kept writing categories. The bottom line, they sucked. You know it's bad when you can't even remember the title or what the heroines of those in between books look like. I've been desperate to keep in contact with that editor because she has been such a help, but that connection won't mean a thing if I'm not writing the books the way they need to be told. As a good friend pointed out, I haven't had a spark of enthusiasm for my characters and my writing since REBEL HART. Yes, I've loved the heroes and some of the scenes of those in between books, but the magic has been missing.

When I got home from work today, my plan was to watch two movies with the actor that inspired my REBEL HART and UCOD heroes and then work on the book all weekend. For the first time last night, I got really excited about my story. I'm brainstorming specifics and I'm prepared to cut scenes that I absolutely love if they dont fit the story. After I finished dinner and started hunting for the movies, I actually stopped myself. I wanted to get right to work. I WANTED to get back to my manuscript. That feeling has been missing for so long, I almost cried when it returned. So, now I'm off to wave the wand and see what magical feats I can accomplish tonight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Yay! I'm On My Way!

Sorta. Since Michelle dared me to try and write one sentence a day, I knew I just had to rise to that challenge. And today I wrote the first new material in over a month. Granted it was only 5 lines, but after I scribbled that down while watching TV I went back to plotting, planning and trying to plug plot holes in my current WIP. Oh, and the plotting I did? On book #4, 3 couples away from my current couple. Don't matta! I know that I'll get back into even more of this writing business when I get home from work tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

No, Not Yet

Tuesday night has come and almost gone and still I've written nothing. I've edited nothing. I've read nothing (except websites and mail). I'd like to blame it on my sadness over the death of Brock Peters, the actor who played Tom Robinson in the movie version of To Kill A Mockingbird (which is my all-time favorite book, I think). But, alas! I am in control of my own actions and I just chose not to work on my manuscripts. Again. For the 29th day in a row.

Perhaps tomorrow....

Monday, August 22, 2005


Okay, not even Rocky could get me motivated to get back to work. I want to get back to my story. I really, really, REALLY do. I just can't. This isn't some depression or block setting in either. It's just real life getting in the way. I'm working the aftercare program a few days a week from the time school gets out until 6. Basically, it's glorified babysitting. By the time I get home, clear out my e-mails and have a quick bite to eat I'm exhausted!

But tonight I started looking at contests again. (You know, instead of actually revising.) I did get a little crazy and decide to enter 4 in the next few months, but then reality bit me on the butt and asked who was paying for all these entries? Plus I've planned to go to the Austin RWA workshop in October with Eloisa James, Julie Kenner, Samantha Saxon, Kit Frazier and a couple of other people I can't remember right now. There's another chunk of precious teacher salary.

So, I decided to skip the September contest and enter 2 manuscripts in an October contest because the final judge for my category is someone I have good vibes about and who's in a house I would LOVE to be a part of. (Not that I know this person or anything about her, but still....) So the plan is this. I'll slowly get back into the writing while I polish up my October entries. Starting tomorrow night...

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Gonna Fly?

Got my Rocky soundtrack in the CD player. I'm listening to all the training songs from the movies. I figured this would inspire me to get back to work.

I'd wanted to spend a good chunk of my weekend on the WIP UCOD, but it hasn't happened yet. A bunch of errands, an oil change, swimming and cooking out with my step-brother's family and a few too many drinks....

Of course, today it was time to grade my first two sets of papers while I watched The Sand Pebbles. I love Steve McQueen movies! And then I got sidetracked by reading blogs and sending e-mails. Oh, but I did a good thing. I critiqued for Deb. Now if I could only get back to work on my own...

Oh, I went to the bookstore yesterday and ordered class sets of two books. I gave the guy the name of the first book (Crash by Spinelli) and then I said, "And There's a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom." The guy stopped typing and stared at me like I had five heads. I continued with, "It's by the same guy who wrote Holes."

"Oh!" he says. "I thought you were talking about our bathroom."

I don't really have much else to say today. I guess I'm just looking for a way to procrastinate. Of course, I could get started on UCOD. But, then is dinnertime...

As for writing, maybe later. I can just hit "Pause" on the Rocky soundtrack and listen to the inspirational chords later...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Early Mornings Suck!

Two days I've been back in the classroom and I hate mornings. My body still believes it can stay up late and then that alarm screeches from across the room at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. I just want to rip it out of the wall and hurl it across the room.

Other than that, I'm having a great start to the new school year. I love my homeroom class, and all three of my classes are filled with bright kids with so much potential. Of course, I'm still dealing with the whole middle school attitude thing, but I'm not worried.

No writing done (sorry to Nancy, Deb & Nic who keep asking for UCOD) since I got back from Nationals. No idea when I'll get back to it. I want to. Really, I do, but the paying job must come first. After all, what good will I be to my characters if I don't have the energy & strength to sit with my butt in the chair & type because I didn't eat enough? (Okay, that actually wouldn't happen, but you get the point.) Maybe this weekend...

I started reading a new book. Tess Mallory's Highland Fling. I bought it when she came to my Austin RWA chapter meeting a long time ago. Well, she came again this last meeting and I was about to buy another book of hers when I remembered I still hadn't opened this one. So, I came home and started it. And I really like it so far. I'm only reading a chapter or two a night since I don't get home until late and I'm exhausted when I do get in. And of course on the drive home today I got ANOTHER book idea! Although, for the life of me I can't remember it now. I just remember thinking that I had to put it on the back burner since I have 2 in the works, another being plotted and another I'm planning to look over and start submitting to agents. And then, there's the whole school thing.....

Monday, August 08, 2005

And The Beat Goes On...

Yippee! I just found out I won a drawing of a rare Suz Brockmann book! Apparently, everyone who went to the dinner with Suzanne Brockmann during Nationals and who ordered a copy of her new book was automatically entered into a drawing for Ladies' Man. I'd forgotten all about it until I got online tonight and found an e-mail telling me I'd won!

In other news...
I haven't written a THING since returning from Reno. Not because I've been down or feeling miserable over my latest rejection (after all, I'm only on rejection #33 in 6 years). Instead, I've been reading. I finished my 28th (EXPLOSIVE ALLIANCE by Catherine Mann), 29th (MIDNIGHT HERO by Diana Duncan) and 30th books of the year. THE NEXT ACCIDENT by Lisa Gardner was number 30. It was so intense that I decided I want to read a Scottish historical next just to calm my nerves!

Anyway, one of my critique partners hinted again about getting my current manuscript. She'll have to wait. They'll all have to wait. After spending all my free time reading last week, I now can't write because I'm back at work and the first month is always the most intense for me.

Today was the first day of staff development for some of us. I had a hard time getting up with the alarm this morning. Actually, I got up to reset it for a half hour later...twice. But, all in all it was a good day and I'm now getting excited about going back to school. I'm plotting and planning lessons and books to read. If you have any good kids' books you think every kid should read, please share titles with me! I'm all for introducing new titles to my classes or even just giving them some reading suggestions. I teach 5th, 6th & 7th. I picked up one book during my summer that I thought would be GREAT! I figured they'd all get a kick out of it. The title had something to do with not meaning to kill the English teacher. Then I started thumbing through it and thought twice about it...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

A New Day

Okay, so I was a little bit overdramatic last night. I'm so much better today. Yes, I'm still upset about the rejection, but not nearly as upset as I thought I'd be. I guess I'm on my way to developing that thick skin required for this crazy business. As I told my critique partners, my "I'll show them!" attitude did surface today.

So, I'm throwing myself back into the fray. Working on the UCOD rewrites, sorting out details and incorporating the editors comments into my writing. Making it the best book I can at this point in my career. I've given myself a deadline to finish the complete manuscript by September 1. That is more than enough time. I probably won't do much on the new one, RESISTANCE, until I'm back into the swing of school.

Speaking of school, are parents really that excited about kicking their kids out of the house and back into the halls of learning? Well, I wish people would keep their excitement to themselves! As a teacher, I don't think I'm really ready to go back yet! My summer isn't over. I still have precious, valuable time. So much to do, so many books to read, so many plots to plan.

Actually, I'm kind of easing myself back into the school thing. I went to work today, caught up with a few people, thought about going into my classroom. Didn't do it. Maybe tomorrow. Technically we don't have to be back until next Monday, but every year I end up spending a good chunk of time at the school the week before we have to be back. I just know for tonight I'm planning to read a 6th grade book and start thinking about activities and lessons. I have a buttload of kids' books to read, but of course all I want to read are the 101-thousand books I picked up at Nationals!

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Wait is Over

Silhouette rejection. After 10 months, I get a nice paragraph about all the manuscript's shortcomings. The worst thing about it? I thought for sure that I'd get a request for more material, but it just says "best of luck in your publishing endeavors." Back to square one in the middle of nowhere without a roadmap. Excuse me while I go be miserable and contemplate never writing again.

Home At Last!

Well, here I am sitting back in front of my own computer in Austin. I got back late last night from Reno. The RWA National Conference was great. I went to a few good workshops, hauled away a LOT of books, had just a few drinks and met lots of people. It was cool to meet the people I'd been e-mailing or blogging over the last few months. My all time favorite book of last year won a Rita and I was so excited! It was a Bombshell (big surprise there, right?). A.K.A. Goddess by Evelyn Vaughn. I got my picture taken with my all time favorite author, Suzanne Brockmann. Three pictures actually since in two of them I closed my eyes. BUT the third one came out great! (Yes, Nancy, I got a copy for you too!) I got to meet Julie Garwood, Jill Shalvis, Allison Brennan, Laura Iding who has been a HUGE help for me figuring out all the medical issues in my manuscripts. I know I'm leaving a bunch of things out, but my brain is still fried. I sat with Julie Kenner on the first leg of my flight back to Austin. That was pretty neat because we never seem to get much time to talk. Jenna Black, a woman who just sold a paranormal to Tor, sat on my other side. Then in Las Vegas I volunteered to give up my seat and take a later flight. I got a nice chunk of travel voucher change for it. How cool is that?

When I got in last night, I found a message from my neighbor. She picked up a package for me that was left outside the front door. Immediately my mind flew to a rejection. (No, I'm not a pessimist, but I'm not expecting any other packages.) I only hope that it's from the agent I sent a partial to instead of the editor who has had my other manuscript for over 10 months. (I never thought the day would come that I hoped for a rejection!) Of course the neighbor is at work and I can't get the package for a few more hours!

In related news, I wrote 202 pages during my summer break. (I've still got one more OFFICIAL week off before going back to gear up for the new school year.) I've done a lot of plotting and planning. Because I've incorporated characters from 3 different books, I've been trying to figure out the specifics of jobs, settings, logistics, etc. A fellow Austin RWA member has offered to help me get my military "stuff" down right, which has just made my life ten times easier! (Thanks, Gail!) I'm looking forward to getting back to UCOD and hammering out the final draft within the month (much to the relief of my critique partners who keep reminding me that I left them hanging).

I'm still lost somewhere between category and single title. Since Bombshell is the closest category line closest to single title, the line is even more blurry (blurrier??) for me. I do feel very strongly though, especially after some of the workshops that I need to consider that I have a single title voice. I've said time and again that if I get a rejection from Silhouette on SURVIVAL 101 that I will switch the focus of that mauscript to single title. It's already close to the word count and I had actually adjusted it to make it more Bombshelly. (I love that word!)

Now, I just have to wait and see what my package is that my neighbor has...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Haunting Past

Ever wonder what happened to the people you grew up with? To the people who were important in your life? A woman I went to grade school with e-mailed me out of the blue last month. It was wonderful to catch up and hear about her. Made me think of all the special people I've lost contact with. Sue Baptista, Dave Kludas, Clif Hinze, Tina Sarno, Chris Mangiapane. There are tons more, but these are the ones that come off the top of my head. They were good friends at various times in my life when I really needed them. Wherever they are, whatever roads they've traveled, I hope they're happy.

I'm happy today. I'm sitting at a friend's house. I haven't seen her since October and it's like I never left. When I flew in (to Las Vegas) Tuesday night, we went straight to the bar. We met up with a guy she went to middle school with who happened to be bartending. We slept late yesterday, went to the movies, had dinner, took a nap and then got up at 4 this morning to go back to that bar so they could reminisce (sp?) some more with the yearbooks. When I lived here for six years, she and I spent a LOT of time hanging out in bars. You know, before we became respectable members of society...

Monday, July 18, 2005

T Minus One Week...

Counting down to Nationals!! I'm flying into Reno on Monday so I can go on the Kiss of Death Tour on Tuesday. It was an awesome time last year and I can't wait for this year! I'm keeping busy during my summer break, but people keep reminding me that school is just around the corner. What's up with that??? I still have a few weeks. Why must they try to ruin what time I have left free from crazy kids?

Writing is going well. Got some new ideas for yet ANOTHER book. Wrote more on my current one, revised some more of my old one and last night I got out of bed at 12:45 to plot details of my current one. I have also read 8 books in the last 6 weeks. The last two I finished were Night Moves (Blaze) by Julie Kenner and Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis.

Julie Kenner's was hot. I don't know how else to say it. I read it in one day. 5 hours to be exact.

Jill Shalvis's Seeing Red was great. It wasn't like I just HAD to keep reading to turn the pages, but I couldn't get the characters and the plot out of my head as I went through and did my errands during the day. It was just such a comfortable book with such realistic characters. I will definitely be picking up more of her books!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Plotting, Planning, Never-Ending Madness!

Well, I've made significant progress...on 3 different manuscripts! It's so freaky that I'll get up in the middle of the night (after going to bed at 2 or 3) just to jot down a few more lines of dialogue or another plot twist! I'm overwhelmed with what my muse is throwing at me and I couldn't be happier. For me, this is what writing is all about.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Hello out there! I know I have been scarce this last month, but it has been for a good cause! I've been reading, relaxing, sleeping late (and staying up late), hanging out with family. It has been glorious!

Of course, I've been writing too. I'm up to page 102 on the new manuscript, which I LOVE!!! I have a few issues with some of the choices of the hero and heroine since I wouldn't necessarily make the same choices, but they're helping me through that. The hero has been MUCH more understanding of my hesistance, but the heroine just rolls her eyes at me and demands I "get over it". Ultimately, I am TOTALLY in tune with writing their story and so this book is coming along much faster and easier. I've got some AWESOME insights just in the last day and I can't wait to get some quality time to spend on the manuscript.

Still haven't heard from the agent (it's been the required 8 weeks for a response on a partial) or the editor (that's going on 9 1/2 months).

I guess that's all I have to report for now. I expect to be online more often over the next few weeks before Nationals. Until next time, I hope you are all doing well.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Notebooks, Pens and Various Locales

Well, this will be my last regular post for a while. I won't be on the computer half as much as I have been over the last few weeks. Why is that, you ask? When I start a new manuscript, I handwrite. I LOVE handwriting in the beginning. I can't explain it and I won't even begin to try. I just love it! Plus, I love being able to pull out the notebook anywhere and start writing. Yeah, I can do that with a laptop, but the notebooks were only 19 cents a piece and I'm still on the stack that I bought a couple of years ago during a school supply rush. So, I'll be checking in from time to time and I'll let you know if any news (good or bad) comes in. Wish me luck with uncovering Ryan and Jacey's story!


After a year, I have finished the rough draft of UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS!!! I am soooo thrilled. The weight is COMPLETELY off my shoulders. I know all the things that are happening in my story. Grace and Ethan are very pleased and proud of me. I have a lot of stuff to clean up when I do revisions, but my heart is relieved and Grace and Ethan have given me permission to pursue Jacey and Ryan's story, RESISTANCE, in the meantime.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


It takes a confident woman to delete chunks of pages from a work in progress. Yes, that's me. Confident. I've spent most of the last 2 days cutting, pasting and writing. I've dropped some scenes that I originally wrote for this story last year, scenes that don't mesh with what I've got now and probably won't mesh with anything in the future.

As my finger hung above that delete button, a smile crept over my face. This is what it's all about. Making the story the best it can be. Knowing I'll be able to get to the ending despite pitching 20 pages today. And believing enough in my own talent and my characters to go through with hitting that button.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Really, It's Not THAT Bad

Hi. It's Friday afternoon. I haven't done anything yet on the book today. I've just been reading (PARALLEL LIES) and watching old episodes of ROAR. Anybody remember that summer show with Heath Ledger from years ago??? I loved it when it was on and I was thrilled when I found it today on the Sci-Fi channel! I got to watch 2 episodes I'd never seen!

Okay, so sorry for all the whining I keep choosing to do. I'm actually a lot better today. I whined on here and I whined to my Austin RWA group and many people gave me great feedback. So, thanks to everyone who came to my rescue! I seriously think part of my problem is the limbo I'm in with my last manuscript, the one that's been in NY since October. Sure, I can take it as a good sign that it's taking this long, but the waiting is DRIVING ME CRAZY!!!! But, I know I shouldn't let that interfere with my writing of the current manuscript. So...

Bottom line. I've decided to do as much as I can on UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS (affectionately known as UCOD for short) until my self-imposed deadline of Tuesday, June 7th. After that, I will switch gears and focus on reading, enjoying my summer and starting the next manuscript. I'll take a week or two off from UCOD and then get back to finishing whatever still needs to be done. So, off I go to continue Grace and Ethan's journey. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Blue, Blah, Bummed

Don't really know why I'm writing this post. I guess just cause I'm feeling out of sorts and I have to vent. I don't know why I feel this way. I should be thrilled. I'm off my day job for a couple of months, I'm going on vacation next week. My knee is better. (Spent the day hopping around the house, popping pills and leaving a heating pad on it). Got some errands done. Nancy's agreed to make my business cards for Nationals. I've got some great ideas floating around in my head for the next book. Finished critiquing Jenna's historical--a great read and I can't wait to see it on the shelves someday!

But I can't finish my own book.

Don't know why. I've got more than half of it done and sent off to one of my critique partners. I LOVE Ethan and Grace and their story. I know how it ends, I know I've got rearranging and more writing to do.

But I can't finish my own book.

In all the years I've been writing, since that first completed manuscript was done back in sixth grade in 1983, I have never had this much trouble finishing a manuscript. I've always worked through the block and ultimately found my muse again. This time I'm even letting my characters tell the story, not forcing anything of my own in there.

But I STILL can't finish the book.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

How Weird!

Woke up today and my knee is back to the way it was over the long weekend. Still a little stiff and sore, but nowhere near the pain I was in yesterday. I'm going to take some more aspirin and keep favoring it. We shall see!

I've got lots of little errands I MUST do today- pay some bills, turn in my contract for the next school year, order some business cards for Nationals, mail some cards.

Don't know when I'll get back to my book. I came home last night and decided not to write or read Jenna's work. I decided to finish the Bombshell I was reading (TARGET). Then I did start Jenna's next chapters, but I was tired and so I stopped after 2 chapters. Don't want to cheat her out of a decent critique! So, I picked up PARALLEL LIES by Kate Donovan and read the first 34 pages of that. When I finally shut off the lights, a wicked thunderstorm blew in. Didn't bother me, though. I fell asleep in the middle of it!

I'm hoping to get through at least another chapter or 2 on my own manuscript today and then get back to Jenna Stuart's manuscript. I'll let you know how successful I am!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Samantha Saxon

Hey! Just want to let everyone know to check out on Thursday (June 2) for a chat with several Berkley authors, including a wonderful new Berkley Sensation author, Samantha Saxon! The chat's at 8 p.m. (central time). Samantha is an awesome historical writer, who happens to belong to my local RWA group. Her debut novel, THE LADY LIES, hits the shelves on June 7. Be sure to pick up a copy and be sure to stop by the chat on Thursday to cheer her on!


GGGRRR! It is Tuesday. Four days since I damaged my old body on the moonwalk. Since the moment of humiliation, my knee has been a kaleidoscope of colors but pain free. A little stiff, maybe. But no pain. UNTIL TODAY!!! Why, why, why?? I'm limping. I don't want to move my leg. Not even to go get aspirin. But of course, I have plans this afternoon which force me to get out of this chair. I can't even say I'm suffering for my craft! I'm just suffering due to my own STUPIDITY!!!

Awesome Read

I've just read the first 11 chapters of a friend's historical novel, which she is polishing up for an editor. Can I just say WOW? This woman has GOT to be so close to being published. It will be a sin if this editor does not sign her! I got so involved in the story that when I got to the last page she sent me I was literally cursing her for leaving me hanging! I'm telling you. Memorize this woman's name. JENNA STUART. I'm sure her "Call" will be coming soon!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Gifts For Ethan And Me

Here I sit just after 1 a.m. on Monday morning. I am amazed at my characters and their lives. The struggles they share with me and the tender moments they allow me to write for them. I've been stressing for weeks about what Grace (my heroine) ends up getting Ethan (my hero) for Christmas. Saturday, Nancy (best friend) reminded me to back off and let the characters tell me what to write.

In remembering to do that, I have come so far in the last two days with this manuscript. Ethan and Grace are both talking to me again and happily sharing the ins and outs of their relationship and their dealings with the suspects in this attempted murder case. He's unlocking the secrets of his motivation to me and Grace even whispered to me what she ends up buying him for a Christmas present!

Some authors talk about planning and plotting ahead of time. Some talk about giving their characters events, trial and tribulations. I am not one of these authors. I am not creating the story. I am allowing the characters to tell their story through me. I can't plot and plan what I want to happen at any point in the manuscript. When I get selfish and try to do that, my characters walk away from me and I spend fruitless hours or weeks (and, in some cases, months) in writer's block.

To me, the best manuscripts I've written have been about characters that I love, would love to befriend, would want in my corner in a crisis. Yes, I loved all my characters when I was working on telling their stories, but when I can't even remember what they look like a year or two after writing the book, then there's something missing and it always shows in the manuscript. I believe what is missing are the characters' voices.

When Nancy told me to just let the characters tell me what happens I was a little ...annoyed, shall we say, because it's harder than it sounds. But, she was right. (Damn, I hate when that happens!) Thanks, Nancy!

So, I must go back to the basics and remember that the characters tell the story. They control what happens every step of the way. What I want doesn't matter. I am merely the scribe, if you will. The exhilaration I get when things are flowing and sections are being connected and when I finish a manuscript isn't because I've created a wonderful tale. It's because I've successfully retold the tale of my characters, people I could (and often do) talk about like they were my best friends.

I realize some of this may sound like rambling, but hey, it's late! My best way to describe this experience for anyone who doesn't get it is to tell you about an event that happened during a manuscript I wrote somewhere around 2001 (I think). I sat there typing away. I was completely immersed in the story and completely in love with the characters. (Yes, I still remember every detail about them now!) My fingers flew across the keyboard for quite a while. Then I stopped, gasped and shouted, "I can't believe he just said that to her!" Until that point, I thought I knew that hero well. Because I was allowing him to relay the story to me, I learned more about him and truly enjoyed the writing process. I've had many moments like that since and I'm sure I'll have many more.

Just as long as I remember to listen...

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Okay, so I got tagged. Here's the info.

Total Number Books I Own: Couldn't tell you. I've got bookshelves in the house and a bunch of books boxed in my storage unit. (oh, and then there's the stack of my own books in my classroom.)

Last Book Read: Countdown by Ruth Wind

Book Sitting On My Coffee Table I'm Planning To Read: Target by Cindy Dees. I'm actually halfway through it. But Hawken's Heart by Suzanne Brockmann is calling to me from the bookshelf!

Five Books That Mean A Lot to Me:

1. To Kill A Mockingbird- Harper Lee
2. AKA Goddess- Evelyn Vaughn
3. The Giver- Lois Lowry
4. Night Watch- Suzanne Brockmann
5. Outlander- Diana Gabaldon

And tags:
1. Nancy Wales
2. Brenda Bradshaw
3. Shari Owens
4. Michelle Willingham
5. Randy Jean

***A side note: This is actually my second tag, but I never posted the first because it required me to come up with a poem and poetry and I DO NOT get along!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

I'm Back, It's Over and Now...Back to Work

I survived the West Texas field trip (and the 7 hour drive each way) and I can actually say I had fun. The kids were great. I managed to get out of taking my 6th graders on a hike Wednesday morning since we had enough chaperones and so I stayed behind and wrote six pages on the end of the book. That night we had a campfire which scared the hell out of most of the kids and some of the adults! Then the kids in my room (egged on by the other teacher in the room) decided to scare some of the boys. It was beautiful!

So, yesterday was our last day of school, which was a half-day field day. Then the teachers got together for a happy hour (or in our case, a happy few hours!) and then we had our last middle school dance. At the end of the night, I was exhausted and emotional. Some of the kids have been with our school since we opened 4 years ago. I decided that I don't like change unless I'm the one instituting it. Who gave these kids the right to grow up in front of my eyes, lodge themselves in my heart and then rip it out when they have to move to a new school?! But alas, what doesn't kill me makes me stronger, right?

Speaking of killing me...during our field day I decided to forget my age and weight and I joined a bunch of kids inside the moonwalk. Quickly I fell down and in such a way that almost pulled the whole structure down. It was not pretty. I banged my knee. Even after ice and asprin, it is swollen, all sorts of colors and stiff. At the time, I was more humiliated than hurt...until I actually got up to walk away. But, the cute thing? A bunch of 1st and 2nd grade boys were grabbing my hands and arms trying to pull me up. It was so sweet! As I sat in the boss's office with my ice pack, I told her I just couldn't let the year end without some more drama. (Those of you who know me or have been reading this blog for a while will remember the broken finger incident.)

I guess, in the end, the injury doesn't really matter because it's the perfect reason for me to stay seated at the computer working on the last 60 pages of my rough draft of the manuscript FROM HELL! (I mean that in the most loving way a writer can mean it when speaking of a manuscript with a story I love and characters who have become like my best friends.) My goal is still to have this puppy done before I go home to RI for my vacation. So, I'll close now and get back to work so I can make that happen.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Evil Surrounds Me

So, I did manage to get some more written last night. Then I was wide awake until 1 trying to plot the ending. Today I'm tired, but I'd planned to do a whole bunch of writing so I could send off a chunk of chapters to my critique partners.

BUT, there was an evil force lurking about. The dark side called to me. No, it wasn't Darth Vader stopping by to tell me he was my father. It was my best friend, Nancy, and this wonderful invention called AOL Instant Messenger. I installed it over the weekend and today was the first time I used it. Nancy and I chatted for about an hour. It was almost like the good old days of sitting at her house, me with my hot tea and Nancy with her iced tea, and the two of us just talking about whatever came into our minds. I can't wait to see you, Nancy!

So, needless to say, I haven't done much work. Sure we only chatted for an hour, but that threw my whole schedule off. I had to eat, and then clean out my car. Now I'm waiting for laundry to dry so I can pack for my wonderful field trip with the 5th, 6th and 7th grades (Tuesday through Thursday). So why don't I get back to work now, you say? I don't know. I guess I gotta be in the right mood. Plus, I need a whole chunk of time to write and I really don't have much more than an hour or two to get everything done. Maybe I'll jot some stuff down. Maybe I'll handwrite some pages over the next three days, although I don't imagine I'll have a lot of alone time. (In that respect, this could be a nightmare! I'm used to my own company and quite enjoy the silence that surrounds me when I leave work. How will I survive without that?)

Okay. Enough rambling. I'm off to balance my checkbook (a colossal nightmare if there ever was one!), finish my packing and relax. Have a wonderful few days and I'll post at the end of the week.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The end is near!

Wahoo! I'm so excited! I just finished my very last academic assignment for the school year. I've been grading and averaging grades since about 10 this morning. BUT, I'm done! No more papers to grade until August! No more lesson plans to create! No more wondering if I lost an assignment or if the kid just didn't turn it in. So, all I have this week is copying grades into the report cards tomorrow, along with cleaning the room and collecting books. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I'll be on a field trip to West Texas with 5th, 6th and 7th grade. Then Friday is half day/ field day! Oh, and the middle school end of the year dance is on Friday too. BUT, the best news is that now I can concentrate on finishing the book!

Speaking of the book, I had a wonderful day yesterday. I spent the entire day plotting and writing. I ended up adding 13 pages to the manuscript and jotting more ideas down for the very end battle scene. I've got a good feeling about this! So, once I do a few things around the house and have some dinner, I'll be jumping back into the manuscript.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

More Links

Haven't started writing today even though I woke up at 7:30. Been reading TARGET. It's good, but there's so much action and the whole thing takes place in a 24-hour period. I'm on page 110 and I'm exhausted!

I figured I'd add a couple more links to my list on the right. I already check out Brenda's blog daily for updates and over the last week or so I've been checking Amy and Nic's blogs as well. I figured I might as well just add them to the list!

Amy is another writer, awesome I might add, who is also just on the edge between being published and unpublished. She writes paranormals. Now, I'm not much of a paranormal reader, but she even got me interested in reading her work! Check it out. She won the Thunder and Roses First Chapter contest in January of this year and you can read her first chapter. Sorry, I don't know how to set this up so I can put a direct link in this post, so you'll just have to click on the link to her blog and go from there!

Nic, as I've said before, is an AWESOME editor. Okay, so she's not doing that for a living (although I STILL think she should be). She was the critique partner who helped me get my manuscript REBEL HART ready for the editor two years ago. Now, after SOOOOO long, she's actually working with me on the current manuscript as well. She's an aspiring writer herself who can write great sex scenes and sexual tension! Her blog is not geared specifically for writing, but it's an interesting and fun site to visit!

Okay, I'm really going to get back to the novel. No, really. The grading can wait. I have 2 days to get that done. I'll work on the book for a few hours.

Right after I get another cup of tea.

Friday, May 20, 2005

It's Friday!!!

I haven't been able to do too much writing-related work since the end of the school year is only 1 week away! I finished reading another Bombshell, The MIDAS TRAP by Sharron McClellan, and just started another one, TARGET by Cindy Dees. I've heard wonderful things about Cindy Dees' work but I don't remember if I've ever read any of her books before. I do plan to get a good night's sleep and then tackle the rest of my grading and report card stuff tomorrow so that I can concentrate Sunday (and anytime tomorrow after grades are recorded) on my book.

What I wanted to share tonight is a website. I just checked in on the Celtic Hearts forums and found this link: I thought this was hilarious. Now, a lot of romance authors today will gripe about the bodice ripper covers and just plain stupid covers. This site basically makes jokes about some of the cover art of romance books. Nothing against the writer. After all, they seldom have any say over the cover of their books. Just the same, I thought these were funny and thought you might need a good laugh at the end of a long week. (Although, the guy at the top of the page kinda creeps me out!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Light Bulb Moment!

Wow! This is going to sound crazy, but this is truly awesome! I just found out the attempted murderer of my heroine isn't the person I thought! The real attempted murderer is someone who's been hiding out on the outer edges of the novel and who hadn't even made an appearance until today! I'm so thrilled and excited. This is the type of writing moment that I absolutely love and can't imagine living without. It almost makes all the other aggravation worth it. Now, with this character's identity officially revealed to me, I'm confident that the last 80 pages or so will flow easier and continue coming together to make this one kick-ass story! Wahoo!!!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Out of the Ashes...

So, here we are. Sunday evening. I've been writing most of the day. Things are slowly getting back on track. I've done some serious soul-searching over the last few days about my friend, her death, this story, and about where I want to go with my books.

I have decided that I may not be writing romantic suspense after all. I may be more "suspense with romantic elements" than anything else. Now, I know some people who read that will say, "What's the difference?" For me, I think it's more a state of mind than anything else. As an ARWA colleague told me last year at Nationals, I like to read romance, but I don't necessarily like to write it. Yes, I have to have some kind of romance in my stories, but it can truly be very little. I'm much more fascinated and intrigued by the suspense, the danger, the crimes.

As a writer, I've also figured out where my "dream house" is. Bottom line, I would LOVE to be a Silhouette Bombshell author. Since these books aren't your average romances, I think my stories would fit perfectly into this line. It's as if this line was created especially for me as a reader and a writer. So, I will continue to create the best stories I can and target Bombshell. I can't tell you what a wonderful feeling that is to know exactly where I want to be!

As for the story, I changed the beginning. Instead of starting it off in the traditional "get hero & heroine together asap" fashion, I decided to add in a murder scene to show right off the bat that this is not your ordinary romance. I'm so much happier with it and I think it's safe to say I can move forward with it!

Now, the only trouble is, I keep flipping back and forth between two different titles. Under Cover of Darkness or Amazing Grace. I like them both for different reasons. Any opinions?

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


As a writer, I expect to use my knowledge and experiences for my books. I didn't realize my baggage would get in the way of me finishing a book. This is one of the things I learned from my fellow Austin RWA members last night at our meeting.

I was talking about all the trouble I've been having writing this book and how I used to be able to write a book in 4 months. The first 100 pages of this manuscript were handwritten last summer. I explained that this latest heroine is based on a woman who used to be a friend of mine who mysteriously died. Through our discussion last night (over a few after-meeting drinks), I realized that I still have unresolved issues with her death.

She and I had vowed to stay in touch when she left the job we were in, and she tried, but I was the one to let the friendship fall apart. Often over the next couple of years I thought about her and about contacting her, but then thought too much time had gone by. After I'd moved to Texas, another friend e-mailed me with the news of this woman's death. I took it hard. It's been two years and I'm just realizing I'm still taking it hard.

I started this book with her in mind. I'd planned to dedicate it to her memory and I wanted to give her the happy ending she so deserved. She was a kind woman and a good friend. Perhaps I'm afraid I won't be able to do her justice. Perhaps her story needs to be told in a different way than I'd planned. Whatever it is, I need to unpack the baggage before I'll be able to complete the book.

Sunday, May 08, 2005


I won't say how long I wrote today. Actually, I can't say how long I wrote. However, I can say that I wrote eight pages and started rearranging some of the main events to where they should be in the book. I don't want to jinx myself again and say I'm back to the level of enthusiasm I had before (when I first started working on it) because...well, I don't know that for sure. All I know is it's almost 12:10 on Sunday morning and I want to keep working! Maybe I will for a bit longer! Hopefully tomorrow I'll have even more success.

Friday, May 06, 2005

...Later That Same Night...

It's almost 10:30. I'm exhausted. I'll start being a professional tomorrow.

No More Excuses

Okay, so I'm sitting there last night watching ER because I can't find the energy to write OR read and I had a revelation...

Dr. Lewis was yelling at Carter because he got tenure and she didn't when she clearly feels she deserves it and he only got it because he's rich and gives money to the hospital. Well, she's telling him that his job basically has always been something for him to do. It isn't his passion and he's always had his family's money to lean back on if he chose not to be a doctor. She, on the other hand, apparently feels this is all she's ever wanted. Being a doctor means the world to her, it's her passion and she can't think of doing anything else. WELL....

I realized that I love teaching, but if I could make a living as a full-time writer I would give up teaching in a heartbeat. IN A HEARTBEAT! My passion has always been and I'm thinking always will be writing. SOOOOO...

If I really feel that way, then I have to get off my ass and get to work. I can no longer whine and moan that I'm just not motivated. I can't allow two or three weeks to go by without a word written just because I can't figure out what happens next. If I want to be a successful writer, then I have to write. Sounds simple. But the important thing to remember is even when I don't want to write, I must write. When I become published I'll have deadlines and I can't say to my editor, "Oh, I'm just not in the mood" or "I really just want to read for a few weeks" or "Gee, I've got so much stuff going on at school I can't finish that book this month."

As my friend Steph says, this is a business and I must remember to treat it as such. I must be a professional. I must do the job I've been hired to do.

So, here it goes. Here is my pledge. I pledge to accelerate my mind, control my, that's the school pledge! I pledge to commit myself to my second job. I pledge to spend at least 20 hours a week on my writing- whether revising, brainstorming, studying my craft, or drafting letters, synopses or manuscripts. This writing time may also include preparing packages for editors or agents and critiquing other people's work. I will not allow my lack of creativity to stop my work. After all, I want that paycheck and I can't get that if I don't do any work!

So, now that it is May 6th, I pledge to have my current manuscript ready for submission by June 6th. I don't have a choice. It must be done by then. Besides, what if Silhouette buys SURVIVAL and wants the next book? Or what if the agent comes back with a request for a full manuscript?

Now, here is YOUR part. You must pledge to help me reach that goal. You must hound me, harrass me and annoy me (in a constructive manner, of course!) into keeping to my schedule. I'm counting on you!

First thing on my schedule tonight? Dinner! However, I do promise to get back to work tonight for...three hours. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

And Still No Writing...

So, I'm bored and should be doing something else, right? What do I do? I check out my blog and click on all the links just to make sure no news has been added to anyone else's site. I check out Sandra Moore's blog, 'cause I just finished ORCHID HUNTER (Different kind of story, but well worth reading!) over the weekend. I've been checking Emily's but there's no new news. Of course, I check Brenda's and she hasn't added to it yet today. Evelyn Vaughn, Ingrid get the point. I checked them all out.

Well, I get to Suz Brockmann's website and I'm immediately lost in the information. (Have I mentioned how much I absolutely LOVE Suz Brockmann???) I'm reading about all the books I have read and all the ones I need to read still. I'm reading about her appearances and about the excerpts she puts in the backs of her books. got me thinking about my own book and that I may have a reason for not being able to finish.

I have specific scenes that I expect to be in the end of the book. I think they should be there and they go good with the rest of the story. BUT, I'm starting to think just maybe they don't belong! Maybe this not wanting to write thing goes back to not letting my characters tell their own story. So, just maybe I have to write, let them tell the story and let the Bombshell heroine I've unmasked do her work!

Ultimately, I know I have to keep writing because when I do finally get the call, they'll probably want more books. Oh, Sandra Moore helped too, because I read her excerpt about her "Call". Like her, I started targeting Silhouette Intimate Moments, but my heart (and my writing) has always leaned toward the action and suspense stories rather than dwelling on the romance. I firmly believe that (among other things) is why I haven't been able to get my own "Call" yet.

Hopefully things will change...soon...but only if I get back to writing!

Saturday, April 30, 2005

And Still I Can't Write!

The good news? I managed to get my partial off to the agent I met with in San Antonio at the Merritt conference. Yay!

The bad news? I haven't written anymore. I've got great ideas and even planned exactly what I would write for my very last scene while I stood in the line at the post office. Yet, I still haven't put pen to paper or fingers to keyboards for the manuscript. Of course, I've sent out a bunch of e-mails and checked friends' websites, but I can't get back to work!

More good news? I got an old critique partner back. Nic ( critiqued my first manuscript that went to an editor after the 2003 contest win. She is awesome and I've often told her she should be working as an editor somewhere. Now, with the trio of critique partners I have, Brenda, Nic and Deb, you'd think I'd be eager to finish the manuscript and get their feedback, right?

Noooooo. Even they can't kick my butt into working. Guess I have to find the willpower to do that on my own. Either that or my next hero and heroine will kick my butt into gear so that I can get to their story!

Maybe tomorrow...