Saturday, December 30, 2006

On A Roll!

Got word yesterday that both FP & RR finaled in the Hook, Line & Sinker contest! I'm so thrilled with FP's successes. It's finaled in 3 out of 5 contests so far with 2 more waiting on announcements and 2 more that I'm going to enter in January.

An unbiased reader spoke with me about FP the other day. She liked it enough that it left her wanting to read the next book. She said it caught her attention right away and that she likes the tension between the heroine and the hero. What she regrets is that I didn't give her lots more details about the village and how the community interacts with the heroine. I explained that in a short contemporary I don't have a lot of space to do that. She said she felt like she was there, she just usually reads books that have tons more details.

2007 is going to be a spectacular year for my writing. I feel it in my gut. That may not take the form of a book contract, but there are good things in store for me and I feel that I cannot afford to slack off with any aspect of my writing business. So, I've started writing the next book and I'm already so in love with it!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Rounding Out 2006

The presents are all unwrapped, the candy is all eaten (or at least broken into), the Santa hat is packed away until next year. Christmas Eve and Day were wonderful. My brother and grandfather joined us (Mom, stepdad and me) for dinner on Christmas Eve and my best friend joined us for Christmas dinner yesterday. I got some wonderful presents and such peace within me. It's too hard to explain without sounding like an idiot. So, I'll not even try.

My thoughts now turn to New Year's Eve. I'm always the person pondering how my life and the world around me have changed over the last 12 months and I'm always making plans to improve in the new year. Where will I go? Who will be influential in my life in 2007? Will I make a difference to someone else?

Some questions are easy to answer. I'll go back to Texas to teach the 2nd half of the school year. I plan to go to Ireland for the first time and back to Scotland during the summer. I'll be in RI for my cousin's wedding next fall. For sure I'll be in Dallas for the RWA National Conference.

Some questions I can't begin to answer. Some I can only hope for the answer my heart wants me to give.

Will you reflect as we get closer to 2007?

Friday, December 22, 2006

An Early Christmas Present

As I struggled last night to pack too much crap into my too small suitcase, I got word that FP finaled in the Duel on the Delta Contest! Woohoo!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006


It's over! School is out. I'm officially on vacation until January 8th. I'm so excited! I can read, write, wrap Christmas presents. Of course, first I have to stuff all said presents in with my clothes and be able to zip my suitcase!

Wherever you are, wherever you go I hope you have a wonderfully exciting and restful holiday!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Ha, Ha, Ha!

I have beaten those sentences into submission! (Um, is that grammatically correct?)

Okay, no. I've merely finished my latest draft of my 2 page synopsis. I am sending it to the contest coordinator for the final round of the Romancing the Tome contest. I am not going to look at FP or anything to do with FP for at least another week. From writing, I am officially on vacation!

Now I just have to get through the next 2 1/2 days at school.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Poke My Eye Out With a Tree Branch

I guarantee that will be less painful than working on this synopsis. If you haven't already realized it, I HATE writing synopses. That's because I stink at them. I'm revising the 2-pager for the final round of the Romancing the Tome contest and it's killing me. I've got 2 pages and 8 lines. Yeah, I could change the font, but I'm anal about sending uniform entries. The manuscript pages are in Courier New so the synopsis HAS to be in Courier New as well.

In other news, I loved watching The Magic of Ordinary Days yesterday. Only watched once. I'm supposed to go with my sister-in-law to see Babel this evening. We're both huge Brad Pitt fans. I brought a whole bunch of stuff home to grade, but it's all still in the car. Oh well.

How is your weekend?

Friday, December 15, 2006

A Present For Myself

We got out of our staff meeting a bit early, so I packed up a bunch of stuff to grade, tossed it in the trunk and headed for the mall. Even though some nasty bug is trying to worm through my innards, I was bound and determined to continue Christmas shopping. Things were going along well and I realized I'd only have one more outing for gifts. I could've gone tonight, but traffic was already choking the highway. So, I decided to come home after my last stop in the Hallmark store.

Well, there I was searching for cute little gifts, when what should appear right before my eyes? A movie I've seen once that I absolutely LOVED and have wanted to own since it first aired. Even though the movie aired on the Hallmark channel, it never actually occurred to me to look for it in a Hallmark store. Yet, there it was whispering, "Here I am! Merry Christmas to you, Chris!"

I had a bunch of grand plans for this weekend to make it whiz by, but since this bug's messing with my stomach, I think I might just sit on the couch with a cup of soup and watch my movie, The Magic of Ordinary Days with Keri Russell and Skeet Ulrich. And maybe tomorrow I'll sit with a morning cup of tea and watch it again.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Life Is Good

I can't complain.

Yesterday afternoon, I and a couple other staff members took the 4th & 6th grades to volunteer for Blue Santa. We got to shop for needy families here in Austin. I had a better time than I thought I would and the kids enjoyed it too. It felt so good knowing I was doing something good for my community.

We had our Austin RWA party last night and it was great. I got to see some people I haven't seen in months and I got to know the names of some of the new faces that have popped into our meetings over the last few months.

My lesson plans for the rest of the days before winter break are pretty much finished. I'm hoping to get a lot of grading done this weekend. (Next week I'm planning to sketch out my January lesson plans & work on report cards.)

I finished that kids' book, The Cay. It's by Theodore Taylor and it was AWESOME!! On my prep period today, I took the book and my cloak (Scottish, with the colors of the Black Watch) and I sat out front in the garden and sunshine. It was perfect and I was so relaxed for the rest of the day.

Another round of Christmas shopping tonight and I think I can safely say I'm almost done. Except for 1 or 2 people, I either have everything or I know what I'm getting them.

Busy weekend ahead, but you don't need all the details. Let's just say lots more Christmas stuff, a peek with my sister-in-law at Brad Pitt's newest movie, grading, and applying for my new passport!!! The post office is having a Passport fair, so I can take care of it now and not have to worry about it anymore for my summer trip to the British Isles!

I hope you all are doing well, staying sane and enjoying every maddening moment of this holiday season!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Losing My Mind (Or What's Left of It!)

I was sure I'd written a post since last Thursday. Guess not. Maybe I meant to. Maybe I formed one in my head. Or not.

It's been a busy few days. Friday after work I went Christmas shopping. Saturday I went grocery shopping and worked on crafting a 2 page synopsis for my contemporary. Saturday night we had our staff Christmas party for the day job at the boss's house. A good time was had by all and I ate enough for three people. Come to think of it, I drank enough for 3 people as well. Sunday I slept on the couch for 11 hours and then it took me a few more hours to pull myself together enough to keep my eyes open. I stopped by my brother's house to give my niece her birthday present and we watched The Polar Express. Cute movie. Then, they gave me my Christmas present since I may not see all of them together before my trip up to the frozen north. They gave me 2 of my favorite things-chocolate and a Barnes & Noble gift card! When I got home last night, I finished my 2 page synopsis. (I had a 5 pager and an 8 pager, but for the final round of Romancing the Tome I need a 2 pager.)

Tonight I went Christmas shopping again and started getting frustrated so I came home. Tomorrow is my Austin RWA chapter Christmas party, so I'm really looking forward to that. Then Thursday is our school winter program. So much to do, so little time!

I'm still not reading. I've decided that the week of Christmas I'm truly taking off. No school stuff, no writing, no business. (Well, I might actually draft some notes for the next book.) The first week of January I'll get back into the business end of writing and I'll work on stuff for the day job. I can't imagine doing absolutely nothing but reading, watching mindless TV and hanging out with family and friends, but it'll be so much fun!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Movin' Along

I hope everyone took a minute to remember Pearl Harbor. I brought it up to my homeroom class this morning and we got into a great discussion about war and how there's never just one reason for it.

I'm feeling better about my non-finaling (in this latest contest) manuscript. A friend of mine made a comment that I hadn't even thought about. When I told her the judges' reactions to my characters, she said, "Great!" I just stared at her like she had five heads. She went on to explain, "Your job is to make the reader feel something. They got invested enough to dislike the characters." Kind of odd thinking, but I like it!

Oh! Another co-worker read my Author in Waiting page and asked to read one of my manuscripts over winter break. (I gave my co-workers Tami Dee's website address and told them all about it during our last staff meeting.)

I put the Christmas tree up last night and went Christmas shopping tonight. By no means am I finished, but when I got tired I just came home. That was pleasant. AND I only bought one thing for myself-a Celtic CD.

I'm grading, planning and meeting with parents. I'm not even thinking about writing. That much. I started a new book from one of the kids in my 7th grade class. It's called The Cay and it's interesting enough to keep me reading. I read about 60 pages today during study halls and while my other classes were reading their books.

Tomorrow is Friday and I've got 2 weeks left before winter break! Yay! I cannot wait. Plus, this weekend is my niece's birthday (she's 5 and the only girl, I've got 6 nephews) and our staff Christmas party. Then I also plan to finish my Christmas shopping.

Oh! All is well with the family drama, at least for now. Hopefully it will remain so through my Christmas visit.

Happy writing, reading and holiday preparing!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


That's my word for the day. Or few days. I'm not reading, not writing, don't want to do either. I'm tired of mean kids. I'm trying to forget the judges' comments from my last entry (which didn't final) that said my hero was a jerk and my heroine whines too much. (CLEARLY those judges weren't from my target audience!) We've got some family drama that is hurting my heart and there's nothing I can do about it. I did manage to start my Christmas shopping and pull my decorations out of storage. After dinner I'm going to put the tree together and decorate it. Maybe that'll help me feel better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Life is Good!

Tami Dee's Website Go there. Look me up. I'm the December Author in Waiting. I had a lot of fun preparing for this. You'll see a picture of me (since I can't figure out how to post one to the blog), you can learn a bit more about me, and you can read excerpts from my latest award-winning suspense AND my first ever contemporary that I'm so thrilled with! Check it out! You have no excuses not to. It'll be up for the whole month.

I woke up this morning at 8:17. Work started at 7:45. You do the math. The boss wasn't upset though. I think in 5 1/2 years I've been late 3, maybe 4 times.

Turns out my Christmas lights weren't stolen. When I got home today they were up waiting for me to plug them in. Guess there is some good in the world.

I'm really, really thinking about a website as a Christmas present to myself. Plus I've got this great fellow ARWA member who designs them and has already started explaining all the techno-crap to me.

I've got a weekend of Christmas cheer planned---shopping, decorating and hot chocolate drinking. I brought a bunch of stuff home to grade too, which I really want to do so that life will be easier next week.

I'm off to have a cup of tea and read, but tonight I think I'll read Merry Christmas, Babies instead of Catherine, Called Birdy. You should go to Tami and I will love you for it!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I'm Kinda Bored Now

Got confirmation today that my GH entry is in Houston. Yay!

Wanna hear a stupid human story? We have these lights that each condo owner purchases to put up outside for the holidays. Usually the condo complex people put them up for us. I saw some other condos with their lights up, so I decided to put the lights outside the front door so they could put them up if they came by. That night, I got home. No lights up for me. No bag sitting by the front door. Somebody swiped my Christmas lights! Ho, ho, ho.

Got another agent rejection today, but it was for my last suspense. It didn't affect me. Is my skin getting thick or is it just that I haven't been to that "world" in months?

I haven't started sending FP queries yet. I'm giving myself a few weeks off to relax. Well, okay, that won't actually happen. I've got the day job, Christmas shopping and preparing for my trip back to RI for Christmas. (I hope I get some snow up there!) I imagine that I will work on the next manuscript, but it'll be informal--whenever I want and however much I want.

I checked into setting up a website. I'm really wishing I had one up and running already and I'm seriously considering it soon. I think it's partly because I feel like I'm at a point in my career where I could really use one. The thing is I can't decide if I want to stick with my own name or use a pen name. Yeah, I'm a bit ahead of myself here, but it pays to be prepared. I just like both names. Hhhmmm, that will come in handy when I start publishing in 2 different genres, though. Again, getting ahead of myself. One book at a time...unless there's a two or three book contract. This IS the season for miracles, right?

See? I'm rambling. I could be reading the book I promised my advanced 5th graders I'd read with them. (They've all finished it.) I could be reading Merry Christmas, Babies. I could clean up a little around the house. Too many choices and nothing pressing. I don't know what to do with myself!!!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Woohoo! I pulled an all-nighter and finished my GH entry. Maybe it wasn't the smartest thing to do, but it sure feels pretty good! It'll feel even better when I hand it over to the guy behind the counter at the post office this afternoon.

And you know the strange thing? Now that I can relax, read for pleasure again and watch mindless TV, you know what I've thought about doing? Starting work on the next book.

It's a sickness, isn't it?

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm Still Here

No, I haven't disappeared. Im just knee-deep in Golden Heart stuff. As I type, I am printing out my Golden Heart entry. Yippee! Once I post this, I'm going back to proofreading the rest of my manuscript before I burn the CD. Okay, the proofing will probably take me tonight and tomorrow night, but Wednesday this puppy goes in the mail! I could probably get away with sending it as it is right now, but I'm a stickler for details and I can't send anything out without a final read. I'm exhausted but loving this. I spent 3 out of my 5 days off staring at the computer and working to make this book the best it can be. I only stopped long enough to eat and go to the bathroom. I tell you, though. As much fun as this has been putting this together and finishing the manuscript, I can't wait for Wednesday night when I can celebrate with reading someone else's book!

Oh, wait. There is the matter of a certain set of contest entries that I have to print and mail by Thursday. BUT, after that I'm free and clear for a much needed break!

Uh-oh, printer's out of paper. Gotta go!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

By George, I Think I Might Have It!

The ending to my book, that is! After slaving away again today, I've just about finished the epilogue. I pinned down my heroine's GMC and forced myself to pinpoint what changes she goes through in the book. The more I write it, the easier it gets to explain her character arc. YAY!!! I'm off to nail down my timeline!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Giving Thanks--A Day Later

I am thankful for the family members who shared their holiday meal with me yesterday.
I am thankful for 2 more days off.
I am thankful Colt McCoy of the Texas Longhorns was able to move after that last hit late in the 4th quarter today.
I am thankful for finaling in the Romancing The Tome Series Contemporary category.
I would be eternally thankful if I could finish the book...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Turkey and Time Off

Woohoo!!! I'm off work until Monday! It is such a GREAT feeling. This year's kids are a tough bunch emotionally and I'm feeling worn down already.

BUT, for the next 5 days I have no work to do! Well, that's not entirely true. There is this matter of a certain Golden Heart entry to finish. And some queries to print out. Oh, and another contest to enter with my 2 manuscripts. Hhhmmm. Why is it that I'm typing a blog entry?

Oh, I wanted to share my progress over the weekend. I FINALLY managed to work through my block. (Yes, I have to learn to trust that my muse and my characters will see me through.) I've got a couple new scenes to add, which I plan to finish today, and then I can type THE END. Of course, I'll have to go back through it all and pull it tighter still, but that won't be so bad now that I know all the pieces fit together. I didn't end up scrapping those 20 pages. Yes, I'd taken them out, but I knew I'd probably want to reshape them and stick them back into the manuscript.

So, with my 5 days off I plan to work like a crazy woman to pull my GH entry together and make the story shine. Oh, and I'll probably have a few pieces of turkey too.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


And the heavens opened up and a great booming voice announced, "Chris, go forth and finish your most excellent novel!"

Friday, November 17, 2006

Brave Or Just Stupid?

Tick tock, tick tock. The Golden Heart deadline continues to creep up on me.

I'm still not able to write the ending to my book. I've procrastinated over the last 3 days to avoid it. I even brought home TONS of stuff to grade so that I don't have to work on my non-existent ending.

This afternoon I've realized that I NEED to focus. I have a job to do. I've already paid my GH money. So, here's what I'm doing:

I just scrapped 20 of the last 30 pages. I'm going to rewrite. I'm going to see where my characters are and where they need to go, and I'm going to let them guide me.

I just hope this works. It can't get much worse.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad

Today would've been my dad's 64th birthday. He passed away 9 1/2 years ago from lung cancer and sometimes it still feels like just yesterday. I still miss him everyday and I'm sure I always will. If you can, hug your dad or call him sometime this next week. Do it for all of us who'll never get that chance again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Book That Will Not End

I seem to have issues with book endings. Specifically, I take forever writing them. Maybe I take forever to let my characters share. Maybe I just box myself into a corner and I have no idea how to get out. I've got 30 pages left to revise/ rewrite and nothing I do is working. For the last hour I've been staring at the screen, cutting and pasting sections and then moving them back to their original spots. I've added lines and deleted them a few minutes later. Then I think maybe I don't know how to write a contemporary ending since everything else I've written has ended with someone in danger and someone dying. At this point, I'm seriously considering scrapping everything (of those pesky 30 pages) but the ending, which I know is right, and just writing it over. But how do I do that without the influence of the 20 pages I've scrapped?

Monday, November 13, 2006


220 pages, 5 drafts and eleven months later, I've finally found out what my core story is for my contemporary.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Escaping Hell

No wonder my heroine ran off to Scotland! Her family is rotten. Her father's a wuss, her sister's a whiner and her mom's a first class, cold-hearted bitch. I'm so sorry you've had to live with them, Rachel, but I promise Aidan will make it up to you!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Happy Veterans' Day

Thank you to all the men and women who protect our country and our freedom. Thank you for your sacrifices. And thank you to the families of military members because they sacrifice much as well.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Positive Procrastination Is Still Procrastination

I've been engaging in positive procrastination for days now. While my creativity and revision muses have been MIA, I have still been working on my writing career. I researched another contest and promptly entered it. I created my bio for my first writing related publicity (I'm Tami Dee's Author-in-Waiting for the month of December!) I even worked on reorganizing scenes for the last 100 pages of FP.

However, in the end, I do acknowledge that I am still procrastinating. The Golden Heart deadline is a mere 3 weeks and 3 days. I'm not worried about actually getting my revisions done on time. I think that may be part of the problem. I keep thinking, "Oh, it's not much to do. I just have to sit down and actually do it." THAT is the problem. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. No, no beer in one hand and eyes on friends' blogs. No Allison Brennan book in one hand and beer in the other. And certainly no beer in one hand and TV remote control in the other. I think that last one would be the worst display of writer procrastination and I do have some standards!

And so, here I go, trudging along on my most favoritest manuscript to date. (Yes, I'm inventing new words. This is another form of procrastination! See? I think this is an addiction.) Wish me luck!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


No, I couldn't be more creative with the title to this post. Sorry. My creativity is currently on hiatus. So, what am I doing while I should be working on my revisions for GH? Um, blogging, blog-hopping, talking on the phone for an hour, watching Jericho (I so love Jake and I don't for a minute believe that other guy is FBI!), printing out another contest entry (no, I haven't entered enough, even with the 9 contests I've entered since the end of August with 2 different manuscripts), e-mailing my Scotland contact with some more questions, typing the pages I handwrote during my writing retreat almost 2 weeks ago, thinking about having a beer and watching some more TV. Basically, I'm just perfecting my procrastination techniques. How about you?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Kids, Kilts, And Celts

The Austin Celtic Festival went very well. We had 4 drivers and 8 kids. I draped my arm on the shoulders of one of my more challenging students and before I could choose my words wisely he said, "Don't worry. I'll be good." And he was. They were in awe of the swords and kilted men, the baked treats from the Celtic bakery and the various types of dogs. They shopped, ate and walked. They asked if they could stay longer when we had to leave. All in all, I'd say it was a successful field trip. Oh, and I even got 3 of the kids to try haggis!

Once all the kids were picked up back at school, I went back to the festival on my own to have a turkey leg, a Guinness, and a little shop around.

Tomorrow I get back to FP! Yay!

I started reading Allison Brennan's The Prey the other night and I've decided that I need to work on my next suspense, RR, when FP is done. I'm quite sure RR will final somewhere along the other 4 contests it's in and so I think I better get some serious writing time in on it. I'm excited to get back to RS since I've barely read or written anything remotely suspense for about 11 months now. RR is already plotted and probably halfway written. It'll be different for me to go to town on a manuscript that has all the turning points and big black moment already planned. I wonder if I'll be able to finish it sooner or will I be just as clueless as when writing every other first draft? Best of all, though, I can't wait to see how much better my characters are written after spending all this time on characterization with FP.

Good field trip, no more test to study for (for now), and a whole day to write. How much better can my weekend be?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


I passed my 2nd attempt of my online test for work. Whew! Am I glad about that! I got off the computer last night and studied the practice test for a good long time. I guess it paid off.

I finished reading On a Highland Shore. Have I told you lately how much I love Kathleen Givens? I laughed, I cried, I feared and I so didn't want the book to end.

I'm lining up my first interview! One of the ladies in the Celtic Hearts group has a section on her website for an author in waiting each month. She asked for volunteers and I jumped right in. I'm up for December. I'll give you more details as I get them.

Next week we have benchmark tests (basically to see if we're teaching what we need to and to help us focus our lessons for the next quarter or so), so I'll be able to get caught up with my grading and planning and I won't have to bring stuff home!

Saturday I go on my 1st field trip of the year to the Austin Celtic Festival with about 6 other adults and 9 kids. I've tried to create a 6th grade clan in my classroom as a way to get them to bond and look out for each other (it's not working as well as I hoped yet). We have Scottish clan gatherings once a month where I bring in some Scottish food or videos about Scotland. We also play team building games. So, I invited them to the Celtic Festival. I've wanted to go to this for a few years, so I'm really looking forward to it.

This weekend I can get back to work on FP!!!!! By the end of the weekend I hope to send my 1st 3 chapters to my CP. Then in the next few weeks I plan to start another agent search after I finish my GH entry.

The Austin RWA retreat last weekend at a nature park was truly spectacular. I got there about 5:30 Friday. We picked out our bunks, unpacked and gathered for dinner. We played a couple of games related to GMC and famous movies. Then we watched Romancing the Stone. After that, several people went to bed and I wrote for a while. That night I only wrote about 2 pages, but the ideas had already started to flow.

Saturday we got up fairly early. (It was hard not to when the mattresses squeaked everytime someone moved a limb!) After a lovely breakfast, we had some free writing time. I pulled out my headphones (the ancient ones with a cassette holder and big clunky earpieces), my fictional village map, and my notebooks. I got in such a groove I skipped the critiquing session where people got together with one of our published authors to talk about their work. After a good lunch, we all went back to what we were doing. Some people took breaks and walks. Others got back to brainstorming and critiquing. I threw myself back into FP. We stopped for a catered dinner, several drinks, a few checks on the Texas Longhorns football game and a campfire. I roasted marshmallows for the first time in years! Then we all went back inside- some to bed, others to write. I wrote some more into the wee hours of the night.

Sunday was an even earlier wake-up. We packed, ate and continued our writing. I ventured outside to sing to a song I hadn't heard in months and that brought a smile to my face. I sat in a rocking chair with my Scottish cloak on and enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my skin. About noontime we left to go our separate ways. When I got home I was so relaxed from the entire weekend, I almost took a nap!

I haven't touched FP since mainly because I had to focus on that test for the day job. Several of us are hoping that retreat will become an annual event. It was heaven. Hopefully I can recapture some of the magic this weekend as I continue revising my soon-to-be award-winning manuscript!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Good News/ Bad News

I don't have time for a full post, so here's the shortened version until tomorrow night (or Friday).

GOOD NEWS: The Austin RWA writing retreat was AWESOME! So relaxing and fun. I managed to write like a fiend and I got 31 pages done on FP, which included getting a lot of little plot kinks worked out.

BAD NEWS: I had to come back to the real world and I can't work on FP again until the weekend.

GOOD NEWS: I got my scores back from another contest for RR and I came in 5th.

BAD NEWS: Only the top 3 finalists go on to an editor.

GOOD NEWS: I think I still love my job.

BAD NEWS: I'm tired- like "it's a Thursday afternoon in late April" tired.

GOOD NEWS: I've been reviewing ESL stuff for my job and I'm getting excited about all the things I want to do with the kids and all the things I have to do for the state.

BAD NEWS: I failed my 1st attempt at an online test for teaching.

GOOD NEWS: I can take another attempt.

BAD NEWS: I still hate taking tests, am not a good test taker, and I should be studying now.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Oh Happy Day!

It's Thursday. I had a conference today so I had a day off from teaching.

I'm getting sick (with a cold, I think), but I've managed to head it off. Although, my ears are blocking up again. (Gee, think I should get a regular doctor instead of going to the walk-in clinics all the time??)

Tomorrow starts my local chapter retreat!! Yay! A whole weekend devoted just to writing. I'm so psyched. I've packed my 3 works in progress-just in case I get tired of working on one. I've got 2 notebooks (I LOVE writing stories longhand during the the early stages of a manuscript). I'm packing my headphones and a bunch of tapes that used to inspire me that I haven't listened to in a few years. (We'll see if they still inspire!) Oh, and my Lion King sheets for the twin bed in the dorm room. I bought these when the movie first came out, when I was 23. I know they're kind of childish, but for me they remind me of the inner child that I sometimes feel I've lost touch with. I don't want to lose that inner child, so this weekend I've decided will be her weekend. If my inner child decides to pull an all nighter, she's allowed. If she wants to walk around singing Hakuna Matata, she's allowed. If she wants to sneak in some contriband items (like sodas and candy) for her dorm life, then I'll allow it. My inner child and my muse are very close cousins. I figure if I allow the inner child to play, then the muse will be more than happy to accomodate me. Wish us luck!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Better Days

I'm feeling much better today and even managed to eat like a normal person again. I'm also well enough to start working on my contemporary in earnest again. As I sit here adding some details to an already written scene, I realize that I do love my heroine, but she has no skill whatsoever as a home repair person. As my fingers move over the keys spilling out her plight I can't help but giggle. In some ways she's just like me. In other ways we're complete opposites. She at least attempts to fix things. If it's beyond changing a light bulb, I just wait and call on someone else to fix the problem.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Not A Good Start

Hurling every ten minutes from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. does not a good weekend make!

Friday, October 20, 2006


I got my car back and it's beautiful. You'd never know it was in an accident only 3 short weeks ago. (Oh, and the insurance agent who was supposed to be handling this, who went out of town when I needed her, called today to see about setting up the repairs. Um, hello??)

It's a THREE day weekend! We have Monday off for a teacher sanity day. (Yes, we already need them!) I finished my lesson plans this afternoon and walked out empty handed. No grading, no researching lessons, no planning. My weekend is devoted to having fun, which in my world requires lots of writing time!

My CP is helping me to stay focused on finishing my own manuscript instead of signing up to judge contests. Can we say GH deadline and book revisions not finished? Can we say money already in Houston???

I've been doing well for 2 days on my diet and I exercised! I was watching The Unit where the guys had to evacuate people from a hospital and they had to WEIGH everyone. I decided then & there that I could NOT be in an emergency situation where I have to be weighed in public looking and feeling the way I do. That was enough motivation to get on the ball with some healthy living.

My Austin RWA writing retreat is only one week away!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A New Day Has Begun

Or it will when the sun comes up tomorrow. Hear me now and hold me accountable. I'm tired of feeling like crap because I'm not as in shape as I should be. I'm tired of being tired and not getting enough done as far as my writing goes. So, here are my end of the year resolutions:

I promise to start back to the gym TOMORROW night. I hope to go 5 days a week where I participate in either a class or individual exercise.

I promise not to drink as much...which shouldn't be a problem after my outrageous display during TX/ OU weekend. (Did I mention that to you?)

I promise to spend at least 20 hours a week on some kind of writing work- that can include queries, synopsis work, notes for new books, revising, brainstorming, contest entries, or just free-writing with specific characters in mind.

Life is too short not be happy with yourself most of the time. So, after hitting 35, I've decided I want to be happier with myself. I'm counting on you to, I mean cheer me on to success! After hemming and hawing for weeks, I'm finally up for the challenge. The question is, are you?

Sunday, October 15, 2006


The perfect way to critique middle school essay drafts--a red pen in one hand and a beer in the other.


I just finished putting together another set of contest entries. While doing this, I started reading through FP so that I could get back into the flow of the story.

First problem with this: I found a few typos. Ouch. How could I have sent it like that???

Second problem with this: Turns out I have a crapload of work to do before this baby is ready for GH. Wow. I guess I hadn't done as much as I thought. Ouch.

Better get my butt in gear.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I Know I'm Not Allowed To Commit Crimes...

...but sometimes I want to kill those middle school kids! Another week done, the official end of our first quarter. I really can't imagine doing this for another 3 quarters. Hopefully I'll spend a lot of time at conferences. There are two bright spots to the day job, though. I love my co-workers and I love my ESL duties. I'm working on lessons for my ESL 6th grader, this last week I had a 4th grade student join my ESL class and next week I start working with a non-English speaking Kindergarten boy!

No writing done at all. We had our monthly Austin RWA meeting (with Sandy Blair as the guest speaker) and I promised to work on a manuscript of one of the ladies in my CP group. I did decide though that UCOD's prologue is definitely out. I like things about the scene, but it doesn't feel right anymore since I changed some major threads in the story. I'm planning to get back into FP either tomorrow or Sunday. Finally.

I'm sure there's something important I was going to blog about, but for the life of me I can't remember. So, I guess I'll go. Talk to you later!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me!!

A wonderful day, despite having to get up for parent conferences where the parents didn't show. Still, I had to work for 4 hours and I was able to leave at 11:45. I dropped my dented car off at the repair place, got my rental and came home. My afternoon was spent in Barnes & Noble. I had my purchases in my hot little hands within 5 minutes, but I stayed and kept looking. I bought a new CD I've been waiting for- Evanescence, The Open Door. I'm listening to it now and it's awesome! Plus, I FINALLY found On a Highland Shore by Kathleen Givens!! Yay! I also bought Improper English by Katie MacAlister. This is another one I've spent quite a while searching for.

On the writing front, I tried to revise my UCOD prologue, but I really don't like it now. I might just forget about it for now and get back to my Scottish stories. I've got another contest entry to get out in the next few days. The deadline's still 3 weeks away, but if it's ready to go why not mail it early?

I'm off to finish celebrating....

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'. Keep My Life A-Rollin'

Yeehaw! Got UCOD revisions done early last night and I'm mailing it to the editor who requested the full after work today. I LOVE the changes I've made and it's such a stronger piece now!

The adjuster is stopping by today to check out the damage to my car so I'll be able to arrange a rental in the next couple of days.

I've got an AWESOME teaching assistant who does most of my grading for me and makes my life a zillion times easier.

I finished reading Kit Frazier's Scoop last night. Good book. Awesome writer.

Right now life is good.

And I still have all my hair.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

How Do I Live...

...on 5-6 hours of sleep a night when I used to get 7-8?

...with no word from the insurance agent about getting a rental car?

...with no word about getting my own car repaired?

...with all the hormonally challenged kids entrusted to my care each day?

...without losing my sanity? (Oh, wait. That's gone. Has been for some time.)

...with two books begging to be finished, two more dying to be told and never enough time to satisfy any of the characters?

If you have answers to any of these problems, please share. I'm ready to pull my hair out and I really don't want to go bald.

Monday, October 02, 2006

You Know It's Going To Be A Long Week...

...when you've already spent 5 1/2 hours at work and it's only Sunday night.

...when you're planning which days this week you can leave early, and by that you mean before 6.

...when you're yawning as you think about all the things on the week's "To Do" List.

...when you're waiting impatiently for the afternoon of staff development coming up on Thursday so you don't have to actually be standing up in front of a room.

...when you're thinking about using some of those 11 vacation days for a mental health day even though we've got 2 this month.

...when it's 12:20 on Monday morning, you haven't gone to bed yet and the alarm is set to go off in about 5 1/2 hours.

And don't even get me started on the car repairs...

Friday, September 29, 2006

And How Was Your Week?

Sunday- Worked on UCOD, read a little, watched football.
Monday-Worked late. Still not caught up. Worked on UCOD ending.
Tuesday- Didn't work late. Watched 2 of my favorite shows. Revised UCOD chapters 1-4
Wednesday- Didn't work late. Read. Revised chapters 5-8.
Thursday- Open House for parents. Got the chance to get 7th grader in trouble. I gave progress reports a couple of weeks ago. His mom never got it, so I whipped out my copy for her to read. Got home late, worked on contest entries to mail after work on Friday.
Friday- Never made it to the post office. Got into my first car accident. 3 cars involved, but all the drivers walked away. I sat in traffic, watched the car try to make a tricky left turn and knew the oncoming traffic would get him. I had no escape, nowhere to go. I could only sit there and wait for it to happen. Scariest moment of my life in a LOOOOONG time. The other 2 cars had to be towed. I drove to school thinking the damage wasn't that bad. Turns out it is. It's still in the parking lot.
Saturday- Going to get back behind the wheel (of family member's car) and mail off my contest entries. Hey, the writing business must go on! Then it's off to tailgate and watch the Longhorns kick butt tomorrow night!

I leave you with the homework I gave to my students today: Have a good weekend and hug the people you love.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Nothin' Much New

I just felt like posting.

Six weeks of school have gone by. We're all a little stressed already. I think I'm the least stressed and I'm sure that has a lot to do with my love for my new duties as ESL Coordinator as well as my writing.

Mailed off 2 more contest entries today for FP. I'd planned to start right in on my revisions to UCOD so that I can get the requested full out the door ASAP, but it hasn't happened yet. Instead I watched a football game (Go Longhorns!) until the power went out. Luckily it only stayed off for a few minutes.

I'll do a little plotting and planning tonight for the suspense, UCOD, and then tomorrow I'll jump into the revisions with both feet. My goal is to have it on its way to the editor within two weeks. Then it'll be back to FP.

Speaking of my first attempt at a contemporary, I registered FP for the Golden Heart this morning and paid my fee. I guess there's no turning back now. Once UCOD is on its way, I'll throw myself back into my fictional Scottish village and see what other greatness I can discover before the 12/4 deadline!

Hope it's a good weekend wherever you are.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I admit it. I call myself a writer, but until this last few days I've never EVER read Deb Dixon's book on Goal, Motivation & Conflict. When I checked it out of my RWA library last week, one woman told me it would change my life. I hope it does help me to understand the GMC's of my characters. I believe in my gut I know what the goals and motivations are of my characters, but I think my problem is articulating them. Maybe I'll be able to do that and actually move up another rung or two on my ladder to publication. Stay tuned to find out....


I don't know what it is, but I have this amazing fascination with Skeet Ulrich. After seeing him in The Magic of Ordinary Days (which is a romance and I loved it!), I just raved about him. Then the movie was over, real life returned and Skeet disappeared.

Unil tonight.

I just finished watching Jericho. I LOVED it. Now, I don't know if I loved it because Skeet is in it and plays a great part or if the story is actually good. I tend to think it's a combination of both.

The premise of the show is a nuclear explosion has taken place and this little town doesn't know if it's the only surviving town. The idea of a disaster happening is not a new story, but the way the show is presented is new. We see the mushroom cloud in the distance and then we see how people react. We also get sucked in and empathize with the characters. Or at least I did. To the point I almost started crying in parts.

Then again, for me it could all be Skeet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dear cable company,

Thank you for ruining the one season premiere I've been looking forward to watching. Anxious months I have spent thinking about the characters and what would happen to them during the start of the new season. Tonight, you made sure to deprive me of that information.

I would have liked to have seen the WHOLE hour. Cutting out at 8:30 and giving me a blue screen for TWENTY minutes was not very customer friendly. But, you were able to restart my service and I thank you for that. I just wish it had been sooner. Watching a main character get airlifted out of what I will presume was hostile territory and watching another main couple decide to stay on base would have meant so much more if I had seen all the obstacles they'd gone through to get to that point in the show.

You were able to come through for me in one way. Thank you so much for giving me back service in time to see the preview for next week's show, but may I offer some advice? Whatever the problem was, please make sure it is fixed before next Tuesday. DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN AGAIN.

One ticked off fan of "The Unit"

Monday, September 18, 2006

Good News All Around

First and foremost--- CONGRATULATIONS to Michelle Willingham, who just sold to Mills & Boon Historical!!! I've been reading her blog for some time and following her progress. May it be the first of many, lady!

Now, on to me...

I finally called tech support and I'm able to get online from home again!!!

Got my first ever check for writing-- $15 for UCOD's 2nd place in Ignite the Flame. I'm so tickled I actually thought of framing the check instead of cashing it. My grandfather even offered to give me the money if I decide to frame it!

Got a FULL requested from the editor who placed UCOD 2nd in that contest.

Sent off 2 more contest entries today, with 2 more planned at the weekend and 2 more the week after that.

On the "downside" (if you can call it that) I now have to work even harder to finish FP by GH time AND do the revisions to the suspense (UCOD) that I vowed to do if I ever got a full request!

Guess I better stop typing and get to work!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Researchus Interruptus

You'd think that since I can't get online at home that I'd be able to get a LOT more writing done, right? Not happening. Don't know why, but my brain isn't falling for that.

Don't know what's wrong with AOL at home, don't know how to fix it and don't know when I'll be able to get online while I'm writing again. All I do know is that coming into work on my days off to answer E-mails, blog hop, and do some research is NOT FUN.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Taking A Page From....

an author who has many unbelievable things happen to her.

I went to bed the other night. I shut the light off and checked the alarm before drifting back across the room to my bed. I sat on the edge of the bed and felt something puffy underneath me. Hhmm, I must be sitting on the pillow. So I moved down toward the foot of the bed...and fell right off. Ouch. I threw out my arms so I wouldn't knock out my front teeth, banged my knee and then my head hit something. My first thought was, "Damn! Now I can't go to sleep because if I hit my head I might never wake up!" My next thought was, "Oh hell, I'm too tired to worry about it!"

Obviously I survived.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Got the letter today from one of my top agents. Although she enjoyed reading UCOD, she didn't feel passionate enough about it. You want to know what my first thought was when I saw the envelope? Cool! Now I can send her FP as soon as the partial is ready (which should only be a week or two)!

I'm amazed by my thick skin lately. I'm imagining it's all because the manuscript getting the rejections was finished almost a year ago and I'm so far removed from it. But, then again, FP got crappy contest scores and that didn't seem to bother me. Of course, the contest judges weren't in a position to buy and sell my manuscript.

Ah, well. Time to file away the slip of paper and get back to the drawing board with FP. I really think this one could be big. Someone somewhere will want it. Just wait and see.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Usually on Friday afternoons, the staff at my school has the weekly staff meeting where we discuss any and all things related to our little charter school community. Today we had no meeting. Instead, several of us went to a funeral.

One of the families that has been part of our school community since day one had a tragic loss last weekend. The father of four of our children (and the ex-husband of one of our colleagues) was gunned down early Sunday morning. He was 46. My heart goes out to those kids and I even cried at the service. I only taught 2 of the 4 kids, but they quickly became by far my favorite students. I know teachers aren't supposed to have favorites, but I couldn't help it. They touched my heart. Now I wish I could give it to them to help heal their own.

Wherever you are, take a moment to tell the people that make a difference in your life how much you love them, because as the pastor said at the service, we only have one life to live.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Scoop Of Ice Cream With My Humble Pie

Today I got my scoresheets from the last contest I entered with UCOD and FP. Now UCOD has won or finaled in 4 contests, so I know it's pretty good. I thought I was going to final again in this one, but I didn't. That was good because it keeps me humble and reminds me just how subjective this business is.

The good news was that FP isn't as bad as I thought it was. It actually did better point-wise than UCOD! The judges were very kind in their comments and suggestions. I wasn't sure all my ideas worked because I'm still always starting a story in a suspense frame of mind, but the judges assured me I can write contemporary!

This was just what I needed because I'm still struggling with FP as a whole novel (even though the first, second and third drafts have been done!). I desperately want this book to play out on paper as it does in my head, and now I think I'll have the courage to make it happen.

So to all of you out there who judge contests and give constructive criticism and encouraging words, thank you. You (along with my awesome CP) have helped me realize that I'm able to write in 2 genres and with persistence my contemporaries will be as awesome as my suspenses!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Ain't Runnin' Scared

I think I'm facing my own Big Black Moment in my Prepub career. This current manuscript, FP, is my make or break manuscript. I say that because I started it to work on a weakness, to exercise my writing brain to create believable characters and character motivations. I know my writing ability is solid-another agent has said so (more on that later), so if I can make it through this manuscript to where I'm happy with it and the characters shine and their motivations ring true, then I'm heading in the right direction. The question is, am I ready to face the truth, to tackle my own weaknesses and start turning them into strengths of their own?

Damn straight I am.

Got another rejection today on UCOD. The agent said my writing was solid and the premise was interesting but the characterization is problematic. She also reminded me this is her opinion and others might not agree. (Yeah, they do, but that's okay.) Then, she said, "Please keep me in mind with future projects." This was the first time an agent has said that to me and it makes me feel so much closer to my own "Call".

I believe my "call" will come because I'm at my own critical point in my writing. At this point, I know I've got talent, I know I can pull a story together and I can even make it interesting enough for people to want to keep reading. The challenge is do I quit now and accept that I won't make it? Or do I answer the call to adventure and overcome my biggest writing challenge? Facing my weaknesses makes me want to poke myself in the eye while pulling out my hair one strand at a time. I often feel stupid and frustrated. So, do I have what it takes to do what must be done?

I am a warrior. I choose to fight and I will come out on top. Or at least over this hurdle and onto the next. Writing is part of me. It's in my blood and I refuse to run.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Not A Genius, Just A Big Fat Liar

I'm not reading The First Mistake by Merline Lovelace. I haven't even cracked the spine yet. I have gone back to Ain't She Sweet? Wanna know why?

My current manuscript, FP, isn't a suspense. It is, was and always will be a contemporary romance. I was just feeling sorry for myself and thinking that I couldn't handle writing contemporary. Know what? Maybe I can't, but this story and these characters refuse to let me turn it into a suspense. And like a good author, I'm listening to the voices in my head and saving the stalkings and attempted murders for my next RS manuscript.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Okay, maybe only in my own little world. But still, I'm allowed to think it.

I've spent both days of my weekend working on a different story, a romantic suspense story that I started last year and only wrote 100 pages for. After my disasterous (okay, maybe too strong) attempt at a contemporary, I had to write some suspense just to start believing in myself and my talent again.

It paid off. I've got a 25-page first chapter that I love. I'm working on the synopsis and then I have to figure out when I'll be able to finish this book (RR). I say this because my contemporary turned suspense must be revised ASAP.

I love my Scottish village (as you all know). My Scottish book is done. Yes, it has HUGE revisions ahead, but now that I've decided to turn it into a suspense, I can have fun putting the pieces together and revamping my plot. This book is still close to my heart and is scheduled for contests and queries in the not-so-distant future. Also, since this one is the only thing I have close to being completely done, this manuscript, FP, is the one I'm entering in the Golden Heart this year.

Too much to do and still not enough hours in the day. Guess I better make the most of them, huh?

Friday, August 25, 2006

A Perfect Marriage

I was about to put up a post that read "We Interrupt This Blog For A Major Revelation. I Suck!" My CP gently took my first chapter that I so lovingly fashioned and again pointed out all the problems. Yes, that's what a good CP is for and I'm eternally grateful for her because in my heart and soul, I love the story, but I knew the problems were still there.

So, I watched TV. And had some tea. And thought and thought and thought some more about my jump into contemporary manuscripts. For an ego boost, I decided I would write a little suspense tonight because I KNOW I can do that well. That is and always has been my strength. But I just had to take a 10 month detour and write this contemporary that STILL isn't finished.

So, I had another cup of tea. And decided to fix my latest RS (which already has a chunk written) and submit that for those contests I wanted to enter next week. And I started to think again about why I'm torturing myself with a contemporary when I'm obviously having so much trouble with it. I have learned SOOOOOOOOOO much over these 10 months so I will never regret the time spent, but something else poked into my head.

I am a suspense writer. That's where my strengths are, that's the first type of book I pick up to read. I have to go back to that. And these thoughts led to one more. Why can't I combine my love for my fictional Scottish village with my love & talent in RS?

So, tomorrow FP's first chapter gets ANOTHER face-lift. This will be draft 5, but I really feel it's the right choice. It also seems that my characters have been trying to tell me that all along and only my CP has picked up on the message. Until now.

My weekend goal has now morphed into fixing 2 RS entries for those contests next week. If both don't get done, so what? I will enter both contests with at least one manuscript. Wouldn't it be awesome though if it could still be FP? I'll let you know!

Monday, August 21, 2006

One Chapter At A Time

I'm just about done the latest version of my opening chapter and I LOVE IT! I can't believe how much better this one is compared to the crappy one I entered in two contests a few months ago. I'm so glad my 3rd draft (or most of it) sucked so that I get to revise and make it awesome! Which it is, of course! Even my CP will agree with me when she gets it.

Now I just have to figure out the revisions for the rest of the manuscript. I know one thing, though. It will be a bumpy ride to get to "The End", but it will be SOOOO worth it when this puppy starts finaling in contests and gets me an agent. But more importantly for me, it'll be worth it when I know I've created the best story I could.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Life's Little Gems

Four days down. 171 to go! Actually, my first week back to school hasn't been that bad. My classes aren't as bad as I thought. The kid who said he should kill himself because I'm his homeroom teacher has already started whining about how bad he is in writing. So what did I tell him? Practice makes perfect! We compromised and I got him to write his thoughts out on paper for that class period. After he rolled his eyes and stomped back to his seat.

Writing. Huh? Me?

Nothing. Nada. Nil. I sent a couple of questions to my online critique group and got some great brainstorming feedback. Yet, I still haven't written anything. I got to a point that I threatened to start a new story. My CP threatened to quit if I don't take this story to its end. It's written, she reminds me, it just needs to be revised and polished. I want to finish it and I know I NEED to finish it, I just haven't been in the right frame of mind to do it.

There are 2 contests coming up that I really want to enter with this manuscript. I've got about a week and a half to finish the first chapter and get it revised, which is totally doable if I get my butt in gear. My gut is insisting that I enter these contests. The final editor judge for one of the contests is the exact editor I planned to query with this manuscript. Between this and a few other things, it just feels like fate is stepping in here for me and I cannot let this chance pass by.

My manuscript deserves to be a winner. I just have to remember why.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Great Start To The New Year

We had our Back-To-School Night tonight where the parents and kids get to meet the teachers, see where they're going tomorrow and view their classrooms. A student I had last year in my 5th grade class walked up to my classroom and stared at me. "Ah! I forgot," he started off. "You're my homeroom teacher this year. I should just kill myself now!"

Nothing says welcome back to the academic world better than that, huh?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Slicing & Dicing

50 pages have been cut out of my current WIP. A solid external conflict has been added, and so much more changes because of that. But, I can't wait to get to it! I've done very little work over the last week, mainly because I'm trying to get set for the school year to start on Tuesday. I'm hoping to have a new, exciting first chapter ready to go sometime this week! My CP is going to critique it and then I want to enter it in another contest. I've got a really good feeling about this new path I'm taking!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

So Much To Do, So Little Time

And practically no writing time! I say practically because I have been jotting down lines and thoughts here and there while I've been cleaning my classroom and attending staff development.

I want to celebrate my CP's good fortune with you. Two of her manuscripts finaled in the Shiela contest, 1 in first place and 1 in fifth. Yay! I've told you before remember this name. Jenna Stuart. Her historicals will be on shelves in no time.

For me, I got another agent rejection today and the only part about it that bothered me was the fact they didn't even seal the envelope closed. Obviously not the right agent for me. I just know my agent is out there waiting to fall in love with my characters as much as I have. We'll find each other one of these days!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Checkin' In

School's officially started for me. Meetings all week, learning new duties, refreshing my memory on old ones, catching up with staff. Right now I'm excited, but come back in a few weeks and I guarantee I'll have a countdown of the number of days until winter break.

My CP threw my dreams on the floor and did some ritual dance on them. Okay, no. She wasn't that cruel. (To give her credit, she's the best CP I've ever had and that's why I love her and listen to her!) She assured me that I can write contemporary, but I have some serious revising to do to get there. Okay, again she didn't say serious revising. Those are my words, because after I read through her comments I totally see what she means. And so I had a long, serious talk with myself about where I am, where I want to go within the next year and where I intend to be long-term. After some soul searching, Pro/Con list making and fact retrieval, I've come up with this:

I want to be a multi-genre writer. I have strengths in RS that I've honed over the last few years (and manuscripts), but right now my heart and soul are in the contemporaries. I'm discovering strengths here too that I want to pursue. My orginial reason for starting the contemporary was to explore, expand and understand more about character motivation. While this is still important, I didn't count on getting so sucked into this contemporary. (See previous posts for details.) I used to write a story, rewrite it a few times, start sending it out and then lock it away in a closet somewhere never to see daylight again. Whatever feedback I got on it, from agent or editor, I applied to the next book and I never bothered to stop and revise again. I know plenty of people who say it's not good to rewrite the same manuscript a zillion times, but I think the good writer, the successful writer finds a happy medium between my whirlwind approach and staring at the same thing for months. I decided I want that happy medium for myself.

So, I'm gutting again. Sometime in the next week I'm going to pull out the scenes I think are essential to the story and then I'm going to build again. For the first time in my writing career, I'm willing to take the time to slow down and revise. I don't want to throw this manuscript into the closet. I want to write it the way it needs to be written, tell the story longing to get out and nurture my fictional world until everyone wants to live there!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Good News All Around

I went to work this week for a few hours and started getting geared up for the new school year. (Teachers start 8/7, kids 8/15) Seeing as this is my 3rd year teaching these same classes, I'm finally at a place where I'm comfortable to really start catering my lessons to the individual classes. I also found out I got a nice raise.

I'm a little nervous about my new additional duties at school (ESL Coordinator), but I'm excited about it too and the 2 workshops I have next week just for this part of my job. It's what I've wanted for so many years and now I have the opportunity to do great things for my school!

My CP tells me I CAN write straight romance, however I apparently have this inner struggle between RS and non-RS and it shows in my writing. She assures me though that the problem is totally fixable and we'll be working on that soon.

I pulled notes out of hiding on my next romantic suspense and I discovered that I have the perfect first 5 pages. Now I'm dusting that manuscript off so I can finish it and start entering it in contests. I also wrote quite a few notes down for my next contemporary in my lovely fictional village.

I've written a schedule for my writing- contests to enter, revisions to complete, queries to send, new manuscripts to start. Of course, this schedule is flexible considering things don't always go according to plan.

I got a rejection from an agent, which bummed me out, but she took the time to line edit 7 pages for me. That in itself was cool enough, but when I sent her a thank you e-mail, she e-mailed me back, told me to keep going, that I am a good writer and that if I had any editing questions to contact her. I feel like I'm on another rung of the ladder now that I'm getting personalized rejections AND words of encouragement!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Can I Move To My Fictional Village?

I just love spending time there! I started drawing a map of my fictional village and I've even labeled all the buildings and landmarks I've already named. I finished the 3rd draft of FP yesterday at 2:06 p.m. after pulling an all-nighter. I hadn't planned to stay up, but when I stopped to check the clock it was 4 a.m. I thought I only had a little bit left, so I kept going. Then it was 6 a.m. At 8, I just decided to stay on the computer until the manuscript was done. Except for potty breaks and caffeine.

Today was supposed to be a relaxing day with me checking in at school. Didn't happen. I ended up working on my map. And then the voices returned. 3 couples are now vying for my attention. 2 contemporary ones who live in my fictional Scottish Highland village and 1 suspense one from RI. I pretty much know which book will be next, but I really don't have the time to start on it. The day job's about to kick into high gear.

But, I don't want to leave my village. It's so calm and peaceful there, and beautiful despite all the rain. And the people are so friendly. Well, most of them. And I'm so calm and peaceful when I'm there. Well, most of the time. There's just so much to explore, so many people to understand. For a while today, I started asking myself if I wasn't worn out from all the Scottish influences and the time I spend "in my village". But I can see this series as plain as day. I can envision the lives, loves, pain and cruelty associated with all the characters I already know. So, the bottom line is this. It's a place and a people that I adore spending time with. I want this town to live in other people's minds. I want people to read these books and count down the days until the next one comes out.

I want it bad.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Hormonal Brain Fart

I think that's what I was suffering from yesterday because today I absolutely LOVE my story again. I've done some repair work to the beginning, but it still needs some work. That's what super CPs are for! It's got so much potential and the series has so much potential.

Yes, I'm thinking in series terms again. But this time I'm not limiting myself like I have in the past. Book 2 doesn't rely on events of book 1. Each manuscript can stand alone with tiny inconsequential threads flowing through them all. I'm so excited about it, I've even thought of making a model of my little fictional village! I spent about 45 minutes tonight figuring out the work schedule of my hero and his employees. The specifics of who is working which days doesn't really come into play, but I really felt I had to have it nailed down in my mind in order to write the story correctly. I think that's one of the biggest differences with this manuscript. I'm investing a lot of time and energy into the fictional world surrounding my hero and heroine. I never realized just how important it is to know EVERYTHING about my characters and their world.

I will be so bold as to say I will finish this 3rd draft a day early! I'll be mailing it to my super CP tomorrow night. Sunday I plan to spend the entire day on the great agent hunt and on a query to my "dream line" for FP.

And dreaming of Nationals next year when I can attend again.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Revision Hell

Jeez, now I know why this current WIP didn't final in its first contest. As much as I love the story, the beginning is a drag! There's no chemistry between the hero and heroine. AND I'm stuck. I've spent the better part of the day working on revisions and I don't feel like I've gotten much done. I'm seriously considering trashing a good chunk of my first chapter. It feels like I haven't started the story in the right place even though I love parts of the beginning. Then I think maybe I should just send it to my CP as is and get her feedback. Maybe that's it. It's like the beginning isn't worthy of the ending I have. Oh hell. Round and round I go...

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Party Continues

UCOD, my romantic suspense from last year, just placed 2nd in the Ignite The Flame Contest! Woohoo! It will soon join the 1st place winner and the 3rd place winner on a journey to a lovely woman at an equally lovely publishing house who will hopefully love the entry enough to request more!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lonely. I'm So Lonely.

With so many people off to Nationals, it's soooooo quiet on the loops! Very eerie!

Oh! Woohoo me! I'm finished the 2nd draft of my WIP! It's been so much fun writing this book and I can't wait to explore the next story for my fictional town. But first, I have to finish the 3rd and 4th drafts of FP, send out some queries on it, and figure out which character's story comes next. The two I'm thinking of are siblings so they're used to fighting for what they want. I'll just have to sit back and referee for a while, I guess.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Almost There

My "shitty" second draft is almost done. I can feel it. I've got about 30 pages left to revise and/or rewrite. I also boldly e-mailed my CP and promised to have the completed manuscript (which will go through yet another draft, the "not-so-shitty" one)to her on July 30. I just hope I can meet this deadline! (You know, practice for the real thing!)

I'm jealous of all you people who are gearing up for Nationals. I decided not to go this year because I want to save money for a wild and rockin' trip next summer. That was a great idea months ago, but as people keep posting blog posts and loop notes about Atlanta and all their grand plans, I'm starting to kick myself. I feel like an 8th grader who can't participate in graduation because she's not moving on to 9th grade.

I'm proud to announce another first sale for a chaptermate! Sherry Thomas of the Austin RWA chapter sold! Yay, Sherry! She writes historicals and has a really cool website, but I don't have the addy handy. I'll post it when I find it! If you're in Atlanta, look for Sherry. She'll be one of those fabulous people with the "First Sale" ribbons.

You know, the ribbon I plan to be wearing next year in Dallas.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

No End In Sight, But Side Trips Are Welcome

Thought I'd have this manuscript done during summer vacation. Not happening. The more I revise, the more I see I still have to write and rewrite. Not worried, though. I'm having way too much fun with these characters and this story.

Side Trip #1- A few thoughts for the next book are springing to mind. As well as ideas for a new suspense. Well, actually, the suspense ideas are for a manuscript that's about 100 pages written. I had just put it aside in January when I did my 100 words/100 days challenge.

Side Trip #2- Way back when my last romantic suspense, UCOD, won the GOTCHA contest. As a result, the top 4 entries were sent to an editor. Said editor just sent back the feedback and requested a proposal of my manuscript! Yay!

So, now I have a lot of work ahead of me in the next few weeks. Sending a query to my dream "line" for FP, putting the UCOD proposal together, finishing the manuscript of FP, learning new duties for my day job, which will start again waaaaaaaaay too soon.

But for now I think I'll have a beer, relax and go enjoy the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Flashing Back To Sixteen

So, I'm visiting with my mom and stepdad. It's supposed to be wicked hot so I'm wearing my beautiful one-piece swimsuit and my jean shorts.

Mom- Chris, are you coming with me to the grocery store?
Me- Yeah. (I go get my purse and put my sneakers on.)
Mom- Are you going like that?
Me- Yeah.
Mom- Go put a shirt on.
Me-(staring at her.)
Mom- You're not coming with me if you go like that.
Me- Fine. I don't need to go to the grocery store. (I walked back to the room I'm staying in and put my purse back down. Um, how old am I?)
Mom- No, come on. I don't care. Come with me."
I went. But without the shirt.

Friday, July 14, 2006

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

Pluggin' away on the WIP. Lovin' the progress. Lovin' how it's comin' together. Hatin' that there aren't more hours in a day for me to work on it. Family comin' to visit over the weekend and possibly into next week, so I don't know how much I'll get done or how often I'll blog. Tryin' to get back into once a day. We'll see.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Slicing & Dicing

Took 20 pages out of my manuscript yesterday. Then I put back 12 pages I'd taken out last week.

I'm in a rut. I know what I want to happen, but I just don't know the correct order. You've gotta remember, I can't write from page one. I just write scenes as they happen in my head and then I thread them together. Yes, this is the spot where the threading together is supposed to happen. Yes, I go through this aggravation with EVERY single manuscript, but I cannot write chronologically. It bores me to tears. Once I tried and I ready to pull my hair out by page 20!

So, here's my plan. I've just printed off 24 pages to play with at the kitchen table. I'm going to try and string it together and throw out what doesn't fit. EVEN if I love it. I can use it later or in another manuscript if I still think it's that good. If I attack one section at a time, finishing the book will be easier to do.

Oh, yeah. My romantic suspense mind is stirring up again. I think I need to write another violent scene. For somebody. Man, it's like a sickness! Kinda scary, too.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Tagged by Elisabeth

1. A song by the first band you liked: I’m ashamed to admit it- YMCA by The Village People.

2. A song that makes you think of your best friend: Cheeseburger in Paradise by Jimmy Buffett. I stayed with her one summer while I was in college. She’s a morning person. I’m not. To get me up, she’d play this song. EVERY MORNING.

3. A song by the first band you saw in concert: Loverboy was the band, but for the life of me I can’t think of any of their hit songs. OH, except Heaven in Your Eyes I think? It was on the Top Gun soundtrack.

4. A song that reminds you of college/school: High school- Papa Don’t Preach by Madonna. My friend did a lip sync and dance to this for our senior talent show. College- Welcome to the Jungle by Guns ‘N’ Roses. I played GNR all the time and I made up my college room door with vines and other jungle symbols.

5. A song that makes you think of a boyfriend/girl (love) past or present: The Dance by Garth Brooks.

Next! I tag Brenda, Michelle, and Nancy.

Friday, July 07, 2006



I've been in mourning over England's loss to Portugal last week, Beckham's injury, Rooney's temper and not seeing the other cuties on the team until the next World Cup. (I was redeemed a bit when Portugal lost to France, but I still hope Germany kicks ass against Portugal tomorrow!)

I've been visiting with my best friend, having an awesome time catching up and having fun.

I've been reading and buying book after book. I've read: Closer by Jo Leigh, Taming the Highlander by Terri Brisbin, and Chasing Dreams by Cara Colter. I'm currently reading Her Sexiest Mistake by Jill Shalvis. I have waiting for me Don't Tell by Karen Rose, Lost Calling by Evelyn Vaughn, and Don't Look Down by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer.

I've been trying to work on my WIP. A bit of progress. Sorting scenes, adding scenes, saving scenes for the next hero. I've been so busy I can't seem to get any chunks o' time to work on the manuscript. Maybe next week?

I'm preparing to watch my last 2 soccer games this weekend until the next World Cup.

And family. All I'll say is I love them dearly but sometimes I just want to run away and hide.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Curse Those Evil Influences!!!

My friend Deb- for sending me information on "just one more contest" after I'd just told her I had to stop entering for a while.

My blog friend Eve- for sending me the Jill Shalvis book ROOM SERVICE. I can't put it down. I started it today and in 2 1/2 hours I'd read a 100 pages, even while cooking and eating dinner.

And while I'm at it, curse Jill Shalvis for writing such a wonderfully fun book that I can't put down. (And forget about me getting back to my own WIP tonight!) I haven't read one of hers in a while and I'm reminded of all the things I love about her writing.

More later. Gotta get back to Jacob and Em.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Time's A - Wastin'!

Yup, I'm over here sending e-mails, clearing e-mails, and blog-hopping when the handwritten pages of my WIP that I wrote this morning are staring me in the face. Taunting me, messing with my head. Never mind about new business card designs for both writing names. Never mind about the book just bought at Barnes & Noble (Debra Webb's NEXT, "Never Happened"). Never mind about stupid TV shows (except for Rescue Me at 10) or the manuscripts that will follow FP. Those handwritten pages are demanding to be entered into the world of make-believe. I must run with my muse while she's so excited!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

England, Agents, Improvements, Oh My!

England- My team won today. It was a nail-biter for me, a new fan to soccer, but it was awesome!! Hooray team! I can't wait until the next game!

Agents- On one of my writing loops last week there was a lot of information about a certain agent, and not good things. Turned out, this is one of the agents I have queried. And one who has requested a partial. Hhmmm. I'm the type of person who likes to judge other by how they treat me. I'll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I sent off another requested partial! Yay! So now I have 8 submissions out there on 2 different manuscripts ranging from queries and partials to contest entries. My goal is to someday get up to 12, but I'm not quite in a position to get there yet. Soon, though.

Improvements- In preparing my partial for the latest agent, I was forced to go over my synopsis for UCOD. Wow! I can't believe how much I've grown as a writer in the last 6 months. Yes, UCOD is still an awesome manuscript and worthy of selling, but my GMC stuff (notice the technical term 'stuff' here?)is unfolding and revealing the characters in a way I've never been able to do before. I'm able to cut chunks and rewrite better scenes. It's easier to notice what's not working and what's specifically wrong. (Then again, it could be because UCOD was such a taxing, emotional manuscript to write.)

FP is definitely a better, more cohesive manuscript than my last one and I can't wait to write a killer query for that and start sending it out more. One of these days someone is going to LOVE my writing and my stories and I will get a contract! I do believe, I do believe! :)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Is There A Twelve-Step Program For Soccer?

My name is Chris and I'm a World Cup addict.

I've spent countless hours watching game after game. I have wasted computer time looking up information on my favorite teams when I should have been working on my manuscript. Even as I cheered for obscure teams from countries I barely recognized, the guilt ate away at me. My characters continue to cry out for attention and yet I still sit in front of the TV glued to ESPN. And the worst offense so far? I sit here this morning watching USA vs. Ghana when all week I'd planned to devote this whole day to my manuscript.

I know my excuses are just that. Excuses. It's exciting. I want to learn more about the game. The enthusiasm of the fans is infectious. A lot of these players are hot! It's only 2 (or 4) hours out of my day. I have to watch! My favorite team is facing elimination/ favored to win/ needs my support from the couch!

I know I'm an addict. I accept that I need help to overcome this...

Oh wait. The second half is about to start!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Contests, Inspiration and Plenty O' Writing Time

My friend finished 2nd in the historical category and I finished 2nd in the Romantic Suspense category of the Happily Ever After Contest. YAY! It's very freaky for us, but pretty cool to have a friend in the EXACT same boat! Last year we both won our respective categories in the Merritt Contest. We're both getting requests for partials and fulls and I'm pretty confident that both our "calls" are just around the corner.

The manuscript that just got 2nd is one that I've had in contests for over a year now. I don't usually enter a lot of contests, but I have with this one because it took me so long to write it and it took a lot out of me emotionally. I love that story, but now I've decided to retire it from the contest arena. It won 2 contests and came in 2nd and I've got it still in 2 more contests that will announce within the next 2 months, but after that I'll focus that energy on queries for it and preparing the current WIP (FP) for queries and contests.

I started reading The English Wife by Doreen Roberts last night. I finished it this afternoon. WONDERFUL book! Although, I'm not sure if it's truly the story or my love for all things British. Either way I would recommend this NEXT novel. And at the back of the book I found a couple of the July books that I can't wait to read. I've only read 3 NEXT novels, but I LOVED 2 of them. I'm actually starting to think that I might be able to target this line at some point too! Anyway, The English Wife made me want to get back to my own WIP.

Speaking of Fractured Paradise, I get a whole day to work on it tomorrow! The family is going on 3 different excursions. I was invited to all, but I'm tired. I love the kids, but I love my "me" time and my writing time and I haven't had a lot of that in the last week. So, I get to play with my manuscript for the whole day!

Unless of course I watch the USA World Cup game. But that'll only be a couple of hours....

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Still Waiting...

Well, my friend heard about her placement for the Happily Ever After contest. I have not. I guess when I stop thinking about it I'll get some word.

Have you ever read abook that you really didn't like that much but you felt obligated to finish since you'd already put so much time into it? Well, that's what happened to me recently. I finished a book today about two sisters in Scotland in the 1800s and I was so excited when I finished. I will not be picking up the next one in the series. There was way too much apologizing and asking for forgiveness. WAY TOO MUCH. I didn't like any of the main characters and if I ever had to put up the with the guy, I would've killed him, I'm sure. Wimpy, wishy-washy, whiny. That pretty much covers everyone but the servants (I liked them) and the baby.

Usually if I don't like a story by page 50, maybe 75, I'll stop reading it and pass it on to someone who might actually like it. With this one, it started getting really interesting around 75-100 so I thought I was safe and that I'd eventually love it. Well, I was probably more than halfway through it when I realized I didn't really care about the characters.

However, all that said, I liked the author's use of metaphors and she did a great job with descriptions. So, I did learn a few things from this reading. I also realized that I truly like to feel transported, as if I was in the room with the main characters. The author made me feel like an outsider always cleaning off the window so I could see inside.

So, I go back to my own book hopefully in the next day or so, where I can transport my readers into a wonderful contemporary Scottish story. Of course, that'll be when I'm not reading a new book, (a NEXT about a woman whose husband of 27 years just died and she finds out from their lawyer that he had a cottage in England since just after their wedding. Oh yeah, and there's a woman living in said cottage rent free. Hhhmmm.) or when I'm not watching my nephews, or when I'm not thinking about the Happily Ever After placement...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Waiting Impatiently

Well, I was going to wait to post until I knew the results of the Happily Ever After contest, but they have not called, e-mailed or posted anything yet. So, my friend Deb and I just sit around and wait. And try to find other things to do to keep us busy in our respective homes.

I haven't worked much on my own manuscript lately simply because I was helping my CP finish up hers. And I had a bunch of other things to do as well. I'm hoping to get a few pages in this weekend, but starting next week I should be able to put some serious time into finishing my manuscript. YAY!

However, I have HUGELY been enjoying my summer vacation! Makes me wish I could win the lottery and never have to work again. But then, I guess I'd actually have to play the lottery, huh?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Stepping Back To See The Big Picture

Well, I've come to the conclusion that I really don't know when FP will be done and I'm so okay with that.

I watched the final MOTG again with the intention of going to bed when it was over. That didn't happen. As usual, it inspired me to just do a little work last night. Which turned out to be more than a little.

As I finished typing in the last of my handwritten pages for FP, I realized that my hero and heroine still have so much more to tell me. I was typing a scene dealing with her emotions and I realized how much they reflect his emotions as well. Wow! I hadn't seen that before and I've been working on this book since January 16th (the start of the 100 words/100 days). For the first time, I'm understanding that my characters have layer upon layer of personality. And you know what? I'm having SOOOOOO much fun! (Oh yeah, it's now looking more like a long contemporary. I'm at 220 pages and I haven't written a full love scene yet and huge chunks of other parts are still unfinished.)

Then I thought, why am I going to try and rush this? I don't have any new couple breathing down my neck to have their story told next. I don't even know if I'd "stay in Scotland" or go back to suspense. I don't have a contract deadline. So, I'm going to take my time and set my goal of finishing it for when I come back to Austin. I know in my heart that that's enough time.

I think I was putting pressure on myself because I used to write 2 manuscripts a year and I thought originally that this would be a 6 month manuscript for sure since it was going to be a short contemporary. But you know what? I then reminded myself that NONE OF THOSE OTHER ONES SOLD! So what if this takes me 8 months? If I get it just right, this just might be THE ONE....

Monday, June 12, 2006

Good People

There are truly some good people in the world and I'm so glad that many of them are in my world. Some of the main ones for me lately:

Karen Rose. Can I just say I really love her? Yes, you already know that. But, I sent her an e-mail to tell her how much I loved her book and she's been e-mailing me a couple of times reminding me not to give up. How cool is that?

My friend Deb. She's working with me on revisions, keeping me positive and sharing her own masterpieces with me. She is an inspiration without even realizing it.

Monarch of the Glen. Yes, I watched the series finale. Again. I actually cried this time. And it just fills my heart with how much that show inspires me to be the best writer I can be and to write my Scottish stories with no frills, cliches or worn out plot devices. Just to write stories from my heart so that if I (for some strange reason) never get published, I'll still never regret a SINGLE moment spent on writing a piece of fiction.

My blog friend Eve who, out of the blue, has offered to send me a book that I've been wanting to read for months. Just out of the kindness of her heart.

And my blog friend Michelle who reminded me today why I joined my chosen profession and how thankful I should be to be able to make a positive difference in children's lives.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Say It With Me Now


No, I'm not that bad today. Well, maybe. I've been working on my contemporary for most of the last 24 hours. Yes, I did manage to sleep for about 7 hours last night and I even ate today, but other than that I've been writing. I added 11 pages to FP last night and this morning and I've probably added another 11 or so pages today. So, I'm definitely making headway and I love where it's taking me.

But the best part?

I'm conscious of my efforts to make my book better. I've mentioned this before, but most of my RS manuscripts are plot heavy. I started this WIP so that I could concentrate on the characters, their emotions and the developing romance. Watching as I'm trying to put those things in the spotlight has been very challenging but such an awesome experience too! Sounds corny, I know, but there's really no way to describe it exactly.

I gave myself the deadline of next Tuesday to have the draft ready to go to my CP. I still feel there's so much more to do with this WIP, but I cannot wait to get to it. So why have I been surfing the net, sending e-mails and flipping the channels on the remote?

My own opinion is that I don't want to leave these characters behind. As long as their story is unfinished, I can still live in their world. But, I don't want to be that cruel to them. (Yes, I am still talking about FICTIONAL characters!) I owe it to them, my waiting CP, my best friend who reads EVERYTHING I write, and to myself to finish this book. I owe it to myself to give it the ending it deserves. And I owe it to myself to finish so I can explore the world of my next set of characters.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A Pleasant Surprise

Last week I printed out a copy of UCOD for a friend at work. She called me today to say that she finished it in 4 days (which is big for her) and she loved it! She's one of the few people who has read several of my stories so she's able to see my growth. Hearing her praise just made my day! It makes me think that I am on the right track with my romantic suspenses.

Night Owl

I am truly a night owl. Went to bed at 4:30 yesterday morning (you know, after reading Karen Rose) and here it is after 1. BUT I have to get up and go into work tomorrow. (Today?) Gotta clean out my classroom, reorganize the organized chaos.

My all-time favorite work schedule was when I worked on the rim of the Grand Canyon just after college. I worked 2 or 3 p.m. until 10 or 11 p.m., hung out in the bar till closing, went to a party until 3 or 4 a.m. and then went home to bed. Ahhh, the good ol' days!

Back to my organized chaos. You know what I'd rather be doing though, right? Yes, I watched a show tonight that inspired my current WIP and after it ended I just melted and started scribbling notes about my manuscript to make it better. (Monarch of the Glen, if anyone wants to know-about life in a Scottish Highland village in modern times.) I can play around with it tomorrow night (tonight?) but I won't get to really work on it until Wednesday (tomorrow?).

Oh, it's going to be so awesome and I even came up with the other possible characters for the next couple of contemporaries I'm going to write! Cuz let's face it, everyone in this business says write what you love and I get this dreamy, heart-melting, misty-eyed feeling taking over me whenever I write about, read about, think about or talk about Scotland.

Notice I didn't say short contemporaries. That's because with all my notes from last night (a few hours ago), I'm not sure if this will be a short or long. Guess I'll just have to wait and see!

Another thing came to me while I was jotting down my notes. I think I'm officially in my 2nd draft. I have the basic plot points already written and now the stuff I'm thinking about is adding to the romance and to the internal conflicts. So, I'm further along than I thought!

But, I really, really should get to bed since I've got to set the alarm for...less than seven hours from now. At least now I can hear it!

Monday, June 05, 2006

I Can Hear!

Okay, so it's not 100%, but I was able to turn down the sound on the CD player and the TV this morning! Sometimes I can hear out of both ears, sometimes it's one and then it's the other. I don't care. After a week and 3 days inside of silence, I'll take what I can get.

Karen Rose

If you like romantic suspense and you can get your hands on one of her books, do it. Without waiting. Not one single minute. I was going to read 100, 150 pages today of Have You Seen Her? and then finish it up tomorrow. Didn't happen. I couldn't put it down. It's a great story with real characters and an "I just have to read one more chapter" suspense. It's been a long time since any book had me up until 4 in the morning. Seriously, pick up one of her books. You won't be disappointed!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Gettin' Closer!

No, not to hearing like a normal person. Although I do have episodes of my hearing going in and out. And I hear lots of noises going on within my ears. Or is that inside my head?

I rearranged FP all afternoon and I'm remembering why I love this story. I cut out 22 pages, but I think I can have my rough draft done as early as tomorrow and then I can start my revisions! I really want it to be finished, but I don't want to rush it.

That activity of physically cutting up the story and moving the parts around really helped. I was amazed. A few times I had one scene in my hand and tried it in several different spots. I just might try that with plotting the next book!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Huh? What'd You Say?

That's right. Still can't hear. I stopped watching TV because I got tired of turning up the volume.

Phone guy came today. He knocked, but I didn't hear him. Luckily I was going outside to put the laundry in the dryer when I ran into him. He told me all was fixed. I checked and told him he was wrong. BUT he came into the office, played around with the phone cords inside and out, and managed to fix it! Yay! I think I was going into Internet withdrawal!

I know I love FP. I'm positive. I just don't remember why. So, I printed my WIP today (while watching the phone guy play with the cords). Now I'm cutting up said WIP into scenes so I can physically move them around in hopes of reorganizing my, manuscript. (Got this idea from my staff development of the last 2 days!) So, the kitchen table has become the beginning of the manuscript, the coffee table is the middle of the manuscript, and the kitchen counter is the ending. I think moving scenes around and seeing where they fit best will help me over this hurdle so I can finish the rough draft. I hope.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

And So It Goes

Staff development really isn't the same when you can't hear the presenters. Ears are still blocked, but I think that's okay. I think that my hearing will come back after the infection has been cleared up. My ears are itchy so I take that as a good sign.

Other than that I haven't been up to much. I've watched TV with the sound up. I've slept on the couch the last 2 nights with the TV on so I don't sleep through the alarm that I might not be able to hear.

As for writing, I printed a copy of my RS for a friend at work. I've been playing aorund with FP trying to reorganize it so I'm ready to tackle it and finish it. I've also printed out worksheets on characters (from Emily McKay and Robyn DeHart) so I can brainstorm the story I plotted at the doctor's office.

I agreed last week to go on a trip to the south of Texas with a friend and her kids. We're supposed to leave tomorrow, but now I'm not sure I should go. I feel fine other than not being able to hear completely, but I'm worried that I'll be a burden or that I won't get my hearing back in due time and I'll have to go back to the doctor's. What do you think?

Oh, I also have no phone service at home on one of our phone lines. Of course it has to be the one I use to connect to the internet. It's the only thing I use the phone for. (Yeah, I'm typing this from work just a few minutes from when our staff development starts.) Supposedly the phone company is sending someone out to the house today and I don't have to be there. Keep your fingers crossed. I'll post again tonight if they get it fixed!

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Summer vacation is here! I'm free! No more student dirty looks...until August. We've got staff development next week for 2 days, but I can handle hanging out with my co-workers. The kids had an end of the year dance last night, but I didn't go.

Why, you ask?

I had the pleasure of sitting on the couch with cotton balls in my ears and a heating pad while I listened to all the strange noises coasting through my head. And my diagnosis was confirmed when I went to the doctor's today. Ear infections IN BOTH EARS! Everything is muffled. I have to turn up the sound on the TV and radio. If someone talks to me I have to actually be looking at them to know. Not too much pain, but we couldn't tell if I perforated my eardrum again. (Happened all the time when I was growing up.)

BUT!!!! The really cool thing about my 2 hours in the waiting room? I plotted a new book! I've promised myself that I won't work on it until FP is finished, though.

Speaking of FP, I haven't done a single thing on it in a couple of weeks. And right now I don't want to. I know once I get started I'll be totally into it and I'll wonder what kept me away. Maybe I'll get back to it later on this weekend. For now, I'm going back to the couch with my cotton balls, a cup of tea and some shortbread.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Only FIVE Days Until I'm Free!

I'm just about finished my last grading for the year. Tomorrow I'll input the grades into our handy-dandy computer program for report cards. It's almost over! I'm now starting to feel it. Summer vacation is coming. Barrelling toward me. And I'm standing in the middle of the road with my arms wide open!

Well, I read about 260 pages of a book yesterday and only stopped because I couldn't keep my eyes open. So, when I got up this morning, I had breakfast, made my cup of tea and finished the 80 pages or so of Kresley Cole's If You Dare. It's been a long time since I've indulged in reading like that and it was wonderful! Soon I'll be able to do that more. You know, once the school year is over!

But more importantly, it inspired me to get back to Fractured Paradise, my WIP. I haven't touched it for a couple of weeks now. I was okay with that because I wanted to focus on closing out the school year. Now that I only have 5 days left and my academics are pretty much taken care of, I can jump back into my WIP. And onto the next book.

Some events happened over the last few days in my life that have forced me to look closely at what I'm doing and who I am. Nothing bad, just reminders of where I wanted to be and how far I've strayed from that. The book after FP, one in which I have many thoughts and scenes already planned, will deal with some of those personal events and help steer me back on the path I need to be traveling.

But for now, I should finish that last batch of grades. Have a great rest of the weekend wherever you are!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Big Brother's Birthday!

Happy 41st birthday to my big brother! He's in RI probably going to his son's baseball game tonight and then who knows? Maybe I'll go home and have a beer or two in his honor. And of course, I'll try to give him a call. But as for the present? That'll be late. Again. But hey, he started it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Feelin' Pretty Good

So, our field trip to Houston didn't kill me, although it came close. But what did I come home to?

A friend of mine, a published writer with four books to her credit, sent me an e-mail asking if I'd be willing to read through her latest proposal and synopses. Um, yeah! I didn't even have to think twice. Okay, I admit that I did stop to think, "Gee, what would she want with my opinion?" But I got over that fast and told her I'd love to read through her stuff since her normal readers were indisposed. I don't think she knows how HUGE this is to me. No, my opinion won't make or break her deal with her publisher, but the fact that she asked me and the fact that she worried about overstepping the bounds of our friendship just warmed my heart.

So, I watched the season finales of 2 of my favorite shows (NCIS and The Unit) and thought about reading through my friend's stuff tomorrow night for sure. I have nothing but another meeting about retaining a student, but that should be over by 4:30, 5:00. I'll still have time to go grocery shopping, come home and read all the stuff my friend sent.