Sunday, January 29, 2006


After finishing my 1475 words for today, I opened up my e-mail and found this:

Hello Christine, I'm emailing you to tell you that your entry Under Cover of Darkness has taken first place in the Romantic Suspense Single Title category of the 2005 GOTCHA contest. Congratulations!

I can't go to sleep now!!!! I'm too busy doing my happy dance!

Burns, Haggis, Scotland and True Love

Last night I went to my first ever Robert Burns' Night. Wow! I had an awesome time and I even ate haggis. Yes, you read that right. I took a couple of spoonfuls onto my dinner plate and ate it all. (Those of you who are wondering what haggis is, believe me, you're better off not knowing!) As the bagpipes began, my eyes watered. I so miss Scotland. No, I'm not from there. Well, not in this lifetime anyway. But it is my happy place. The one place on earth where I truly feel comfortable and content. If I could move tomorrow, I'd do it in a heartbeat without looking back. My heart is there, on the moors, in the mists and buried deep in the Highlands.

But I digress.

Back to Burns' Night. It was a dry event, but the only man at my table brought a bottle of scotch in from his car (after getting permission from the people running the show) and gladly shared with the rest of us at the table. After we watched the pipers swigging down beers, we figured it was acceptable to bring your own in. The whole event was very inspiring and made me wish again I was living in Scotland.

The only bad part of the night? They played some Confederate song and raised the Confederate flag. Now, I'm not against people being proud of their heritage, but what does the Confederate flag have to do with a Scottish poet named Robert Burns? Anyway, I couldn't get up and sing and salute that flag. I'm a northern girl at heart and always will be.

When I got home, I continued writing for my local RWA challenge, which I also have done today, and the story is taking a nice shape. It's hard though, because I'm so used to blood, guts, gunfights and other suspense elements. Focusing on the relationship between the two characters and on their personalities in this contemporary is a hard lesson for me to learn, but I truly think that this lesson will be so valuable to my overall writing. I'm even playing around with pseudonyms that I can use for my contemporaries and I can use my own name for my suspenses when I get back to them. For now, I'm quite happy exploring Scotland and the love that's growing between my hero and heroine.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Drumroll Please...

Got to 1259 words today and I really wish I didn't have to go to bed 'cause I'm at a great scene. But this way I have somewhere to start tomorrow!

It's About Time

Yeah, I figured I owed you an update. My writing challenge with my local chapter is going soooo well. I LOVE my new story. It's totally a short contemporary, which is completely new ground for me. I'm having fun and relaxing with it. I'm averaging about 500 words a day, which is pretty good considering all the other crap going on around me. So far I've got about 25 pages. I still don't have a title for it but I don't care. I started thinking of the Lifetime and Hallmark movies that I love to watch over and over again. I dug deep to try and find what it was about the story or characters that I love. Doing that was a huge help and as a result I'm trying hard to focus on my characters and their journeys in this manuscript.

School is going well enough. I'm really ready for another break, though. Spring break is only 6 weeks and 3 days away! (But who's counting?) Got a field trip with the 5th grade tomorrow to the newspaper. Should be interesting. We're not big enough for a bus, so last year I had to make 2 trips to get the kids there. (And I had one parent driving) This year I have enough drivers so that I don't have to drive at all! Yay!

Got my ESL class tonight. I went last night too. I was exhausted, but I had a great time with the students. It's so nice to have adult conversations and adults asking questions and not giving me lip. Even though it makes for a long day when I teach there at night, they make it so worth it! They will be my saving grace this semester.

I want to write all the time and I can't but I'm enjoying the time when I can. Speaking of which, I'm heading back to my words for today. I'm already at 562 for today! I'd love to hit 1000. If I don't make it, it's not big deal. This challenge is 100 days. I'm sure I'll have more 1000-word days between now and when it's over. My goal is to have my rough draft done by the end of this challenge. Maybe...

Monday, January 16, 2006

Back In The Saddle

I am sooooo there! I'm over 800 words (4 pages)! I'm exploring a new type of story. No plans for a heavy suspense element in this one. AND I went back to what I love. Scotland. I'm just going to take it easy, let it flow, go wherever my new couple wants to take me. I'm even thinking about working on my query letter for UCOD this week too. I guess my wallowing time is over and I've got to get my butt in gear. Ultimately I want to be published, so the question remains what am I going to do to get there? Thankfully, I can answer that question once again.

Listening To The Voices

They've finally started to chatter again inside my head. Unfortunately, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed with three separate story ideas after 7 weeks of nothing. Still, I'm writing. I'm writing whatever comes to mind, even if it sucks. My Austin RWA chapter writing challenge started at midnight. I purposely waited up so I could start writing. I've already written over 300 words and it's only 3:10 A.M. I've got plenty of time tomorrow to keep writing. Maybe I'll even think of a way to convert my Resisting I've got to leave that alone. For now I just want to explore these new characters and see where they take me. I'm off to bed. Who knows? Maybe I'll dream a scene or two!

Friday, January 13, 2006

What's New?

Not much. I finished reading my second book of the year- Strange Fits of Passion by Anita Shreve. It was...uncomfortable. It was well written and I love her work now, but the subject matter is disturbing. (Abused wife on the run with a baby finds comfort in a small town until the husband finds her.) Next I'll be reading a book a woman I work with gave me for my birthday in 2004. It's been on my To Be Read shelf since and I decided to finally read it. Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I'm also reading The Midwife's Apprentice along with my 5th graders.

Tuesday I start my first full semester of teaching ESL to adults. I'm a little nervous but I'm so very excited! I'll be there one or two nights every week. Academically my day job is going well. I'm pleased. However, there was an incident today that helped me come to a decision. Or close to a decision. It wasn't a big deal, but it was to me. All I'll say is after this incident, I know what I have to do with my life. (Don't worry. It's not traumatic. I'm just very dramatic!)

On the writing front, I have done nothing except one little paragraph since November. I have no desire to write, be creative or seek out agents/ editors. I have no doubt I'll write again. (I always have.) I just have no idea when. I signed up for my local chapter's 100 words/ 100 days challenge. That starts on Monday. I'm hoping it will kickstart my creativity. A hundred words a day for a hundred days shouldn't be that difficult, right?

We'll see.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

All Is Calm

Got a new battery and a friend put it in for me. My Longhorns won the National Championship. My Patriots are aiming for another Super Bowl. Only 61 days till spring break. Managed to exercise for 5 hours this last week and lost 4 pounds. Cleaning a bit, reading a lot, working some. No writing and no desire to do so. I hope this doesn't last. Actually, a completely new female character popped into my head and started rambling some kind of journal entry. Maybe she'll be bossy enough to force me into writing again. I'm not quite there yet.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Just When Everything Starts To Go My Way...

Yep. Exercise plan is working. I'm having fun. Diet's working. Haven't had so much water in months. School went well today. (Only 66 days till spring break.) Loving Getting Rid of Bradley. Don't want to put it down. Watched 2 episodes of NCIS, 2 I hadn't already seen. (I still love Mark Harmon!)

What could be the problem, you ask?

I broke my glass water bottle on the way to the gym. My car battery died when I was leaving the gym.

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Quick Note

Can I just tell you what an awesome CP I have? While I wallowed over my latest rejection and contemplated all the other things I could be doing instead of writing, she just gave me a wake-up call. She acknowledged the rejection and the hurt that goes with it. But then it was like she expected me to just pick up another pencil and keep writing on my current manuscript. As if giving up wasn't and had never been and never would be an option. So I stopped my wallowing, picked myself up and began plotting and planning my next step to get myself closer to being published. Thanks, Deb!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Ringing In The New Year!

Happy 2006!! I hope everyone's had a wonderful start to the new year. I've been back a couple of days now from my trip to the frozen Northeast. Only, it wasn't frozen. In fact, they had unseasonably warm weather. So, I never even had to take my gloves, scarf and hat out of my suitcase. Of course, they got a snowstorm last night and into today.

I came home to some news. I passed my exam for adding ESL to my teaching certificate. The editor I'd been submitting to for the last couple of years rejected me...again. What's worse is she didn't ask for anything more. I guess she finally gave up on me. But, I'm not letting it get to me. I plan to start sending agent queries out within the week and I'll continue writing. Just not right now.

Over break I managed to read 7 books. 5 of them were holiday stories. One was the Aerosmith book (which I returned to my brother). Another was A Long Walk Home by Diane Amos, a NEXT story that I absolutely loved.

I was also able to get some typing done on my next manuscript. I now have 140 pages typed. I did a lot of plotting and planning, although my rejection is making me second guess myself and rethink my plotting strategies.

Tomorrow I head back to work. We have report cards to do, but at least I don't have to be in very early. The kids come back Tuesday. I'm so not ready to go back, but to make myself feel better I made reservations today for my spring break!

Well, I've procrastinated long enough. I've got to get back to grading so I can get to figuring out averages. No, as a staff we have not joined the 21st century and converted all our grading to computer.