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.