Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Hi there! I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and you're all geared up for 2008! My vacation is going well. Although, there's been no newfallen snow...yet. Santa was good to me, although he also left me with a cold. Never mind. I'm battling it. Sitting on the couch, reading, relaxing and listening to the wind howl against the windows. (If it were nighttime, it would be kind of creepy.) I'm planning to do some reflection today about my 2007 experiences and then some planning for 2008. I'll be back home in a few days, so I'll give you the update then. Until then, take care, be safe and may 2008 bring you much love, happiness and success!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Holiday Message

I'm off to RI to be with the family this morning. While I'm away, I'll post if and when I can. Until then, I wish everyone a safe, happy holiday. Thanks to all of you who visit my blog, whether you leave comments or not. I appreciate your time, effort and support. I look forward to sharing more amazing and wonderful times with you in the new year.

May Santa bring you lots of fun surprises, may the love of the season be with you and your family and may 2008 ring in with lots of hope and promise!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Christmas Poem For Writers

This came through my Kiss of Death online chapter loop:

By Petrina Aubol
(With the usual apologies, especially to the poets out there.)

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house'
Not a creature was stirring, only me and my mouse.
The family snuggled, all ready to dream.
Me, I just struggled with my electronic machine.
"Should I use tockety tick or tickety tock?
Now which goes better stocking or sock?"
My thoughts got knocked out by noise on the roof.
Those pigeon pests sounded like each had a hoof.
Shaking my fist, I inserted ear plugs,
Picked up my beer and chugged a few lugs.
And with a resoluteness hardly ever seen,
I returned my attention to that dratted blank screen.
When all of a sudden banging on the door,
Penetrated my earplugs which I threw on the floor.
"Go to hell," I shouted to the intruder outside.
"I'm writing an opus in which I take pride.
My hero's heroic, my heroine's a dream,
The villain is the worst rascal ever seen.
My conflict's conflicting, it's all in my head,
But 'twill be in the computer before I hit the bed."
"Open up!" hollered a jolly voice in the hall.
"I've brought you some presents, both big and both small."
"Don't want any, go 'way," I told him with a roar.
But at his insistence, I opened the door.
There stood a fat clown dressed in fur and in red
With a white beard and pointy hat on his head.
A sack full of packages flung over his shoulder,
He stared me down, couldn't have been bolder.
I remembered my subplot that needed a boot.
What a great hook, an old joker in a red suit.
"Come in sir," I said flinging open the door.
"Sit down and please tell me what you're here for."
"No time to sit, writer, I've a long way to go,
But you sit down, I've goodies to show."
Speechless I sat in my desk chair pushed back,
And watched the old guy go through is sack.
He flipped me a card, "An appointment in New York City,
With a literary agent who'll read your new ditty.
Here's a Random House contract for you to sign,
Six-figure advance, put your x on that line.
Next is the route of your book tour with paid fare,
And your own eager publicist, who'll accompany you there.
Here's a brand new printer, thirty pages a minute,
With a lifetime supply of top grade paper in it.
Here are some cartridges and if you need more,
Staples will send them, pre-paid from the store.
His sack was lighter but more goodies he did find,
"A brand new thesaurus and dictionary combined.
A tape recorder so you can write and then jaw,
And a word processor program that works without flaw.
And last but not least from the Times of New York,
A book review claiming that you are no dork,
But a literary genius of the greatest acclaim,
Whose work will be bought out as your rise up in fame.
I'm taking your first draft which I will critique,
And leaving my life story which is most unique.
Then you can ghost write it, I'll finish it quick.
But we must use my by-line which of course is Saint Nick."
"I believe in you Santa," and in spite of myself.
I hugged the geezer, "You're the greatest old elf."
"Merry Christmas, Writer," he exclaimed as he left my sights.
"I'll be back next year to discuss Movie Rights!"


Friday, December 21, 2007


Hooray! I'm on vacation! That means lots of time for reading and writing. Well, once I get the Christmas shopping done, the house cleaned, this cold under control, the packing done.

There's not much to tell you. I started reading a Silhouette Romantic Suspense this morning. I love it so far! I'd like nothing more than to sit here all day and finish the story. The book is called Holiday Heroes and it actually has 2 shorter stories in it, one by Rachel Lee and one by Catherine Mann. I expect to finish the Rachel Lee one tonight. Yes, it's that good. The hero is on leave from the Marines and is struggling to keep from getting "soft" during his leave. The heroine is a park ranger who's more at home in the woods than among the people of her hometown. I feel the pain deep within each of the characters and I love the power of healing building within the pages. I can't wait to see how it ends!

How about you? Reading anything right now that grabs your heart?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

T Minus Seventeen

Hours, that is. That's how long until I'm officially off work for the holiday!

I'm holding the cold off, keeping it from taking over my life. Although I think I'm feeding it way too much chocolate from our class parties today.

Tomorrow I'm going to finish up the work stuff, maybe do a little shopping. I'm thinking Friday will be my official "Oh, I've got HOW MANY days left to shop for Christmas?" day.

Saturday maybe I'll visit the stepbrother and family, write, read and pack for the trip up north.

Of course, somewhere in between Thursday afternoon and Sunday morning I need to do some cleaning.

Next time you hear from me I'll be FREE until January 7, 2008!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Wanted Soup, So I Ordered Pancakes

I'm sick. It's just starting, but I already feel it coming. Nothing major yet. Just achy, stuffy nose, exhausted. For a while I felt sick to my stomach. Nothing sounded better than a cup of soup. So I went out in search of dinner. We had our "Holiday" program tonight at school and I didn't want to come home in between the school day and the program because I wouldn't want to go back. So I drove around and searched for a place that would give me soup. Oh, and the sandwich I was craving as well. So I stopped at IHOP. I haven't been there in years, but it sounded good. Of course, they'd run out of soup. As I looked at the menu, the pancakes looked awfully good, so I settled on those. They went down easily enough and filled my stomach...until I got back to school for the program and my stomach started to pitch a fit. Nothing major, mind you, but uncomfortable enough to remind myself that I'm sick. I need lots of rest, lots of fluids and plain/bland foods until I'm 100%. Which better be by the weekend because I'm flying into some snowy, cold areas. I don't need pneumonia or bronchitis or the flu for Christmas.

Still Christmas shopping, still got the check engine light on (but no symptoms), still not reading (except bad essays), and still no writing. Come on Thursday. Hurry up and get here already! Once our staff development is over, I'll be free! (Free to finish my Christmas shopping, wait out this cold, take the car to the mechanics, pack my winter clothes for the trip up north.) Just 2 1/2 days with the kids to go! I can handle it!

For now, though, I'm going to bed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

And What To My Wondering Eyes Should Appear?

I was out shopping today, feeling generous and stocking up on gifts for the holiday and extra foods and drinks to share at my work Christmas party tonight and what do I see?

The SERVICE ENGINE SOON light! Again. Less than a week after I picked up my car from the mechanics. Ho, ho, ho! Tis the season to spend money.


Positive #1: The week is just about over! I have one more Christmas party tonight and then my hectic days will slow down. (Good, because I'm exhausted still!)

Positive #2: I got an agent rejection Thursday on my 1st short contemporary. Why positive, you ask? She said she liked the story, but she was already representing something similar.

Positive #3: My Celtic Hearts online Yule party was fun on Thursday! I'd never participated in an online party before. It was interesting...and calorie free!

Positive #4: There's snow in New England. This means I may get my wish to have a white Christmas when I'm up there. (Only 1 more week before I leave!)

Positive #5: I can get back to reading today and even working on the suspense! Now THIS is the most exciting part for me because I haven't been able to get those characters out of my head.

How about you? Any big weekend plans?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

It's Almost Over

One more day of work this week. One more shift at the book fair. One more Christmas party. I could really use a solid 10 hours of sleep right about now. More tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here I Am!

Okay, I can take a breather now. Whew! This week is packed full of stuff to do and yet it's flying by. Before we know it Christmas will be here!

Today our 100 words a day for 100 days challenge ended. (Thanks to Elisabeth for talking me into it.) I'm proud to say I made it every single day. I'm also proud to report that 6 of my students wrote until the 100th day with me. TWO of them wrote every single day. All together I had 23 students participate. We had a party where I raffled off prizes and a parent donated pizza and drinks for us. Then, one of the kids challenged me to do another 100 day challenge in the spring. Evil children! Of course, I said I would. By that time, I hope to be finished with the rough draft of this suspense and working on a new manuscript. We'll see how many of the kids join again.

I got my car back Monday and it was actually a little cheaper than I thought it would be. Yay!

My Austin RWA Christmas party was last night. I had a blast. We have a book exchange each year, so I came home with a new book to read! Can't go wrong with that! Plus we had some awesome food and lovely company. I managed to control myself and not inhale the desserts people brought. (One meal at a time, goes the diet!) I'll be happy if I just don't gain weight this week.

My students took practice tests for state monitoring this week and I'm happy to report I do know what I'm doing! For the most part, the kids are on track with what they're supposed to know. (I'd still rather be a full-time writer than a teacher though.)

Tonight I get to relax, curl up with a good book and maybe write some on my own manuscript. Since I haven't been sleeping well, I plan to go to bed early and catch up on some zzzz's.

Tomorrow is the online Christmas party for the Celtic Hearts RWA chapter. I've never participated in an online party before, but I've heard nothing but good things about the experience. We exchanged gifts through snail mail and made a promise to open it during the party. I'm so excited to open the gift I got yesterday. I'm also excited to hear what the lady I mailed a gift to has to say about it. I'm pretty sure she'll like what I sent her and I know she'll appreciate it. (I'll tell you tomorrow what both gifts are.)

I'm off to have some dinner and read this awesome book! Have a good night and take care of yourselves! Don't let the craziness of the holidays destroy your sanity!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Waving To You As I Pass By

Hi! It's busy, busy here but I wanted to stop in and let you know I'll post to the blog tomorrow night. It'll be Wednesday and I'll be halfway through my hectic week. I'll have a few extra minutes to get you updated. I hope all is going well with you! I'm off to bed since I'm exhausted and I haven't slept much over the last two nights.

Catch you tomorrow!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Sunday Already?

Another weekend over. Another weekend closer to Christmas. I hope you had a good weekend.

Mine was productive...but not on the writing front. I've THOUGHT about writing quite a bit and I'm actually working through my GMC stuff. Jan Hudson is helping me. Thanks, Jan! Anyway, I Christmas shopped, cleaned a bit in the house (okay, I only did the dishes and vacuumed, but it's something!), worked for a couple hours, finished reading another book, critiqued for my friend Jenna, grocery shopped and blog-hopped. Yes, I'm doing my 100 words a day too.

Oh! I also won a copy of a Delores Fossen book from the Intrigue Authors blog. All month (or most of it I think), they're having giveaways and great blog topics. I started going to this blog because my friend Carol Ericson's first Intrigue just came out. I wanted to support her, but I also want to learn more about the authors and the line since that's the one I intend to gear my next manuscript toward.

Tomorrow I get my car back and fork over a chunk o' change to the mechanic. This coming week is my busiest outside of the classroom. I'm taking things one day at a time so I don't freak out with the pressure.

Oh! I am a one of a kind woman for sure! Here it is December and I've managed to LOSE 9 lbs in the last 2 weeks. Of course, the next 2 weeks are the crucial ones, but with this much success already I feel like I have my incentive to keep it going. Like my busy week, I plan to take my diet one meal at a time. I know I can do it!

Okay, I'm off to do my 100 words for the day. Have a great Monday!

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Yay! I got to see Men in Trees last night. I didn't think it was on and then there it was! Cash wasn't in this one, but in the previews I see he's part of next week's episode. I'm looking forward to that!

I got some more Christmas shopping done yesterday after work. I'm slowly chipping away at the list. My 6-year-old niece's birthday party is today so after that I'll be able to shop some more. Hopefully I'll find the December Intrigues somewhere for me so I can pick up my friend Carol Ericson's first book. I follow the Christmas shopping rule that I buy something for myself with each trip out for presents. It motivates me more!

I've got to go into work on Sunday to do some stuff to make my next week easier. At least it's only 9 more days with the kids and 1 staff development day until we're off for the holidays. We also have our book fair next week and I got suckered into chairing that so I have to make sure it's ready.

Yesterday during my shopping spree, I found some certificates of participation for the 50 words a day for 50 days challenge and I found some cute journals for each of the kids who has made it to the 100 days with me. I decided that I'm going to have 3 drawings for "grand prizes"- 1 for the kids who did the 50/50 challenge, 1 for the kids who did the 100/100 challenge and one for all the kids who wrote every single day. Oh and we're also having some kind of ice cream treat during the party, which is on our last day of the 100 days (Wednesday).

YAY! I get my car back on Monday! And the bill? During my last conversation with the mechanic, he said something like, "What we found will add another $100 to the bill." I've had a week to prepare for it so it's not so bad. At least it's a mechanic I trust, which is always half the battle, right?

After the b-day party, the shopping and the cleaning of the house (well, part of it anyway), I plan to play with my suspense characters. Yes I'll write my 100 words, but today I want to work on the hero's goals, motivation and conflict.

What about you? Any big plans for the weekend?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

So Little Time

Again I have some AWESOME ideas popping into my head for my suspense, but I don't have enough hours in the day to do everything! ACK! My hero has just given the heroine an ultimatum and it's soooo agonizing for her to choose! Of course she's going to choose him, but that opens up a whole other world of trouble for her!

6 more days on the 100 words a day challenge. Well, 7 since I haven't finished for today yet. I'm so thrilled that it's almost over. Of course, now that I'm getting into the plotting of this suspense, I'll be writing almost daily anyway. But I think having the pressure off me to write every day will be WONDERFUL! As for my kids, I've got about 5 or 6 still writing. I'll let you know the outcome next week when it's over.

With all this reading I've been doing and all this concentration on my new suspense, guess what's happening? I'm going into withdrawal from my fictional Scottish village.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Charlie Brown Would Be Proud

I call my Christmas tree a Charlie Brown tree because it's pretty cheesy. Yes, it stands about 5 1/2 feet tall, but the branches are uneven (it's artificial and I can't space them very well), I forgot lights and there are very few ornaments on it. Still, the ornaments I do have all have a story, which is what I like. Pieces of my personal history are stored in those ornaments, from the little yellow ball I stole from the employee pub Christmas tree when I worked at the Grand Canyon (yes, stole. What do you want? I was young and stupid.) to the seashell ornaments from one of my first students. Every place I go on vacation I try to buy a new ornament. If I don't go anywhere spectacular, I buy some special ornament that reflects who I am that particular year. This year I'm adding the Irish drum with the shamrocks that I bought in Ireland.

What's on your tree?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Suspense Fans, Listen Up!

If you're a suspense fan, drop by the Harlequin Intrigue Authors blog today. My friend Carol Ericson is blogging about redeeming bad boys. She's also giving away a copy of her debut novel, The Stranger and I.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Monday Miscellaneous

Car trouble. It's not a good sign when the mechanic calls and says, "What you're describing and what the computer is telling us don't match." Oh, and, "I'm thinking it might take longer than a day to figure out what's wrong with it." Can you see the dollar signs here?

Football. My Patriots play tonight. Hopefully they'll play better than they did last week. Yes, they won, but it wasn't pretty. Tonight better be pretty. I'll be taking myself out to dinner and then drowning my car sorrows in a couple of drinks.

Work. A good day. No kids were killed. No teachers went bald.

Christmasy stuff. The tree is in parts (it's a fake one) in the living room. The cards are half written. The decorations are scattered around the house. Maybe tomorrow I'll finish getting ready for the holidays. You know, after I get the bill for fixing the car, when I have no money to do anything else fun...

Reading. I'm really enjoying Margot Early's version of A Christmas Carol. I'm about halfway through the book. I wish I'd brought it with me.

Writing. I have to wait for my friend to get off work to give me a ride home. I could sit here and get some grading done. Or I could work on my suspense ideas. Hhhmmm, which do you think I'll do?

Later that same evening: Stinking rotten Patriots. Yes, they won and moved to 12-0, but they played like crap. Tonight I think Baltimore was the better team!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Brad Pitt Gets Bumped

I love Brad Pitt. Even after all the crap over his marriage to Jennifer Aniston, I still love Brad Pitt. I think I always will. I especially LOVE him in Troy. Last night I was searching for something to watch and I noticed Troy was on. Before I could change the TV Guide channel, I noticed that The Bourne Supremacy was also on. Jason Bourne won out. Not only did I watch The Bourne Supremacy instead of Troy, I watched it twice! Then guess what I did? I wrote some awesome stuff on the suspense and came up with some more plot ideas. I'm psyched to get back to it tonight at some point.

I managed to start my Christmas shopping yesterday, write out some cards, and pick up some more Christmas stories for myself. Today I had some work for school to do, then I picked up all my Christmas decorations. I see a very fun and relaxing evening in my future. What a great way to end the weekend!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Random Thoughts About The Holidays

Ho, ho, ho! I am officially entering the holiday spirit! This is my FAVORITE time of year. For the next 3 weeks I'll read only Christmas stories. Today I was going to go to my storage unit and pull out all my holiday decorations, but it's raining and yucky and I think I'll wait until tomorrow. Today though I can start writing out my holiday cards, which is no small feat (sp?). Of course, if I want to read more than one Christmas story this will require a trip to the book store. I might have to break down and go. Who knows? It's still early enough in the day I might change my mind about getting the decorations. I should also start seriously thinking about my Christmas list. And shopping. But shopping on a weekend in December scares me. I could watch a Christmas movie or two. Or I could start reading that Christmas book I already bought. Hey, my suspense takes place at this point in the year, I could sketch out a scene involving Christmas with my fabulous hero and heroine! (Actually, I already have one in mind.) Too many choices and too little time!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Well, Maybe Not

Yeah, that exit I thought I found out of the box didn't pan out. Oh well. I'm looking at it this way. My AWESOME new characters have given me three excellent book beginnings so far. And none of them fits. BUT a combination does fit AND leaves me with room to travel onto the next chapter.

I have a tendency to write over-the-top action scenes. Great action scenes, but with no logical motivation. In the last few years, I've learned to identify this problem (with the help of an editor) and work through it (by writing the contemps which made me focus more on goal, motivation and conflict). As great as those three scenes were as single pieces of writing, I knew they wouldn't work as book beginnings. So I stepped back, thought logically (those of you who know me stop laughing!) and I'm excited to spend a good chunk of my weekend with the new combined and carefully planned opening scene. My goal is to get the editor and the reader sucked into my story. For this to happen, I've got to pull out all the stops starting on page one!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Rule of 10

My first chapter for the new suspense is AWESOME! I love it. I'm still fleshing it out to make it even better, but it's almost lived up to the vision of it in my head. But now I've written myself into a box. I don't know where to take it from here. Hhmmm. Not good. BUT I may have a solution. I'm going to write down all the possibilities I can think of, as close to 10 of them as I can come up with. (Or is it supposed to be 20???) Surely SOMETHING will pop out at me. Right? Well, I'll let you know how it goes...

Not but a few minutes later...
I'm sitting here listening to The Bourne Ultimatum soundtrack and my computer screen went black for a few seconds. THEN a huge lightbulb popped into my head and I think I may have found my way out of the box by thinking a bit outside of it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Power Of The Internet

I was playing around with Google and my blog and look at what I came across! Seriously, look here. Now I know some of you are computer experts out there in blog land and this is no big deal, but for me this is HUGE. I forget how big the Internet is and how many kazillion people traverse the net daily. It always amazes me when I find my blog linked to something new. I wonder how it got linked and I wonder how many people will reach me through that link. And let's face it. The best part is my name being mentioned alongside Matt Damon's in a web address!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Well, Look At That!

When I started serious work on the suspense over Thanksgiving break, I hadn't done much writing for 2 weeks. (I kept up with my 100 words a day simply because I still have kids in the challenge with me.) During that 2 weeks, I didn't think about my contemporaries. I didn't worry over my new suspense hero and heroine's GMCs. I worked on school related assignments and I read.

When I sat down on Saturday (2 days ago) ready for some excellent words and phrases to find their way to my paper, I received a gift. Then yesterday, the gift carried over and I spent another day writing. On Sunday I managed about 8 handwritten pages. Then I typed all those pages up, printed them out and worked on expanding the awesome scenes I had. When I got tired, I put it all away. No pressure to finish one little section or to get one more page done. I'd done well and I deserved the time off, which brings me to my point.

Don't work yourself to death! When I went through my burn-out scenario 2 weeks ago, I'd been working for about 10 months straight on writing. This last week, I learned 2 lessons.

#1: I have to take a week off here, a week off there. If I don't, I'll sink into a depression, lose my confidence and find myself overwhelmed with my characters, plots and the industry in general. Writing, I must remember, is a job and everyone needs a vacation from their job. Just because I don't get paid to write yet doesn't make it less of a job.

#2: I need to read. Yes, I know. It seems obvious, doesn't it? But I didn't realize how important it is for me to read other people's work while working on my own. Reading always keeps my creative juices flowing. The more I read, the more I want to read. The more I want to read, the more I want to write. Then I get excited again about someday having my own book in my hands and watching other people take it off the shelves. So I'm trying to work myself into a schedule which allows me to read at least a chapter a night of a book. More when I have the time or inclination, but at least a chapter a night. I know this works for me. It has in the past. It will again.

So here I am on Monday night. I'm excited to work on my chapter. I'm interested in reading Lisa Jackson's tale. My author confidence is back up, and Caitlin and I are collaborating again. I guess it does pay to take a break!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Back!

At least I think I am. I ended up writing 12 pages yesterday. At times I got stuck and walked away. Then I analyzed why I was walking away. Was the direction of the scene boring or was it just not well thought out? Did it need to be in someone else's point of view? Regardless of the answers, I went back to the drawing board and just wrote whatever came to mind.

I think the biggest help to me was allowing myself to write crap and to toss it in the garbage later if it truly didn't work. Given that freedom, I was able to explore the scene from various angles , see what works best and then run with it.

All in all my Scene-In-A-Day philosophy worked for me. Hhhhmmm, maybe this is a new writing tactic for Caitlin and me. I'm off to run with it and see where my muse takes me today!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Insanity Revisited...With A Smile

I've read 2 books in 3 days. I've got 2 more days of Thanksgiving vacation left. It's time to get writing.

My goal/ plan/ decision is to spend all of Saturday writing. One day. I'm not sure if I'm ready for a Book-In-A-Week and I know I couldn't have handled that NaNoWriMo. But surely I can handle one day. One 24 hour period (less, actually if you think about it. I've got to eat, sleep, shower.) So later today, Saturday, November 24, I'm going to write the first draft of my first scene for the new suspense. Yes, I've been toying with different ideas for it for a few days now, but today I'm going to throw caution to the wind and give my new characters a chance to show me what they've got. If the writing is too difficult, too stilted and I get too frustrated, then I'll know that I still need more of a break. If the words fly onto the page (like I'm kind of feeling they might), then I'll know I'm ready to take the reins of my career again. Caitlin and I will be back in business!

Wish me luck and I'll keep you posted!

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. Well, I didn't sleep as much or as well as I thought I would. And I didn't start writing as soon as I thought I would. BUT it's going very well! I've probably only been writing for about an hour and I already have 3 pages PLUS lots of ideas floating! I'm just taking a hot chocolate break before getting back to it. Catch you later!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gobble, Gobble

To all of us in the States and to all the Americans overseas, Happy Thanksgiving! Have a safe, relaxing and tasty holiday!

I am thankful for:
my family and friends, even though they're all a bit strange.
my health. It can be taken away so quickly.
my blog friends. Sometimes your comments keep me going.
my students and work community. There are wonderful people and adults in the making there!
my writing talent that God gave me. (I promise not to squander it!)
the soldiers who work hard every day so that I am free to speak my mind, read what I want, and live the way I want.

Everybody, enjoy good food, good fun and good times!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Truth, Reality, Revelation

I am a writer. Whether I choose to write or not doesn't matter. Refusing to write doesn't make me less of a writer. It just makes me a writer who's given up.

You'll recall I stopped stressing out about my writing and allowed myself to take a break back on 11/7/07. Since then, there have been subtle reminders for me of what I love and the burning desire I have within me to tell stories. I'm at a point now where the people around me no longer doubt that I will be published one day. For them, it's just a matter of me sticking with it and eventually my time will come.

Today I'm humbled by the faith others have in me, the talent I do have and the journey I began so many years ago. Today I recognize I can't give up the fight (not that I really planned to give up entirely). I have to be strong. I have to give myself the chance to take mental vacations while I chase those dreams.

Today I also demand that I acknowledge the negative feelings I've had, but then I MUST leave them behind. The bottom line is I want to be published. I want my name on books and I want those book flying off the shelves. These things will NOT happen if I don't get over myself and get back to work. I owe it to my characters. I owe it to my readers. I even owe it to the people who have supported my from the beginning in this endeavor. But most importantly, I owe it to myself.

Giving up in any form is not an option. Difficulty isn't an excuse. I am a writer. Whether I choose to write or not doesn't matter. If I want to be a successful writer, I have to put the pen back on the paper, put the words back in order. I must persevere.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I'm out! I'm free! I have no teacher responsibilities for the next FIVE days!

We had our annual Thanksgiving feast today and my schedule is set up so I have very little teaching time on Tuesday mornings. So I had a very easy day. Once the meal was done, the kids were mostly gone and the cafeteria was cleaned, I went back to my classroom and...worked. Yep, I debated for a little while whether I wanted to stay or go in on Sunday. As much as I didn't want to stay today, I knew I'd NEVER drag my butt in on Sunday. So I stayed and took care of some stuff for next week. I brought a bit home, but very little. I truly want to enjoy this break.

From work, I stopped at the bookstore because it's been a couple of weeks since I went. Maybe longer. I love Christmas themed stories, so I have to get them while I can, right? The last couple of years I've bought a few Christmas stories, didn't finish all of them so I packed the unread ones up for the next year. It's like an early Christmas present!

I only bought 2 books this time. (I'm being good, aren't I?) A Harlequin Intrigue that sounded cool and a Christmas story. Okay, the Intrigue (Colby Rebuilt by Debra Webb) has nothing to do with Christmas, but I like the author, the story sounds interesting and it's a suspense. So technically, it could be research. Right?

The other book (A Spirit of Christmas by Margot Early) is a Christmas story and it's supposed to be another version of A Christmas Carol. That is my FAVORITE story so I jump at any chance to read, watch and analyze any version. How about you? Are you the type to read and really enjoy Christmas stories?

There are no big plans for the rest of the day. Finish reading Lisa Gardner's The Killing Hour, write my 100 words for the day, watch TV (Yes, I might even watch a few Cash moments!) and plan my next few days off!

Sunday, November 18, 2007


Not much to tell. I'm over my immediate frustration of not enough Cash (Scott Elrod) time. For now I just rewind the scenes he's in and play them over and over.

I've spent a couple hours so far (with a couple more coming up) getting caught up on grading. I'm planning a couple more to start getting myself a bit ahead. My goal is to have everything I can done by Tuesday night so that I can truly enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday. (We have a half day on Tuesday and right now I'm planning to stay for a full day and finish up a bunch of things-progress reports, lesson plans for the last few weeks before Christmas, letters home.

I'm still reading Lisa Gardner's The Killing Hour. It's good and I love reading it. I just don't have the time to sit for hours and do nothing but read yet. (Wednesday I will, though!) I admire those of you who can read 2 or 3 books at once. I tried it. I can't. I have to read one book and finish it before I start another. (Come to think of it, I'm like that in many aspects of my life. Hhhmm, what does that say about me?)

If you're bored and looking for an educational way to procrastinate, Michelle Willingham (awesome historical writer) has a link on her blog today to a vocabulary game. It's very addictive!

I'm critiquing a manuscript by my writing buddy Cat Schield. She's been winning and finaling in contests left and right lately. It's very good, but again I don't have the hours I'd like to just sit here and read.

My friend Monika is new to the blogging world and could use some encouragement to keep updating. Check her out!

I'm still doing my 100 words a day. I still haven't missed a day. Elisabeth Naughton, who got me into this challenge (I caved to the peer pressure!), is still working on her version of the challenge too.

Have a good rest of the weekend! I'm off to check on my Patriots.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Friendly Letter

November 16, 2007

Dear Men In Trees people,

I love your show. It has me laughing each week and crying on occasions. It's a feel good hour of television I can't miss.

I do have one complaint. There is not enough Cash time. I need my Cash fix each week. Call me an addict, I don't care. I'm a writer, see. I write romance and right now Cash is my inspiration. Sure I can go to your ABC website and drool over the pictures of Cash that are there. But I need him living, breathing, talking and being cute. I just started a new manuscript and he is my inspiration for my tough but vulnerable hero. So see, this is a professional request. In order for me to create the award-winning manuscripts that publishers want to buy and put on bookshelves for the public to read, I NEED MORE CASH!!!

Thank you for your time. Thank you also for considering my request.

Lexi Connor

P.S. I also write suspense. If this request is not seriously considered, I can easily write a book where TV people are hunted and killed in freak accidents that might not be accidents. Or by fanatical fans. Or wild animals. Think about it. I have a very creative mind!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

My Prizes Continued

Several people have weighed in on whether I should send an old manuscript or my new one to the writer who offered to critique it. I think I'm still leaning to sending the current work, although it'll be a while before a full chapter is ready to go. But she did say she'd remember.

Actually, I'm toying with the idea of writing over the Thanksgiving break and seeing if I can whip out a killer 1st chapter and more. Kind of like a mini book in a week. Of course, I have to finish plotting first, which I hope I can do this weekend. Then next week, we have 1 full day of school, a 1/2 day on Tuesday and our annual Thanksgiving feast. Then I'm officially off until Monday, November 26. Yes, there's Thanksgiving, but I don't cook and I go to my step-brother's house. Then there is the Texas- A & M football game the day after Thanksgiving, but that's about all I have planned. Oh well. I don't want to stress myself out. For now I'll just play it by ear.

Oh, the books I kept out of my winning raffle basket are Up Close and Dangerous by Linda Howard and Suzanne Brockmann's Stand-in Groom and Time Enough For Love. I'm psyched about both! Now if I can only finish reading this Lisa Gardner book. Which is what I think I'll go work on now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Yay Me!

I managed to get to my Austin RWA meeting last night after a very full day at work. We usually have a raffle each month for some goodies. Last night we had 3 raffles and I won 2 of them! I got to choose a basket that had some chocolate and a bunch of books. I gave away several of the books I knew I wouldn't read, including a western-type historical, a vampire book, and a few others. I kept the hard cover Linda Howard and the 2 in 1 Suz Brockmann. I LOVE them, and well, they write suspense. (I'll let you know when I get home tonight what the titles are.)

My other prize was a first chapter critique by our guest speaker Jordan Dane. Now, I kind of feel like this is fate jumping in on my toes here because this woman is a suspense writer and I'm back to working on suspense. My CP suggests I send a 1st chapter from a manuscript that's already done the rounds of contests, agents and a couple editors. Her thinking is I might be able to get some insight into why it didn't work for anyone. Then I can eventually rework it and try again. I was thinking of sending the 1st chapter of my newest suspense for some initial feedback (when it's ready). My thinking is that the one my CP is suggesting is one I finished 2 years ago. I feel I've learned a lot since then and I'm a stronger writer now. What do you think?

Monday, November 12, 2007

There's Evil Around Me

And danger in my head. Um, well, danger for my characters in my head. No, my characters are in my head and they're facing danger. Yeah, that works.

I've been playing around with my suspense ideas, and I'm having a LOT of fun with them. I'm relaxed and feeling no pressure. When I start to think about the contemps or about other suspenses that are floating around in my mind, I remind myself to concentrate on one story at a time. Nothing else matters right now except the one I'm working on.

So, yeah, all is going well in the new suspense. The heroine is terrified, the hero's trying to figure out what's going on and they're both trying to accept the death they're sure will be confirmed soon.

I think part of my success has to do with my current inspiration. I know that Kelly Boyce has a thing for Christian Bale and she puts pictures of him on her blog whenever she can. My best friend has a Vin Diesel fettish. (I admit, I like Vin Diesel too, but for me it goes in cycles with him.) Lately for me it's been 2 actors. One is Scott Elrod who plays Cash on Men In Trees. I LOVE him!! My other one, who actually started me on this suspense path a while back, is Matt Damon. And not the Ocean's Matt Damon or the Good Will Hunting Matt Damon. For me, it's the Jason Bourne Matt Damon. I've always been a fan of Damon, but my favorite role of his is Bourne without a doubt. I think when The Bourne Ultimatum came out is when the seeds of this new suspense were planted.

So, do any of you have actor inspirations for your characters that you'd like to share?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans' Day

Here in the States today is Veterans' Day. Wherever you are and whatever you're doing today, take a moment or two to think about the men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedoms, our safety and our way of life. Keep in mind those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives so that we may be free to speak our minds, read what we want and do all the things we enjoy. Thanks to the soldiers! We appreciate you! You'll all be in my thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Can I Just Say...?

You guys are the BEST! Thanks to those of you who left uplifting comments on my last post, my post about breaking away from my current Scottish contemporary. I expected some support, but not as much as I got! So, THANKS!

Life has been good these past few days. I'm still doing the 100 words a day challenge and always writing more than 100. I finished one book and started reading another. I've allowed my inner child to play. As I've begun playing around more seriously with my suspense ideas, I've worked hard to include all the pieces to the puzzle that I need in the beginning: a good hook, a hot hero, a not-too-stupid-to-live heroine, clearly defined internal and external conflicts. One sentence at a time. One page at a time. I'm having fun with it for now. We'll see where it goes. For now, this one is called Dance Away, Danger.

I spent the day tailgating for the final home game of my Texas Longhorns. (They won!) Now I'm off to write my words, maybe watch a little TV and then continue reading. Tomorrow I have to go in to work for a few hours. I could probably get away with NOT going in, but I'm thinking a couple serious hours grading papers, planning and organizing might make life easier over the next couple of weeks.

Have a good rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Withdrawal...And A Reentry Of Sorts

I've been dreading this post for the last 2 days, but it's time I share my news with you. After some sobering words from my CP about my current WIP, I withdrew from the RWA Golden Heart Contest. I know, I know. Some people probably think I should've tried to revise in time, but I'm just not motivated right now. There are too many things in my outside life vying for my attention and I don't have the heart for revising right now.

My CP was worried about me being upset or angry with her, but truthfully I'm grateful for her. I need someone I trust, someone I know wants the best for me, to be that brutally honest with me. Her comments had to do with the story being in my head and not clearly on the page. She's right. I've lived with these characters and in this Scottish village for 2 years now. I know so much about these people that I forget the reader has not listened in on all my conversations with them. Also, my CP commented that I have some big leaps in scenes (like I've forgotten to put a scene in between because she felt like she missed something). Again, that stems from me living in this world for so long.

I have no doubt I'm capable of fixing the holes and bringing the story to its clear, concise, intended ending, but I don't have the enthusiasm it would take to whip it into shape in time for GH. Why submit something to the GH that I don't feel excited about? Plus, I've been writing long enough to know I can't force it.

If I had my way, I'd take a vacation from writing from here until the start of 2008. I've literally been working on the Scottish contemporaries for about 20 months now with very little time off. The ONLY thing keeping me writing is the fact that I have this 100 words a day for 100 days challenge with my students. 7 of them are going the distance with me. I feel I can't let them down. And besides, how hard is it to write 100 words?

Which leads me to the reentry part of this post. I'm playing around with a suspense. Again. (Still?) I'm putting no pressure on myself, no deadlines or anything like that. For the rest of these challenge days, I'll do what I can and what I want. If it's good enough to keep, I'll use it in 2008. If it's trash, I'll toss it in the recycle bin.

Don't worry about me. I'm not depressed, frustrated or angry. I'm calm, relaxed and I feel this is the right (and healthy) decision for my craft. I am a writer. I will always be a writer because the stories need to be told and I can't imagine a life without this creativity. But Caitlin and I have to find our way back to the writing well.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm Back!

Hey there! The trip was awesome! Good food, good fun, good company and most excellent scenery. I just got in tonight and 6 a.m. comes early, so I'm off to bed. I promise to give you a full account ASAP.

I'll leave you with this...I'm switching planes in Philadelphia and what am I searching for? A TV to check the score on the Patriots/ Indianapolis game. (Woohoo Patriots!!!!!!!!!) Oh, and at the wedding yesterday, I'm standing at the back of the hall, by the bar (with a beer in my hands) watching the TV to find the Texas football score.

Have a good Monday. I'm looking forward to catching up with you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

So Long, Farewell!

Woohoo! I'm off to New England tomorrow for my cousin's wedding! I have to work half a day but then I'm outta here! This cousin is like the little brother I never had. I'm sooo excited for this trip for a number of reasons. I haven't been in New England in November in YEARS. I get to see my mom, who recently had the heart procedure and has another appointment with her doc while I'm there. I get to get away from the chaos of school, lesson planning, and yes, most things writing.

Tomorrow ends my 301 words a day challenge for the month of October. Last night was a killer. I almost gave up, but I couldn't. Not with only a few days to go. Then I also thought about this 100 words a day for 100 days challenge that Elisabeth Naughton roped me into doing. (Hey, Elisabeth. Roped is the right word, isn't it?) I thought, 100 words a day shouldn't be a problem after writing an average of 401 every day for a month. But I really, really, REALLY wanted to give up. You know what stopped me? The fact that I have a handful of students who are committed to the 100 words a day for 100 days challenge. I have to be a good role model. I will do my duty.

Oh, and I'm sending my partial to my CP tonight, plot holes and all. I can't focus on it right now, so better she work at it. Hopefully this short trip to Rhode Island will be somewhat peaceful. I'll do my 100 words a day because I have to. I'm hoping to finish 2 books I've got going. I don't want to worry at all about my GH entry. Then maybe when I get back, I'll be ready to jump in with both feet (especially after Jenna's awesome critiquing)!

Okay, I really need to go. I've still got a kazillion things to do, like pack.

Have a Happy Halloween, have a safe holiday and have a productive rest of the week. Catch you on Monday!

Monday, October 29, 2007


WOOHOO! My Boston Red Sox are baseball's WORLD CHAMPIONS for 2007! Twice in the last 4 years! I love my team! I watched every last second of the game last night and then I watched the post-game interviews and award ceremonies and the champagne baths. I couldn't sleep last night because I was too excited. When I got to school today (with my 2004 Red Sox T-shirt on), I taped the newspaper front page & sports page onto my board in the front of the classroom.

Writing? Yeah, I'm workin' on it. I managed to get 564 words written during the game (on commercials, of course!). Tonight after the news, I plan to sit my behind in this chair and read through the first chapter or two of TCAFS. Whether it's ready or not, I'm sending it to my CP before I leave for RI. (You know, New England. Where I'll be able to buy a NEW Boston Red Sox World Champions T-shirt and other goodies.)

Okay, okay. Stop being a slave driver. I'll stop gloating about my Red Sox (and the team's amazing, talented players) and get back to the business of writing. I'm going, I'm going!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Just A Quickie

Woohoo! I can't believe my team is ONE win away from winning the World Series! I'm so psyched! And in a matter of days I'll be in RI, so how magical will that be?

My Austin RWA 301 words a day for 31 days challenge is almost over. I've got 4 days left, including today. It's been great, except for the few times I felt like pulling strands of my hair by one.

The new short contemp has a title and I love it. Shadowed Heart. What do you think? As for the suspense, well...

Oh, and I'm slowly getting into the revisions of TCAFS. FINALLY!

I'm off to help out at work today since half our campus moved to a new location this weekend. (I didn't move.) I'm sure I'll post again after Game 4 of the World Series.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

As The Days Go By

I'm still not jumping into my revisions yet. ALthough, I am a bit closer to working on them. I printed off my first very troubling scene so I could work on it during the commercials during the World Series game. Still haven't started. I've been too busy writing my 401+ words for my challenges. Oh yeah. I was having trouble coming up with good writing for the challenge, barely eeking out my 401 words and then I got on a roll. So naturally I'm running with it even if it only gives me a couple hundred more words!

If you want more productive people, visit Kelly Boyce or Cat Schield. Kelly's manuscript just took first place in the Original Golden Opportunity Contest and she got a request for her full manuscript! Congrats, Kelly! Cat's been doing well in contests lately, but she'd been a HORRIBLE blogger. (No offense, Cat!) BUT yesterday she started blogging again. Yay!

Okay, I'm going back to watch the Red Sox. Jeez, that first inning was like watching the Keystone Cops, but Schilling and the boys seem to have settled down a bit. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Decisions, Decisions

I went shopping yesterday and found TWO dresses for my cousin's wedding. They were on sale, so I bought both. Now I just have to figure out which one to wear.

Last night I was sitting down to write my 401 words for the day and I couldn't figure out what to write. I was stuck. Again. I got a feeling in the pit of my stomach that I didn't need to be working on the suspense and that I should stick to my short contemporaries. The insane side of me panicked that I'd lost my ability to tell a suspense story. The rational side reminded me that I finaled in contests and got requests for my suspense stories. I'll get there, get back to them, when the time is right. At that point, I'd decided to focus once again on the short contemps. No sooner had I reached that decision when I got a blog comment that forced me to rethink my strategy AGAIN.

I read Tez's comment from yesterday in reference to me not remembering how to write a suspense after so long. She said I should read some suspenses and that would remind me how it's done. She's right about that. I'd already pulled one off the shelf to start reading. (Suzanne Brockmann's Breaking Point. I love her work!)

But, the part that struck to my heart was the other part of Tez's comment. She said that I come across as a romantic suspense writer. That struck me as odd and I immediately wondered what made her think that. Not that I mind, of course! Suspense has always been my first love. Of my 8 completed manuscripts, 6 of them are suspense. My first contest win was with a suspense. My first request for a full was a suspense. When I first started writing the contemps and I doubted my ability to tell a story, I took a time out and wrote a suspense scene just to make myself feel better.

So, thanks, Tez. You've reminded me to write what I love, even if it turns out to be both short contemporaries AND romantic suspense. I can write two types of romance and I should remember that is a talent! Most importantly, you've reminded me that I don't have to sacrifice one to do well in the other. After all, as my critique partner would remind me: It doesn't matter what type of story it is. In the end, it's how well the story is told that counts.

Monday, October 22, 2007


My Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series!!!!

My New England Patriots are 7-0!!!

I hung out with my friend Monika yesterday. We talked about writing and watched a show we both love.

I've got the day off today. I hope to get some serious writing done. Oh yeah, I'm back on the next contemporary. I'm so confused about which story I should be working on, I think I just need to work on my TCAFS revisions for a while now.

I'm off to shop for something to wear for my cousin's wedding. I'm also on the hunt for a gift. (I leave a week from Wednesday. The wedding's 11/3. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, huh?)

Did I mention my Boston Red Sox are going to the World Series?!?!?!?!

Have a great day!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

It's A Suspense...I Think

I'm pretty sure. Last night and early this morning before I went to bed, I played around with my new characters. I'd tried writing them as a short contemporary and something felt like it was missing. You may remember a while back I tried to start a suspense but kept writing myself in circles. Again, something was missing.

Early this morning, I thought I'd try to combine the elements of both. As I sat writing about my new hero in the suspense situation, it felt right. I got some great ideas and was able to write myself OUT of that circular route I had before. That gut feeling I've learned to trust told me I've finally found the right direction. Now I just have to remember how to write a suspense since it's been a year and 10 months since I worked on one!

More Nuggets Of Inspiration

Although I'm not planning to push my new hero and heroine into service, I am enjoying the few nuggets they keep throwing my way. Now that my 1st quarter grades are finished, I can spend the weekend taking dictation. Yay! Now, if they would only decide whether this story will be a short contemporary or a suspense...

A good friend of mine sent me a "catch up" e-mail. She and her family live out of state and I haven't seen them in a while. We've been friends for about 14 years (Wow! I hadn't realized it was that long!). In this e-mail, she made the comments that she's not a romance novel reader, but she said when my books get published (notice books--plural) she'll run out and buy them. I can't tell you how warm and fuzzy that made me feel. She's been very supportive since I first mentioned I was pursuing publication and it means the world to me to hear that kind of response from people who are important to me.

Yesterday I received my score sheets from the editor judges in the Heart-to-Heart contest. (TCAFS took 3rd) They both gave me some great pointers. For me though, the best part was the final question on the score sheet. "Would you want to read more of this book, if published?" Both the editor and the agent said yes. So, even though I didn't win, I received confirmation that I'm heading in the right direction. In addition, all the first round judges said similar things in their comments and score sheets. So it's coming. Until then, I'll just keep writing, reading and pluggin' along.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yep, Another Late Night

Here I am at almost 1 A.M. I should be sound asleep. I thought about pulling an all nighter, but I've got too much to do tomorrow.

Hey, how 'bout those Red Sox? They managed to pull out a win Thursday night and now they'll play game 6 on Saturday with my favorite pitcher again taking the mound.

It's Friday! It's a long weekend for us and I'm thrilled. We have to turn in grades later today, so I've been grading and averaging grades for most of the evening. Numbers are truly NOT my thing. But the grades are mostly done. I'll have a bit to do tomorrow, but it won't take me long. Once our staff meeting is over and I've rearranged my lesson plans for next week, I'm bailing out of the office ASAP!

The weekend is pretty busy, but before I can even get to that I have to go shopping for my cousin's wedding gift. The wedding's in 2 weeks. Oh yeah, and I have to find something to wear. Yep, leave it to me to wait until close to the last minute! Then I've got to come home and clean for company coming. Saturday is my nephew's 8th birthday party. Oh yeah, I guess I have to find him a present too after work today. Sunday I'm getting together with a friend to watch episodes of an old show called The Pretender. Anybody remember that? It's about a guy who is a genius who was held captive all his life until present day. He escapes and starts enjoying life and helps people along the way. Oh yeah, I also intend to finish the book I'm reading. I've only got about 100 pages or so.

On the writing front, I'm hoping to get a lot done over the weekend. Not much today unless all my shopping goes well. I don't know how much I'll get done Saturday, but I'm hoping to get back to TCAFS revisions and get a serious amount of writing related work done Sunday and Monday. As for the new manuscript, I've come to a decision. I will focus today on the first 5 pages. If I can get a decent draft done by the time I go to bed Friday night, I'll work to enter it in that contest. If I don't get a beginning that I love and am confident with, then I won't waste my time or money. I still intend to work the new manuscript out during the writing challenges so I'll still be uncovering new and exciting things about my characters. Then when my GH entry is shipped off to Houston and Book #1 is revised, I'll be able to pick up the intensity of book #3. Sound good?

Well, I think I better head to bed since the alarm will go off in just under 5 hours. Have a great Friday and I'll keep you updated on my progress over the weekend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

And Now For The Not So Best Times

Yeah, we won't even talk about those slackers, the Boston Red Sox. It makes me sick just to think about those championship games against Cleveland. Yuck!

After working with two sets of younger kids at school, I've realized I can NEVER teach true elementary. The kids are adorable to look at and talk to, but I'd be bald if I had to spend 6-7 hours a day with them! Nope. Even with the occasional pre-teen attitudes, give me my 6th graders any day!

Just when I'm ready to give up working on uncovering my new hero and heroine, they start talking. Not full sentences, mind you. No, they have to pelt my head with odd phrases and occasional bits of brilliance. Yet, when I sit down to brainstorm or free write, they clam up again! How cruel is that? I've got PLENTY of other activities I could be doing- cleaning the house (yes, even the toilets), grading papers, revisions to TCAFS, revisions to my query letter for TCAFS, printing my next contest entry (yes, I'm back to those again), finishing the awesome book I'm reading.

And yet, here I am still plugging away because those little nuggets of inspiration grab hold of my heart and demand to show me just how extraordinary this couple will be!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Best Of Times

I have the day off and I've been lazy for most of it. I think about all the cleaning I could be doing and then I pick up Monica McCarty's Highlander Unmasked again.

I was recently introduced to the hero and heroine who will star in book #3, and WOW!!! They're going to explode on the page once I figure out who they are, what they're conflicts are and why they're perfect for each other. All I know right now is he is HOT and she's so confused by him. Or maybe that's me. Hhmm, either way I don't care. I just know I haven't been this excited about new characters in a while. Well, yes, I was excited about Heather and Malcolm when I started TCAFS, but these 2 new characters bring about a different type of excitement. I can't really explain it yet, but I promise I will when I find the right words.

My heart patient relative came through her procedure all right and the doctor says she may not need another. But, one blood vessel was 90% blocked! Thank God she went to the doctor's when she did.

Kudos to my blog friend Jenna Black who writes paranormals for Dorchester. She just sold 3 more books! YAY!

Congratulations to Austin RWA member Laura Griffin whose debut romantic suspense novel, One Last Breath, just took over 1st place on the best-seller list here in Austin. YAY!

Oh, and of course, my New England Patriots beat the Dallas Cowboys yesterday!!! I took my life in my hands, wore my Patriots T-shirt and went out to have some food, some drinks and watch the game on a big screen. A fun time was had by all...well, the New England fans anyway. Now if some of that winning mojo could rub off on my Boston Red Sox for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. Come to think of it, I need that winning mojo to rub off on me too! Come on, baby, Lexi needs a book contract!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gone & Done It

I entered the RWA Golden Heart contest. I kept going back and forth about it because my stories are traditional romances and I'm worried how TCAFS will make out in the Series Contemporary category. But my friend Jenna reminded me that a story well told is a story well told regardless whether it's targeted to Blaze, Presents, Desire or Harlequin Romance. Of course, she's right. So I took the plunge and filled out the entry form online. Guess I better get back to the book and start on my revisions.

The students have 10 more days. I have 60 on my 100 words a day for 100 days challenge. I have 19 more days (including today) on my 301 words a day for 31 days challenge with my local Austin RWA group.

I've got so many characters fighting for time my head is spinning. Literally I've written scenes for 6 different couples since my challenges started. I'm not so freaked out about it anymore like I was when it first started. I was so overwhelmed, but Caitlin (my muse, remember?) has calmed me. She's given me permission to write whatever comes into my crazy head with the understanding that TCAFS MUST come first with regard to focusing. Then she also assured me that even as I write several scenes with several different characters, one couple will take charge after a while and they will be my next super couple. Caitlin has been very good for me (well, when I choose to listen to her!). I can't help thinking that she's preparing me for another step in my journey. What that step is, I haven't a clue, but I think I'll keep listening to her and doing what I'm told.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lexi Connor's Meggie MacDougall

If you've read this blog before, you may have seen some posts about Meggie MacDougall. I'm here to properly introduce her. Meggie is a character in my fictional Scottish Highland village. She's opinionated, sticks her nose where it doesn't truly belong and she's very adventurous. She's foolishly young right now and I thought she'd be the perfect character to share her thoughts on her village.

So, months ago I decided to start a second blog called Meggie's Musings. I figured it would be a way for me to get to know Meggie (because she's already told me she's getting her own happily ever after at some point) and to get to know more about the community. So far it has been very rewarding...and extremely difficult. Writing Meggie's blog posts forces me to "build my world" and to view my other characters through the eyes of a "local lass". It forces me to make choices about my village and my characters, choices I maybe hadn't thought of while writing manuscripts #1 and #2. However, it has also made thinking about manuscripts #3, #4 and #5 so much more fulfilling. I'm learning so much about those heroes and heroines before I even put pencil to paper for their individual stories.

The professional writer in me latched onto this character blog idea instantly! I love to blog, so why not? I'm confident that my Scottish stories (at some point) will sell. I'm focusing my website (still in process) on a Scottish theme. My thoughts are already spinning out of control for ways to market my books when the time comes. With Meggie's blog, I think it can be a way to get people interested in my writing. (Although, I admit putting myself out there in this respect is actually a bit overwhelming and frightening.) When I finally do sell, I figure the blog could be a great backstory resource for readers. Also, since Meggie will eventually be the heroine in her own novel, the reader can watch her grow and evolve as a character.

Meggie doesn't get many visitors yet, but I'm confident she'll be an invaluable resource when I make that precious next step in my journey of publishing. In the meantime, posting to that blog keeps me deeply involved in the lives and loves of my fictional world and doing THAT reminds me why I love what I do!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Post Birthday

Well, I had a lovely birthday on Tuesday. I talked to a few family members, got some great cards and gifts and had an absolutely great day. Plus, I got to give away a prize for my contest! Thanks again to all who entered. It's so much fun!

I finished Jane Myers Perrine's book Love's Healing Touch. A very sweet, inspirational story. I'm just about to start Monica McCarty's second book. On her blog, she's talking about writing her next trilogy. Check it out!

No more news on contests or from any industry professionals. In my "old age" I'm finally learning not to let the waiting get to me. Or maybe it's because I'm so busy with the day job lately and the family medical drama. The heart patient in my family goes for a cardiac cath on Monday and they'll put a stent in if they have to. She's in RI. I'm in TX. At least I have the day off from work so I can sit here writing (because writing ALWAYS keeps me calm and as sane as I can be) and waiting for the phone call that all is well and she's on her road to recovery.

Nothing else to tell you, so have a good night!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Birthday Bliss Continues...

I had a great day with my students, got some cool gifts and I intend to respond to the recent comments left. BUT for now....

The contest winner is.....Nita! Thanks very much to all who entered my contest! I hope you'll continue to visit, comment and follow my progress toward getting published. Nita, lass, please e-mail me with your details and I'll get that package in the mail soon.

Okay all, I'm off for the second part of my birthday celebrations! Have a good night!

Happy Birthday To Me!

Yes, it's true. 36 years ago this very day I decided to arrive in the world and start wreaking havoc. I was so impatient I came a little over a week early. Fast forward all those years and here I am still creating chaos. (Granted, the chaos I now create is only fiction but it's still so much fun!)

So the best birthday presents so far? Yesterday after work I decided to treat myself to a CD of Celtic music that I love, only when I got to the store they had 3 NEW ones! So, I picked the one I liked the best and bought that one. I didn't play it though. It's a birthday present so I had to wait until today. I'll probably play it on the way to work.

The other best birthday present? THE YANKEES LOST! WOOHOO!!!

I'll post the winner of my birthday contest later today! Don't forget to check back.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

The Good:
My Patriots won and are now 5-0 on the season! My Red Sox won and will move on to the American League Championship Series on Friday in Boston. I FINISHED the rough draft of my current manuscript, TCAFS! I cannot wait to get started on the revisions, but I'm going to give myself a few days off to relax, celebrate my birthday, and read a little. Then I'll jump back into the fire and start cooking my masterpiece.

The Bad: More family medical drama. This time it's a heart issue and it's with someone very important to me. She's in good shape otherwise and the doctors are confident everything will
go well with the procedures they'll be doing, but still it's scary and sends me into crying jags at the oddest moments. At least I have my writing, which has always been a comfort for me through the most difficult and horrific events in my life.

The Ugly: The New York Yankees won last night. I can't stand the Yankees. Hey, what can I say? I'm a New Englander at heart! Also, I only have 4 people in my contest for another Scottish surprise! Come on, you know you want to enter. Leave me a comment, stick Scotland in there somewhere and that's it. You have until midnight tonight! Don't miss out.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Birthday Wishes

Happy birthday to Kit Frazier! Woohoo! 29 again, Kit? Kit is a fellow Austin RWA writer and a friend. PLUS, her books are awesome! If you're looking for a new mystery type story to read, check her out!

And don't forget to enter my contest!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Contest, Sports And Writing

Don't forget to leave me a comment and get in on my contest! Leave a comment on any recent post, mention Scotland or Scottish or some variation between now and midnight Monday (10/8) and I'll draw a winner Tuesday, October 9th!

Speaking of CP and friend Jenna Stuart is an evil influence. She gave me a compliment about my writing and tried to talk me into entering another RWA chapter contest. I haven't decided if I'm going to do it or not. Oh, who am I trying to kid? I'll probably mail the entry out on Monday.

My Texas Longhorns got beat today, but they actually played better than I thought they would. I ate too much, of course, but at least I didn't drink too much. (I was at a party.) My Boston Red Sox play Game 3 of their division series tomorrow and my FAVORITE pitcher is pitching. (Curt Schilling, if you were wondering.) You can bet I'll be watching that. And my New England Patriots will be trying for another win tomorrow.

TCAFS is still coming along. I'm sure I'll be done with the draft by Tuesday. While working on Meggie's blog, I was introduced to yet ANOTHER future story. The hero is someone who has played an important part in Meggie's life, but not in a romantic way. I don't know much about him, but I met his heroine and WOW they just explode onto the page! (To find out a little more about the hero, check out Meggie's blog!) When I finish revisions on the current WIP, I'll have so many great stories to choose from for the next installment of my Scottish village.

Okay, I'm off to work on my 401 words for the day. Have a good night!

Friday, October 05, 2007


I should be fast asleep, but I went a couple rounds with the AOL tech guys. Basically, after all the aggravation, they tell me it's my computer and not AOL. Needless to say, I was too wired to sleep. Lucky for me because...

I just found out To Catch a Falling Star took 3rd place in the Heart to Heart contest! Yay! Not only that, but my critique partner and friend Jenna Stuart took 1st place in the historical category with her manuscript A Secret Heart! Congratulations, Jenna and everyone else! I'll be celebrating throughout the weekend AND the next week.

But for now I think I better get some sleep.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

A Learning Experience

I finished a romance last night that I considered a sub-par read. I won't say which book or which author, but I will tell you why I finished it. I learned A LOT about my own writing. I learned what I don't want to do and also how to improve my own writing. Bottom line: Conflict is everything.

This story didn't seem to have any sense of urgency in it. I kept wondering why the hero and heroine didn't just have their "Happily Ever After" right from the beginning. What kept the hero and heroine apart didn't feel very compelling or convincing. The author did write it so the heroine had to go through a transformation, but I didn't feel the characters were well motivated. Or maybe I just didn't understand their motivation. I really thought there could have been so much more depth to the novel, but the author didn't take the time to show us why the heroine did and said the things she did and said.

When I brainstormed with Heather during the retreat, she said wonderful things about my character goals, motivations and conflicts, but she also asked why these things HAD to happen right now. She made me think about the urgency of the events and she helped me make my upcoming manuscript that much richer because my heroine's goals conflict with the hero's AND she needs to have it all happen as soon as possible.

With the story I just read, there was no urgency. There didn't seem to be anything at stake for either character and I still don't know what motivated the hero to do anything he did. He just came across as a perfect hero. Which in my opinion makes a perfectly boring hero.

CONTEST NEWS: Don't miss my October contest! Check out my previous post for all the details. The basics? Leave a comment, mention something Scottish by midnight Monday, October 8th and then be eligible to win a prize on October 9th!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Happy October!

I'm 4 weeks into my 100 words a day for 100 days challenge.
I'm starting my 301 words a day for 31 days challenge with my local Austin RWA.
I'm moving right along with my current WIP.
I'm pretty positive I'll make my deadline of next Tuesday for the rough draft of TCAFS to be finished.

So, in honor of my most excellent progress, my most excellent Scottish short contemporary series and my birthday, I've decided it's contest time! Between now and midnight on Monday, October 8th, leave a comment and stick the word SCOTLAND (or some variation: Scottish, Scotty, Scot, Scotch) in your comment somewhere, somehow. (Feel free to be creative.) For everyone who does leave a Scotland comment, I'll put your name into a drawing for some books and a Scottish surprise. (Yes, I still have some stuff from my summer trip and I'm itching to get rid of something new!) The more Scotland related comments you leave, the more chances you'll have to win. On Tuesday, October 9th (my birthday), I'll post the winner!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

My Fives

I got this idea from my friend Heather Foeh and thought you might be interested in my answers.

Five Jobs I’ve Had In My Life
1. Dietary aide in a hospital
2. Job coach for people with disabilities
3. Customer Service clerk for a newspaper
4. Restaurant hostess
5. Information/Office clerk

Five Places I Have Lived
1. Warwick, Rhode Island
2. Grand Canyon, Arizona
3. Las Vegas, Nevada
4. Austin, Texas
5. Norton, Massachusetts

Five TV Shows I Like To Watch
1. The Unit
3. Numb3rs
4. Men in Trees
5. Monarch of the Glen

Five Places I Have Been On Vacation
1. Phuket, Thailand
2. Paris, France
3. Berlin, Germany
4. Sunderland, England
5. Dublin, Ireland

Five Of My Favorite Foods
1. Asiago (sp?) pretzels
2. Hawaiian pizza
3. Mashed Potatoes
4. Bread – any and all kinds
5. British Mars bars

Five Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
1. Edinburgh, Scotland
2. Glenfinnan, Scotland
3. New Zealand’s South island
4. Perth, Australia
5. On the train traveling across Scotland
(Notice a pattern here?)

Five Places I Like To Shop
1. Barnes & Noble
2. Best Buy
3. Office Max/ Depot
4. Central Market
5. Things Celtic (In Austin)

So there you have it. If you post your Fives on your blog, comment here and let me know so I can read them instead of working on my manuscript! (Just kidding!)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Light Bulb Moment

As a writer, there is nothing better than those light bulb moments. They are the moments when pieces click into place and make the world a little better, a bit brighter. Recently I had a light bulb moment, not in my manuscript but in my approach to my 2nd career. I am no longer a "newbie".

Now, I've been writing forever, but seriously writing toward publication for about 5 years. I've completed several manuscripts, I've finaled in and won several contests, and I've graduated to personal rejections. I'm the type who allows herself to wallow for one day only when I get rejections or bad news. I absolutely believe in learning from my "rejections", applying my new knowledge to my writing and then moving on. Why dwell in the past when I only want to move forward?

Technically, I've known I'm not a newbie for quite a while, but at my last Austin RWA meeting 2 and a half weeks ago it really started to hit me. We had lots of people there, visitors and members alike. People asked questions of our chapter officers and our guest speakers. As I listened to their answers, I realized that I really am a veteran of this march toward publication. The amount of answers I can offer in reference to craft, story elements and RWA just staggers my mind.

I notice this also on my writing loops and even when I speak with non-writer people. Wow! I can speak intelligently about my career goals, the business (from the viewpoint of an almost published writer), story elements, craft and marketing ideas.

With this newfound (or newly acknowledged) wisdom, my question becomes, what will I do with it? First and foremost, I think it deserves another attitude adjustment. I can no longer play dumb. I have to pledge to teach to others what I know. If I don't know something, I have to have the courage to find the answer. I have to be willing to take my career gently in my hands and make sure it receives the attention it deserves---as an almost published writer. I can no longer claim the ignorance of a beginning writer AT ANY POINT. As a PRO member banging on the door to PAN, I have the responsibility to hone my skills and learn all I can about the next step in my career so that I can make intelligent decisions when the time comes.

But most importantly, I have to give back to the community. Pubs and almost pubs answered my questions when I first joined RWA. They fostered a love of craft and continue to lend support even now. As I move up the ladder toward a publishing contract, I see it as my duty to bring someone (or many someones) further up that ladder as well. Life is about living, learning, falling on your face. Courage comes from getting back up, moving ahead and sharing what you've learned. I accept the challenge and my position in the writing community. I embrace my duty to my own career and I will do my best to pass on the gems of wisdom to the next set of almost published writers.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another Pledge...Please Do Your Part

I've decided to give myself a huge birthday present. I'm going to give myself one of the best stories every told. (Well, the current version. I'm sure I'll find other things to revise before it goes off ) My birthday is in a week and a half. I am pledging in front of all of you to have my story (TCAFS) completed by that day. I have plenty of incentives (it feels like it's been too long already, I want to enter it in the GH, I want to send out queries, I want to move on to the next couple!) and I have plenty of chances to write (my 100 words a day challenge, my 301 words a day for the month of October challenge, my weekends and evenings). I've been making steady progress all week and I'm psyched about finishing now. I KNOW I can do it. Malcolm and Heather deserve their happy ending. They're whispering that it's time.

So, I ask you to hound me, er...encourage me to complete my task. Ask me how I'm doing. Ask me if I made my word count for the day. Harrass me if I tell of slacking off or if I start whining. Because even on my worst writing days, this is still the best job in the world!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Laura Griffin's One Last Breath

Laura Griffin's debut novel One Last Breath officially hits the stores today. If you are a romantic suspense fan, go out and get your copy. I was fortunate enough to read the Advanced Reader Copy (ARC). Here's my official review:

It’s all Laura Griffin's fault. I lost precious hours of sleep devouring her debut novel, One Last Breath.

While spying on her ex-husband, reporter Feenie Malone realizes there’s more to Josh than just being a lousy ex. Hoping to kill two birds with one stone, Feenie decides to investigate Josh’s connection to a well-known criminal and use the story to advance her career.

PI Marco Suarez is convinced Feenie’s ex had something to do with his sister’s disappearance. Suarez has spent the last two years “unofficially” working his sister’s case. When he meets Feenie, he’s determined to find out if she’s just the innocent bystander she claims to be or if she’s Josh’s accomplice in Paloma’s disappearance.

As Feenie and Suarez work together uncovering Josh’s seedier side, sparks fly and their relationship grows. Feenie begins to wonder if they could have a future together, but Suarez’s quest for revenge seems to keep getting in the way.

One Last Breath is an engaging story from start to finish, one that suspense fans will not want to miss. The explosive prologue hooked me right from the start. I connected with Feenie quickly and as Suarez grew on her, he also grew on me. In short, I wanted to work out in Chico’s Gym, be a best friend to Feenie and I just plain wanted Suarez. With a tight plot and an endearing cast of secondary characters, One Last Breath is a great read from an author who is sure to entertain us for years to come!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Don't Stop The Madness!

When I started my 100 words for my challenge today, I couldn't really think of anything to write about on the 3 Scottish contemporaries I've got going. Nor could I do anything with the suspense that has pretty much died. So what did I choose to write? Words for Scottish contemporary #4! Now I've got FOUR couples throwing phrases, descriptions and words of wisdom at me. Madness, I say! I wish I could feel finished with one before I start on this 4th story. But hey, while Caitlin is visiting, I might as well take advantage of her generosity. (Caitlin's my muse. Did I tell you about her? Yes, I named her. Oh no, wait. She CHOSE to tell me her name. Yeah, that's it.)

So there's FP- the finished manuscript that needs to be revised. I'd sent it to the Harlequin Romance slush pile and then I got interest from an editor...twice.
There's TCAFS- the near to finished one I intend to start querying agents with next month. This is also the one going into the Golden Heart. (This is the one an editor gave me great feedback on during Nationals.)
There's HHC- the one I brainstormed on my Austin RWA writing retreat, potentially the next one once the first 2 are completely finished. (This is the one with the killer first line!)
And the latest one, ABR- I'd started this one back in January, but the characters needed more time to sew their wild oats.

I'm off to create more chaos for my fictional Scottish village! (PS: This is NOT the allergy drugs talking!)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Caution: Zombie Working

My allergies are so bad lately that they've severely interrupted my life. It got to the point on Friday that I had to take some allergy drugs. Relief is a good thing, even if it's only temporary. Being drowsy is not.

The kind of meds I'm taking make me extremely drowsy and make my head foggy. So I only took them Friday night. Then yesterday morning I felt worse. So I took them again, felt better and went about most of my daily activities. This morning I had to weigh all the effects carefully before I popped that little pill: I could either not take it and suffer (to the point that I'm getting sick and can't eat) or I could take it, feel better and just nap on the couch most of the afternoon. I decided to take the drugs. So now I feel like a walking zombie who is reading with her eyes half closed and who will soon be grading papers. I tell you, what a rotten way to spend the weekend! And apparently there's really no end in sight to the allergy problem here in Austin.

I worked a lot yesterday (even in the allergy med fog) on TCAFS and I'm thrilled with the way the story is coming together. I still wish I didn't have to go to the day job so I could spend as much time as I wanted on my writing, but if I want my supply of allergy meds to stay filled, I guess I have to keep the day job...for now. You know, just until I make the best-seller list a kazillion times in a row.

I ventured over to eharlequin to check out the latest Harlequin Romances last night, which led me to check out several authors. Do you know I found one woman who had 7 books published this year? 7! SEVEN! Granted they're short contemporaries, but they're still full stories. I'm aiming to write 2 a year and I thought I was doing well with that. But seven? I'd definitely have to quit the day job for that and yet, I'd have to make more money in order to quit the day job! It's a vicious catch 22, isn't it?

Unless I hit the best-seller list a kazillion times in a row.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bright New World

My horoscope for today according to AOL:

Once you decide upon your course of action, you'll have a fierceness of character. Others may not realize how formidable you are, but if you believe in yourself then nothing will stand in your way.


Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Better Day

I think one day to wallow and be pitiful every six months is okay, but I'm over it now. I'm getting stuff done with the day job, I got a good night's sleep last night, and I met with my 50/50 challengers (students) today to discuss our progress.

Student challenge-Still got 21 out of 25 and then one of the dropouts (who dropped out this week) asked if he could make up the words and restart today. I said yes. I also told the dropouts they'd still be allowed to go to the party at the end of the challenge because they did make it about 2 weeks.

My own challenge- I'm still plugging away. Plus, in conjunction with the 100 words a day for 100 days challenge, I'm also signing up for a 301 words a day for 31 days challenge in the month of October with my local Austin RWA chapter. I know, I'm a glutton for punishment!

My writing- I've decided to just take things one step at a time. I think yesterday I was overwhelmed. So last night and tonight I'm typing up the 25 pages I wrote on the retreat. Then this weekend I'm going to continue and try to finish the TCAFS draft again. I decided I am entering this in the GH and so that is going to be my priority now. Also, this weekend I'll take a look at my business plan and revamp it according to my latest challenges (difficulties, not writing challenges). I've got so many stories playing in my head and so many things I want to do from the business side of writing, I MUST reorganize!

Thanks for rallying around me and helping me get back on my writing feet.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Writing Blues

Nothing is truly wrong, I'm just kind of in a funk. I'm DESPERATE to spend hours on my manuscripts, to plot, plan and write like I did over the weekend. Trouble is, I can't. I've got an allergy attack and I'm so physically exhausted I can hardly keep my eyes open. Then I panic about all the day job stuff I could be doing, but then I remind myself there's a reason it's called a "day job". Add to that, I got another agent rejection today. It wasn't a shock, quite honestly. It's for the old draft of FP. After my chat with the editor at Nationals, I figured out what was wrong with that manuscript and I'm working on correcting it. I know I've come so far with the current WIP. It's 100 times better than FP (and FP is still an awesome story!) But, I'm in a frame of mind where another rejection still hurts. Maybe I'll go look at my pictures from Scotland again to cheer myself up.
In other news, my blog buddy Kerry Blaisdell is doing a poll on her blog about books and swearing in them. Go check it out! She's deciding whether or not to have a contest too, but you should go vote anyway.

As for my 100 words a day for 100 days challenge, I'm doing well. I haven't missed a day in the 16 days we've done it. 3 of my 25 students have already dropped out of their 50/50 challenge. Another one told me today that he didn't think it would be hard when we started but now he's having trouble remembering to do his words every night. Tomorrow is our day to discuss our progress. Maybe I'll give them a few days of in class writing time. It only takes them about 4-5 minutes to write at least 50 words for their stories. Maybe that will inspire them to keep going. (And me since I free-write with them.)

Thanks to all of you who ventured over to offer your opinion to my Scottish blog buddy Meggie MacDougall. I know she'll be tickled to see comments from someone other than me!

Okay, I'm feeling better already. I know I really have no reason to be down. I'm making as much progress as I can each day on the books. I'm submitting and getting my work out there so that one day my books will land in the right hands and I'll get published. I've still got great students who make me laugh and ease the tension out of me. Plus, I've got a great support system with all of you, my chaptermates and my non-writing friends who can't wait to see my books in bookstores. So, thanks for "listening"!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I Fell Off The Horse!

Yeah, since my retreat I've written a whopping 247 words. I've been able to keep up with the 100 word challenge, and I've even started typing up what I wrote over the retreat, but that's all. Hopefully this week I'll get back into it full swing. Of course, I could always blame the day job. :)~

If you have a favorite historical author (either historical romance or just straight historical fiction), please take a minute and pop over to my friend Meggie's blog. She's trying to find some new authors to read.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back In The Saddle

WOW! What an AWESOME weekend! My Austin RWA retreat just rocked! I talked a lot, wrote a lot, had a few drinks, and serenaded the group after a friend "demanded" I prove I could sing. A hush came over the crowd and all heads turned my way. I think some of them were quite surprised! Stage fright didn't affect me like it normally does thanks to the beers I'd consumed before I sang one note.

I managed to write 25 pages on TCAFS. I hadn't planned to work on that one, but a scene I'd been stumped with suddenly came clearly to me. Of course I had to run with it. And what a HUGE difference to the manuscript!

I also brainstormed with Heather Foeh, which was awesome too. She helped me piece together my next manuscript and we talked out some of the points I needed. I tried to return the favor. I hope I helped her out. I never really thought of myself as much of a brainstormer (for others), but chatting with Heather about our books was surprisingly easy and pain-free!
Oh, and I came up with a killer first line for the next book, HHC.

Then today, Heather helped me again! I was having issues with a different set of scenes for TCAFS, so I gave her the basic story and she helped me figure out where to take it from there.

I didn't even think about the suspense at all. In my heart, I believe I'm meant to focus on the short contemporaries for now. They are flowing. (Yep, I even "met" yet ANOTHER potential hero in my Scottish Highland village!) The contemps are doing well and I really have faith in these stories. So, I'll continue to be a suspense reader and perhaps at a later date I'll jump back into writing suspense.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Taking Charge...?

Can't sleep. Like the kid in the Disney commercial says, "I'm too excited!" So I checked my horoscope. For today it says:

You might wish that the tensions would just go away, but they won't until you consciously face what's bothering you. You might have to stand up to someone more powerful than you, but you can do it as long as you act consistently with your feelings. Push past your anxiety and self-judgments; just show up and be yourself.

All right, Mr. Suspense Hero! I'm talking, so you BETTER listen up! I know I keep trying to push my ideas onto you and your story, but you're not doing your part. I NEED to hear from you! Your ideas, plans, fears and dreams have to come out on the page and they can't do that unless YOU TALK TO ME! I'm willing to look past your faults and show the world what a great guy you really are. So, what's it gonna be? Are you man enough to face me?

Friday, September 14, 2007


It's Friday! Yeah!

Tomorrow is my Austin RWA writing retreat. 2 whole days of doing nothing but writing related activities. We've got brainstorming sessions, critiquing sessions, personal writing time, a happy hour and plenty of time to visit. It was SO wonderful last year. I'm hoping I'll get that fire restarted under me and I'll get back to work. I've got to stop being a slacker!

I've immersed myself back into my fictional Scottish world...and my muse returned. Well, maybe "returned" isn't the right word. She peeked into my office for a while. I plan to load up on my Scottish inspiration (videos, music, rereading previous manuscripts) tonight so I will be ready to "go forth and write much" over the weekend.

As for the suspense, the hero gave me teeny, tiny glimpse of what he wanted today while I was driving. So, I'm going to jot down his ideas and then play around with them over this weekend too if the hero will let me. (Pretty please with sugar on top?)

I didn't go to Julie Ortolon's party last night for her new book Unforgettable. I had some family stuff come up, but I'm not worried. She's so awesome, I know she had a lot of people planning to go!

Congrats to two blog friends who recently did well in contests! Cat Schield took 1st place in the short contemporary category of the TARA contest with the Heart of the Negotiation. Not only that, she ALSO got a full manuscript request! Kelly Boyce finaled in the Toronto Golden Opportunity contest in the historical category with Desire and Brimstone. Way to go, ladies!

And FINALLY my friend Meggie MacDougall in Scotland updated her blog! Three cheers for Meggie! It's been about 5 weeks or so since she last posted. I love hearing about her little village. As I told her, I was about to board a plane to search for her...and for a hot Scotsman for myself! Meggie PROMISES to blog regularly again, but I won't believe it until I see it.

I'll blog when I get home Sunday to share all I've accomplished with you. Until then, have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2007


You probably don't want to read this blog post. I'm not a happy camper. I'm struggling with my 100 words for today and I have NO DESIRE TO PICK UP A PENCIL! (or pen or to put fingers to the keyboard. You get the idea.)

I figured out today that I've been writing THE SAME SUSPENSE SCENE for the last few days of the challenge. The new scene starts off one way and I think it's going to be awesome, but then somehow I end up back to the same conversation between my hero and heroine. I think it's happened about 3 or 4 times now. (Yeah, and I just realized it. Yeah, I'm a little slow apparently.)

I finally asked my suspense hero what he wanted from me. He still hasn't answered. GGGRRR.

Update: When the clock struck ten and he STILL hadn't answered, I switched to writing the new contemporary. With that, I squeezed out 241 words and got some good ideas for a starting point tomorrow. I guess suspense isn't in my immediate future.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy, Busy

Challenge totals:
Monday 607
Tuesday 354 (I think. I have to check.)
Mostly I'm working on the suspense because I FINALLY got into the groove of that one. Even though I'm rusty with the suspense angle, I reminded myself that I can fix a page with words already on it, but not a blank one.

Couldn't get into blogger quickly enough to blog yesterday. Last night was the awesome "Web Presence" workshop at my monthly Austin RWA meeting. (More on that later.)

Tonight I'm kickboxing and working on some manuscript. Hopefully a little of FP revisions since I'm supposed to be doing those all month and I've barely started.

Tomorrow night I'm going to a party for Julie Ortolon's newest release, Unforgettable. (More on that later too.)

Friday's kickboxing again and then Saturday and Sunday is my Austin RWA retreat! (You guessed it, more on that later too!)

Have a great day!