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 out...one 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 contests...my 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!