Friday, February 29, 2008

A Friend Makes A Sale!

Elisabeth Naughton and I have been trading blog comments for probably close to 2 years (maybe longer, I can't remember!). I met her in person the night of the RWA Rita/ Golden Heart awards in Dallas last year. It was a quick hello. I was in line to get into the room for the awards and she was looking for some friends before heading into the section for Golden Heart finalists. I always enjoy reading her blog...when she decides to blog, and I look forward to the day we can actually have a conversation face-to-face.

She just announced that she sold her Golden Heart finaling manuscript and two other books to Dorchester!!!

Congratulations, Elisabeth! YOU DID IT!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ten Dollars!

Yes, I finally hit the magic number of TEN DOLLARS for the charity box. And I still have 3 and a half weeks to go. I can tell you this, I tend to realize now when I'm going to swear and sometimes it is SOOOOOO worth the dime. At this rate, some veterans' organization is going to be very happy!

Tonight was a Chuck E. Cheese fundraiser for the school. Lots of crazy kids, lots of screaming and giggling. Lots of shell-shocked parents. I went, ate pizza, mingled and then came home. Oh, and then I counted the number of school days left before the end of the year. Yep, that's right. I've got a teacher. (57 work days, in case you're wondering. I'm known throughout my campus for always having the countdowns to all the school breaks.)

I sent off my latest contest entry for Danger last night. Yay! Still working on my writing challenge and I have yet to miss a day or go below 200 words. I'm planning to complete the bare minimum tonight because my characters are boycotting me for some reason. I'm also critiquing for a friend and I intend to read a bit more of Michelle Willingham's book tonight. I'm really loving it so far, but I just don't have enough time to read like I want!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Pardon Me While I Poke My Eye Out

It's 6:45 and I JUST got home from work! I had a meeting that should've had me home by 5, 5:30. You can bet I added some more change to the pot! Yep, another $ .40. I'm going to be broke by the end of Lent! So many writing plans, so little time. Right now I have to make some dinner and then decide which project to tackle with the rest of my night.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And So It Grows...

My Lenten money box, that is. $9.50. I got on a string of nasty words when I went to Teri's blog and didn't find out the secret she's been teasing us with for days now. I added a few more dimes when I was watching TV and the phone kept ringing. A couple more colorful metaphors came out of my mouth during the frantic writing of my awesome book. My brain is on warp speed and my pencil can't keep up!

In other news, Nita Wick is involved in a cool contest. It's one of those where you have to visit several authors' websites and then E-mail some answers to certain questions and you're in the drawing. It looks like a pretty great contest and I plan to search for all the clues when I have time.

Oh, and while you're on Nita's website, check out her page of inspirational heroes. Ouch! I thought I'd have to call the fire department because those boys are H-O-T!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Seek And Ye Shall Find

Woohoo! A friend of mine gave me a CD of one of my favorite bands, Def Leppard. (Thanks, Becky!) While listening to this, I managed to work through my 1st scene woes! Yippeeeee! I think I FINALLY have an opening scene worthy of the book's complete vision! I'm off to finish pulling it together to send to the CP.

Tez commented the other day that she's hearing so much about chapter 1. She asked about chapter 2. Just to keep you all updated, chapter 2 is almost pulled together to my satisfaction too. The book is moving along (although you can't tell by the progress meter), but I'm fairly confident that starting tomorrow I'll be adding more pages instead of just revising the ones I have.

I'm leaning toward giving my Lenten swear money to the Disabled American Veterans. Not quite sure yet, but I do know I want it to go to a soldiers' organization. My newest friend and CP, Jess Dawson, is active military so I might pick her brain about it. Well, I won't pick too much because she's busy revising for full requests.'s a bit of advice for you. Don't eat brownies at the keyboard. I just added another $.50 to my growing money pot.
Saturday word count: 402
Sunday word count: 597
Total Lenten charity amount: $8.90

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Things Are Good...Mostly

I've got lots of grading done already. It no longer feels so overwhelming. I watched The Bourne Supremacy while I graded. Now I'm about to put in The Bourne Ultimatum while I continue grading.

I haven't been very happy with my opening of Danger. It's good, but I've been feeling it could be so much more suspense-filled. While watching Matt Damon and giving out grades, I figured out how to up the tension in the very first scene. I can't WAIT to play with it tonight!

After some more grading, I'm moving on to read some for my newest CP and then I'm going to play around with my opening. I've got another contest deadline looming (Well, 2 in the next few weeks) and I want to be ready to kick some serious contest butt.

And WHAT WAS I THINKING when I entered that contest last week? Ugh! Such drivel! Uninspiring trash! (Okay, maybe that's a little harsh.) I'll never final with THAT entry. Well, hopefully I'll get some good judges who offer some pertinent advice. At least then I'll still get my money's worth.

Back to the middle school essays, myths and tests, Oh my! (Yes, they are that frightening. Believe me. That's why I have to grade during the day. At night they'd scare me too much!) Later!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Yippeeeeeee! It's Friday!

My weekend will be spent diving into grading papers, figuring out averages and preparing for parent conferences on Monday. I intend to spend some quality time with my manuscript as well. (And maybe some time with my favorite action hero, Jason Bourne.) Someone I critique for needs me, so I'll be working on that too. And I plan to enter Danger in another contest soon so I need to tighten up my first chapter. Yes, I know I sent it to a contest already and I'm quite sure I shouldn't have, but it's done. I can't do anything about it. Moving on. I'll be sending the chapter to my CP this weekend too to get her take on it and for her to rip it apart (and remind me why I definitely shouldn't have sent it as is).

Before all this wonderful work for the day job and the dream job, I'll be out visiting with old friends, having dinner and a nice cold beer. A few of us teachers and staff members get together once a month to catch up and...well, complain. It's always a good time. So, I'm off to the meeting location even though the meeting doesn't start for a while yet. I figure I can beat traffic, get some more grading done and have a snack...or a drink. Hey, it IS Friday! Or I might just go there, write and...have that drink. I'll let you know later what I choose to do. Have a good night! (Or day, depending on your place on the planet!)

Update: Wine, scones and manuscript pages.
Thursday word count: 244
Friday word count: 445
Total Lenten charity amount: $8.20

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

More Of Little..So Visit Some Friends

Still don't have much for ya. Go to Travis Erwin's blog. He wrote an awesome post on Point of View. Go to Nita Wick's blog. She's getting RAVE reviews for her first book about fairies. Go read about Sherry Thomas and her exciting debut historical novel, which is also getting rave reviews.

Total Lenten Charity Amount: $7.60 (Um, not one of my best days.)...$7.80 and counting...(even later) $7.90. I'm pretty good at holding my tongue with American swear words now (2 weeks into Lent), but I seem to have moved across the pond for some colorful metaphors.
As for the words and the challenges, I'll update later. I intend to type up what I've been writing and then to take off from there. Check back and see also if I had to add any more dimes to the pot......My notebook with my last couple of days' words and today's notes is sitting on my desk at school. Grumble, grumble, ggrr, grrr...(even later) 267.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Busy, Busy. Work, Work!

I don't have much to tell you, but I thought to update the blog. I sent my GH scores into RWA. That's done. I got confirmation that my contest entry made it to the coordinator. That's done. I paid my memberships for my RWA chapters. That's done. I haven't written all my words for today yet and I barely made 200 yesterday. Got lots of little annoying chores done tonight. Yay. I'm having a little trouble with my language. (Check out the Lenten total below.) Bad Lexi!

So while you wait for a good blog post from me again, check out these blogs. I recently discovered them, LOVE them and thought I'd share.

Nicole Reillan
Sizzling Pens

Monday Total Word Amount: 200
Total Lenten Charity Amount: $7.00
Update...Tuesday word total: 212

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Lessons From The Golden Heart

I've been reading my Golden Heart entries and judging them for a good portion of the weekend. 4 down, 2 to go. As I'm reading through other people's best work, I'm amazed at how far I've come in my quest for publication. (Yes, it's all about me. Always, isn't it?) Also, I think about how far I still have to go, too.

One of my biggest lessons learned during this judging session is how important it is to have a complete synopsis. This last entry I read had a 12 page synopsis and I can honestly I still don't know what's happening. The details required for a synopsis (the WHOLE story) are left out and I find myself wondering how the threads of the suspense actually tie together.

The other main lesson learned (or reiterated for me) is how important it is to make every scene count. I've read some entries that had absolutely wonderful scenes that didn't do anything for me as a reader. After the read, I sat there thinking, "That was great, but what did it tell me about the characters and their predicament?" A couple of the entries showcased an excellent understanding of how to use a scene for more than one purpose. The other entries left me wondering, "What was the point?"

In my own work, I've been trying to make sure each scene serves at least 2 purposes. I'm focusing on weaving in clues about the suspense and revealing tidbits of information for at least one of the main characters, if not both. I can't remember which brilliant published author I heard those words of wisdom from, but after reading these Golden Heart entries, I see how important it is to keep your reader focused on the story you're telling. It may be wonderful to know how the little boy at the end of the street makes snow angels, but unless it evokes a memory for the hero, heroine or villain, I don't really need to know that information.

So, the moral of this story? Here is another piece to the publishing puzzle. Make every scene count or that reader will surely cross you off their To Be Read list. (For those of you looking forward to the day you can read one of my books, I promise to make it worth your time and money!)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Here I Am!

Hi, hi! Another busy week has ended and I got LOTS of catch-up sleep last night. Other things I've been doing:

I worked frantically yesterday afternoon and evening to get my entry ready for a contest. It's my first contest in at least 6 months AND my first suspense entry in over a year. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Also, with finishing the 1st chapter for that contest, I've gotten to a point where I feel confident about moving on with the story. I don't feel my writing will be time wasted and my outline/ loose plotting is finally a proper tool for me. Yay!

My challenges are going well. I've averaged at least 300 words every day this last week. Today I expect to get quite a bit done since it's cool and rainy and I don't want to go anywhere.

Work is work. 3 weeks until spring break. Did I tell you I'm going on a writing retreat for 2 nights during spring break? I'm very psyched already. I love the place and the friend I'm going with, so it'll be lots of fun! No TV, no phone, just good food, good drinks, good writing, good company. My friend and I don't really get to spend much time together. She's very busy! So we try to get away from our own lives at least once a year so we can catch up and hang out without the pressures of our own lives getting in the way.

This week I started judging my Golden Heart entries. I'm still on the first one, but by the end of the weekend I hope to have 3 of the 6 done. We'll see.

As for my progress meter...I'll update when I can. I've got about 4 handwritten pages I need to type up and then I've got today's words to do. I guarantee I'll have it updated by the time I go to bed tonight.

Total word count for Saturday- 789
Total Lenten charity amount- $6.10

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tagged on V-Day

Thanks to Cat Schield, I've been tagged.

Here are the rules.

1. Link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. Share six unimportant things about yourself.
4. Tag six random people at the end of your blog entry.
5. Let the tagged people know by leaving a comment on their blogs.

Six unimportant things about me:

1. I'm afraid of heights, but not to the point that I'll let it interfere with my life.

2. I spend way too much time blogging and blog-hopping.

3. I'm addicted to pizza.

4. I can't drive a stick-shift.

5. My very first TV game system was Atari and my favorite game was Frogger.

6. I have a terrible time making decisions. I see both sides to pretty much everything and can't make my mind up.

I won't specifically tag anyone, but if you're reading this consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Failure To Communicate

Miscommunications: I sent the first chapter of Danger to a blog/writer friend who offered to read it for me. She pointed out great questions and made helpful comments. She also posed a bunch of questions to me that I needed to hear. As a suspense, I don't have to reveal all the answers to her questions in the first chapter as long as I know what the answers are and when and how they will be revealed. Some I did know the answers and we e-chatted about. Some I wasn't sure about. And some I had absolutely no clue. (Usually I don't let anybody read my manuscript until at least the entire first draft is finished because by then I know where the story is going and how it's going to get there. I've only been doing it now because I really want to start entering it in contests.)

I also sent it to my CP. I sent it to her Monday night. She sent me an e-mail Tuesday that said not much more than "Let's talk about your story tonight." (We had our Austin RWA meeting last night.) So all day yesterday I wondered and worried about what she would say about the chapter. What wasn't working, I wondered? The suspense element was working. I knew that. I'd found my groove with pacing too. Okay, so maybe the little inconsistencies I hadn't managed to work out in my head were popping up. Or maybe I was making things too convenient for the average romance reader. Hhhmmm. So I actually pondered and wrote and scratched out a bunch of stuff and was ready to hear what she had to say at the meeting. But guess what? She said she just meant that we'd catch up at the meeting. She hadn't even read the chapter! After all that, though, I realized I had some serious rewriting to do because if I thought there might be something wrong with it, there MUST be something wrong with it! Gut instinct tells me so.

Lack of Communication: Today I did figure out a solution, but I haven't had a chance to work on it. Nope. Had some errands to run, dinner to eat, cleaning to do. But I still have to finish writing my 200 words for my 2 challenges so maybe I'll get some more accomplished. I'll update the progress meter before I go to bed.

Total word count Tuesday: 297
Total word count Wednesday: ???What will it be???...546
Total Lenten Charity Amount: $5.60

Monday, February 11, 2008

And We're Off Again!

Today marks the beginning of my spring writing challenge with my students. 25 kids signed up to start the challenge where they'll write at least 50 words a day for 50 days on a creative story. Some of them even volunteered to write 100 words a day for 100 days with me. My Austin RWA chapter starts a month-to-month challenge on Wednesday. I'm doing 100 words a day for that one too. Two hundred a day is all I'll commit myself to for now, although I do hope to write a lot more! Especially now that the story is flowing and kicking----butt. Butt isn't a swear word. I wasn't going to say something else. No, I don't need to add another dime. You can't make me.

Today's total word count: 525
Total Lenten Charity amount: $3.70 (I've been pretty good since Friday!)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Love It, I Love It Not

Saturday morning I loved what my critique partner didn't like.
Saturday afternoon, I hated it too.
Saturday night I loved my new opening, thought it was my best work yet.
Later Saturday night, I hated the opening, contemplated tossing the whole idea.
Sunday morning my critique partner sent a note the new opening is awesome!
Later Sunday morning I smiled and decided NOT to throw it in the trash.
Sunday afternoon I see so much more potential in this draft of the opening.

Finding out I've still got the magic? Priceless.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Paying Through The Mouth

I'm Catholic. For Lent, I decided to give up swearing. For each bad word that comes out of my mouth during the 40 days of Lent, I'm donating a dime to charity.

Lent only started this past Wednesday.

I already owe $3.20. ( I used up a good $1 after the computer "crash" last night.)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Technophobe Loses Battle With Computer...And Critique Partner

GGGRRRR. I had to stay at work today for the Valentine's Dance. (If I came home at any point after the workday and before the dance, I wouldn't have gone back.) After eating dinner, I had an hour to kill. So I sat in the computer lab and worked on Danger. One hour later, I had 2 pages of good, new material and I was in the middle of a brainstorming E-mail to my critique group. Guess what happened? I LOST IT ALL! Automatically at 6 p.m. the computers in our school shut down and erase absolutely everything. A warning would have been nice. Since I don't technically work on that campus, how was I supposed to know that would happen? And to think, my next step after my critique group E-mail was to E-mail my new pages to myself.

During the dance, I volunteered to be the hall monitor so I didn't have to interact with too many people. I was still ticked off about losing my writing. While I yelled for kids to stay out of the classrooms and to get out of the bathroom, I managed to handwrite as many of my previous notes as I could AND add another 2 pages.

The dance itself was really a success and we had so much parent help, it really wasn't any trouble. When I got home, I had a drink (yes, I needed a beer) and then a cup of tea. Then I came in here to check my E-mails. Guess what I got? Another book chewing from my CP. I love her dearly and I totally believe in her ability as an awesome CP, but what am I doing wrong? I honestly don't see it. I'm not worried, panicked or ready to throw in the writing towel. I'm...puzzled. At this point in my career, I think I should be getting better, closer to publishing. After her latest round of comments, I feel very confused. Am I regressing?

Ah well, I'm not going to stress about it. She's giving me more specific details tomorrow since she didn't want to hit me with everything at once. Maybe through our E-mails we can brainstorm what's going on with me and my manuscript. I'll let you know what we come up with.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I'm A-Rollin'

Just not very far forward. But still, progress is progress. Yay! I'm wrestling with this beast of an idea. Do you remember my event that was at the end of the story that had to be moved to be the 1st turning point? Then I moved it back toward the end again? Then tonight I moved it back to the 1st turning point. Well, now I'm wondering where it's supposed to go! I think I just need to write the scenes and worry about rearranging later. I don't like this scene where it's going, but my characters are boycotting my ideas. So, the good author that I am, I'm listening to my characters and my muse...again...and fighting my stubborn ways.

Tomorrow ends a horrendously packed day job week. And how will I end it? With a middle school dance at school until 9 p.m. So I'll leave the house about 7:15 tomorrow morning and I'll get back sometime between 9 & 10 tomorrow night. Can you tell how thrilled I am to spend my Friday night with a bunch of preteens? And what's worse? I don't know how much writing I'll be able to do tomorrow! But I am going to try to get enough day job work done so I don't have to go in over the weekend. That way I can really spend Saturday and Sunday working on my manuscript and following the directions/ instructions of Danger's reluctant hero.

Have a great Friday!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Um, Can We Say Slacker?

Yes, it's true. I, Lexi Connor, have been a slacker tonight.

I had a host of good intentions for the evening, but they all got sidetracked. It started with a day job meeting that ran later than we'd planned. Then I met with a concerned parent about a student who's not pulling his weight. Of course, I had to go get groceries too. By the time I actually got home, it was almost 7! Then of course I had to eat (well after I put the groceries away) and wouldn't you know it, I was out of clean clothes so I had to do laundry. Well, then there were some bills that absolutely had to be made out so I can put them in the mail tomorrow morning. Then I sat down to read for a little while, but I got sucked into watching a soccer game. No, really. It was the US team vs. Mexico. Apparently it's a HUGE rivalry. So I watched to see how many of the players I recognized from the World Cup games. By the time that got over, I finished the dishes, laundry and my cup of tea. Then it was almost 10:15. Naturally, I decided to post to the blog instead of doing any last minute before I go to bed writing.

So, I got absolutely nothing done today on my manuscript. Oh, wait. That's a lie. I THOUGHT a lot about it and how I really have to reorganize the plot to make sure everything works. I THOUGHT about my awesome villain and how excited I am to be working with him. And yet, I wrote nothing.

In the end, I don't really care that I slacked off today. Next week I start another 100 words a day for 100 days challenge with my students AND a month-long challenge with my Austin RWA group. I wrote a few pages last night and I'll have some more time to work on it tomorrow night. In the grand scheme of the life of the book, one night won't make that much difference.

But think about this...who am I trying to convince, you or me?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Genre vs Subgenre

Can someone explain the difference? My understanding was that Romance was the genre of fiction and Romantic Suspense was the subgenre. Is that not right? I want to be able to use the words correctly and have intelligent conversations. So help me out here.

Made a little progress today. I don't really want to stop for the night, but I'm getting tired and I need to get some rest. First, I intend to have a cup of tea and to read the first chapter of Debra Webb's Traceless.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Pooh For a Moment, But Then I'm Moving On!

Stupid, rotten New England Patriots! Why couldn't they play better? Why tease us with a near-perfect season only to lose in the end? Still, congrats to the New York Giants. They played well, and they deserved to win the Super Bowl.

Okay, in crafting my AWESOME chapter one, I managed to drop down on my progress meter by a couple of pages. Still, the opening is much stronger and shortly I'll be e-mailing it to my CP. Then I decided to take the rest of the night off from writing. I'm still reading Julie Garwood's Slow Burn, only my 2nd book of the year. I've got about 130 pages left so I intend to finish that tonight while I drown my Super Bowl sorrows with a few more lovely libations.

Monday through Friday I will once again try to write as much as I can on my manuscript. Then next weekend I guess will be devoted to revising chapter 2. I do love the story and everything within me says this might be THE ONE. Of course, I thought that with the last few too, but here I am still unpublished. But seriously, this time I think I might have a shot. I'm back writing in a sub-genre I love and I've learned so much about craft over the last 2 years of writing contemporaries. We'll see. If Danger doesn't sell, I'm still sure that it will bring my career much happiness in some way. In the end, as long as I'm moving forward, then I'll be happy. After all, the road to publication is a journey. And life is all about the journey, not the destination.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Quality Rules Saturday!

Have I told you lately how awesome my CP is? No? Well, let me say it again. I couldn't ask for a better critique partner. She is the best! Yes, yesterday she sent me an-email with lots of comments, details that needed attention in my first chapter. I've been working on it on and off today and it's coming along so well! I tried to write the alternative opening that had been flying around in my mind, but after a couple of pages I realized it wouldn't work with what I had planned for later chapters. So I toyed with the original, rearranged some things, added some more and BOOM! A great revelation hit me square in the forehead. Between Jenna's comments, my tweaking and my characters whispering in my ear, we've got an even better opening to the book. Woohoo! I'm off to work on it again. Don't worry, I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I didn't manage to get as much writing done through the week as I'd hoped, but the most important thing is I made progress. I still love the story and all the places I intend to go with my hero and heroine and I look forward to all the places they have yet to show me. My plan remains the same. I'll work on quality this weekend and then again Monday through Friday I'll free -write whatever comes to mind. I like the idea of this schedule and hope it proves fruitful for me.

My day job is coming more under control, as is life in general, so I'll be able to start putting writing back on the front lines. My aim is still to enter my first contest of 2008 this month with a revised 1st chapter. My CP did an awesome job for me on the 1st chapter, pointed out quite a few easy fixes. The biggest problem I have with this manuscript so far is I tend to remember things my characters and readers don't know yet. For example, I know how and why the hero shows up at the heroine's door when he does, but my CP informed me she had no clue even by the time she finished the chapter. Oops. So I have to go back and take the information I've got stored in chapter 2 (the info that answers several questions and that can potentially hook readers) and weave it in chapter 1. I think my CP was worried I'd freak out and stop writing again like I did in October. But that was different. I'd lost my confidence, lost my spark and I was burning out. This time around, this is totally a work-in-progress. I'm ready and willing to listen to her most excellent advice. And to do what is necessary to make Danger a work of art. I want this book to sell. It has great potential. I believe in my story and my ability to share it. I will be strong enough to see it through. (and "Doggone it, people like me!" Anybody remember Stuart Smalley?)