Sunday, March 30, 2008

I Was Kidding Myself

So much for my hours of school related work I'd planned to do today. I've been doing my 300 words for the day. Oh, and I figured out which writing contests I'll enter in the coming months. As for the day job stuff, I've decided to do what is necessary for tomorrow and then I'm going back to Danger. I'm eager to figure out the Big Black Moment and the ending to the story, to make the pieces fit together properly. My rough draft is almost finished!! So close.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


I'm able to come up for air! Did you miss me? I swear I'm going into blog withdrawal. I haven't been able to post (as you know) and this is the first chance I've had to blog-hop since last weekend. This last week has been jam-packed with day job activities and errands. I've managed to keep up with my 300 words a day (actually barely making the 300 mark on several days, but I did it!) and Monday is the end of the 50 words a day for 50 day writing challenge with my students. Too bad so many of them want to do the 100 days. So I'll continue. On the side there I say that I'm reading Laura Griffin's book One Wrong Step, but I actually JUST started it today. So far so good! What else is new? I'm hoping to spend a few hours today playing with Danger. I absolutely miss my characters. Oh, and the new characters for the next book are simmering in the background of my head. Every once in a while they'll throw me a bone, but I'm not really interested in plotting that one while I'm still so engrossed in Danger. What's new with you?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Baby On The Billionaire's Doorstep

A Review by Lexi Connor

Wow! Emily McKay has done it again. She’s given us a touching story with characters to love and a romance for even the most cynical person to believe in.

Lucy Alwin will stop at nothing to protect her baby niece. After her irresponsible twin sister leaves the baby on the doorstep of the father, Lucy decides it’s best to pose as her sister, claim to have made a mistake and then walk away with the baby. However, Lucy doesn’t count on powerful businessman Dex Messina embracing fatherhood. According to the tabloids, wasn’t he a playboy after all? But the precious baby soon wraps Dex around her finger, and Lucy begins to realize he isn’t the cold, unfeeling man she expected. When Lucy finds herself falling in love with Dex, she knows she must tell him the truth. But will Lucy’s lies tear them apart or can this perfect family be mended?

As a devoted fan of Ms. McKay, I knew her talents would once again capture my heart when I sat down to read this book. However, I was totally unprepared for the excellent twists she throws into Lucy and Dex’s love story, ones that had me turning pages as fast as I could. The problems surrounding Lucy and Dex, the fears they both keep guarded, threaten to derail any chance of a happily-ever-after. But once again, Ms. McKay doesn’t disappoint her readers. Wonderful plotting, believable characters (not to mention one adorable baby!), and the unfolding of a tender romance make this a first-class read not to be missed!

Monday, March 24, 2008


It's Monday. A beautiful one here in Austin. The countdown to summer begins in earnest now. 10 weeks and 3 days until we're out of school. I can handle that.

I managed to add about 19 solid pages to my manuscript over the 3-day weekend. YAY! I still love it and wish I could devote more time to it, but there is this matter of the day job that keeps the roof over my head, the car running and the food on my table. I was able to rearrange some of the scenes I already have and figure out what I still have to write. I brainstormed some ideas for the last 1/3 of the book. I liked what I had, but after the tension in the first 2/3 of the book, I realized I have to make the end even bigger and better. My characters and I aren't quite there yet, but we're heading in the right direction.

Tonight I'm hoping to really get into Laura Griffin's One Wrong Step. When I'm finished, I'll throw a review up here. Her first book kicked butt and I'm excited to read this next one. It'll hit the shelves in April.

As the "Big Day" nears, I want to wish good luck to all those of you who entered RWA's Golden Heart Contest and Rita Contests. All day in my classroom tomorrow, I'll be checking e-mails to see who gets calls.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


To all who celebrate it, HAPPY EASTER!!!!

My swear pot raised $14.80. I've already unleashed a string of colorful words today without having to put one dime in the jar! I'm pretty sure I'll be sending a check to the Disabled American Veterans.

I hope everyone has a fun, relaxing day today!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Private Arrangements

A Review by Lexi Connor

If you are in need of a refreshing historical romance to read, then you don’t want to miss Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas. This story is a breath of fresh air in both its plot structure and delivery.

As a young woman, Gigi Rowland makes a dreadful choice to secure the marriage of her dreams to Camden Saybrook. Her plan backfires and Camden abandons her the morning after the wedding.

Fast-forward ten years. Gigi wishes to marry again, but to do so she needs Camden to grant her a divorce, a request that forces him back into her life. She insists they have nothing left between them, but Camden refuses to give her up without something in return.

Ms. Thomas kept me on a roller coaster of emotion throughout the novel. With her humor and rich vocabulary, she drew me into the story from page one. I admit at times I hated both Gigi and Camden for their behaviors, but still I devoured the book, eager to watch their love story unfold when I was so convinced it could never happen. Thankfully, Ms. Thomas didn’t disappoint me.

With this amazing debut, Sherry Thomas is surely an author on the rise. Don’t miss her Private Arrangements!

Friday, March 21, 2008

I've Decided

There will be no school work done today! I'm having too much fun reading Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas and writing. I've been reading for a while and then working on my 300 words for the day. This afternoon I intend to read some more, continue writing new scenes AND I'm looking forward to doing some revision to Chapter 2. I have the feeling that organizing Chapter 2 into something more coherent will help me see where I'm actually going or needing to go instead of me just fumbling through like I am now.

Thursday's word count: 877
Total Lenten Charity amount: $14.50

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Woohoo, 3 day Weekend!

Yes, we just got off spring break, but we all need this 3 day weekend. My sleep schedule hasn't readjusted yet to being back to school. Ugh. The kids are more challenging and several of us on staff are ready for there to be 1 week left of school instead of 11 weeks. But, we trudge on.

BUT not tomorrow! Well, I do intend to go to the day job and see if I can relieve some of the pressure on me by getting some stuff done. Of course, I intend to work a lot on my manuscript (and with the ideas for the new one), maybe watch a movie or two, and read! I don't have any big Easter plans. The family I have nearby doesn't do much celebrating so I'll be on my own. (Which is totally okay with me.) How about you? Big Easter weekend plans?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Good Morning...???

Hello! Here it is 5:50 A. M. and I'm up and functioning. I don't understand it. Usually I'm miserable if I'm up this early unless I'm going on vacation. Why am I up, you wonder? I had to run someone to the airport for an early flight. So rather than go home, I came to work early with the intention of getting some serious work done. Of course, I figured I've got plenty of time for that since I don't have to be "at work" until 7:30 so naturally I thought to blog hop and post here and listen to music (Queen's A Kind of Magic---kinda the unofficial soundtrack for the original Highlander movie)....Is it me or am I babbling? Maybe I haven't had enough caffeine?

Well, anyway. I intend to get some work done for school while I'm here early. And maybe I'll get started on my 300 words for the day. Other than that I really don't have anything exciting to tell you. I just wanted to post something. (You know, to put off the "real work" I'm supposed to be doing.)

Oh, wait! My friend Emily McKay has a new book coming out next month called Baby on the Billionaire's Doorstep. She put together a You Tube trailer. It's pretty cute and the book sounds AWESOME! She writes for Silhouette Desire. (If you ever get a chance to get your hands on her books you should read them! Especially Perfectly Saucy! That's my FAVORITE of Emily's books!)

And then on the other end of the writing spectrum, there's Laura Griffin. She is a new suspense writer and she's awesome too! I read her first book, One Last Breath, and did a review for it on last fall. Her second book, One Wrong Step, comes out next month as well. She sent me a copy of the new one so I can read it and put up another review. I'm so psyched!

So it looks like I've got some work to do. Not counting the "day job" work. I've got my manuscript to work on, my new manuscript ideas to explore, my 300 words a day. Plus I've got to get back to Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas because it's a great book (and I want to review it for her) and because I've got those two other pieces of magic to read and review as well. With so much talent in the group, I'm so lucky to be a part of Austin RWA!

Okay, it's after 6 now. I'm feeling guilty for being in the classroom and not doing school work. So here I go.

(P.S. I'll update the Lenten charity amount for you tonight!)

Lenten Charity Total: $13.80 (and only a few more days to go!)

Later still: Grumble, grumble. $14.10...and that doesn't include the swear words my hero uttered when the villains tried to kidnap the heroine and kill him! Those words, after all, are artistic!

Monday, March 17, 2008



I'm sitting here sipping a Smithwick's beer and remembering the day I tried it first. It was my first day in Dublin last June. How I wish I was back there now! But I'm celebrating as much as I can for someone who had to work today. I wore green of course and bought one of those headbands with the antennae that look like Leprechauns. I have my shamrock earrings in. I had a St. Patrick's Day party with my homeroom. I brought them cookies and a drink, played Irish music and even introduced them to Gaelic. (At one point I bought one of those tapes to teach myself Gaelic.) I talked about my trip last year and wished I'd brought my vacation pictures to the kids. Now I'm home having my drink and still listening to Irish music. I thought about going out, but I only got 3 hours of sleep last night and my body's tired.

I'll leave you tonight with some of the pictures I posted to my blog last year when I got back from Ireland. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Back To The Grind

Been working on school stuff for the day. Um, well, I got up about 10:45 so I guess it's only been HALF a day. No writing yet, no reading yet. Some family drama...AGAIN. And surprisingly, no swearing AT ALL TODAY! Aren't you proud of me? And think, I only have another week to pay for any swear words I say or think. I can't wait until it's over and I don't have to watch my mouth so much! Oh yeah, and today I volunteered to be the PRO Liaison for the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA.

While I'm busy getting very little done, here are some plugs for other people:
Elisabeth Naughton, who just recently sold, needs help with a book title.
Nita Wick and a bunch of other authors have a cool contest running through March 17th. The prizes sound fabulous! I've already entered.
Sherry Thomas, whose first book comes out in 10 days, is having a query contest. If you're a writer and you want some help with a query, she's a great person to have in your corner!
Monica McCarty writes AWESOME Scottish historicals. You should check her out. Also, if you're an unpublished writer who needs some help understanding internal & external conflict, I'd say read these books. They've helped me figured out how the conflicts work together and separately and my own newest manuscript is reaping the rewards of this.

I'm Back!

Fredericksburg was wonderful and so was a little town called Luckenbach. Luckenbach has only a general store, a dance hall and a bar. We hung around, had a beer and listened to the musicians for about an hour. I wrote a lot during my mini-vacation, read a lot and relaxed a lot. I didn't swear too much. (Total's up to $13.10) Oh yeah, and we shopped and ate fabulous food.

As for Danger, my story is taking a WONDERFUL shape and I'm thrilled with it. And aren't you amazed with my progress on the progress meter over there? I wrote 1477 words just yesterday, mostly on the big black moment, or the climactic (sp?) event in the story! I LOVE it and how my heroine has changed from the woman she is at page one to the extraordinary person she is by the end of the book. The hero? Yeah, he changes too, but his is more emotional. Of course he comes in to save the day, to protect the woman he loves, and together they bring the villain to justice. For my Austin RWA monthly challenge, I opted to write 300 words a day. It's going to be a challenge on some days, I already know, but all I can say is...BRING IT ON! Danger and I are ready to kick some...butt!

With the weekend comes the responsibilities of the day job. I have a bit to do both days. In the grand scheme of things, whatever I can get done this weekend will help in the next few weeks so I don't mind working now. Plus, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel. We only have 12 weeks more of school! I know, that's still 3 months, but just having the end in sight is a big boost for my morale!

Got any big weekend plans? Anybody? Anybody?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I'm Leaving, But Not On A Jetplane

Today I'm going out of town. My friend and I are heading to a bed & breakfast in a little town a couple hours outside of Austin. The place is called Settler's Crossing and you should check out the website. It's so cool! (And relaxing, quiet, and beautiful) Talk about a stress-free vacation!

I'll be back on Friday and I'll update you on my new ARWA challenge numbers, my writing/revising progress (and the progress meter) and how I really don't want to think about going back to school. Have a great and productive couple of days!

Tuesday word count: 670
Total Lenten Charity amount: $12.50

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Another Death, Another Milestone

During my last manuscript, my CP gave me this nugget of information to chew on: I was writing good stories, but I wasn't writing books. I nodded like I understood, and I really thought I understood. I didn't. Until now.

I've got an amazing secondary character in this manuscript. He's not really in the story, he's the heroine's missing brother. For weeks I've been going back and forth trying to figure out if he lives or dies. At one point, I got excited last week and decided he would live, help the hero and heroine be triumphant, and star in his own book next. This would make an AWESOME story!

But it would ruin the book.

Today I was driving around town and listened to a song on the radio that clutched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. At that moment, I knew the brother had to die. As much as I like him and all that he stands for, his life has to be sacrificed for the good of the book. In order for the story to unfold the correct way and for the main characters to evolve as they should, his death is necessary.

I may not like it and I'll probably shed a tear or two at various times during the rest of the writing, but if I want to write a book that someone wants to buy and slip on bookstore shelves, I need to remember I'm not just telling a story, I'm writing a book.

Monday, March 10, 2008


I found a kazillion boxes of books in my storage unit. Some I'll keep, some I'll give away. Then what did I do after I left? Went straight to Barnes & Noble. I blame my mother for my book addiction. She made fall in love with reading.

I picked up Surrender to the Highlander by Terri Brisbin first. Then I thought it might be a good idea to pick up a suspense since that's what I'm focusing on in my own writing. So I bought Guardian Angel by Debra Webb. Now, since I have NOTHING pressing to do, I'm off to read!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ahem...May I Share With You?

This is a direct quote from my critique partner after reading Danger's first chapter:
"Oh yeah, woman. You got it!! Fabulous work. You have a winner here!"

Now I know some of you are thinking, it's just a CP's point of view, not an agent or editor. BUT my CP is so very close to selling and she's so awesome, that these comments mean a lot to me! Heeheehee, I'm super excited!

Today's been a lazy day cleaning out bookshelves, file cabinets, closets. On my agenda for the rest of the day I have my 200+ words to write, my synopsis and first chapter to revise and print. I intend to mail my latest contest entry tomorrow. Other than that I'm going to read for a while and celebrate that I don't have to get up for work tomorrow morning!

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Damn, I'm good!

Manuscript word count so far today: 119 (later that same day...832)
Synopsis word count so far today: 1128 (later...674)
Lenten Charity amount so far today: $ .10 (later...another dime, which brings the grand total to $11.70)

Watching the story come together as the awesome tale it's supposed to be: Priceless

A Gruesome Discovery

I'd planned to enter the Daphne contest with Danger. I've polished my first chapter, it's off for critique with my critique partner and I planned to mail the sucker by Tuesday at the latest. (Deadline's next Saturday.) As I was printing out the rules and entry form this morning, I realized I was missing part of the entry.

The dreaded synopsis.

Ugh. It only has to be one single-spaced page and they say it isn't used for judging, just for clarification, but can we say PRESSURE? I don't have a synopsis. I don't like writing synopses. I'm not very confident writing them. When I reread the rules, the first words out of my mouth were, "I can't enter this!"

But I really, really want to enter this contest. Plus, I really, really love my first chapter. And maybe 135 pages into the first draft would be a good time to pull a synopsis together. Who knows? Doing this might actually help me get to the end sooner.

So my new mission this weekend is to come up with a killer synopsis to complement my killer chapter. I know I can, I know I can, I know I can....

Friday, March 07, 2008


I'm officially on spring break! Bring on the manuscript, the books to be read! I'll be watching mindless TV tonight and working on my soon-to-be award winning book! Update later, I promise. For now I'm going to celebrate being free until St. Patrick's Day!

UPDATE: Yeah, here it is just after 8 and I have yet to look at my manuscript. I've been reading, blog hopping, playing on myspace, and entering a contest. My best friend, Nancy, put together a myspace page for me. I'm learning how to navigate myspace and I'm not so intimidated anymore. And the contest? You'll want to enter this one. Lots of cool prizes to be won! Go to Nita Wick's blog and get the details. It's a scavenger hunt for St. Patrick's Day. Okay, now I think I'll go write a bit.

UPDATE #2 (at 11:30):
Thursday word count: 387
Friday word count: 1061
Lenten Charity amount: $11.50

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Tuesday word count: 503
Wednesday word count: 1012
Total Lenten Charity amount: $11.10

I'm on fire! My fingers can't move fast enough! Today I had to give a state-wide test to some of my students and during this testing the teacher can do NOTHING but monitor them. So I monitored and plotted. When it came time for the tests to be turned in and the kids to read, I had nothing else to do but write. Wow! What an afternoon. I'm uncovering the suspense part of my plot more now and making sure events are timed right and I'm having so much fun.

(And as you see from the Lenten charity amount, my mouth was also on fire today.)

Only 1 and 1/2 days until spring break. I'm so excited for this break. Yes, I'm still going to do work stuff over the vacation, but that will make my last quarter easier. So I don't mind doing that work. I'm also going away on my writing/reading retreat with my friend. I'm also cleaning/organizing (or trying to) my storage unit. BUT before any of that happens, I'm spending this Friday afternoon and ALL of Saturday and Sunday working on my book! The more I think about it the more excited I get. (Now I just hope my muse and my characters cooperate!)

I'm off to have my cup of tea and to hopefully finish reading Michelle Willingham's latest book.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lessons From Jericho

The CBS show Jericho is one of my favorites. The suspense, the intrigue, the good guys fighting to right the wrongs-I love it all. Tonight, they killed off a character I liked. While I was cursing (no, not dime-worthy curses) the villain and wishing he'd been shot, it occurred to me why the story is more effective with their storyline.

As a fan, I would rather have seen the bad guy get shot and die. As a writer, I understand the importance of killing off the "good girl" character. Sacrificing her allows the audience to hate the villain even more. It makes us support the victim's brother and his fight for justice. It most definitely makes me want to tune in next week to find out what happens.

A good suspense book must do the same thing. The reader has to hate the villain enough to support the hero and heroine. The reader needs to care enough about the hero and heroine to WANT to see them win. The book needs to be suspenseful enough to leave the reader wishing she could stay up all night to finish it and make sure the villain gets what he or she deserves.

But right now I still wish the villain had been blown away.

Tuesday word count: Not sure. I left my notebook at school again. I know I got over 200 words, though.
Total Lenten Charity amount: $10.90

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Do You See?

Over there. On the right. I'm at 50% of Danger's rough draft! Yippee! I'm so thrilled. All those days of writing 200-400 words add up.

The dead body of the heroine's friend is working today. I'm tying it into one of the turning points. Yes, I've got some kinks to work out but it's flowing. And the bad guy got a face-lift this morning. I pinned to my corkboard the new celebrity photo of my villain inspiration. (The old one was too much of a goody-goody and I was having a hard time envisioning him trying to kill the heroine.) And oh, doing this has brought so much more depth to the character. I can't wait to uncover why he is the way he is!

Remember my plan to write as much as possible during the work week and then polish and revise on the weekends? Yeah, that didn't work for me. I'm sad about that, but the day job is too overwhelming for me right now. I might try that approach again in the summer when writing is my only job.

Danger is (as you can see) coming along. I've got another writing plan for the 2nd half of the book's rough draft. I'm going to focus on the turning points first. Those have been pretty clear to me since I first started writing this manuscript. Their position has changed in the story and may still continue to change, but the actual events are pretty much decided. Rather than worry about getting from one turning point to the other, for now I'm going to write those scenes and then try to tackle the Big Black Moment. My theory this time is that once those are written, it should be "easier" to map what happens in between. Lately I've been writing in random thoughts. Now it's time to get serious, get organized. As usual, feel free to check back and see if this theory is working. Wish me luck!

Sunday word count: 834
Total Lenten Charity amount: $10.60

Saturday, March 01, 2008

When All Else Fails, Kill Someone

I've been having some trouble moving on with my manuscript lately. I don't know if it's a time thing (the fact that I don't seem to have any) or a craft thing (the fact that I still have some holes in my 1/2 written plot). I've been meeting my word count minimum for my writing challenges each day, but I haven't been happy with my content.

So I've decided I need another body. I'm going to kill off my poor heroine's friend and make the heroine's life even more traumatic. I'm excited and hope I can add a good chunk to the manuscript today. Check back later. I'll let you know how it goes...

Update: Well, I didn't make as much progress as I'd hoped and the dead body isn't working all that well. But I managed to write 620 words in the last 2 hours on a scene where my heroine decides to answer the call to adventure even though it scares her to death. Good stuff, so I'm going back to it!

Total Lenten Charity Amount: $10.40