Sunday, August 31, 2008

I See The Light And It's Brighter Than Downtown Las Vegas!

I've been a writing fool since Friday night. I'm now on page 188 of my revisions (with the final manuscript being somewhere between 220 & 240) and I'm so giddy! Danger's ending is around the corner and I'm blown away with what my characters are giving me to work with. My muse is definitely sitting on my shoulder this weekend! I hope to be typing two of the sweetest words (THE END) soon! Wish my characters and me luck!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday At Last!

1 week of school finished.

36 1/2 to go.

My entire day can be summed up with this: I dropped my chocolate.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Striking Gold

WOW! I thought I needed a break from Danger, but turns out that wasn't really the problem. I'd been struggling a bit since Monday with the opening to chapter 7. Turns out I had it in the wrong point-of-view. After I switched it last night, TONS of awesomeness took place and I managed to get through 12 pages before I HAD to go to bed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wacky Wednesday

School is...different. I now have 20 students in my homeroom (used to be 17) and 15 of them are boys. It's day 3 of the school year and I've already had 2 parent meetings about boys pushing and shoving each other. Life is grand. As I keep saying at work, BRING IT ON!

With so much school stuff to do, my writing time has suffered a bit this week. I'm still reading Lillian's manuscript a chunk of pages a night. I haven't worked on Danger since Sunday, but I needed the short break. Tonight I plan to get back on the revision wagon. I also started reading Flashback by Jill Shalvis again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Last Of The Daily Posts...For Now

Here it is 11:20 Sunday night. Tomorrow morning begins my 8th year teaching. I'm as ready as I can be and I'm kind of excited. My homeroom has 13 boys and 4 girls. It'll be good to get back into the routine, just not the sleeping routine.

With the start of school, this means I'll not be posting every single day. I've got a big mouth though, so I'll still have plenty to say so don't disappear on me!

Danger's still coming along, but I've started to realize that my time with this couple is almost over. I don't want it to be over, but yet I do want to finish and send this baby on her way to contests/agents/editors.

And now with school starting again, I want to get right into my "routine", which includes gym visits, LOTS of writing time and reading every night.

Wish me luck for tomorrow and I'll pop in tomorrow night to let you know how it went!

MONDAY NIGHT: Um, how many days until Thanksgiving break?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

The weekend is FINALLY here! This first week of work has been packed with information, but I'm excited about this new school year. After 4 years, I no longer have to teach Science! Guess what I get to teach instead! WRITING! I'm in charge of preparing the 7th graders (all 9 of them) for the writing standardized test in February. Most of these kids have known me for a while and they know how I am about writing. What they don't know is they're in charge of helping me shape the Writing class this year.

Today the Austin RWA is having a workshop on writing queries and synopses. This is perfect timing since I'm more than halfway through Danger's revisions and in a matter of weeks I'll be writing the killer query and synopsis for my book. Jane Myers Perrine is leading the query section of our 4-hour workshop and Julie Kenner will be helping us with our synopses.

After the workshop, I'm sneaking into the bookstore to try and pick up the category romances I still need for this month. Shhh. Don't tell anyone because I still have a HUGE TBR pile! Then I'm coming home to put some serious time into Danger's chapter 6. Oh and then I'm also critiquing the lovely Lillian Dawson's manuscript. Sheesh, I'm exhausted just looking at this Saturday schedule!

Tomorrow I have to spend some serious time finishing up the last minute details for my 1st week of school. Nothing too strenuous, just time-consuming. And of course, time is already a limited commodity.

Okay, enough chatter. I need to try to get something done on chapter 6 before I leave for the workshop. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Had A Dream

Last night, I had a dream that I finaled in Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest. I didn't win, I know that, but my name and my manuscript title were up on the electronic board they were using as they announced the finalists. Hhhmm, what do you think that means?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sleep Update And What's On Tap

Well, after I posted the update yesterday afternoon, I tried really hard to work on Danger. You know what happened? I was falling asleep at the keyboard! So I logged off, got comfy on the couch and...fell asleep. When I woke up about 7:30, I panicked because I thought it was 7:30 AM TUESDAY. I was going to be late for the 2nd day of work! Of course, it was only Monday night. So I fell back to sleep on the couch until after 10 and then I went to bed and slept through until this morning.

So tonight I'll be doing the work I was supposed to do last night AND tonight's work on Danger. I'm STILL in love with my story and it's usually this draft or the one before that really gets me aggravated. But so far so good! Okay, enough chatting. I'm off to work!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's 3 A.M. Here. Where Are You?

I should be sound asleep. I've been trying for a week to break myself of the habit of going to bed between 2 & 3 in the morning. I've just spent 3 hours lying in bed thinking about my story, my schedules (day job and writing), and my pen name. If I get less than 4 hours of sleep, I'm worse off than if I got none. So, when the clock closed in on 3, I decided to pull an all-nighter since I have to be up for work at 6:30. Maybe THAT will help break me of my summer bedtime schedule!

So now, I'm printing off a section of Danger to work on while I have a strong cup of tea and watch a Bourne movie. I'll check in with you later today and let you know how I managed through my first day of staff development for the 2008-2009 school year.

LATER THAT SAME DAY: It's hitting me now (4:15ish), but I'm going to try to stay up until 9 so I don't fall asleep now and wake up at 2 and start the whole vicious cycle over again. First day at work was relatively pain-free. Tomorrow we tackle all the Human Resources paperwork. All I can think about is Danger and when I'll be able to get back to it. Seriously, this has been the easiest story (so far) to write and it's by far the best piece of writing I've ever done. I'm so psyched! Okay, armed with a caffeine-loaded cup of tea, I'm heading back to Danger.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Still Working

Hi! My afternoon and evening with my brother and his family were wonderfully relaxing. Today, I'm working on my synopsis. I had planned to go into my classroom for a few hours and get some work done, but I really, really, REALLY want to get this synopsis done. So, I'm probably not going into work, which means I'll have to stay late tomorrow night. BUT I don't care. When the muse is here, I'll do what I have to in order to spend time with her!

In other news, Utah RWA finally put the list of finalists from the Heart of the West Contest up on their website.

Okay, back to work with me!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


Danger and I are rolling along! One of my CPs LOVES the latest version that I'm going to start entering in contests. I've got a published author helping me with my synopsis (when I get it done tomorrow). My life is on a tight schedule and so far I'm keeping up!

I got my latest scores back from the contest circuit and my 3 judges (all published in romance) were very kind! As usual, the things marked low with one judge were marked high with another. But take a look at these comments:
"Your opening raises several issues for the reader...Good job! Best of luck with this."
"This is a grabber of a beginning...the situation is intriguing and stomach clenching. Best of luck with the story!"

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my cousin who's in his mid-twenties (Isn't it sad I can't remember?) and to one of my brothers who turns 42 today! I'm heading off to his house to celebrate and visit with him and his family.

Have a great weekend and remember to do something fun for yourself!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Bloody Blogger

If you were in my "Addictions" section and you're not anymore, don't take it personally. I was playing around with the blog and deleted my "Addictions" list on accident. I think I covered all the blogs that were on there before. If I'm still missing you, let me know and I promise to add you back in!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

To Do Before 2009 Nationals

1. August-Finish Danger revisions, get it ready for CP duty
2. September-Write killer query for Danger, polish synopses (both 1 pager and longer one), start the query process, brainstorm next story called Passages
3. October-Revise Danger according to suggestions from my BRILLIANT CPs and any judges I get contest feedback from, enter more contests
4. November-Enter GH, join the NaNoWriMo...or whatever it is. Yes, I'm actually planning to do it this year with the 1st novella-turned-novel story, Passages! Those characters are still haunting me. I finally believe enough time has passed that I can objectively rewrite it. (It's been about 9 years!) So, that will be my next manuscript once Danger is finished.
5. December-Take it easy after NaNo, report cards and Christmas stuff. BUT, I might be creating & polishing the Passages query and synopsis (Or take care of those in January)
6. January-Revise Passages, start entering contests with it.
7. February-Continue Passages revisions, work on brainstorming the next story (either a brand new suspense I'm thinking of or rewriting the 2nd novella)
8. March-Query on Passages, Draft the next story
9. April- Continue the next story, Enter Passages in contests
10. May-Revise the next story, get it CP ready
11. June-relax, vacation, draft the rewriting of my very first suspense (which also haunts my heart even after 11 years) and prepare for Nationals!

Ambitious, huh? Yes, I want 2 completed (and EXCELLENT) manuscripts ready for DC as well as at least a partial of a 3rd story and I would like to have pitches for 2 more. I realize a kazillion things could happen to throw this plan off -track, but the important thing is I have a plan AND I'm going after what I want!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Goals And Stuff

A couple of the ladies at my Austin RWA meeting last night talked about how important it is to set goals, state them out loud and figure out how to make them happen.

Today I haven't been able to write anything on Danger and I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I'm now starting to get back into teacher mode. I spend several hours today doing paperwork and tomorrow I'm getting up early to go and clean my classroom.
Tonight, I decided not to beat myself up about not working on Danger. Instead, I'm going to organize my goals. I have high hopes for next Nationals, so if I want it to be big, I have lots of work to do and no time to sit around like a slacker!

After I write down my goals, I'm going to read. What am I going to read? A novella I wrote years ago with most excellent characters who have never left my mind. Since they've been knocking on my brain more lately, I've decided to see if I should pursue their story for my next manuscript. More on that later if it works out.

LATER THAT SAME NIGHT...Thanks to Tracy Wolff, Cat Schield, and Lillian Dawson for giving me the swift kick in the behind I needed to get excited about writing and get busy working again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nope, Nothin' Yet

I stayed up last night reading Laura Griffin's book. Every single time I finished a chapter I'd look at the clock and say, "One more chapter." (Yes, it's THAT good!) I ended up falling asleep on the couch at 3 AM.

So when I got up at 10, I decided my day was pretty much shot and I kept reading. I'm now about 140 pages from being finished and I've decided I will finish this book today.

Danger will come back into play tomorrow. Laura's awesome story is getting me geared up to work on Danger again and at the moment I'm having an e-mail brainstorming session with my wonderful friend Lillian Dawson to work out some critical plot details.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Slacker, I Am

Yep, as far as writing goes I've been a slacker. I'd planned to get back to work today, even had a written schedule of my day's activities starting at 7:30 this morning. When I woke up at 10 because I forgot to set the alarm correctly (I'd put 7:30 PM instead of AM), the whole day's events got turned around. So I did no writing today (yet) and I spent most of the day on the couch with Jude Deveraux's The Summerhouse.

The Summerhouse is an excellent story about 3 women who are about to turn 40 and are completely unhappy with their lives. The book is about the women getting a chance to "redo" their lives, rediscover themselves and get their happily-ever-afters. My thought as I closed the book when I finished? Why can't I have that???? (Although, I've got a pretty good life, so there's not much I'd want to change.)

Okay, going back to the writing: I've been putting off starting the revisions and I really don't know why. I know what needs to be done and I know that as a writer I have to write even when I don't want to. So, I figured if I changed the progress meter to show that I've been a big slacker and have NOTHING done yet on the 3rd draft, then maybe I'll guilt myself into starting. I'll let you know if it works.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

As If I Don't Have Enough To Read Already

Today, Austin RWA author Sherry Thomas had a workshop/book signing. I went because I wanted to support her and because I wanted a refresher on the topic she covered. I'd planned to buy her second book, Delicious, which I did. (Isn't that a beautiful cover???)
Of course, at a book store I can't buy just one. So I searched for the Harlequin books and picked up two of my auto-buys: Terri Brisbinand Jill Shalvis.Gee. Guess I better get back to Jude Deveraux's The Summerhouse!

Friday, August 08, 2008

I'm A Winner!

Earlier this week someone mentioned this new blog called The Kill Zone. It's a group blog created by several thriller and mystery writers. Since I'm convinced I'm writing romantic thriller manuscripts, I decided to check it out and ended up commenting.

Today I got an e-mail from Michelle Gagnon that I won a copy of her book The Tunnels just because I commented on their new blog! How cool is that?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

One Step Closer

Yay! I finished the 2nd draft of Danger! I still have a buttload of work to do on it, but I still love the story and I'm still excited about making it the best manuscript I've written to date. It's scary how well the writing and revisions have been going. The story flows, the character arcs are showing through, I know EXACTLY what my characters want and what's stopping them from getting it, and the romance is unfolding naturally and easily. These things have NEVER happened so painlessly in any of my other manuscripts. I can feel inside how much better a writer I've become and it makes me so proud! (Especially when non-writing friends say, "You're not published yet?" Seriously, they don't have a clue what goes into writing a fabulous manuscript.)

So now I'm planning to jump right into the 3rd draft. My plan is to have the manuscript ready for CP duty by the first week in September. Then while my CPs (critique partners) are hacking it to pieces, I'm going to revise my synopsis and write my killer query. Then I'm going to start approaching agents. AND I'm also going to play around with the 2 new ideas I have to see which one is stronger and must be told first.

What are you up to?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Nice Suprise

I was out running errands this morning and when I got home, I found this book in my mail from fellow Austin RWA member Laura Griffin. I was thrilled! I read and reviewed Laura's first 2 books and I've been so looking forward to this one.

This book doesn't officially come out until September 30th, but if you like romantic suspense make sure you put it on your "must be bought" list for next month! And be sure to check back with me closer to September for my review.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Pics From The Trip

I have some pics I wanted to share with you from my vacation. First we have the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in North Carolina. This one is still open and about half the family went up to the top. I didn't, but later I wished I had.
We also visited the Bodie Lighthouse (also in NC). There are five lighthouses in NC and each one has a different pattern.Next is a picture of the Sam Adams statue in Boston.
Also around here is Faneuil Hall, which was constructed in 1742. It has two levels. One one level was a meeting place for the town's leaders. On the lower level was a marketplace with the space divided into "stalls" for people to buy and sell goods. It's still a beautiful building and carries so much of our country's history!

Last but not least, I leave you with a picture of me when my best friend Nancy and I went out to lunch at the British Beer Company Restaurant in Massachusetts. I know you can't really see me too well, but I'll see what other pics I can share with you tomorrow!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Another Heart of the West

Join me in congratulating my friend Lillian Dawson! She found out this morning that she also finaled in the Heart of the West Contest and this is her very FIRST final! Lillian is a soldier for our country and she writes amazing military romances.

Trip Particulars

I wanted to share with you the titles I read and saw:

Jill Shalvis- Flashpoint
Jill Shalvis- The Trouble With Paradise
Suzanne Brockmann- Forbidden
Suzanne Brockmann- Freedom's Price
Shalvis and Brockmann are 2 of my auto-buys and they NEVER let me down!)
Kerry Connor- Strangers in the Night (Most excellent research as I write my own thriller)
Teri Brown- Read My Lips (As a teacher, I'm thrilled to read an awesome book for YA!)
Robert Ludlum- The Bourne Identity (Um, hello. It's Jason Bourne. Need I say ANYTHING more?)
Ann Voss Peterson- Wyoming Manhunt (More great research for Intrigue thrillers!)
Rita Herron- In the Flesh (A chance to get to read something new and enjoy it!)
Julie Garwood- Shadow Dance (I've been a lifelong reader of Garwood, but this one didn't grab me like most of her previous books.)

The Painted Veil- Most Excellent! It's about a cholera epidemic and the English doctor and his wife when he travels to the village (Chinese, I think) to help with the epidemic.
The Pursuit of Happyness- An extremely gut-wrenching story, but I knew it had a happy ending. Good thing. I went through too many tissues as it was!
PS I Love You- Wow! A wonderful romance and inspirational story about a woman finding out who she really is.
Casino Royale- I'm not a big Bond fan to begin with, but I wanted to see Daniel Craig in the role simply because I know a lot of people didn't think he should be the new Bond. I'm looking forward to the next one!
Death at a Funeral- If you like off-beat British comedies, you'll love this. I laughed so much and I'm so glad we picked it up.
Mama Mia- I haven't seen the Broadway show, but I wanted to see the movie. What a fun time and almost a week later I'm still singing the songs! The story was so uplifting and gave me hope for my own happily ever after someday. (Where are the good guys hiding???)

My diet went well until the last 2 weeks of the trip. UGH! But I'm not discouraged. Yes, I would've liked to stick to the same weight or lose a bit more, but that wasn't realistic. So, I jumped right back into it yesterday when I went shopping. Today I'm going to the gym. Quite honestly, the biggest incentive is the fact that I liked being 16 lbs down. I liked the way I felt, the way I looked and the clothes I could fit into. My new goal is to be at my "goal weight" (which is a total of 25-30lbs from my highest weight) by Christmas. I can't tell you yet how far I have to go because I'm not getting on the scale until next weekend.

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Just got an e-mail from the mystery/ suspense coordinator of the Heart of the West Contest. I finaled! I'll find out my final placement the weekend of October 4th. Wish me luck!

Honey, I'm Home!

Pages written: 62
Books read: 10
Movies watched: 6
Weeks of vacation: 5
States visited: 4

Having a productive vacation: Priceless