Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thread of Fear

A review by Lexi Connor

Laura Griffin strikes gold with her third book, Thread of Fear. Fiona Glass is a forensic artist, the best in the business. She no longer wants her job. The haunted faces of the killers and victims she’s sketched over the years have taken their toll. But police chief Jack Bowman isn’t an easy man to deny. Jack needs Fiona’s expertise to help put a serial killer who’s targeting young girls behind bars. He appeals to Fiona’s sense of justice and successfully convinces her to help him. But as they work together, Fiona becomes more important to Jack than he ever imagined she could.

Thread of Fear is the first book I’ve ever read more than once. Yes, it is that good! The writing is tight, the story is explosive and the tension kept me turning pages long into the night. I had no choice. I had to find out what happened. Right from the start, Ms. Griffin’s talent took me inside the story and gave me a front row seat to all the emotions Fiona and Jack experience while tracking the killer and fighting their attraction to each other. And I have to mention Fiona’s sister, Courtney. Ms. Griffin created such a wonderfully complicated character in Courtney, I couldn’t help but like her and I’m already looking forward to her story in Whisper of Warning. The next time you’re in the bookstore, make sure to pick up Thread of Fear. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thus Begins A New Week

And I have a new attitude. I will NOT be controlled by my life. I will be in charge! So I've made a plan to do a bit of school work each night, at least an hour of exercise each night and 2-4 hours writing/reading each night. Weekends will be different, but I'm no longer trying to get everything for the day job done. You'd think after 7 years in the classroom I'd remember the job DOESN'T END. So, I'll do what I have to, be diligent about my work (for both jobs) and make sure to have the life I enjoy as well. Thanks to all who gave me words of encouragement. Your help often keeps me sane! (Well, as sane as I can be. I am a writer, after all!)

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's Become One of Those Weeks

Stress from all angles, but I refuse to be defeated by it! I'm taking things one day at a time. I'm knocking out one job, one responsibility at a time.

The day job work is over for the week. I'm going to relax tonight. Tomorrow I'm babysitting for my niece and nephew for the entire day while my brother and sister-in-law go the Austin City Limits Music Festival. While with the kids, I hope to get some revising done, some learning done and some reading done. Sunday, it's back to day job hell. BUT, I'll work my butt off Sunday through Thursday so that Friday (10/3) after work I can head right out to the Austin RWA writing retreat! A whole weekend with no day job responsibilities! Whoohoo! I'm SOOOOOOOOOO ready for that!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Just One Of Those Days

The day job is swamping me. My CP's comments are FABULOUS, but have me scrambling to revise for my query submissions. The mechanic sucked a HUGE chunk o' change out of my pocket today. And after a call from my mom who's on vacation, I feel like I'm ten-years-old and I've broken her favorite vase.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Golden Heart and Rita Day!

Today opens the 2009 RWA contest season. I'm so excited! I will be filling out my online entry form for the Golden Heart contest when I get home from work. (Golden Heart is for unpublished people, Rita is for published people.) Are you entering this year?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Checkin' In

Challenge is going well. I've updated the progress meter. No, I haven't written all that in the last few days. I added in the pages I'd typed up during the last challenge.

Work is EXTREMELY busy still...when will it change???? I've got lots of grading and lesson planning and research to do. Yikes!

Agent queries- Got 1 rejection and 1 request for the first 30 pages and the synopsis. Keep your fingers crossed the lady loves it and wants the whole thing!

I've got the family in from Houston for the weekend. We're meeting up with the family from Beaumont (here in Austin) later today. The Houston family says it looks like a war zone. It took them an hour to travel 18 miles last night on their way here.

What're you up to this weekend? Whatever you do, enjoy yourself!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And We're Off Again!

Happy Wednesday! Today marks the beginning of my 50/50 Writing Challenge with my students. (They will be doing 50 words a day for 50 days.) Amazingly I have about 40 kids starting this with me! It should be interesting.

As for my participation in the writing challenge, I'm officially beginning my new manuscript. I'm calling it Borrowed Time for now. I don't know if I'm ready to jump into this couple's world yet, but I don't have a choice and I know I'll have a GREAT time when I get there! When I get home tonight I'll update the new progress meter. Wish me luck!

And as for (my older baby) Danger, I'll officially start the query process tonight too. I'm going to send some e-queries. I would've done it last night, but I want one more quick read through when I'm not so tired.

UPDATE- 10:21 Wed Night: 4 agent queries sent out for Danger, 2 new pages written on Borrowed Time, 1 critiqued synopsis (for Danger) returned. Oh and I signed up for a Book-in-a-Week with Kiss of Death. Woohoo! I am a writing fool and I'm LOVING it!!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Query Is Killer!

I got the green light from the people helping me with me query. It's AWESOME! I'll be submitting soon! Got some other CPs taking my synopsis apart too.

I brainstormed a bit with Jan Hudson one of my (old but new) stories. I'm looking forward to finding out for sure which of my couples will really be next.

Wednesday I'll be starting a writing challenge with my students and my Austin RWA group. The kids have to write 50 words a day for 50 days on some creative story. The adults are writing 100 words a day for 4 weeks.

Nothing else exciting to share. I stayed up until 12:30 grading papers and preparing progress reports only to find out we're postponing them until next Monday. So I'm tired tonight. I did want to work on the query and submit a couple by e-mail, but I'd like to be coherent when I hit the button to send it. So, another day.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Curse Of A Suspense Writer

Am I a bad person because I'm picturing manuscript possibilities as I watch the news reports of Hurricane Ike's destruction?

Icky Ike

Please keep the people of the Texas coast line in your thoughts and prayers. The news is saying this could be the worst storm in Texas in 50 years. At last check, the wind gusts were 1 mph from making Ike a category 3 hurricane. Already parts of land are under 4-6 feet of water and 275,000 people are without power and they might not get it back for weeks. All this and the hurricane's eye has barely touched Galveston.

UPDATE 10:30 Saturday morning: Family in Houston still ordered to stay in their shelter on Rice University campus. Family in Beaumont-most came to central Texas, one couple still there riding it out but with no power and no backyard fence which blew away. A young man was swept out to sea last night and rescuers couldn't get to him. It's still bad, but it could have been so much worse. Did you hear about that freighter with 22 crew members that got stuck in the Gulf of Mexico? Miraculously they are all safe and only have to wait to be pulled into shore.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Shouldn't Have Had That Coke

Coke: We had Open House at school tonight so I stayed at school until it was over instead of coming home and going back. If I came home, it would take an act of Congress to get me back the same night. I had a tiny Weight Watchers meal for dinner and I was still hungry. So I went to the convenience store and got some peanut M & Ms and a Coke. As I drank the soda, I thought about how caffeine keeps me awake. So yep, I'm wired now just before 11. Hhhmmm, what will I do?

Query: I wrote one. It was horrible. I did research. I'm ready to tackle it again. Today I started thinking I've come so far and Danger is such an AWESOME story I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED BY A LOUSY QUERY LETTER! Tomorrow I'll start another round of revisions on my kick-butt query.

Ike: There's a hurricane a-comin'! Most of the school districts around central Texas are letting out early tomorrow in preparation for the storm. My brother and his wife work at Rice University in Houston and they have to stay for the kids in the dorm that they manage. We had other in-law family members from Beaumont who evacuated and are staying with another brother and his wife outside of Austin. I'm hoping the boss will let us go home early instead of having our scheduled staff development. I went to the grocery store tonight to buy some basic supplies in case our power goes out and wow, the shelves down the bread and water aisles were almost empty. Already. Good thing I went when I did! I'll give you updates if I can over the weekend and let you know how it's going. Good grief! I thought I left the hurricanes behind when I left Rhode Island!

To those of you in the path of Ike, stay dry and safe!

UPDATE 7:05 a.m. Friday: I fell asleep about 2:30. Got up at 6. Had some more caffeine. I'm good for a few hours.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back To Work

I've been celebrating the completion of Danger for too long now. I've pigged out with treats, gone out to eat too many times and had more than my share of Guinness beers. So today, I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm back on my diet and exercise routine. I'm back to taking care of myself mentally and physically. And I'm buckling down to get back to work.

This week I expect to have my query written. Next week I'll revise and expand the synopsis and the last full week of September I'll focus on brainstorming the new story. Then I go back to Danger revisions...again. But I want to keep up with my year-long plan and stick to it so I have to get my butt back in gear. Just wanted to share that with you all. Carefree time is over. If I want to sell, I have to focus on my next steps.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Queries, Agents And Middle School Boys

Now that Danger is finished, I've turned my efforts to the glorious job of writing the query letter. No, make that the KILLER query letter. The super talented Laura Griffin offered to help me with my query so naturally it will be awesome...when I get it written...well, and revised. I spent part of today just throwing out phrases I thought might work in the query and tonight I tried to pull them together. When the words weren't coming as quickly as I wanted, I shifted gears and started researching agents.

It's been quite a while since I queried anybody on anything, so I'm taking my time and really trying to find out as much as I can about the people I'd like to query. I used the agent list given out at Nationals, the agent list on RWA National's website, and the website Agent Query. I do plan to look through Preditors and Editors too at some point this week. Anybody got any other places I can use for research? Or any recommendations?

Oh, and school? The glory of boys continues: In a matter of ten minutes I gave out 4 referrals for stupid play fighting (which led to real fighting) and throwing balls at girls over and over even after the girls asked them to stop. Uh, seriously, how long until our first break???

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Celebrate With Me!

I've officially finished Dance Away, Danger! (And amazingly I'm not depressed about saying goodbye to my hero and heroine. Maybe because I know I've told their story to the best of my ability and it's time to let others read it.) I'm sending it to my CPs as I type this post. For the rest of September I will focus on the query and synopsis for this AWESOME thriller and then start approaching agents. While doing this, I also intend to brainstorm the next story. Then in October I'll revise Danger according to suggestions I get from my BRILLIANT CPs. But the BULK of the work is done...until an agent or editor steers me in another direction.

I'm off to celebrate with a trip to the grocery store and then I get to come back and...grade papers.

If you want to practice your voting skills, click here. There's a contest for the best kiss scene and my blog friend Nita Wick is in the running. Even if you don't choose hers, exercise your right to vote!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Art Of Relaxing

That cupcake I had after I finished my book wasn't as good as it looked. Hhhhmmm, I think I might have to buy some different cupcakes when I finish the next round! (Danger and I have a date for revisions again this weekend. Then I'll send it to my CPs.)

Since finishing Danger, I haven't been doing much. I watched 2 Masterpiece Mystery movies that I taped over the last couple of weeks. (Inspector Lynley, if anybody wants to know.) I started rereading Laura Griffin's newest book, Thread of Fear. I want to be able to write a review for her and because I read it so fast the first time around, I'm taking my time this time around so I can write a thorough review. And today I took a new exercise class called Zumba and it kicked my butt! But it was a lot of fun and will definitely be part of my gym routine now.

Not much else to tell you except I keep getting the urge to enter more contests, but I've been good so far. I have specific reasons for entering and I'm being very strict with myself and NOT spending more cash than I need to.

Hope all is well with you. I'm off to read for a while, although I could easily go to bed now after that dance class!

Monday, September 01, 2008


I typed the last pages of DANCE AWAY, DANGER and added those sweet words "THE END"! I'd hoped to have it completed by Tuesday night and so I'm psyched I finished early. And the ending? It's so ABSOLUTELY perfect for my hero and heroine! I'm celebrating with a cupcake after I finish this post. (There's a cupcake in one of the scenes I wrote today...er, Sunday.)

So Monday (which I guess is already "today"), I'll focus on school work. Then Tuesday through Thursday nights I'm going to READ! Then next weekend I'm going to read through my story one last time before I send it to my wonderfully brilliant CPs (who will then tear it apart).

This manuscript completion is special for a number of reasons. First and foremost, this is the first manuscript I've completed since December 2006. I wrote another story in 2007, but it had such holes and I got so distraught I never revised it. Another reason this one is important is it's the first suspense I've written since 2005. (I ventured into the world of short contemporaries for a while, remember?) During this writing, I realized without a doubt that suspense is my niche. Of course, this one is special too because it's absolutely the best story I've ever written. (But I do tend to say that after each manuscript) I can totally see my growth as a writer in this manuscript and I hope others will as well.

So raise a glass, lift up a cupcake and celebrate with me!