Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Times A-Comin'

Tomorrow is Friday and I have a writing weekend planned! A few of the ladies from my local ARWA group are having a brainstorming mini-retreat. We'll be working to knock out all the kinks in each others' books. This is EXACTLY what I need because I can't seem to get my head or my heart committed to one story. Yes, I know I said Broken Promises was too easy to walk away from and therefore I was going to put that one on the back burner, but then Nicole commented on my blurb for the story and that got me excited about it again. Although Resisting Ryan still feels like the stronger story of the two. Ah, well, never mind. We'll figure it out this weekend! I'll report back to you on Sunday with details!

I'm also looking forward to this weekend to get away from the grandfather drama and the stress that's starting to pile up again from the day job. No changes with my grandfather, although I've spoken to him a couple of times this week. The job is good, just busy and this semester is ALWAYS busier for me than the 1st due to my ESL kids. Man, do I need this break!

What about you? Any big weekend plans?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

More Grandfather Drama

They released him from the hospital back to his old nursing home. He didn't eat lunch and barely touched any food at supper. He's got 3 drug-resistant infections and now some of his organs are shutting down. But to talk to him he sounds fine and he still insists they fight for him no matter what. Tomorrow I'm going to talk to the boss and give him a heads-up in case I have to go to England during the spring semester for the funeral. Usually writing is soothing to me at a time like this, but even getting the 470 out that I wrote today was like pulling teeth. As always, one day at a time.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Celebrate with me! Dance Away, Danger took 2nd place in the Silicon Valley Gotcha contest!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


Woohoo! Happy weekend! Just a quick note to you to bring you up to speed:

Grandfather- He's still in the hospital, but out of ICU. I swear, he should've died at least 10-15 times already. They're talking about discharging him maybe Tuesday after they get more test results back. Oh yeah, and they still can't find the source of his infection. He's still not doing well, but we'll take things one day at a time.

School-Gotta go in tomorrow to move my classroom. The middle school's been on a separate campus waiting for all sorts of permits for our portable buildings to be ready on our main campus. Then of course, I have tons of grading to do through the rest of the weekend...maybe.

Computer- A lady from my local Austin RWA group is going to come over and help me reinstall Word. I know, it's probably very easy, but when it comes to computer things I'm a wuss. (Oooh, I should be careful saying that since I've just taken over duties to update my Celtic Hearts chapter's website!)

Writing- I'm doing a little each day with my Austin group's writing challenge and my 50 words a day for 50 days challenge with my students. I'm still not committed to one story yet, so I just work on whichever one fires me up the most at that moment. Soon though, maybe this weekend, I need to make a clear decision and start some serious crafting. I'll let you know how it goes.

Writer friends- Nicole Reillan is part of the reason I've decided to take another look at Broken Promises as the potential next story. She said my blurb about it on my website gave her chills (or something to that affect). With that kind of reaction, how could I NOT consider that story to be my next award-winning thriller? And Marian Pearson Stevens just finished her website. Marian writes "classic romances" and has a couple of manuscripts with editors. Check it out and let her know what you think!

RWA Nationals-I registered Friday for the RWA National Conference in DC! I'm already getting excited! Are you planning to go?

Okay, that's enough for a "quick" note. I'm off to bed so I can get up fairly early and go into work...on a Saturday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wednesday But I Keep Thinking It's Thursday

Just checking in. I said this in a comment in my last post, but I want to say it again here. Thanks to all of you offering kind words, thoughts and prayers. I'm doing okay today, which just means no tears. My mom's been calling me each night with an update. He's still in ICU and they still don't know what caused his infection. He's a little more lucid, but not much. So I'll stay in limbo.

We watched the inauguration in the classroom yesterday for two hours. It was electrifying, wasn't it? I cried a bit, but that was grandfather emotions I'm pretty sure because my grandparents lived outside of DC and I spent a lot of time there. Also, my grandfather worked in DC. And then I'd think about how my grandfather decided to move his family from England and settle in a new world for a better life. Between that and the day's events, I was feeling pretty proud to be an American.

Have you registered for RWA Nationals yet? I haven't, but I'm thinking I will before I go to bed. My friend Brenda is planning to come and room with me, but we're also going to look for other roommates so we can cut down the cost.

I've done a bit of writing on Resisting Ryan and of course Eric and Shannon have still been whispering in my ear. Well, Eric has. I'm not really sure Shannon likes me yet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Can You Spare Another Prayer or Two?

My grandfather went into the hospital yesterday and is in ICU with an infection and a breathing tube. Before this happened he told my mom he'd been dreaming of everybody, all the dead relatives. The doctors & nurses keep him sedated because he keeps trying to pull the tube out of his throat. I kept myself pulled together while I was on the phone with my mom, but then one of my brothers called to see what was going on (he hadn't been able to get in touch with our parents) and I started bawling. I'm okay now, just in limbo again, waiting for the phone to ring and for my mom to tell me it's over. My mom's tired. My heart hurts.

A Funny Thing Happened As I Worked On The Website

I realized Broken Promises is an easy manuscript to walk away from, which isn't a good sign. The story premise is good and I love the characters, but there's been no fire. I mean, last week I started my new writing challenge with my Austin RWA group and I've barely written 1500 words on Broken Promises. It was easy to walk away from it when I decided I HAD to finish the website. When I was putting the finishing touches on that last night, I thought about going back to Broken Promises today. Immediately I got a nugget of golden inspiration from an old hero from my manuscript Resisting Ryan. Again I walked away from Broken Promises, this time to start rereading Ryan's story, which immediately got me giddy and excited and smiling like a fool to anyone who would listen to me today. So I didn't need that frying pan up the side of my head. Broken Promises is a great story I definitely want to share. Just not now. I've got the fire with Ryan and his heroine. I've got a good premise for that and some great scenes to work with. I'm following Caitlin and jumping headfirst into that fire!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And We're Live!

Thanks to Brenda Bradshaw's amazing help, my website ( is up and running! Go check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, January 16, 2009

It's Official

Eric and Shannon will wait. I haven't heard a peep out of Shannon. Eric's been slipping me golden nuggets of dialogue and ideas for a scene here and there, but he's not ready to give me anything more. Hhhmm, maybe he doesn't trust me yet?

So as of tomorrow, I'll be focusing entirely on Broken Promises. That story is in my heart and in my head lately and I'm really looking forward to exploring that. It didn't start out there. In the beginning of the draft, I had a hard time figuring out what the hero and heroine wanted and why they were meant to be together. More than usual, I mean. I actually got to the point where I thought of tossing the story into the recycle bin. After the "ease" of Danger, Broken Promises felt too hard for me to write well. But as time went on, as I crafted rough scenes, as I decided who would play them in the made-for-tv movie, my enthusiasm for the story grew. Now I'm in the perfect place to take the almost 40,000 words and mold them into a story worthy of a book contract.

And what about Eric and Shannon, you ask? I expect Eric will sneak a scene to me here and there as he opens up to Caitlin (my muse, for those who don't remember) and me. Then maybe Shannon will join the conversation too. Their story, whatever it's about, will come when they're ready to share.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The New Pain In My Rear

Weeeeelllll, Eric's not saying much. He gives me just enough to get me interested and then he shuts up. At this rate, he won't make it through the three-day test. I'm telling ya, he needs to give me something good to scribble or I'm going back to Broken Promises. THAT couple is ready to share their story and not give me any grief!!!

Update 11:55: Oooh, I don't think he likes that description. He's starting to talk faster than I can write his comments down. I'll let you know how we make out tomorrow, his last chance to prove he and Shannon should be next!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Hot New Man!

There's absolutely nothing in the world like finding a new hero to write about. He shows up when you least expect it, throws your life into immediate, addictive chaos, and expects you to drop everything for him.

I was watching some of my favorite shows over the last 2 days and a dark and brooding hero popped into my head (along with the actor I'd like to portray him in the movie!). I don't know much about him yet, only that he can't be pushed into one of the roles I already have for a hero. He is definitely his own man. As with anyone that demands his or her story be told, I will give this nameless hero three days to prove he's worthy of my time.

Something tells me I'm in for quite a ride between now and the weekend.

UPDATE WED MORNING: He and his heroine have first names. Shannon and Eric. I'm still giddy with all the possibilities. I've had a few ideas pop into my head, but they're too "good" for Eric. They're not dark and dangerous enough.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Taking The Plunge

Evil Brenda Bradshaw talked me into creating a website. It's sucking up the time I should be grading papers or reading Laura's fantastic book, but I'm having a lot of fun. I don't expect it to be long before you'll be able to check out I'll keep you updated!

Friday, January 09, 2009

I Don't Suck!

I just recently realized something about myself and my writing. I can, without a doubt in my mind, say I am a good writer. I can put together stories that people enjoy.


Heehee. Now you may be rolling your eyes thinking "she's either giving herself another pep talk after another rejection or she's had one too many beers" but I can tell you it's neither.

I worked for 3 days on revisions to my manuscript, Danger, and then sent it to my AWESOME critique partner. That was before Christmas. I was thrilled and confident and totally feeling that this manuscript could be "THE ONE". I happily went on vacation, read several books, played around with my next 2 stories and came home.

Well, my critique partner responded with some self-editing tips and exercises to get me thinking more critically about my work BEFORE she'll send me her actual comments. My first instinct was to think, "Crap, I suck. Why does she keep finding things wrong with it? I shouldn't even bother writing anymore."

But it occurred to me that I've forgotten the meaning of a critique partner. She's not trying to tell me everything that's wrong or trying to "teach" me to write. She's pointing out things she thinks will make my already good story even better. Something else that played into me having this grand revelation was "listening" to the published people in my local RWA group talk about their revisions. That's when it occurred to me (again) that most people have to go through several drafts before their books are publisher-ready. Just because I'm not there yet doesn't mean I suck. It just means I still have revisions to do. It just means my job isn't done. No one is saying I can't DO the job.

Now here's the craziest thing. I started to compare this attitude to the way I teach. I know I'm a good teacher, but I know I can always improve. I may have some parents grumbling at me, but just because I do doesn't mean I'm a horrible teacher (unless EVERY PARENT was grumbling). It just means I may need to change my focus or my approach to what I'm doing. I've been living with that understanding the entire time I've been teaching. But I've never seen that the same approach applies to writing.

So I guess I'll keep plugging away on Danger, Broken Promises and No Surrender and sooner or later someone will want to buy my books!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

New Stuff To Share

I'm tickled that I'm reading a copy of Laura Griffin's newest book, Whisper of Warning! I was trying to think of what I wanted to read next and Laura was kind enough to take the question right out of my hands. Thanks, Laura!

I just found out another Austin RWA member has a blog. So check her out. Shellee Cruz. Her latest post is about her writing goals for 2009.

Happy release to another Austin RWA member, Tracy Wolff! Her first erotic suspense comes out today and it looks H-O-T! Grab a copy when you go to the bookstore. Tracy's doing a book signing here in Austin on January 18th so that's when I plan to get my copy!

Monday, January 05, 2009


It's amazing what pictures and the right song will do for my writing. (Anybody else agree?) I spent part of Sunday searching for the perfect pictures of the actors and actresses I imagine would be best to play my next 2 couples (you know, if the books were ever movies). When I found what I was looking for, I started feeling good about my next story again, Broken Promises. I've kinda been going back and forth about whether I actually want to continue writing it, but it's got close to 40,000 words already, so why not? But still I worried because everyone says if you don't love what you write no one else will.

Well, let me just say the Hollywood couple who'd have the starring roles are already doing their jobs! All day as I looked at the pictures, I liked the story a bit more. I can already feel the tension between the characters, can see them falling in love and how difficult it will be for them to give in to each other. The story has so much potential and I'm so excited to get busy shaping it into the best story it can be. And then last night I found one song that fits the couple perfectly and it was all by accident.

The audience will love my new story because WOW, these characters are honorable, courageous, loving people who have some very tough decisions to make before they'll get their happily ever after! But they can do it and so can I! Woohoo!!!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Back To Life in Austin for 2009

I got back from cold RI last night. When we landed it was 75 degrees. I'm glad to be home in some respects, not so in others. My grandfather continues to fail and I'm DEFINITELY NOT ready to get back to work! (And I know all you parents are quite ready for the kids to go back to school) No worries, though. It's only 10 weeks until spring break.

So what will I do today? Well, I watched a bit o' Bourne with breakfast. I printed pictures of the actors and actresses that are inspiring my current heroes and heroines. I've got to go grocery shopping. And I should probably do some school work.

New Year's Resolutions:
1. Make time for myself
2. Finish 2 manuscripts this year (Broken Promises and No Surrender)
3. Lose another 20lbs. (I did well enough throughout 2008, but I've gone up and down. I'm back on the diet now and can't wait to get back to the gym.)
4. Get to the gym 4-5 times a week
5. Sign a book contract! (Okay, I realize this is beyond my control, but I'm planning to do everything I can to get there! How about it, NY? Are you with me?)
6. Limit/organize my internet time so that I'm not wasting hours when I should be working
7. Read at least 5 new-to-me authors
8. Be more outgoing in all aspects of my life

That's a lot, but they're all achievable. We'll see how it goes in 2009!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy 2009!

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year's Eve. I'll be heading back home to Austin in a couple of days and then I'll be sharing with you my goals for the new year. 2009 is my year. I can feel it in my bones. How about you?