Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Day Of Broken Promises

Ah, yes. This day reminded me why I first took up the pen.

My good friend Monika picked me up and we went early this morning to the Austin RWA Critiquing/Write-In Day. Now, I didn't participate in the critiquing part because I'm pretty confident with my critiquing abilities and my AWESOME critique partners. So I, like a few other ladies, sat in the back of the room and worked...all day. I made great progress on Broken Promises after finding I'd written the opening several times. Not several ways, mind you, just several times. I spent the day pulling the stellar bits and pieces out of those several drafts, and the way it was coming together had me so excited for the story.

That said, my goal to have the entry ready for the Daphne may not be realized. I've been working on it most of the night and I'm only on page 9. I don't have a synopsis done, although I know where the story goes. I might, by some miracle, still be able to pull it off if I have my evenings free this week, but I'm not going to push it. To me, it has more work to be done before it's contest ready and I don't know if I'll have the time this week to deal with it before my trip. There will be other contests for Broken Promises and there will be finals. Hopefully too, there will be an editor who falls in love with it as well! But I figure I've got enough stress right now. Why add to it?

But, I've found my muse. Yep, you heard that. Caitlin has returned to me. We'll be working on a new Scottish adventure when my plane leaves Austin Thursday. I'm looking forward to sharing more positive things with you.

Friday, February 27, 2009

And Another Update

My grandfather is being sent to England this coming Wednesday. I'm leaving Thursday. The funeral still hasn't been arranged, but it will be no earlier than Monday 3/9. (Two weeks after he died.) Although my friends, coworkers and students have all been wonderful this week, I'm looking forward to being with my family.

Tonight I get to work on Broken Promises. I want to organize "stuff" so that I can be productive during my Austin RWA "Write-In" we're having tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

England Update

Hello, blogworld! I'm doing all right. I have good moments and bad moments, especially with still being in limbo over the funeral details. But I have wonderfully supportive friends, co-workers, family and even students. There were some glitches with the funeral home getting the death certificate until yesterday. We're still waiting on word for the day of the funeral. We should know that today and then I can make my reservations. I've been keeping myself busy with work details for my sub. This weekend I'm going shopping for the trip (black dress and all) and hopefully working on my writing. I was going to back out of my writing challenge with my local Austin RWA, but then I decided to stick with it because my grandfather was always so supportive of my writing. For him, I'm going to put another contest entry together over the weekend (one I've been thinking about for a while) and I'm going to mail it Monday. I owe it to him, to my muse and to myself.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I'm Going To England

Jimmie Martin
May 25, 1919-February 22, 2009

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Checkin' In

Had to work late 2 nights this week. Had to work 4 hours this morning. Got work to do at home tomorrow.

I was depressed yesterday after work so I went to the bookstore. Not that I need any books, but I wanted some new ones to add to my TBR pile. I picked up Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis and Highland Warrior by Monica McCarty. Both of these authors are automatic buys for me.

As for writing, I managed to get Fractured Paradise off for that contest. I was supposed to then switch my energies to 2 more contest entries, but I haven't been in the frame of mind to do much more than a page or two. I've been sleeping a lot instead.

Today I picked up Tracy Wolff's book again. Since I've had it on the sidebar for weeks, I figured it was time to go back to it. Naturally I got lost in the world Tracy created and I'm loving it.

My grandfather slipped back into unconsciousness last Wednesday and hasn't come out of it since. Mom and I had a long chat today. It was good for both of us, I think.

That's all the news I have. What about you?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So last night I was supposed to finish my latest contest entry for Fractured Paradise and e-mail it off to the coordinator. What did I do instead? I fell asleep on the couch at 8:15!!! I hardly ever fall asleep on the couch! I woke up somewhere around 9:45, fell back to sleep and woke up around 10:15. Then I went to bed. Ugh. Now I have extra work to do today, but at least I feel well rested! I guess I needed the sleep.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How About China?

Got an e-mail from a company that teaches kids in Hong Kong asking if I was still interested in teaching overseas. Hhhmmm, very interesting. Maybe this means more people will notice my resume and start contacting me for interviews! I haven't ruled out going overseas to teach next year. There's just a lot of other factors that would influence my decision.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Life Goes On

Well, like Kelly said in the comments to my last post, my grandfather isn't ready to die! Hey, I'm all for that as long as he's not in pain. In the meantime, I'm living my life, doing what I have to, but he's never far from my thoughts. I'll try not to bore you with all the details. It's just hard when I feel so isolated when the rest of the family is in RI.

I'm almost done revising part of Fractured Paradise so I can enter it in a contest. It's been a couple of years since I worked on this one (or even read it for fun) and I'm loving it. I'm incorporating the craft elements I've learned since its first draft and I'm so excited to revisit my fictional Scottish village. My CP is quite pleased with my decision to revise this story because she believes it has untapped potential. I think she's right! I thought briefly about making it a suspense, but my heart and my muse (not to mention the characters!) say it needs to remain a short contemporary. I just want it to be the best story it can be.

And wouldn't you know it? Right when I get excited about revising Fractured Paradise, I start getting those warm and fuzzy feelings for Broken Promises! I've already promised myself to start cleaning up the 1st chapter this week for a contest, but after that I was going to focus all my energy on my Scottish contemporary. Now I'm thinking I might have to revisit that plan. Somehow I don't think my suspense hero and heroine will allow me to abandon them totally over the next few months. We'll see what sort of compromise we can come up with.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Slipping Away?

The weather in northern England is in the 30s & 40s. Much different than I'm used to here in central Texas.

My grandfather slipped into unconsciousness yesterday morning and hadn't come out of it as of my talk with my mom yesterday afternoon. She doesn't believe he'll come back to us again. I hesitate to agree simply because of his medical history. And yet, I still want to mourn the loss I know is coming.

UPDATE 12:30: He's awake and eating.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wherever you are, I wish you much love and happiness today! Spend some quality time with those you love and let them know how much they mean to you.

My day will be spent rereading Fractured Paradise, my Scottish short contemporary romance, working on a contest entry for it and enjoying the love I have for that story.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

An A-Ha Couple Of Days

Tuesday: My local Austin RWA meeting. Lots of fun, lots of chocolate, lots of Newcastle Brown Ales. We had in a woman who works in an ER who told us all about writers who write medical stuff incorrectly. I'm very fortunate to have my very own nurse to contact when I have medical questions. She's my friend Laura Iding and she's AWESOME! I forget how we exactly met. I know it was online and I think I'd put a medical question to one of my loops and she answered. We've kept in touch ever since and even managed to meet at the last Dallas Nationals.

Wednesday: The day job is a little too intense and if I let it, it will swallow me whole. Must work to avoid that. Actually, I took some steps to combat the fatigue I'm feeling and to influence how "things" are run next school year. I thought long and hard before I opened my mouth (I'm really good about doing that) and I'm quite happy with my decision to voice my opinion. We'll see how it's received in the coming weeks.

Thursday: Long day. Short on academics. Long on candy and Valentine's excitement. I skipped lunch and dinner and...ate chocolate. Even my kids were surprised with how much candy I ate and they were all telling me I'd be feeling sick tonight and tomorrow. (I think they might be right!) We had our Valentine's dance tonight and I stayed for the whole thing. It was cute, but I'm exhausted and I didn't get home until 9:15. And now I've got to go to bed so I can get up and be back there at 8 A.M. Ah, yes, but at least tomorrow's Friday!

Weekend plans: Grading, grading, more grading. Tons of work to prepare for parent conferences Monday. Also got a training video I have to watch for the ESL part of my job. Oh yeah, and I'm planning on finishing Fractured Paradise's contest entry and then get back to Broken Promises.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ode To My Creative Mind

Take care as you read this. I've never claimed to be a poet:

A thousand voices spring through my head,
not one will let me rest in bed.
They each believe they should be the new story,
Rem and Ryan and now a guy named Corey.
But my muse is starting to get upset.
All these men she hasn't even met.
She's tired of me sneaking off with one or the other.
She's threatening to leave altogether.
Caitlin is ready to work hard and tough
if I can just pick a plot, enough is enough!
Eeny, meeny miny moe won't do it,
There's a whole lot more crap to it.
A plot, some conflicts, a monumental change,
a love story that's not too far out of my range.
In the end I know I'll have to choose
or Caitlin will desert me and then I'll lose.
But I'm not a quitter, I won't give in.
I'll wrestle with these men and damn it, I'll win!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

And So It Goes...

I finished reading and judging the Golden Heart entries I had. It never fails, I always learn something when I judge. This time I realized how important it is for the reader to connect with the characters. You can have the best plot in the world, but if your reader doesn't care about your main characters, she won't care about the intriguing plot you've crafted. Anyway, I ended up with a couple of really outstanding entries. I hope at least one of them manages to final!

I don't think I'm going to make my goal of writing a chapter of something this month (for my local RWA group meeting on Tuesday). I've been trying on the new suspense, but it feels forced now and I don't ever want to force myself to write when it's not working.

I mailed off my GOTCHA revised entry to the coordinator. Once she gets all of the winners' entries in, she'll mail them off to the editor! Then it's back to the waiting game.

I've got a few contest entries to work on in the next few weeks in between day job work. 5 weeks until spring break!

My grandfather's in the nursing home again and they brought in hospice. We have a DNR order on file now and the doctors say it could be up to 6 months. Who knows? He's refusing to eat and refusing his meds. When I talk to him, he doesn't make much sense. One day at a time, right?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Letter Fun

Stolen from Avery and Cindy, who stole it from someone else, who stole it...

Rules: It’s harder than it looks!

Copy to your own blog, erase my answers, enter yours, and tag 10 people. (Or not. I'm not into tagging others, but if you want to do it, leave a comment and I'll come and read your answers.)

Use the first letter of your name to answer each of the following questions.

They have to be real… nothing made up!

If the person before you had the same first initial, you must use different answers. You cannot use any word twice and you can’t use your name for the boy/girl name question.

1. What is your name: Lexi

2. A four letter word: Love

3. A boy’s name: Liam

4. A girl’s name: Lily

5. An occupation: Librarian

6. A color: Lilac

7. Something you wear: Lingerie

9. A food: Lasagna

10. Something found in the bathroom: Lotion

11. A place: London

12. A reason for being late: Lost the car keys

13. Something you shout: “Love you dearly, but get out of my room!" (Often shouted to my students when I can't get them packed and lined up fast enough to go to their next class.)

14. A movie title: Lion King

15. Something you drink: Lemonade

16. A musical group: Loverboy

17. An animal: Lynx

18. A street name: Lindy Ave.

19. A type of car: Lexus

20. The title of a song: Loch Lomond

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Wednesday Miscellaneous

Allergies are still attacking me (and people all around me), but I will not surrender!

Grandfather went back to the hospital (by choice) and today they were going to do a psych eval on him.

My friend Jess Dawson is a soldier in Iraq right now and she's got a blog to share her experiences. Um, today's entry is...different. It's about an initiation she's had to endure. Check it out for yourself. Click here.

I've added 2 more blogs to my list of places to go. Joining the Fray and Romantic By Nature. Check them out when you have a chance!

As for my stories, here's the deal. I've been going back and forth for weeks now on which story to concentrate on, right? Then I had my ARWA sisters brainstorm Broken Promises with me last weekend. Then I was feeling I needed to reconnect with my British heritage, so I said I was going to go back to Fractured Paradise, right? Well, here it is Wednesday and the only writing I've done since the retreat has been on that brand new couple, Eric and Shannon. Remember them from this post? So I'm going to see where these new people take me. Obviously they have something to say if they're knocking not one, not two but THREE other couples out of their way!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Cedar Is Evil

I don't know for sure that it's cedar trying to kill me, but allergies are running rampant. I could go to sleep now and not wake until tomorrow morning. Except for the coughing. On top of all this, I have a wake to go to for a co-worker's husband. I can't not go. Even if I just stay 15 minutes, I have to make the effort. So I'm off to nap until the wake.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Retreat Review

Well, my retreat was very relaxing and we had a great time. I've got something- allergies, a cold, allergies AND a cold- and so I coughed most of the weekend, but that didn't stop me from indulging in the champagne, wine and chocolate we shared as we laughed and talked writing. (Wow, we have some AMAZING talent among us!) We also celebrated my friend and CP Jenna Stuart who signed with an agent. (Yay, Jenna!) I had the group brainstorm Broken Promises and they gave me lots of GREAT ideas, but....

I still can't find the fire.

Through the night, during my bouts of coughing up a lung, I realized I really wanted to revisit my Scottish contemporary village. With my grandfather failing, I'm really floundering and to do anything takes a huge effort. "Life" in my fictional village is always soothing and might help ease my soul. I need something to make me feel connected to my British heritage again. So I'm going to reread Fractured Paradise and start planning how to revise that one with all the craft tricks I've learned over the last 2 years. Also, I'm going to enter it in the Picture This Contest because there's a scene that I absolutely love and I've toyed with entering this contest with this scene for the last couple of years. So why not?