Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mattie Revisited

I don't know what it was (Jessica Scott's ripping apart of my story, the workshop yesterday, or the writer chatting afterward), but SOMETHING is working! My heroine, Mattie, was quite wimpy and teary in the last version of Danger. I knew I had to make changes and I knew what kind of heroine I wanted, but I couldn't seem to get my version of her to come out on paper. Tonight I DID IT! With one scene added into the story in chapter 6 that displays her exactly as I've always wanted, I finally figured out how she has to be written. She finally feels right to me. Of course, it was a "Duh" moment (I have a lot of those), but I'm just psyched that another piece of the puzzle fell into place for us. Whoo-hoo!!!!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Diabetes Auction

If God wanted me to have all the items I've already bid on, he wouldn't let me keep getting outbid.

I will not make any more bids...I will not make any more bids...I will not make any more bids...

Saturday Stuff

By the time this gets posted:

I will be on my way to the Austin RWA writing workshop where the lovely and talented Jan Hudson will lead us through an important element of the writing process- Scene & Sequel.

I will be closer to HOPEFULLY winning 2 items from the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction. Have you checked it out? I like to check out what the prices are for the items I'd love to get but could NEVER afford.

I will be TWO weeks away from starting my summer journey! First stop? Berlin to visit the second cousin I was named after.

Avery Beck
will STILL be celebrating her first release, Sexy By Design. Better late than never, but CONGRATULATIONS, Avery! Go ahead and stop by her blog to congratulate her.

What's on tap for your weekend?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Have A Peek

My good friend Jessica Scott just landed a super agent! WOOHOO, JESS!! Congratulations! Jessica is an Army soldier serving in Iraq right now. She's got a blog she's keeping while she's over there and she's got a great website. Check it out and learn more about her. I imagine we'll be seeing her books in bookstores in the near future!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Field Trip Update And Stuff

I lied. The field trip was not a great time. Too much pre-teen drama, other drama and my allergies were killing me. Since arriving home, I've been on the computer putting grades together for report cards. I'm ALMOST done! I have a few things to double check tomorrow but then I'll be done grading for the 2008-2009 school year! Too bad I have a meeting to prepare for Monday and I haven't even started...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Field Trip

Today I trek off into the woods with a few colleagues, several parents and around 48 middle schoolers. It's our annual last field trip. It's a great time and in a beautiful location. I got through to chapter 6 on Danger's revisions yesterday so I printed the rest of that chapter as well as 7 & 8 to take with me. I'll have teacher duty on the trip, but I should have some time for myself as well. I'll be back Thursday to update you on the trip and my Danger progress. Plus, check out my latest website update here. Behave while I'm gone! (Or at least remember enough details to share with me later!)

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Granda

If he'd lived, my grandfather would have been 90 today. I decided to celebrate his life with a British candy bar, a few bottles of Guinness and a whole lot of writing. I've made amazing progress on the manuscript this weekend and I'm about to head back into the fray for the next chapter. Maybe he and Nana are looking down on me and smiling....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Danger Revisions Continued

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Danger Revisions

They ain't pretty, but they're working. I might get through chapter 3 by Friday morning. Then only 7 more chapters to go...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

School- We got our state test scores back for our kids. My 6th & 7th Grades did fairly well in Reading with about 80-85% passing. AND my 7th Grade had 100% passing the Writing test! (And it's the 2nd year in a row my writing class has had 100%!!!!) Gee, I guess I DO know what I'm doing in the classroom!

Writing- Fractured Paradise took FIRST PLACE in the Picture This Contest! This is extra special for several reasons. I "finished" this story 2 years ago, but got nowhere with it. It got lost somewhere on an editor's desk. It deals with my British grandparents and the family heritage. I thought to enter this contest for a couple of years, but never bothered. This year I decided to do it just for the heck of it. Then my AWESOME CP (Hi, Jenna!) talked me into pulling the manuscript out from under the bed and I started revising. Then when my grandfather was dying earlier this year, the story and working on it was a source of comfort. I'm so excited my Scottish village has new life!

PS (at 10:30PM): By George, I think I mighta cracked the Danger case!!! I don't want to jinx it and it's REALLY rough, but the "troublesome" scene at the start of chapter 3 is starting to work....

Dangerous Issues

So now I've spent 3 days on the beginning of chapter 3. THREE DAYS, people! I've written the scene and deleted it tons of times. I've walked away from it, rewritten and then walked away again. And I feel like I'm still stuck. What's worse is I'm pretty sure it's just this scene that stinks. I love the next scenes in the chapter. Or at least, I love what I plan to do with the next scenes.So I decided late last night that I wasn't going to worry about "that scene" right now. I'm actually going to skip over it and write the fight scene that comes next and propels my hero and heroine into their next grand adventure. Maybe if I start with the "end result" I can figure out how to get there! I'll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three Cheers For Caitlin!

Can I just say I LOVE my muse? Sure we have our issues and some days we want to kill each other, but I'm so thrilled to have Caitlin in my corner. Like yesterday, I was working on Danger revisions and she decided I needed a completely new scene. So I played with it and started writing it and in the space of writing that scene, Caitlin decided to share this tidbit of intel with me: The secondary character in Danger that I'm bringing back from the dead will get his own story even though he was doing something in yesterday's scene that's totally un-hero-worthy. Oh! And THEN, a few hours later, Caitlin shared something else. The woman involved in the un-hero-worthy scene is the heroine for the next story because she's just that cool and she can keep that hero in line. Woohoo! And with summer just around the corner, I'll have tons of time to brainstorm, outline and start drafting their story!

So I'm sitting here trying to rewrite the start of chapter 3. I'd come up with a brilliant idea, but I decided it wasn't going to be logical. So I wrote something else. And deleted it. Then I wrote something else. And deleted it. For the last hour or so I've been staring at the screen, snacking, surfing the net, and occasionally writing some words. And then deleting them. (Gee, genius, ya think you should listen to the muse?) So I deleted a whole bunch of crap and started writing the scene again, this time with the original brilliant idea. And guess what? It's working! I don't necessarily agree this is the right way for the scene to go, but I've learned to let Caitlin take the lead. I just wish I'd remembered that lesson an hour ago.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Family, Writing And Margaritas!

Family- My mom and stepdad are in town and this weekend my stepdad has gone to stay with his sons for a "Men's Weekend". So mom and I have been left on our own, which is totally fine with us! We've been going out to eat each of the last few nights and we're planning to go again today. We end up having great conversations...and a couple margaritas. I love spending time with my mom, but then I haven't been writing as much as I want. My revision deadline is creeping up on me and I'm not focused most of the time. (And the Brenda Novak Diabetes Research auction is ALSO taking my concentration!)

Writing- It amazes me how people don't understand that writing is a job for me. No, I'm not getting paid yet for my stories, but I usually treat this "hobby" as my 2nd job. When I talk about writing, it's ALWAYS in a professional manner and I have absolutely no doubt that I will sell (...eventually). In the course of my conversations with my mom over the last few days, we've talked about my writing. Yes, she's very supportive, but she doesn't get it. We talked about me "going back to school" to become a school counselor and she said that I'd probably have to put the writing on hold for a while. My immediate response was, "I'm not sure I'm willing to do that." I guess I'm mentioning this because it feels weird and wonderful at the same time. I feel like a member of a secret society that only other like-minded people can understand. I don't want any other career. I intend to eventually live my dream. It's just odd to me that someone who's always so supportive doesn't tend to be as sure about that as I am.

Margaritas-They also take my concentration, but they're so good! I figure my mom & stepdad will be leaving soon and my life will get back to "normal" for a while. Then I should be able to knock out Danger. Speaking of which, I'm off to start working on it. Well, once I check on the auction and the items I've already bid on....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Something's Gotta Go, Something's Gotta Give

So I'm working hard on my Danger revisions and I've come across some AWESOME phrases, descriptions and scenes. And then I pulled out the virtual knife, in the form of the highlighter and the delete key, and started slicing away all the debris. With my new and improved heroine, a lot more has to change, but I'm so excited to see where she and the hero lead me. I can tell they're going to have some awesome words for me in the coming chapters (thanks to my lovely and talented muse, Caitlin!). I'm in a good place to start tomorrow, ending chapter 2 with a better hook and then organizing the revamping of chapter 3.

While I'm hard at work, have you heard of/participated in/visited Brenda Novak's Diabetes research auction? It's an annual event with lots of neat prizes to bid on. Last year was the first year I even looked at the website. This year I'm following it a bit more and I've even toyed with the idea of bidding on something. I don't have a lot of cash to spend, but contributing to diabetes research is definitely a worthy cause. Check it out here if you've got the time or inclination to participate!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


By George, I think I've ALMOST got it! I spent part of yesterday writing in my heroine's POV. I wasn't working on any particular scene or anything I hoped to put in the revised edition of Danger. I thought I should just spend some time getting to know her better and WOW! I think I've uncovered the very reason she is the way she is, what motivates her to action with the hero, what keeps her from the hero and what made her so close to her brother. It was as if the chatting with authors & CPs, info gathering from my own story notes and craft reading I've been doing have all FINALLY clicked! Of course, I may be completely wrong and still have no clue, but I tend to be the eternal optimist. I'll keep you updated!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Hi there! Today's Tuesday. I've got 15 school days left and a bunch of grading yet to do. Last night I had a dream that I was working with Jack Bauer to save the world and stop that evil Tony Almeida (from the TV show 24). Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was trying. I've had family in town this weekend. I'm making progress on Danger's revisions, just not as much progress as I'd like. I do anticipate a big change on the Danger meter soon, though. I've gotten some great feedback from my AWESOME CP Jenna Stuart, and Austin RWA authors Kit Frazier and Laura Griffin. And believe it or not that dream has given me some ideas for my heroine. (More on that if it works out!) Now all I have to do is buckle down and work on Danger!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

To Make Myself Feel Better

I went to my favorite bookstore and spent some cash. To deal with my current character issues (my heroine is much different than any other heroine I've written and I'm having a hard time showing how awesome she is), I asked some of my local writers for advice. The lovely and talented Laura Griffin suggested this book by Dwight Swain to help me and I'm excited to start reading it.

Then, I decided to buy a few Harlequin books. You know, for market research.
I couldn't resist this cover with the guy and the baby!

And of course, what trip to the bookstore would be complete without Harlequin Intrigues? I have to tell you this one by Dana Marton did not appeal to me until I read the back cover blurb and read what Dana had to say about it on the Harlequin Intrigue Authors' Blog. The other one by Carla Cassidy has a former SEAL. Yum!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Revisions Suck

There's nothing worse than staring at a scene you've created, knowing something is wrong with it, and not be able to pull the answer off the tip of your tongue.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

MORE Happy Dancing!

Got word today that Fractured Paradise made it through the 2nd round of finalists in the Picture This Contest! My entry and the other 2 finalists' entries will now go to an editor for Harlequin who will rank the winners!!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

I Really DO Know What I'm Doing!

OMG! I'm so excited about Danger and this request now! I've been planning more revisions. I managed to see some of what I can change for the better, but then I focused on what scenes I'd be willing to throw out for the sake of a better story. Yeah, I liked the 1st 2 chapters and the last 2. The rest was up in the air. Well, I started rearranging events to make the story more "author-logical" and not so "writer-forced" and WOW! It's already a better story! And add to that, my characters have stepped up and are helping me revise! How cool is that?

Sunday, May 03, 2009


Curse the day job! I'm having a grand ole time rereading Danger and mapping out where I might be able to take it and what happens? It's past my bedtime! I have a conference for work for the next 2 days, which I'm happy to be a part of, but I'd so much rather be here typing away to my heart's content. But, the important thing is Caitlin is still with me and the magic is still in my fingers. So I printed out the first chapter to take with me to the conference. We have an hour and a half for lunch. I'm brown bagging it, so I'll have about an hour and 15 minutes to work on trying out my new idea for the story. Wish me luck and I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, May 02, 2009

It Really Is About The Characters

As I started thinking of how to revise Danger, I decided to go back to my copy of Tami Cowden's Heroes & Heroines Archetype book. The first thing I noticed as I thumbed through it was a question: "Do you remember plots or characters?" My first reaction was plots, definitely plots since I love action/adventure stories. But then I took a moment, thought about it some more and realized that it's the characters I remember. BUT it's through the rich characters that I also tend to remember the plots.

For example, if you've read this blog for a while you know I love the Bourne movies. I love the action, suspense, chases and fighting. I love watching Jason think his way out of trouble. But is it the plot that draws me in? No, it's the character of Jason Bourne who pulls me along on his exciting and often terrifying adventure. Another example is the movie Troy. I LOVE Brad Pitt in that movie, love the fighting, Achilles' stubborn behavior. But is it the plot that draws me in? No, I love watching the relationship and emotions between Achilles and his enemy's cousin.

As I set out to make changes to the manuscript I need to ship off to a waiting editor, I realize even more that I can have the best suspense scenes in my manuscript, but my characters need to be solid. They need to be lovable and worth rooting for. They need to be well-rounded people. Cowden's book, since I bought it, has been like a gold mine for me. It's helped a bunch of the "rules" of writing finally make sense. It's all clicking and for the first time I'm approaching my work from a strictly professional point of view. I'm not afraid to drop scenes or phrases that don't support the growth of the characters. I can look at a scene with a critical eye, rearrange it and see what's missing (or what's done well!). I'm willing to sacrifice ideas I had for my plot or characters if they don't support the crafting of a great book. In a matter of weeks, it's helped me take my writing (and revising) to another level, one I hope is closer to getting me published. In short, I'm no longer writing just for my own pleasure. I am an author.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Happy Dancing!

Back in January I told you I took 2nd place in the GOTCHA Contest Series RS category. Well, last night I got word from the contest coordinator that the final judge (an editor I really, really wanted to see my work!) requested a synopsis and the FULL manuscript of Dance Away, Danger! I'll be out celebrating tonight, but then I have to buckle down, put Fractured Paradise on the back burner (just when it was getting good, but I'm okay with that) and focus on prepping Danger for
prime time! if that wasn't good enough news, guess who now gets to go on the CIA tour with Kiss of Death during Nationals????