Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A New Chapter Begins!

I have changed my writing identity. Join me at my new blog,, and at my new website,! If you have a link to this blog on your blog or website, please change it. If you are a "Follower" of this blog, I hope you'll "follow" me over to the new blog!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

And So It Ends....

It is with both joy and sadness I say goodbye to LEXI CONNOR, the name I've used for so long. I hope that those of you who have journeyed with me so far choose to follow me in my next adventures with my new name beginning tomorrow.

Monday, November 29, 2010


When I first chose this as my pen name, this is how I came up with it.

LEXI came from two women, the love interest of Methos from the Highlander TV Series (played by Ocean Hellman) and the modern day laird's wife from the Monarch of the Glen TV Series (played by Dawn Steele).
Alexa on the left, Lexie on the right

For the last name CONNOR, I used one of my all-time favorite fictional characters, Connor MacLeod, from the original Highlander movie.

If you have not seen Highlander (the original, not the rest of the movies), GET THEE A COPY! It is totally worth it! Sean Connery, men in kilts, sword fights, immortality, gorgeous Scottish scenery and romance...what's not to love?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Almost Goodbye

Thanksgiving is over, my NaNo book is drafted and the finishing touches are about to be put on the new blog & website. In 3 days I will no longer answer to Lexi Connor.

I'm sad about this because it's a special name for me, crafted with much thought, and one I've used for several years. People have asked me why I'm even bothering with a pen name before I sign a contract. I first chose to use a pen name when I was teaching. I wanted to keep those two careers separate. Although I shared my ups and downs with my students on a regular basis, I kept most of my writing life in its own compartment in my life.

People have also asked why I'm starting to use another pen name when someone else could come along and take the name I'm switching to. When I chose Lexi Connor, I didn't think I'd still be unpublished at this point. The same thing applies to the new name. Even on the heels of my latest rejection, I still hope to be published with the new name sooner rather than later.

At the same time, I'm excited about all the changes I'm making. I'm focusing on my romantic suspense stories for a while. I've put together a website for my new persona that I love and I'm excited to change the blog as well. There is also a contest coming later this week to celebrate my move!

For the record, I would have kept Lexi Connor as my writing name, but there is a Lexi Connor who writes kids' books and I've already started getting emails for her. She has 2 or 3 books coming out next year, with the first one in January, so I thought this would be the perfect time to make the changes.

I expect to only have a couple more posts to this blog in the next couple of days. Then we'll be surfing the new website, blog and Facebook page!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

To All My American Friends

HAPPY TURKEY DAY! Eat well, drink well and nap well afterward!

I am thankful for:
1. My family
2. My health
3. My talent
4. My friends (online and in person)
5. Books

Tuesday, November 23, 2010



Pushing For The Finish Line

Less than 2000 words for NaNoWriMo.

Finally feeling connected a bit to my hero, the older brother Grady. And you know how that happened? I wrote a scene last night where he's watching the heroine work. She's totally oblivious to him watching her and he thinks about her and why he likes her. It's one of my favorite scenes so far in all my 48000+ words. Why? Because it's examining the emotions and THAT makes for good character and a good story.

More later.....

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I'm 2550 words away from 50K on NaNoWriMo. I'm happy with that, excited I don't have to keep up this insane pace and at the moment I'm pretty sure most of my words are crap.

On the plus side, I've got 2 heroes that are absolutely AWESOME.

The minus side? Their stories are still entwined. At least I've figured out which hero gets which heroine, but beyond that I still feel very far removed from my characters and their stories.

I do intend to keep writing until the end of November, just not as much each day as I have been.

I need to focus, as always, on finding a permanent job. Also, I'm getting closer and closer to the day I drop the name Lexi Connor. I imagine once I finish my 2550 words for NaNo and jump into the final prep for my new name, I'll post here more details about the switch and what it means to me to give up a name I've been using for so many years. AND on top of all that, we have Thanksgiving this week!

But for now, I need to get some sleep. My only sub job for the week is tomorrow at 7:15!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Meet my new hero, the one who single-handedly saved my NaNo manuscript from the trash. His name is Scotty, he's the younger brother of the guy I thought was the hero, and he's mighty ticked off that someone is accusing him of a crime he didn't commit. And who is that someone? Devin, the heroine.

Triple Homicide

I'm ready to commit one. At 36,000 words on my NaNoWriMo book, I'm ready to kill off everyone except the guy who was supposed to be the villain. (The "victim" definitely deserves to go!!) The hero and heroine may be wonderful characters, but they have absolutely no chemistry and should not be allowed in the same room (or on the same page, as the case may be). If I wasn't so close to being done with my NaNo 50,000 words, I'd toss this one and start a new one. Seriously, this book needs intensive CPR. I haven't had this kind of trouble since my 3rd book back around 2002 & 2003. I'm aiming to hit 50,000 words on Sunday. I just hope I learn SOMETHING from this horrendous experience.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

And On Saturday?

I don't want to jinx myself, but I think I may have started to figure out the plot! It's at least got me writing again...for now. And anyway, this is an SRD (Sh**ty Rough Draft) and SOOOOO much of it will change before the finished product gets sent to an editor! AND maybe as I write with this plot in mind, the answers to my other plot questions will pop up! Okay, going back to it!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Halfway Through NaNo

I hit the 25,000 word mark today.Unfortunately, I still don't know what the exact external conflict is supposed to be.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Stolen From Pixie (Thanks!)

I saw this on a fellow Austin RWA member's Facebook page and decided to do it here:

Things in 3s:

Three names I go by:

1. Lexi

2. Lex

3. Ms. Connor

Three jobs I have had in my life:

1. Teacher

2. Activities Assistant

3. Travel Writer

Three places I have lived:

1. Austin, TX

2. Grand Canyon, AZ

3. Las Vegas, NV

Three favorite drinks:

1. Guinness

2. Water

3. Coca-Cola

Three greatest accomplishments:

1. Surviving heart surgery at 7

2. Moving across country after college

3. Buying my house

Three TV shows that I watch:

1. Leverage

2. The Mentalist

3. Criminal Minds

Three places I have been: (the coolest ones, I guess)

1. Phuket, Thailand

2. Glenfinnan, Scotland

3. Dublin, Ireland

Three people that text me regularly:

1. Bob

2. Nancy

3. Tracy

Three biggest failures:

1. Turning down a job that would've been perfect for me and would've opened many doors

2. Not saving more $$$ before I quit my teaching job

3. Not choosing the right career path earlier

Three favorite dishes:

1. stuffed shells

2. ham dinner with mashed potatoes, rolls and 2 or 3 veggies

3. pizza

Three things I am looking forward to:

1. Eventually getting a book contract

2. New Year's vacation

3. Finishing NaNoWriMo early!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Live From The Retreat!

Turns out we do have internet at the retreat, although I'm trying not to get on too much.

I'm almost at 11,000 words total on my NaNo manuscript, and I'm in the "this book sucks" stage.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Almost The Weekend

NaNo- been averaging around 2000 words a day. I'm LOVING what's coming from my characters! And they are a we say affectionate couple so far despite the danger surrounding them.

iPod- I spent most of my afternoon playing with my iPod and downloading songs with my iTunes gift cards. WOW! I actually made a soundtrack for Tell Me No Lies! I made 2 playlists, one for the suspense aspect of the story and 1 for the romance aspect. The suspense playlist has alternative, metal and hard rock. Oh, and some tunes from the Bourne trilogy soundtracks. The romance playlist has some songs that fit the characters and some that just make me feel good about the possibility of love.

Weekend- This weekend I'll be incommunicado. My local RWA chapter has its annual retreat. I'm SOOO excited! Last year I wrote my story with a pen and paper and I listened to my $5 cassette walkman. This year I have my laptop and my newly synced iPod. I'm also taking my digital camera. I'm hoping to keep up my 2000 words a day pace as I visit with friends, eat chocolate (and other good food), and have a few drinks. I'll share details when I get back.

Next Week- I've got a 3-day job scheduled already. I'm also hoping to do some more work on my new website so it'll be ready for the launch on December 1st. I'll have my local RWA meeting, where I will be able to dive into the "Broken Heart Chest" because I'll share the news about my latest rejection. And of course, I'll have more Nano.

You- Have a great Friday and an even better weekend!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNo Day 3

Oh, I'm struggling today. Actually, I got a chance to write about 444 words during my sub day- mostly during the period where the kids went to PE- and I've been writing some GREAT stuff on and off since I got home, but now I'm getting so tired. I'll make the daily word count, but I'm still behind overall since I fell short on the very first day. I suppose I can crank out an extra hundred or two hundred words if I just get off the Internet.....

AND LATER: I managed to crank out enough words to make my day's total 2038! I was frustrated because I had no scenes in my head, very few plot details and I kept starting and starting a bunch of scenes. But in the process of doing that, I learned quite a bit about my hero and heroine AND I've got some tidbits for GREAT scenes to come. I remembered (and must remind myself daily during NaNo) that this is the way NaNo works for me. I start with an idea, some basic conflicts (internal and external) for my hero and heroine and then I let them take me on their journey! Can't wait for tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

And We're Off!

NaNoWriMo has begun! Unfortunately, because I had a bit too much fun during Halloween, I only wrote 504 words. Ugh. Nothing like being behind on the 1st day.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

To all those celebrating, be careful and have a great time!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


The hero in my new manuscript, Tell Me No Lies, is a bounty hunter. Does this mean I should start watching this show for research???

Friday, October 29, 2010

Awaiting Insanity's Arrival

Two days and 48 minutes until NaNoWriMo starts! ACK! I think I'm ready. I'm chomping at the bit to start, but I've refused to allow myself to write a single scene. Instead, I've been reading and working out details for my character arcs. Now I just have to find something to keep myself busy for the next 48 hours & 48 minutes!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

And An Answer

I opened my emails after my sub job today and found a rejection on my Scottish story. Yes, it's sad, BUT the editor gave me LOTS of details to explain why it didn't work for them. The details will definitely help me with my future stories! She also said some wonderful things about my writing and encouraged me to start writing something else to submit to them and be sure to "cc" it to her as well.

As is my way of handling a rejection, I'm going to treat myself to dinner (with a birthday gift card) and I'm going to wallow for 24 hours. (22 1/2 now!) Then I'm going to study her words and prepare to make the NaNo book all it can be!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Letter

Dear Publisher:

Please call me with a book contract for my Scottish short contemporary. It's a WONDERFUL story with great potential! I've checked my phone. Several times. It is working.

Or, if you're not ready to commit to a contract, feel free to send me a revision letter. I'd be happy to revise and make the manuscript even better with your suggestions and guidance. And I can do it successfully, too! With my brilliant CPs, Cat and Jenna, in my corner and ready to kick my butt in gear, I'm confident I can give you just what you require.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my manuscript. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Lexi Connor

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

As of this moment I have.....

2 sub jobs for this week- Monday and Tuesday

2 manuscripts submitted under Lexi Connor

1 manuscript submitted under the new pen name

7 more days as Celtic Hearts VP

7 more days and 2 hours until NaNoWriMo starts

37 more days to be known as Lexi Connor

11 months and 1 week until I turn 40

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hello, Matt!

In between English soccer and an intense brainstorming/plotting session for Tell Me No Lies, I'm taking myself to see Matt Damon's new movie!

AFTER: Definitely a different kind of movie, but GREAT! Definitely two thumbs up!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday's Job

I subbed with the Spawn of Satan today disguised as cute 5th graders. Ugh. I need a stiff drink...or a nap...or to go kill someone off in the new manuscript.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Touched By Music!

I just heard the song that has set the tone for the new suspense! (I always buy a new CD whenever I start a new book.) It's from a metalcore band called In This Moment. The song is The Promise. I didn't hear all the lyrics, but the ones I heard SOOOOOO fit what I want Grady and Devin to be! One line I did hear was "I'm dangerous for you." YUP, PERFECT for my super couple! Hopefully I can find the whole CD before NaNo starts!

Monday, October 18, 2010


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a writing challenge during the month of November. Each year thousands of people from all over the globe enter in hopes of finishing 50,000 words on a new story in 30 days.

I had heard about this throughout the years, but I never considered doing it. A few years ago I followed my blog friend Kelly Boyce as she talked about her NaNo experience. Thanks to Kelly, I took the plunge last year and joined. I never actually thought I'd write 50,000 words. I just wanted to push myself and see what I could accomplish. Well, I did win and that revised manuscript is the one I sent to the editor 3 weeks ago.

I had so much fun being part of the NaNo community, learning about myself as a writer and completing a 50,000 story that I've decided to join this year as well. I'm already excited to get busy. I'm working now on learning all I can about my characters and brainstorming their conflicts.

If you are joining NaNo, buddy me. (I'm Lexi Connor- yeah, not very creative in my username!) If you're not joining, be sure to visit here and see how I'm doing. If you're not sure about joining, visit the NaNo website to learn more about it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Rollin' Along

Been working a bit, searching for a steady job still, watching football, and reading. Tonight I'm hoping to spend some time learning more about my NaNo characters. Today I started the grunt work on switching my identity from Lexi Connor to....nope, not telling. You'll have to wait until the switch is complete. Right now I'm planning to officially change my identity as of December.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Time's Whizzin' By

I've been 39 for 4 days and already I can feel the days moving faster! I can't imagine how my life will flash before my eyes when I hit my 70s and 80s!

Been subbin' every day. It'll be so nice to get a paycheck again. Granted I'm so not out of the woods yet, but at least I have a steady job. I still need to focus on finding a permanent position. All in all, I STILL don't regret quitting my other job in June.

Writing- yeah, not so much. I kind of hit a slump last week before my birthday and my CPs "talked me off the ledge." They reminded me that it's okay not to write every day, that I'd just sent off a completed manuscript and that I should feel free to cut myself some slack. So I did. And I have. I spent most of my weekend reading and thinking about my pen name change that will be happening before you know it! (HINT: December)

THEN...I got busy writing again.

BUT...not on the Scottish story. Yes, I love it, the characters and the village, but I'm still caught up in a murderous mood.

So, I allowed myself to truly free-write. And what did I come up with? Not scenes for one of the 3 stories in the series with HIS RELUCTANT PARTNER, nothing for the one I already have close to 100 pages of a rough draft on, and nothing for the one I brainstormed while in Mexico. No, I came up with a BRAND NEW, nameless SUSPENSE. I've got the hero's name, an idea of who he and the heroine are and about 1300 words so far. That's all, but I LOVE it and the words are flowing so I'm thinking this one might have to be my NaNo book.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, who else is joining the craziness?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


So many book ideas, so little time.....

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Happy Birthday To ME!!!!!

Tonight, at 11:45 PM, I will officially turn another year older! (39, in case you were wondering!) I plan to celebrate all day! (This is my friend Kat and me during one of our "conversation classes" in Mexico. No, really. We took a field trip into town and had drinks and Spanish conversation.)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Coming Out Of Hiding To Say...


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A Visitor From Across The Pond

Hiya! My name's Meggie MacDougall. I live in Glenhalish, the Scottish village Lexi is writing about. She wanted to come here and write to you herself, but my dear friends, Ian and Bridget, are keeping her busy with their story. As well as that job she's got teaching. Oh, and she's still looking for another job, a better job, too. All that takes so much time! (I'm so lucky to be working in my parents' pub!) Anyway, Lexi says she'll get back with you toward the weekend. It was nice talking with you! I'm off to help plan a surprise for her birthday on Saturday. Bye, now!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Hola, October!

Can you believe it's already October? And it's Friday, a GLORIOUS day.

3 sub jobs have kicked my butt. I fell asleep on the couch around 5 PM on Wednesday. Well, to be fair I had been dealing with the Spawn of Satan- a 4th grader who threw a chair at me and threatened to punch me in the face. Yesterday was a good job with only a defiant kid and an ADHD kid causing me grief in the 5th grade. Today was a 2nd grade class in a FABULOUS school and I found myself wishing I worked there. Just not as a teacher. I couldn't handle the little kids for an entire school year. Nope. I'd rather deal with the hormonal psychos of the middle school. :) But I'm also starting to think I really don't want to teach anymore. Of course, then I have to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my working life since I've got over 20 years before I can retire.

I've worked a bit on my latest Scottish story, but most of it has been background details and conflicts and what makes each of the characters tick and ticked off. It's been great though and I'm getting really excited about the story.

Alas, my name is being used. Lexi Connor is a children's author with 2 or 3 books coming out in the first part of 2011. Plus, I'm targeting Intrigue with my suspense stories and there's already an author with Connor so I'll have to change it anyway. I've picked a pen name to switch to, already reserved the domain, created a Facebook page and created an email. I wanted to wait until I actually had a contract before I changed it, but I'm thinking the switch should probably happen sometime in the next couple of months. What do you think?

Okay, I'm off to read on the couch with a nice cup of tea. Tomorrow it's football day! English soccer in the AM and college football in the PM. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who? Where? What?

Who am I? Where am I? What day is it?

I didn't make the Top Ten on the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. Good luck to the finalists! If you haven't read them, make sure to do so. I'm sure the contest will be tighter as it gets closer to the day one winner is announced!

I mailed my suspense and celebrated all weekend.

I've been reading and critiquing for a woman in my Austin RWA group. I also got to help both of my CPs!

I've started working on the rest of my Mills & Boon entry, Her Highland Champion. Watch my numbers start to skyrocket over on the side! I'm hoping to complete a really rough draft by the third week of October.

I've got a subbing job for each of the next 3 days. I'm so excited to be getting back into a school environment.

I'm hoping to get a chance soon to finish Elle James' book! I love it, but I've had other priorities the last couple of weeks.

Friday, September 24, 2010

More Squeeing!

HIS RELUCTANT PARTNER is printed and waiting for the post office to open tomorrow morning! I actually printed it, the synopsis and the letter to the editor in time for the post office today, but as I walked out the door I realized I had the old manuscript title on the letter and the current manuscript title on the manuscript & synopsis. By the time I revised and printed the letter and got up to the post office it was closed. BUT no worries! 9 A.M. tomorrow when the doors open I plan to be there to send my latest baby across state lines to NYC!

I already started my celebration with dinner out and some margaritas. Tomorrow is a WHOLE day away from the computer to tailgate and watch college football. Then Sunday I'll work on some critiques for friends and a bit o' reading. Then Monday I start back to work drafting the rest of HER HIGHLAND CHAMPION, the latest Scottish contemporary.

What does your weekend look like?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


His Reluctant Partner revisions are DONE! Now, all I have to do is finish up the synopsis, reread the entire story for any last minute fixes, type up my letter to the editor and then stick this puppy in the mail tomorrow!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Must stop whinging about:

getting suspense revisions done. I'm SOOOOOOOO close to being done!

not getting any day job yet. One day at a time, one application at a time.

how tired I am. I can sleep when I'm dead.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lots O' Little Things

Mills & Boon Contest- I'm ready for it to be over. There are almost 500 entries and I have gone from 30s & 40s back up to #15 in a matter of hours. I spend WAY too much time on this site. Of course, I'd LOVE to make it to the 2nd round! The 10 finalists (yes, only 10 finalists!) will be notified next weekend and announced next Monday.

Partner- I drafted the synopsis yesterday and revised it this morning. It sucks, but not as much as it sucked last night before I went to bed. Luckily a lovely and talented friend is going to critique it for me. Thanks, Rebecca! Later today I'm going to start the revisions my CP sent me. She likes my changes and has some KILLER suggestions to take the story from good to great. All in all, I'm on target to sent it to NYC at the end of this week! I'm aiming for Friday.

Day job- As suspected, there was a glitch in my substitute teacher application and they had been sitting on my paperwork until they received my emails last week. I'm now scheduled to be first into the system tomorrow morning. Yay! I'll actually start working again! Of course, I'm still looking and applying for anything else I can get.

Sports- As much as I love football and enjoy getting together with friends and family to watch college football games, I've realized that if I could only watch one sport from now on it would be soccer. I am a soccer fanatic. I love me some English soccer!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Yeah, my awesome suspense is NOT going to be mailed on Monday. Why? Because I still have not finished the synopsis. I'm also waiting for my comments from my CP, comments which will help realize what is still missing from my award winning story. Well, I already know what's missing. She's really good about helping me find it and stick it in there before I send it off. (I've always been a plot heavy writer, so finding and bringing out the emotion is what nails me every single manuscript.)

The Mills & Boon Contest is driving me crazy. I love hearing what others think of my story and I enjoy reading other people's entries, but I do waste SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much time on that website! Luckily, the last day for new entries is next Wednesday. Then it's 5 days until M & B announce the Top Ten. I'd LOVE to make it to the next round!

The job search has hit a wall. I stopped applying last week basically because I was focused on getting my revisions done AND because I'd gone to substitute teacher orientation. I was supposed to be added to the sub computer system by last Wednesday. I'm still not able to access it, which means I'm not able to take any jobs. Which means no money yet. Ugh. I really need to be able to access the system just so I know I have that security. I'm sure it's just a glitch and the office is swamped with sub applicants, but they said 5-7 work days and it's now 10. So, I've put in a couple contacts to the office and yesterday I started sending resumes and letters again.

What's new with you?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Withdrawal Already???

9:43 AM:
And....I woke up at 9:30. My first thought was, "Wow, I can't go check the M & B site for comments and rating." The suspense is killin' me.
Better get off the computer to get rid of some of the temptation.

5:47 PM

6 hours and 13 minutes until I can check the site. Okay, it's getting harder now not to check...and yet, it's kind of liberating not being tied to the computer for that.

7:03 PM

Just under 5 hours to go! Whoohoo! How will I keep myself occupied? I'm working on my suspense synopsis and watching a previously played game of English soccer!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can I Handle It?

I've spent SOOOOOOOOOOOOO much time on the Mills & Boon New Voices website over the last week, with more time spent each day. I admit that I check the comments and rating of my own entry, but I also have spent a lot of time (we're talking hours) reading and commenting on other entries. Now, I can have the vicious thoughts about rating others in my category really low, but I have too much respect for them and myself to stoop that low. In the end, the work has to stand on its own. The entries I've commented on or rated, I did with an honest heart either to support or help the writer. But I've been glued to the site for too long.


Tomorrow I will not look at the Mills & Boon website AT ALL. I decided to see if I could walk away from it for a 24-hour period. I have to tell you I have doubts about my willpower. But I'm going to give it a try. So, from 12:00 Thursday morning until 12:00 Friday morning, I will not be reading or rating anything. Do you think I can do it?

Of course, if you happen to check the website and notice that I magically got back in the Top Ten (I'm currently at #15 out of 283 entries), feel free to leave me a comment! I'll check in tomorrow when I'm not on the New Voices website!

UPDATE: At 1, I was ready to come online and check. I didn't.
At 2, I thought, "Seriously? I have to go another 22 hours?
At 2:35, I don't think I'll make the entire day.....
Luckily I'm going to bed now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm D-O-N-E with my suspense revisions! Whoohoo! I'm sending them to my CP for another quick read, and hopefully there will be no major snafus. My goal is to read through it (and make sure everything is as perfect as I can make it) one more time this weekend and then I'm putting it in the mail to the editor on MONDAY!

Then it's on to Her Highland Champion, the Scottish short contemporary that is currently rounding out the Top Ten of the Mills & Boon New Voices contest. Several new stories have been added, and if you haven't gone to the website (and rated/commented for me, if you like my entry), I URGE you to do so! There is such a wonderful group of talented writers there!

I should be able to start substitute teaching by the end of this week. Tomorrow I intend to get back to my full-blast job search too. Oh yeah, and visiting my blog friends that I've been neglecting while my eyes have been glued to the computer this last week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In the Top Ten!

So, in this Mills & Boon contest I've been in the top ten most popular entries since sometime Friday. I'm SOOOOO excited! I actually had the top spot for a while too! (Now I'm at #4) But more importantly, I have had some amazing compliments on my writing. It's great to hear your friends say nice things, but when complete strangers compliment you solely on the merits of your work, it's very humbling. If you have visited the site for me or the others, thank you for participating! We all appreciate your support! And if you haven't visited the site yet, this round goes until the 22nd so you still have time!

Friday, September 10, 2010


Mills & Boon Contest- It's going. It's an interesting experience. So far my comments have all been about my use of Scottish dialect. All think it could be toned down. It's funny to me because when I write the rough draft, I write A LOT more dialect in it. I write it the way I hear it. Then, as I go through revision rounds, I take more and more out. I want it in there for flavor, but I'm thinking I still need to take more out. I did have one person comment that she would've liked it to start at another place. This one commenter (who didn't comment on mine) was just MEAN. But most people are pretty constructive in their criticisms. If you haven't checked out the entries yet, you should! The first round goes through 9/22. Then the judges will whittle down the entries to just 10.

Partner Revisions- I can FINALLY see the light at the end of the tunnel. Granted, that light is a tiny speck far in the distance, but it's there! I'm loving the changes I'm making. I expect to send it to my BRILLIANT CP Cat (who recently sold to Desire) next Tuesday. My goal is to send it to the editor on 9/20. Wish me luck!

Work- I'm waiting for the school district to put me in the sub system (5-7 work days) so I should be able to start subbing next week.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

My GIANT Leap!

I have entered the Mills & Boon New Voices Competition! If you haven't heard about this terrific opportunity, it's a competition for anyone who would like to get published in one of the Mills & Boon lines. The entrants upload their first chapter of a work to the website and for just about 2 weeks anyone and everyone can comment and rate the entries. After that, the competition gets tougher.

To read my entry, Her Highland Champion, and to comment on mine or any of the other entries, follow this link! You can type my name in the search box and it will bring you right to my "page" or you can browse through the different categories and entries.

Of course, I'd appreciate a kind word in the comment section for my own manuscript, but more importantly, I just hope you'll skim through the entries and comment on one or two. Support the competition. It takes a lot of guts to put your work out in front of the masses and I think that every single person who submits, regardless of her writing ability, should be praised for taking a chance!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

More Lessons....

After my second week of work, here are the new discoveries I've made:

1. I am not cut out to be an editor. I need to stick to the creative side of a book. As a result, I am no longer working as an editor.

2. My other career is education. I attended orientation for substitute teaching, which will give me a job, get me in the schools to network, and allow me to do what I do best. I can work as much or as little as I want.

3. I am both excited and nervous about entering the Mills & Boon New Voices Contest. The thought of my work being made public for all to see and comment on absolutely thrills and terrifies me. Yes, I realize I will be putting my work out there when I get published, but this is the first experience I'm going to have with public criticism.

4. I still believe I made the right decision to leave my toxic teaching job. I just wish I'd saved more money for it.

5. Beign a professional writer is definitely the best job. This is my calling, this is what I'm meant to do, and every day I feel my "call" is one day closer.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

My Friend Cat

MAJOR CONGRATULATIONS TO MY FRIEND AND CP, CAT SCHIELD !!!!! Cat sold her first book to Silhouette Desire! It's slated to be an early 2012 release!!! I'M soooooooooooo excited for her! As I told her, this is almost as good as me selling. I'm thinking of changing my email signature line to read:

Lexi Connor, Celtic Hearts VP

What do you think?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rollin' Along

Revisions are coming along. I FINALLY got done rewriting chapter 4. Ugh, it needed SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much work! Keep your eye on the progress meter. I update it regularly.

As for my Scottish short contemporaries, the one I'm going to enter in the Mills & Boon Fresh Voices Contest is getting good comments from my CPs. Yay!
I got an email response from my status check last week on the manuscript that's been in London for a while. The editor thanked me for my patience and said she'd get back to me by the end of October at the very latest. That's fine! By that time I'll have the next story completely drafted!

Got some news about a friend, but I'm waiting until she announces it. Should be soon!

Tomorrow the final placements for the Golden Claddagh Contest will be announced. I'm getting nervous now, the jitters that make me not want to eat anything. Both the suspense I'm revising and the short contemp that's in London are in this contest. I'll share with you as soon as I know something!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

After My First Week Of Work...

I've learned a few things about myself and I thought I'd share.

1. I am definitely STILL a night owl. Even though I now have to get up about 6:30, I still find it hard to go to bed before 1.

2. I miss being in a school atmosphere. I don't miss being in a classroom and leading students through lessons, but I miss the feeling of being in a school community.

3. Four hours of editing/proofreading is exhausting. How do professional editors do this for a full day, every day and year after year?

4. I'm happy to have the chance to get out of the house. I need to do that in order to be successful with my writing. Otherwise it's too easy to say, "I'll do it later" and then get distracted by the TV or internet.

5. As much as I want it to, my suspense will NOT revise itself!

6. I need a job that allows me to interact with people. Although I like the editing work I'm doing, and the other editors and I exchange pleasantries, I need to be able to talk more. I find it very odd to sit in a room with 6 other women and hardly talk at all.

7. I do like the company I'm working for! I like the people too and I feel a loyalty, a connection to the place already. Unlike my last job, I feel very appreciated even though I'm only part-time and "on trial" right now.

8. Without a place to go for 7-9 hours a day, I eat more. I gained 2lbs this week.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Movin' Along

Partner is coming along. In between work and filling out more job applications, I've managed to get a bit done on chapter 4. I'm challenging myself to get through the rest of 4, and all of 5 & 6 by Sunday night. Wish me luck!

While I'm working, head over to Kelly Boyce's blog. Kelly SOLD! HUGE CONGRATULATIONS, MY FRIEND! I forget how we became online blog friends, but it's been a few years now that I've followed her progress from unpublished writer to newly contracted writer. She wrote about "The Call" on her blog so definitely check it out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

To Tame The Beast

The 1st chapter of my Scottish short contemporary is off to a couple of my critique partners. Now it's time to wrestle the current suspense and beat it into submission. I'm ready. Bring it on!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm Back, Baby!

Job- I had been a freelance editor for an E-pub since June, but they had an opening for a part-time junior editor in town. So I asked my contact if I could apply, had the interview last week and I start tomorrow. I also have my first tutoring gig this Thursday, which could turn out to 4 hours a week for a bit. Then, I got a request for an interview through an educational organization that specializes in ESL students. That would also be part-time, but the pay is good and I'm hoping the possibilities for advancement at some point will be endless!

Writing- I whined and complained to my local Austin RWA challenge loop and I pretty much got no sympathy. I didn't expect to, but they helped me refocus. I also decided last night that I'm going to restrict the number of hours I'm on the internet and watching TV. I know those things, along with my day job struggles, have affected my writing. THEN today, I turned the TV off after breakfast, started writing and....WOW! I think I've got my groove back! I'm working on my short contemp to enter into the Mills & Boon contest. I expect I'll have the 1st chapter draft done tonight and I'll send it to my CPs. THEN I can get back to the requested suspense. I'm actually getting excited to get back to it!

Monday, August 23, 2010


My good friend and CP, Cat Schield, just got a new website and blog. They're GORGEOUS! To celebrate, she's having a contest. Go visit here, leave her a comment and be in the running for a prize!

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

My progress with both my suspense and my Scottish short contemporary manuscripts has been slow lately, but I am making progress. Little by little, page by page, paragraph by paragraph. One of these days I'll surprise you with the news that I sent the requested suspense to NYC and that I've completed the rough draft of the short contemporary!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Job That Wasn't

In my search for a new job I've been applying everywhere I can, for anything I'm qualified to do. This included applications for teaching English in other countries. Now, in the space of 24 hours, this all happened:

Applied for a job in Mexico
Got an email asking to set up a phone interview
Responded of course!
Researched the school and that part of Mexico
Asked fluent Spanish speaking friends to help
Had the interview and loved everything about the program
Plotted and planned ways to make it happen
Called property manager to see if I could get a renter for my house while I'm away
Sent email with more questions to the person who interviewed me
Talked to several level-headed friends for opinions
Decided I probably can't take the job

It would be a great experience, but there are too many "what ifs" and financially it's too tight right now. I'd already made plans to go to Scotland for Hogmanay (New Year's) and there's already a non-refundable down-payment. I can't do both. Plus, when I come back from Mexico, I'd be in the exact same position: unemployed and wondering where my next mortgage payment was coming from. (Ok, not quite THAT bad, but you get the idea.) I hope to hear back from the school concerning my other questions. But unless there's a miracle I probably will decline the offer. I do intend, though, to ask if I may check back with them at a later date, when my finances aren't so dodgy, and see if they need me. In the meantime, I'm still applying for jobs, still intend to attend substitute orientation and still intend to edit. I'm working on my books too. What keeps me from getting too depressed is that I had a job offer for a place I really wanted to work for! So, it's not impossible and eventually the right offer for the right job will come at the right time.

Friday, August 20, 2010

1000th POST!

Yes, you read that right. This is my 1000th post here on my blog! Thank you to all of you who have traveled this path with me for so long and welcome to those of you who have recently joined us! I hope to bring you many more posts with lots of information on my writing, my "real world" and the publishing world in general.


I have a secret. If things go as planned, it will make a HUGE difference in my life- real world and writing. (And NO, it's NOT a contract yet! Sheesh! You know I'll be shouting from the rooftops when an editor calls me to offer a contract.) I have some thinking to do and some decisions to make, but I promise to share the details with you as soon as I'm comfortable. For now....

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

CK Tutoring

My business website is LIVE!!! I hope you'll check it out, let me know what you think and help spread the word! It still needs some tweaking, but I accidentally hit the "Publish" button before I'd planned to so I'm "live" a little early.

My goal is to help people in person or over the net with any English they need. Students in grade school, high school, college
People whose 1st language isn't English
Brainiacs who can't put their thoughts into organized papers
AND newer, pre-published authors

I added the writers because I've been pursuing publication for a LONG time and I've learned a thing or two that I wish someone had told me in the early years.

For more details, visit the website here!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I've done NO writing today. Didn't do much yesterday. Real Life has stolen a lot of my writing time and my motivation these last few days.

I've been focusing on "real, day job" stuff- filling out applications, sending resumes, answering e-mails, making plans for interviews, putting content to my tutoring business website. I have to tell you though, that my friends at my old job went back to work and some are already complaining about the "toxic environment." I'm SOOOO thrilled I'm not there and I absolutely do not regret my decision to leave.

Then there has been the work to get Nationals taken care of. Yes, we've been home for 2 weeks and 2 days from RWA Nationals, but my VP duties for the Celtic Hearts/Hearts Through History Gathering have not finished yet. They require emails and math {{{shudder}}}. Hey, what do you expect? I'm an English teacher, not a mathematician!

I've come to grips with the fact that my manuscript will not be ready for the editor on September 1st like I'd planned, but that's ok. As I've said before, the revisions are coming along just not as fast as I'd like. I want a superior manuscript so of course I'm willing to wait to send it. And I'm sure the editor would want me to wait too so that there will be a better chance of her calling and saying she wants to buy my book!

I'll keep you updated!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pluggin' Away

I've been working hard on the revisions to my suspense manuscript and I LOVE them, but they're taking longer than I'd planned. Still, I'd rather it take longer and turn out great than send out an inferior manuscript!

Today I applied for 8 more jobs and got a call back on another. I'm applying for any and every job I am qualified for, from here in Austin to anywhere around the world. I applied for 2 ESL Teacher jobs in Asian countries. Why not? Life SHOULD be an adventure!

I also spent some time today working on the website for my tutoring business, CK Tutoring. When it's up and running I'll be sure to let you know so you can see it!

The teachers at my old school started staff development today and you know what? I am SOOOOOO thrilled that I'm NOT there! Despite not having a full-time job yet, I believe 100% that I made the right decision to leave. I'm already happier, more relaxed and I'm so excited for all the possibilities yet to come!

And now I think I'll go do a bit o' writing on my Scottish short contemporary before I make a list of what I need to do tomorrow.

Friday, August 13, 2010

All Right! Enough Complaining!

I'm a writer, damn it! I am a professional. There is no "I don't feel like writing" anymore. I gave up that luxury when I decided that I would get published. I have to leave my own emotions out of this and get the book done. I have my own deadline and I have to stick as close to that as possible because I have a new book to write in September/October and then another one in November. I cannot afford to stomp my feet, pout and pump my fists while I say, "It's too hard!" If I want to go for gold, I need to train like a champion!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Yesterday I had a rough afternoon/evening. There was no reason for it. I was just in a slump. I'd interviewed for a teaching job the day before and they were supposed to let me know either way yesterday or this morning. (Still haven't heard.) My focus was on that and justifying why I should or shouldn't get it.

Well, all that thought about the job and my future and my writing sucked all the energy out of me. Plus, I'm torn in different directions because I have to do the suspense revisions, write the suspense synopsis and write/revise the short contemp for the Mills & Boon contest. Oh yeah, and all this needs to be done by 9/6. Yeah, that's 3 1/2 weeks. THREE AND A HALF WEEKS! (OMG, I just looked at the calendar and realized that!) ACK! So, um, is it easy to see where the stress is coming from?

BUT have no fear, as I keep instructing myself. I did a tiny bit of writing last night and then I sat and watched The Bourne Ultimatum, which TOTALLY got me inspired. Well, started to get me inspired. I haven't actually started working on the writing yet today. BUT I will! I PROMISE! My characters deserve it! (And, actually, so do I!)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

If You Like Time-Travel Books....

Make sure you read Tami Dee's Mists of Time Viking Series. The series is about four brothers in the early 900s who find their perfect soulmates who just happen to be from a different time period.

I was fortunate to win the first 2 books in a contest and I'm so thrilled with the chance to read these FABULOUS stories! They are different than the average time-travel romance and I'm thankful they are. From the very beginning, Dee had me sucked in and trapped in with her unique stories and excellent writing. Several times while I was reading I wanted to keep going, but the late hour and my drooping eyelids forced me to shut down the computer and stop reading. The third book is out now from Desert Breeze Publishing I can't wait to read about the next brother's story!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Been a busy couple of days. Still not writing. That's okay, though. Neither is my CP.

Monday, August 09, 2010

And The Winner Is....

The winner of the Historical Prize Pack from RWA Nationals is....Jamie! Congratulations, Jamie! Contact me at to claim your prize!

To those of you who entered, thanks! I appreciate you.

To those of you who have recently joined the blog as a Follower, thanks to you too! It makes me feel special when I log on and find a new person has added his or her name.

I did nothing with the suspense today and it was nice. Instead, I started working on the next Scottish story. I only worked a bit on it, but I've got a great plan for the 1st chapter, which I'll be entering in the Mills & Boon Writing Competition in September. I was sad about finishing Partner, but now that I've dabbled a bit in my fictional Scottish village I've realized I am blessed to have TWO types of stories to write. I'll never be bored, that's for sure!

Sunday, August 08, 2010


I typed those two words tonight on my latest suspense, Partner. I'm sad to see the characters go. Yes, I've still got 3 weeks of revisions to do before I submit it to the editor, but there are no more new scenes to write. There's a lot of layering to be done, and a lot more about the characters- hero, heroine, villain and secondary ones- to uncover, but still I'm sad that my baby will soon be leaving the nest. This is my 10th manuscript and it's still as emotional to finish as the very first one was.

Friday, August 06, 2010


Okay, I promised a contest this week so here are the deets!

If you like to read historicals, then I have a prize pack for you! I have a couple of books and a bunch of historical goodies from the goody room at RWA Nationals.

Why is a suspense and short contemporary author giving away historical stuff? As the vice-president and AGM organizer of Celtic Hearts, I received supplies for 2 gift bags and we only ended up raffling off one. So I had an extra book from the very generous and very talented Margaret Mallory. Rather than send it back to her, she agreed to let me raffle it off here!

How can you win? That's the easy part! To be in the running, leave a comment about your favorite historical character (or book) and why that person is your favorite. Comments will be accepted until midnight Sunday. From the comments, I'll choose a winner and announce Monday.

What do I get out of it? I get to share some of the things I picked up in Orlando, I get to promote a fellow Celtic Heart AND I get some book recommendations! (I like reading historicals. I just wouldn't want to write them! I'll leave that to the experts.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010


Yay! Critique partner Cat likes my story so far and has given me GREAT help to make it even better! And do you notice the Partner meter is moving again? Probably not since it's moving slowly, but IT IS MOVING!!! I'm off to keep working on it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Deets About My Daphne & Golden Claddagh Manuscript

His Reluctant Witness shall from here on be known as His Reluctant Partner. Witness worked when I drafted the book during NaNoWriMo last November, but now it doesn't make sense. I've only kept the name so long because it's been in the contests.

My CP has given me my first homework assignment to beef up the conflict and I'm already pulling my hair out. I pulled out my archetypes book and pinpointed what archetype the hero, the heroine AND the villain are. I think that will definitely help me shape these people in the next round. Of course, I should finish the rough draft first.

So, here's my plan for this stellar manuscript:

Between now and Sunday night, I will finish writing the rough draft. I've only got 2 chapters to write and revise. Surely I can do that in 4 days.

8/9-8/15- Revise chapters 1-5
8/16-8/22- Revise chapters 6-10
8/23-8/29- Revise chapter 11-14 & Epilogue
8/30-8/31- Reread the entire manuscript out loud for inconsistencies
9/1- MAIL IT!

Of course, I won't send out an inferior manuscript. If I seriously need more time, I'll take it, but I'd rather not need it. In September, I'm planning to write the next Scottish story NaNo-style! (And for the real NaNoWriMo in November I'll be drafting the next suspense!)

As usual, I'm calling on all of you to goad me into staying on track. Don't let me down!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

RWA Nationals Debrief- Part II

Here are some random thoughts/events/reflections about Nationals in Orlando last week.

1. I was sitting in the center of the lobby by myself one day and out of the blue Sharon Sala walked up to me and introduced herself. She told me she wrote romantic suspense (as if I didn't know!). Then she said we keep writers like her on their toes because we're coming up fast behind them. Then she wished me good luck.

2. After listening to her speech, I have to say I'm kind of digging Nora. Well, that speech and watching her walk through the hotel with an ice cream cone.

3. Skyler White, an Austin chaptermate, stopped by to see me as I sat in the bar. She was in the middle of a sentence when she turned to another chaptermate who walked over and started a new conversation. Then she left...without finishing her thought to me.

4. RWA Nationals did an AMAZING job getting this conference rearranged after the Nashville flooding. KUDOS!

5. The first night I was in Orlando, I was hanging out with Leigh Duncan. Terri Brisbin and a few other people came and sat with us (in the bar). I am a HUGE Terri Brisbin fan, but I didn't go all fangirl on her. No, I pretended like I had no idea who she was so I could be cool and not a fool.

6. I couldn't be anything but a fool when I told Jill Shalvis that I loved her. I quickly corrected myself and said I love her blog and books, but I think the damage was already done. Each time I saw her after that I promised her I wasn't stalking her.

7. Agents are people too. Barbara Poelle showed up the Celtic Hearts & Hearts Through History meeting to give out the awards to the writers she judged in the Hearts Through History contest. While there, she offered the winner representation in public. Shortly after that, she left to go to the Daphne awards, which is where I went as well. When she saw me in there, she told me I had to stop stalking her. I said, "I'll try, but I can't make any promises."

8. Harlequin editor Allison Lyons said she liked my writing and she definitely wants to see my next manuscript when it's done! It was an amazing conversation that lit a fire under me and now I can't wait to send her my next book!

9. After the Kiss of Death Tour to MacDill Air Force Base, I gotta say I still love a man in uniform and no, Navy SEALs are not the only hot military guys!

Monday, August 02, 2010

RWA Nationals Debrief- Part I

Now that I'm home and somewhat organized, I thought I'd update the blog. Nationals was wonderful and exhausting as usual. There were a lot of good moments and I'll share some with you.

My roommate and friend, Cat Schield, won the Golden Heart for Series contemporary. We both cried and celebrated after the ceremony.

2 of my Austin RWA chaptermates won Rita Awards. Sherry Thomas for Not Quite a Husband in the Historical category and Laura Griffin for Whisper of Warning in the Romantic Suspense category. If you haven't read these women's books get to it!

Another Austin chaptermate, Jane Sevier, was a Golden Heart finalist for Novel With Strong Romantic Elements AND her script “Package Deal” won the Romancing the Script competition!

This is an Austin RWA group in the bar after the awards ceremony. Farrah Rochon, Jax Garren, Jane Sevier, Skyler White and Shellee Cruz.

Here are Laura Griffin and Rita nominee Tracy Wolff as we celebrate all the wins.

Julie Ortolon, Kristyne Raley, Sherry Thomas and the Ritas on the table.

Cat and me at the Golden Heart/Rita Awards.

This one is from Saturday morning. Me, Eliza Knight (the BEST president a girl could work with!) and Shannon.

Tomorrow, when I'm even more organized (ok, stop laughing), I'll give you the details on some things I saw and did during the trip. And then later this week, I'll be announcing a contest.

Friday, July 30, 2010

More From RWA Nationals

Editor Brenda Chin and Desire author Emily McKay comparing Harry Potter outfits at the Harlequin PJ party
Me with authors Farrah Rochon, Emily McKay, and Tracy Wolff at the Harlequin PJ party
Me with my Daphne certificate at the Kiss of Death Daphne du Maurier Awards party (I got 3rd place with a request!)
Me with author Monica McCarty at the booksigning
Me with friend and author Carol Ericson at the booksigning
Me in a "fangirl" moment with author Jill Shalvis!
Nora Roberts inspiring the masses at the opening luncheon

Tuesday, July 27, 2010