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 authorlexiconnor@yahoo.com 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.