Wednesday, December 23, 2009's alive!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone out there in blogland! :)

Yes, I'm still here. Yes, I'm still editing. I took a much needed 'space' break, and am now able to look at my ms with fresh eyes. I have some awesome ideas on how to make certain chapters stronger and give the romance some much needed 'umph', but at this point, it'll wait until the first of the year.

I've also fallen behind on schooling, which is NOT a good thing. Both boys have to take those pesky CAT's by the end of this school year -- and at the rate I'm going, it feels like the end of the school year might come at some point in 2011. O.o. Yikes!!

Just checkin' in... I'll do my best to post more often. I do appreciate having readers... since a lot of the time it's just random life stuff.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

NaNoWriMo Rewrite

And it all goes south for the winter. HA!

My hero doesn't become known in chapter FOUR, like I originally (originally, as in 'last THREE drafts!') had.. Nope. He comes in at Chapter TWO! What?? Why? When'd that happen?!

Good grief! At the rate I'm going, this thing is going to become an anchor around my neck!

I know, as an author, it is very possible to edit yourself into oblivion. I know at some point, somehow, somewhere, you just have to step back and say 'That's it. I'm done.' And I'd love to be at the point. I thought I was at that point. But no-one was feeling the heat/electricity/attraction between my heroine and her hero. That's unacceptable.
The problem was.. no-one point blank said it. I got a lot of critiques saying 'I'm not really buying it,' or 'I want more detail', but no-one, until Nikki (thanks, Nikki!) said 'This is what it isn't. This is the impression people are getting of your hero. Is that really what you're shooting for? Think epic!'
Ohh.. so THAT'S what I should do! Yeah. Okay. I can do that. And it wasn't as painful a process as I thought it'd be. Just took some tweaking.

But every single chapter from here on out has to be 'adjusted' for M knowing RH. Yeah. I can do this.

By the way.. does anyone have any good 'fairy' names they can toss my way? :D

Friday, October 16, 2009

Back and.. writing?

So I'm going to try my hand at the whole blogging universe again. A close friend of mine asked today why I didn't blog anymore... so here I
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. I'm totally rewriting last year's NaNoWriMo ms. Yes. ReWRITING, as opposed to reVISING. And let me tell you.. it isn't easy. Not even remotely. Anyone who tells you differently is lying. Or just plain odd.
Now, with this year's NaNoWriMo right around the corner, I find myself wondering why on earth I decided, at this late date, to try and become an author. I have the feeling I'm due for my fair share of disappointments.

Or maybe it's just today...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Word is da bomb

MS Word is my friend. What on earth am I talking about? My husband surprised me with a rebuilt computer not too long ago, and I've been enjoying the virtues of finally being a writer with Word. I have no idea how I functioned without for all these years. I mean, this thing tells me all about fragmented sentences (and boy! Did I have a bunch of those!), colons, semi colons, etc., etc. Awesomeness I didn't know I was missing!
Yes. I wrote two complete novels (well, complete as in they both have beginnings and endings. LOL.), various short stories and poems without Word.
I am still a Mac user at heart. But if it takes knowing the dreaded PC to get me where I want to be, then that's what I'll do.

After all, my husband has BIG plans for me. LOL!

Friday, June 26, 2009

My Characters Haven't Buried Me in The Yard!

Wow. It's been so long since I've been here, I forgot how to sign in! No, I'm not an idiot. I swear.

I've had this cough that's rapidly become a not so welcome live in friend. So I'm taking these heavy duty 'scrip meds to knock it out. Yeah, it's working. But it's also making my brain into swiss cheese, which is doing absolutely nothing for my writing ability. And explains why this is now in italics! I can't remember how to get rid of them! Ugg!!

The first three chapters of 'Maid' are done. Fini. No more, no how, no way. I think the next three are close to 'agent' ready, too. I know I'm ready, but I have 20 odd chapters left to edit. No, I'm not deluding myself about getting an agent. I know it'll be an uphill, painful, process. I know I won't get a contract straight out of the gate. But it's exciting to think about...

I discovered that editing really is a lonely process. More so than writing the first draft, actually. It's easy to whip out a first draft. The struggle starts when you've set your 'baby' aside for a few months, or years (or whatever time you need to gain a fresh perspective) then systematically begin tearing your ms apart to make it stronger. Now THAT'S hard, heart-breaking work. Especially when you have people around telling you how great it was out of the gate... and how they don't understand why you have to make all the changes. But that's never happened to me :P Oh, no! Never! LOL!!

The first agent I want to submit to (no, I'm not giving out names!) won't be available (for personal reasons) until the fall, so I do have the time necessary to make 'Maid' into a viable ms...

Now if I could only get rid of this damn cough!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Tale of Two Chapters...

Or.. 'Forgive me, Mark Twain'. LOL!

I've decided to post parts of my drafts for unbiased opinions. I'll take biased opinions, too, if that's what it takes! LOL.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is the 2nd draft of part of my first chapter.

Straightening her shoulders, Marian breathed in deeply. The air smelled of horses, flowers, hay and trampled dirt. All part of the May festival her village held every year, as was the white gown she wore as the May Queen. Sneezing, she straightened the garland of flowers sliding down over one ear. Understanding why she was chosen as this year's Queen didn't make the job less tiresome. Plastering a smile on her face, she forced herself to focus on the games taking place before her. The village boys held impromptu races; trying in vain to capture her attention.
“Marian, Marian! Watch me!”
Ignoring the calls, Marian found her gaze drawn to where young men, the beginnings of beards on their chins, raised bows to cheeks; letting the arrows fly toward their targets, those unassuming bales of hay stacked three and four high in a nearby field. Carpeting the ground were their failed attempts to hit the bulls eye. The prize was a kiss from her. Even as she hoped none of them would hit the mark, her eye was caught by a young man, his cloak hood pulled up firmly about his face, who drew back, fitting arrow to string, releasing it in one swift movement, then repeating the process almost faster than she could follow. Arrow after arrow followed each other into the dead center of the hay bale until the yellow straw resembled her mother's pincushion. Only when his quiver was empty, did he stop and, glancing her way at last, quietly collect his arrows. He approached her seat on the wooden raised platform.
His head was still cloaked, leaving his face in shadows, as he came closer and bowed low over her hand. “My Queen.” The voice was mocking, but also strangely compelling. Marian shivered at the sound. “I come to collect my reward, as was promised.”
Marian inclined her head as she imagined her many times great grandmother, Guenevere, had at Camelot's court. “Am I not allowed to see the face of the man I must kiss?” she said in her most aristocratic tone.
“As you wish.” The archer swept his hood back, revealing a strong, almost chiseled, face. Shoulder length brown hair was tied neatly back at the nape of his neck and warm brown eyes met her hazel ones fearlessly. Never had she seen a more handsome young man.
Marian licked her lips nervously. The flutter that had begun in her heart migrated to her stomach, threatening to give birth at any moment to fully grown butterflies. She searached her mind desperately for something to say, something that would make him stay and speak with her. “What's your name, sir? I don't remember seeing you around the village at all.”
“I'm not from here,” he said, his gaze leaving her eyes and dropping to her rapidly drying lips. “I'm Robin.” He stepped closer and she found herself unconsciously leaning forward in anticipation.
“There are other contests today, with greater rewards than this one,” she murmured under her breath, as she tried to keep some semblance of dignity toward this handsome stranger.
Robin smiled and stepped toward her, his lips mere inches from hers. “I can't imagine,” he whispered, his breath a tiny puff of air against her lips, “a greater prize than the one I'm about to collect.” Leaning forward, his lips lightly brushed against hers, and she felt the butterflies in her stomach take flight at his touch. She leaned closer, anticipating the feel of his arms around her, and nearly fell off her seat. Her eyes, which had slid shut, shot open. Robin stood a foot away, a knowing smile playing across his lips. “It seems I'm not the only one who values less monetary rewards,” he grinned as her eyes widened.
“How – how dare you!”
He grinned at her anger, pulling his hood back up around his face. “Thank you, Your – Majesty – for rewarding my efforts. Might I know the name of the beautiful queen who has stolen my heart?” He bowed, the forest green cloak flaring out around him.
“Marian,” she hissed at him from between clenched jaws. “For all the good it will do you.”
“Marian,” his velvet voice caressed the word. “Queen Marian of the May.” He laughed, and her hands formed fists at her side. “How – fitting.”
His laughter ringing in her ears, she watched him leave, his bow slung across his back. With a thump, she sat back down, but could not focus on the games at hand. 'How fitting' indeed! As if it was her fault the May Queen was traditionally a maid of virtue, yet one who embodied the passion and desire necessary to symbolize fertility. Vowing then and there to put the archer 'Robin' out of her mind, she smiled brightly upon the next villager who knelt to receive the traditional blessing. There were plenty of 'good' marriageable men within the village. All she had to do was find one before her mother did. Smoothing her hands down over her gown, she forced her rebellious heart to still, forced the butterflies in her stomach to tranquility by picturing a deep pool of unbroken water, leaves littering the surface; a pool she often visited when she snuck away from waiting chores to deep within Sherwood. It was, she promised herself, where she would go after the festival was done and she was allowed to remove the gown and slip back into the breeches she preferred. Looking down upon the next hapless fool who presented himself, she smiled, a genuine smile that lit her face. Sherwood waited.

And here is the 3rd draft, same length, or thereabouts :)

“Did you know Nottingham Castle is haunted?”
Marian laughed, gathering her blond hair into a knot at the base of her neck. “No, it's not.”
The young man nodded. “It's true. I heard it from Celeste, who heard it from a friend of hers, who went to the castle last harvest.”
“And Celeste's friend saw the ghost?” Marian reached down, picking a stick up off the ground and twirling it.
“Ghosts,” he corrected.
Marian's eyebrows arched. “There are more than one?”
“Yup.” His brown eyes lit with a laughter she saw in him all too rarely.
“How many more?” Almost against her will, Marian became interested.
“Over a score. But you can't see all of them. Mostly they just moan and cry at night.”
“And that's all you wanted to tell me?” Marian threw the stick further into Sherwood Forest. “Really?” She turned to face him.
“Well,” Will began with a broad smile. “I heard the ones you can see look like boys. Younger than us. And if they don't like you, they play tricks on you.”
“What kind of tricks?” Marian left the path and strode confidently through the trees and into a large clearing. A small pool, nearly indistinguishable from the forest floor, lay almost directly at her feet.
Will shrugged. “I heard they played a trick on the sheriff that had him screaming in fear.”
Bending down, Marian rolled up the legs of her breeches. “You must have enjoyed that.”
Will's eyes hardened. “I did,” he said abruptly. “I hope that bastard gets everything he deserves.”
Marian touched his arm gently, but before she could anything, a
voice growled at them from through the trees.
“And what would you know of the sheriff?”
Marian whipped around, the sword she wore leaping to her hand. She blinked in astonishment as blue flames licked up the blade's edge to dance at its very tip.
“Will,” she whispered, not taking her eyes from the sword. “Do you see that?”
“See what?” Will shot back, his walking stick gripped in two hands.
“The blade – it's – glowing. Isn't it?” Glancing briefly at her friend, she saw his blank expression. “You can't see it?”
“I-,” Will began, but was interrupted before he could continue.
“Tell me, boy, whatcha know of the sheriff 'n his men.” The trees parted, revealing the unknown speaker. A giant of a man, bearded and huge. Muscled arms bulging, he, too, held a quarterstaff in his hands. “Well?”
Will straightened. “I know a damn sight more than you!” He said bravely. “But I don't know why we should tell you anything!”
Planting his quarterstaff in the dirt, the man leaned on it and it creaked ominously under his weight. “Because I asked you, boy. Or do you need me to teach you a lesson in manners?”
Marian stepped in front of Will, the blade held in steady hands. “You'll have to fight me first,” she stated.
“I haven't come here to fight you,” the man said. “I've been sent to get information.”
Marian didn't lower the sword. “Sent? By whom?” She demanded, but the big man shook his head.
“None of your business, I'm afraid,” he said. “Now, tell me your names.”
“I'm Marian, and this is my friend, Will Scarlett.”
The man's eyes widened. “You're La -,” he cut himself off. “Nice t' meetcha.”
“Now that you know our names, tell us, who're you?” Will asked, pushing a reluctant Marian behind him.
“Me? I'm no-one important. Just someone who's lookin' for some information, as I said.”
Will narrowed his eyes. “That still doesn't tell me why I should answer.”
“Boy, you're treadin' dangerous ground,” the man ground out from between clenched teeth. With great effort, his hands tightening on his quarterstaff, he forced himself to relax. “I'm not here to hurt you, lad.”
“Will,” Marian whispered, “just tell him what happened.”
“What if he works for the sheriff?” Will whispered back.
“How do we know you don't work for the sheriff?” Marian asked Little John.
“Me? Work for the sheriff?” Little John burst out laughing. “If I was one of the sheriff's men d'you think I'd be wearin' this?” The giant motioned to his clothing, which resembled nothing more than patches held together with spit and string, but upon a closer inspection became carefully cobbled together scraps of greens and mottled browns.
Will shook his head. His own memories of the sheriff's men consisted of stern riders all dressed in black, swords hanging grimly at their sides. “It was four years ago,” he began softly. “The sheriff's men killed my father. My mother went to Nottingham Castle and complained to the sheriff. She vanished without a trace the following week.”
The giant nodded sorrowfully. “Aye, I've seen that happen all too often nowadays.” Nodding once more, decisively, he continued. “There's someone who'd like to meet you, if'n you're interested.”
“Who and why?” Will asked.
“Our leader, that's who. As to why.. well, I'll just let him explain himself. Be here the evening after the town fair. At sunset.” Extending a hand, he grasped Will's firmly. “I'm Little John.” Nodding respectfully at Marian,who sheathed the now normal looking blade, he continued. “Sorry, miss, but the invitation doesn't extend in your direction.” At Marian's outraged gasp, he grinned. “Though I'm sure you'd make life.. interestin'.. for a selected few.” With that cryptic remark, he faded back into the trees.

Which one do you feel reaches out and 'grabs' you with that hook we all hear endlessly about?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Random Meanderings

Yes, it's been forever since I last blogged. Call it end of the school year craziness combined with rebellious children with a sprinkling of "I have to do what?!" thrown in for good measure.

I went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival yesterday. The whole day. No children. I mean, yes, there were children there, but none of them belonged to me. Which was awesome. There are some parents who can take their children everywhere, and it's wonderful, there's no in-house fighting.. no cries of 'Mo-om, Grey spindled me!', 'Aleck's mutilating me!', 'I'm bored, I'm hot, I'm tired, when are we leaving?' Yeah, well, those kids aren't, and will never be, mine. LOL! Mine are the ones who require duct tape and velcro. (Shh..)
Yesterday was 80% chance of rain. That's right. 80%. So it's gonna rain. I knew that before going. Do I wear appropriate clothing, and bring an umbrella? Nope. Not I, said the fly. I wear a tank top and shorts. And a clear plastic poncho that's as attractive as wearing a see through trash bag. Yay, me. Oh, and I forgot to mention the sandals that squelched in the mud when I walked, sending clumps of mud and grime onto my feet... I swear I'm not an idiot. Not normally, anyway.
However, my hubby and I had an awesome time, and yes, for those of you who are wondering, I DID buy my boys something fun. Wooden swords, Heaven help us. I hope they don't bash each other's heads in.. but if they do, I have insurance ;)

On a completely different note, I got AWESOME, INCREDIBLE edits back on 'Maid of Sherwood'. When I first received them I was totally overwhelmed and discouraged. After all, this was after two drafts of the ms already. But, after stewing for a while, I now see how amazing the novel is going to be when I implement them all. So a HUGE thanks to Kasie West, who took the time to read it and give me feedback above and beyond 'Oh, it's so good!' Your help was invaluable.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Maid is complete!

'Maid of Sherwood' is officially through its first draft, and is now in the hands of my 'beta readers'. In some ways, I think now is the hardest part. It's like watching a child go off to school for the very first time. You've done the research, you've prepared yourself as best as you can.. but eventually your novel has to leave for the 'real world'. 'Maid' is now in the very capable, trustworthy hands of 'real' people. People who aren't novelists by trade. People who are readers. It's a frightening thing.
I've begun on my next novel, however, while waiting for critiques. I was afraid I would be a 'one hit wonder', but I'm less worried about that now. I think I've found my niche. I'm happy writing young adult. I still have the novel of my heart to write.. and that won't be YA. It might not ever be published. But that's okay. That one'll be written for me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Rules For Writing Fiction

First of all, I'd like to state that I got this from another awesome blog I read. "The Seekers". Check it out if you get a chance.

Kurt Vonnegut: Eight rules for writing fiction:

1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.

5. Start as close to the end as possible.

6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

There are so many reasons behind wanting to get published, it amazes me. Money and fame seem to be at the top of the list for a lot of people. But I don't believe that's enough. Never mind talent. If you aren't writing from your heart, with love for the written word, and all the dedication that goes along with putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be), then you won't get far.

What motivates me? I went to the doctor yesterday for a much overdue physical. Everything came back normal.. except for my EKG, which came up abnormal. So now I have to get an Echocardiogram. The doctor told me it's probably nothing, and not to worry about it, but that's a lot easier said than done.

Before yesterday, I would have said my motivation was to write a novel. But I want to be published. Not for money, not for fame. I want to see my name on the spine of a work I created. Oh, I wouldn't mind enough money to pad our single income, I'm not insane. But it's not the end game. The end game is publication. And that end game is a little more urgent today than it was two days ago. Because not knowing what the future holds is frightening when there might be something wrong with your heart.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

It is by His grace that I've been forgiven.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Word Day.

Yesterday was a word day. Loving words, hurtful words, truthful words. As writers, we understand how words can transform lives, make or break friendships, and change our perception of the world around us.

Words are powerful in every form, yes, but for some reason the written word tends to have more impact than the spoken one. There is something about seeing it on paper that sets it into stone and makes it fact. I don't know if it's because you can take them out again and again, re-read them until the paper grows thin and the writing fades or if it's because the written word has the option of never becoming a fading memory in a lifetime of memories.

Someone I value a great deal asked me to be honest yesterday. I labored over the decision; struggled with it, really, before answering. I already knew, before I put words to paper, how it would play out. I didn't have a choice.

I think a lot of us, as writers, face that on a daily basis. We don't have a choice. When we breathe life into our characters for the very first time, that is the only time we have total control. We may have a baseline of behavior for them, but the words that come out of their mouths belong to them, and only them.

For instance... in my current WIP, my main character actually thinks 'I could be dead. Or worse, married to....' Did I intend to write that? Did I think, starting out, Marian would actually believe death was the better fate? No. She chose it. I have become, somewhere in the 50k words, nothing more than a conduit for her emotions. Her words. Her story.

Her choice.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Back-yard bogging.

Today my husband, bless his heart!, mowed our yard. This is two days after the torrential rainstorms that soaked Georgia. (Sans tornadoes, thankfully!) I left the yard in his capable hands, took the kids and went grocery shopping. I got a phone call while I'm in line, waiting to pay. "Call me." Click. What was up with that? When I returned the call, I learned that he not only got the lawnmower (which isn't ours!) stuck in the muck which was generated by the aforementioned torrential rainstorms, but his truck was stuck, as well! Awesome! Wonderful! Perfect! By the time I got home, he had somehow wrangled them out of the front grass. Now, under the best of circumstances, my yard will never win any awards from 'Home and Garden', but now it has muddy pits in it! And it's only 1/4 mowed! ACK! We decided to leave the rest of the front yard for later. It's 3/4's covered in oaks, anyway, so it's not like there's a lot of grass to mow. At least we got the backyard done, though a few doggy toys went to the giant puppy playground in the sky.

Now if only I could catch up on everything else...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm writing a WHAT?!

I'm writing a YA? I'm writing a YA. Umm.. I'm writing a YA! Yeah, okay, just trying it on for size. Once I figured out I was supposed to write fantasy, I kind of thought that would be the end of it. I wrote my romantic, soon - to - be epic, fantasy, then it was time for NaNoWriMo. I'd been toying with an idea for a while, and so I wrote that out, thinking the ENTIRE time it was to be shelved under fantasy/scifi. Nope. Not a bit. Didn't even occur to me it was Young Adult until last night. (To give you some perspective, remember that NaNo was in November.) Today, I asked a friend of mine (who is an awesome author in her own right! ) what defined YA. She told me it was nothing but the age of the characters. That's it? Just age? Wow. That definitely fits my manuscript! So now I'll have to research agents in that genre.. which really doesn't bother me one bit, since I'm still embarrassed to have committed the new writer blooper of all time and submitted my first ms before it was remotely ready for public consumption.
But onward and upward!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Childhood Dreams

When I was young, I wanted to be a model. I was told I had the looks for it, so my mom put me through modeling school, where I learned how to put on make-up, walk correctly, eat correctly, everything you could imagine I'd need to know. And I discovered something. I may have had the looks, but I certainly didn't have the drive to model. I hated the cattle calls, hated having to check in with my agency before I got a haircut, all the hassles of 'making it' in the industry.

Then I decided 'why not writing'? Why not, indeed? I was good at it. I'd been writing ever since I knew what a pencil was for... and it sounded easy. Just.. write, right? Wrong. I wrote short stories, I wrote poetry, I joined writer's groups and went to workshops, and did everything a budding writer is supposed to do, but ultimately I didn't have the one thing I needed to follow my dream.

Self esteem.

All the talent in the world didn't do me a bit of good. I didn't believe in myself, so how on earth could I reasonably expect anyone else to? It took me years upon years before I finally figured out I could do it.

So here I am, twenty-five years later, following my dreams.


Because I have the talent, I have the support and I'm worth it. And now there's something else. I have children, and I want my children to know that dreams don't have to die when childhood ends, and not every dream has to end in dollar signs. Sometimes, just doing it is enough.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Name Game, or Help Will's Mother.

Will Scarlett's mother needs a name. I know, she should have been named when I was writing my original draft, but I was in a serious time crunch (ever heard of National Novel Writing Month? No? Description of the craziness to follow.) Since I had to complete at least 50,000 words in a single month (November, no less!), I called her 'the older woman' or 'Will's mother'. But I can't do that endlessly. It worked for the short haul, but for the long road? The poor woman really deserves a name.

So, my loyal followers, here is your chance to chime in. What should I name her? My only restriction is that it has to fit the 1500's. And her first name CANNOT be 'Rose'. I mean, can you imagine? 'Rose Scarlett'? Yikes!

Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah. What is NaNo. NaNo takes place in the month of November, when thousands of crazy people decide they're going to attempt to write a novel (as I said, at least 50k words) while dealing with the stress of the holidays. I tried it for the very first time last year and it was AMAZING. I absolutely LOVED it. There's something extremely freeing about simply letting the words flow, and not worrying one iota about syntax or anything else. Editing is for January.. or, in my case, March, April and May. LOL! What do I get out of it? Besides the high of knowing I wrote a viable first draft in thirty days? I get a single proof-ready copy of my novel. Which I think is all that AND a bag of chips. :)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Feedback, feedback, feedback!!

There's nothing worse for an aspiring writer than readers who don't give feedback. Honestly. I cannot stress how important it is for us to know how our writing is seen. Are our characters 'real', does it make sense for them to do (fill in the blank) in this particular chapter? We share our work with other writers, sure. And we get very valuable feedback. But there's something about letting someone who simply enjoys a good book, someone who can read without dissecting sentences, read a manuscript in the works. It's from those people that we know Jonny can kick the cat in chapter two, but when he learns in chapter eight that his mommy is dying, we'll still make them cry.

I once worked for a company that produced e-books. I was what was called a 'first reader'. Basically, what I did was read the manuscript pre-publication, dissect it page by page, and send it back. This is NOT what I'm talking about, people! We're not asking you for detailed descriptions of what works and what doesn't. That's what we have our other writing buddies for! We're wanting to know if Point A takes you to Point B, or does it whizz past Point B, heading straight for Point K? Do you CARE about our characters? Do you want to read more?

People, it takes more than just writers, agents, editors and publishers to produce a good book. The best manuscript in the world won't get touched if there's no one willing to read it and GIVE THE AUTHOR FEEDBACK!

If you're lucky enough to have an aspiring writer ask you to read their manuscript, and you're interested enough to say 'yes', please follow through. That's all I'm saying. It makes life easier for everyone...

Friday, March 27, 2009


Somedays, what you need to write is a mind clear of the flotsom and jetsom of real life. To be able to release all that... stuff that's bogging you down, and simply start over from scratch. That's what today was, I think, on some deep internal level. After all, it's not easy to write about young love when your mind's cluttered. Which definitely explains why I haven't written in two or three days.

Today was one of those days where I HAD to go out, but all I really wanted to do was stay home. It was rainy and cold. One of those days where the rain drips out of an endlessly gray sky. I could have quite literally sat at my back window and watched my grass grow. I do love the rain. I just don't love driving in it. With two kids. Leaving two soon to be muddy dogs at home. But I buckled down and took the opportunity to do something I've needed to do for a while.

I saw my best friend today. This was a big deal, since we haven't seen each other in two years (except once in very brief passing). And I suddenly realized, all over again, that distance doesn't matter when you love someone. There are some friends who, when you see them, the passage of time is everything ~ you've somehow become different people and that magical bond you once shared has become nothing more than ties of the past. Then there are those rare, precious few. You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones you could call up after twenty years of nothing but emails.. and they'd drop everything to be at your side. My best friend is like that. I don't know when I'll be seeing him again, but I know it doesn't matter. Not really. Because he truly is just a phone call away.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Write what you know... cause there's no other choice.

I firmly, completely, utterly believe in Mark Twain's words of wisdom "Write what you know". I just never really applied it until I searched my heart while wondering what my first novel should be. I read mysteries, bodice rippers (yes, even those on occasion! Shh.. don't tell anyone!), fantasy of all sorts (urban, epic, you name it), even some (gasp!) Classics. So what next? I tried my hand at a pirate bodice ripper, but that project fizzled once I realized I had to actually describe a BOAT! (For those of you who don't know me, I have a deathly fear of deep water.) So where did my heart lie? I know, I know, I can hear you all practically screaming 'Fantasy, woman! Fantasy!' But there's a whole lot of fantasy out there... and yes, fantasy requires a level of research I didn't know about before I started. And let me tell ya, I didn't start out easy. I chose the legend of Camelot. Well... kind of. It chose me. It started out as a romantic fantasy.. a 'what if' taking place twenty years after the Fall of Camelot. Then I had someone proof it for me, which was an exercise in letting go. A novel is the paper child of your heart. To hear it needs WORK, that it's not perfect straight off the computer/notepad/typewriter... it hurts. Then to realize the romantic fantasy could be SO much stronger written as an epic fantasy? Ugg! So.. that's where I'm at. Revision. Again. Maybe I should say 'first revision', as I'm sure another one will be somewhere down the road.
So.. for your reading pleasure, here is the first 'bit' of my first novel to be completed, the second one to be revised (a story for another day)...

“Uther, go now! Hurry! Gorlois is busy outside the walls!”
The tall, bearded man hesitated and Merlin pushed him forward. “This is your chance! Take it!”
“She is devoted to her husband, Merlin. I will not take an unwilling woman!”
“This is what you wanted!” Merlin hissed. “This was your idea, Uther!” The king's mouth remained firm. “I will lay a glamour over you. Igraine will only see what she expects. Her husband returning from battle, and she'll welcome you with open arms.” He muttered under his breath. “There, now hurry!”
Uther stumbled forward, down the hallway to her rooms, and Merlin slumped against the wall. Magic, he mused, is not meant for such trivialities. Nevertheless, it was necessary to gain Uther's favor and the freedom to move about his court. Hearing no screams coming from Igraine's chamber, he smiled. Perfect. A small reminder, later, and Uther may well introduce me to King Ban. Once that happens, I can gain access to the lake easily enough. Flinging the black cloak he wore around his shoulders, he vanished.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Vikings and dictation

Okay, I feel like my first post should be something awe inspiring, something showing my unique talents as a writer, blah, de blah, de blah. So what comes to mind? My eleven year old's report on Vikings.

Have you ever thought about how truly difficult it is to take dictation? I hadn't.. not until today, at any rate. I just thought, "Yeah, no biggie. They talk, you type." Suure. That's the way it works.. In theory anyway. IF you don't have a kid dancing around the living room, showing you exactly how Dane axes worked while he's chattering a million miles a second. IF you don't have a seven year old hovering around your other ear, telling you all about the universe and black holes. IF you can actually hold in your laughter at the paragraph long run-on sentences.

None of which happened in my house.

I count it as a good day of school that the report actually got done, and I didn't hurt his feelings by laughing in his face.

We done good.