Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Big WC day!

Maybe I'm just doomed to go up and down and need to look at the big picture.

Monday, I wrote 4,060 and didn't want to quit then but I had to be up really early to work yesterday.

Again I was surpised by my characters. I'd been agonizing over the reason behind her fear and she explained it to our hero. How come I didn't know that?

Now, I'm starting to get concerned that I will go over my targeted word count?

Question: What do you do? Plan a target or write the story? Do you write it and then cut or expand to meet publisher guidelines? Or do you decide first and try to stay as close to that target as possible?

Patience, Leah, I'm working on the Roar Award, will post on that tomorrow.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Smart Characters

I'm definitely not a plotter. Every time I get stuck I think that planning where the story is going will help. But when I sit down in 'stuck mode' at the keyboard I'm always so amazed when I let the characters take over.

When I started this morning, my hero woke my heroine up in the hospital room and made her hide in the bathroom, someone had come into his hospital room to search. Hmm. 2,000 words later, I was still wondering how that happened.

Then, within 6 hours of getting out of the hospital they were making love! They were supposed to wait at least a couple weeks! Guess he wasn't as injured as I thought.

So, with them leading the way, I wrote 3500, 2000 in just three hours. I couldn't believe it. If only the ideas would flow that well all the time. I'm not taking the weekend off because I have to work Monday and will be on errands a couple days next week.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who wrote this? oh yeah - I did

Good weather for writing today. Cold, high's in the 30s. Crawfish Man couldn't get crawfish so he thrummed about the house until he finally decided to go hunting. Whew.

I expected yesterday to get 2000 words written and again today. However, I've been working on a different project for the last month and when I returned to MOL yesterday, I had to completely re-read it. I just kept hitting chapter after chapter of new material, as if someone else had written it.

It's disconcerting when you wrote the story and it's completely new to you a month later. In some cases, that's a good thing, you're pleasantly surprised. 'Wow, I don't remember writing this, but I like it'. OR you're ready to ditch the whole mess.

Anyway, I've missed two days of writing forward, but hopefully tomorrow will be different.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kick in the Pants progress

I set goals that I thought I would reach on our Kick in the Pants challenge given by Christine D'Abo. Here's my Wednesday report for the first half of week 1.

Goal: My goal was for 10,000 per week. Minimum.

From Sunday through today, I wrote approximately 4500.

This week's goal was to finish my first MS (15K) and move on and finish MOL for the Shreveport Conference Mar 1. Well, I reached 15k but...I can't actually say I finished it.

I kept writing and writing and it just wasn't happening so I checked my settings and found that I'd unchecked inclusion setting for some folders in my writing program which had reduced my word count. Long story short, I'm over my goal of 15k but now I have to either lengthen the book or cut it to complete it which I will do later, it's not due til end of March.

Forgot we had a deer to process which would take half my Monday so I wrote 1700 by noon then took a four hour break, returning to investigate the word count issue.

Started on MOL today but had to re-familiarize myself with it again since I haven't looked at it for over a month and I'd planned changes to the story direction. So, no forward progress today.

All in all I'm pleased with my progress and will write forward tomorrow. If I get 2000 a day through Saturday I can still meet my goal of 10k this week.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Kick in the Pants

Wow, this is a great idea!

On Christine D'Abo's blog, she gave a challenge to set goals for the next six weeks.

Since I have a story to finish for the Shreveport conference and the synopsis and pitch as well, this couldn't have come at a better time.

I can't stop, though, until I finish my first manuscript, which I WILL DO come Hell or High Water TODAY. 3500 would do it. I lost 800 over the weekend to duplication and various scenes that didn't work.

Work tomorrow on the mail route then get back on MOL to get as closed to finished as I can in February before working on synopsis and pitch.

So here's my Kick in the Pants strategy, Christine.

Big Goal: Finish my first MS today then commit to finish MOL for Mar 1 conference appts, including synopsis and pitch.

This week's goal: 10-12,000k, 2,000 a day ( I can do this! I can do this!)

Challenges: Need two days for work and neglected house cleaning, will lose ground reworking new plot lines since I left MOL, fear - I'm in the middle

What Marley Means

Christine D'Abo's blog had a link to finding the meaning of your name so I plugged in Marley and here it is. Do we grow into the meanings of our names? Do our parents have someone in mind when they name us and then mold us to it or is all of it just predestined?

Friday was my dad's birthday and today, my mom's so I'm remembering them and the fact that mom wanted me to be a pink satin doll named Martha Jean, but I ended up being Daddy's tom boy. Still this is amazingly accurate.

What Marley Means

You are confident, self assured, and capable. You are not easily intimidated.
You master any and all skills easily. You don't have to work hard for what you want.
You make your life out to be exactly how you want it. And you'll knock down anyone who gets in your way!

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.
You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.
You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.
You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.
Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are friendly, charming, and warm. You get along with almost everyone.
You work hard not to rock the boat. Your easy going attitude brings people together.
At times, you can be a little flaky and irresponsible. But for the important things, you pull it together.

You are a free spirit, and you resent anyone who tries to fence you in.
You are unpredictable, adventurous, and always a little surprising.
You may miss out by not settling down, but you're too busy having fun to care.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Postal Carrier's Motto

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. ... the motto of the U.S. postal carrier never hit home like it did this morning.

My hubby called to me to come see around 5:20 this morning. He said, "It's snowing."

I thought sure, maybe a speck of snow among the thousands of raindrops. But I was surprised by a near blizzard of inch sized snow flakes falling heavy and wet. Driving to work in the dark was like being on the Enterprise, speeding through the stars in warp drive. When I crossed the bridge to Natchez the lights caught the heavy snow blowing straight down the Mississippi.

Everyone was excited as children. People who grow up with snow take the experience for granted. One of my coworkers called her mother and said, wake everybody up, it's snowing. Grown men called their wives with 'Honey, it's snowing', and walked around the post office calling out, 'it's getting heavier!'

On the receiving dock a young man of about 25 stood in awe of the floating, flying white stuff. I was taking a picture and he said, "I've only seen snow once before in Dallas. It's beautiful."

On my route there was a man, his little girl, and their dog having a snowball fight, running, laughing. She probably wasn't born the last time we had snow.

Some snow optimists didn't let the small amount of snow deter them from building snowmen.

It was a rare and unexpected gift.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friends who inspire

Did you ever have a friend who inspired you to go for it, to try things that you might have thought were out of reach.

I met Angela two years ago. We'd just had two hurricanes, I'd been laid off of my previous job, and had to leave home and go to D.C. for six months to work, far away from my husband and friends. It was one of the hardest things I'd ever done.

Angela was a mature, goal setting 23 yr old who had come from her native Oregon to live with her cousin near D.C. and get a government job. Her goal was to be the first CEO of a Fortune 500 company before the age of 45.

She knew how to move up the government ladder to reach her goals. She inspired me to reach for dreams that I'd thought buried and some I didn't discover until I came home.

It's hard to identify what your dreams might be when you're working 70-80 hours a week, year after year and just living day to day. You have to have time to contemplate, ruminate, and salivate. Ironically, during the only two periods of unemployment in my life, I began to realize my dream of writing.

Since then Angela has been steadily achieving one goal after another. This Sunday she'll become a grade 9. Just three or four years ago, she was a grade 3, and she'll be going to Georgetown University next year for her Masters in Business as well.

Thanks, my friend, for continuing to inspire me.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Navy guy

I heard from my favorite Navy guy yesterday. He is good at whatever he attempts. 

For the last couple years he's been one of the top Atlantic kayak fishermen. He fishes in the Atlantic in a kayak for huge stripers, shark, cobia. As a matter of fact, he caught one of the largest stripers on record in the Atlantic.

I used to tease him that he ended up in the Navy because I made him watch Top Gun too many times. He even went into flight school but had to get out with high altitude sinus problems. A cool guy.

Well, his news today was fabulous! He's going to be an author. Writing a book about fishing and he'll illustrate it himself. He was always a natural with caricatures, cartoons, so he'll make that a part of his book which will be out in time for Christmas. Maybe we'll still get around to that children's book.

Way to go, Chad.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Remarkable Talent

I'd never heard of Eva Cassidy until yesterday and you probably haven't either.

I was doing some research for the wip I started last week and came across a video of her music on YouTube. I was sad to learn that she died in 1996 of skin cancer and I've only just discovered her.

Her perfect music accompanies this perfect performance in the International Dance competitions of 2005.

When Sting was asked what he thought of her interpretation of 'Fields of Gold' after her death, he said "that he was quite territorial about that song, arrogant even, only to be brought to tears by her totally different vocal interpretation."

I sat in tears myself listening to this unique talent who was never discovered and lost her life at age 34.

Listening to her music reminded me of when I used to sing professionally in much the same style, guitar, intimate settings, ballads. Ironically, she was born and raised about 3 miles from my hometown of Landover, Maryland.

Here's another song among many on YouTube.

Her CD is available via the internet at http://www.evacassidy.org/eva/eva.shtml
and she lives on through her YouTube performances.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

2008 The First Twelve Days

I ask myself - How am I coming so far this year with my goals and resolutions.

Well! As far as exercise, and this isn't an excuse, I sprained my left foot in mid- December and the week after that pulled a muscle in my rib, which made exercising pretty much impossible and delivering the mail torture. So I try to remind myself of what I said after January 1. I can't just throw up my hands and say - oh well, I didn't start on time so I'll just wait til next year. No, with the help and gentle pushes from my critique and exercise partner, I will get back on the treads a little at a time until I can do more.

The diet - that's another story entirely. If I ever get back on a regular exercise routine I think it will come together.

December 31st I got my contest entry sent off. Of course, I went to the website for my judge and he had a general statement on what kinds of plots he doesn't accept. Um, mine was one of them. But at least I've sent it out there, I've done my best, I accomplished more than one goal where that was concerned, now I just need to finish the manuscript.

But as I was running the mail route last week a new hero ran in front of my fertile imagination. So of course I had to detour and interview him, research and get a few thousand words down before he escaped. You know what I mean. I'm pleased with how his story is progressing though.

I must keep my eye on my first deadline for 2008 - the Shreveport conference, March 1st. By then, I'm committed to finishing my two currents WIPs, getting my website designed and uploaded, working on my pitches, and helping my critique partner achieve her goals.

Whew, lots to do before then. For a while, I got away from setting goals, but I've always worked better under deadlines, especially self-imposed.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. As Leah said yesterday, BICFOK. Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard.

See ya, gotta get back to it. (And of course there's the playoffs.)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A great read

I used to read a lot of paranormals, a lot of time travel. But after reading the rich sweeping epic of Jamie and Claire in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series I was spoiled and couldn't seem to lose myself in any paranormal/fantasy novels. That series took so much emotion and commitment that maybe I needed distance. I read them in paperback, actually had Dragonfly in Amber with me on my trip to Scotland. Talk about atmosphere. I read them, bought the paperbacks, then the hardbacks, then unabridged audio. I've blogged about Davina Porter before and her unparalleled narration of the Outlander series. You can hear a sample at Recorded Books.

I gravitated to the romantic suspense books by Robb, romance from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, humorous romance by Evanovich, and thrillers by Baldacci, Mills, and Iles, books that offered a one book resolution, though I was still looking for authors whose characters would beg for that commitment from me again.

When C.L. Wilson appeared on the ProAskandAuthor loop recently, I related to some of the things she said in her posts. I visited her site and found that we had some things in common (like our parents both worked for NASA), and found an awesome site that promised an exciting new world to explore. Fantasy AND romance. I picked up the first book and was hooked within the first few pages. Lord of the Fading Lands.

I knew immediately that I will feel compelled to read each book, own each one in both hardback and paperback, then listen to the audio version, dribbling the last one along like a box of special rare chocolates not to be devoured lest it be really OVER. (I left the sixth book of Gabaldon's for a year before reading it.)

If you haven't read C.L.'s incredible new series, check her site out. She's created the incredible world of the Tairen Soul and our hero, Rain, defender of the Fey and his truemate, Ellisetta. These books made the perfect Christmas gift for my writer friends.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The Greatest Romance Hero Ever!!

Okay, I'm not exactly stepping out with nowhere to land here. No great risks in proclaiming James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser or as his devoted throng like to call him, just - Jamie, as the greatest romance hero ever. Sure, there are many that have tugged at my heart, impressed me with their many attributes, hot and bothered me.

But there has been no hero like Jamie. Not even Roarke stands up to him for the long haul. Here are my three favorite videos about Jamie and Claire's love. Enjoy the links below.

Lord, if I've never had courage in my life before let me have it now. Let me be brave enough not to fall on my knees and beg her to stay.

Sassenach, I will find you!

Love Will Find a Way

What did you find the most endearing trait of Jamie Fraser?

Happy New Ever After

Happy. What exactly does that mean? Do we want a successful, blissful, perfect, or just different year from 2007? I must have said Happy New Year to at least 50 people yesterday before, during and after my mail run. But what was I wishing them? And what did they desire for themselves for the coming year?

Abraham Lincoln said, "Most people are about as happy has they set their minds to be." There's a lot of truth in that. We can choose to think that our life starts anew on the first day of each year but we all know that in reality, it begins again every time we set our minds to a new start, a new challenge, a new goal. Why can't we start dieting successfully on Feb 28th, or quit smoking on July 15th, or renew our goal to publish within six months on September 3rd?

Our designs on 2008 are as varied as our individuality, our circumstances and our dreams. Of course I could probably nail my fellow writers' wishes for this year. The published want to publish another one, and unpublished simply want to get published. I sincerely wish you all get your sweetest desires this year.

My desire is to treat each and every day forever after as my new year. To begin today to make lasting changes and renew them as often as it takes to make them a part of my life so that I will be able to look back at January 1st next year and say, "So far so good."

Happy Ever After!

On second thought, what's wrong with chandeliers? I plan to start taking a few risks, what about you?