Saturday, February 23, 2008

Trouble with apostrophes

"It can stop you from voting, destroy your dental appointments, make it difficult to rent a car or book a flight, even interfere with your college exams."

You'd think that a little apostrophe wouldn't be so troublesome. But apparently, there are a multitude of possible gliches: names with hyphens, spaces, any convention that the software programmer wasn't astute enough to foresee, names like O'Connor, Al-Hussein, and Van Heusen are typical of those who slip into the black hole of name purgatory, never to be seen again.

The problem is more than human error, it depends on the databases and the way the software programs each treat various alphabet quirks.

In the article "Apostrophes Can Be Big Trouble" some victims of computer name abuse just bow to the failures of technology and give up the historically correct spelling of their names.
D'Angelo becomes Dangelo. Some how that diminishes the romance of the name, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Getting ready for conference

You know that saying, "You make your plans, but God has the last word"? Well, I left two weeks in the writing challenge to prepare for the conference next week thinking I'd have at least ten days to get my website up, business cards made, get pitch together, edit the first three chapters, etc.

You know what happened - LIFE!

It's like James Patterson said in 1st to Die, "Murphy was an optimist."

I always set my expectations high, which is a good thing, I guess, but eventually you have to accept reality and determine your priorities. Which is where I am today. On a day I'd planned for internet usage, we have heavy rain, so it's on to plan B.

Learn to laugh. Rule of the Day.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Fools Gold

We went to see Fools Gold over the weekend, Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, teaming up again. It was great! Rambunctious, romantic and funny! Donald Sutherland, Dave Winestone, lots of great characters and emotional moments along with the fun.
Go see it. It's worth it just to see Matthew, and 'study him' as hero material.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Kick in the Pants wk4

Wow. Time flies. Fourth week. This challenge has really helped me to push myself which has boosted my confidence and helped me define some habits, which my husband would probably say weren't the ones he wanted me to develop.

I used to think I'd start to work writing as soon as I got up since we get up before dawn. But that hasn't happened. We have our coffee watch the news, eat a little breakfast, I check my emails, then around 8 or 9 it seems I get started and write until around 2 or 5 or 7, whatever flows.

Last week I wrote 15, 200 words! Yea! This week 4,000, got my business cards ready for the conference, worked on my pitch, helped Joe with crawfish, delivered mail.

Some days the end seems further and further away, but I don't have any doubt that I will finish both my first WIPs soon and submit them, both 90% complete. Ten days til the conference, only 8 calendar writing days.

My alpha male

Sometimes you want to kill them, sometimes you want to marry them all over again. The best ones are the alpha males because when they show their soft side, it's soooo special.

My Hero asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I told him I wanted to see Matthew McConaughey's new movie AT the movie theatre. We haven't been to a movie in -hmm - fifteen years.

On the way we stopped at Sam's and once inside I realized I'd forgotten the checkbook and asked him to run out to the car and get it. I proceeded to fill my list from the aisles closest to the front of the store, occasionally looking for him, but we were in a hurry to make the movie so I moved on. Halfway down the main aisle he walked up to me and said, "Next time at least have the decency to wait for me at the front. I've been standing up there looking for you." Now, if I was going to stand around and waste time I'd have gone to the car to get the check book myself.

But then, on the way to the movie, I turned on a song from our past when I used to sing Lion in the Winter, by Hoyt Axton and Linda Rondstadt. It was his song.

When they sang, "and when I first saw you, I first loved you, like the song that you sang and the fire in your eyes," I heard him say, "Now that's the gospel."

I was driving and looked over at him, "What?" I asked. But he couldn't speak and had tears in his eyes. Then he said, "Years ago. That's what happened."

Thirty-two years later and he still gets choked up over a sentimental song and how much he loves me.

I think I'll keep him.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ugly Days

It was an ugly day.

Okay the weather was bad, too. High tornadic winds, rain. Thank God we were fifty miles south of the tornado weather. And the bayou is high and muddy, the trees gray with nothing but spanish moss blowing in the wind Even I'm ready for Spring.

But it was also an ugly writing day, you know, the kind where you just glue your butt to the chair but you're not impressed with what dribbles out onto the page. The experience everyone talks about - you just slog through it. But at about 1800 the characters grabbed the reins and moved it forward with more pizazzz.

I ended up with 3200, but will probably lose some of it in the editing process. That's why I'm targeting a higher word count. It seems like it's taking forever to get to those crises the characters are going to go through, the bam, bam, bam of continually increasing stakes.

Maybe I'm avoiding the process of thinking through those plot points. Maybe that's why I have more love scenes than I expected!


May be but the hero sure has been enjoying himself. Too bad he's going to find out today that there are consequences!!!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


What makes a keeper?

First of all, there are basically two types of books on my keeper shelf:

The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
Books by Deborah Smith, especially Sweet Hush, A Place to Call Home, and Charming Grace
A Fine Madness by Kathleen Korbel
Many Nora Roberts books, especially Midnight Bayou and Alan MacGregor's story
Outlaw Viking by Sandra Hill
Most of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books, the 'Stars' books and Ain't She Sweet
Amazon Lily et al by Theresa Weir now writing as Anne Frazier
The Plum Series by Janet Evanovich
Sam and Rick series by Suzanne Enoch
Shadow Dance by Susan Andersen

Richard North Patterson
David Baldacci
David Rosenfelt
Steve Hamilton
Robert Crais
Greg Iles

At first glance, I wondered what these two groups had in common. But my keepers from the two genres are similar in that they include some level of romance and a HEA. It's fascinating to see how the authors of thrillers approach romance in their novels. Gives insight into the male perspective on relationships.

Here are five factors, four of which are always present.

Whether its Baldacci and Patterson's political machinations in Washington, Hamilton's murders on the Wisconsin Canada border, Greg Iles' thrillers , Gabaldon's time travel or Korbel's emotional romances, the suspense factor keeps me wondering and reading to the very end. For me, that's a must.

Memorable Romantic Heroes:
They are delightfully flawed with an idealistic approach to life. They will change the system, save their country or the world, and protect their woman while dealing with real life challenges to their quintessence and threats from the bad guys.

If the author can't convey deep emotion, set the stakes high enough that failure is a real possibility, then I'm probably not going to remember the book and it won't make it onto my keeper shelf. Deborah Smith's books are top notch emotional reads illustrating these high stakes.

The series factor is gaining popularity throughout fiction genres, perhaps in response to our world having less and less community. As we escape to these make believe worlds those fictional families fill a gap that's missing in our lives.

I love it when novels have a 'family' of characters with whom I can bond and follow in future books. When they are irresistible, the entire series can be 'a keeper'.

I love witty prose, but it's especially profound when an author you don't associate with humor uses it to bring depth to her characters like Jamie in Gabaldon's Outlander. Don't you love a hero with a sense of humor?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Writing Challenge week2

I'm seeing a pattern in my writing. I set goals for 2000-2500 a day to reach around 10K per week.

I'm getting there but it's not as I planned. It seems that the weekly goal and the long term goals are what I should focus on.

This reminds me of a diet where you get on the scale everyday to see if you gained a pound instead of losing. I guess I need a word scale. You know, "Ooops, went under today, need to do more tomorrow." A daily adjustment.

Last week, I wrote 4060 one day, none the next, 3500 the next, none the next. See? Of course it averages out. And this week I did manage to write 13,220 or something like that so I'm not complaining.