Friday, May 30, 2008

Staying positive

It's tough to do, stay positive in an environment where other authors you know are completing books, selling, making the NYT list, making money and it's what you really want to do. But there's such a thing as paying your dues, learning as you write, growing in the craft and in the business. None of the other careers I had happened overnight. They all took hard work, challenge, and education. All uncomfortable stuff.

On the mail route yesterday, I was listening to Carla Neggers' and Brenda Novak's workshops on the RWA cds. What an inspiration Brenda is, but how daunting to see what she accomplishes in a short period of time with 5 children and a busy life.

Carla's advice not to compare yourself to other writers, to understand that we all have our own style and pace reminded me of something Wayne Dyer said:

"Everything is as it should be. Just because dreams aren't manifesting now doesn't mean they never will. We are exactly where we are supposed to be, everything is happening exactly as it was meant to, I am who I am supposed to be at this time."

And the ancient advice which has been proven to work over and over:

ACT AS IF. (I used to have that on my phone, and it's going back on it.)

Act as if what I want is already here, it just needs to be attracted to me - the alignment of my intention with divine purpose.

I believe I've discovered this passion for writing for a reason. As good as my singing voice is I never had that passion to accomplish anything with it, just enjoyed listening to it. So I have to believe I will succeed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Writing Craft Meme

I always end up on the tail end of a MEME with no one to send them to so I've created one instead of waiting for it to come to me out of the great MEME black hole. I thought it would be interesting to engage other authors about our craft of writing.

1.List one of your writing goals for the month of June and how likely you are to accomplish it.
Mine: Get MOL submitted by June 15 which means finishing the revisions, the synopsis and creating the query letter. Same for FIMB - cause it needs to go to the agent at the same time as MOL.

2.What genre or subject would you like to write about that you aren't currently?
MD: Mystery romance or political thriller

3.What is your writing lifestyle, habits ? How do you manage the interruptions with your writing? HOW do you stay positive? Believe in your writing success?
MD: I always thought that since I get up everyday around 5:30 I'd settle into a morning routine, but it seems that I do best when I get started around 9 or 10am. Part of that is that my INTERRUPTION usually leaves the house around then. So as you can see, I don't manage my interruption very well. I need an office with a door that isn't a main passageway between two tvs and the bathroom.

4.Are you a pantser or plotter?
MD: Absolutely, no question, pantser. LEAH had a great blog the other day which said it to a 'T'. I keep thinking I'm going to outline and plot and interview but once I start writing, most of it goes out the window. I also find that a lot of the workshops are given by plotters which means most of the advice has to be fine-tuned for my pantser ways.

5.Who are two of your favorite current authors and why?
Molly O'Keefe because I'm reading SuperRomance to make sure my submission falls within their guidelines and her book Baby Makes Three was one of the best books in any genre or publisher I've read lately.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips - always - I just finished re-reading Natural Born Charmer. She's just awesome, humor, deep emotion, great plots,sassy heroines, hunky heroes. What more could a girl want for real escape material?

6.How does your family feel about your writing?
My husband is torn between being jealous of anything that doesn't include him and being proud, leaning hopefully to the proud supportive side. He's not into books unless it's a Smoke Jensen western so I understand. My cousin, Pete, who lives in Vietnam was very enthusiastic about my book - he's a sheriff in one of the books in the series - so he's happy to be immortalized.

That's it for me. I'm tagging Leah, Cora, and Dani.

Tag three people.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008



I know what you're thinking - that my husband brought me flowers.

Well, he came home this afternoon with these gorgeous pink roses. My first thought was "whoa, what occasion is this? How sweet." (It would only be the second time he's ever brought me flowers.)

But no worries. He didn't break pattern.

He said, "They're from" (um, we'll call him) "Roy." A friend of ours who grew the roses and asked Joe to bring them to me. Roy and I became friends 20 years ago when I was singing around Natchez and he came to see me perform. We discovered we were both from Maryland. He'd moved to Natchez after he married.

I made him some fishing jigs when he and Joe started trading fishing tales. He said he "wanted to give me something he'd made."

So they will sit here on the table next to my recliner until they dry up. No chance Crawfish Man will get jealous. He's got the 'good feeling' - like HE bought the flowers. All he did was deliver. Clueless.

Thanks, Roy. You made my day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My New Web Site

Wow, I'm so excited.

My new website is up. Rae Monet did a fantastic job of incorporating everything we talked about in our design interview.

If you need a new site, you should give Rae a holler. Poor Rae. She knows she's better at coming up with what looks best artistically but she has to make the adjustments the client - in this case, me - wants only to have the client, again, me - say, I liked it better your way. She really has a great artistic eye. Trust her.

I had designed my own before the Shreveport conference, but after I saw Leah's new site, I knew I needed to get in touch with Rae. She was honest enough to tell me mine wasn't that bad but we agreed that it didn't have the pizzazz, didn't represent what I write as well as it could.

Well, it's got pizazz now! Check it out!
Thanks, Rae

Monday, May 26, 2008

Revision Update MOL

Three steps forward, two steps back, but at least I haven't stopped moving.

My goal last week was to get my first five chapters revised so I could get them to my critique partner and start working on my synopsis and query letter.

Well, I got 4 out of 5 chapters revised but I have to rework a love scene before I can finish. I'll try to get that done today so that while I'm running the mail route this week, I can be thinking about my synopsis and query letter.

I mustn't stop this week just because I have to work, have to learn to accomplish small pieces of the larger goal, especially when it gets down to the uncomfortable, unfun stuff like revision.

Meme from Leah

Wow, can't believe this got by me. It didn't post.

What was I doing ten years ago?
Acting as General Manager for a Manufacturing company with all the responsibilities of the owner, but still acting to the owner as if he were doing everything. Yeah, male chauvinist. Then, when he finally figured out that I really was running the business, he laid me off! Uh-huh.

What are five things on my to-do list today?
Finish my content for Rae Monet for my Brand new website - Marley Delarose.
Get back on Revisions of MOL, two chapters to do by end of day.
Finish Maria Ferrarella's Capturing the Millionaire, an SSE, to determine if any of my Wips would fit that imprint.
Do the wash and fix breakfast and dinner, since CF man is home today.
Exercise since I'm doing so well on my diet plan.

Snacks I enjoy
Did I mention I'm on a diet? So with six meals a day I haven't had the desire to snack. But when I run the mail I usually stop by the Uptown Grocery and get a piece of their veggie pizza. Man is it good! I even had a piece on the diet and it hasn't hurt me.

Places I've lived

New Carrolton, MD
Falls Church, VA
Natchez, MS
Atlanta, GA

(forget that)


Things I would do if I were a billionaire

MOVE, travel, write full time
Build a a few new houses around the world
Learn to fly
Pay for a trip in the shuttle
Help a lot of people

Peeps I want to know more about
OKAY I promise I'm going to come up with some people to tag

Thanks for MEME(ing) me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Diet update

Three weeks in the 6 Week Body Makeover and I've lost 15lbs. Not losing it as quickly now but I'm satisfied that it works.

But the inches aren't coming down like they should because I haven't learned my body sculpting routine or been regular with my treadmilling. And I have to work all week which is very tiring so I'm not sure this week will be any better.

The best thing for me as a ex bulimic is that I'm not hungry with 5-6 small meals a day. I think that's the key to keeping my metabolism going. That and staying away from the empty carbs and my favorite pizza.

I do like the change though. I feel more energized, more disciplined, like I'm accomplishing something..

But I'm never going to have that calendar girl body like they show on the commercials unless I do the two times a week body sculpting. LOL LOL LOL LOL

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Crawfish Season is OVER!


People stood in line waiting for pot after pot of steaming boiled crawish, Louisiana's favorite native food.

It wasn't a great year. Due to cold weather, high diesel prices they got a late start and never reached the size they have in prior years.

I had to talk CFM into staying open one more week for Memorial weekend. But we made it.

Closed til next year.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This time last week

It took two men to get this wheel off the truck to change it. Glad I wasn't on the road with it.

My new website is very appropro with the lightning and stormy lake since I'm terrified of storms, have been since my parents took me to a July 4th picnic when I was 3. The fireworks freaked me out and Daddy said that must have been what triggered the fear of lightning and bright flashes of light.

The storm that hit La and Ark one week ago today was terrifying. We lose our satellite and often our phone during these thunder-boomers so we have no advance warning unless we sit up and listen to a battery run radio 'just in case'.

Last Thursday at 4 am a friend called from Alexandria which is west of us and said 'you need to get up and watch the radar. It's coming your way, 60 mph winds and hail, tornado watches. Thirty minutes later it was rumbling around us but the worst of the wind and rain split off around us.

But about 7:00am while CF man was TRYING to change a tire on the crawfish truck which yours truly was supposed to drive to get crawfish four hours away, I heard what sounded like a C130 taking off overhead. On the bayou! Not.

Let's zoom in on the conversation:
M: What's that sound?
CFM: Huh?
M: That noise, what's that noise. I've never heard anything like that.
CFM: I don't know I'm changing the tire.
M: Okay, you do that. I'm going to go get in the closet.

It was a tornado going over. Next time I'll recognize that and throw myself into the nearest ditch. Mr.'nothing's going to happen to me if I ignore it' can fend for himself.

We got almost 4 inches of rain in an hour or two.

Lights when out and stayed out until 12:30 then a branch caught on fire from an electrical line and they went out again.

Any wonder why I don't like thunderstorms?

After the storm, I caught this guy taking a free ride down the bayou, like a captain standing at the bow of his ship.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Kill the Hero

Yeah, I know it's real life. But that's not why I read a romance novel even a suspense romance or thriller.

I just finished the latest novel by an author whose hero and heroine have fought their way back to each other, out of divorce and tragedy to a new life. They've just solved the latest crime and are happily moving forward when the hero is killed.

I'm pissed!

I've invested time and emotion and money into this couple. For five or six books the author built the relationship between the characters as well as between them and the reader. It wasn't even a satisfyingly bad ending, so I can't quite grasp why she would end it this way.

If she intends to start the next book with the nightmare the heroine was having which was a premonition of things to come or something...puleese.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done..

Friday, May 16, 2008

What do you do?

When you're away from your office, your computer - how do you move forward with your writing? You have to attend a game with your kids, wait on them at school, help your husband with a project (i.e. sit and watch him do something because he wants company but, of course, isn't interested in talking, just wants a body nearby).

I'd been frustrated that I wasn't able to carry my laptop to the crawfish shack to wait on customers to show up. I decided to carry my notebook, digital recorder, my current read on craft, and a hard copy of some other project. That way when those little spurts of time happen (like while I was waiting on the guys to come in from the field with the crawfish to load) I pull whatever strikes me out of the tote and work on it, make notes, write synopsis, or revise with a red pen and highlighter. Or during the eight hour drive listen to a book on tape and record notes for study later.

What do you do to make use of the small slots of time in your personal life for your writing?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My Dream

My goal is to become a published author, specifically to sell my first book in 2008.

How do I expect to achieve it? Through time spent learning the craft, studying the industry, long hours with my fingers on the keyboard, through a successful critique partnership, and support of my husband and friends. By networking in the industry with authors and other writing professionals.

I am pursuing it with the same passion I employed when self teaching myself guitar, computer, manufacturing management. Nothing exemplifies my professional life more than the quote by Thoreau on my Welcome page.

"I have learned that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined,he will meet with success unexpected in common hours." Henry David Thoreau

And like the fountain at Centennial Park in Atlanta, that expresses the music in so many different ways, the mind is an image fountain.

Capturing those images in a unique way is a challenge and a passion I’ve only recently discovered is as necessary as the air I breathe.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Do you need to lose weight?

I saw an infomercial a couple weeks ago, the Six Week Body Makeover. Honestly, I don't know what made me order it but it's been so fantastic.

It is based on your body type which is determined by your answers to a questionaire. Then your diet and exercise is customized to your type. The program comes with a dvd and cds, exercise band for your body-sculpting and a notebook which is everything you need to begin and track your progress for you own body type.

I grilled my chicken breasts and steak ahead on Sunday and ate them through the week, six meals a day, even when I wasn't hungry.

I LOST 10 pounds in 6 days!! I was trying to walk 20-30 minutes keeping my target heart rate level, but we got busy so I hope things will level out this week with a little more regular exercise.

If you're as ready as I was to get healthy, give it a try. (A little heads up - they'll try to sell you a bunch of stuff you don't need like the fat burning pills, etc. They just add cost to the program, and it works great without the other stuff.)

Monday, May 12, 2008


Yes, I had one last week. I'm trying to get MOL revised to send off a partial.

Uh-huh, I've been stuck for several weeks, feeling like I'd never move past it, that it was something systemic in my writing ability. Or maybe I'd just lost the desire to write. But that wasn't it.

I knew something was bugging me about the plot. I'd decided to move on to something new for May and come back to it, but it kept calling to me in this mean little whisper, get it done, get it done, get it done. I knew the voice was right but what was wrong?

Finally, during one of the lessons from Angela Knight's workshop, I realized what it was. The actions of the main characters needed a minor rewrite in the second chapter to make the conflict and motivations work.

So, the cat's unstuck and I'm back on the job this week in between helping Rae Monet design my new website. (Mine was so amateurish - designed myself with the help of my Mac.)

My goal is to get the minor alterations made to the first 50 pages, and get them revised by end of the first week in June. Work on synopsis and query and get that sucker sent off by the third week in June. There's that voice again, I will submit, I will submit, I will submit.

My CP, Leah Bremael has already submitted three manuscripts! That's just fabulous!

So to use two cliches I'll 'Feel the Fear' and 'Just Do It.'

Monday, May 5, 2008

Artists in Hats

Last week, my friend Elaine invited the Art Barn artists to her home in the country for an elegant luncheon. We all wore our hats; she put out her best china cups; her husband taught us how to graft a persimmon tree.

Check out this classic hat.

Elaine and Randy built their little village with their own hands over a period of ten years with items they'd saved from auctions, salvage, torn down buildings, and other odds and ends. She created the French country kitchen with a counter from a county courthouse, installed stained glass windows and doors from all over the world. We took a tour of the Guest House, Garden Shed, Granny Shack, and the main house. Here's a view of the kitchen where Elaine served banana muffins, mini quiche, and salad greens from the garden.

A beautiful day with friends, old and new.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A Novel's Journey

I'm starting a new tradition. When I read Write Away by Elizabeth George I was so encouraged that she included her 'journal of a novel' describing the feelings that plague all authors at each step of the process. I meant to begin this in October when Leah and I were taking the Deep Edits class but we were too busy with all the work. lol.

So once a week I plan to update my progress, my successes, and probably some insecurities which will show up with solutions later.

I've listed the steps to this point in my goals on my website but here's the jist of it for 2008.

January - Began FIMB novella, wrote 14k. Continued writing another 40k on MOL in preparation for Nola Stars Conference March 1.
February - Got to 80K on MOL before conference and spent the rest of the most preparing pitch, synopsis, business cards for it.
March 1 - Met with agent and editor and received requests for partials on MOL and FIMB.
CURRENTLY: In revisions on both, critiquing with CP, getting ready to do RODIWRIMO, Angela Knight's workshop, and start something new. Have been nearly stalled by my internal critic. She's very influential, thinks she knows more than she does.

If I can get through crawfish season, hopefully I can get the revisions done on both partials and get them sent off by June 25th.