Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Talk about evoking emotion. Of course, being a musician made it more poignant. I give credit to C.J. Redwine for finding this wonderful Pantene commercial. Check out her blog for more.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Getting on the Stick

That expression came from using the gearshift to GET THE CAR GOING -in other words - stop stalling and get on with it.

Fear of the unknown has been inhibiting my progress. I've been consolidating my notes and research, characters, paranormal rules, etc. into Scrivener. Sure that stuff needed to be done, but it doesn't need to take forever.

Yesterday, I made some real headway on the file, moving characters into my AS NEEDED file, deleting some old scenes, and making a list of the PNE questions I'd thought I needed to answer before moving on. Turns out almost all of them can be answered as I write. And they will be better answers in the context of what I'm discovering during the process.

Today, I'm going to concentrate on going through my synopses and old scenes to see what needs to be deleted at least temporarily. By the end of the week, I should be able to get my scene files cleaned up and I'll have almost made my goal of October 1st. I'll definitely make the BIAW deadline for October.

Thanks to fellow writers, Leah, Cadence, Michael and Cheryl, for the kick in the pants!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Reading and Thinking

It seems everyone around me is in the revision stages of a finished rough draft. I'm still reading, thinking and setting up the RCPM world. As I read popular authors in the mystery, paranormal, and fantasy genres I'm inspired with new ideas and look at them as examples of what I've learned in the last few years about creating a publishable novel.

In a nutshell:

..Conflict is almost everything
..Characters who evoke emotion and empathy hold the reader's interest to the end and keep them coming back.
..Voice, use of pov, and writing well is what attracts an editor/agent though it’s obviously not a guarantee.
..Hooks are important, little hooks, chapter hooks, the series hook.
..Good characterization grows a plot and optimizes the ability to capture the internal/external conflicts and use of scenes and sequels.
..A unique and believable world captures the reader/editor/agent's attention and these days you may only get one shot if you don’t do it right the first time.
..Pantsing creates challenges regarding the tracking of characters, their traits, the rules of their world, so the more you know in advance the better off you are.
..Know the genre and the targeted publishers’ preferences and track record.
..Network within your genre and industry.
..And LUCK is the rest of it.

Did I miss anything?

Well, I’ve done my part this month to support authors everywhere. I went on a buying spree. (BTW, if you go to your author’s page and use their Amazon or bookstore affiliate link, no matter what you order, they get a small percentage.)

I’m still working my way through the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, I listened to the newest book, Turn Coat, first then I went back to the beginning. I bought Storm Front, borrowed the second from the library, downloaded the third and fourth from Audible. Then I went to the Books-a-Million for Blood Rites and from Amazon ordered Death Masks.

I’m hooked on Harry Dresden. In my favorite line from his books Harry says, “If this dilemma grows any more horns, we’ll have to shoot it and put it on the wall.” That pretty much sums up his philosophy on creating confict. Things can always get worse. I’ll be blogging about Butcher’s take on Sequels later in the week.

While I was at BAM I picked up Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series.
Marjorie Liu’s The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls
Rachel Caine’s first two in the Weather Wardens
Ann Aquirre’s Blue Diablo
THe first in the Southern Witch series by Kimberly Frost
Richelle Mead’s Thorn Queen

Online I picked up UK mystery authors:

Material Evidence by Bill Kirton
Philip Kerr’s The One from the Other
R.J. Ellory’s City of Lies

From audible (they had a $4.95 sale on 125 books! And I’d already been bad…)
Huston’s No Dominion
Kim Harrison’s A Fistful of Charms
Magicians Guild by Trudi Canavan
The Blight Way by McManus
James Lee Burke’s A Morning for Flamingoes
Lescroat - The Hearing
Stephen White - DeadTime
David Rosenfelt’s Play Dead – this guy has a whacked sense of humor. No one gives

And from the local used book store:
An anthology of paranormal mysteries by Liu, Harris, Butcher, Caine, Armstrong, et al
Some PN Elrod mysteries
Nancy Pickard mysteries

See what I mean? Now I have to watch my pennies. The only other books I plan to purchase immediately are Charlaine Harris’ A Touch of Dead, Diana Gabaldon’s Echo in the Bone, C.L. Wilson's Queen of Song and Souls, Keri Arthur’s latest Riley Jensen. I swear I won’t spend another dime on books for two months. Honest. (Holding my crossed fingers out of sight just in case.)

If you think I’ve revamped my home library with those purchases, um, you’d be wrong. I have a LOT of books but they were concentrated in romantic suspense/thriller/mystery before. (Oh, forgot, I ordered the dvds of Dresden Files, Supernatural, and Harry Potter as well.)

Who have you read lately who has inspired you to do something different in your writing?

Update: Well, I accidentally pulled the post off editing it but there was one comment from Leah who said:

CL's got a new one out? Oooh, I didn't know that! Thanks, Marley.

There's one fairly major item you did miss in your list.

A publishable novel needs to be written. You can only spend so much time on plotting before you have to actually put words on paper. Can't fix an empty page as La Nora says. Can't submit blank pages to an agent or editor.


To which should have replied. UH-OH, you are sooo right!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Hmm, yesterday I was sitting in front of the boobtube watching - you guessed it - FOOTBALL!!!! and realized that my last blog was on the first football Sunday of the year. Now, it's not like I only function on football Sundays but the last few weeks, it's been the highlight. Sick, huh.

I'm still trying to wrestle the community of characters into shape on RC. So in addition to eating something that didn't sit well with my stomach all week and pulling a muscle on the treadmill (I told you that would happen), I had to just grit my teeth and plow through all my notes, character sketches, prewritten scenes, to get organized.

I know where it's going, some high points, though I don't know where they'll end up - end of a chapter, end of the book, the second book... My plot is essentially character driven so if I understand my characters' past and present, their paranormal natures and abilites, I'll wing the rest.

In my notes, I came across four scenes that I'd meant to write, so over the weekend I wrote 4000k. God, it was good. Reminded me what I'm preparing to do - and research ain't it.

So what to call my thinking process? I mean it should have a name. It can't really be research when some aspects are totally fiction. Planning seems to involve plotting, and I don't do plotting. Inventing, procrastinating... Then, I remembered that Allison Brennan, a pantser, said she'd been planning her paranormal suspense series for eighteen months! Yowsa! That's a scary thought. But this was done while she was writing her other books and actually it took much longer than that. What did she call her process? Drum roll (bdddDDDDDrrp)

THINKING! (Duh, so much for grandiose terms.) She quoted Steven King who said if there's a simple word for it - use it. Great minds...

Yesterday I brainstormed some titles. A good working title helps me stay focused on the story's theme. Also, finally got everything organized into my Scrivener file. I can promise you it won't be 18 months before I get back into it, more like a month. My new goal is November 1st - the start of NaNoWriMo so I can use the momentum to write a bunch in November.

How many words do you average a day/week/month? How long does it take you to finish a rough draft? I seem to write around 900 words per sitting in sprints, 2500-3000 on good days so I think 1000 a day average would be safe for goal setting. That would be a rough draft in 3-4 months. I could live with that.

On another note, don't forget Castle starts tonight on ABC. And of course, Monday Night Football. (Saints won big time - again - but that's a subject for another blog.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

R U ready for some footballllll!!!!

What. Can. I. Say? It's the first NFL Sunday and what a lucky girl am I. My two favorite teams play back to back. First Saints vs. Lions then Redskins/Giants. On top of that, I have to try to catch Federer and Nadal in their SemiFinal matches between games. (Don't ask me how I'd bet on the Redskins game. I don't have as good a feeling about it as I do the first one.)

Halftime report -

Watching the Saints and Lions play. Reggie just fumbled a return and the announcer says, "The Saints can feel good if they can hold the Lions to a field goal with that field position." Huh. "What about blocking the field goal. Or why not get the ball back and run it in for a touchdown?" About that time they intercept Stafford and run it back toward our goal line.

Not ESP, just a combination of wishful thinking and our fantastic new DEFENSE. And our receivers are varied, many, and talented. Moore in particular has picked the ball out of the air time and time again. And it's great to see Shockey healthy and making touchdowns. TWO in the first half.

Go Saints! I wanted 55-10 but I'll take 45-27. Woohoo, go Drew.

Okay, we're going to have to have a talk this week about fumbles...

And what a shot by Federer to beat Djocovic. You just gotta love sports on a day like this.

Addendum: Unfortunately, that hard match took a toll on Roger and he lost to a very likable Argentinian, Martin del Potro. Hated that but the best man won. Then a great double header last night on Monday Night Football. I was rooting for the underdog, BIT underdog Bills but never again. They blew a nearly sure thing over the PATRIOTS!! Sheesh. I wanted to stay up to watch LSU's Jamarcus Russell quarterback the Raiders to victory but I was sportsed out. I guess he needed my support because I went to bed and they lost.

On another note, some Europeans have expressed an interest in the next NFL team to become available. They want to move it to London. Interesting. Then they would really have to call soccer - soccer.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Change your Mind, Change your Life

Whew! Just got off the treadmill. The other day I blogged about creativity starters and Michael Malone of May Contain Nuts said going to the gym worked for him. Well, that reminded me (yes, I needed a reminder to exercise since I haven't redeveloped the habit) that it was time to get back on the ole walkabout.

So Sunday, I hopped on with my Ipod and treadmill playlists. Problem is, I hate to ease into it. Though my playlists are graduated for an increase in speed, I want to skip to the faster, rockier ones and before I know it, I'm practically dancing/jogging. That's how I pulled a muscle in June. So I'm exercising twice a day for shorter periods for a couple weeks. Close to the end I flip over to something like Mellancamp's Pink Houses which is always good for another 5mins.

I was listening to Mellancamp's 'Your Life is Now' - "You change your mind, you change your life". It always reminds me of favorite Navy Guy/'son' who has accomplished so much by challenging himself, dreaming big and never believing it can't be done. Dream no small dreams!. It's not easy for an unpublished writer to stay optimistic in the face of the economy, the changes in the industry, the bad news always coming out of the media and writers' conferences.

I pull out these great quotes from my first website occasionally to remind myself to keep believing. 'Act as if'. Change my mind. Start with the little things. I have a friend who had a birthday Friday who fairly radiates vitality and youth. A beautiful person who has a great attitude of building other people up. And a sweet cousin who sent me an email this morning that said, "TODAY IS SPECIAL. 09/9/09. THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN IN A CENTURY. MAKE MEMORIES!!!" Even the US Open players are talking about Belief in themselves against the bigger odds. There are writers out there beating the odds every day. Why not me? Why not you?

It's not January 1st, but it's as good a time as any to start over, to carry through with some of those plans and pursue dreams lay dormant. What about you? Push forward today on one dream, one project, one attitude. Be happy, pursue publication, quit smoking, exercise, spend more time with your kids, work less hours. Go for it!

Do you like one of these quotes or have a favorite?

EDIT: I put the blog up and saw on my blog page that Michael was blogging about Persistence. You'll want to read it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The END is near...

For the last couple months I've been in the world building process for my RC fantasy/paranormal. Reading everything I can put my hands on in the fantasy/ paranormal, mystery and thriller genres has helped me eliminate those aspects of the world that I don't want to use, what kind of tone I'm setting, how my voice will affect overall plot. How dark is it going to be? What subgenre is it likely to fall into? Will it be a series with the same main characters or different hero/heroine in each? Butcher, Arthur, Mead, Coley, Elrod, Harris, Sparks, Evanovich, Vincent, Murphy, McCaffrey, Kellogg, Aiken, Causey, Kirton, Davidson, and lately a fellow writer suggested Ellory adn Kerr. Like I said, everything I could find. Truly, the worlds that authors create are as varied as their voices, no matter the subject or similarity of species.

I'm a pantser so doing an intricate outline or knowing exactly what's going to happen when isn't in the cards. But I want to understand the characters' personalities, the paranormal beings and the rules of their species, and put down some of the scenes that have been playing in my head. Though necessary, the prep phase has turned into a time consuming and sleep-disrupting task. I know I won't know everything - I could probably keep doing this for a year. But the more I understand when I move forward, the easier it will be to wing it as I go.

I said sleep-disrupting. Last night I dreamed that the stars were turning into supernovas while we watched and before I could get out of the dream, the weather was changing, the earth was going dark and complete DOOM was near. There were some particularly nasty creatures on the way as well. It was one of those dreams that even as the clarity of the detail fades, the feeling of doom remains. Not like most nights when I awake around 4am and have creative and usable ideas to jot down. This morning, I just wanted to escape to the real world to cleanse my brain with sunny skies and the everyday doldrums of the bayou. I may have to meditate tonight or watch a child's Disney movie like DUMBO before bedtime. Maybe it's a sign that the end of the preparation phase is drawing to a close. I wonder if I'll know when it's time. I sure do want to get back into the story.

My best ideas yesterday came while washing my hair in the shower, a veritable flood of insight. I wasn't even aware that I'd been thinking about the book. It was a giant leap for RC, some of the core elements for my main character's background came together which made some plotpoints (from my very sketchy plot) fall into place. Normally, a two hour drive will set the creative juices flowing but a shower is less expensive, don't you know?

Where do you get your inspiration? When you're blocked or doing the prepwork for your book, what strategies do you use?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Swine Flu Update

This is really important!! the latest update from the FDA.

If you wake up looking like this....

DON'T go to work! In fact, you may need to call the farmer's market for some fresh corn!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Locate TV

I love this site. Often, I hear about a show (like X Factor or the series on BBC on Scotland History) and wonder if it's on our Dish Network. I found Locate TV which offers searches by movies, tv shows, people, sports, reminders via email, new season peeks.

I set my reminders for Dresden Files, if it ever comes back on reruns, InFocus Visions, and Redskins and Saints on NFL. One place for everything! So sweet!