Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve Revisited

Gentle Readers, my night at the wedding is over. I am home from the mountain, safe and sound, snug in my jammies. Someday I will tell you that story.

I have heard this is the first time in 19 years the moon will be full on New Year's Eve. I am very excited because now I can go forward into the new year with a clean slate.

Sort of starting from scratch but not. Now that I know I'm done with the catering, (I promise you, no matter how long I live here, I will never cater another event,) I can concentrate, really, fully, on my writing.

That's daunting, to say the least. I remember the shit I went through to finish Masquerade. And I was only doing it for fun. And then thinking it was so perfect that it would be scooped up in a heartbeat. HA! Said the agenting gods, FIE ON YOU! YOU HAVE A LOT TO LEARN! And I did. I do.

But now that I know what I have to do, maybe it won't seem so daunting a task. There are many, many talented writers sharing their creative experiences on the blog and I have learned so much it's just like being back in college for me. I hope you know that you, gentle readers, are always welcome to comment. If I met you in person, we'd probably be sitting at my kitchen table with coffee.

I hope, and pray, that if you go out tonight, you are careful. It's New Year's Eve.
Need I say any more?

I also hope that you each get a kiss at midnight, a smile when you wake up, and the blessing of whichever God you worship that you are safe and happy and healthy in the coming year.

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve

Well, gentle readers, tonight I have a wedding to cater. I cooked all day yesterday, have a few more things to get ready this morning, and then I am off to the mountaintop to create culinary magic.

I have been grumbling for the last week about how much I don't want to do it. How much I want it to be over. How long this wedding has been hanging over my head - almost 18 months. (It's a very long tragic story that maybe someday I'll tell, maybe.) However, it is finally here and I am relieved.

You see, this wedding is the last of my former life. I made the mistake when I moved from Rhode Island, to think that I could take my life there and just transplant it here. Guess what? It didn't work. And now, two years later, I'm finally realizing the results of that futility.

I wrote a book, I finished it, I queried it. I am a writer. (Some people may disagree with that assessment, but I don't really care. This is my blog and I'm entitled to my own opinion.) I am no longer a caterer, I am a writer. And someday I will be an author. If it kills me I will be published. (LOL Have you ever seen such dedication!!!LOL)

I've always wanted to write and now that I'm through the worst of it, (finishing the first book) it can only get better. I know five years from now when I'm tearing my hair out over revisions for the big kahuna I'll bitch about why I decided to become a writer, but for right now, I'm satisfied with my career choice.

Now, if I could only get paid for it. Then I'd really be in heaven.

Happy New Year, may all your wishes, hopes and dreams come true. May we all be published!!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hello & Welcome

Hello and Welcome to Stephanie who became my friend today. Thank you for your lovely compliments. It's nice to have you here. I stopped by your blog and read the beginning and the end. Not the middle, I didn't have enought time, but from what I read, I think we are of a kindred spirit. So welcome, anytime.

What's in a Name

Before the whole Christmas thing happened, I was trying to blog about some writing stuff that I thought might be important. Character, motivation, theirs and mine, you know, stuff.

So getting back to that, what about the names we choose for our characters? Where do you find them? Are they significant in any way? Do they matter to you or are they just random names you pick out of a hat?

I had the idea for my second book, which I am now titling Mismatched long before I even had the idea for my finished manuscript Masquerade. I needed a book Masquerade to introduce the characters that I would be using for my subsequent titles in the series (there are now approximately six). I also needed to find interesting names. The series is about a mother who runs a flower shop and she named all her children (girls) with flowery names: Lilly, Violet, Camelia, Holly, Ivy, and Daisy. Yeah, I know, kind of trite but I thought it was cute. And remember, I'm into the whole Regency thing so the names are kind of important.

For the men, I actually went to Wikipedia and searched out the names of members of the Royal Navy and White's. I also needed to think in terms of who these people were (members of the ton) and how they sometimes use surnames as first names, (also very big in New England) and what that means.

I do not know, and have never thought I'd heard, the name "Ellis" before but I liked it and so decided that my MC in Mismatched MUST be named Ellis. Ellis Smith, Marquess of Haverlane. Now doesn't he sound like a snob. Which is exactly what he is. And his love interest is of course, Violet. And doesn't she sound sweet and sunny. Kind of purple-y and cute. Just the right amount of saccharine to offset Ellis' stuffiness.

I also found in the blogosphere other people are using my names. Not in any way, shape or form that I'm using them, but I'm surprised that other people have picked my names. I thought they were kind of old-fashioned, I mean, who would name their children after flowers? But they have, and I guess other writers liked them too. It's interesting to me what the 'universal mind' throws out there.

And I will confess right now, the name I have chosen for this blog, Anne Gallagher, is not my own. It's a nom de plume I chose for my career. You can't really be a major player with a name like mine -- no one, and I mean NO ONE can pronounce it correctly and I wanted a name that would roll off the tongue with nary a trip. Besides, Anne Gallagher is a family name, three times over, and I should give credit to my ancestors who wore it before me. I'm sorry if I've mislead anyone, it was not my intention, it was just a business decision. And it doesn't change who I am inside, or my writing, or my character, it's just a name.

And if you really want to know what my real name is, just ask. (I won't publish it here, for privacy reasons of my own.)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Ghost of Christmas Passed

No, it is not an error. This holiday has just passed, it is done, finished, over. It is a ghost, a memory of a yearly tradition that will blend in with all the others recorded in my photograph album.

Thank God.

I am not a big fan of Christmas. Never have been. Well, I shouldn't say that. I was a huge enthusiast until I turned eight. Then, when I found the big guy didn't exist, it lost its allure. Jesus had nothing to do with it. (For some crazy reason my mother, a devout Catholic, always somehow separated Santa and the Holy Family to give us two distinctly different holidays in the same day.) I still believe in Jesus. It's Santa I'm a little shaky on. (Just to give equal measure, I also do not participate in Halloween, or 4th of July. Thanksgiving is starting to wear thin, and I'm not liking the Easter Bunny all that much either.)

I'm also not liking that I'm on hiatus from my writing and no one told me. I'm really hating the fact I've lost more days than I can count. I'm really itching to dig into the story and write the next chapter. Problem #1) The Small One is home. All the time. Problem #2) I have to play catch up on my housework (And let me tell you it's not pretty) Problem #3) My mother is back from RI (Did I tell you she got an earlier flight on Christmas Eve so we didn't have to drive to Charlotte, thank the good Lord.) which means I am at her beck and call once again. Yesterday we left to go shopping at 8 o'clock in the morning and didn't return until 4pm. I haven't shopped like that since I was in my 20's.

Christmas always throws a hitch into my giddy-up. No matter where I am or what I'm doing. It's as if I become a whole other different person and I can't seem to get my real life back. Like I've been captured by aliens and I have to try and live in a totally weird way where I can't speak the language or understand its customs. It's disconcerting. And then, poof, it's over.

Thank God.

Don't get me wrong, I did everything I could to make sure the Small One had a big fat smile on her face when she came downstairs Christmas morning, and I did capture it on film. However, I think if I had my way, I'd spend the holiday on a barren beach somewhere tropical, with a couple good books and a bottle of Coppertone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry & Bright

Wishing you all the joys and happiness of the holiday season. Please Drive Safely, and if you decide to have a bit of holiday cheer, please drink responsibly.

May God smile down upon you and keep you safe, may Santa bring you all the love you can possibly stand.

Happy Happy Merry Merry

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Merry Food

Well, gentle readers, it is time for me to pry my fingers off the keyboard and get some serious baking time in the kitchen. As you know, my mother is stuck in RI until C-Eve night, and so the responsibility of C-dinner belongs to me. Thank the good Lord he did something right and made me a chef at one point in my life, I can cook this dinner with two hands tied behind my back and a blindfold on. I don't like to brag, but I think I'm a pretty damn good cook. You know how Michael Jordan can hit a free throw from half court and he makes it look easy, yeah, well, that's me with a turkey in the oven and a baster. I am that good.

But today is baking day, I always need one day of the oven to just bake. It's a delicate art. Truly. You have to LOVE to bake otherwise everything falls and nothing tastes right. You have to have patience. You have to not be afraid to lick your fingers. I LOVE to bake, I don't do it a whole lot because I'd weigh about 500pounds. The Small One is always asking to bake cookies with me but I have to always say no. She likes to make them, not eat them. There are starving people all over the world, and I WILL NOT waste food, (that's a Catholic sin where I'm from -- mortal no less, not venial) so I end up eating them. All.

And don't get me wrong, I will eat my way through my fair share of the food this Christmas. Come the 26th however, I go back to my normal eating regimen. Here in NC, there's only the one day to eat. If I were in RI I'd be eating non-stop for the whole week. I have a huge family, and they all cook, and become highly offended if you don't eat. (Most of them are Italian, the others think they are.) And believe me when my cousin Dee cooks, you WANT TO eat. SHE should have been the chef, not me.

So, on the menu for today is sweet potatoe pie with macadamia nut praline, cherry cheesecake tarts, and grapenut pudding. Can I get a scale? No matter what, I know I'll gain 10 pounds easy just from having one serving of each dessert. But hey, who cares, I only eat like this once a year and come Jan. 1 I've convinced myself it's time to get healthy, really healthy, like Biggest Loser healthy. so...

I wish you all a glorious, healthy, happy, safe, fantastic, fun & laugh filled holiday season. Be careful of the snow, liquor, and Aunt Miriam with her dreaded orange lipstick. I hope Santa is generous and he brings you all the love you can stand. And then some. And don't eat too much, if you do, take a nap. Preferably with someone you love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weather Related Part Two

I spoke with my mother yesterday morning. She is not coming in until 8:21 Thursday night, into Charlotte. She is on the last flight, on the last plane, heading anywhere remotely south. She also has a layover in Newark, so if she makes it to NC at all I'll be very surprised.

I hope this teaches her not to fly so close to Christmas. I guess I forgot to tell her I asked for snow so the Small One could sled. Oh well. Now my penance is, I have to drive over 3 hours to get her and bring her back. Not to mention, it will be night, it will be raining, and I've never been to Charlotte airport. This little adventure will also ruin the plans I had with the Small One and her father for Christmas Eve. (He might be an ex but we pull it together for Christmas.)

Fie on me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weather Related

It has been an interesting weekend. First, it snowed. For some down here it was considered near blizzard conditions. Where I'm from it was a dusting. I officially tallied in with six and a half inches on my back deck. My mother, however, did get stuck in the blizzard they had in Rhode Island. They ended up with 18" in Providence and around 22" where she was staying with my cousins. She's been to the airport twice in two days trying to get a flight home. HA! The airplane gods have said, Fie on her, we don't actually know when she'll get a flight, hopefully by Wednesday. Mind you, she was supposed to come home yesterday. My father was not even the slightest bit worried until I said, "Well Pop, hopefully she'll be home by Christmas." And he said, "She's got two weeks." And I replied, "Uh, no, she's got four days." Needless to say, now he's panicking and all upset and will pitch a royal fit if she decides to fly anywhere for at least a year. (My mother is a jet setter extraordinaire.)

With the snow came adventures in sledding with the Small One. Believe me you don't want to see this 47 year old fat ass try and get down into a plastic sled. I almost tore out my knee and the mailbox in one fell fall. (Fell 'swoop' didn't quite fit.) I had to do two loads of HER laundry because of all the wet clothes. Who knew I'd ever need a snow suit down here. Or at least ski pants.

On Saturday after the fourth outing, she laid on the couch for a little nippy nap and whatever bug she caught from her last day of school finally manifested and I have spent the better part of two days washing the couch and pillows, bed sheets and bathroom floor from her bout with "The Porcelain Goddess." I'm sure you all know what I mean. There is nothing worse than looking at your child's face when she's pale as a ghost and can't keep anything down. Or in. She's as right as rain now, thank God, talking up a storm at six this morning, wanting to know if she can go outside and play. HA! It's going to take me three days to recover from her malady.

And in a round about way, this leads me to say, I haven't done a damn thing on any of my W'sIP. I truthfully don't think I'll get any time to do anything until she goes back to school. It's disheartening. I want time to work on them. I actually want to finish them. I'm sick of worrying when I'll be able to write, I want them DONE. I'm sick of writing them. The problem is, my biggest problem is, this is what I do...I start something, then I never finish it. My file cabinet is full of half empty manuscripts. I only have one finished and that needs so much revision work I'm afraid it'll sit in Word forever. It's a good story, it's just not marketable right now. I've revised it, I swear, 15 times, but I still need to cut 30K off. I know I have to move part of the backstory from the front to the middle and take out all, or most of, Richard's scenes. Ugh. I love Richard. He's the superhero of Book Three. And upon reading some blogs this weekend I have to make the decision whether or not to leave in the sex. The story doesn't really need it, but you know what they say, sex sells. Maybe. My Christmas wish is to find either an editor or agent who will tell me what to do. I know this will not be forthcoming but I can dream can't I?

Anyway, I'm sorry for rambling on about my life, this is not the place for it however if I don't write something down at least once a day I feel as if I'm slacking.

If I don't talk to you for the rest of the week, please enjoy a safe and happy holiday season.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Being a Newbie

I don't know what to call myself anymore. I mean, I am a writer, Davin said so, I finished a book, Janet seconded it, so what does that make me? Am I still a newbie, green around the edges? Or am I a seasoned writer?

I finished a ms. and revised it. I researched agents for my genre, did my homework, really a lot of homework. I wrote a query letter, polished it, sent it out individually. NOT multiple submissions. I waited and waited, the rejections came in. I am now working on my second ms. in that particular series and have also been working on a YA just because it's sort of fun and not like anything I've tried to write before. (I feel if I write out of genre for awhile, I can get back into my own with a cleaner eye.) I helped a friend with a ms. She liked my suggestions. I've done some stuff on the blogosphere. Kind of critiques but not, you know. I've read almost everything I can get my hands on. And then some.

So with all this work done, one book down, however many more to go, does that make me a seasoned writer, or still just a newbie? Is there a time frame on Newbie-ism? I'm not sure. I feel like a veteran writer. I feel like I've spent the quota of sleepless nights wondering about chapters and missing elements, I feel like I've postponed dinner the requisite number of times so that my daughter and the dogs have ganged up on me. I feel like I've been rude enough to my mother when she calls and I let the machine get it because I'm "working" and she knows I'm home. Does that make me a seasoned writing professional?

Or do I have to get "the call" before I can let go of my newbie status? How many books do I have to write before I can stick a cigar in my mouth and grumble about damn typewriter ribbons and damn postage and damn character evolution (channeling Hem here). Or can I just say, I'm as smart as the rest of the people I meet on the blogosphere and say with confidence, I am a writer, seasoned, like a steak.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Just thought I'd let you all know, it's snowing here in North Carolina, projected totals are between 4-8" in the Piedmont with more in the higher elevations, that's me. It has totally panicked the county. I think it's funny. I lived in Rhode Island on the beach for most of my life and getting snowed in was part of the adventure. One winter I got snowed in 27 times. Nary an electrical outage either.

The Small One is in Heaven. I finally found a sled yesterday at the hardware store and let me tell you how many bread bags, mittens, and pair of socks we have gone through. She is happy so I am happy. I also told her I ordered the snow just for her from Santa Claus for Christmas so I win the 'Most Awesome Mommy in the World' title for today. I hope God doesn't mind.

Anyway, Ellis and Violet have now had their first kiss and it was fantastic. Just the right amount of trepidation, the right amount of lip (no tongue, not yet anyway) and the right amount of angst. I love angst. (I think it's actually the word and not the feeling so much.)

I'm not writing like a crazed banshee, I haven't the time, but I'm slowly making progress, about 2-4 pages a day. Hopefully by the end of the holidays, I'll have another chapter done.

So, wherever you are, drive carefully, they haven't even started plowing, because, they only have one plow in the whole state and it's at the airport.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Editing Revisited

For those of you who liked my post today on the difference between editing and revising you should take a look at my other post from December 12, "Editing" and read the comments also. I think I've explained it in a much wider scope there.


Clearing Up

We were discussing revisions and editing the other day and I think I need to clear something up. I do revisions on my own work. I cut and move, and throw away and re-write when I'm doing revisions. I look for the problems.

When I edit, I'm editing some one else's work. And usually that is a WIP that is almost ready to query. It's pretty much polished. I read along until I find, what I like to call a "grey area" that I think the author should take another look at. I let that person know what it is that I've found and it is up to them to take my suggestion or not.

I do not edit my own work and couldn't even if I wanted to. After writing it and then re-reading it 600 times through revisions, I totally hate it and never want to see it again. I always ask someone else to edit it. They can always find the double and's and blatant tpyo's that I've missed 831 times.

That's all I wanted to say.

Okay, I'm done here for the day. The Small One's school Christmas Party is this morning at 10. Woo-hoo what fun! Someone should outlaw cupcakes at this time of year. Especially at 10:30 in the morning.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Hello and Welcome to Julie Cross who so graciously became my "friend" last night. It's nice to have you here. One little word of advice, coffee, is generally helpful when you read my blog. I don't usually start making sense until I've had three or four cups myself.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Yesterday we talked about character motivation. Today I want to talk about our motivation to write. Is it something inherent? Is it passed down to us from our parents DNA (not mine), or do we find it somewhere along the road of life?
Do we do it for the chance at fulfilling a life-long dream? Because you love to write? Are you a narcissist who only wants to see your name in print? Is it about the chance to make a boat-load of money? (I heard there was a 6-figure/2 book deal out of Harlequin for a debut author last week--doesn't that make you want to bang your head on the cement? Well it does me, and I'm nothing if not honest.)

I'll tell you my story. Promise me you won't laugh. It's kind of corny. Remember the Walton's? Okay for those of you who aren't old enough, (good God some of you weren't even born then) The Walton's was a drama on tv based in the
1940's. In it were, I don't know 6 kids (and don't ask me to name them, I couldn't) grandma and grandpa, Maw and Paw. Well the oldest son was John-boy (yes, his name was John-boy, this was a stab at wholesome family values entertainment and I guess it worked, the show was on for almost 10 years I think)...

I'm sorry I digress...Anyway, besides Donny Osmond and David Cassidy (and if you don't know who they are, you'll have to wait for another post) I was wildly crazy over John-boy Walton (not Richard Thomas the actor who portrayed him, the character himself) BECAUSE he wanted to be a writer. More than anything in the world. I remember the first Christmas show, John-boy got a set of legal pads and he just thought that was the living end. And of course it was a tear jerker show and that's when I fell in love with John-boy who made me want to be a writer too.

Yeah, I know, how stupid is that, but things were different back then, it was the
70's, women were breaking out into the world, we had just come through the sexual revolution, Gloria Steinam was burning bras, God my mother even went to college to become a teacher instead of staying at home with me and my brothers. I knew I would have to become something when I grew up and I figured, I had always gotten really good grades in English, and I liked to read (all the time), so why not. How hard could it be?

(I am now sitting on my office floor, gasping for breath, watching coffee drip out my nose becaue I'm laughing so hard.)

Any-hoo, I tried it, (still have the totally lame attempts at romance novels I tried writing when I got out of high school) had to become a waitress because I didn't go to college. Worked my way up the restaurant ladder, still writing but not really, started my own business, went to college myself, and that's where I learned about expository writing. That was the best -- college -- if I could do that all over again I would. I went to a hippie college in Vermont, it was actually one of the first long distance learning colleges in the U.S. and I had a blast. I wrote and wrote and wrote. I managed to, at the end, pull a not half-bad short story out of my hat. Now mind you, I wrote long hand and had to type everything up on my trusty Smith-Corona. That was 1996. I didn't get my first computer unitl 2006. Yes, it took that long. That was when I went absolutely crazy. I wrote until my fingers bled. That was the beginning of my finished manuscript. (My daughter also crashed that computer and I lost all the files so I had to re-do it when I got my second computer 2008, but thankfully I had written the first draft long hand.)

I moved to the Piedmont in '07 (had a series of unfortunate accidents, found out my daughter was very ill and also found I couldn't work at a normal job -- normal being standing, sitting, walking for very long periods of time which left out most everything in a restaurant) so I decided, if Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Kasey Michaels, and Sabrina Jeffries can do it, why can't I?

I know, I know, not really tremendous motivation, and am probably doing if for the wrong reasons but you know what...for all the head banging and finger cramping and hair tearing, it's the best thing I've done in a long time. There is nothing, nothing, in this world I love more than staring at a blank screen and typing away, creating new lives, tension, happy ever afters.

Now that's my story and I'm sticking to it. What's yours?

Characters (part deux)

Yesterday I talked about where your characters come from. Today I want to know where you get their motivation. Not necessarily the plot of the story, but the motivation for them to do the things they do.

For example, in my current WIP, Violet is trying to stay out of the spotlight with her sisters because of her...I'll just call it her *issue*. This issue is what motivates her to take the job as Ellis' nanny, (because she knows she'll never find a husband), motivates her to stop going to the balls, (because of what she overheard) motivates her to leave Ellis (because of Georgiana).(eventually) Her issue is tied up to everything she's feeling and doing. Pretty much. If I've written it correctly.

Ellis, on the other hand, has almost no motivation. His biggest concern is making sure his daughter Janie is happy and when he finds Violet to be his nanny, he feels he's pretty much all set. He cruises through the story with nary an angst, until he speaks to his father James. And then all hell breaks lose. Ellis' motivation through the rest of the story is not losing the woman he loves. Who is....???

Georgiana's motivation is to snag Ellis and separate him and Violet. Jealous bitch that she is. Her true motivation is the money, of course, I mean you could see that coming a mile away couldn't you.

But here's a question--what if I had made Georgiana a 'nice' character. What if she was just a delightful creature full of love and lollipops. What would her motivation be then? Of course to provide a loving stable home for Janie and Ellis, but then where would Violet be? Truthfully we wouldn't even have a story now would we.

Which is one of the reasons I love to write. I get to play god, like Aris, and put my characters in situations and see what happens. So gentle readers, where do you find your motivations? From the gods, or right down here on earth?

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Found It

Boy am I good, I should have been a detective...because it wasn't in my favorites and I had to do a lot of digging.

His name is Robert Gregory Brown, he is a mystery writer, his blog is called

Casting the Bones

The article is "Creating Characters That Jump Off the Page"



Who are the characters in our stories? Are they people we know? Are they made up completely? Are they you, or parts of you? I once read somewhere (I really wish I had tagged it so I could link you to it, I'm so bad about that) that every character in this man's story was himself. The man, the woman, the bit players. Every single character was made from him, from some part of his ego, id, super ego.

I found that extremely interesting. I mean, really, every single character. But I can see his point. (Wait, I think he was a murder mystery writer and he is almost famous--I'll have to do a little digging.) I think we all put a little, or a lot, of ourselves into the characters we write.

Right now, Violet, my MC, is falling in love with a man who she knows is her social superior (remember we're in Regency England). Her main squeeze is stalwart and forthright and doesn't have a loving bone in his body. Which one is me? I guess I could honestly say both of them. I've been in both positions so it's not such a hard stretch for my imagination to come up with emotions and dialogue between them.

I know this is all very simplistic talk, I'm sure there are other writers out there who could do this justice, but hey, it's Monday morning.

I have other thoughts on this idea, I just have to have another cup of coffee. I'm also going to dig through my favorites and see if I did tag it somewhere.

The question for the day then, gentle readers is-- are you your characters?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rainy Sunday Morning

I haven't been writing. I'm sort of stuck again. I have too much personal crap going on because of the holidays. I want them to be over so I can get my life back. My schedule. My child in playschool for 3 hours a day.

I fiddled around with my blog again this morning and added some more stuff to the content. More blogs I follow, an excuse for my books. I feel as long as my fingers are on the keyboard at some point, I can claim I'm working. I know how wrong that is but I have to convince myself I'm contributing.

So far in the story, Ellis has met Georgiana again, after all these years, and Violet is convinced Georgiana is the right woman for him. Violet knows she can't compete in the marriage mart and so decides to flee, from London, from her sisters, from the love she feels for Ellis. It's so tragic. I know, isn't it great. Now I've just got to figure out who Violet is going to marry. Boy Howdy, what a mess there will be at the church!!! Wait til Ellis hears about it and what he does. His father will have an apopolectic fit!

This is why I love writing. I get to create characters sort of like Aris in my daughter's Sinbad movie. She manipulates the mortals to her whim. It's fun.

Anyway, maybe I'll be able to write some more today but I'm not counting on it. I kind of promised I would put up the Christmas decorations. UGH!!! I am such a grinch.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


A very good friend has asked me for my help in looking over her current WIP. Let me tell you how thrilled I am. I'm not really editing because I don't claim to be that smart. But I am thrilled that she would trust me enough to help her.

The things I have told her are only suggestions which I think is the key to really good editing. No one can do justice to your work but you. You, as the writer, are the only one who has the key to what's in your characters heads. You are the only one who knows their motivations. My job, I think, is to help you find what's missing.

I gave her some suggestions which she liked. And then I re-read what someone else said about her work and tried to find, to suggest, what could be better. What HE actually meant. And I don't have a clue because I'm not him but I sort of think I figured it out.

Editing is different than revisions, for me anyway. When I'm in revisions I look for trouble spots, I look for things to take out, I look for what doesn't work. In editing, I'm not actively looking. I'm enjoying the read until I FIND something that doesn't work, that doesn't make sense, that could be a little bit tighter.

Perhaps then revisons are active and editing is passive. I don't know. It's just my own humble opinion.

What do you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

I've been busy with cousins in for the holidays early, and the Small One has the school Christmas pageant tomorrow so I'm not working on the WIP but I did get a few minutes to read a few blogs this afternoon. Very interesting stuff. Like the title for this post.

It started me thinking where I would be today if I had started writing when I wanted to, when I should have, say around 1983. (Honest to God I am that old.) I could be Danielle Steele, Nora Roberts, Kasey Michaels.

I like old movies. I love old movie stars. Especially the men. When men were men.
Well, sort of. When women thought men were supposed to be that way. And it was all together too true when they found out they weren't. Men had faults and vices and disappointments. Remember Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront? His heart broken, defeated, remembering, he says, "I could'a been a contenda." God!

That's how I feel today. I could'a been a contenda'. I could have been famous. I mean with dedication to the art form of course. I have the thoughts, it just takes me a little while to get them to come out to be perfect sentences. With the right editor, I could have been a contender.

My cousin and I talked at great length about Tiger Woods and his *ahem* troubles. I mean c'mon who would have ever thought a guy like him would have done something so hurtful to his wife. One or two somewhere along the line of his career would have been devastating enough but 10! Twelve! Granted some of them are just looking for their 15 minutes of fame but imagine if these women are all legit. Shame, shame on you Tiger Woods. You have just fallen to #1 ScumBag of the Earth. You could have been a contender.

I saw my cousin tonight. He was really sick in October and his wife told me tonight she had to tell the doctor, "Do not resuscitate, do not ventilate," before she left the hospital the first night. My cousin nearly died. I'd tell you what kind of a man he is but it would take too many pages so let me quote from Jane Austen, "He is the truest and best of men." He IS a contender. He is a winner.

I have been learning alot from lurking about on different blogs. I feel like I'm back in college. People out there are really smart and creative and funny and wear most of the heart on their sleeves when they talk about their writing. I find that interesting. I mean really, truly I do. Because it's such a singular occupation.

I guess that's because they're so PASSIONATE about what they do, who they are, what they are trying to say. Eloquently or not. And I really shouldn't talk because I know I do the same thing.

I am completely filled with angst. I feel like a two-bit player in a B movie. You know, the one who used to be sort of famous but really isn't anymore and she's just hoping for one last big break to at least give her a shot at grabbing the spotlight one last time instead of doing commercials and making appearrances on game shows.

I think all this stems from seeing my cousins for the first time in two years. I've seen Dee a few times but not just one on one time. It was nice and familiar, I love my cousins dearly, and it brought back so many memories of us all together at other houses, other parties, other Christmases. It was so nice to sit and relax and talk. No alcohol involved.

It also brought back some very random thoughts about what would be so different now if I had been a contender back then.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Welcome/Thank You

And a big fat hello, welcome and Thank You to Dominique for becoming my "friend". I went and checked out your blog and it seems we have some things in common. I didn't have much time but I'll be back for a longer read soon.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Working with Pigs Ears

Well, I just had to post this. I did another 2743 words today (because the Small One is at her father's and I did not clean the house for the Mommies Club meeting tomorrow) and the total for the WIP is now 17,280. I am astounded, amazed, and giggling-ly happy. Who knew I had it in me.

I also have to say that most of what I wrote is kind of crap, it's a first draft after all, and I have to keep telling myself that. Davin said something in one of his posts that really stuck with me in that, I can't let myself think I'll write perfectly coming out of the box. No one does. And I think that's been part of my problem all along. I would write, it would be crap, I would delete, and then lose my thoughts. Now, well, I should say, in these last few days, I've just written. I know what it's supposed to look like, but it doesn't and I don't care. I'm writing and that's all that counts. Crap can be changed. What is that old saying...something to do with a pig's ear and a silk purse? I don't know, but I know what I mean.

Thank You

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to Michelle for taking time out of her busy weekend to crop and fiddle with the pictures I sent her so I can have a picture of me for my little blog and all of you now know what I look like.

It came out beautifully and I am truly grateful I have a friend like her, who not only is computer savvy, but is also an amazing writer as well. I can't wait until she begins posting on her blog again. Then I can learn more of her secrets.


I spoke to some friends yesterday and they said that 5500+ words over the course of two days was an accomplishment. I didn't really think so because I have nothing for comparison, I just thought 'it's what I do when I have peace and quiet and the Small One isn't around.' But I guess it is and now I think I want to say, thank you Scott and Michelle for recognizing that. It IS an accomplishment. I know I sat at the computer from 4 - 10pm on Saturday and 7am - 3pm on Sunday. And all I did was write. The words were flowing (and not all of them crap) and I could have written more but my neck and wrists were starting to really bother me. (I have the wrong chair for my desk - I'm really hoping Santa will find his way to Staples and get me a new one- adjustable with lumbar support and arms)

In a previous post I asked "What kind of employee am I that I can't sit at my computer and do my job?" Well, obviously I CAN do my job, I just have to get rid of my child. No, I'm kidding. I think she's what keeps my neck and wrists from hurting most of the time (Mommy can I have...can you get...I want...I need) She keeps me from settling too much into my chair...but also too much into my story so I constantly lose my train of thought. (And this weekend's absence was a one-time thing so I know I'll never have such a bountiful amount of time again.)

It's nice to know I CAN write the way I want, which it seems I've been doing all along but not really KNOWING it, you know. I guess I just have to grab whatever time I have and really, really utilize it, (which I do) but now that I'm aware of it, I can do it more. And not answer the phone. Yesterday morning I answered the phone and although it was a call I was waiting for (no, sorry, not THE call) I lost 45 minutes and my train of thought so we still haven't met the countess.

We have SEEN the countess and have heard ABOUT the countess and her relationship with Ellis but we haven't MET the countess. But we will, oh yes we will and it's going to throw a bunch of water on a bunch of major players. Especially when James finds out She's back.

Monday, December 7, 2009


After having written so many words this weekend I am excited again about finding my place, my head, my focus. I don't know if I've found my voice but I've found something and I need to stick to it.

I am in awe of these people who just keep writing and writing, like the stupid rabbit (bunny) who just keeps going and going. I find I need to take a break from it all and regroup, clean my house, my desk, my head. The funny thing is, when I take a break from it, I feel lost, I complain I can't/don't write. But then as soon as I get back to it, I feel ten thousand times better and have more determination to finish it.

Although I have to admit, I really don't want to finish this story. Like I said previously, I've fallen in love with Ellis, (my MC) and even though I like Violet very much, and I want them to get together, I sort of don't. I want them to keep finding their way to each other, to keep the angst, the tension (sexual or not) going. I want them to keep 'living' in my head. How sick is that?

I don't know. Perhaps I'm just really weird.

The Small One is in school so I have two and a half hours in which to accomplish something. We have seen the Countess but haven't met her yet so I think we'll have some more tension building this morning.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


I have added another 1500 to the wordometer this morning. We have not yet met the countess but we are still at the ball.

And as of 4:30 this afternoon I have added another 1500. In all total we have written 5500+ over the course of 2 days. I am exhausted but exhilarated. And yes, we have seen the countess but have not spoken.


Well, I finally found a picture and tried to cut and paste but this is the best I could do. I am not computer savvy and messed up a whole bunch of other pictures to do this but here I am.

Working Again

I feel like a superhero. After cleaning my desk, I cleaned my house, after that I had nothing to do because everything was clean, Small One was with her father so I sat down to write.

2237 was the final count on the wordometer last night at ten o'clock. Current WIP, the second romance in the series. This has my favorite hero, Ellis. I love Ellis. Have you ever fallen in love with one of your characters? I feel badly for Ellis; he loves his nanny but he has to marry someone else and his angst is palpable. Will he wed the Countess or the Nanny? Will he bow again to the mores of Society, or will he go for the LOVE? Of course you know, but stay tuned, Ellis is going on a bumpy ride.

I also went trawling a bit last night and read Miss Travelers blog...whereupon someone has given her the advice, write what you love, write what you want, just plain write. Her issue was "how do I know it's good?" Well, the truth is, you don't. You'll never know until you decide to send it out for publication and if that's not your aim, then write whatever you want. As long as you like it, who cares what the rest of the world thinks.

And so gentle readers, on this absolutely freezing Sunday morning I bid you good day. I am going to see if Violet (the nanny) can make it through the waltz with Ellis without tripping them and causing a scene. We also meet the Contessa. Hmmmm

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thank you

I'd like to say thank you to Miss Traveler for being my "friend". I don't like to say "follower", as I said before, I'm not a cult.

Cleaning House

After my post yesterday in which I admitted I don't know Jack, I cleaned my office. I didn't realize it needed it until it was spotless. I didn't realize what the clutter was doing...cluttering my head.

I had notes and papers, a thesaurus and other reference books, two half empty bottles of water, an empty box of tissue, a rubber snake, harmonica, flute, three pair of glasses and a very stale chocolate chip cookie under all the piles of paper. I also had about 1000 little sticky notes stuck to the table for quick reference to about 3 different stories. Needless to say, I had to create 3 new paper files for all the clutter.

But Boy Howdy do I feel better. I know, I know. I do this all the time. I let things go until I lose my mind then I do a BIG clean-up and my mind becomes clean. And it did. Just like that. Snap. Putting everything in its place, not only on my desk, but in my mind, rearranges my priorities, settles the dust and lets me SEE the big picture. I am now FOCUSED.

Well, sort of. I'm focused on where I want the 2 current WIP to go, now I just have to sit down and write them. I also picked up an old favorite romance last night and read it through just to see what I'm doing wrong in my finished work and I think I found the major problem(s). TA DA.

I FEEL so much better. The stress is somewhat alleviated, the brain cells are firing on at least 7 cylinders, the knot is gone from the back of my neck. I have the vision and the clarity and the focus now to SEE what I'm doing. It's a great relief.

Now, if I can just get the Small One to leave me alone for an hour or two to let me get some of my thoughts down in Word I'd have all 8 cylinders firing.

Friday, December 4, 2009


As in...

I don't know....I don't have...I can't write....

It's been a long time. First it was the holiday, then it was the Small One's birthday, then it was the Mommies Club meeting...and so here I am.

It's funny, I find when I'm not writing I complain about it, but then when I do have the time to write, I don't. Over the course of the last however-long-it's-been, I've had hours, free time, breaks in my life where I could have sat down and plodded through something. But I didn't. I don't know why. I am ashamed of myself. This is supposed to be my occupation, what kind of an employee does that make me if I can't even sit down when I'm supposed to?

However, big fat however, I have been reading, blogs mostly, because where else can I possibly find people who discuss books and writing, and I think for the most part, I am not alone. There are other people out there, just like me, struggling to write, making time, finding time, giving up certain time. I totally envy those that can plow through chapters in a weekend, totally am jealous over those that find their muse at 4:30 in the morning and write before work, totally hate those that say, "I just finished my second book". I really hate those people. Okay, I take it back, I don't hate you, I'm just so desirous for a shot at being published, the green-eyed monster is eating at me.

As with all this time off, I've been thinking too, about how long it takes to actually write. I started the first book in October 08. I finished the first draft in July 09. I set it aside for a month and worked on the revisions during Sept/Oct. So, all in all, it took me about a year to write a book. In my genre, authors tend to write 2 or 3 books a year. How? I ask you how? Do you not have a life? Do you not have kids, dogs, parents, do you live in a vaccuum?

I have to ask myself is it because of the upcoming holidays? Do I think I'm wasting my time on my book when I could be baking cookies or creating holiday cheer? Spending time with my daughter waiting for Santa? I don't know.

Or is it simply because a round full of rejections told me I can't write. So why bother. Or maybe because a very good friend told me I would never be published if I wasn't a celebrity. (Yes, I am still reeling over that one) Or maybe because my own vanity got me in this in the first place and now I find I'm really just a hack.
I don't know.

What I'd really like, kind of crave actually, is a professional critique of my work. I've searched the web and have found a few sights that could help but only for a query or a chapter. I'd like a real person, real feedback. It's hard living in a one-horse town where no one reads or can even comprehend the true English language. (I kid you not.)

So, gentle reader, after telling you all my troubles, I feel much better, but I still don't know Jack.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Will be off for the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. Don't eat too much. And Drive Safely.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Mr. Bailey says I need to get some work done. I know I do as well. I just want to say that even if I'm not writing, per se, at the keyboard, I do have pen and paper on hand to jot down notes, scenes, dialogue. I even keep paper and pen in the bathroom, which the munchkin thinks is funny but you never know where inspriation will strike.

I worked on the outline for the YA I'm still trying to write. I actually finished it too. The outline. I wonder if I could use it as a synopsis. Anyway, I usually never do that. I'm generally a panster and find sticking to a 'formal' script blows my creativity apart. But this book needs some kind of structure. The word count is different, the plot is small, the characters are one-dimensional, okay maybe two dimensional. The chapters have now been plotted out and it seems easy enough to just sit down and write it. Maybe not.

I've also been working on Book 2 of the romance genre. I have no outline for that. I'll write the synopsis at the end of the book.

I'm also developing another little something something that may or may not make it to the front burner. I'm searching for my voice, and damned if I know where it is. Is that why I can't settle in to write just one thing, is that why I have so much angst with a little thing like a YA. Is that why I'm falling apart every time I turn around?

All in the search for a 'voice'.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Well Now...

It's Friday people. I wish I could say it's the end of the week, but it's not. It's sort of the middle for me. Although Monday still comes in 3 days.

Thank you to GhostFolk for stopping by yesterday. I'll have to e-mail you my ghost stories. One of them is kind of weird. As to the 5 year old story trying to get written, I'm still thinking on it. I need to find all my notes and put them back together. Do a real outline, you know, be literary about it because that's the kind of book it is. It ain't no country fried women's fiction.

And I don't mean that in a bad way. Please don't take offence. I grew up on the East Coast, New England, in the city. I adored Fried Green Tomatoes and Driving Miss Daisy. I couldn't write that if I tried. Southern women have that "way" about them that only southern writers, I think, can capture.

Hot snot on that whole Harlequin "Horizens" thing going on huh? Good thing I didn't decide to persue that avenue. Good God Almighty, what next? It's all over the blogs I read, the writing group I'm on. Crazy stuff man. Makes me wonder if writing is all that it's cracked up to be. Okay I won't start THAT again.

Wish me luck this weekend I get some work done.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Another Curveball

You know how I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what to do next...and then I figured it out...and decided to truss up my books and send them out to Harlequin...something that I didn't really want to do because my books were not created for that market...well, this morning on Pub Rants Kristin Nelson said that Harlequin was produncing a couple of e-publishing lines and one of them was sort of for self-publishing...

I'm not really good with the whole publishing end of the spectrum, that's what agents are for, but basically she said it wasn't a good thing because now ANYONE can publish a book. And how did she say it...this will flood the market of books that aren't being read anyway...or something to that effect.

I've decided I don't care. I'm not going to send them to Harlequin. I'd have to cut 40K off the first book and I wasn't really about to do that anyway. I'm going to go with Book 2 now that I have the seemingly correct formula and do them for the imprint I wanted in the first place.

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. I know what I've written is good. I'm going to make it great. And I will be published if it kills me...and it just might.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Working Steadily

Believe it or not, I did get the chance to write today. I even wrote when I was in the car waiting for my daughter. It's not the next chapter but a dialogue between the H/H on the dance floor. See what happens when I wake up at 4:19. I'm in a better place today because I've finally gotten back to what I love doing. Writing.

Like I said before, it's a kind of drug. And thank you Davin for those words. Every once in awhile, life throws me a curve and I have to figure out a way to deal with it, but going through this last writing, or should I say, NON-writing phase has shown me that I NEED to write. If I don't, I tend to lose my mind.

I'm very happy with what I've done to Book 2. I tore up the first 3 chapters this morning and re-arranged them to THE FORMULA so I'm hoping this is the way to go. If not, I'll have another book under the bed, on the shelf, stuck in my documents, where ever I choose to keep it.

Who knows, I'm so excited right now, I may even sneak back down to the computer after I put the munchkin to bed so I can transcribe what I wrote this afternoon. I love it when a plan comes together.

Decision Part 2

I don't why, but ever since I started this blog it's getter harder to write. Yesterday I was supposed to tackle the new/old projects, it was totally my fault of course, as soon as I posted the blog, the phone rang and stupid me picked it up. I knew as soon as I said hello I would regret it and I did. I was on the phone for 3 hours. Yes, three hours.

Yesterday afternoon when the small one got home from school, she was whiny and petulant and I knew it was from the new medication the doctor had put her on. She also had a few other side effects so needless to say, she won't be taking those anymore. And by the time her little friend across the street got off the bus at 2:30I was on the phone again. My mother came over to see how the munchkin was just as I got settled in to write. The whole afternoon was shot.

The way things transpired yesterday, it left me totally drained, frustrated, and about ready to cry. We went to bed at 7:00. Yes. Watched a movie until 8:15 and went to sleep. I woke at 4:19 this morning and started thinking of the work I had to do. I find it soothes me to plot things out in this manner. I now have a handle on how to re-write the first few chapters of Book 2.

I will try and get it done today but small one isn't going to school, they have a field trip and because of her condition, the doctor reccomends not having her around so many germs at one time. School is ok because it's just 15 kids and they sanitize like they own the company. So we'll see what kind of work I get done.

And by the way Michelle, I'm so sorry for spelling your name wrong all this time. I don't mean it and it's certainly no excuse but my friend Phil says he thinks I'm losing my mind. Some days I'm likely to agree. So I do heartily apologize.

Let's see if I can get some writing done.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The small one is in school, I have the house to myself. I thought through the weekend, and last night I think I came up with a plan.

I always wanted to write romance, they all say, write what you know, I know that. I've been reading it for more than 30 years. I know the formula, I've done the research, I have new information to make the writing successful, even in this economy. I have plots, I have characters, I have the setting (Regency England), I have inner and outer conflicts. I have happy endings. I also have four chapters each written for the next 3 books in the series that I planned to do for the manuscript that is finished. So...

I am going to tear apart the finished manuscript and get it down to 75K and submit it to Harlequin. I am going to work on Book 2 of the series and send that in. Well, I'm going to have to find an agent of course, which is probably harder than writing the books to begin with. I worked on Book 2's query last night and I think I can go with it.

Now all I have to do is write it.

I also wanted to mention that as soon as I can figure out how to post things on this blog, I will. I have some great information that I'd like to share with my readers (hahaha so far it's only Michele) but hopefully I'll get more. They say I have to build up to a fan base, but I can't do that without the books. So I need to write them and publish them and hopefully become successful so I CAN have readers.

So, I'll say goodbye now and go to my documents and write my little stories.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Now What?

I've been having a conversation with a friend, I should clarify this, a writing friend, I've been having trouble with what to do next.

A) I wrote an historical romance. complete at 107,648. Reading a few posts on my writing group page, I've begun to think (and have for some time) that it needs more revision. I sent it out for query and received only rejections. Form to boot. I read it so much and revised it so much, I'm sick of it. I really don't even want to look at it again.

B) I started a project for NaNo, I've only got 6400. It's a pretty good story, I think anyway, written in first person POV, which I've never done, YA, which I've also never done. I have everything I need to pretty much finish it, outline, synopsis, half a query. I'm not sure I want to invest my truly precious time in writing something that really never has a shot at publication. The romance might. I mean, hey everyone loves a good romance right?

C) I have something that I've been dying to get on paper for the last 5 years. Yeah, I know. I've written blurbs, I've tried different points of view, I've written a few chapter outlines. I have the beginning, I have the middle, I have the end. I have a woman's story. Hope, redemption, stupidity, love, hate, more hope. The problem is, I think, honestly, it would make a fantastic movie. I want to write it like a movie but not a screenplay. Does that make sense? And I have no idea how. I just don't know where to start. At the beginning of course, but I don't know what would have the bigger impact, first second or third POV because it would work with any. There are only 2 MC, mother & daughter, a few perifery(sp.) characters, and a lot of introspection. It's a fictional memoir of sorts, or it could be, the way I want to write it. I just can't begin. Herein lies the problem. My friend says I should just write it. If not now, when? Yes, I agree. But I don't know how.

So, what do I do? Rework the romance, finish the YA or start the memoir? I'm all into instant gratification. I need something to be published. I need something to have a shot at being published otherwise, this whole writing thing is going to make me quit writing. (I take things way too seriously and I know it, everyone says I'm way too sensitive. I prepared for the rejections, I knew they would happen, I just didn't think they would. Hope, it's a killer.)

I also have to say truthfully, I'm in this for the money. Sure I love to write, but I'd damn sure love it more if I could get paid to do it. My daughter is the major factor here. I need to work from home. Problem is I have looked into all the crap you can do from home, and I can't do any of them. I live in a one horse town. Literally. Writing is something I love, and Marsha Sinetar wrote the book "Do what you love the money will follow." I've always thought that anyway. As soon as it stops being fun I quit. That's why I left the big fancy chef job I was making fantastic money at with full bennies. It stopped being fun. I don't regret it.

I'd regret not writing though, if I gave it up. And that's how I'm feeling these days, I'm ready to give it up.

Friday, November 13, 2009

NaNoWriMo Revisited

Well, so far, my word count for Nano is 6497 or somewhere thereabouts. I've been reading blogs because the munchkin is sick. I can't write with Ariel, Dinosaurs, Elmo, Woody and Buzz and Jesse in the background. (We don't have regular TV so the munchkin watches movies -- which isn't really all that bad because I've memorized all of them so far, however we bought a few new ones and now I have to familiarize myself with them, memorize the songs and dialogue, before I can tune them out.)

I've been reading blogs,(when I find a new blog I generally read as much of it as I can, learning as much about the person as I can before I commit to putting it on my favorites bar) Editorial Anonymous to be precise, and as she is a Children's Editor I figure she could tell me what is hot right now in the YA department. WELL, what I found out is that the whole zombie, vampire, witchcraft, thing is pretty much OVER.

Hence my hesitation to finish my NaNo project. It deals with a 15 year old girl who finds she and her mother come from a long line of Celtic witches. It probably would be a pretty good story, but now I'm not really interested in finishing it. I'm afraid I was chasing the trend. I thought I could be like so many other debut authors who are now multi-millionaires with movie contracts and all kinds of deals.

Guess what. I'm not. I've always heard, write what you know. Unfortunately, I've hit a snag, and I don't know what I know anymore. I thought I could be a romance writer of historical proportions. 16 rejections. Now I can't even seem to finish a 65K YA. I really need to regroup and fast.

This whole not writing thing has depressed me. And there's nothing I can do about it until my daughter goes back to school next week. God I hate to say it, but I wish she was in school full-time. I miss writing. I miss my creativity. I miss my solitude. Please Please Please don't take this the wrong way...I LOVE MY DAUGHTER with everything in my whole heart soul. But she's 5 and she is so damn good at it. She also has a problem with talking...she doesn't stop from the moment she wakes up in the morning until she goes to bed at night...and now has developed the habit of talking in her sleep.

I am usually a silent person. I don't normally speak until spoken to. People think I'm a snob but I'm really not, I'm just quiet. I don't listen to music, I don't watch tv, I hate the thought of background noise. So writing is a silent accomplishment. I can't really do it if I can't gather my thoughts. (Like now, Ariel and Sebastian have just finished "Under the Sea" and for the rest of this post I'll be humming that damn song. UGH!)

I'm not sure what I'm going to do about the NaNo project. I should finish it, I mean, I did the outline, synopsis, and partial query for it. It's not as if it'll be that hard to write/finish it. I know what's going to happen. And I suppose, hey who knows, I might be able to throw it in front of a few agents. But I don't know. What's the point if I missed the mark. Maybe I should just go back to rework the romance novel.

Well, no matter what, I can't wait for Monday morning at 9:12 because I'll be all alone in the house in front of my keyboard. And it won't matter what I'm writing because I'll be happy JUST writing. Even if it's all crap.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I can't stand the fact I haven't written anything lately. It's like being an addict without the fix. I don't even think it's that I have this burning scene/dialogue/narrative to get down. I filled in the big gaping hole Tues. morning when Munchkin was in school. It's more like I need to breathe. I need to work. I need to feel like I've accomplished something for the day. Yeah, I can clean my house from top to bottom, do all the laundry, dishes, cook and whatever else needs to be done. But at the end of the day it's still the same old crap I've done before. No matter how many times I do it, it'll still be there tomorrow.

Writing is different. No matter how many times I write during the day, week, month, year, it's different. It's fresh, new, sometimes crap, often times brilliant LOL, it's not the same pair of Levi's I've been wearing for the last 15 years, it's not the same dishes I've been eating off, the same vaccuum cleaner with the stuck handle.
Writing is words, nuances, attitudes, descriptions, passages of dialogue, people, places, things, that take me away from my ordinary existance. It's an escape from the ordinary mundane world of dishes and laundry and cooking.

Best of all, and I think what I'm trying to say, is, it's mine. It's my world, my characters, my setting, my dialogue, my creativity. Definitely not the same as my dishes, my clothes, my dust bunnies. Like the old Calgon commercial, writing takes me away from my boring predictable life. It's a drug. It's an addiction. It gives me a high for so many hours, minutes a day. And if I don't have it, I get cranky, crazy, uptight. Does anyone else feel this way? Am I the only one? I think not. I think with all writers we have this thing inside us trying to get out. This monster that we breath, eat, sleep, can't get out of our heads that follows us, lives in us, sometimes even breaks us.

I wonder if Hemmingway ever felt this way.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Going Dark

This was recently the title of another post written by a lovely young woman who was/is having trouble with her writing life. She feels it has taken over her other life and she can't seem to figure out where whe wants to be. She, I think, decided she was going to give up the writing for awhile. She explained how it, the writing, was consuming her and that she felt she didn't have anything left for her family.

Been there, done that. I am much older than people would think and I've lived a lot of life. Some good, some not so good. I've made choices that I don't necessarily regret, but somehow, I wish I never made. I wanted my life to be different than it is right now. It wasn't supposed to be this way.

Gloria Steinam taught women of a certain age they could have it all. But at what price? My mother went to work full time when my youngest brother was in school full-time. That left me as the oldest girl to care for them when they (my other siblings) got out of school. Start dinner, finish the laundry, check homework, and to make sure there was no blood or head wounds. I missed my mother's presence and resented her at the same time for not allowing me the freedom I needed/wanted as a teenager. My mother has always maintained she worked to support us and give us the extra's that my dad didn't. (They were married, still are, but should have been divorced 10 years in.) It was the choice SHE made but it also forced me to make choices I wouldn't have otherwise.

I believed everything Gloria Steinam said. I am a self-actualized woman of extreme independance who is raising a child on her own. Good for me. But at what price?
I am a writer. I am not wealthy. Does the lack of finances affect my daughter in any way? Not really. The only thing we haven't done is go to the zoo.
Does the choice I made to let go of her father affect her in any way? Sometimes, although, HE would have to be a whole other blog. Is the choice I made to stay home with her full-time and write the best possible choice for me right now. Yes, I believe it is.

When I first moved to the Piedmont, I was broken, literally, physically, and stayed in bed for almost a year. I had no choice. I put up with a bunch of crap because I had no choice. But then you know what, I read something. I can't remember what it was, but it was like a beacon, a lighthouse, beckoning me away from the darkness, away from the rocks. I got out of bed. I stopped taking the crap. I got rid of all the stress and the shit and the complications. I felt so much better.

That's when I made the decision to write a book. It was last October. My first anniversary moving to the Piedmont. I finished that book in July. In August I started querying. By the end of September I was doing a major revision ripping out chapters, adding, subtracting scenes, rearranging dialogue, going crazy. I sent out only about 10 queries and of course they all came back as rejections.

For Nanowrimo I started something I know I'll have to finish. It's too good not to.
Maybe that will be my gateway to fame and fortune. Maybe it'll be another manuscript that sits in my folder after a round of queries. Maybe I'll have missed the market push again. There is not one vampire in it so who knows.

But these are the choices I'm making. I even gave up the offer of a part-time job so I could write full-time. Which is kind of backfiring on me now. But still, it's a choice. It's my choice and one I made with my daughter in mind.

Life is all about choices, some good, some bad, some we're not sure of. Who knows where this writing life will take me. I've been hoping for a miracle that I'll be found and published but it's just plain hard work to write the best possible book you can. It takes a lot out of you, and your family, and your other life.

But as much as I love this life I have right now, which I do, I'm free kind of like Hemingway...kind of...I would trade it all in for a decent job and a decent man, and a nicer house in a better neighborhood. If I had the life the lovely young woman describes and I had to choose between my writing life and my real life, I would choose my real life. Hands down. I know that my daughter will suffer in the long run, even though I'm home all the time. I'm turning into my mother for something I'm not even sure will come to fruition.

But that's my choice, isn't it.

Monday, November 9, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update & A Big Fat Shout Out

Well, as you know I was very excited about NNWM. I was very excited about the story I was going to tell. I was very excited about the word count. I was even very excited about filling the big gaping hole in Chapter Three. Until last Wednesday.

The munchkin got sick, double ear infection. No school Weds. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
The five thousand words I could have written, even with the big gaping hole, are not there. I am devastated. It's my own fault, but you have to do what you have to do.

I didn't get a shot to even get on the computer for more than 20 mins. a day so I read some blogs. I found new ones, I went back to old ones, I did some research for the big gaping hole, I checked some more blogs.

It seems I am committing the first cardinal sin, I am not writing. (Yes, but my child was sick, still is to tell the truth, but she went to school anyway. She's not that sick and she needs school. And I need the solitude. It's only 3 hours, it's not like I sent her to "real" school.)

Anyway, as I've been cruising around the web, I guess it doesn't matter what I'm doing, as long as I've been 'working'. It's all for the sake of the book. It's all about the writing. I've found other writers at one point or another, going through, dealing with the same angst, anxiety, gaping holes, hang-ups, rejection, progress, that I've been going through. Don't let'em shit ya'. Writing is hard work. As my munchkin says, quite frequently by the way, "It's all in my brain." She's cute that way. Wisdom from an almost 5 year old.

(By the way, I don't generally abbreviate my words for Capital Initials. I'm a writer, perhaps too old school for this new fangled thing called 'text'. If I wanted to do that kind of writing I would have been a stenographer.)

To get back to the WIP -- I've had some brilliant ideas, I just need to get them down. Today is Mon. and I've got to get this blog done. Then I've got to pick up the small one, bank, post office, scratch that, today is Veteran's Day. Can we have a moment of silence please.

Thank you. Then hopefully I can sit her in front of the TV for a little while and I can get some work done. I actually did have a brilliant idea over the weekend and I've been dying to get it down. Which you may ask, surely you must have paper and pen, scratch it down that way. Gentle reader, I did. Now I just need to transcribe it. Maybe I should have been a stenographer, at least paid more attention in business class.

But I digress...Now, let me say a big fat Piedmont Writer/Anne Gallagher thank you to Davin Malasarn from the Literary Lab for stopping by my humble blog over the weekend. It's nice to finally have a "friend" (I refuse to say "follower" I'm not running a cult.) Thank you for the lovely comments, they really helped my writing "mood". I appreciate the warm welcome, truly, it's nice to be able to share my thoughts with people who understand what I'm saying. I'm a very small fish in a very prejudiced pond out here and finding people with whom you have a kinship is better than totally f***ing awsome. Dude.

And Scott G. F. Bailey. It was nice to hear from you as well. Thanks for stopping by, even if you do steal my Proper Names. LOL (Okay, sorry, one instance where I abbreviate.) And I really have to say, that Halloween post was FANTASTIC!! LOVED IT!!

Okay, so there it is. My Post for the day. 10:17 am. I must get on to other things now. Have a great day!! Remember our veterans. My Uncle Jake fought in WWII. He was a mechanic.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What to do when not writing

I found a very interesting thread on Romance University yesterday from a Kensington editor named Leah who said you must develop a web presence. Which is why I have this blog. She also said it might be a good idea to comment on other people's blogs to show you're an informed and intellectual person. Which I have done, but I also know I have annoyed more people than showed my intellectual side. Not because I'm stupid but because I'm always there.

Unfortunately where I live has a lot to do with my web presence. I have no critique group. I have no friends. I have no beta-reader. I live a very spartan existence with my munchkin in a very, I mean very small town. When we first moved here I asked the local librarian if she could recommend a reading group to join, she said, "What is that honey?" Obviously I am in the wrong place. But I can't leave, I'm here for my parents. It's very frustrating.

I'm not saying I'm an intellectual snob but you know what, I am. I'll freely admit it. I've read tons of books and own tons of books and borrow tons of books from the library. I put myself through college, and most of the people in this town didn't even get through 7th grade. They worked in the tobacco fields. The women my age and younger are GRANDMOTHERS. They had their children when they were 14, 15, 16. Scary. Some of them have been married 3 & 4 times. And these are the women my age. Mommies at my daughter's preschool are spitting out kids left and right. Women not even 30 have 4 kids already.

Now please, I'm not saying this is wrong, believe me if I were just a few years younger I'd have another child in a New York minute...I'm just saying, good God, get an education, do something with your life, get out of this one horse, and I literally mean one horse town, go somewhere else even if it's just for a weekend. Even if it's just to Raleigh. Get some outside experience and know that babies and tobacco aren't all there is.

To me, there is nothing worse than a woman who is not self-actualized. Even if you try it and find you don't like it, at least you tried it. I read Kiirkegard and didn't understand a damn thing he said, but at least I tried.

So I hope dear reader, now you know why I have this blog and make my pain in the ass presence known on other blogs. I have no one to talk to. I have no one who understands me or even can 'get' what a query is, never mind a logline or a pitch. Forget about Kiirkegard.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Had to go out and rake leaves this morning with the munchkin. She's out of school - election day.

However, I now have 4876 words for the new WIP. I hate to say it, and I really shouldn't because I don't want to jinx myself, but it's almost easy. Sort of, see I got myself stuck this morning with research, and I knew I was going to. I suppose I could leave a big blank space and in the middle of it put the words - come back to - write the next couple of chapters (I do know where the plot is going) and fill in the blank space another time...I suppose I could do that. But I know I won't. Maybe I will. I guess it depends on what I find in my own library by way of research. Maybe that too will be easy. Don't know.

I have to finish the leaves.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Auspicious Beginnings

I started my own version of NaNoWriMo yesterday and found on my word count I had 3510.
Pretty good I think considering I have no idea what I'm doing.

I'm writing in first person POV which I have never done. I am also writing from a 15-year-olds POV something else I have never done. I am also writing about the dark arts, which I know a little about, but have never put on paper. Scary stuff.

I think I am excited about this new WIP but I'm not sure. The whole rejection thing on Saturday caused a major meltdown in my creative process but I think I survived. I ate a bunch of white chocolate chip/macadamia nut cookies which appeased my depression somewhat and I feel better for it. Chocolate always helps.

Now, if I can stay focused long enough to finish this before December 15 (Yes, I know I'm cheating with 2 extra weeks, but please don't hold that against me) I might be able to work on the query. Then revisions by Christmas.

If all goes according to plan.


I did not grow up with a computer. I am older than 45 and did not actually get a computer until I was 43. It seems after reading so many blogs I have no computer etiquette.

I didn't know you had to introduce yourself.

I didn't know you had to thank, acknowledge people who comment on your blog.

I didn't know you had to keep your blogs to 250 words or a query.

Well, so many things to know on-line, makes me wish for the old days when a simple 'thank you' note and snail mail would do.

So for those of you I have insulted, I do so heartily apologize.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen. When the clock strikes, please open your book and make sure your pencils are sharpened. Or, your laptops are on, or your keyboard is functioning. You know what I mean. It is time for NaNoWriMo.

It is strange I would think about NaNoWriMo at all. Who could possibly write a novel, at least 55,000 words in a month. I don't know, certainly not me, before yesterday anyway, but I'm going to give it a try.

Three incidents coincided yesterday to completely rattle my set, very staid life, such as it is. I should say my writing life. I am a writer of historical romance. (remember that, then you can remind me later)

#1) Yesterday was Halloween which I did not know until 4:00 when George, at the Gas n' Go, asked if I was going to bring my daughter up to town for the outside Halloween party. I had not thought of a costume because last year when we went to this same party, my daughter cried and wanted to come home 5 minutes after we got there. Skip to last night after throwing a makeshift costume together, she lasted 20 minutes and upon arriving home said, "I don't think I want to do this again next year. It's just candy." No rides, no games, no fun, just the uptown merchants handing out candy. And a bunch of really scary people, some in costume, some not.

#2) I received a rejection yesterday morning, 23 hours after putting it through the e-mail. This was to one of my B-list e-mail agents. Actually, she was my #1 B-list e-mail agent because on her blog she specifically asked for Regency writing and she would love it if, you took the sex out the book it could stand alone by itself. Well, yes, my book does that. (The only reason she's B-list is she's not AAR.) Anyway, I got a form rejection that said my book was not what the agency was looking for. Naturally I wanted to write her and say, "Well take the damn thing off your blog" but I didn't.

#3) I found another writer's blog yesterday morning and read with wild abandon... she has been writing her blog for almost 2 years, heart on her sleeve, witty, charming, funny, writes YA, and didn't get an agent until 6 months ago. I was blown away. She said she queried almost 100 agents for the first book. 60 for the second. She finally landed Nathan Bransford. She also said she writes 1000 words a day. Which I thought was pretty impressive.

Last night was also the start of Daylight Saving Time. Naturally I was up at an ungodly hour. Thinking about the three previous paragraphs. So I decided to give up on my historical romances for the nonce (LOL) and develop a YA manuscript with a little paranormal stuff thrown in for good measure.

I have a main character, semi-plot, antagonist (I think), and nothing to lose. The romance isn't going to cut the mustard (obviously) and every agent blog I've read in the last two weeks is clamoring for YA. I haven't a clue about vampires (besides Twilight has already been done) but I do have a notion about witches and Celtic lore.

So, here I am, the first day of NaNoWriMo, hopefully being able to write 1000 words a day. If nothing else, I'll have 30,000 words by the end of the month. Maybe more. Wish me luck.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekend Writing

It's the weekend and my writing time is different now than it is during the week. Monday through Friday I write in the mornings from 9-12 when my daughter's in school and 1-4 after lunch while she plays with her little friend across the street. Now that it's Saturday I only have so many hours - minutes really - where I can do something on the computer before I hear, "Mommy I need...Mommy I want...Mommy can you help me....Mommy I'm hungry..." The list is endless.

Yes, weekend writing is different as well. I can't get into a flow because of all the constant interruptions so on the weekends I generally do revisions or re-read chapters. Somtimes if I have enough time I may do a smaller separate scene and put it in its own file for later to fit in with the wider manuscript later. Weekend writing is different but it is still writing.

I also review my agent lists. I know at some point this weekend I will have to dig out all my notes on my A-list snail mail agents and decide which packets will go out on Monday morning. I was hoping to avoid the whole snail mail bit, I am a big fan of being green, but a writer's got to do what a writer's got to do.

Weekend writing will be different this weekend because I smashed my middle finger in between the very heavy screen door and doorjamb yesterday and boy howdy, holy mackeral, did it HURT!!! Still does and is swollen, so I'm pecking and hacking even now.

Weekend writing is less frantic, less harried, because I also know I have no time limits. I have no time period so whatever I get done, or started, is a bonus for me. During the week I know I only have 3 hours to make my little world happen so I make the most of it. I also try and clean the house and finish laundry so on Monday I don't have that all hanging over my head and I can concentrate on my next WIP.

Weekend writing -- it has begun -- "Mommy can you go upstairs and get me some Apple Circles cereal?" I wish you all well, writing warriors, to struggle as best you can through the weekend.

Friday, October 30, 2009


And so it begins, the first rejection letter in my inbox was from the "K" Agency. It was a form rejection which doesn't really bother me, but then again it does. Considering all the crap I've read lately in my genre makes me want to scream because my book is absolutely fantastic! LLLOL. Actually I think my book is pretty good, it follows the 'formula' for a good romance, it has a little mystery thrown in, the protagonists are wholesome, decent people and the antagonist is a creep. Of course this is all subjective because no one else has read the manuscript and I'm going on what I think. But that's neither here nor there.

So, after I post this I start sending out my B-list e-mail queries and hopefully I'll find someone who wants to represent me. I'm still hoping, praying that one of my A-listers will take me on but everything is relative at this point. I only want to get the damn thing published.

It's funny when I started this whole idea that I only wanted to get it finished. Never knowing what it entailed until after I finished writing it. Now that I know I almost, mind you I said almost, want to get a 'real' job. But that's the rejection talking. There is nothing I want more than to be a published author. Have since I was 14. And don't get me wrong, I'm not hoping to be Faulkner or Hemingway, or even Julia Quick or Susan Wiggs, okay maybe those two; the most important thing to me right now is that I get published.

Maybe I bit off more than I can chew. Maybe it's the damn economy. Maybe it really is that my book sucks. But I don't believe that for one second.

Someone once asked me a long time ago if I had any passion. At the time I didn't know to what he referred, now I do. THIS is my passion. Writing is my passion. And I know I'm not the greatest writer, I don't have any hope to be on Oprah, or gain the New York Times Bestseller list, not yet anyway, but writing is what I want to do. I'm a storyteller. And I have some pretty good stories to tell.

I have to remember, always remember, Nolite te bastardes carborundorum, and for those of you who don't speak Latin this is "Don't let the bastards grind you down."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Beginning part two

Janet Reid said that if you have FINISHED a manuscript you are entitled to call yourself a writer. Davin Malasern said the same thing a few weeks ago (Literary Lab). So, I am a writer.

That being said, finally, now comes the hard part. Waiting. I've been waiting since last weekend for the 5 agents I queried to get back to me. The ones who said they would get back to me within a two week time frame. It has now been ten days. Those are my A-list e-mail queries. I also have A-list snail mail agents to query. If those fail, I have B-list e-mail and B-list snail mail. I don't have C-list.

Every agent blog I have read (and I've read quite a few) says that you have to start the next book while waiting. I've tried. I actually already have the first four chapters written on book number two and the first three on book number three and a synopsis of sorts on book number four. It doesn't help with the waiting.

Every day, twice a day I check my e-mail address to see if someone, anyone, has sent anything. Yes, we love it, no we hate it, form rejection, rejection with some praise...nothing. You have no unread e-mails in your box. It's depressing. It's frustrating and needless to say it almost, almost makes me want to give up this whole idea and go work at fast food chain number one. (Just so you know, I will never work for a fast food chain -- did it when I was 16 and I will never smell like a french fry again.) But you know what I mean.

I have the luxury of being able to write full time. Like a job. Almost like a job. I have no boss, I have no deadlines, I have no phone to answer or people to deal with. But this is the hardest job I've ever had. I have to MAKE myself work, type, rearrange my drafts, revise, revise, revise, and with no critique partner or beta-reader, I don't catch all the mistakes, the gaffs, the holes.

The other morning I awoke at 2:13 in a cold sweat. One of my heroes couldn't possibly have been where he was supposed to be and do the things he was supposed to do because at the time he was fighting Napolean. Talk about crazy. So at 2:19 I was sitting at my computer rewriting chapter 17, and the prologue and half the dialogue in chapter 8. I suppose I could have waited until my daughter went to school to do it, but the manuscript is out in query to five different people -- what if they wanted a partial or full the very next day??? How stupid would I have looked to send it out with such a blatant mistake.

This is why I am a writer? To be tortured with angst and wake up at 2:13? No I am a writer because I have stories to tell. They might not be Hemingway or Faulkner or Flannery O'Conner stories but they are mine and I want to tell them. I want someone to say to me, just once, "I LOVED your book, it was FANTASTIC! I never wanted it to end." This is why I am a writer.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Beginning

Well it seems I now have a Blog I can call my very own. I'm sure this will be an interesting experience, so here goes.

I am a writer. It took me 37 years to say that but there it is. I have finished a manuscript and am now looking for an agent. I guess that makes me a writer. However, I would like to be an author, which means that I need to be published. Not so big a wish on my birthday candles.

I also didn't think that writing would be harder than any twelve hour shift I worked as a waitress. But it is. And more aggravating than any jerk who wants ketchup with his baked potatoe. I have screamed and cried and torn out my hair and yelled at my child, and yelled at myself and put off the housework, and sometimes dinner, all in the name of just getting one more page written, one more draft revised, one more query re-written and re-written and re-written.

Nathan Bransford recently had a post about what writers give up to get what they want - to be published. It was an extremely enlightening post and made me want to go back to waitressing ASAP because I was doing almost all the things the post said not to do. All to be published.

To have my name on a jacket cover, to walk into Borders or Barnes & Noble and see my name (or more precisely, my nome de plume) on the bookshelves, to know that someone in NYC is discussing me and my book and talking about MONEY at the same time. LOL

This is what we, as writers, all crave. To know that we've created something that no one else has, okay, maybe this isn't what I mean to say, I write genre fiction, romance to be precise, so it HAS been done, a thousand million times before, but that's okay. No one has ever written MY story, done so in MY voice.

It's all very exciting really, and more than frustrating, especially when I KNOW that the book I've written is SO MUCH BETTER that the last 5 books I've read in my genre, and WHY the HELL can't I find an agent to represent me because I will make everyone involved a boatload of moolah. ARGH!!!

Such is the life of a writer. And I knew it going in, when I gave up the restaurants, and the easy cash, and the life on the beach, (the great life I had on the beach) to move to the Piedmont to be with my aging/ill/crazy parents, so my daughter could be with her grandparents and we would maybe have a better life (than on the beach??? I don't think so) but here I am - finally able to call myself A WRITER.