Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Re-Visioning

I know, I'm taking a lot of liberties with the English language here. However, what we do with a manuscript when we write the end of our first draft is revise. We make the prose sparkle, take out all the repetition, all the niggly words (just, then, and, right, actually, etc.), and try and make the manuscript sing.

What I'm talking about today is re-VISION. When you see your manuscript in a whole new light.

When I wrote THE LADY'S MASQUERADE two years ago, I had no idea what I was doing. However, I knew that as I wrote it, I would need to revise it, and to keep myself from falling off the deep end, I revised the previous day's work, the following day before I wrote new stuff. It kept the story fresh in my mind, and allowed me to see where I was going with it. (And for those of you who don't do this practice, I highly recommend it.)

I finished it and with all the hope and stupidity of a total newbie writer, I queried. I did garner some partial requests, but no fulls, and I decided to put it under the bed for safe keeping. I love that book, not only because it was the first I ever finished, but the story itself is so darn cute.

Now that I'm finished with the second book in the series, (And I have TOTALLY grown as a writer), I decided to take a look at THE LADY'S MASQUERADE again. I got into my notes from beta readers (who read it after I queried, yeah, see, told you I was a newbie) and read the book again. Well, sort of. I skimmed parts and basically just re-read the notes I had been given.

Oh. My. God. I can only *face palm* so many times in a day. Don't get me wrong, I have some really great stuff in there, but you can't see it for all the newbie-ness. The characters are way over-drawn, and those that aren't are so thin, they're just cardboard. I skipped good description on the important things in favor of bad on the unimportant. I have no control over my POV AT ALL, and even though the plot actually does stay together, there is so much tying up at the end, you might think I was a rodeo girl. I went way overboard in my zeal to craft the perfect ending.

So what does this mean? This my friends, means, that I have a new VISION for this book. As soon as I get my synopsis written for MisMATCHED, and query my little heart out, I'm diving into THE LADY'S MASQUERADE with renewed vigor. I'm ripping it apart, to shreds, to miniscule little pieces, and then will rewrite it within an inch of its life.

With everything I have learned over the last three years, I have every hope, it will become the book I once had the VISION of it becoming.

Tell me -- What does REVISION mean to you?

PS If you haven't had a chance to run by my awards post from Monday, please take a stroll down.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Well, here they are, the awards I've been hoarding, because I'm just too lazy, busy, link-phobic, to have posted when I received them. There's a lot of linkage so I hope you'll find some new friends to follow.

First up is the Beautiful Blogger award I received from Sherrie Peterson.

The rules for this award are list 7 pet peeves I have --

1) Hearing people chew food.
2) Chained dogs in yards with a fence.
3) Never ending dirty dishes.
4) Blogger being stupid.
5) Revisions.
6) My mother's kitchen reno project.
7) The school system where Monster Baby is enrolled.

This award go to --

E.Elle at The Writer's Funhouse
Christine at The Writer's Hole
Donna at Donna Hole
Lyndsey at Dangerous With a Pen
Jessica at My Thoughts Exactly
Laura Pauling at Laura Pauling
Liza at Middle Passages
Elle at Elle Strauss

The next award is the Stylish Blogger Award I received from Anne R. Allen.

With this award I'm supposed to list 7 things about me. I don't know what you want to know so I'll go with the easiest.

1) Favorite color -- green.
2) Favorite animal -- dog.
3) Favorite food -- Chinese.
4) Favorite book -- Illusions by Richard Bach.
5) Favorite holiday -- Earth Day (my birthday).
6) Favorite age -- 33. (I was so hot back then.)
7) Favorite album -- Heart Like a Wheel by Linda Ronsdat.

This award goes to --

Betty at Bossy Betty
Linda at Visiting Reality
Laurel at Laurel's Leaves
Christine at Christine's Journey
Tracy at Forever Endeavor
Stacy at Stacy's Rantings
Hannah at Musings from a Palindrome

And lastly, I received the Friends for the Journey award from the lovely Donna Hole. I'm supposed to tell you this award started at Michelle Gregory's blog. (Take a peek over there if you don't know her already. It's a lot of fun.)

This award goes to --

Bru at Pitch Slapped Bru is one of those people who I instantly connected with upon meeting her. She was also the person who gave me my very first interview and I was extremely flattered with all the work she put it into it.

Sarah at Falen Formulates Fiction Sarah has been one of my friends since almost the very beginning of my blogging experience. She's always been helpful with even my stupidest questions and is one of the coolest bloggers I know.

Christi at Torch in the Tempest
Christi is a talented quirky writer who has been my friend on another level and even though we've never met, I think we'd be fast friends in real life.

Bish at Random Thoughts If you don't know Bish, you should. Bish has a wide range of interests, writes the most incredible thought provoking posts, and is an environmentalist. And might love Henry David almost as much as I do.

Bridget at JB Chicoine Literary Works in Progress Bridget has the most amazing talent as a painter and writer and I am just blown away by the amount of creativity she has in her little body.

Terry at A Writer of Wrongs Terry is the other half of my angst driven self. We share our anxieties about publishing at such a ripe "old" age. But I've read his work and by God, you can't be that good without all that life experience.

Ann Best at The Long Journey Home Ann's debut novel In the Mirror, a memoir, will be released April 25. The advance reviews she has garnered, make this a must-read for everyone. Her kindness to everyone she meets on the blogs is so refreshing. I hope we'll remain friends for a long time.

Congratulations to everyone, thank you to the bestowers, and although the linkage has given me carpal tunnel, I hope you all go to the links and make some new friends.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Sick Soup and crackers, and a pot of vanilla tea.

I'm sorry I have nothing for you today. Nothing of mine anyway. I'm tired, and I think I caught a cold from all this crazy *%^$# weather we've been having down here. One day it's 85, the next it's 35. I wish it would just regulate to warm and be done with it.

If you have the time, go to this link here and read it. If this link doesn't work, go to Janet's blog from yesterday and link there. I don't have to tell you who Janet is, now do I? We're all in different areas of our work, but it doesn't hurt to be informed.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Drum Roll Please

As of 11:32am on Monday morning, I finished my manuscript. TA DA! I totally blew off all the stuff I was supposed to do and sat down and finished it. I cried like a baby, yes I did, when I wrote those two little words. The End.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to each and every one of you who have given me support over the last few months. I could not have asked for a better cheering squad than you guys. This blogging community is so full of awesomely talented people and I wouldn't be where I am today without all of you.

I can now help my mother with a clear conscious. lol. I'm taking the rest of the week to do all the things I didn't do on Monday, and will hopefully start on edits next week. I've been revising as I've gone along so there isn't much to do in that sense, however, I've got those nasty line edits. I think those are the most time consuming.

I will also be making my way back around the blogs to visit. I've been so busy trying to get this ms. done, I've neglected you all and I'm sorry. But you all know how it goes. The writing comes first.

THANK YOU again, so much for your kindness and support. It really means the world to me.

Now, I'm off to unscrew the cabinet doors for Mommy Dearest. I'll see you all on Friday at the Grille.

Love you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

To Borrow From Hannah

I know I said I was going to pass along all the awards I've been given over the last so-many-months, and I had every intention of it, but guess what. My molly has been flogged. (I don't pretend to know what that actually means, but it sounds right. Thanks Hannah.)

I apologize to all of you who came here for the awards I promised. My life does not belong to me since my mother has decided to re-do her kitchen. I spent the entire weekend at her house going over checklists, perusing floor samples, counter top samples, taking a ride to the big-box-hardware-stores for light fixtures, draw pulls, and whatever else she wanted to look at.

My father built all of our houses and always put in whatever he wanted. My father can't do it this time, however he did build several cabinets so they will be incorporated into the new kitchen. It is an entire gut, floor to ceiling, electric and plumbing. And moving appliances from one side of the room to the other.

My mother is clueless and so I am helping her decide what she wants. I am giving her the benefit of my experience in the house make over department. My mother cannot even paint her own fingernails. Oy.

The two lovely ladies who offered to read my Ellis and Violet book gave me thumbs up on the project so I will not be tearing any walls down there. But because my mother needs me, I haven't been able to work on it as much as I'd like to. An hour here or there which disrupts my flow and ability to think it all through.

I also have several other things going on this week so I don't even think I will be posting on Wednesday. Oy.

My apologies again. I think this disruption in my writing schedule has something to do with the crazy moon. I have to blame it on something, right? I can't blame it on my mother can I? Can I?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Peanut butter and banana sanwiches (non-fried), and a big ol' glass of chocolate milk. May as well throw in a couple of chocolate chip cookies too. Brain food. (protein fiber carbs vitamin D and chocolate)

I am much better today, thank you all for your kind words from Wednesday. I think because I was almost at the end of my book, the stress to make it perfect was getting to me. I did this with the last two as well. I second guess myself, I hate what I've written, I deal with way too many questions, I read too many industry blogs to find my problems. Then I can't think straight. It's a vicious cycle.

And then we also have the time change which has really affected my sleep patterns. It's 4:38 in the wee hours of the a.m. as I write this and I am exhausted. I also internalize my stress which affects me in the form of weird, really weird dreams.

The one that got me up this morning was missing a writing workshop of Les Edgertons. He was giving it at the inn where I used to work. He came into the kitchen, we chatted for a few, and then he went back to the workshop.

What was it that woke me up? I forgot to tell him I was Piedmont Writer. And you know why I dreamed this -- because I didn't read the blog post he wrote the other day and I really wanted to, but I didn't have enough time. Yeah. I know. I really need to get a grip. (Hey Butch!)

Two very lovely ladies have offered to read my book. I heard from one of them yesterday. Pretty good so far, is what she said. So I'm happy about that. I did have the chance to re-read it myself yesterday. Start to finish. I need to add a few things to the ms. But as it stands, I still think it's pretty good. It's just a lot of stuff going on. We'll see what the ladies think.

I know many of you recommended for me to step back for awhile and let it stew. I can't. I need to get it finished, revised and queried before the end of April. I know that's a lot of pressure, but the weather has started turning, the yard needs dealing with, the house needs paint, the pool needs doing. I cannot remain attached to a book with all that. I also want to get this one out, so I can work on the first one again. It needs a little fixing, but I can work on it at my leisure. It's already there, it's not like I have to write it. You know.

Out of 37 queries for REMEMBERING YOU, only 1 partial and 1 full request. So, that one is definitely going under the bed. I think I'm not a contemporary writer. And that's okay. They all say to find your niche, well, I can honestly say, I love writing Regency romance and I think that's where I'll stay, thank you very much.

Congratulations to Carolina Valdez Miller on her scooping the elusive agent. Much continued success to her in her career.

And come back on Monday. I've received another award and I've finally decided to do an awards post. I think the last one I did was last July. So yeah, there might be a few to pass along. And there will definitely be some heavy duty linkage, so come on back.

And you know what, I think that's all I have today. Not much else is going on. I'm going to try and finish the book today. There's not a lot left to write, and I figure I may as well.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Signs of Obvious

Well, as a true believer of signs (kismet fate karma what-have-you) it's apparent that I'm receiving quite a few from the writing gods.

You know how I said on Monday that I thought my ms. was muddied up with too much information, too many threads, too much tension? Well, it's now obvious to me that it's not. Okay, maybe not, I'll let you decide. Here are the signs.

1)Monday morning 1am - after Monster Child's stuffy nose incident, I lay awake in bed until 5:30 thinking about the story. She also did not go to school on Monday and was in my hair all day, so I only got a chance to read through up until the story started to get twisted. I made a few small changes but nothing to sink my teeth in.

2)Tuesday morning 8am - My mother called just as I had come home from dropping Monster Child off at school. I had planned to work all day on the ms. However, she was bringing the car in for service and needed my help, and while we were at it, this was the only day she could go to Kohl's as her schedule for the rest of the week was booked. She had a 30% off card and I had my $200- gift cards from Christmas that I have been meaning to spend before all the winter clearance was taken off the racks. Needless to say, it was 6:30 before I got home and didn't have a chance to work on anything.

3)Tuesday night 9pm - wrote some notes for the ms. Worked out the original storyline I had, while encompassing what I had already written. Worked out to 12,000words, not the original 20K I assumed.

3)Wednesday morning 2:30am - awakened out of sound sleep by a nightmare. Laid in bed thinking about the story again until the alarm went off.

Wednesday morning 7:20am - Monster Child accidentally spilled her juice all over my notes and because I had written them on art paper with my fancy gel pen, all the words are now garbled.

Wednesday morning - 10:30am - Must leave to go pick up said child from school as it's early dismissal today. It's also raining, so she will be inside this afternoon, watching movies, thus not allowing me to concentrate.

So what do you think? If you had all this going on right before you decided to make a semi-medium-big overhaul of your ms. would you take this as a sign NOT TO? Or do you think I'm just wacked and running on lack of sleep?

I don't know what to think. What I have so far isn't bad, actually it's pretty good, but I keep remembering what an agent said to me last year about Lady Olivia -- she's too much in the story. And that is exactly what I've done again. Stuck her nose in everybody's business. With her interference it's a will-they won't-they get together proposition. Lots of tension, lots of wondering, how will Violet end up with Haverlane?

However, I like Lady Olivia in everybody's business. She reminds me of a cozy mystery character. You never know what she'll do next. And through her I also get a little mystery, because her behind the scene's scheming does ultimately get Ellis to get off his arse and do the right thing by Violet. (She also has some of the best lines.)

In the original version, Lady Olivia is not really there until the very very very end, and has only two critical sentences to say to Ellis (and for those of you not following the story - Ellis is Haverlane). The original story is far less dramatic, still with tension, sexual and otherwise but not in your face on every page.

So what would you do? Take it as a sign to leave it alone with ALL the melodrama, or go back to the original version?

Monday, March 14, 2011

14 Hours

I sat on the computer for 14 straight hours Saturday. Yep, you heard me, 14 freakin' hours. 7:30am - 9:30pm. I was on a roll. The word count went from 80,0823Fri. night to 85,946 Sat. night. (And yes, I did take breaks to feed and water the Monster Child. She wasn't feeling all that swell so she mostly laid around upstairs in bed.)

I was almost finished. All. Most. Finished. Probably 3000 more words. Maybe 3, possibly 4 more scenes. But, I stopped. Well, yeah, I was like wicked tired, but still wired, you know. I re-set my clock and went to bed.

I took a break on Sunday. I cleaned the house. I did some laundry. I gave away three years worth of Monster Child's clothes to a man who lost his wife and well, you know how that goes. I raked some leaves, I picked up a bunch of downed limbs. My mother came over with the dog and we dissed my sister-in-law again. Never touched the computer. Didn't even look at it.

At 1am Monday morning, Monster Child woke me up out of sound sleep crying because she couldn't breathe. (Stuffy nose. Oh yes, spring has sprung. Thanks tree pollen.)
I gave her medicine, waited until she could breathe again and lay there in the dark until 5 freaking 30, thinking about my story.

Everything that I wrote on Saturday, isn't going to work. Yeah, it's pretty good if I do say so myself, really full of tension - angst - anxiety. Poor Ellis. Poor Violet. But I have to go even further back than that. I would say the last 20,000 words aren't going to work.

I've lost the original premise of the story somewhere along the way. I mean, it's sort of there, but Lady Olivia is really playing much too much a role. It's convoluted, murky, muddied up with too much pop and wow. I was trying to make every page, every scene zing. I was listening to what I've read, you need to have tension on every page. Yeah, you know what, no, you really don't.

This story is not an action/adventure/suspense/thriller, it's a love story. A basic simple love story. Yes, there's tension, angst, and anxiety, people get hurt, lies are told, hearts are broken. If you only knew what I put poor Ellis and Violet through. Sorry, I can't tell you that.

So, I probably won't be around for the rest of the week. I really want to finish this and I was sooooo close. God, that's frustrating. I've got to go back in and find where I took that first wrong turn.

Question -- Have you ever done this? I mean, found where you went wrong right before you finished? Revisions are one thing and totally a whole beast unto themselves - but have you ever gotten almost to the end and realized you screwed up?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Quesadillas, Sudo'hone, Shrimp Lo Mein, and just for giggles, The-Two-Guys-in-Vermont-who-make-that-ice-cream Cherry Garcia.

I know, I have an eclectic sense of taste today. Goes along with the week I've had.

After the high of Monday, the rest of the week pretty much went downhill on a personal level. Okay, not all the way down, but just enough to make me grumpy. I don't honestly know how people live through a 'rainy season'.

On a writing level however, I couldn't have had a better week. I know most of you don't pay any attention to my sidebar and that's okay, but I just wanted to let you know I'm closing in on the end of Ellis and Violet's story. 77,301K as of last night at 7:45 pm.

Eight thousand more words. That's it and I'm done. I have three plot lines to tie together, a wedding to plan, and a villainess who needs to get her comeuppance. I also found a surprise surprise totally big freaking surprise NEW character who is totally freaking going to blow the doors off the end of the story. (And he will get his own book out of the deal. How cool is that? His name is Rory.)

I wrote some end notes while waiting in the pick-up line at school so I know pretty much where I'm going with the whole thing. And you know, I have to say, as much as I write in my pants, this outlining thing isn't so bad -- especially if I don't force it.

I'm sorry I don't have any links this week. I tried to get around to as many of you as I could. There's a lot of great stuff going on. Yay Roland! Yay Talli! Yay Lisa and Laura!

The writing took up a lot of time, and as you know, the writing comes first. I also got lost for two hours one day doing research, but it was important so ...

I hope you all have a great weekend. I'll be digging a trench.

**6:15 am I just heard about the massive quake and tsunami in Japan. I will be praying for those affected, and for those of you on the West Coast and Hawaii. Stay safe.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Romance Writer's Prayer

I found this quote quite by accident last week. I thought it was fitting to use as a romance writer's prayer.

I am certain of nothing,
but the holiness
of the heart's affections
and the truth
of the imagination.

What the imagination seizes
as beauty
must be truth--
whether it existed before
or not.

John Keats 1795-1821

Monday, March 7, 2011

It Is Worth It -- A Public Thank You

On March 1, the Literary Lab launched its latest anthology, NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND. This is my second time being asked to contribute. (My first short story High Tide appears in the GENRE WARS ANTHOLOGY released last year.)

To say I am thrilled beyond words is an understatement. I am in the company this year, as well as last, with some of the most brilliant, innovative, and imaginative writers I have ever read.

As writers, we all stumble through rejections whether from critters, or agents, or publishers. Being chosen to participate for a second time has validated my very fragile ego and shown me, it is WORTH it. All the revising, writing, editing, late nights, early mornings, has shown me, with publication, it IS very much WORTH it.

My parents know I'm writing a book. They have never asked me about it, nor do they seem to care. Neither has ever asked -- How's it going? What are you writing? Is it finished? Neither also does not know, not only have I finished two books, I'm closing in quickly on a third. It seems we have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy at my house. Which is fine. They do not seem to think I will succeed. (Somedays, truthfully, neither do I.) Of course, it is my deepest desire to prove them wrong.

My mother and I were having a discussion last Friday about the latest shennanigans my ugly, horrible, evil, vile sister-in-law has pulled. She hates my guts, I hate hers right back. Every so often, my mother and I give ourselves a little laugh and figure out things to make her hate me even more. So I said,

"Why don't you call Brother and tell him I published a short story for the second time in an anthology."

(You know those cliches I talked about a few weeks back, quirky eyebrows, raking hands... here's another one -- mouth agape.)

My mother's mouth hung agape, her eyes went wide, and she said after a ten second delay, "You know I don't lie."

And I said, "It's not a lie. My short story was published in the NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND anthology and it's on sale at Amazon for $10-. He can go buy it right now."

Suffice to say, everything I have ever written up to this point, including this post has been WORTH IT, just to see that look on my mother's face.


Domey Scott Michelle

For making my literary dreams come true.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday's at the Piedmont Grille

On Today's Menu -- Turtle Soup (and make it snappy.)

I don't know why that's on the menu. It's been stuck in my head for awhile. And no, I have never eaten it.

NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND was released to the world on March 1st. I am in the company of 22 of the best and brightest writers out there. You can pick up a copy from CreateSpace, Amazon, either in real or ebook form. ( OR go to Literary Lab for the particulars.) All proceeds go to charity.

Found this article The 10 Mistakes Writers Don't See. It was pretty good and I think you should take a look at it. Some of them are so common, you don't even see them. See?

Also Gary Baker is looking for mystery/suspense/thriller short stories for an anthology. If you'd like to check it out, go here.

By an overwhelming majority -- 16 to 5 -- the choice for Who Would You Choose was A. The comfortable man. 5 of you picked D. The non affectionate man. Nobody wanted the Bad Boy or the Ugly man. And I thought for sure, passion would at least be a contender. Hmmm.... guess I better change my thought process for the next book.

And by the by, I have an addendum to add to my Regency Rank & File post. The correct way to address a Duchess is 'your ladyship' not 'your Grace'. That is only for a Duke. Thank you to the lovely Francine who knows all things aristocratic for pointing that out to me.

I'll see you all on Monday. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Who Would You Choose -- An Informal Poll

As a romance writer, it constantly amazes me how people get together in real life. What is the secret of attraction? Some scientists say it's phermones. Some gurus say it's karmic law. Most people say it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time.

This is a picture of Dr. and Mrs. Alan Simpson.

I worked for them for five of the best years
of my life. They were married for 67 years.
Whenever I look at this picture I
automatically think of LOVE.

Real love. True love. The Best Love.

Tracy at Forever Endeavor does a post once a week called 'Would You Rather' and I think it's kind of wild. She gives us a choice to make between two options and boy howdy, let me tell you some of the questions are mind blowing.

So, today, I'm having an informal poll, strictly as a fun writing device for me. I want to see what real people think about love and the choices they make in it. And if you want to leave an anonymous comment you may. I don't want anyone getting upset if their spouses find out what they really think.

As I have more female friends than male, I have written the questions for the gender. But please, if you are a man, do let me know and reverse the gender accordingly.

Okay, here goes -- Who Would You Choose?

A) A moderate looking man, with moderate intelligence and is kind, sincere, and works hard. He shows you the most comfortable love.

B) A gorgeous man, with limited intelligence and is a bad boy. He shows you the most exciting love.

C) An ugly man, with exceptional intelligence and expects perfection. He shows you the most passionate love.

D) A gorgeous man, with exceptional intelligence, and is kind, sincere and works hard. Yet he never shows you love. However, it is understood he loves you.

I'm sorry we can't mix and match these up, otherwise we'd find the perfect man. And to those of you who have, good for you.

So tell me -- who would you choose?