Monday, December 31, 2012

Falling on my Face

Good Morning. Happy New Year's Eve. I don't celebrate New Year's. I think in all my years on the party circuit I only went out twice. It's true. And believe it or not, I still have the little black dress that I wore the New Year's Eve Nate kissed me at midnight. (1992) That night would make such a great story. Two people see each other across a crowded room, the grandfather clock chimes midnight, and there was Nate, striding across the room to kiss ME! God I was in love with that man. Our relationship was kind of like a cross between When Harry Met Sally and Caddyshack. Only instead of golf it involved boat racing. He's happily married now with a bunch of kids in Florida, but he'll always be one of those men I hold in my heart forever.

Anyway. Falling on my face. Uh, yeah, I did. Two days after Christmas. I was carrying in the toaster oven and tripped over the dog, BLAM, landed with my top lip on the edge of the toaster oven. Tore the crap out of my lips, bled like a stuck pig for about 6 hours. I had no idea lips could bleed so much. I busted something in my face where my two front teeth are, still feel the tingling and have been praying that I don't lose them. Waiting for them to turn black and blue like the rest of my face.
So, let this be a lesson to all of you going out tonight, be careful where you walk, beware of dogs,  and try not to carry toaster ovens.

On another note, I was almost finished with THE EARL'S ENGAGEMENT. Had the final climax written, working on the denoument, and then realized it sounded too much like the plot ending from MASQUERADE. So guess what I did? Stripped it, 8500 words worth, all the way down to Chapter 24. Believe me, it wasn't easy. I want this book finished and out there, I have big things happening in the next few weeks and I don't need this hanging over my head. So that's where I've been, what I've been doing. Still working. Even on Christmas Day.

So, no resolutions for me. Hate them. I mean why try and do something that you know you can't do. I mean, sure I want to lose 40 pounds, but why start a diet on Jan. 1 when I know it's still winter. I'm still in chocolate mode. I'll wait until March when the weather breaks and I can walk everyday.

Okay, so gotta fly, have to finish ENGAGEMENT. Have a great time for those of you who go out. And like I said, beware of toaster ovens.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Next Big Thing

I know, unusual for me to post on a Wednesday, but here I am.
Rick Daley tagged me for this meme (and sent me an email to boot) so I just had to participate.

What is the title of your next book?


Where did the idea for the book come from? 

As Monster says when she gets ideas, "From my brain." No, seriously, when I was writing THE LADY'S FATE, I found the Earl of Bailey so intriguing, I just had to write a story about him.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical romance, or Regency romance.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

Rosamund Briden
Earl of Bailey

Lady Briden

Lord Briden
Gibbs, the butler

(All photos courtesy of the International Movie Data Base and PBS and A&E Movie website.)

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Good question. I have no idea. I haven't worked that out yet.

When Lord Bailey decides to act as fake fiance' for a friend, falling in love with her was not part of the plan. 

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


How long did it take you to write the first draft?

I'm not quite done with it yet. About 30K more words to go. I started it back in May, but with moving and fixing up the old house it was a rough summer. I've had more time in the last two weeks and have been banging out amazing word counts (even for me) because I just want to get it done.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Hmmm.... I don't really know. I don't think I've read anything like it recently. Then again, I haven't actually had time to read anything in a long time. It's a stand alone novel but within a series. It's considered a sweet romance because there's no sex, but there is lots of yearning. 

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When I met Lord Bailey, I always knew I wanted to use him in his own book. But I had no real story. Then last Christmas I heard from my childhood best friend. I asked after her parents (the Bridens) and they had both passed away. Incredibly sad for me to hear. They were such great people. So I decided to use George and Mildred as the parents of my heroine so they will live on in my memory (and I suppose the annals of history.) This book will be dedicated to them. (And the "real" Lord Bailey. He too is a real person.)

What else about the book might pique the readers' interest?

This is not a fluffy light sweet historical. This particular book deals with some very real present day issues like old age, poverty in the midst of wealth, family dynamics, sexual harassment, and what strengths we use to overcome diversity.

I'm trying to get the e-version out right after Christmas. It will also be in paperback in the spring.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Keeping Things in Perspective/Don't Stop Me Now

I've never been one to look at the past. You can't change it, there's no do-over, so learn from the lessons it has brought and keep moving forward. That being said, I heard one of my favorite songs the other day on the radio and because I was in a singing mood, went absolutely crazy in the car -- one of my most favorite and best places to sing! The volume was up so loud, people waiting in line at the red light rolled up their windows. I didn't care.

The song "Don't Stop Me Now" is by Queen (one of the best rock and roll bands to come out of Great Britain) and every time I hear it, it just makes me feel warm and fuzzy all over. Add to that, I read a few posts by the lovely Stina Lindenblatt last week about Writing a Business Plan for 2013.

Now some might say that "We're writers, we don't need no stinking plan -- we're artistes." Yeah, that isn't going to cut it anymore. Even if you're going the traditional route, you still need a plan. How many books you're going to write, how many short stories, if you go the self-pubbing route, there's a whole mess of stuff you need to learn how to do (even if you pay someone to format your books and do your covers you really should at least know the basics of how to do it), traditional route brings queries, synopsis, finding a pub house or an agent.

And let me tell you how much I hate learning new stuff. When I was a chef at The Stone House Club our big days were Easter and Mother's Day. Every year the owner's wife would make the petit chou. (cream puffs)It's not really all that hard, it just takes an inordinate amount of patience if you want the puffs to come out light and fluffy. I mean, who wants a flat, lifeless, cream puff right? I never wanted to learn how to do it because frankly, I just didn't want to. That was Ginny's mien, she loved doing it, and so why should I? Well, one year she was very sick and couldn't do it. Guess who had to take over. I spent 5 days before Easter that year making batches of the stuff, and just couldn't get it right. Over and over, into the mixing bowl, to the oven, dumping batch after batch into the garbage. They just weren't as good as hers. Until, I adjusted my attitude about how much I hated the stupid recipe, relaxed, and gently reminded myself that people were counting on me. The final batch of puffs were fabulous.

You may ask, what the hayzoo do Queen, 2013 writing aspirations, and cream puffs have to do with anything.

And the answer is, it's all in your perspective. I learned a long time ago, that if you don't love something, it won't love you back. That goes for cream puffs, formatting, raking leaves, painting ceilings, or washing the car. You have to give your whole heart to whatever it is or it will end up being flat and lifeless.

Which is why I'm a writer. I LOVE it. There's nothing in the world I have ever wanted to do more and because I've worked damn hard at it, there's a joy in my heart that I've never actually had before. Now some people say I've become self-actualized. (Big fancy psychologist term that just means I've come into my own.) I've become the person I've always wanted to be.

And sure, there's a whole lot of stuff I just hate about writing -- formatting, writer's block, sales slumps, bad reviews --  but that never outweighs why I love it. It's all in my perspective. Sure my writing goals for next year are crazy nuts (2 more contemporary romance novels, 3 more Regency romances, a few novellas, and I have even been thinking about jumping back into the query pool to go looking for an agent). Yes, they're big and lofty, and just trying to wrap my brain around 500,000 perfectly publishable words is a little daunting. But, I can't think of anything I would rather do.

No, my goals might not be met. And I learned that even the best laid plans can go astray. But I also learned that if you love something that much, even when the bumps in the road become mountains, just stay strong and carry on. Even on my worst days when I'm crying into my keyboard, I wouldn't change my life one bit.

It's all in your perspective.

As Freddy Mercury says

Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time. I'm having a ball.

Tell me -- What are some of your goals in 2013? What do you need to keep things in perspective?

And the link above is for those of you who can't view this from my blogpost. I'm still technically deficient. Something else I have to learn.And please do watch it at some point. If you aren't singing by the end of the  song, well...I guess my goal to make you super-sonic didn't work.


Also, after the tragedy of last Friday in Newtown CT, can we all say a prayer for those poor people. A day like that will surely keep things in perspective for me.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Lesson On The Dreaded November Sales Slump

For those of you with published books, myself included, November was a total disappointment in sales. Now, I've read a few blogs by more enlightened people than myself, and this is the way it goes. People are gearing up for the holidays and the extra money they use to buy books, they're now using for themselves.

We can't fault them for that. I do the same thing.

Come December 26, all will be right in our little worlds again, because of all the gift cards and shiny new e-readers given as gifts. Yay for us.

However, in studying my stats for November, I also remember that Hurricane Sandy hit during the first week in November. In 1991 Hurricane Bob hit Rhode Island and I was homeless for 6 weeks. My beloved beach house where I lived was wrecked beyond comprehension. Rocks filled the driveway, the yard, my 200 gallon propane tank that I used for heating and cooking floated in the estuary behind the house, the National Guard wouldn't let us come down the road to survey the damage, Coastal Resources wanted to condemn the house although it was still standing.

My world was thrown for a giant loop, trying to work, figure out which friend I could bum a couch off to sleep on or a shower, what to do with my dog. I slept in my car for week on the public beach. It was a nightmare to be sure. No, I didn't lose my stuff, I had days to move my things to higher ground, but I did lose my home.

That hurricane was a lesson I've never forgotten. It doesn't matter what you have, the stuff you accumulate through the years. What matters is that you survive the bad things that happen. That you, and your children and your pets are okay. Towels, kitchen gadgets, furniture can be replaced. Human lives cannot.

After surviving a disaster like Hurricane Bob, I know how those people who lived through Hurricane Sandy feel. Shock and awe comes to mind, then the mind-numbing emotional crippling -- What are we going to do now?

So, as we all commiserate our falling sales, can we just remember there are people who have lost so much more than that. Our lives will be on the upswing in just a few more weeks. For those people who have lived through Hurricane Sandy, they will be recovering for months or years to come.

Let's keep November in perspective.

Monday, December 3, 2012

How Wearing Work Boots Can Help Make You a Better Writer

Okay I know, this isn't like a craft book or a writing class or anything like that, but bear with me and I'll try and explain. As you know, I've been working on the old house for the last forever it seems. One thing I learned a long time ago working with my carpenter brother is you need a good pair of work boots. They keep your ankles firm while climbing a ladder, they keep your toes from being broken if you have to kick something, and believe it or not, after they're broken in, they really are comfortable -- something about those big thick soles keep you firmly on the ground. Definitely not like high heels, no chance of breaking your ankle because you fell off them.

Okay, so this is what I basically look like, sans the beard. Oh, and add some thick hiking socks, the kind with the red band around the top. Yup, that's me, mismatched clothes and all, hair a mess, and let's not forget the paint smears on my forearms, hands, and one or two across the legs as well.

So, how does this get-up make me a better writer? Here we go.

1.) After a long day of painting (or lawn mowing, or whatever it is I'm doing) I go home to the Monster. I make her something to eat and then retreat downstairs to my office. Once I'm sitting in my chair, I can't get up. No, seriously. For one, I've been working all day and am just exhausted. Two, the damn boots are so heavy, I just don't want to move. Hence, I'm still sitting in my chair. What can I do -- why write of course.

2.) Now because I look like this I also don't go out much. Oh sure, at Home Depot everyone looks like this, so that's okay, but I never go out in public. (Okay, that's a lie, I go everywhere looking like this, but I keep my sunglasses on so no one will recognize me.) Anyway, because I don't go anywhere, I have nothing else to do but write.

3.) Wearing this get-up makes me look like a man. A big burly man. I suppose if I wanted to really make the look complete I could wear my pearls, but let's not get crazy. Okay, so wearing man clothes, and man boots, I start to channel man thoughts. And as I write romance, I really need to think like a man at least half the time.

4.) Work boots are heavy. No doubt about it. Mine weigh at least almost a 1.5 pounds each foot. Wearing them all day feels like walking through swamp mud. BUT, once you get used to them, as I said, they're comfortable and you don't really feel how much they drag. Wearing work boots all the time you never need to do pilates or aerobics or stair-step ever again. Let me tell you how fab my ass looks. And no more cottage chesse thighs. And if you're not wasting an hour a day at the gym, you have more time to write.

5.) And because I'm a savvy smart shopper, and my feet are size 9 women, which translates to size 7 men, I can buy my boots in the young men's department so they're a lot cheaper. (If I wait until after Christmas/January they also go on wicked sale.) So I'm also saving money because I'm not blowing wads of cash on fancy schmancy girly shoes that I'll only wear once because I fell off the high heels and broke my ankle. Which means I can buy books with the money I save.

So there you have it, my sure fire way of how wearing work boots can help make you a better writer. (And get you a J.Lo rear end as a bonus.)

Tell me -- Do you own a pair of work boots?