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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Approaching The New Year

Morning All!

Thank you so much for the "feel better soon" wishes. I appreciated them, and thank you, I am doing better today. :-) Hopefully my dad is, too.

My house needs dusting. How do I know this? I've sneezed about 5 times this morning and I can feel my eyes welling up with that "teary-allergy feeling". Oh well. Just one more resolution, uh, I mean goal, for the new year. (For seeing what I mean by "goal" as opposed to "resolution" check out Marsha's blog post).

Yesterday, despite everything, I reviewed an unfinished story I haven't looked at in awhile. It's not too bad, it just needs some tweaking and finishing.

Ideas are going along for a story of mine, but I have to figure out if they fit with the story (the way it currently is) first.

But at least I'm making some progress. I did some editing on the prologue to Surreal. I hope to get through chapter 1 and so on before too long. I feel like I've spent so much time working on perfecting the prologue and the rest of the story really needs my attention (although, I have done a little editing on parts of the rest, as well). But a long way to go. There's thirty something chapters and almost 500 pages worth of manuscript and the word count needs slicing, but so far, I've been able to cut the word count down, so I'm feeling positive about it coming together. It's just slow going.

2009 was a pretty good year. There were some rough spots, but that seems to be the usual for pretty much every year. I guess my philosophy about each year is the same about each age I turn. Every age (year) brings good/bad/hard or easy things to it, it's a matter of enjoying each year and trying to make the best of it (I'm not perfect at that, but I do recognize that there's a lot of great things that happen to me throughout the year)...such as finding the local chapter of the RWA, joining the RWA and the local chapter. It's pretty exciting. As well as attending the Todd Stone Conference, and a variety of other things, including keeping up with this blog.

My hope is that your New Years is full of many blessings and graces and wonderful things!

Have a very happy new year!

Also...

Have A Thrilling Thursday!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Blah

Morning All,

Today is blah. Blah because last night I woke up with a bad case of acid reflux (at least that's what it felt like). I'm doing a little better, but my stomach still feels a bit nauseated or unhappy. Yucky metalliac taste in my mouth. My dad caught the stomach bug one of my sisters and her family had and threw up earlier (fortunately I live in my own home, so I wasn't aware of this until my mom told me). I'm hoping we don't get it. I haven't gotten very good rest this week.

Today is gloomy and overcast...so blah, there, too.

I'm hoping to be able to get some writing and editing done like I did yesterday. But I also need to get rest.

I hope all of you are doing very well! It's almost New Years!

Have A Winsome Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Best Advice

Morning Folks,

No writer knows exactly what's in store for him or her--whether they're the next big thing, or just end up having modest sales. Either way, writers do need to have the passion for what they do. I have been fortunate to meet some published and aspiring authors who are.

Sometimes people say stuff that might get you down. Other times it might be just what you need. Some of the best advice I've read/been told/thought of in regards to writing is the following:

*Read and read a lot. I know not every author is a huge reader, but I've noticed that for me, in particular, reading has helped me with my writing.

*Write every day. Whether it's a story, a letter, blog, whatever. WRITE.

*"Write what you'd want to read." (Thank you, Stephenie Meyer!) So true. Meyer says basically if you like reading what you write, chances are, others will, too.

*Don't let fear rule you. This is something I've struggled with (and other authors, too), but if you let the fear take over, then the story doesn't stand a chance. You created the characters, you owe it to them to do what absolute best you can for them. (And sometimes this means swallowing your fear and chasing the publishing dream).

*Have a critique partner (CP). Most published authors do not have time to give you feedback on your work (believe me, I've seen it on their websites) they might be able to give you advice about some sort of copyright issue (if they know the answer) or they might be able to encourage you, but don't look to them to be your CP unless you know them personally and they said they'd do it. It's not that they have anything against you, it's just that they are super-duper busy with their own writing and lives.

*Don't be afraid to tell an author you like that their work is great and to tell them you're an aspiring author. The majority of published authors I've come across whom I've mentioned I'm an aspiring author have said to me "Great, go for it!" or "Best of luck." They won't be able to say much more than that, but it does great things for you as an aspiring author to hear that a published one wishes you well...and believe me, most of them do. (Ciara Gold--romance writer--a follower of this blog, is also a published author and she's always encouraging me. Another published author, Laura Childs--she writes mysteries--stopped by my blog once and sent me an email telling me she thought, based on my blog posts that I had talent). Don't be afraid to network!

*Attend writers' conferences whenever you can (or if you can't go somewhere, check for reputable online ones. Some of the Romance Writers of America--RWA chapters have online courses, check 'em out).

*Join a writers group like the RWA. They give their members invaluable advice and tools.

Whatever you're writing I wish you the best!

Have A Terrific Tuesday!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

And We're Back (For Now)...

Hello All,

I'm posting this a day early (consider this my post for Monday,Dec. 28th), but just to alert to a few things:

1. On the right hand margin are some updates... A. quotes from a few of my stories and B. my writing New Year's Resolutions

2. I'll probably be blogging until Thursday, then take a break for the weekend since my husband has 3 days off. (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

Also, I have been doing some writing...on a work in progress (a Christmas novel I'm working on). I've done a bit of work on Conjure A Man and another story that's still sketching itself out.

Reading has been of major importance, too. For Christmas I got several new books:

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce (who is female, by the way)

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

The Sacred Romance by Brent Curtis & John Eldredge

On Writing by Stephen King.

I already have heard how great On Writing is, and I've been anxious to read it. I haven't read it, yet, but I'm going to.

Also--calling all anime who are also Shakespeare fans: check out the Gonzo & Fanimation anime, Romeo X Juliet AWESOME! My husband got me the first set for Christmas and I'm planning on ordering the second set soon! Total addict. It doesn't stick strictly with the original Romeo & Juliet story, but the names are there, the whole forbidden love thing is there, and they switch on and off between Shakespearean and Modern way of talking. I was sitting there quoting from Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet while watching a few of the episodes. My husband couldn't believe how fast I went through the 12 episodes, but I'm telling you. When I get into something it's rare for me to not follow it all the way to the end (believe me, I'm going to follow this all the way to the end...I like it that much).

I finished the Pearce and Selfors books and I've started the Curtis & Eldredge book.

Here's info on the 2 I've finished:

Coffeehouse Angel was fun. It played with an idea I absolutely have always liked (from playing with it in my head, to reading a Danielle Steel novel, to working on one of my works in progress)...that is...an angel falling in love with a human. Specifically, a male angel falling in love with a female angel. This book was also great because it had a whole thing about the main character figuring out her strengths and growing and becoming more of who she was. And those of you who are hopeless romantics like me, won't be disappointed with the end.

As You Wish was an idea I don't see in novels too often. A genie (a jinn, specifically) comes to grant a girl's request, only to fall in love with her. Interesting things happen, and the girl discovers what she really wants is different than what she originally thought. (mentions of Shakespeare and Grease come into play and Shakespearean fans will appreciate that the girl's name is Viola!) I loved it.

Actually I loved both books. Suzanne Selfors has not disappointed. I've read Saving Juliet (own it) and it was awesome and so was Coffeehouse Angel.

Jackson Pearce was a new author for me, and totally didn't disappoint. I'll be interested to see what she does with her twist on the whole Little Red Riding Hood. Pearce's story is titled: Sisters Red. I wish she was writing a sequel to As You Wish, but so far, that's not happening (according to her website).

So if you're looking for new reads (I believe these are YA, by the way) and are a hopeless romantic, I definitely give these two my recommendation.

On another note, still writing away...and Surreal is patiently waiting for me to finish cutting down the word count so I can do the other edits that need attention. So, I've got several things going.

I had a very nice Christmas, by the way :-)

Other than that, it's been a nice holiday and I enjoyed seeing my younger brother and his fiancee who came to town, and met their very small dog. (I feel bad for one of my sisters and her husband and their kids because they have this stomach bug and it sounds yucky and miserable. I hope they get well very soon and I hope that me, my husband and my son don't get it).

I hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday...the New Year will be upon us soon!

Have A Marvelous Monday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Etc...,

Morning All,

Yesterday I didn't have time to blog because I had to head out of the house to get to my parents' house to go get my hair done. When we [my mom & I] got back my younger brother and his fiancee had arrived [they also brought their little dog with them] so my son and I stayed over there for several hours. When we got back I had to eat dinner, then we headed out for the rest of the evening. Didn't get back until after 10 p.m. I was pretty tired last night.

Today I'm planning on baking gingerbread (yum yum). Possibly do some muffins (although from a box, not from scratch. When I was at the grocery store I couldn't remember what I'd need for my from-scratch cinnamon muffins, so I bought box mixes).

Because the story from Friday didn't get further than Janice staring out the window at the snow I decided to nix that idea for now. Maybe I'll save it for the New Year.

I'm not sure what's on my plate for the rest of the week, but I think I'll let myself take some time off to spend with family and friends near me. (Maybe even get some writing in!)

But I do hope whatever holiday you're celebrating that you have a wonderful, safe and blessed one. Have a happy, safe and blessed New Year, as well, if I don't get on to post before then.

Have A Wonderful Week, Weekend & Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Fun Filled Friday

Morning Folks,

For today's post I'm trying something new (just for Fridays, with the results posted on Monday--that is, if the idea takes off). If this idea takes off, I might do it every Friday.

So what's the idea? A game. I know, I know sounds like a lame attempt to get commenter, but I was thinking about this last night in bed and I remember doing this on some message boards.

Of course, I have to make it relevant to writing...it just wouldn't be right to post here otherwise. So here we go...

I'm going to put ONE line of a story. One line only. And in the comment section each commenter adds ONE line.

Either over the weekend or Monday I'll put all the lines together and post it in a post.

So here we go... (I'm calling the Story "The Moment")
Here's my 1 Sentence (Line): Janice looked out her window.

Now it's your turn...the first person to comment on this blog posts the next line, then the person after that posts the next line to the person above them and so on and so forth (so the first person to comment adds a line to my line, then the person after the first comment adds a line to that one, then the next person to the second...that's how). Only ONE sentence (line). By the way...the story does NOT necessarily have to make perfect sense or be limited to one genre. This is purely for fun!
Have A Funny Friday!




Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Writers' Rejection Pile

Hello Everyone,

Okay, today's topic has nothing to do with the pile of stories you're currently working on, or even your rejection slips. It has to do with those stories who you started writing at first and then said "This won't work" or "I think I better put this one on hold indefinitely...unless something grabs me."

I'm sure we all have stories like that. Ones we got excited about and then was like "Wait, no I'm not ready to write this, it's not coming together, what was I THINKING???!!"

This is what I'm calling the "Writers' Rejection Pile".

I remember on a computer I used to have (that has long since crashed, poor computer; it was properly mourned, now we're just hoping one day my younger brother will be able to unlock its secrets and pull out some files we had on there, that didn't make their way to disc!) But I remember I had a couple of stories.

One was an anthology of short stories, which included such titles like, "The Madman", and "White Hall's Lady". I only vaguely remember the premis for these stories, but I do remember that I just didn't have enough "vim and vigor" for them. I didn't have a clear enough idea of what I wanted to do with them to pursue them.

Sometimes we have to start writing stories that end up in the Writers' Rejection Pile in order to get to that story that lights up our faces and makes our fingers fly across the keyboard (or the page) with incredible speed and lightning flash after lightning flash of inspiration.

Now, this doesn't mean a writer never revisits his or her Rejection Pile. Some do, and realize that they finally know what they're going to do with that unfinished tale.

Often times a writer has to put aside a story, not because he or she wanted to, but because it's not working out for them. Who knows? Somebody might say or do something that makes them think "Oh! That's what I should do with that one story!"

So, don't worry, the Rejection Pile isn't always the end of a life for a story, sometimes it's the beginning and sometimes the Funeral March is appropriate.

What about your Rejection Pile? What constitutes a story going there or getting out of it?

Have A Thoughtful Thursday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AARRRGG!!

Afternoon Folks,

Okay, fellow writers, be honest. When you get fed up with your characters, admit that you fantasize about writing them jumping off a cliff...or perhaps imagine them getting zapped by lightning.

We all deal with writer's block, frustration and characters who don't want to do what they're told. How does an author let off steam?

Here's your chance to find out...

I've been known to go "on hiatus" from a story. If I'm getting to a point where something is annoying me to no end, I take a break--or I focus on another project. Reading has also been a good escape for me.

I also tell people about my frustration--sometimes talking out a problem helps.

So what's you method?

Have A Wild Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Correction To Today's Post

I actually won't be looking for caffienated tea because it's not so much the coffee--it's the CAFFEINE I'm supposed to avoid. Sad day.

LOL

Woe Is Me

Morning/Afternoon All,

I have to have sympathy. I know, I'm not usually one to ask for a pity party, but in this case, I think I might actually need one. I'm having reflux issues and so I emailed one of my doctors (the 2 doctors are married to each other and own a family practice, I've been to both the husband and wife on different occasions for different things). I emailed because I really didn't want to call the office and wait for a call back or have to go in and negotiate the dang hospital complex parking lot. My doctor wrote me back told me what to do, but she also warned that I should avoid certain foods. Among the foods mentioned...caffeine and chocolate. (I can handle avoiding peppermint, that ain't so hard, and tomatoes I can avoid). But coffee and chocolate???

Okay, the chocolate I've been mostly avoiding for awhile now because of my diet--but CHRISTMAS is coming! I was going to make FUDGE...my sister and her husband make Million Dollar Pie--it has chocolate in it! I drink coffee in the morning!

Okay, I get it, I could switch to a tea that has caffeine, but honestly, it's not the same. (And I like tea, but it really can't hold a candle to the coffee).

So yes, your sympathetic comments are most welcome, and please drink an extra coffee in my honor. (I'm supposed to let my doc know how things are after 2 weeks of being on the meds)

As to writing, the revisions I've been working on seem to be coming along. I'm thinking this new approach might just be what Conjure A Man needed.

I still have to get the word count down on Surreal but I have gotten started on that--it's slow going because I have to figure out what words are necessary and which ones I can cut (and sometimes I have to rewrite a sentence). But at least I've found ways to bring down the word count.

Have you had to give up something you really like (love, rely on)? And how's your writing going?

Have A Tremendous Tuesday!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Please Excuse Me / Excuse Me, Please

Good Morning All,

My weekend was nice and quiet for the most part (other than Friday evening when I went up to my high school Alma mater to see my son's Godsister perform in the choir--she did not do a solo, but it was still fun). Saturday and Sunday were pretty quiet, though, which is fine :-)

I've been wrestling with the question of approach and the way to write one particular story for some time (if you all remember previous entries about my trying to revise this story, you know precisely which one I'm talking about and how many times I've been trying to figure out what to do with it).

I don't know if this new approach is going to work or not, but it brings up the question I've often brought up, which is when one method isn't working, that a writer should try a new one.

Do you write mainly third person omniscient? If that's not working, try third person limited, or even try a whole different pov altogether.

Trying to start the book with an argument but it sounds petty? Why not start with the beginning of tension--maybe someone said something to really hurt the other character and the one who was hurt is trying to decide just how to handle it, while shooting sparks (through his or her glare) at the one who hurt him/her.

Sometimes you have to scratch one idea and try a new one. If you really like/believe in a particular story idea and you truly want it to work out, you have to exhaust the possibilities.

I once jokingly said I'd have one of my characters jump off a cliff, but due to her abilities, didn't think it was possible. My husband laughed over it, but two RWA Chapter members started running with the story and shooting off ideas, which, I ended up really liking.

I haven't figured out exactly how to make them work, but I still think they're fun suggestions.

So, what about you? What's your "usual" approach and what's your "back up" approach? (pov, way you tell a story, do you just jump right in or outline the whole thing out? If that doesn't work, what do you do?)

Have A Meaningful Monday!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Let's Live Vicariously!

Morning Folks,

Goodness! What is it about other people's blogs that gets my ideas going? I have to give credit to Marsha, because her blog post on writers being "liars" triggered this idea:

My comment [on Marsha's blog] talked about the fact that I can't resist writing fiction. As a little girl I used to love fairy tales (I still do, to be honest) and always wanted to be a fairy tale princess and so now vicariously, through my stories, I'm able to be a princess, a witch (Conjure A Man), and a shape shifter of sorts (Surreal). How cool is that?

Makes you wonder at the possibilities.

I mean look at J.K. Rowling. She got to be a wizard and witches (Harry Potter), Stephenie Meyer got to be a new form of vampire and werewolf--plus an alien life form (The Twilight Saga, The Host). Gail Carson Levine took up fairy tales and became Ella (Ella Enchanted) and several other people (Fairest, Ever)--including the well-meaning, but mistake-prone fairy, Lucinda (The Fairy's Mistake).

What about Robin McKinley? She became her title character, Sunshine, among others. (Sunshine, A Door In The Hedge, The Outlaws Of Sherwood, Spindle's End, Beauty: A Retelling Of Beauty & The Beast; to name a few).

Ciara Gold took a trip in a ship across her universe where there's colored rocks and dragons. (Celestial Dragon)

Kim Lenox became a new form of mortals who look after the Inner Realm, and "reclaim" deteriorated human souls. (including Jack The Ripper in Night Falls Darkly) (She has another story in that series, So Still The Night).

So, what have you gotten to be [vicariously] from writing your stories?

Have A Fabulous Friday!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Back To Our Program Already In Progress

Afternoon All,

Okay, let's just say I'm blinking in amazement right now. I never expected comment I made on someone else's blog would generate so much traffic on my comment section (especially on one about laughing LOL). But in any case, thank you for the nice comments and the compliments. I appreciate it. Please, if you have something to say about another blog where I posted a comment, direct it to my email: bethanyintexas@yahoo.com I'll be happy to correspond with you about it there. I'm not trying to be rude, I just like to keep my blog pretty much about writing since that's it's purpose (NO offense meant to anyone).

Anyway, moving along. I sent my revised chapter 1 of Conjure A Man to the illustrious Tessy (my CP) and she sent me back comments (again, some good ones). A few things I'm gonna have to take more time to think about. On another note, until further notice, CAM is on hiatus. I just need to get away from it for now. I love the idea, and I love the title, it's just I'm not loving how it's going currently.

I've got another project--it's a secret--but I think it's mostly a YA Paranormal Romance based on the ages of the main characters. That could change, but for now that's that.

Surreal is undergoing a form of surgery--word count surgery. I'm trying to bring the word count down. (Over 124,000 words--EEEEKK!) So yeah, some major word cutting going on there, but I think it'll help with my editing as well. It's going very well thus far, so I'm pretty happy about that--but still a lot more to do.

What are you currently working on? How's it going?

Have A Thrilling Thursday!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just For Laughs

Morning All,

Once again Bane gave me this idea with his blog post. With all the publicity I'm giving his blog, he should be getting a lot of visitors LOL. Oh and Marsha, too. Marsha's Walmart Post also plays a role in inspiring today's post.

First of all, I have to tie it in with writing...since my blog is almost strictly about writing and writing path.

So I'll do it this way. If any of you all have read either of my parodies, you'll remember how goofy my sense of humor is. Les was willing to have me parody his life. First when I made up the character of Catalina in Because Of The Pie, and the one I did for him and his friend, Bob in The Adventures of Super Les And His SideKick, Bob.

Of course, there's other funny writings out there. Like Dave Barry and his various books. Or Jim Davis's Garfield or any other comic strips.

But other than people's writing books with comedy in it, or lines/characters that make you laugh out loud (LOL) what else out there "cracks you up"?

For me, it's things like LOL Cats. I think that's hysterical. There's another site called LOL Saints (which, I find extremely funny and not at all offensive to me and my faith).

Another site I find hugely funny is comic Tim Hawkins site, which has some videos of his material. You can look it up here.

We all need a laugh every now and again. Whether it's through websites like this, or going to see stand up comedy or reading comic strips or through witty/funny dialogue and characters, laughter is a good thing.

There are people who even say laughter lowers blood pressure. So hey, feel free to put funny in your stories...as long as it goes along with the story!

How do you tickle your funny bone?

Have A Wacky Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ME ONLY Or, Maintaining Humilty

Morning Folks,

Amid the bustle of changing passwords in various places due to the fact that yesterday my poor computer picked up a virus (which masqueraded as a Security Tool that I thought my husband had installed on the computer, yes, it was my fault and I felt terrible, but my husband was very nice about it and said I hadn't known--from now on unless I know for sure something is on our computer I'm not doing anything with it until I've consulted my husband).

Some time ago there was a big kick up over a (less popular) author suing another popular author claiming this popular author copied them. What ended up happening is that the judge ruled they were two different stories--nothing alike and threw it out. The other thing that happened was that some fans of the popular author investigated and found out that the popular author's book was copyrighted before the one who thought they were being plagiarized. Another thing that happened was that fans of the popular author went and read the other author's book and said there was very little similarities--that they were different enough.

This isn't the first time things like this has happened to a popular (or any) published author.

It sometimes goes another way. A fan plagiarizes an author they like and tries to get the plagiarized story sold and it ends up a bunch of lawyers get involved and the fan is forced to withdraw the plagiarized work.

In a lot of ways I think this boils down to ego. People think they are entitled to things. Not that they are granted rights, or given certain opportunities or given a break--but that they are entitled to that opportunity, right or break.

In writing we're not entitled to anything aside from the right to write stories. We're not entitled to the book being sold or it selling well in stores. We're not entitled to fame or fortune or even anyone recognizing our name on the cover.

These are things that come by way of either someone discovering we've done something amazing, or our own hard work at writing something awesome, selling it well and getting the word out.

These things are not automatic.

As I've said before, writers have to put their ego in the back closet. There's gonna be people who like our work and people who don't. There's going to be highs and lows just like most anything else in life.

The minute we begin to think we're entitled to something is the minute we run into some trouble.

So how does a writer maintain his/her humility?

By recognizing that writing itself is a gift--is an act of inspiration or often times, could be outside themselves (for some it's attributed to God or a grace/inspiration God gives; for others it's the feeling that one has to write and the outside world offers him/her plenty of material).

Most people can write. But there's a select few that write well or can really tell a story. But that should not make us arrogant. Instead it should make us feel honored if we are counted among that select few. It's a gift, not a right to have something sell. It's a gift, not a right if that sold story does well.

The book publishing and selling world is ever-changing so you never know what might just do fabulous and what might flop. It's about putting oneself out there.

So, how do you keep your ego in check?

Have A Tip-Top Tuesday!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Brainstorm!

Howdy Folks,

Okay, I know, I go on and on about the RWA chapter I'm joining, but I can't say enough about how great these people are. I went to the Christmas party on Dec. 5th and it was a blast! I met this lady named Anne who writes paranormal and began talking to her about Conjure A Man and my frustration with Delaney. She and my wonderful CP, Tessy, started throwing out ideas. I sat there asking "Okay, but how would that work?" And answers came flying back.

They thought I might have resented their input. But on the contrary, I was glad to have it. All I needed to do was figure out where it would go. So, now I'm re-reading the pages I have written (making any changes that jump out at me) and reassessing the situation. I also finally managed to send the revised Chapter 1 to Tessy (it's about time, I think!)

Anyway, what do you all think about having a brainstorming session? Bring whatever you're having a problem with and I could post it in a post and we could all make suggestions. Nobody has to take those suggestions, but it might help.

But it's up to you, my wonderful readers and blog followers what you want. You tell me!

Have A Marvelous Monday!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Snowbound Friday

Afternoon All,

Okay, it's not snowing A LOT and definitely not what they get out in the colder places of the world, but it's still snowing. Yes, I went out in it with my son and even took some pictures (gotta find the attachment so I can upload them onto my computer).

My son wasn't real excited about it, actually. He wasn't quite sure what to make of it (it doesn't snow much here, which I'm glad about. I can only put up with snow for a little while before it gets to be an "old story").

But anyway...do you have snow in your stories? I do in at least one of mine (a Christmas story). However, that's a side project and not something I'm focusing on.

I don't do snow much even in my stories. I guess it just doesn't occur to me. What about you?

What type of weather do you find you most write in your stories? (I generally have sunshine or rain).

Have A Fabulous Friday! (And an awesome weekend, too!)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Ha! Ha!

Morning All,

What makes you laugh out loud when you're reading a book? Is it the characters' antics? The mishaps? The witty dialogue or all of it together?

In The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber, her character, a lonely single woman in her 30's seeks out the help of a matchmaker (a male single psychologist) who gives her a series of 3 tasks, which both show her things about herself as well as put her in embarrassing/humorous situations (like the fact that she's supposed to zip down from the ceiling of a Mall to the floor dressed as an elf, only to have a costume mishap...I felt sorry for her on that one. Or when someone dumps coffee on her while she's ringing the bell for donations at one of the Mall entrances).

There's other "laugh out loud" moments in books. Like in Kerrelyn Sparks' book when the vampires are talking about Gregori having gotten drunk off of synthetic blood mixed with champagne when he acted as Ginny pig when the vampire scientists were making it so that vampires wouldn't have to bite humans.

What about your own stories? Do you have funny lines? Funny situations/mishaps? Would you mind sharing one?

In the original draft of Conjure A Man vampire Caruso (Delaney's best friend) suggests she bring a human into their world since she's tired of dating warlocks, vampires, werewolves, not to mention centaurs. He tells her that he finds them fascinating. Delaney's response is "Said the bloodsucker." My critique partner (CP--the awesome Tessy!) thought that line was funny and I did, too. Unfortunately, that scene got cut in the rewrite. I might be able to put that line in somewhere else, but I'm not sure.

So what's your funny line/situation in one of your stories?

Have A Ticklish Thursday!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Pieces Of An Author

Good Morning All,

There's this saying I've seen on different items for sale in catalogs and I think it's hysterical. It says: "Be careful or else you'll end up in my next book" I love that. I think it's perfect for writers.

I have a pin that says something like "Romance Authors Do It Write". And I've seen other slogans like that.

How "careful" does the world actually have to be about authors? Well, that depends on who the author is, the genre, and exactly what makes the author's mind go "Yes! There's an idea!"

For me if I hear something particularly funny or witty I might file it away for later...or I might not use it at all.

The interesting thing about writers existing in a world full of all different types of people, circumstances and situations is that it gives us immense fuel for our imaginations.

Some of us thrive on the more realistic possibilities; while others, like myself, focus on the less realistic, and more fantastical ideas. (Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Fairytales, you get the picture).

However, regardless of the writer's genre, that writer gets inspired somehow. Something, someone does, writes, or says might cause the writer's little inspirational bug to bite.

Sometimes it's another story. Sometimes it's someone closest to the writer. Sometimes it's a stranger.

But in the end, the writer puts his or her own spin on it.

For example:

Someone once said in a comment regarding Stephenie Meyer that "it has Mormon undertones."

Well, I guess I don't really know enough about the Mormon Church to pick up on that, but my response is, "Okay, so? What do you expect? She IS Mormon."

Every writer puts a piece of him or herself in their writing...whether intentionally or unintentionally. They can't help it. The story is being written by them regardless of what character is telling it. Somewhere, somehow that story is going to have a small piece of that writer's personality, life, or background in there. The trick is, how well do you know that author's background to pick up on it?

Nicholas Sparks freely admits that A Walk To Remember is based off his sister's life. Therefore, how much is him or his sister in there, might be key to unlocking undertones and a voice that may not be the loudest in the story, but still exists. Likewise, he also has said that The Notebook is based off his wife's parents' story. So again, depending on how well a reader knows about these situations, he or she might be able to find the piece of Nicholas Sparks (or his family) that exists inside the tales.

Sure, outside things can inspire us. And as many other authors like Nicholas Sparks have proven, other people can inspire us...but always somewhere in that inspiration exists the author him or herself.

While the brain is clicking everything into place and the inspiration is in high gear, the writer also leaves behind something of him or herself somewhere in the story.

For me, it's often my nutty sense of humor. I like to have a comedic character. That's sort of my trademark, my own slogan, m.o., whatever you want to call it. (although, not every story of mine has one at present. The character might come later or only be talked about...or never show up at all...but most of my finished, or nearly finished novels have at least one comedic character).

What pieces of yourself do you leave in your story? Is it obvious or does a reader have to really pay attention to find that piece?

Have A Wealthy* Wednesday!

*Wealthy as in working well, inspiration, whatever makes you feel rich or enriched :-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Oh Dash It All!

Good Morning Folks,

Don't you just love that saying? Okay, maybe you do, maybe you don't, but I think it's cool.

So yesterday I did (as I said I was going to) actually get to writing on Conjure A Man. Chapter 3 is finished being rewritten (for now). But chapter 4 might need some work. The idea for chapter 4 isn't bad (I mean it makes sense Delaney's vampire friend, Caruso, would want to meet Pierre, especially since he suggested Delaney summon up a human in the first place). However, I'm not sure how well it works (hence the "dash it all" title for today's post). But, that doesn't mean it can't work.

We writers sometimes have to make a decision. Sometimes this decision is easy and sometimes it's painful. And that decision is whether or not a scene works in one particular place or even at all for the story in question.

Sometimes we have these "Dash it all!" moments where we think "If I have to revise this story one more time I'm going to scream!" And other times it's "Okay, so this doesn't work, so I gotta fix it or take it out."

What are some of your "dash it all" moments? Was it hard to fix/delete a scene or was it something you were just thinking "okay it has to happen."?

Have A Triumphant Tuesday!

Monday, November 30, 2009

"Sleigh Bells Ring..."

Good Morning All,

Well, normally in the part of Texas I live you don't hear sleigh bells unless someone is shaking them, but a girl can dream, right?

This is a fabulous time of year for me. I LOVE Christmas. I love the music, the lights, the sights, the smells, the readings at Church, the Church getting decorated, Christmas books, shows, Christmas Trees--I love it all. I even have a wreath for the door this year that I have to get hung up.

Our tree is up and pretty much ready to be decorated, so I figure tonight when my husband gets home he can get the Christmas box down from the attic and I'll decorate while he and my son are out (so that the breakable decorations don't get flung everywhere by my very curious, but not exactly the most gentle of hands, son). He'll love that when he gets home and sees all the decorations (my son loves lights and things like that).

Today I'm buckling down and going to really work on Conjure A Man--not just pretend to, really work on it. I think I identified what was hanging me up and took care of that last week, now it's time to move the poor story along. (I've revised it so many times, and I'm sure I'll revise it many more times LOL).

I had a weird dream about a Christmas party I'm going to attend in December, but fortunately I don't think the party will be like that. I dreamt that it was like secret Santa store or something rather than the gift exchange we talked about. Weird, huh?

I'm beginning to prep for Christmas on a spiritual level by re-reading The Great Divorce by CS Lewis (one of my favorites by him...I sometimes like it better than the Narnia books; although I love the Narnia books).

I've got a good chunk of my Christmas shopping (and wrapping) done. Normally I start in October Christmas shopping, but we were behind schedule this year, but have made up for lost time.

Mistake I learned from:

Do NOT get the same style gift card for more than one person unless you're going to have the exact same amounts. Otherwise, get the cashier to put in the amounts (or identify it some other way) so you don't go through the stress I went through! (I had to scratch off to get the number and pin number so I could check which was which and then email the people so that they'd know why it was already scratched off when they get it!) Talk about embarrassing.

Most of you probably already knew not to do this, and I think I did, too, but I suffered from a bout of "forgetfulness" and didn't.

Oh! Before I forget...is anyone working on a Christmas story? If so, drop me a line and tell me about it, if you don't mind sharing. I love Christmas stories.

Do you have a Christmas mistake you can share?

Have A Merry Monday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Thanksgiving! Ours is actually going to be fairly low key. We might go over to a friends' house for a little while.

Other than that--we have a meal planned and are going to get out Christmas decorations.

I plan on subjecting my husband to Christmas music on and off from tomorrow (Thanksgiving Day) until New Year's LOL

Have A Wonderful Holiday!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Take It Easy

Hi Folks,

Today is a "take it easy" day due to the fact that yesterday afternoon my son developed an ear infection. He's on antibiotics and is doing much, much better...however, I'm sleep deprived and haven't felt great because of allergy problems probably a touch of asthma. I'm going to the doc's office today to see if I'm doing everything I should be doing and if there's anything else I need to do. Needless to say, I've been taking it very easy today.

Good news is, I'm reading Christie Craig's Gotcha! It's pretty good.

As to everything else, I'm tired after a bad night (my son decided to wake up about 3 times) and then he never did go back to sleep after waking early this morning (no nap so far) and I'm going to have to get ready to go to the doc's office so no chance of a nap for awhile.

But, you know...we all have good days and bad days whether in writing or our real lives, so we just have to do the best we can. I hope all of you are having a good day and getting the rest you need.

I'll be okay, just wanted to let you all know that's why there's not a usual blog posting on here.

Have A Terrific Tuesday!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Myths About Writers

Afternoon Folks,

I thought we'd do a post to dispel some of the myths people seem to have about writers. I'll put the ones that first come to mind then y'all can chime in.

Myth: Writing is a great way to make a lot of money.

I'm not sure exactly how this one matriculated. Probably in the wake of some of the big best sellers (i.e. Stephen King, Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer, JK Rowling, and the like) but most of the time writers put in more money for their writing than they do get out of it.

Generally a writer doesn't make a ton of money unless somehow his/her book is a blockbuster hit and blasts through what the author owes in the advance (which is paid back to publishers through royalties).

Most writers I've met and talked to are not millionaires. I'm not saying it can't happen, I'm saying it's not one of those things that's automatic.

Myth: Writing Is Easy Anybody Can Do It.

Okay, granted this isn't entirely a myth, but it's not entirely true, either. Sure, anybody with any amount of knowledge of or ability to string sentences together in a coherent form can write a story. In fact, most anyone could write if they put their minds to it. Doesn't mean it's good. Doesn't mean it will sell (heck, it doesn't even mean us aspiring authors will sell or even that established authors will continue to sell--the publishing world isn't an exact Science).

By the way...writing is sometimes easy and sometimes it's not. There are good days and bad days just like with anything else. Sometimes there's tremendous writer's block (met someone who suffered writer's block for a year) and there's days of tremendous inspiration where everything just flows. It's not always easy and it's not always hard.

Myth: I'm Not Good Enough.

This is one authors everywhere have to fight within themselves. If you don't think you're good enough how do expect anyone else will think you are? You have to have some belief in yourself. You have to believe in your characters and in your imagination.

There's people with wonderful talent out there, who freeze up at the mere mention of trying to get their work published because they don't think they're "good enough". Exactly what is the measure of an author being "good enough"?

Everybody has different tastes, you can't measure your own success by someone else's success and/or failure. (This is one I've had to remind myself of, by the way).

Myth: All Writers Lead Incredibly Exciting (Romantic, Action-Filled, Etc...,) Lives.

This might contain some truth depending on who you are (like maybe a CIA agent who writes action stories or a person who writes romance who leads an incredibly romantic life), however, it doesn't mean this is true of all writers.

I've met writers who lead very ordinary lives. They pick up their kids from school, they have jobs, or work at home. They worry about the roof being fixed, the rent being paid, the crazy hole in the backyard (okay I haven't heard of anyone having a weird hole in the backyard without an explanation, but hey, like most things, it could happen).

The point being...authors are human. They can't help it, they are. In fact, I talk about this in another post.

The point is, authors are just like you or me. They have concerns, fears, dreams, wishes, and good days and bad days.

YOUR TURN:

What are some of the myths/legends you've heard of writers and why are they/aren't they true?

Have A Mysterious Monday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sequel To Friday's Post

Hey Folks,

Normally I haven't been posting on Saturdays, but I'm making this one exception.

First off, if you haven't, get to Friday's post please do so...Elizabeth Pina made an appearance in the comment section :-) Shout out to Elizabeth!

Second of all, I mentioned I was going to see The Twilight Saga: New Moon and I did.

Let's just say: AWE-some! The wolves totally rocked. The pacing is slow--but with very good reason--Bella pretty much clams up when Edward leaves (no I'm not really giving anything away here, most people know that happens). The Volturi just kicked butt--majorly impressed with Michael Sheen as Aro. He EMBODIED that character. Few things were changed--which makes sense, but totally didn't take away from the movie. Very very close to the book itself.

I won't go into depth on my rants about the viewers (cell phone lights, and loud munching) maybe people had an emergency and needed the cell phone on...I don't know and I do like snacks with movies, but even on a release day I've never had it be so distracting before.

But other than the problems with distracting munching and cell phone lights I really enjoyed the movie a lot.

I'm not sure those who aren't "Twilight" fans will enjoy it...but I think it was fun and really good.

Here's looking forward to June 2010 for "Eclipse"!

Have A Satisfying Saturday!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fangtastical Friday

Morning All,

It's Friday! Although, for me, that doesn't mean break from work since I stay home with my son and my husband is working on Saturday and Sunday (although only 1/2 day on Sunday and part of the day on Saturday). But it's still really cool...why?

Because it's November 20, 2009!

So, what's so important about that?

Before I get into the "fang" part of it (like that's not a major hint LOL) there's something else I really want to bring up.

Today is the day that Elizabeth Pina's E-book gets released! It's called Learning To Let Go. She told me she also wants to release it on CD so people can read it on their computers. Especially for the folks that have yet to get a e-reader in the first place LOL. I don't know where it's being sold, so you might have to go to her website to find out. Although, I'm not sure if she has anything but the publisher's name up. But today is the release date for that e-book. The book is Christian Inspirational.

She's a really sweet person and a lot of fun. I got to sit next to her at the Todd Stone Workshop. She's working on some Romantic Suspense, now. I believe she has a book signing in December in League City, Texas.

The other news...

wait for it...

drum roll...

Today The Twilight Saga: New Moon is released in theaters! Last night I was watching The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien and I laughed so hard because he was talking about brooding vampires that made teenage girls scream, so he decided to have one of his own and a guy dressed in pale make up and black clothes came out looking all dramatic and brooding. He was so hysterical.

But it didn't end there.

Then he said he had also heard werewolves were big, so he got another assistant, named Wolf Boy. A topless guy who stared penetratingly at him. That was funny too because he had something on his arm that looked like the tattoo the wolf pack has in New Moon.

Then a guy dressed as Frankenstein came out and Conan told him he wasn't sexy enough, so the guy ripped his shirt off, revealing a costume with like a 14-pack on his chest LOL. He couldn't rip the whole shirt and Conan started making comments about Frankenstein being able to bend metal but couldn't rip cotton. Wolf Boy had to help him.

Later on, Wolf Boy was making his pectorals go up and down and Conan kept saying it was creepy.

Anyway, I got a good laugh over it.

I'm hoping today to get some writing done since this week has been not the most productive of my life. Although, I did do some edits to Conjure A Man, so that's good.

I've also been doing a bunch of reading. I put a Lurlene MacDaniel book on hold because I've read it before, but I was re-reading it because I'm reading a Debbie Macomber book I haven't read. I'm reading Right Next Door, which has been lots of fun. In the second novella, this widow has a 15 year old son who's learning to drive and there's a very funny line in there about her having gotten more spiritual thanks to her son being behind the wheel.

The next book on my list to read is Christie Craig's Gotcha! She's an NWHRWA member and everyone has told me how wonderful her books were, so I thought I'd check them out. Gotcha! looked like fun, so I decided to start with that one.

What are you currently reading, if anything? How's your writing coming? If you're in NaNo, how's that going?

Have A Fangtastic Friday!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Calling In Sick

Evening Folks,

Sorry about not posting today. I haven't felt very well today. Had a bad headache (is better than it was, by the way) but I also had some dizziness. It would seem my hypoglycemia decided to act up today. I'm doing better, but I'm taking it very easy.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be much better. Hope everybody else is doing well.

Have A Thrilling Rest Of Your Thursday!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Yay Books!

Morning All,

The title for today's post is a play on a song called "Yay Toast!" (I don't know where to find it, but it's a funny song).

But more than that it's because in the last month I've been to Barnes & Noble twice. TWICE! Yay!

Okay, so I didn't get myself anything...but I did browse through several books that look interesting (and one that got reprinted I was excited to see that because I really liked it).

Last night I was doing some Christmas shopping (I finally got started a few days ago. Last year I was already Christmas shopping in October! You see, I have 13 nieces and nephews--and we all keep adding to that number, so I have to make sure I start early enough so I can find out what they're all into and shop accordingly).

In my family--since there's so many of us (including spouses) we are now given a name of a family member to buy for with a price limit. One of my sisters has a program that takes names and matches them (it's a statistical program but it can do this for us, how cool is that?)

Anyway, so last night I was Christmas shopping. It was awesome. I love author Gail Carson Levine and am excited to share her with young nieces and Noel Streatfeild of Dancing Shoes, Theatre Shoes, Ballet Shoes, Skating Shoes fame. They've been reprinted--finally--after all these years! Plus picking out bookmarks and a book for a friend's baby's birthday party that we're planning to go to later this month.

But you know what's so wonderful about going to Barnes & Noble and other bookstores? Not just that I LOVE to read, but also it reminds me how vast, varied and extensive the various types of books there are. How there's all kinds of things for all kinds of readers and different ideas have the power to inspire us writers.

How exciting is that?

Also, there's such a great smell about bookstores. I mean...walk in you breathe in this scent of serenity, and calm that comes with reading. I don't know, it just is a comforting aroma to me.

So, what do you find most exciting about bookstores? What types of books inspire you?

Have A Wonderful Wednesday!