Sunday, September 13, 2009


For the past several November’s, I have participated in NaNoWriMo. What’s this? Well, it’s National Novel Writing Month. You take the entire month of November, turn off your internal editor and dedicate every second possible to churning out a story of 50,000 words. The goal is to get the story down start to finish and not worry about editing a single line. You can’t fix what you don’t have on paper, right?

I have always written like this. No plotting. No real planning. Just an idea floating in my head with characters and a good start. My first novel took me about a year and a half to complete. I didn’t write non-stop or even day-to-day. Shoot. I went weeks at a time without writing a single word. But in the end, I had a 100,000-word manuscript with characters that I fell in love with and a storyline that often shocked the socks off me. The writing is my favorite part. No boundaries. No second-guessing. No sitting for hours trying to find that one special word to tie that sentence into a tight but emotionally packed bow.

To date, I have five finished manuscripts this way. One has been polished to death and as of just recently is being sent out to agents and editors. I’m struggling to figure out when it’s time to move on. When do you put that beloved story away and work on the next one? I don’t want my characters to disappear. But at some point I have to face reality and give one of these other stories my attention and their shot. Several haven’t even seen the light of day since I typed THE END.

Focus in my downfall. I’m happiest when I have several different stories going at once. But talk about added stress and confusion. It’s not easy to keep them from blending together, especially when you’re not a plotter.

So I searched for ideas on how to keep focused. Hey, I’m up for anything at this point.

Eliminate Distractions - Okay. Yeah, in a perfect world without kids one might do this. LOL
Clear your desk. (Suggested putting it on the floor to deal with later. Huh?)
No internet or computer programs open that are not necessary. (Does this include Facebook!?)
No TV or Radio unless you find it productive. (Okay, music works)
No noise. (Got it covered. Headphones with ipod.)
No phone. (Nope. This won’t work for me. Gotta be available for my kids.)
No email or feed reader. (Don’t know what a feed reader is, but I can do without email for a little bit. LOL)
Just my project and me. (Heaven!)
Visualize – Yes. I can do this. Do this all the time. :)
Take five to ten minutes and picture your project and what you need or want to do overall for the day.

Planning – Okay this is where I’m going to start pulling my hair out.
Write out a plan and the major steps from start to finish in a basic outline format. (I could be writing!)
Write out the steps it would take and approximate time. (I have to set a time to finish it in? To structured!)
Breaks and Rewards - Now this sounds like something I can live with. :)
Use a timer to stay on track. Plan a reward for meeting your goals.
Take Action - This is where I struggle. Get bottom in chair. Put fingers on keys. Type!!!
Keep moving forward. If you find yourself distracted go back and review your plan. Be strict with yourself to keep distractions from creeping into your writing time. (Ah! Strict! I’m not even strict with my kids!!)
Don’t be afraid of a first draft - You can always edit it into a masterpiece. (Yes! Just what I wanted to hear!!)

Some of these I can use. Others would just kill my creativity all together. It all boils down to finding and using that magical plan that works for you. The minute it turns out to be more work than fun, I feel like it’s just not worth it anymore.

How about you? How do you focus in today’s chaotic world?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What to Write

How many times have you heard the phrase “Write what you know?” For me the times are too numerous to count. I was thinking about this the other day after reading an article on how to put more adventure into your life and came to the realization that just sitting in front of my computer and trying to “write what I knew” wasn’t going to get me very far. Let’s face it; our imagination only goes so far. We need real life situations and experiences to work off of sometimes. Adventures to fuel the passion we have to write.

My family and I just returned home from a great mini vacation in Austin, Texas. I’ve got so many new ideas floating around in my head now, I can’t wait to write them down. As the article pointed out, I needed to get reconnected with my body and quit letting my brain have all the fun. LOL I get it. So this is the reason for my procrastination and poor productivity. Never thought of it like that, but I have to agree. After a few days by the pool, fun with the kids, and a tour of our states capital I’ve got one heck of an endorphin boost and my head is so clear and ready to play again. It must have something to do with the fresh air and getting oxygen to those tired cells up there. :)

From now on, I’m promising myself to schedule more time for these little outings. Writing is about creating after all. What better way than to experience all the wonders of nature or discover new and intriguing characteristics of “real” people. You know the ones. Those who inspire us because they are not afraid to let their personalities shine.

Now I’m not saying I’m ready to go skydiving or test my endurance by running a marathon or anything like that. But I do intend to start trying new things and quit letting the fear of the unknown control my actions. I’m ready to be inspired on a weekly basis. The feeling is just too amazing to let slip by.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


What is luck anyway? Here’s a definition I found. Luck is a chance happening, or that which happens beyond a person’s control. Luck can be good or bad. Did you know there are three different types of luck?

* Constitutional luck is luck where factors cannot be changed. Such as place of birth and hair color, eye color, etc.
* Circumstantial luck is brought on haphazardly. This would include accidents, being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
* Ignorance luck deals with factors one is clueless about. You only find out about it after the fact
. Maybe like winning the lottery! LOL

Finding my husband and having three healthy happy children is the luckiest thing that ever happened to me. I can’t imagine my life without them. Wouldn’t trade them for anything. As far as being a lucky person and winning things though, I missed the memo on where to pick up my fair share. No luck at all. LOL I’m one of those who gets so darn close and then Wham! Sorry they drew another number, or shoot, the person in front of me or just behind me turns out to be the 100th customer and get the free TV.

Now my son on the other hand, he’s the luckiest person I’ve ever seen. If he says it’s going to rain, you better be taking an umbrella with you regardless of what the weatherman says. It’s the funniest thing. When the Kohl’s flyer comes in the mail, I let him peel off the sticker that reveals the discount I get to use in the store. 15%, 20% or 30%. If I even touch that darn thing it’s 15% every single time. Give it to him and it will be 30%. I’m not kidding. This kid has a sixth sense or something.

We were at his school Science fair back in January and needed to sign in before entering the library to look at all the cool projects. I walk up, find what I think is the shortest line and get in it. My son immediately grabs my hand and pulls me to another line. We wait, and wait, and then finally reach the table. I’m writing down my name on the sign in sheet and we hear. “Congratulations young man. Your map has the lucky yellow sticker on the back. You get to pick out a prize from the treasure store.” I just shook my head. If we had stayed in the line I picked, he probably would have ended up on the clean up crew or something. LOL We’ve yet to have him pick out lottery numbers. But I’m seriously considering it! Maybe I’ll have him lick the envelopes on my next queries! :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not Just for Kids

Have you ever picked up a kids book and found you absolutely love it? Tell me I’m not the only one. My nine-year-old son is a picky reader. I think most boys are. But we found a book series about a cat named Mr. Stink and he can’t wait to read it. I have to admit I find myself wanting to pick it up in between our scheduled reading time to find out what happens next. That’s why my son hides the book while he’s at school. LOL

This is the blurb on the back of book number three in the series titled “The Stink Files, You Only Have Nine Lives” by Holm & Hamel.

“I glanced up at the overhead luggage rack to see a black shape speeding toward the back of the train. A cat-sized black shape with a long furry tail. I dashed after him.
“Where do you think you’re going Mr. Stink? Hey-stop!” Aaron cried.
But I couldn’t stop to explain. I had an assassin to catch.

The cat’s name is James Edward Bristlefur and he’s a sophisticated secret agent out to find his previous owner’s killer. Sir Archibald had been the Director of a top-secret counterspy organization where James trained with the other cats. After Sir Archibald was poisoned, James became the pet of a young boy named Aaron. James was quite dirty when Aaron found him, so he named him Mr. Stink. The story is all told in the cat’s point of view. I find myself giggling as I read because of the author’s clever play on words. Like paw to paw contact, instead of hand-to-hand contact, and tales of King Artfur and the Great Round Food Dish.

Okay, I know, I have a warped sense of humor. But I really like these books. Adventure, mystery, suspense and danger. Now that’s my kinda story. If you have a reluctant reader in your family, I highly recommend these books.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

'Agent Shop' from Musetracks

I wanted to pass along this great opportunity! :) I’ll be working on my pitches for the next few weeks, trying to get them in under the 200 word limit. This has always been a really big struggle for me. I have no idea why. I know the book inside and out. I’ve read the thing a million times. Added and cut scenes. Changed chapters around several times. It should be a piece of cake! LOL

Anyone else have this problem with pitches? Is there a secret I should know about?

~~~~~Permission To Forward Granted~~~~~

Hello fellow romance writers.Musetrackers would like to invite you all to participate in our newest venture. 'Agent Shop'What's 'Agent Shop'?Well, how many of us wish we could pitch to an agent? That is, without the frills? No parties, no travel, no conference costs, no hectic schedules? Don't get me wrong, the conferences, promos, signings and parties have their place and time, but what about in between?

Here's what we're going to do.This isn't a contest... there aren't any winners... just a chance to put your pitch in front of agents who are interested in shopping a bit. They'll read them and request more - IF - your pitch grabs their attention. What they request is up to them. We'll host 3 or more agents for each session and a few agents who couldn't commit mentioned stopping by from time to time.If you're interested in pitching, visit the link below to read the rules.

First date to submit is May 30th, and only the first thirty e-mails get in!Thanks for visiting us at Musetracks.

Pass the word, and good luck.

Now get to work on those pitches! :)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Don't Try it Alone

For years I tried writing on my own. I mean we all write our own stories, but I wasn’t a part of any groups and didn’t know anyone else who shared my dream. It was a lonely place to be, but I did finish my first manuscript. The feeling was beyond words. Finding someone to share in my enthusiasm was another story.

The bubble burst quickly. LOL I looked for publishers I thought would love to add my book to their long lists of bestsellers and then waited. And waited. And waited. When the first rejection came I was disappointed, but still held out hope. Maybe this publisher was just having a bad day. Then the second rejection came and the third and by the fourth I was pretty depressed. Still no contact with other writers, little support at home and I started thinking maybe I should just give it up.

I found RWA online by accident and started looking for local chapters around my area. I found three. One that was really close to my neighborhood. They were holding a contest and I decided to enter and see what kind of feedback I would get. Sent it off and then had to wait again. I hate that part by the way. J The results came back and it wasn’t pretty. Disappointment and frustration almost wore me down. But I decided to keep going and start something new. After I finished the second manuscript, I made up my mind to check out the RWA chapter in my area. And I’m so glad I did.

The people were awesome! Friendly, exciting and they shared my dream. Wow! I’ve learned so much since that day. I’m still learning. LOL Critique partners are priceless. Their honest comments and suggestions have made my work so much stronger. I wish I’d have found them sooner! I’ve made so many new friends both online and local and just knowing others share my struggles and the joys of writing is so encouraging.

Don't try this on your own. Find support either online or local. It will make all the difference in the world. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Rejection Woes

I’ve moved into the phase of my writing career where I need to start sending out query letters. What’s holding me back is the fear of being rejected. I know it’s all part of the process. I know I can’t get better unless I get good feedback. I know an editor or agent isn’t going to magically appear on my doorstep and offer me a contract. If you don’t submit you might as well quit, right? LOL

I need a magic cure for all the doubts circling in my head. It’s not polished enough. It’s not good enough. The storyline isn’t original enough. Ah! I’ve worked many long, hard years on this manuscript and to think that with one glance it could, and probably will, end up in the slush pile makes my toenails curl.

Yes, I need a thicker skin. I understand that a rejection is only an opinion of the person reading it, but it doesn’t make the feelings disappear. This is the year I’ve promised myself I will send it out until there is no one else to send it to. I’ve made my lists. I’ve checked them twice. I’ve even made a pretty little box to hold all those wonderful rejections. Now all I have to do is get up the nerve to press that send key, or make that long daunting trip to the post office.

Wish me luck!! :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Waiting Game

The conference in October was wonderful. I've never been so nervous in my life, but I made it through the pitching process and ended up with three requests. :) That's the good news. The not so good news is I'm still waiting for a response. It's been five months now since I sent of the requested material. I know it takes time, but the waiting is the hardest part.

In the mean time, I have gone back through the entire manuscript and added new layers and details. I feel like it is even stronger and will have a better chance of being published. Now all I have to do is find that one agent or editor that feels the same way. They're out there, I just know it! LOL

While I wait for those, I've started collecting names for my next queries. I must submit. No chance at all if it sits here on my computer. But dang it's hard!