Saturday, July 30, 2005

Lost in the Valley and Other Unpleasant Things

My husband has a Ford Taurus SHO. It is basically a supped up Taurus with a special engine. Ford only made a few of them and we, lucky souls, have one. Anyway, there is a problem with the cams where if they aren't fixed, the motor will blow up. Ford refuses to recognize the problem so owners are forced to find mechanics who specialize in the repair. Yeah, yeah, this is boring but there is a point. One of these magic men lives in the San Fernando Valley, about an hour from my house. So we packed up the tribe and took his car out there. He wrote down the directions and I made a copy. Stupidly, I did not ask him to clarify his directions. So off we go on the myriad of freeways to get to this guy's house. I misread the directions and took a different freeway. I ended up going 14 miles out of my way. What's worse is the freeway I was on was jammed and I wasn't moving. The kids were okay, I've got a dvd player in the car. I figured I was lost and called hubby. He didn't answer. Here is what makes me the total idiot: since I was at a standstill, I decided to...put the address in my GPS system. Golly, seems I really was lost. Yes, I have a GPS and didn't use it. DUH!!!

Finally got my self headed in the right direction. Hubby calls, he forgot to take the phone out of his car and keep it in his pocket while he was busy talking cars with fellow car dudes. After this whole fiasco, we decided to go out to lunch. My son thinks Denny's is haute cuisine so we go there and have the waitress who speaks no English and messes up the order. I'm finally home but I have a trip to Costco planned with the three kids in tow. I'm a glutton for punishment.

Writing is going well, I am up to 20K words on my WIP, but I have discovered why we always have maids and footmen in romance novels. I spent a chunk of the day researching water systems in 18th century London. It would have been much easier to have just ordered the servant to bring it up and not worried about it. But I get a bug in my brain and I can't let it go. I did figure out the wealthy of London all had water piped into their homes, but from there I couldn't figure out what else happened. Did she pump it with a pump? Did she turn the knob on her Delta nickel-plated faucet? I am still unsure. However, there seems to be an obsession with toilets and sewage amongst scholars. I learned far more than I would have liked about 18th century cesspits. I don't know about you, but my romantic novel characters don't need to go to the bathroom. Bathrooms are there so they can have sex in the shower or look in the mirror.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Some Progress

I got three pages written yesterday which wasn't nearly as much as I'd hoped for. Historicals go so much slower for me. Not only does the research cause me to pause, but I also need to choose my words more carefully to avoid anachronisms. I must say, however, writing about the 18th century is easier than writing about the Regency period. For me, the language of a Regency novel is so important. By the time Britain hits the Regency era, there is a lot more enchantment with language. The literacy rate had climbed and people had more leisure time to indulge in the niceties. When I write Regency era, I focus on the words and the rhythm of the sentences, trying to give it more of a feel of the era. In an 18th century story, the language isn't as big of a focus, at least from my point of view. The social structure is different and the upper class was still growing. I'm more interested in the "wildness" of the times.

I'm hoping to get some more writing done today. I've got a big scene coming up and I can't wait to write it. Hope everyone else sees some progress today.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Who should be the next Bond?

Clive Owen

Here is my vote. I really think he's swell. I sat through "King Arthur" just to watch him. Oh, okay, I wanted to watch Ioan Gruffudd too. I spent more time than I should have thinking about Clive Owen than working on my WIP today. But maybe it is because my hero reminds me of Mr. Owen. Hmmm.....

Yeah, I didn't get much done on the writing front today. I did a little research. My problem was how to end this particular chapter. I am all for kicking my heroine when she's down and figured out how to do it in the car today dropping off my kids. Then I got home and got busy doing other stuff (and thinking about Clive Owen).

In the "Good Things" category, I entered the Romance Junkies contest and my entry is up this week. I received two emails from readers last night complimenting me. I got fan mail. Maybe I should frame it.

My kids are at science camp tomorrow morning and my folks are picking my baby up to take her shopping at the
The Container Store with them, so I figure I'll have a couple of hours of peace to work on my WIP.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Missing the Big Dance

Feeling like Cinderella here. All the cool kids get to go the RWA conference this week and are no doubt going to have a blast. Sigh....those of us who aren't going, feel free to indulge in self-pity. Eat that piece of chocolate, take seconds on the pie.

Then get over it.

As Suzanne discussed in her column at RTB, it is a good time to write. So, that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to treat this week like a BIAW and pour my disappointment at not going into a steaming hot flood of creativity.

And dream of Atlanta next year....

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Breaking My Cardinal Rule

One reason I write romance is because of the chance it offers to sweep me away from the drudgery of my daily life to a world of glamour, adventure, beauty and...NO CHILDREN. My one rule to my writing, no matter what the genre, is the exclusion of children. People just emerge on the scene fully formed and attractive at age 21.

Sigh...My new WIP requires the heroine to do something she would otherwise never do. A woman will sacrifice all for her children, so I had to write a couple of them in. Those of you with children know we end up sacrificing big and little things in the name of motherhood. And why, I ask? Because they appreciate it?

I think biology does something to us. Maybe the placenta releases a self-sacrificing hormone into our bodies that makes us do bonehead things to make our children happy. How many times have you skipped a show you wanted to watch because the crumb crusher wanted to watch "Teletubbies?" Are you driving your dream car? I kind of doubt when we were 16 we dreamed of driving a big SUV or Dodge Caravan. Heck, with what I paid for my Expedition, I could have gotten a Jag "S" Class. Shall we get into our writing and how family life has affected our writing? Too depressing to think about?

So I shall see how this kid thing pans out in my book. Shudder, shudder.


Jill Shalvis isn't the only one with a bear story. The following appeared in my very local paper:

In this heat wave, everyone needs a little cooling off. For a couple of bears spotted recently in north Claremont near Blasidell Ranch, a refreshing dip in the pool is just the thing to bring the temperature down. Lt. Van Horn reports that some bears have been seen ambling into residents' backyards, taking a swim in the pool, and then moving on to the next neighbor's pool.

"We're just waiting for someone to call us because he's sitting in a Jacuzzi, drinking a beer," said Lt. Van Horn

The neighborhood they are talking about is half a mile from my house. I do not have a pool, but I do have a Jacuzzi and beer.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

There is Hope for Him Yet

My son has on his screen saver "Super Nerds Only." My son is a geek, a nerd, etc., etc. and is very proud of the fact. He just finished the third grade and had a whole year of perfect report cards. His favorite part of the school year is when they have to do standardized testing. He wears glasses and has asthma. His fashion sense is non-existent. Classic nerd.

Maybe he is on to something. Is it hip to be square?

I saw a story in the paper yesterday which indicates he may be the future style-meister of his generation, Chic to be Geek. Could we be entering an era where brains and talent are valued over beauty and brawn? Instead of being a stupid movie, was "Revenge of the Nerds" a prophetic piece of cinema? Will cheerleaders fight to go out with the president of the chess club? Will boys be more interested in a girl's SAT scores than her bra size? It boggles the mind.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

A Blessing and a Curse

When I start writing something that clicks with me, I go into a groove. It consumes me, fills my thoughts, dominates my life. I'm going through it right now. The historical I'm working on is flowing with incredible ease. So I should just ride the wave, right?

Problem is I've got this whole "family" thing going. I have a house and 3 kids requiring my attention. The ms on my screen calls to me constantly and I find myself thinking about it all the time. I'm paying for it this morning as I run into messes the kids made while I wasn't paying attention. Also, my back is in agony from sitting in a chair for so long.

The beauty of my "groove" is the value of the writing. I find the quality is far superior to a book I've "scheduled" myself to write. I can see the difference in the flow and its obvious it is a book from my heart.

So, the family will be neglected somewhat for the next couple of months while I work on this book. Hopefully they won't burn the house down.

And, taking a ride on my roller coaster writing career....

I got a request for a full Friday night. I need to steal a ream of paper from dh's office tomorrow and print it out.

Friday, July 15, 2005

But What ELSE Do You Do?

I went to a cocktail party last night. It was held at a hotel which overlooks the ocean and had all the food and alcohol one could hope for. These events are always awkward for me. I love the food and the drinks, but I feel uncomfortable in these situations. First, I'm only 5'3" and I get pushed in crowds. I can't see and I have a difficult time maneuvering around the masses (there were probably 300 people in attendance). After being home in semi-isolation for the last 3 1/2 years, I've lost my poise amongst people. I have no idea what to wear or what to talk about.

This event is particularly discomfiting. Everyone there is involved in real estate in some form or another. Everything is about the deal. When someone meets you, they are judging whether they can use you to get ahead. Upon realizing I'm not a member of the industry, they quickly exit. Its not necessarily a bad thing because these people tend to be interested in one thing: money.

At one point in the evening I sat down with a piece of cheesecake at one of the cute little tables surrounding the fountains. My husband deserted me to talk business with a client. A woman sat down at the table and asked me who I worked for. When I explained I was a SAHM, she asked me what else did I do. Certainly I must do something else. I was a little shocked. You mean being a mom to 3 kids and taking care of a house isn't enough? I suppose I could have said I was a struggling writer and talked about my writing, but I really didn't want to. I know when I've talked about my writing before, I've seen eyes glaze over in boredom.

It is amazing how low down on the social food chain stay-at-home-moms are. What a wake up call.

Well, the food was good and the drinks free, so I'm not one to get too worked up. I did learn some lessons. Women who are 45 really shouldn't shop in the Jr.'s section, they look ridiculous. Too much sun makes a woman look like shoe leather. If it weren't for cell phones, some people wouldn't know how to talk.

Oh, I wanted to add...

In relation to my post about losing and finding my writing mojo (thank you ladies for all of your good thoughts), I saw this post by Olivia and thought she more eloquently said what I was feeling.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

...and so a little rain must fall

Got a rejection yesterday in the email. Not a bad one, just a standard "not enough enthusiasm" or whatever. Also got my historical entry back from the Molly. One judge liked the writing but thought the plot had problems. I guess the other judge did too but her comments were more generic. One problem I have with contests is that the judges seem to think all questions needed to be answered in the first 30 pages. If I answered all the questions in the first 30 pages, what would I do for the rest of the 370? The one judge, however, really spent some time on it and gave three pages of notes. Her comments were balanced and logical. She put into words problems I knew I was having but couldn't figure out. I'm going to send her a thank you note since she really took the extra time to give an honest judgment. BTW, this was the historical I abandoned.

So I get my rejection and my Molly scores, not a great day so far. Then I start vacuuming my room. The vacuum doesn't work. I had to take it apart. I get out the Phillips head screwdriver and dismantle part of it, realize it needs to have another section taken apart and when I flipped it around, I found it needed a star head screwdriver. That was enough to send me running for Starbucks and a green tea frappacino.

I'm going to a party tonight so I decided to look for something to wear. GRRRRR.... Nothing fit. Or it looked awful. I'm quite busty. So if it fits in the rest of my body, its tight around the chest. So I didn't buy anything. Did get my hair colored back to its "natural" red, so the day wasn't a total waste.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Back To It...

For the last couple of weeks I've been really struggling with my writing. The desire to write seemed to have disappeared. I could see it coming, fought it like a banshee, but in the end, I had to let go. I've had these episodes before. They've lasted as short as 2 days up ten years. This one lasted about a week. Over the weekend I re-started a WIP.

I think my problem is developing myself as a writer. I see my voice, like it, but am convinced it needs to grow. I read my writing, think its good, but I know I can do better. It's an uphill battle. But I know I won't be happy unless I put the effort in and make it a little tougher. But damn, I don't feel like expending the energy. But I will.

So I started a historical. It takes place in 18th century London and is based on the criminal element of the era. It is going to be a great deal of work, the story is dark, the conflicts darker and the research extensive. I'm not very far, but I can see where its going and I'm happy. Sitting down at my keyboard today, I open a new document and start writing a new WIP entirely. This one is a romantica suspense that takes place in contemporary L.A. I don't know where it came from, but I'm writing it more for my amusement than anything else. Writing historicals is like a pressure cooker for me. They are work, not only do I have the research to worry about, but I need to "translate" my voice into a tone appropriate to the story. To relieve the pressure, I work on something on the side, something fun and completely different. The last time I did this, the "fun" project took over and that's the one I've been submitting. Oh well, whatever works.

speaking of submitting, I received a request for a partial today. I had totally forgotten I'd queried this agent. Of course this agent wants a totally odd number of chapters, so none of my pre-printed partials will work. Thank goodness I got a laser printer.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Sugar Plum Princess and Hula Honey

This is Katie with her purple hair.

This is her two-year-old sister Allison.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Christmas in July

One of my favorite summer traditions is the clearance sales at Target. In July, they go through and clearance tons and tons of stuff. Not just the summer stuff either. They clearance a bunch of the toys: Barbies, My Little Pony, Fisher-Price, all that kind of stuff. They had their hoochie-mama dress up stuff on clearance so I got some of it for my daughter. I pack it up and save it for her birthday (November) and Christmas. The only potential problem I find is I forget what I bought. My MIL still has a closet full of My Little Ponies because I forgot them last year. Still, it's a good deal.

Katie asked to get her ears pierced. I don't have a problem with that except I worry she won't keep the earrings in the requisite amount of time and she will end up with infections. Also, she can't wear earrings in soccer. So we decided she can get her ears pierced for her birthday when she turns six. She also wants to dye her hair pink. Her dad gave the okay. Hmmm.... Anyway, I picked up to dyes at Target. One will streak her hair fuschia. It has peroxide in it, so it means its going to be there for awhile. The other is a color that will last 8-10 shampoos, but it isn't as vivid. Not sure what to do. I'll probably go with the latter. Her hair doesn't grow real fast and I would hate to see her stuck with a color she didn't like for a long time. But she is girl of strong self-expression, so we shall see.