Friday, December 29, 2006

Now What?

So the holidays are coming to close and it is time to get back to the grindstone. I've ridden my wave of exultation to its conclusion and now it is time to get back to work.

So what should I work on?

I haven't talked to my agent much about it, so I'm not sure which path to take. Do I start working on the second book in my series? That would be the wise choice, the sensible one. Do I work on the other paranormal I started? Not such a wise choice however I like the story and it is in third person, a POV I'm not eager to surrender writing. Or do I go for a historical, just for the fun of it? I discovered an old one I had started and abandoned. I like the hook to it and the hero. The heroine is usesless and I think it could be a good book with a little elbow grease.

Writing the second book seems the simplest solution, but I don't want to find myself trapped by this series. I'm reading a book right now that is part of a series and while it isn't horrible, it feels tired and sloppy. The characters are interchangeable and I feel like the writer is fulfilling a contract rather than writing what she wants. I don't want that to happen to my writing. Remember "Misery" and how the hero hated his heroine? Don't want that to happen. I would hate to be at the mercy of a deranged Kathy Bates.

I have a plotline for my second book and it feels fresh to me so I will probably work on it, but I don't want to pull all my eggs in this particular basket. Yes, I still feel like my landing an agent is a fluke. I fear that whatever she found remarkable in my book is impossible for me to recapture in the next. I really hate self-doubt, particularly in my writing. I don't want to be the needy writer who slumps in their chair crippled by a need for constant reassurance. I have enough non-writing anxieties to deal with.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thirteen New Year's Resolutions

I'm sure this is going to be a unique topic!

1. Lose 30 lbs. This golden oldie has been number one for so long, I don't know what I'll do if I ever accomplish this goal.
2. Go to the gym regularly. See number one.
3. Learn to read Tarot cards. I love the cards, they are so cool. Plus, I'd like to use a reading in one of my stories, so I need to know how to do it.
4. Plant an herb garden.
5. Work with my youngest on her ABC's.
6. Try keeping my house cleaner.
7. Not swearing so much.
8. Read all of Jane Austen's books. I've only read "Pride & Prejudice" so I'd like to read more.
9. Spend some time on my finger and toe nails. I ignore my cuticles until they scream for attention.
10. Learn to knit.
11. Get my recipes organized.
12. Put more effort into getting my Christmas cards out the door.
13. Ah heck, 13 really isn't enough. Better do a writing one. Write two books.

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The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

But I Wanted The Barbie Dream House!

The wrapping paper is gone, the tons of carboard packaging went off with the recyclers today and my tree is de-decorated. Christmas is quickly disappearing from my house. After being subjected to Christmas stuff for months, I'm ready to see it go and return to normal.

The kids are still wound up and showing what ungrateful little wretches they are. Diva got a Polly Pocket Too Hip Cruise Ship. Its very cool and she loved it yesterday. But then she remembered she really wanted the Barbie Dream House. First, she rarely plays with barbies, her sister does. Second, she didn't mention it until last week and third, it is apparently on the same aisle as the Nintendo Wii in the toy store because you can't find them. Ergo, the cruise ship. She couldn't understand why the elves couldn't make one for her. I told her the elves had to make too many and she couldn't get one. She didn't buy it. Then I gave her the tried and true mom arguement saying a lot of other kids didn't get anything. Why not? Doesn't Santa bring the toys? Why would it be a problem? I didn't know what to say, so I told her the less fortunate kids asked for things to help their families rather than toys. Being a self-centered Diva, she didn't get it. The boy was a little disappointed too. He didn't get that much. But usually he gets the most expensive presents, this year was an anamoly. Thing made out pretty good. She got lots of Power Rangers stuff.

By the way, the cruise ship has already been put up because Thing got it out and wouldn't clean it up. Diva almost lost all her toys today because I made her do a major room cleaning (I helped her). The boy sulks a lot, but then, he is eleven.

How was your Christmas? Are my kids the only ones acting like brats? I do wonder if they will live until they go back to school

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Supernerd

My eldest turns eleven today, a moment I can hardly believe. Of my three kids, his birthdays affect me the most. On his first birthday, I bawled all day. I don't do that anymore, but it is amazing to me to watch this person who was once the cutest little baby turn into this young person.

He is like a little adult these days although he still has the tastes of a child. At dinner he will disucss something he read on the news and the next impersonate an obnoxious cartoon character.

He doesn't like sports. He doesn't like playing or watching them. He definitely doesn't like girls yet, they are gross. He loves computers and computer games. He loves reading. Right now he is reading the "Lord of the Rings" triology and loves it. His thirst for knowledge is never-ending. We will be spending a couple of days at museums next week at his insistence. He only listens to classical music and doesn't think any other kind is worth his attention.

He's a true delight to watch. His intelligence will surpass all of us in the family and I look forward to seeing what happens in the future. Despite the sadness of seeing my little boy fading into a young man, I am thrilled with the person he is becoming.

Happy Birthday my little nerd.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thirteen Things I Want for Christmas

Some are feasible, some aren't
1. Publishing contract. There's a surprise.
2. Aston Martin DB9 If I could Daniel Craig to go with that, even better.

3. Bentley Continetal GTC. Perfect combo of horsepower and class.
4. A magic pill to make me lose 30lbs. instantly.
5. A magic pill which will make me yearn to exercise.
6. George Foreman Grill. This is the latest model. Isn't it cool?
7. New Kitchen Aid. This guy is a monster.
8. The new Gwen Stefani CD. Now that Madonna sucks....
9. The complete novels of Jane Austen. Hubby just got this for me at Costco. I think its the law that all romance writers must own Jane Austen novels.
10. AlphaSmart. I'd love to have something so portable to take around.
11. Luxury cruise. Not one of those Carnival cruises, I want one of those fancy schmancy cruises.
12. A new pair of glasses. Mine are the wrong prescription and are battered and scratched. Maybe a pair of Lulu Guiness frames?
13. A whole day without my kids bugging me. Personally, I think I stand a better chance of getting the Aston Martin.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Christmas Presents Under the Tree

When I was a kid, I loved the moment when my mom brought out the Christmas presents and tucked them under the tree. I'd spend a week shaking and trying to guess what was in them. I found real quick I couldn't do that with my own kids. The minute the gifts are under the tree, they pulverize them. So the presents do go out until Christmas Eve after they go to bed. Drives me crazy because I've always thought of Christmas presents as part of the decoration. I'm hoping things will change by next year. Besides, my closet is bursting with stuff. I want my closet back!

So, when you were a kid, did you get one big present and then a few smaller ones? Didn't you just hate opening clothes when you were a kid? And then when you made "the face" you're mom would get mad? I don't get mad at my kids when they are disappointed with clothes. I know well-meaning relatives think its the right thing to do, but I think they need to understand that the kids aren't going to be excited by their gift. Unless it has marabou and sequins, my daughters are going to ignore it. Doesn't mean they don't like the clothes, but clothes don't move around and entertain them.

My kids always get too much stuff. Most of it isn't expensive. Heck, I bought a bunch of it on clearance during the summer. But they generally get one expensive present. My son and my youngest daughter are getting Nintendo DS Lites (my middle daughter already has one). Son wanted a Wii. Afraid life is full of disappointments. Although, I'm still going to try again this weekend. I think the flush of victory in getting one would be my reward.

My husband took this week off and is home. That's all I'm going to say about that.

I need to work on some revisions today, I don't have many. By the way, the ms I wrote is a contemporary fantasy romance which takes place in Los Angeles and the world of the fae. No, Kelly, not a historical. As much as I'd like it, my historicals aren't what are garnering interest.

Last night I got my packet of entries for the Golden Heart. I've never judged before so I'm excited. My attitude is to go in assuming the best. I don't like nitpicking on my own stuff and I don't want to do it to anyone else. I didn't enter myself, I've retired from the contest circuit until I can enter the RITA.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


I've been writing since I was about twelve with varying degrees of intensity. In 2001, I made the commitment to finish the historical I'd started eons ago. I did finish it, joined RWA and started submitting it. I sent out 5 queries until my common sense kicked in and I realized it wasn't a very good book, in fact, it was awful. Luckily, the agents I queried saw "American historical" and didn't look any further. Wise of them. Anyway, that was my first experience with querying and agents. The next was a crappy little book I wrote for a new line at Harlequin called "Blaze," maybe you've heard of it? It went nowhere after it was rejected. For three years, I'd only been rejected in my writing. It wasn't enough to make me quit because I knew those two novels weren't worthy and were more learning tools than anything. My third one, however, bloomed and was good. When it was done and polished, I started querying.

What a long roller coaster, enough I got a little sick from the ride.

I started researching the agents, finding the ones who I felt would be interested in my book. I sent out those queries and actually had a bunch of requests for partials. As rejections came in, I expanded my search. I got more requests for partials and some of those went on to fulls. I actively sought representation on that book for 18 mos. and probably queried 30 agents. Nothing happened. I have a big stack of rejections (in fact, I just got one the other day, over a year after I submitted the full). It is grinding and I have to admit, I really felt gun shy about querying again.

So I finished my latest ms and decided to throw it out there. It was my first in first person POV and I never had a CP for it. I've only queried a handful of agents, receiving a couple of requests. I sent the full of my ms to Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger, Inc. last Sunday. On Friday, she called and offered me representation. She loved the book, thought it was wonderful. I was truly floored and after a weekend of drinking champagne, it still hasn't sunk in.

My chances of publication have probably increased exponentially, but that isn't what means more to me right now. I feel validated. It is kind of sad, really, it takes a third party to make me feel worthwhile as a good writer, but I think that is something I am not alone in suffering.

The point I want to make, however, is that this is a business full of surprises. I honestly figured 2007 would be the year I spent looking for an agent for this book. I did not think this would happen so fast and I'm aware this isn't the norm. So if you are writing and are getting rejected, don't give up, it may not be the time and the place for that particular story, the next one may be the one. You never know. I honestly had no idea this book would resonate with anyone. But it did. Trust your instinct. If it feels good to you, go for it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Party Animal

I went to a holiday party last night. It was held at a place called Joe's Garage. Not bad a place, but the party was disappointing. The food was mediocre and the band was marginal. They had gambling tables and an open bar. I thought I was looking forward to it, but once we got there, I found it dull. I didn't know anyone there, the party was held by a company hubby has done work with. They host it for their employees and the few outsiders they consider important to their business. Anyway, I don't enjoy gambling unless there is real money involved. Even if it's nickel, dime, quarter poker, I enjoy it. When it's meaningless chips, I get bored quickly. This was weird: they had a mashed potato bar. I'm not kidding. There was a chafing dish of mashed potatoes with several kinds of gravy, tiny bits of chicken, sour cream and cheese. You could scoop your potatoes into a champagne glass and top it with what you chose. Ummm....I passed. They had a carving station with roast beef, but I think it was actually pot roast. Not bad, but still. They did have cheesecake which is always a plus.

Anyway, the point of this post is my realization that they could have had all my favorite foods and I still wouldn't have enjoyed myself because I don't like socializing. How weird is that? Even friends' parties wear on my nerves. I wasn't always like this. I was a good time girl back in college, but now, I'd rather sit at home and watch t.v. or read. I don't know why I've changed so much, but there you go. How about you? Have you gotten more social as you've gotten older or less so?

One More Little Thing....

I was offered representation by an agent this morning. I've taken it calmly (YEAH, RIGHT). This was my latest ms that I just finished polishing. She read it one night, couldn't put it down until she finished it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Thirteen Television Shows I'm Embarrassed to Admit I Like

Thanks to the anonymity of the Internet, I can reveal the shameful secrets of my television watching habits. These are in no particular order.

1. Emergency! - When I was six, I knew I would someday be Mrs. Johnny Gage
2. The A-Team
- I pity the fool who doesn't love it when a plan comes together.
3. Banacek - I guess I have a thing for George Peppard. For this particular show, it was the sexy ascot.
4. Charlie's Angels - Sexy yet virginal. When I was home with my son when he was newborn, we'd watch the reruns. He loved Chris.
5. Quincy - my SIL and I were going to create a drinking game. Every time Quincy says "How do you sleep at night?" you have to drink. Contrary to what you see on "Quincy," Los Angeles does have more than one M.E., two detectives and one restaurant.
6. Laugh-In- you bet your sweet bippy.
7. Love, American Style- all that innuendo. It's where "Happy Days" got its start.
8. Columbo-just one more thing.
9. Mama's Family- Vickie Lawrence was a hoot.
10. Beauty and the Geek-Like watching a train wreck.
11. The Love Boat- Florence Henderson guest-starred on this show 9 times. I didn't like it when they brought on Capt. Stubing annoying daughter.
12. Celebrity Fit Club- Heavens this is an embarrassing show.
13. Da Ali G Show - I just discovered this one. Really, really funny but the kind of humor you never want to admit to.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, December 11, 2006

How Was Your Weekend?

I had one of those mixed bag weekends.

I finished my revisions on my ms. I started going through it a third time and noticed I was skipping through it and I knew what the next line was. I figured if I looked at it again, I'd start screwing it up. Sometimes in our need to polish, we polish out that which makes it unique. So I stopped. I'm pleased with it. I don't think it is my best writing because it is contemporary and I think my voice shines in historical. But what do I know?

I yelled at my kids a lot. Actually, I yelled at Diva the most. She isn't human right now. She spent the night at a friend's house on Saturday. The other two kids were so well behaved without her. She really knows how to stir things up. She's going to make a great lawyer. When she came home Sunday she was such a brat and so obnoxious, I made her stay upstairs and out of my sight. She ended up taking a nap.

I made cookie dough for Christmas cookies. Got the sugar cookie dough made without incident but when I started on the gingerbread, I discovered I had no more cinnamon. Diva has gone through a cinnamon toast phase, so I'm sure she used it up. Had to run to the store and get more. I hate interruptions of that nature.

Went appliance shopping on Saturday. I bought a new cook top, two dishwashers, a trash compactor, a warming drawer, a range hood, a microwave, a wine chiller and an outdoor set of burners. We are getting ready to remodel the kitchen so the contractor wanted the appliances planned so the cabinets could be designed around them. It was pretty fun. The stuff won't be delivered until March, but we are now committed to the remodel.

I found a missing book. I was really eager to read Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas but when I went to pull it off my shelf, it was gone. I found it yesterday in a suitcase. I guess I packed it when I went to Hawaii.

We got a Christmas tree. It's still in the box. We decided to go artificial this year. It's pre-lit so we are going to miss out on the yearly husband-wife light fight. I did get the shivers when he told the kids that next year we will have the artificial tree and a real tree. Now he decides to be Mr. Christmas.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bah! Humbug!

Really, I'm not a Scrooge but neither am I ebullient with Christmas Spirit. I've been reading in blogs where people are complaining they don't have their usual excitement about the holidays. Life has becoming overwhelming and they aren't enjoying the season like they used to.

I'm just not Christmasy, haven't been for a long time. Not that I dislike the holiday, I just don't go all out. I do have my reasons. Nothing tragic, at least nothing tragic which affected how I feel about the holidays.

I grew up with Christmas Woman. My mother has always gone overboard with Christmas and our house was always decorated with a mountain of decorations. She hasn't changed much, she puts up two Christmas trees and does a full light show on her house. We always had Christmas cookies and candy, presents under the tree, etcetera. My mom would go on this holiday high which lasted from Thanksgiving until New Year's. Then it crashed in January.

My home life growing up was not perfect, as if any one's ever is. My dad drank and my mom suffered from bouts of crippling depression. I always felt this sense of desperation at Christmas, as if we used the holidays as a band aid for the darkness in our lives. Oh, it wasn't a dark tunnel of misery, certainly not enough to make a Lifetime movie out of. And believe me, I cleaned up on Christmas morning, being an only child and all. But I do remember feeling an edge to the holidays. And January, watch out. As is common, my mother's mood plunged. She freely admits to the winter blues. Especially in California because we often have lovely weather in December then really crummy weather in the next 3 months. Kind of negates the elation of the holidays.

When I grew up, my first jobs were in retail. There ain't nothing that can beat the holiday spirit out of a person like working retail at Christmas time. I ended up doing all my Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve because I couldn't stand going into the stores. I'd had holiday overload. It was exhausting.

So now I have my own home and I have a new set of reasons. One, my kids are death on decorations. The year I got married, I bought a village at Target. I haven't set it up in years because I know what will happen. I've lost many decorations to the savages. Some more precious than others. Usually, by the end of Christmas, there are hardly any decorations on the tree anyway. Two, my kids are so wound up this time of the year as well. The two girls have their birthdays in November and my son has his birthday two days before Christmas. They are so over-excited this time of year, I try to downplay the holidays just to keep us all sane.

I think there is too much pressure this time of year to be, well, merry. If we aren't in a celebratory mood, there must be something wrong. The messages we receive this time of year make us feel obligated to be happier, more generous than usual. Sometimes, I think it is too much. Moms really get hit with it. I do almost all the shopping, the baking, the decorating, what have you. I used to put a great deal of pressure on my self trying to have a Martha Stewart-style holiday. It didn't make my happy and it didn't make anyone else happy either.

The holidays should be fun and joyful, not an obligation. So don't worry if you don't have the holiday spirit. Pick and choose what pleases you about the holidays. I listen to Christmas music (except for yesterday's list) and drink egg nog. Add some Christmas cookies and I feel pretty Christmasy. Make it simple and enjoy the people around you. That's what the holidays should be about.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Thirteen Christmas Songs I Could Live Without Hearing ever Again

"You're a mean one, Mrs. Grinch...."

1. Silent Night-What kind of psycho vicious Scrooge doesn't like this song? It is so whiny...It's like nails on a chalkboard.
2. Here Comes Santa Claus
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
4. Frosty the Snowman
5. The Twelve Days of Christmas
6. Blue Christmas- shudder
7. Silver Bells - another whiny song
8. White Christmas - it implies it just isn't Christmas without snow. I have never had a white Christmas in my life and am not ever planning to.
9. Home for the Holidays - too perky
10. Jingle Bell Rock -also, too perky
11. Jolly Old St. Nicholas -I have a thing against Santa Songs.
12. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas - wake me up when it's over
13. Any Christmas song sung by Barbra Streisand -I could go on a whole rant about this, but I will leave it at being tacky and greedy.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


I started revising my MS this weekend. I'd pretty much done the first three chapters awhile ago so I had a 50 page jump on it. I'm on page 113 and I expect to get through 100 pages today.

I'm not a multiple-draft kind of writer. I write something, it almost never changes. The biggest changes I've made so far are some word changes to keep the continuity and I had a genderless character which, well, needed one. I'm not sure what the next 100 pages will present, but I doubt it will be too much change beyond proofreading errors and typos.

Once I write something, it changes very little. Is this because I plan and plan every detail of my book? No, I'm a panster although I know where my story starts and how it ends before I start writing. Am I preternaturally talented, blessed by the writing gods with unparalleled brilliance? Don't I wish, that would be cool. Am I so dense I don't recognize my own poor efforts and I'm blinded to my own amateurish efforts? That could be, I'm not published, but I don't think so.

So what is the answer? Oh, there isn't just one, but I've learned a few things from writing and my style. Everytime I finish a story, I find I have learned more about my writing and it makes it easier.

I think the biggest thing I've learned is to trust my writing. I don't think we as writers trust ourselves enough. We have ourselves so convinced that we need to revise even before we start writing, we sabotage ourselves. We feel those words we put down on the page aren't worthy until they've gone through four or five revisions. But if we revise too much, we dilute our voice. I guess that is another thing, I know my voice, feel confident in it. Voice is such an elusive concept, but once we can recognize our voice, writing becomes so much easier.

Another thing is experience. I think this WIP is number seven. Not all of those other WIP's were finished, but most of them made it to the 3/4 mark. But every piece of writing revealed to me my strengths and weaknesses, making me focus on what I need to work on. Once I grasped those concepts, they get incorporated into my internal editor.

Which is the next thing. I cannot switch my internal editor off. Ever. It works like a filter between my brain and my fingers. Like a coffee filter, I guess. The raw grounds of my writing get strained into the true product. All of my own personal writing "rules" have their place and my writing has to pass through them before making it to the keyboard.

It isn't a perfect method and it may be my downfall eventually. I'm not published, so I could be completely out my mind, but I'm not sure I can write any other way. I do have lots and lots of crap on my hard drive to prove how long it has taken me to get to this point. I've got WIP's that hit the 75k word mark which I decided didn't work and are forgotten. My style didn't happen overnight, it has evolved and will continue to evolve.

How about you? How much revision do you do? Are you one who needs lots of drafts or are you a "set in stone" writer? Do you try different methods when editing?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Just Desserts

I'm kind of a believer in karma. We reap what we sow and all that stuff. People tend to get their reward, although it isn't always what they thought. So where is all this philosophy headed? Did I get a brand new car? Did Berkeley offer me a 10 book deal? No, but it is still pretty cool.

I cleaned the top of my fridge, one of those tasks nobody likes to do. But I was rewarded. I found TWO unopened boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

I apply the karma idea to everything, especially writing. I've yet to meet a writer who has gotten published that didn't put his or her dues in to get published. Except for Pamela Anderson, but she is suffering some nasty karma these days. Anyhow, we get out of writing what we put into it. And sometimes it isn't the brass ring of publishing. I suppose that was the biggest lesson I learned from Nano. While I want to publish more than I want most things, I write for the pleasure of it. It was something I'd forgotten.

This weekend Susan Squires and her husband Harry spoke to our chapter. I could really gush about these two authors, they are so warm and engaging and so generous with their knowledge and experience. Listening to them, I really absorbed a great deal. We only had 4 members show up (me included) so the setting was very intimate and I could have sat there all day talking to them. Oh, now I'm gushing. Anyway, Susan's books are truly books she loves to write. If anyone has read her, you know she is not writing to anyone else's formula. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but it is hers. Same goes for Harry. His book "What Rough Beast" was terrific and a book I'd love to see go into a series. But it isn't something you are going to find anywhere, its a book he believes in. What I took most from their talk is believing in your project and realizing it may or may not sell right away. But if the writing is good, it will sell eventually. As I said, I believe in karma.

In other news....

Thing has decided that Power Rangers rule the universe and should actually be the only thing on television. It doesn't matter what dopey version it is (there are a gazillion) she watches them all. Amazingly, she wants to be a Red Power Ranger rather than one of those prissy Pink ones. She runs around the house doing Power Ranger moves, all accompanied by loud screaming. Ah well, keeps her out of the flour.