Monday, February 26, 2007

The "I's" Have it

No, the two guys to the left have nothing to do with this post, but they happened to have been the best part of the Oscars, in my opinion. Anytime you have Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig in the same room, both in tuxedos, is a good thing.

When I started writing I was told to avoid writing in first person POV. It was tough and a hard sell. That was what I was told. So I never tried it. Now I can't seem to write in third person and its bugging me. I like both styles, but right now, the 1st person flows so much easier. My first attempt at 1st person was the book my agent offered representation on. Now I feel dialed into it. I don't like the thought of not being able to do both.

Does anyone else have this problem? I know there are authors that can write and publish using both styles. If you do both, what tips do you have? Do you have any strategies that helps you switch smoothly between them?

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'd Rather Be Writing

Greetings from Cookie Central! I'm taking a quick break from cookie duty to post. I picked up 66 cases of Girl Scout cookies and now I need to divide them up between the girls. Ugh!
I started a new story and I'm eager to immerse myself in it.

I'm struggling with writing what I want and what I think will sell. Unfortunately, I found myself not focusing on what I want to write but what will do well in the market. Big mistake. One thing my agent liked about "Tamsyn Unbound" (that's the name of my book) was she got a sense that I had a good time writing it. And I did. I didn't worry about the market when I wrote it, I just thought it was a fun story to write. Now I need to work on something new and I could feel the doubt crowding in. How was I going to write something that would sell? Talk about missing the point. I started a few things and I was dissatisfied with them. I was worried too much about the elements and how I thought they would fit in the marketplace.

This time, I went with how I felt, wrote the book the way I envisioned it. And I'm having fun. Because isn't that what its all about?

Anyway, hope everyone has a great weekend. Wednesday was my husband's birthday and today is my mom's. We are going to Benihana's this weekend to celebrate. Tomorrow is picture day for baseball and we are going to scrimmage another team. That should be fun. What are you up to?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Thirteen Recipes Using Girl Scout Cookies

Your daughter, niece, neighbor, friend's daughter, etc. has tagged you to buy up score of Girl Scout cookies. Sure, you can sit in your chair watching t.v. eating cookies, but there are some creative things you can do with them.

1. Mint Delight
2. Scavenger Delight
3. Cafe crusted pork tenderloin
4. Thin mint mashed potatoes
5. Chicken sate with Sezchuan peanut sauce
6. Dirt Dessert
7. Olde English Trifle with Old Fashioned Shortbread Trefoils
8. Raspberry-Chocolate Cheesecake Cups
9. Cafe Capriole Crisp
10. All About Tiramisu
11. Trémoa Cheese Cake
12. Banana Tagalong Crostada
13. Dirty Girl Scout Technically, this has nothing to do with Girl Scout cookies, but it sure looks yumm.

So apparently this is the last Thursday Thirteen, I'm sorry to see it go. I've met so many cool people through it and I sure had a blast reading them. Keep In Touch!!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Winter Blahs

I'm feeling odd these days. I have this great urge to burst into action, to accomplish a mammoth to-do list. I make plans, I see what needs to be done and I start...then I fizzle.

I'm not sure why, it just seems so hard to maintain enthusiasm. I suspect it is the winter blahs. In my mind, I know what I want to do, can see what needs to be done but my intentions dry up before I really get started. For instance, this morning I made plans to work in my kids' toy room and start dumping toys (you know, the endless Happy Meal toys that clog up ever corner of the house) and start moving Thing's toys upstairs. But now that its noon, I can barely focus on folding some towels.

I start every week with big workout plans, but my ambition fades before I can get my bag packed. I sit down to write with a page number in mind and when I sit down, I get maybe half that number.

The world seems very gray right now, colorless, which is probably because its rainy and cloudy. By then end of summer I'm eager for winter, but I forget what winter brings along with it. Even in California it is a less than active time. Also, I am surrounded by the signs of spring. My trees are getting ready to bloom and the roses are already showing new growth. Yet that feeling of winter hibernation lingers.

I've noticed that my mood lightens and my energy increases when the sun is out. I know some people feel more creative when its raining and cold, but I've come to realize I'm not one of them. I like the idea of being cozied up at home with the rain and the cold outside and diving into my writing or some other project, but I realize it isn't me. I'm a warm summer day kind of gal.

How affected by the weather are you? Have you ever noticed how your moods are affected?

Friday, February 16, 2007

Island in the Sea

I don't know what it is, but I have an overwhelming desire to run away to an uninhabited island (except for a five star resort) and do nothing except read. Reading is the ultimate escape for me, like a security blanket or Valium.

And yeah, I want to escape.

Things are getting busy at the ol' casa. Thing had her kindergarten shots this week. I register her for school the first week of March. Her school has cut down the number of kindergartners next fall so it is essential I get there the first day. My school district has open enrollment. As long as you live in this city, you can register your kid for whatever school you want in the district. For some reason, my kids' school is the tres chic school. I have the advantage of having two kids there already and I'm active with the school. However, I don't want to take any chances. Girl Scout cookies come in next week and my house is going to be Cookie Central, until March 12.

March 12 begins the remodel. My contractor was here the other day doing some final measuring. The project has grown from being just the kitchen to doing my dining room, living room, hallway and bathroom. He tells me he can get it done in 3 weeks. We shall see. While I can't wait to see the results, the chaos is going to be immense. And lets not talk about the money. When he told us the cost, I left the room and found something alcoholic to drink.

Baseball is in full swing. I am way too old to be doing this. I'm so tired after practice and I'm just coaching. But it is going to be a fun season, I can tell.

I've got the first 3 chapters done on my sequel book so now I can start on something new. I'm struggling. I have a fantasy in mind with a character who is about 5000 years old. How the hell do you do a character arc for someone that old? What can they learn? How can they change?

Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone is having a heart-filled day. This was not one of my favorite holidays as teen and up since I could never keep a boyfriend around this time. I've never had a boyfriend for Valentine's Day. My mom always got me something and so did my dad, it was one of the few holidays he actually went and bought something without urging. I have had a fiance and husband for the holiday. Many years ago I could expect a box from Victoria's Secret. He did get me a bottle of Dom Perignon one year. Now, I tell him to skip it. I don't need candy and flowers to know how he feels.

But here's a little treat. My local paper has been running these cute little stories on the front page and I thought I'd post a couple of them.

It was about 4 p.m. on Sept. 2. I was driving down Riverside Drive in Chino, when an ambulance approached from the other direction. I veered to the right, and in doing so, I almost ran into this white truck coming out from the intersection.
I pulled over to apologize to the driver and let him know I did not see him. We started talking and exchanged numbers.

The following week he called me and asked me if I would like to go out to dinner. I thought why not, we had great conversation. We found out that we have so much in common, and we've been together since then.

I never thought I would find that special person the way I did, but he completes me. We are very happy and enjoy every day we have together.

I really liked this one:
I was at work one day when I opened an e-mail from a woman who also worked for my company. She was advising me that she would stop sending any further company leads.
I was already having a bad day, so I looked her up and found that she was working in an office in Connecticut. I called her and asked, not too nicely, what she was talking about. We talked for several minutes, until we discovered there was another person with my name who worked for our company.

I liked her voice, and soon we discovered that each of us was divorced after 20 years. Also, our daughters were the same ages.

We grew up in adjoining towns. Had my father not moved to California, we would have gone to the same schools in New Jersey. We were both Highlanders and both in the band in high school, although in different states.

When I asked for her home number she surprised herself and gave it to me. When she hung up the phone, a co-worker next to her said that she better watch out, someday she could end up marrying me.

We just celebrated our fifth anniversary. That was the best misdirected e-mail I ever got.

Have a lovely day and eat lots of chocolate.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Agency Blogs

My new blogging hobby is reading literary agent blogs. Not all of them, but I like to peruse them occasionally. Some of them are really informative, others, I gotta wonder.

I used to read Miss Snark religiously. I even did the crap-o-meter once. One of the most informative, I think, is Kristin Nelson's Pub Rants. I think she goes out of her way to be nice and understanding to writers.

Agent Lori Perkins started a new blog and while I think she can be a little sharp-toned, she has some interesting things to say.

One I've started reading consistently is Nathan Bransford. He's funny and tries to explain things to writers. The Knight Agency has its own blog but Deidre Knight has her own blog over at MySpace which I quite enjoy. She mixes her topics between agenting, being a parent and being an author.

One thing I don't like with agent blogs is when the tone of their posts are belittling to writers. I understand they are swamped with queries and submissions from clueless writers, but making them the butt of jokes seems unfair to me. I realize sarcasm is a pleasing element for some on the blogs, it isn't my style.

I'm adding an "agent" sidebar so if you have an agency link you think should be added, post it in your comments.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Up for the Challenge

Do I've got a challenge for this week, to write five pages a day. I can do it, I know, but I'm so out of synch I can tell it is going to be a struggle. I've had a lot of distractions lately between my commitments to my kids' school, GS cookies and baseball, but these things are never going to end. They will change, they will have slow periods, but they will never disappear. I need to find a way of finding balance and slotting my writing in there.

To force me back into it, I am hosting a Book In A Week over at Villa in Tuscany. I think a week of putting focus on my writing might be enough to snap me back into a productive pattern. If anyone else feels the need to accept a challenge, stop on over. Toni has already signed up with a goal. Yahoo!!!

Even more exciting, I'm getting rid of this pink blog this week and going to something nice and green.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Thirteen Things I Always Have in My Refrigerator

Yes, I'm stretching this week. Next week I should be a bit more clever. RIGHHHTTT!

1. Diet Coke
2. Low fat sour cream. I usually have 2 or 3 containers. My paranoia over not having it is pretty deep.
3. Beer. I have 3 kids, I need it.
4. White wine. See above.
5. Low fat cream cheese. Again, more than one brick always.
6. Chutney. I love chutney. I use it as sandwich spread.
7. Home canned jalapenos. I canned some jalapenos about 10 years ago. As only one person in the house will eat them, its taking awhile to get through them.
8. I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Light. Gotta love margarine with its own website. Also a multi-product.
9. Apples. Hubby eats at least one every day.
10. Cheddar cheese. My 4 year old eats nachos or quesadillas every day for breakfast. I'd rather be out of beer than cheddar cheese. That's saying a lot.
11. Bread. I don't like keeping it there, but then, I don't eat it. My son goes into apoplexy if we are out of bread, so I always have at least one loaf around.
12. Milk. I buy two gallons of non-fat regular milk and a half gallon of non-fat Lactaid milk every week.
13. Yeast. I do bake occasionally and as I buy my yeast at Costco, I'm in yeast forever.

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Light My Fire

Perhaps it is the nature of the season or a cyclical phase I'm in, but my ambition to write has dropped. I have ideas, no issue with writer's block. But I have no desire to open up Word and work on a story.

I do have other stuff going on. Girl Scout cookie sales are ending which means I have to get all the orders together and submit them. Baseball practice starts Friday and I need to be ready to coach. My kids' principal is really pushing me to be more active with their capital campaign to earn money for our school's new computers. I think he wants to push me into more. We don't have PTA, we have a governance council. Parents also participate in hiring teachers and all sorts of other stuff. I'd rather get a root canal. But I have met some nice people I wouldn't have ordinarily met.

But still, there has been plenty of time to write. I've languished. I'm not working out either although time for that has been a bit more limited. Anyway, one isn't dependent on the other.

So I think on Sunday I'm going to host a Book In A Week, "Romance your Romance" over at Villa in Tuscany. No, you don't have to be working on a romance, I just liked the wording. It's a week to spend a little extra time focusing on your WIP, to light a fire under your creativity and get it going. It isn't about editing or perfect writing, but it is about getting word counts down. I'll post on Sunday and all you need to do is think of what your goals are for the week and post them. For those of us that are struggling, I'm hoping the added impetus will get us to where we should be as writers.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Dark Ages of Little League

It is that time. Little League has begun. My husband is managing a farm level team (ages 6-8) and Diva is playing. This year, they had a record number of girls sign up for the division which I think is great. Yes, there is girl's softball, but at this age level, they don't take it seriously. A lot of girls spend their early years in Little League then make the switch around 10. Anyway, hubby drafted a team of six boys and seven girls. He wanted to make it as even as possible. For the most part, kids don't care. My daughter's team had two girls last year and the boys treated them like any other ball player. At this age, they don't care. They just want to play ball.

The dad's aren't quite as thrilled. During the draft, the league president told my husband that one dad said he heard there would be an all girl team and he didn't want his daughter on it. When hubby called his parents last night, a couple of the dads were not thrilled to hear their son was playing with a bunch of girls. Obviously, our team is going to blow chunks with all these girls. Heck, girls can't play baseball, can they?

First off, farm division is a learning league, not competitive. They don't keep score. It's coach-pitched. Second, physically, girls have the advantage in many cases. My daughter is taller than most of her classmates and stronger. She plays as hard as the boys and is just as competitive. These girls want to play baseball, they are going to do their best. Third, it just pisses me off that we are still in this mindset.

It's a bunch of kids playing baseball. It saddens me that people see it as something less or something more. Their kids no matter what gender are going to have fun and learn. Isn't that what it is all about?

BTW, you know what's really cool? When you hit "spellcheck" and there are no mispellings.

Oh yeah, I posted an article I wrote for my chapter newsletter over at Villa In Tuscany about the hero's journey.