Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010--This is gonna be a year to remember

I can feel it in my bones. This is going to be a good year because I’m going to make it a good year. Not saying nothing bad won’t happen--but I’d like to keep my spirits up. Me. Optimistic. Scary, isn’t it?

Also, I’m not putting anything too crazy on my goals list this year. I won’t make goals that depend on other people. At least I don’t. To me those goals are doomed. I’m just saying. Others have another take on it. Some will argue that I’m being negative, and you need to be positive to get what you want out of life. But you know...depending on others to make your goals work can lead to disappointment and heartache. I know this advice has been posted elsewhere on the web and by writers who put it much more eloquently than me. But I have a good reason. I haven’t reached my coffee quota yet.

ANYWAY...Goals:

Brooklyn: I have the critiques back, and I will be start off the year revising. This will be slow and tedious because I’m not sure if I’ll have another set of critters for this. Synopsis and query letter will be revised, and I will query. Shooting for July at the latest. And I mean the latest. Early is much better.

Daniel: He will be revised and out for critiques this year. Depending on Brooklyn and major problems and/or changes, I will try to query him out as well by December. (I sound like such a pimp, don’t I?)

Critiques: I would love to critique more YA books this year. And I do mean full stories. I’m more of a fan of doing novel critiques because I like to get a feel for the story, and to do that I need the complete manuscript. Not everyone likes that. I get it. But if you have a full MS you need a critique on, send me a message. We can work out a trade for first chapters and this way we get a feel for how we might gel. This is important. Most folks really do overlook the compatibility factor.

Travel: Time for me to get out more.  I’m going to conference this year in January. This one is more workshops. No pitches. That’s what I prefer anyway and it works out fine for me. I am so excited. I’m playing it down to my teens because I’m taking off for a few days and leaving them behind. That seems sort of cruel to be happy while my girl has finals and the boy is working and has to babysit his sister. Secretly, I’m jazzed. Shhhh...we’ll keep it between us.

I’m also planning a surprise trip with my girl after school lets out. As soon as things get finalized, I’ll share.

Health: I need to lose weight again. More important I need to get into shape. These last few months I haven’t done much except sit and type. I could whine and complain and blame it on the pneumonia, broken rib--but truth is I didn’t bounce back quick enough. My bad. So my pc time has to be broken up throughout the day. Exercise is also great for my mental and emotional state. Don’t underestimate the value of a good walk.

There are more things on my goals list, but they’d probably (most likely, most definitely) bore you all. By now I might’ve lost some of you in my long rambling anyway, but I thought I’d share. And seeing my list written out makes it feel more important. More real.

Have you all made goals for 2010?

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Saying Good-bye to 2009

I’ve been struggling with my resolutions for a good week or two, and I’ve come to the realization I need to say good-by to 2009 first. Yes, I am thick at times.

2009 wasn’t that bad of a year for me.

I completed Brooklyn’s story at the end of February. Cleaned her up some and sent her to critters. Hey I even have rough drafts of the synopsis and query letter completed. Go, me.

Daniel was plotted, world built up and written this year as well. Two novels in one year. Not too shabby.

I critiqued a couple of novels and shorter works. A huge cut from 2008. I still don’t think I found my happy place with the number of crits I’d like to be doing.

Wrote a couple of guest blog posts. Those were interesting to do.

I got around to seeing Val in real life, and we had a good time.

The movie Avatar was finally released. Simply fantastic eye candy. See it on IMAX 3D if you can. The impression I was left with is that this was a work of love for the director.

Out of all the movies I saw this year, Sherlock Holmes is another one that stands out to me. Maybe because I just saw it the other day. I did enjoy how the characters all played off each other and how their back-stories came into play. The movie also inspired my muse to revisit a story I put on the back burner. Yeah, I didn’t need my muse to latch onto something shiny.

Most surprising movie I enjoyed, Star Trek. Really truly thought I’d hate it. Turned out to be a favorite.

My son graduated high school this year and signed up for the Navy. Simply...wow. I knew these days would come but you know...it’s just when the first one leaves home it’s sort of mind numbing.

Lots of heartache and turmoil for my kids this year as they learned about first loves. They were hard lessons to learn but necessary ones.

Health wise for me it was a trying year again. My knee did heal but it took a lot to get there. I put miles on the bike and the treadmill. Of course, I had to crack a rib. You know...what’s the year without a problem?

Two books that still haunt me: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater. James was hilarious in the first book, and he proved just as entertaining in this one. Funny and tearful.

And the second book, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. It’s a creepy little zombie adventure with a sad love story entwined in it.

Oh yes, and the Kindle. I had a Sony two years before this, but I gotta say I love my Kindle.

How was your 2009?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Where is my brain this morning?

I’m finally emerging from the holiday rush. We didn’t do much. Not like we made a cross-country trip or anything, but we had a pleasant time at home. As holidays go it was very nice.

Today I’m trying to wake up and actually consider about what needs to be done next year. Thinking feels incredibly hard this morning. Maybe I have a secret life I don’t know about at night and I’m sleep walking my way through it. Forget the coffee. Plug me up to a caffeine drip.

Hope you all had a good weekend.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Make cookies or clean the bathrooms? Hmmmm.

Which one do you think I ended up doing?

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas Meme

Plundered from Val’s blog. I don’t play along very often, but I could have fun with this. If you want to join in and leave a link in comments so I can see your answers.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

In my house gift bags are a joke. Has to be wrapping paper. Two levels of wrapping paper. And you all can forget scotch tape. Must be packing tape in some spots. Yes, I need to do all this to keep out prying and devious kids.

2. Real tree or Artificial?

Artificial. Less likely to catch fire in my house.

3. When do you put up the tree?

Most years I put it up on Thanksgiving. This year it just went up on Saturday. I could blame procrastination...but really it was my foul mood.

4. When do you take the tree down?

Right after New Years. Mostly because if I have to spend all that time putting it up, it will stay up for more than a week.


5. Do you like eggnog?

YES. Southern Comfort makes the best eggnog. Non-alcoholic. I'm not kidding.

6.  Favorite gift received as a child?

You know, I had to think hard on this one. Easy Bake Oven and Baby Alive. Yes, I am digging all the way back to my childhood here.

7. Hardest person to buy for?

No one. I’m good at finding the right present.

8. Easiest person to buy for?

Hm...the girl. Basically she wants everything in Hot Topic.

9. Do you have a nativity scene?

Of course. Porcelain. So far I’ve only had to glue the sheep back to together.

10. Mail or email Christmas cards?

I like snail mailing these. But...for the second year in a row I haven’t sent any. Sigh. Where is my energy going these days?

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?

Pleading the fifth. Let’s just say they were right up there with pink flamingo lawn ornaments.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

I’m drawn to It’s a Wonderful Life. Drummer Boy is another good one.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?

January. Seriously. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect gift.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

Never. Really. Not even the pink flamingo type gift.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?

Dessert count? I love holiday food. I like it more when my hubby cooks it.

16. Lights on the tree?

White. No blinking ones either. My ornaments are also color coordinated. If you think that’s bad, the wrapping paper has to match too. I’m sure someone is wondering if I have OCD.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

Silent Night (I bet someone out there thought I was going to say Grandma got Run Over by a Reindeer.)

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

Here’s the thing, when we travel at Christmas it turns into a fiasco. Every time. So now we stay home and people can visit us. Interestingly, no one wants to visit us.

19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Yeah...give me a couple of glasses of wine and maybe I can sing the song. Or make up a few names.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

Had an angel until it sort of...um...caught fire. Not bad. Just melting and smoke and little flame. Anyway...now we have a star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Most of the gifts are opened Christmas morning. The girl has this plan to wake me up at 12:01 AM this year. Doubt I’m moving that late at night. But I do pick out one gift for each child to open on Christmas Eve.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?

I’m with Val on this one. Just say Merry Christmas. You know you want to.

23. Favorite ornament, theme, or color?

Silver, white, gold (sometimes I allow a little brown or red.) I love unusual ornaments.

24. Favorite for Christmas Dinner?

When my husband is home, turkey.

25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

My husband to be safe and my kids happy.



Saturday, December 19, 2009

Found it

Off in the corner of the basement I found my Christmas tree. That part was easy. Finding the ornaments....not so much. Finally I discovered them. Buried. Under several boxes of books. Hardcover, text books. Can you guess what happened to the tree ornaments?

A road trip to Target was in order with my son. The boy hates shopping, but daring holiday stores the week before Christmas builds character. Tolerance. Patience. Even if it doesn’t do any of that I still needed a ride.

Hope you all had a good Saturday

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On the Hunt for the Elusive Christmas Tree

I know it’s down in the basement somewhere. Just don’t know where. I also need to figure out where my ornaments are at. Lights. Lights would be good, too. Nativity scene is a must.

Yes, these are the things that go missing when I let other folks put up my decorations. I was in a leg brace last year. Lots of stairs. Need I say more?

So today I shall dare the dark and dismal corners.

What are you doing?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And...DONE

Yesterday I got to write THE END on Daniel’s story. I love this warm and bouncy feeling. It is an awesome ride to create characters, give them a life and let them fulfill their storylines. This particular story was inspired by a dream that woke me up and left me in tears.

You got to love the muse when it sends you an idea.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Humor for a Monday

I discovered The Last Word blog via twitter. Man, she's funny. Anyway, there's a great post about raising boys.

Read.
Laugh.
Enjoy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Yikes--

Late start to the day. You all see what happens when I can't sleep?

Most Sundays I take the day off from writing. I kinda think of it as my recovery time. I do character chats. Make goals for the week. Clean the house. Give the dogs a bath. (That is quite the chore, by the way.)

Today I'm writing because I left my characters in a particularly bad spot yesterday. Hey, I believe in giving them challenges to overcome.

I'm off to spin some drama. Whatever you guys do today, have fun with it!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Musings before I got to sleep

I know it’s late. Okay--for me this is late. See, I normally wake up anywhere between 4 to 7 AM. Normally. There have been exceptions.

Tonight I can’t sleep. This is sooo not a good thing if I’m planning to be up early again, but my mind is whirling. Things like goals that I didn’t meet this year. Brooklyn is my big miss this year. I had hopes to get her out to agents by now. Many things got in the way of that. While some of it was out of my control, the parts I could’ve organized better are what irk me the most. Note to self: I shall stay on task next year. No feeling sorry for myself.

Anyway...now that I’ve written, rewritten and erased about a thousand words for this post, I’m thinking it is time for me to try and get back to bed. Night, night.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Wishing for sleep...

Dogs have it made. They can just plop down and sleep anywhere. Plus they get the occasional belly rub.


Or maybe she's depressed because she heard about Kirkus. I mean, Kirkus closing...mind boggling to hear about them and sad because they are an icon in the publishing world.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Writing update

The other day I wrote a bittersweet love scene. Makes you laugh one moment, but there's an undertone of sadness. It was touching. So naturally I have to counter with trouble because no character should be that happy. Not acceptable in my world.

Yesterday I had planned to write two scenes--they morphed into four on me. It is nice that I catch common sense problems with the plot now instead of waiting for like revisions, but I would really like to get this draft done. I think I have 14 scenes left to write. I have been wrong in my count in the past soooooo...I might be wrong again.

Go forth and hurt some characters today. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

-16?

Have I mentioned I don't like the cold? I don't. My kids hate it more. My son works outside, and my girl's braves the elements to take the bus to school. Since I don't drive with my eye problem, making that bus on time is extremely important if she doesn't want to walk it. This morning's dialogue went like this:

Me: Love you. And try not to make anyone cry today.

Girl: You're no fun.

She walks toward the door and stops.

Girl: Do you mean the teachers, too?

Me: Especially the teachers.

Girl: (grumbles and leaves)

She is such a cranky kid when it gets cold.

Happy writing and have a good day! Or at least warmer.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Freezing

Newest wave of snow isn't the problem. The cold is horrible, though. ARG.

On the publishing front, have you met the NEW ADULT? I'm sure you have. These books just didn't have a new category to hang out in before.

For years now I've heard of such a category being looked at. Some refer to it as an appeal to older YA's. But this is the first time I've seen it get a new name. ST. Martin's Press New Adult is doing its hardest to get noticed.

Here's a link to one of the the interviews: http://jmeadows.livejournal.com/725113.html


Yes, I can see having college level characters since a lot a readers like to read up. In truth I've already seen many YA books published in more adult like situations. Uglies trilogy comes to mind. Forest of Hands and Teeth. Will these be put under NEW ADULT? My biggest concern for this is how will this impact the libraries. Are books put in this group going to be considered too controversial for public libraries to buy? Libraries are huge for helping to spread word of mouth on great stories.

Many things to ponder. For me I have to a lot more writing to do this morning. Later folks.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Interrupting this blog for a kitty rant

Go ahead. Take my chew toy and see what happens to your furry slippers.


I triple dawg dare you.
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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Mmm...

There is nothing like raspberry-milk chocolate cocoa when the weather outside is freezing and snowing. Just saying. Everyone needs to keep a box of this on hand.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Sparkly moments

Friday I had an incredible writing day. It was just one scene. Just one. Not the most amazing one or the most crucial, but it sets up the tension for things to come.

You know why I liked it? Because it was a simple set up that came to life. During a time of truce, two old enemies meet in the rain...and things still manage to go wrong. I mean the friction between these two is massive. And the betrayal that Daniel experiences is painful to watch. I swear I didn’t plan for that to happen either.

When the characters just take over--that folks is a rush when it occurs. It is amazing and scary because you’re writing on blind faith that your muse knows what’s going on. Sadly, you can’t plan for these moments. At least I can’t. Days like this are good reminders of what I love about writing.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday musings

I am actually busy today working. I know that comes as a shock for some of you. Here's a...um...interesting link to check out. I never knew this site existed but everyone else seems to know about it. I am always the last to know.

http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's colder today...

Miss Kitty showing off her winter fashion look.

Yes, I'm a woman who likes to dress up and torment small animals and my children. Live with it.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It’s cold outside...

When I woke up in the wee hours this morning it was 20 F. My poor little pc widget is reading 16 now. Going down to 9 overnight. Chhhilllbbbrrrr

I felt the weather changing when I was out yesterday finishing up my Christmas shopping. It cost me. The freezing wind took my breath away. Literally. And of course, I forgot my inhaler at home. Silly me.

Daniel update: I ended up going back re-reading, tweaking three scenes, and I didn’t revise just one scene. I ended up with two new chapters outlined. Total six scenes.

It was a good day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

3 hours of sleep is not enough

I'm so tired. But December calls and so does Daniel's story. First up I have to re-read what I wrote yesterday because my mind is not letting it be put to rest. This is what I'd like to call my muse or characters trying to get my attention. So before I can move forward, I have to take a step back and see what my muse is seeing.

Yawn. More coffee, please.