Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What's On Your Desk?

Yes, yes, I've been lazy since I returned from Alabama. All that theater culture exhausted me. :-)

Anyway, I have a meeting at 10:00, so this is a two-minute post (but I promise a longer one later today.).

Thought I'd tell you what books were sitting on my desk right now . . . so you could tell me!

Here we go:

1) Introduction to Theater Arts, Zimmerman
2) 7 Keys to Comprehension, Zimmerman (different one) & Hutchins
3) Understanding by Design, Wiggins & McTighe
4) Deeper Reading, Gallager (my hero!)
5) Play Director's Survival Kit, Rodgers & Rodgers
6) Going to Ground: Simple Life on a Georgia Pond, Blackmarr
7) On Writing, King
8) What's Happening, Hamlet? (script), Chikiar

What's on your desk?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I'm Back!

Had a wonderful trip. Hope to have a handful of pictures up in the next few days to show you.

Remember I'm chatting tonight over at the Samhain Cafe from 8:00 until 9:00 EST with fellow author Kate Rothwell/Summer Devon. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

These Are NOT My Kids . . .

(Although I could see mine doing this years ago . . .)

From an email my sister sent me and too good not too share!





LOOK ON MOM'S FACE................................PRICELESS!

Planning & Plotting

Beside writing this week, I've been working on unit plans for the coming school year. I have fewer preps and fewer students this year (whoo-hoo!), and I can already tell that it's going to allow me to deepen my teaching. I can also see that I'm finally getting the hang of the whole backward design planning concept. I knew I was close last year, but I still had issues, including problems with designing authentic performance tasks. I'm loving my plans so much better this year!

My day is all planned out today -- cleaning, errands, pulling together outfits for this weekend. My best friend and I are going to see a couple of plays one state over -- To Kill a Mockingbird and Trojan Women -- and I am soooooo excited! I love theater.

DH is keeping the Monsters for two days while I'm gone. That should be interesting. I've no doubt he can handle the kids, but I could plot a list of things that won't get done while I'm gone:

1) The toilet paper roll will not get changed. They'll just sit a fresh roll on the back of the toilet.
2) No one will wash dishes.
3) The living room won't get swept.
4) The kids won't comb their hair until church Sunday morning. If they need to go somewhere Saturday, they'll just pull on a hat . . .

I think they'll survive, though.

I'll be back Sunday, to chat with fellow Samhain author Kate Rothwell (Summer Devon) over at the Samhain Cafe. Remember that Reader Appreciation is going on all this week at the Cafe -- with over forty prizes being given away! Kate (Summer) and I are chatting from 8:00-9:00 PM Sunday night, and I'll be giving away a Samhain gift certificate. Make plans to come join us!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


Well, I didn't make my four pages yesterday -- I made two. So my goal for today is 6 -- 3 this morning, 3 tonight. I've found that if I break it up, it seems less daunting. The WIP seems to be coming along, although I know it's really rough. Lots and lots of layers in my future!

I had two of my CP's read the first seven chapters of MOU. Both of them hit on the same thing -- how quickly the relationship develops between chapters six and seven -- and I think that's why I was stuck. Anyway, I deleted ten pages (saved them in case I could use them later) and went back to my original plan for those chapters. Haven't written anything, but I feel more comfortable with the work now.

I did make progress on the teaching front -- I have plans sketched out for the first semester for my 11th American Lit and my 9th Lit/Comp classes. Made my independent reading lists for those classes, too.

Trying to get everything at home done before I leave Saturday for the theater. :-) I can't wait!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Update . . .

Total pages written today: 4

Total this week: 18 (Whoo-hoo!)

Will see if I can stick it out this week. I've got to start hitting those teaching units pretty hard, too.

Days until school starts: 28 (32 for students)

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I Am . . .

in the ZONE, baby!

It's been so long, I'd forgotten what it feels like.

It feels weird.


I like it!

I have a rough draft of the first chapter of Through a Glass Darkly, my new WIP, and I'm working on the first chapter of HOTM, revised.

I'm trying something new, and we'll have to see how it goes. In that past, I've only worked on one manuscript at a time. However, my, er, goal (ugh, the G word again!) is to have three chapters and a synopsis on TAGD completed and to add three chapters to MOU by the time pre-planning starts. That's approximately 120 pages, roughly 4 pages a day on to meet my goal.

My goal for HOTM is to outline the revisions (which I've already made copious notes on). Any writing I get done on there is gravy. I'm fiddling with it tonight because I finally figured out how to rewrite my inciting event.

I'm figuring I'll update my progress bars every Sunday (maybe Monday).


Oh, and don't forget that Samhain's Reader Appreciation Week begins Monday. Find out more at Samhain Cafe!

Updated -- Total pages written today: 7.5

Friday, July 07, 2006

Meet Dani . . .

The heroine of my new WIP, Through a Glass Darkly:

Dani Stuart huddled in the hard wooden chair, her hands wrapped around a foam coffee cup. The sharp tang of antiseptic hung around her; rubber-clad feet whispered against the white tile flooring. She focused on the greasy film floating atop the dark liquid, because if she didn’t, she’d have to think about where she was, what she was about to do.

Oh, God, what if it was true? What if it was her Sophie?

“Ms. Stuart?” She looked up to find Detective Marsh standing in the doorway. “We’re ready for you.”

Clutching the cup with both hands, she stood to toss it in a nearby trash bin. Left with nothing to occupy her hands, she shoved them in the pockets of her thin windbreaker and met the tall detective at the steel double doors.

Sympathy flickered in Marsh’s blue eyes. “Are you sure you’re up to this? We can take another couple of minutes, if you need-”

“No.” The word emerged more sharply than she’d intended. She swallowed hard and shook her head. She needed to do this now, to get this over with. Surely knowing would be better than this . . . this horrific limbo she’d been in for almost two days. She forced a smile, her face aching. “No, thank you. I’m ready.”

He nodded and held the door for her. She stepped into a long hallway, fluorescent lights not brightening the grayish-green walls. A gurney rested alongside one wall, a white sheet covering the body it held. A hand, skin wrinkled and spotted with age, peeked from beneath the fabric.
Dani’s stomach roiled.

Oh, God. She couldn’t do this after all. In her limbo, she could pretend Sophie was safe, merely staying away to punish her for one of the many wrongs she’d surely committed . . .

Here, there was no hiding from the reality that her daughter, her baby, might actually be dead.

Her eyes blurred, burned, and her throat tightened.

Her steps didn’t falter.

Marsh ushered her into a small room, a shaded window running along one interior wall. With yet another sympathetic glance her way, he rapped on the glass.

Slowly the shades opened, revealing another gurney, another sheeted figure.

Bile crowded Dani’s throat. In her pockets, she fisted her hands, nails biting into her palms. A woman in scrubs stepped forward, folded the sheet away from the head, revealing, dark hair, a badly battered face.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Today's Post . . .

is at Romance Worth Killing For!

It's REAL!

I know I got the offer back in May and that I signed the contract and made the sale announcement, but it still didn't seem completely real. I'm not sure why.

But . . .

Today I get to start thinking about my cover art form.

Today I get to start thinking about excerpts and blurbs for the publisher promo.

Today, the fact I sold is REAL.

And I have to confess . . . this reality is pretty darn cool.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The last few days, I've been thinking hard about the WIP. I tend to "see" my work as a mini-movie in my head. The nice thing about that is I can rewind or fast forward, freeze frame, etc. With the new book, I don't have a complete film yet, something more of a trailer -- I have the premise and the concept, the opening scenes, some snatches of later scenes. Basically, I have the overall idea of the plot, but not the entire outline. That's not really a problem at this point, because I can write those opening scenes (my normal MO is to write the first 2-3 chapters, then write the synopsis/outline). However . . .

There is that little thing called plot braiding. (Thanks again, Elisabeth, LOL!)

So while thinking about the WIP, I'm focusing on the threads of the plot . . . or should I say "plots"? Because this piece has two external plots, as well as the internal romantic thread. Both external plots are integral to the novel, both involve the main characters, with the conflict of one external thread opening the book and ultimately leading back to the second external thread. (Confused yet? Good, so am I!)

I've begun visualizing my plot as a DNA section rather than a simple braid -- you know how you see those 3-D models of DNA, with the two outside spirals connected and supported by the protein steps? That's what my plot braid looks like in my head. The two external plots are separate, yet joined, and if one is taken away, the entire structure collapses. So as I visualize my movie and get ready to outline, I must explore each step in both plots and how they connect and affect each other.

Is this writing dangerously? Does this show growth as a writer? Or just that I'm a complete idiot?

I really hope it's the former rather than the latter!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Review -- N.J. Walters's THE WAY HOME

The Way Home is a classic marriage of convenience book -- the hero Jake has inherited his orphaned niece after the death of his brother and sister-in-law, and he needs a wife. The heroine Rebecca has loved her best friend Jake for years and sees the marriage as a chance she can't turn down.

However, just as Jake's proposal isn't what Rebecca had always dreamed of -- a business-like proposition rather than a hearts & flowers offer -- the marriage throws her for a few loops. Jake's not immune from the emotional turmoil either, as he tries to adjust to sharing his home and life after years spent alone.

Like I said, a classic MOC plot, but once I started reading, I couldn't put the story down. I love watching a rather clueless hero come to his senses about his feelings, and Walters delivers that in Jake. He's not perfect, and his tendency to speak before considering Rebecca's POV results in his hurting her more than once. But he redeems himself quite well as he realizes his love for her, how close he's come to losing her through his own actions, and sets out to make it right.

Rebecca is a quietly strong heroine, and Walters paints her with very realistic strokes -- I could envision myself responding much the same as Rebecca does in several situations.

The pacing of the book drags some at the beginning, with backstory revealed through chunks of character thought, and I would have liked to have seen more of Jake's feelings for Rebecca layered in during his early POV scenes . . . however, as a whole, The Way Home is a fantastic read, earning three stars on this teacher's grading scale.

Monday, July 03, 2006

It's All Sharon's Fault . . .

. . . that I'm behind in writing. She keeps pointing me toward great books to read!

My current wish list:

The Way Home by N.J. Walters

72 Hours by Shannon Stacey (this one sounds GOOD!)

Hunted by Amilia Elias

Hmmm . . . where to begin?

Tag, I'm It!

Courtesy of Elisabeth:

1. A song by the first band you liked: "Skyhigh" by Jigsaw. (My older sister had their LP. I think I was six.)

2. A song that makes you think of your best friend: Ack. Some dance mix. Heard it on the radio yesterday, can't think of the name!

3. A song by the first band you saw in concert: Foreigner - "Juke Box Hero"

4. A song that reminds you of college/school: "Parents Just Don't Understand", Will Smith, UGA!

5. A song that makes you think of a boyfriend/girl (love) past or present: "When You Say Nothing At All", anything by the Eagles

Tagging . . . YOU! What musical memories will you share?

Sunday, July 02, 2006

What Makes You Go, "Augh!"

I bought a bad book.

Now, you have to realize I very rarely meet a book I don't like. But I bought a stinker this time. $4.45, because I liked the cover and because I'd heard good things about the author and because the first couple of pages along with the blurb caught my attention.

So I'm out the cost of a tropical latte with whipped cream from the Java place, when I could have had another book from my wish list.


What makes you go "augh!"?

I think I'm going to go watch Bridezillas.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

We're Home

500 mile round trip.

Husband has boat.

Husband is thrilled.

Monsters are thrilled.

I'm exhausted.

More later.