Monday, July 30, 2007

Hanging On, Barely

Okay, I'm struggling with the writing tonight. I'm halfway in to my 1200 words and they are not coming.

It doesn't help that everyone's agenda around here tonight has obviously included interrupting me and making me crazy.

The temptation to say, "Hey, quit, just add 100 words to every other day this week and call it good" is hanging around, whispering to me. Only I know what the rest of this week is going to be like and what if I can't get my 1200 tomorrow? Or Wednesday? Only then it would be 1300 and I'd be in a bigger hole.

So 600 measly words. In an hour. I can do that.



I hope.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Check In

I've been a lazy blogger this week, but a productive writer.

Total word count for challenge: 36,491

Total written this week: 11,453

Average per day this week: 1636

Also completed print galleys on Nov. release and third round of edits on another book (it’s off to the FLE!).

Loving that this is making writing daily a habit. I need that.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
36,491 / 85,000

Friday, July 27, 2007

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Check In

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
25,277 / 85,000

That's my progress for 14 days of the 70 Days of Sweat. So after 20% of the sweaty days, I have almost 30% of my book written (if it doesn't go long -- I'm beginning to wonder if it might be a 95-100K book, but we'll see).

Today, I sorted out some of my plot issues. I don't have a complete synopsis yet and I'm working on the arc of the second romance -- I have two separate romances circulating about the suspense plot in this manuscript. I've never done this before but I'm really enjoying it.

You should pop over and read Larissa's post on rejection. I've tried to explain to people before how I'm thankful now that I didn't sell earlier because I wasn't ready and a) I'd have been miserable in the long run and b) I'd have screwed it up royally, but somehow I doubt I was as articulate in my explanation as Larissa is.

On the TTD list for the week:

1) HOL edits to Anne

2) WMM print galleys turned in

3) teach a four-hour writing instruction workshop

4) teach two one-hour drama workshops

5) make my 1200 daily

6) work on unit plans :-)

Only ten more days of summer vacation. Sob! Whatever will I do when I have to go to bed at a decent hour and get up at 5:30?!

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Hey, found this today, couldn't resist sharing! This is a review from Coffee Time Romance for What Mattered Most that I had not seen before. It's a five cup review, too! Whoo-hoo:

Cherokee, the reviewer, wrote in part:

"What Mattered Most is a highly charged tension grabber that locks onto the reader and does not let go until the conclusion...a roller coaster ride of events...The character of John alone held me captive in this unique story."

About time John O'Reilly, the anti-hero, made up for getting me kicked out of that critique group! I was glad to see someone loved him. ;-)

You can read the entire review here:

Goddess Worship

Not a huge Nora-book fan (I've read one or two). She's clearly an incredible writer, just doesn't pull me in for some reason.

I guess it's like mine and Wayne's agreement to disagree over T.S. Eliot. A matter of taste.

As a person, she is also clearly a class act: articulate, intelligent, wryly funny. I like that.

So we'll make it official: Nora Roberts is a goddess. ;-)

Pet Peeves Over Coffee

Okay, I have a handful of spelling demons -- words I cannot spell correctly without looking up:

1) occurred (I never can remember if it's one "r" or two)

2) occasional ( I want to add an extra '"s")

3) committed (I can't remember if it's one or two "t's")

Because I know that people have spelling demons (and many schools didn't teach spelling for many years), I'm pretty forgiving of spelling mistakes in my students' papers, etc., although I do make them get a dictionary and fix them.


I hate spelling errors in something that is for public reading.

Like a letter going out from my school to parents. I saw one come in over the fax line while I was in the office the other day. I wanted to grab it and take a red pen to it, or retype it, or something before it went out to hundreds of people.

What set me off this morning was a blog post by a multi-published author. Yes, yes, I know, blogs are informal forms of communication. But mispelling "lightning" and "losing"?

By the way, "lightning" is the correct spelling for that "large-scale, high-tension natural electric discharge in the atmosphere." "Lightening" is when something is growing lighter or brighter. They are not interchangeable.

"Losing" -- participial form of "lose" meaning unable to find or maintain or keep something. "Loosing"? Means to set free or let loose.

Why did this set me off? Because I cannot tell you the number of times I see those two spelling errors. And not in student papers. The local newspaper. Excerpts posted by authors. Blogs posted by authors.

See where I'm going? If you're going to write at a professional level, you have to learn how to spell, how to use similar-spelling and/or similar-sounding words correctly (affect vs. effect, anyone?), how to use a dictionary for those words that are your personal spelling demons. Because, as we all know, spellcheck will not catch words spelled correctly but used incorrectly.

I'm not saying your writing has to be perfect (there's a reason I won't assign a grade higher than 95 to a piece of writing in my classroom), but but what we put out there as authors should be darn close.

Rant finished. Going for coffee now.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Where I've Been

Nowhere, actually. A limb took out my phone line and hence knocked out my ability to get online. It's fixed, obviously.

Except now the A/C is on the blink. Did I mention it was 100 here today?

So I'm tired, hot and grumpy. 1200 words behind on 70 Days of Sweat, too. So I have to write 2400 words tonight. I have no idea what scenes those words will consist of.




It's too hot for exclamation points.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Worst Part of Drafting

I'm in that lovely part of drafting where it all looks like crap. Later, it will probably transform itself, but right now, it's c-r-a-p. I hate when I lose my objectivity about the writing.

I taught the first part of a writing instruction workshop today, and it's hard to explain how you do what you do when you're teaching. I teach pretty instinctively, now that I've got some experience on me -- and reproducing that verbally for someone else to take notes on is difficult.

I had a writing friend refer to me as an "instinctive writer" once upon a time and I kind of filed the description away. But more and more I understand what she meant -- I know what I do when I write, but darn if I can tell someone else how or why I do it.

So right now, it's all crap. Later, it won't be. Don't ask me how. Or why.

Because darn if I can explain it. :-)

{Doubt Demon pipes in: "What if it is all crap? Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!"}

Sunday, July 15, 2007

It's All About Focus And Drive

This is where things get dicey. I'm doing well with 70 Days of Sweat. I have 14,403 words on Facing It, compared to 0 (yes, that's ZERO) eight days ago. The story is going well, I think.

Here's my TTD list for the next two and a half weeks:

1) HOL edits #2 -- due to Anne the Editor Goddess by July 28 (that's 13 days).
2) WMM print galleys -- due by July 27 (12 days)
3) I'm teaching a ten-hour writing instruction workshop in three installments over the next three weeks. First four hours is tomorrow.
4) I'm holding six one-hour drama workshops over the next three weeks. That starts this week, too.
5) I need to clear our master bedroom and its closet in preparation for our renovation work scheduled for August.
6) I need to finesse my unit plans and get monthly calendars ready for my classes for Aug. & Sept. before preplanning begins.
7) I have to stick to my 1200 words daily for 70 Days of Sweat.

It's doable, but I have to stay focused. I've started running again, too, and that's helping. It keeps me on track, somehow.

It looks like 9:30 to 11:00 is going to be my prime writing time. The key is I have to stay offline. There are too many distractions otherwise.

I know it looks like a lot, but it is possible for me to pull all this off and still have some me-time. It's all about focus and wanting it and discipline. It's the same concept that applies to my classroom and my coaching.

It's also about prioritizing. You'll notice 70 days of sweat got the number seven spot. It's not because it's not important, but you'll notice edits got the #1 spot on my playlist. This is the deal -- I have professional obligations to meet at both Samhain and the school where I teach. Those obligations come before the new book. I think I can do it all, but the deadlines and the teaching prep have to come first. Hence why, although I could easily continue with the chapter of Facing It I'm working on, I have the edits file open and I'll spend the next hour or so working on that. I'll take a break and come back to the edits this evening, then maybe I'll get to add another couple of thousand words to Facing It.

Now, I need to find a way to work some promo time in there. That's the kicker. The darn promo!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Today's Post . . .

Is at Romance Worth Killing For.

Got up early to go to Connie's. Definitely worth waking up at 8:00 after going to bed at 12:46 and being awakened repeatedly by Leroy the Demonic Kitty.

But . . . note to self: Don't ever let Connie give me directions anywhere again.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Caution: Soapbox Ahead

Okay, so I end up with over a hundred emails today, and most of them deal with a discussion of the new RWA board decision. (This me: "RWA controversy? Oh. Yadda yadda yadda again, huh?" I don't give my money to RWA simply because $75 is a lot of money for a magazine subscription, since I live in the middle of BFE and any local chapter is at least four hours away. Oh, there is one two hours away, but you try getting any info on it out of RWA's main office. I don't think it really exists. Anyway, me + RWA = yadda yadda yadda.)

{At this point, Connie is reading this, thinking, "What's RWA?"}

So I'm not at Nationals and my publisher bascially is no longer recognized (read Angie the Editor Goddess's classy response here).

But I digress.

Because Kate Rothwell, goddess that she is, nailed the issue today.

I do not need RWA to validate me as an author. I do not need the President of the RWA board telling me that I don't need to "settle" for less than $1000 for my work. H-ello, I wasn't aware I had done so, simply because I went with a small press. I'm looking at clearing over four figures well before the year ends for my writing (not that it's anyone's business but mine).

But listen!

The amount of money I make does not validate me as an author.

RWA does not validate me as an author.

My editor, as dearly as I love her, does not validate me as an author.

Having an agent, which I did once upon a time, does not validate me as an author.

Being multi-contracted does not validate me as an author.

Many of those things are nice. Do I like hearing that my editor loves something I wrote? Yep. Did having two agents asking to sign me within days of one another make me feel good? Sure. Is the royalty check neat? Heck, yeah. What about that multi-contracted status? Yeppers. All fine and dandy and as far as the IRS is concerned, it makes me a "professional writer."

Did I think at one time I needed all that to be validated as a writer? Damn sure did.

I was deluded.

Because this is the key.

Your agent doesn't validate you.

Your editor doesn't validate you.

RWA doesn't validate you.

You validate yourself. And if you spend your time worried about how others view your publisher, your published status, which agent you're with, blah, blah, blah, yadda yadda yadda, then you're not focused on what's important.

The writing.

Because that's what ultimately validates you as an author. What you produce.

Know what I produced this week? 10, 251 words of a book I hope is going to be the best I've written yet.

{Okay, Connie, I'm off my soapbox now. I'll see you tomorrow!}

[PS to Kate: You should come over here. We could get into a knock-down, drag-out about something . . . oh, say, my state vs. yours, or dark chocolate vs. milk, or oh! whipped cream in coffee vs. not . . . we'll start a kerfuffle and work up some promo traffic for both of us.]

[Wait a minute! Kate! My named-for-a-bloodsucking-parasite hero vs. your tesslerat hero! That's it, baby! C'mon. You know you want to.]


Still making progress on Facing It. I wrote my three pages by hand last night because we were having a rocking thunderstorm.

Worked in my classroom a little this week (my bulletin boards are up and I cleaned out my filing cabinets). I have to do this BEFORE preplanning because I can't get anything done when there are other teachers around. I'm weird that way. I consider it my duty to aggravate Connie and Mary and keep them from getting anything done.

I'm planning for the school year. And last night, I nailed down the plans for the drama workshop I'm giving before school starts. I think it will be fun.

I've been walking/running again. Can't let Monster #1 be able to run/walk farther than I can! I feel better. I've missed my excercise.

House is a pit. Must. Clean. Today.

Did I mention I have a writing instruction workshop to teach Monday and all I've done is make my copies? I'm doomed . . .

Monday, July 09, 2007

Progress Report

9 pages, 3715 words on Facing It.

4 apges, 1246 words on In Dreams.

Total: 13 pages, 4961 words total.

I just have to keep this up for 69 days.

Have I mentioned if I pull this off, my students are going to be in trouble? Because if I can do this, there's nothing they can't do if they put their minds to it. I think I'll borrow Sven for my classroom. A big "Sven Says Sweat" poster for the door.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Oh, Wait -- It Gets Better!

Not only did I sign up for 70 Days of Sweat (Thanks, Steph & Larissa! I needed more insanity in my life!), but I've let the DH help talk me into working on the ghost book.

And I'm going to attempt three pages daily on TWO SEPARATE BOOKS. Six pages, app. 2500 words total per day. I've so lost it.

Plus, they're not even the books I signed up for over at Alison's blog. Well, one is. I don't know yet. I can't decide. I have choices. So here's what's up:

1) The Southern ghost book, working title In Dreams.

plus . . .

2) Chandler Co. book #7: working title Facing It.


3) Chandler Co. book #8: working title Afterburn.


4) Cold case book, working title Cold Case #1 (because I have no working title, LOL).

I have lost my ever-lovin' mind for sure. And I've committed because I even put up word meters!

I'm thinking ghost book and Facing It because I have characters & plot ideas for the latter.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Has Anyone Seen My Mind?

I seem to have lost it.

After shelving SWM, otherwise known as the "book with no plot," I've signed up for 70 Days of Sweat.

I'm blaming it on Steph. And Larissa.

Starting tomorrow, I have to write 3 pages a day on a book I haven't finished the research on.

Will keep you updated.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Yes, the sound of true writerly frustration, when you realize the book you've been working on is probably heading for the shelf.

I hate wasting time! And I feel like I have. I love Angie and Fish. I do. But. The books not doing it for me.

I think working on HOL and HOTM the last month has ruined me. HOL has a tight suspense plot, and HOTM has a meaty murder mystery. Next I'll be working on ABM, another "big" plot. Angie and Fish? Not so much. I enjoy the big stuff and I think that's why I'm just not feeling the love with Stay With Me right now. I have the synopsis, I can make the page count daily, but it's kinda like eating a Happy Meal burger when I want to be tearing into a thick juicy steak.

So I have two choices:

1) Keep going on SWM. Finish it before school starts.

2) Shelve it until a later time (maybe Christmas vacation?) and work on Chris's book, which is a big plot, and/or the non-Chandler County book, the first in a cold-case trilogy idea I have. It's a big plot, too.

I hate not finishing something I've started but I don't want to be frustrated later either.

So I have thinking to do. Great. Just wonderful. (Ignore me while I pout here a second.)

Pondering a promo contest too. More on that soon.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Progress Report

Okay, here we go:

Day 1 (Monday): 5.5 pages, 2267 words

Day 2 (Tuesday, today): 5 pages, 2001 words.

Total so far: 10.5 pages, 4268 words.

I may come back and write some later, but I've found that after I finish that push, I'm really ready to sit and read for school. (Re-reading Kelly Gallagher's Deeper Reading and working on plans for the school year.)

Right now, I'd love a nap. Somehow, I don't think it's going to happen . . .

Monday, July 02, 2007


I hate to even articulate this, because that's normally the kiss of death for me, but . . .

If I write 2000 words a day for the rest of July, I can finish Stay With Me before school starts. Then I'd have August until December to work on either Troy Lee or Chris's book.

2000 words is approximately 5 manuscript pages in Samhain house style. So, I need to write an average of five pages daily until July 31. That doesn't sound too bad. And I have the book plotted already -- synopsis and all.

If I can keep Leroy "Hello, I want to be your new Muse" Kitty off my keyboard. He's a PITA to be so little.

How about you? Do you set goals or just take the writing as it comes? And how does that work for you?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Morning Fun

Stole this one from Steph:

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

death (3x) knife (2x) murder (1x)

What about Romance Worth Killing For?

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

dead (2x) hurt (1x)

I failed this one!


Mingle2 - Free Online Dating