Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm Alive!

I've been at a conference and off-line, but I'm checking email now.

I have 337 unread messages in my inbox! Sob!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Back Among the Living

I feel more human today, although my voice sounds awful. My students are probably hoping I'll lose it. You know, some days, I can't blame them. Some days, I wouldn't like me either. (Have I mentioned training ninth graders for high school and the world beyond is hard?)

I should be writing on the new WIP, Afternburn, but I'm not. I'm making out a test (Romeo and Juliet, Act III), then I'm going to bed early again tonight. One thing I've learned from the last year is not to push my body too hard when I'm not feeling well. It tends to push back.

Do I want to do an extra credit ambush tomorrow or not? I follow the poor darlings around campus (break, lunch, etc.) and ask them review questions. If they answer correctly, they get bonus points to add to a test. They didn't get that last week for the Act II test.

I could do one question per kid. Let them pull them out of a cup or something.

Oh! I got the coolest thing from another teacher today. He's working on his master's in creative writing from Oxford (we won't discuss how envious I am!) and just returned from an Oxford visit. He had handouts featuring D.H. Laurence's and W. B. Yeats's revision processes. Too, too cool. Interesting to see where Laurence's "The Piano" began and where it ended up, as well as Yeats's "The Second Coming." See, Joan? Everyone revises . . . and may survive it!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Funsuckers 'R Us

Yep, that's me right now. I am not a joy to be around.

Aren't you glad you stopped by?

Actually, don't you feel sorry for the eighty-odd kids who have no choice but to hang out with me for an hour or more every day?

Why am I the world's biggest funsucker right now?

1) I caught Monster #1's cold.
2) Nine very looooooong days until payday.
3) Payday? Pshaw. It's already all spent.
4) Stress.

The bright spots?

I made the second round in Karin Tabke's first line contest.

And Larissa is my new publisher sister! I can't tell you how neat that is. :-)

See? I'm not a total funsucker.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Another First

I've turned in my first round of edits! The process wasn't as difficult as I'd feared (my editor complimented me on a "clean manuscript").

I loved reading through What Mattered Most again (especially formatted in book form with my Coming Soon page!).

We won't discuss how I had to email said editor and ask what I was suppposed to do with the edits -- I didn' t know how to make the electronic corrections. How sad is that?! I did assure her I was a quick study.

It's a little over a month until the book releases. I can't wait. :-)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Little of This, A Little of That

It's been a loooooong day. A weird day. I'm tired. Early to bed is sounding good tonight!

I have edits, but I'm waiting for an answer from my editor before I begin. (It was a stupid question, too, but I want to make sure I do this right!) I think I need to buy a Chicago Manual of Style. My MLA comma rules aren't the same. Not putting a comma in "Oh God" is going to drive me nuts.

Only fourteen days (two weeks!) until pay day. I think I might survive January. There are new books out at Samhain (I really want Maya's book!), but there's that little lack of money thing. I may go on a Samhain glom in February.

Neat post over at the Samhain blog today -- an editor's take on the historical market.

We're planning new, big things at Romance Worth Killing For. Joan's been updating the site -- go take a look!

Finally, one of the most fabulous writer's resources ever is Charlotte Dillon's site and her lists for romance writers. Here's the info on her various lists, from Charlotte herself:

(Permission to forward to writing friends):

RWC - Romance Writers Community (The main list). This is where you ask how to questions, research questions, share news of a new sale or rejection, computer questions,get market info, and so on. (Writing topics only please.) We do allow promo type messages by active members about their writing, but on each Sunday only.To join, send a blank message to: can also join at the group's homepage:

RWCcritique -- This list is for critiques only, nothing more. You may post chapters of your romance novel here, one at a time of course, and other members will critique the chapter and send it back to the list. You do have to critique two chapters for each one chapter you send in. There are moderators to make sure each members does two critiques per sub and that critiques aren't simply good job type posts, but real and detailed critiques. To join, send a blank message to: can also join at the group's homepage:

RWCPrompt -- On this list a weekly writing prompt is sent out each Monday morning. Members write a scene, or scenes, fitting the prompt, and send it in to the list if they wish. It is free writing, fun writing, so critiques are not given and only positive comments may be posted.To join, send a blank message to: can also join at the group's homepage:

RWCpromotion -- This is NOT a place to promote your novel or anything else, but a place to learn how totackle promoting your romance novel. Here we share hints and ideas on dealing with promotion as an author. This group might have been made with the published author in mind....but it's never too early to start learning the ins and outs of good promotion. So even if you haven't made that first sale yet....feel free to join.To join, send a blank message to: can also join at the group's homepage:

RWC-Other -- Another branch off the RWC tree. The RWC-Other group is for those of us who do other writing along with our romance novels--or even for those who only do other writing. So if you write articles, non-fiction, children's books, poems, or anything else, this is the group for you to ask questions onmarket, how-to, or what ever else falls under that other writing.To join, send a blank message to: can also join at the group's homepage:

RWCchallenge -- This is a list to push you on those pages and help encourage you to get them done. You can make your own challenge by writing in with a goal anytime you wish. Sometimes though, I make the challenge. That challenge might be for a weekendor two weeks, or sometimes even a month. During thechallenge members who wish to take part see how manynew pages they can come up with in that time frame.You get to set your own page count goals for thechallenge. Members are always welcome to post messages to the group about their goals, how things are going, or not going, and so on.To join send a blank message to: can also join at the group's homepage:

RWCsocial -- Since social subjects aren't allowed on RWC, RWCsocial gives members a chance to talk about subjects other than romance writing, as well as a chance to get to know each other and make new writing friends. So this is the place to chit chat and get to know each other.To join, send a blank message to: can also join through the group's homepage:

RWCGetHealthy -- This is a friendly support group for writers of any genre who want to lose weight, eat healthy, or just get in better shape. Some of us might bestruggling with dropping a few pounds...or a pile of them. :-) Some of us just might want to do better at working out, or just at making healthier food choices by reaching for an apple instead of that candy bar. It doesn't matter what your path is, as long as your goal is to become a better more healthier you! To join, send a blank message to: can also join through the group's homepage:

RRC -- Romance Readers Community -- This list is for romance readers, writers or not. Here we drop our writer's hats and talk about books we like and books we didn't like, what we are reading now, and what's waiting in our to-be-read piles. We can talk about places to buy books cheaper, our favorite author, or anything that has to do with romance novels. To join, send a blank message to: can also join through the group's homepage:

Monday, January 15, 2007

Karin Tabke's First Line Contest . . .

. . . is up and running again. And the entries are fabulous so far!

Go look!

Why I'm Rich

I've been reading a lot lately on personal finance. It's a form of self-torture, I think, because it's January (the longest month known to teachers) and we're also dealing with some issues stemming from the DH's former employer's decision to not pay their employees.

But I digress.

After a friend and I watched an Oprah episode about poverty in America, I swore I wouldn't complain again about the status (or rather, non-status) of my renovations. Because even if it doesn't seem like it some days, the unfinished state of my home is temporary. For those on Oprah's show? Not so temporary.

While we were watching that show, we discovered that according to income statistics, my friend and I are rich.

Yeah, I thought. I'm rich. And the Pope is really a Southern Baptist.

Then I read up on net worth following a visit to Make Love Not Debt. My net worth? Not so rich.

Okay, so income level and net worth are two very different ways to define a person's wealth. It all depends on how one looks at wealth, right?


And I've decided that money issues aside, I am rich. Want to know why?

1) I can still call my mother.
2) I have fabulous, loyal friends.
3) I like my small-town life.
4) The Monsters don't go to bed hungry.
5) I'm educated -- although I'm still paying for said education.
6) I love my career, couldn't imagine doing anything else.
7) The DH adores me. (Why, I don't know sometimes. I can't be the easiest person to live with.)
8) I have a dog. And a cat. (Both of which, Larissa, we rescued as strays.) The dog actually minds. The cat merely graces us with her royal presence.
9) I've seen my name on a book cover. Well, a picture of said cover, but I should be able to hold said book later this year.
10) The Monsters adore me, too, and I'm able to offer them the things they need, even if I choose not to offer them everything they want.

And even though I'm pretty sure I've blogged on this before, I don't think one can ever count her blessings too often.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This Is Interesting . . .

Although it did lead me to really figure my net worth versus the average net worth for my age range. Let's just say I'm below the average and leave it at that, okay? 'Kay.

Make Love, Not Debt -- A Relationship Finance Blog

Friday, January 12, 2007

Today's Post . . .

. . . is at Romance Worth Killing For!

I need words, lots of words, so come on over!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

There Are Good Ones and Bad Ones

Yesterday? Pretty okay, despite the rain and yucky weather.

Today? Not a good one.

Oh, it had its good points. I made some headway on a situation at school that's been bothering me for months (Mary has created a monster, methinks . . .). Student government was productive.

But overall? Simply a crappy, horrible, terrible, no-good kind of day.

And that's all I'm going to say about that.

Because . . . tomorrow is another day.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Monday Already?

Oh, man, the weekend went by fast.

On the bright side, all the laundry is done. Got the final chapters of MOU back from my CP and she liked how I pulled the convoluted mess of that mystery together. She nailed what was bothering me about the final scene as well, so I'm going to work on that tonight. Then hopefully I can get it off to my editor to read and maybe she'll like it as well.

Cold weather blowing in today, after days of balmy temperatures. I'm not a happy camper. I don't like cold weather. But at least it's not snowing, right?

The first chapter of my online read will go up over at the newsletter group later today. I'll post the links here once it's there.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The First Blush of Love

I'm working on the prewriting for what may be my next WIP. I use a story bones sheet I inherited from Carol to flesh out my characters. I have to have photos, too.

So here's how I envision my heroine, Angel:

She's very much the small-town bad girl with an even worse reputation. She's pretty much earned that rep, but feels like no one would ever believe she's changed.

And her hero, Troy Lee:

He's younger than Angel. He's the youngest cop on the local force, considered a screw-up, feels like an outsider.
This is the second older-heroine, younger-hero book I've written (the first is TRUTH AND CONSEQUENCES).
My working title is AFTERBURN. I have an overall idea of what the book is about -- I know what the opening scene is, I know what brings the two together, but I don't have the whole "movie" of my plot in my head yet.
I'm looking forward to delving into this one, though.

The Return is Real!

I woke up this morning thinking about the layers I need to add to the rough draft of MOU. This is a good thing, because I'd been afraid that my return to writing over the holiday break was a fluke, that when school kicked back in, I'd be mired in the land of not-being-able-to-write again.

This is a really good thing, because I need to kick the writing in gear this weekend. I'm working on an online read to offer potential readers, and I need to post the first chapter (of eight) Monday. I need to finish layering MOU, get it to the CPs so I can get it to my editor. And I really need to start plotting my next WIP. I'm thinking it will be the town bad-girl and younger, screw-up cop story. It could be the prodigal daughter and chicken farmer story. I could do the secret baby story I'd started, but I'm thinking it may finish it for another online read -- the plot line just reads short to me, for some reason.

Maybe I need a poll . . .

The DH and I watched a couple of episodes of Jake 2.0 on SciFi last night. It's an interesting concept, a rather geeky young tech support guy in the NSA who is infected by nanotechnology, which gives him "super-technical" powers. The thing is, by the end of the first episode, I'd figured out which woman would be his "he works with her and there's sexual tension" colleague, even while he's chasing after an ex-girlfriend. And by the middle of the second episode, I'd figured out how the plot of that show was going to go and I was yawning. I knew when he was brainstorming exotic undercover identities for a diplomatic party, what they were going to make him do -- pretend to be a waiter.

I knew the old girlfriend would turn up at said party.

I knew the double agent would turn on her ex-lover, the experienced agent who mentors Jake.

Too predictable. Make it different, I wanted to yell at the writers. Don't take the easy route. Make it exciting!

That's something I worry about in my own writing, that my twists and turns have been done before, that the characters are too stock, that the reader will see what's coming. I work hard to throw in those red herrings and make the twists and turns believable. I try to develop characters who, even though they may approach an archetype, are unique in presentation and come off as real people.

What movies and television shows have been too predictable for you? And which ones turn the predictions on their ear?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: My Recurring Book Elements

1) A name that starts with a T (Tick, Tom, Tori . . .)
2) A name that starts with a C (Caitlin, Calvert, Cook, Celia . . .)
3) Someone is going to get hurt. Or dead.
4) A student's name (at their request only -- Sonny Buck, Casey, etc.)
5) A Southern drawl
6) People, in a car, talking about clues or a case
7) A secret
8) A hospital scene. See #3.
9) My poor DH's law enforcement expertise. He hasn't gone a book yet that I haven't peppered him with questions.
10) Coffee. (I have this in common with Steph)
11) Kissing
12) Sex
13) Cursing

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Welcome to the Real World

Today was crazy. The kids were wound up. All. Day. Long.

I ran errands after school, took the Monsters to MickeyD's for supper. Came home, ready to work on my TTD list -- school, author, home.

Monster #2 threw a kink in the works.

Have I mentioned yet that parenting is flippin' hard?

You think it's difficult when they're babies and you have to get up every two hours at night. You really think the terrible two's are hard.

Hard, though, I've discovered, is your kids growing up. They develop different problems -- school, friends, etc., and you can't fix everything for them. You can't always kiss it and make it better. When you offer advice, they're not always going to take it or even be open to it.

Hard is knowing those problems will probably get bigger as they get older.

Hard is figuring out how to let them go at the right time.

All right, all of you who have been at this parenthood thing longer than I have . . . advice?

Edited to add:

I have positives today, though:

Dana's support. :-)
Monster #1's smile when he opened his birthday card from his aunt
Having Michele in my classroom. She's going to be an awesome teacher.
Only 27 more days until payday . . .

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Two Words and a List

Know what two of an author's favorite words are?


I just typed those on the rough draft of MOU. Now I have an author's least favorite words for you:


I have lots and lots of layering to do on the chapters I wrote during Christmas break. I came in under my estimated word count, but after I layer, I should be there.

Here's a list of things I learned while writing this book:

1) My instinctive writing style is just weird sometimes.
2) My hero has a potty mouth when he's angry.
3) Sometimes, a convoluted plan does come together, even when the author thinks it won't.
4) I have a thing for character names that start with "T" and "C."
5) I can finish a book before a deadline.
6) Sometimes, video games can be a good thing.
7) I have great friends.
8) I didn't forget how to write, despite the nearly twelve-month break from doing so.
9) My hero tends to have a violent streak when the heroine is threatened.
10) My heroine has quite the potty mouth herself.
11) I haven't lost my urge to write, either. The excitement was there -- it was just hiding.
12) Sometimes you don't need a list of six to move on. A list of four can work.
13) The cat gets ticked off when I try to type instead of petting her.
14) Intimacy can move backward, rather than forward.
15) I still love to write.

By the way, I'll be chatting at Fallen Angels Reviews tomorrow night along with other Samhain authors! Come join us!