Saturday, December 31, 2011


It's New Years Eve.

My plans for the evening aren't exciting. We were supposed to get together with another children-laden family but my oldest son is under the weather. So we're hanging in at home, watching the ball drop and eating unhealthy food.

It's been a hectic week so this actually sounds like bliss to me.


I don't do resolutions but I think it's natural to reflect this time of year, to revisit what happened--good or bad.

Writer-wise, it was a pretty good year. I had a baby in 2010 and didn't finish a book that year. But this year I finished a book. It's always a good year when I finish a book.

I have big plans for next year, though. I want to finish revisions on this book and write another. In fact, I'd like to write two books this coming year. I'd settle for just another one, but I'd like two.

I'd like to final in another contest. I would love it to be the Golden Heart but I'll take another final anywhere. A final in any form rocks.

My biggest goal? A contract, of course. But I'd be happy to sign with an agent.

Going into this year, I'm feeling energized, like a firecracker. I'm more focused than I've been in a few years, in a more positive frame of mind. The last couple years have been full of the exhaustion of baby-making and the initial intense child-rearing that comes with an infant. But my youngest is out of the super-dependent baby phase so I should be able to stretch my wings a bit this year. I hope to reach out a little more, meet more writers, get involved. Maybe join a local chapter. Maybe go to a conference or two. Being with other romance writers fills the cracks, I think. And romance writers are some of the coolest people I've ever met.

My first line of business, though, is to finish these revisions and get to querying.

I got this.

How about you? What awesomeness happened to you last year? What awesomeness are you aiming to accomplish this year?

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all get everything you need.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fare Thee Well, Golden Heart Entry!

Au Revoir, GH entry! Godspeed!

I just mailed my six partials, six synopsis, and full manuscript to RWA this morning. Granted, the shipping for it to get there in the next two days was astronomical. But boy was it a good feeling to have it out of here.

I like entering a contest now and again. Not often, but once a year or so, just to keep it interesting. The competition, the excitement and anxiety of it. The deadlines and how it breaks up the monotone of sloughing through a manuscript. It can be fun.

So, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. If nothing else, I wrote a synopsis and polished my first fifty pages. That's an accomplishment in and of itself.

Now, on to the rest of the MS. I've decided to break the book into four acts and do each one separately. So, I'm working on my second act now. My goal? To be finished with the first round of revisions by mid January and get it out for some readers. It might be until end of January, though, with the holidays.

Speaking of the holidays.... I'm on a mission to try new Christmas cookies this year. My hubby's family likes chocolate chip (who doesn't?) and snickerdoodles, so I make those every year. Terri Osburn suggested sugar cookies for my boys to decorate so I'll probably do that too, just to make a mess. I do fudge, as well. I make a pumpkin log filled with cream cheese filling. (Yum-o!). But do you have any suggestions? Links to your favorite cookies? Please share!

Happy Holidays, if I don't get back here before then! And may the new year bring you everything you need.


Friday, October 28, 2011

RAP (or Revision Attack Plan)

Well, I've been away from my story now for a week and a half.

It's not that long but I can't leave it alone that long right now. I've got the Golden Heart entry to prepare. It's now time to plan for revisions or to devise a RAP (Revision Attack Plan).

I've taken a bunch of classes. I've read a bunch of books. But I was wondering, dear readers, what are your favorite ways to revise? Do you have a RAP? Do you make flowcharts? Do you use excel or a special writing program? Is there a technique you like?

For my part, I've decided to tackle the plot element issues first. Rearrange scenes, add some where there are missing ones, adjust many (particularly in the middle) and cut some where they are dull. I do an excel spreadsheet to check for POV and structure issues, utilizing a four act plan and skills from Carol Hughes's Deep Story class. Then I layer. I love these posts here and here by Renee Ryan about layering. Finally, I mess with the freshness of my writing with Margie Lawson's EDITS system.

So, how about you? Let's share!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Book Blurb

I posted a little blurb about the story I just finished. If you click on the books tab above, you can read it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Done! and Sharing a Self-Inflicted Pep Talk

Squee! Hooray and all that good stuff! The first draft of my manuscript is completed.

This is not to say that I'm done. I am certainly not done. I'm sad to admit that this story contains such witticisms as, "Insert description here." There is much work that remains before it is something that other people will want to read. But the basic skeleton is there. I'm happy with that for today.

Now that the bones are there, I'm forced to face the treacherous path ahead.


*Insert menacing backtrack here*

I confess, this is the roughest rough draft I've ever written. I think I knew that as I was writing, but I just kept going. Now, though, I'm scared of just HOW much work is left. I wouldn't be surprised if I'm messing with these revisions into the spring.


This is my third completed manuscript. I've learned a lot about writing since I first set out to write a novel a few years ago but the biggest thing I've learned is that revision is the KEY. Oh writing the story is important. Getting it all out. But most of the "writing" is actually revising. So, I do not plan to downplay the importance of this next step.

The other thing I've learned is that a romance writer can absolutely not pull their emotional punches.

What I mean is that romance is all about emotion. It's about love, after all, and love is the king of emotions. Therefore, one can not write about emotion without getting in touch with emotion.

This is hard. I have no other way to say that and, to those who write romance, this is not news. The way love is built, the way it grows, the different ways every person feels love... it's a very nuanced thing. Getting in touch with it, trying to feel through it, it's incredibly difficult, not just on an intellectual level but on a deeply personal level. It's something that makes me feel vulnerable.

But when I read romances where I feel like the characters emotions just aren't as involved as they need to be, I feel unsatisfied. Therefore, to make my characters as well-developed as I want them to be, I'm going to have to dig deep within, to my own capacity to love and be loved.

Again, this is hard and scary. Because sometimes looking at yourself is not easy.

But, dear reader, I have decided that if I want this story to be good, I need to ignore these facts.

I must Be Fearless.

I must go to those places where I've felt unsurpassed love, those vulnerable places that have been hurt, and I must tap that emotion. Because that's what I want when I read and I bet that's what other readers want when they read too.

So, to you, I leave you with this bit of advice in your writing: Be Fearless. Dig deep within, to the stuff that you hide from everyone else. Because I'd bet that's the stuff that readers really want to read.

And it's the stuff you really want to write anyway.

Happy Writing, all!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Well, I'm not done. But I'm revising.

I got to the black moment, dear readers. I got there and I went, "huh."

I assure you that one is not meant to just say "huh" at the black moment of a book. Something had obviously gone wrong. As I've mentioned here, I stop when my characters have lost their path. Usually, if I find the story's not feeling right or has completely derailed, I need to go back before I can go forward.

So, I stopped. But instead of carrying on like a ninny, flailing about in misery, I fast-forwarded through that part and just decided to check out my characters.

Alas, I've found where they got off track. It's a bit more involved than I'd hoped, so I figured I might as well go through the middle of the book and wrestle it into submission. Then I can write my black moment and my resolution.

Anyway, almost done. Technically, I'm just about done with the first draft and in the middle of the first structural pass of revising.

Which only leaves a couple more structural passes of revising, a couple passes to layer, and then a final pass for word choice and grammar.

Wait, was I optimistic at the beginning of this post?

Oh. Right.

My reaction at my black moment applies to this too, I guess.


So, tell me, have you hit "The End" only to find it felt more like a beginning than an ending? When do you feel that burst of accomplishment when you're writing?

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Going with the Flow or "Is This a Mudslide?"

I'm at 70K words for my WIP!


I can feel the end. My storyboard says I have seven scenes to write. There's no reason why I can't finish this by the end of the month. I've been so distracted by it, particularly this past month, that I'm ready to take a break and fill the well.

At this point in the story, my fingers keep moving over the keys but I don't even know what's coming out and onto the page. I don't even know if I make sense any longer. But I know that if I don't just get the scenes out there, I'm going to be stuck here in the mire forever. (Pause for dramatic swoon.)

So, I'm plugging along and assuming that sometime in October or early November I'm going to dig back into these revisions and shake my fist and beat my breast.

But for now, I'm going with the flow.

Look out below!

How do you feel at the end of a manuscript? Have you ever got to the point where you just don't know which side is up and you don't even care anymore?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Playlist (or Music as Inspiration)

I'm not the most musical person. I like music, don't get me wrong. But I don't hum incessantly. I'm perfectly content to sit in a car with the radio off and only my thoughts for company. I don't even have a stereo in the house and I don't own an ipod.

That said, it always seems that as I close in on the end of a book, I start to find inspiration in different songs. And boy am I eclectic! Country, rock, pop. Hip hop. There is no genre safe from me.

I'm at that point, it seems. I hear songs and I start thinking of my characters.

So, I made a playlist, as I always do. And I figured, what the heck? Maybe you guys might want a little view into the insanity that is my musical inspiration. So, on the right, I've included my playlist.

Beware. The Ice Cube song has offensive lyrics. I couldn't find the clean version in Playlist's archives. Also, the Death Cab for Cutie song is one of my favorites right now.

Yes, that's Ice Cube and DCFC on the same playlist.

You've been warned.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Little Boys as Muses

I'm one of those writers who has always wanted to write. Not only have I always wanted to write, I've always wanted to write romance. Since I read my first Sweet Valley High and sighed as Elizabeth and Todd got together, I've been hooked. Then I read my first historical, in middle school, and I'd found true love.

But I always thought I wasn't ready to write a romance. I was in high school. Or I'd only had one major relationship. Even after I'd had a few relationships, they didn't feel like they'd been substantive enough to base a novel on. Then, I got married... then a kid. After I had my first child I realized I was making excuses. Fiction didn't need real life experience. I could take what I saw, what I knew, and lie through the rest.

For the most part, that's proven true. There are, however, times when real life experience has helped me write.

An example. There's a little boy in my current WIP. His name is Gregory. I've got two little boys. I may not know a lot, but I know little boys. (At least my two little boys.) So when I started writing Gregory, I leaned on my knowledge.

Here's a snippet:

"Gregory Richard." She cast him a warning look.

Gregory's mouth snapped shut and he recovered in time. "Excuse me, mother. Good evening, sire." He executed a bow worthy of court. Then, he ruined the entire picture by stepping forward and bending over to get a better look at Cass's wound. "You're bleeding."

Belle was sure he meant to temper his enthusiasm but such glee was hard to contain. "Gregory…"

"Well, he is, Mamma," Gregory informed her.

"I know, sweetheart," she said patiently. "But it's not polite…." She let her voice trail off. It's not polite to what? To point out the obvious? She sighed. "It's just not polite."

Gregory cast her a glance that was pure pity. Then he turned back to Cass. "So, does it hurt much? Because with that much blood, I suspect it stings quite terribly."


"No," Cass told her with a pained smile. "He's right. It is bleeding and it does sting. Quite a bit actually."

"I can't wait to tell Bobby. He's going to be so jealous." Gregory practically squirmed with joy.

"That's enough." Belle gestured toward the door. "It's time for you to find your bed."

"Mamma…." The whine was familiar but at least he'd stopped questioning Cass about his wound.

"Please. I'm exhausted. I'll be up in a little while to kiss you goodnight."

"If you insist." He deflated and trudged out of the room. At the door he turned back, though, and waved at Cass. "Goodnight, sire. I hope you don't die."

So, tell me. Do you think real life experience is needed to write good fiction? Has there ever been a time when real life has helped with your writing?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Welcome to My New Home!

I've decided to try my hand at a personal blog again. I can't guarantee regular blogs yet, but I'm hoping to get here once a week or so.

Thanks for stopping by and drop me a hello below!