Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Writing or Not Writing

I'm happy I finished my WIP. But now I feel lost.

I can't NOT write. However, I can't presently write, because I don't have a story in my head. My characters haven't taken shape, yet.

My next book will not feature vampires. That, in itself, is a little scary. It will still be paranormal (because I will have ghosts), but it will be a stand alone book. I don't foresee any kind of series coming from this (unlike my vampires – I think could write that world forever – I have enough ideas).

Why the change? Because I need to see if I can do it. I don't want my first books to be flukes.

So, I'm planning. What kind of people are my hero and heroine? What do they do for a living? What secrets do they have? Then I'll figure out how they'll meet and why they think they can't be together (because this is, after all, a romance).

For you writers out there – how much time do you take between writing projects? Is one week enough? Or is it too long? I keep telling myself I need to re-charge. But I love to write. I think as soon as I have my characters formed, I'll start writing, whether the week is up or not.

But first, maybe I should clean the house. I've kind of let it go and if I start on another project, who knows when I'll get to it next. I'm hopeless. No, wait. Make that lazy!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Whoo Hoo!!

I think I finished my 3rd book. I'm stoked!

I'll know better tomorrow, when I'm able to look over my last chapter. But for the most part - I'M DONE!!

Time to party!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


When I was writing Book 1, I listened to Coldplay, The Killers, and Muse and they inspired me to write. My characters came to life with their music. I got lost in my story whenever I heard their music (once I even missed my turnoff for work). So I associated their music to Book 1 (and 2 – since it’s the sequel and has the same characters).

So when I started Book 3, I listened to other groups. Found some I really like (Arcade Fire, Anberlin, Mumford & Sons, to name a few). But today I played Coldplay on my drive into work, because it had been awhile since I just listened to their albums (and I have them all – I love being able to play my iPod in my car) and all of a sudden I got lost in my story. And it wasn’t Book 1. It was Book 3!

I have no idea what it is about them that inspires me, but whatever it is, I love it. And I think I’ll be listening to them until I get the book finished (which I can see happening this week – provided I get time to write).

Does music inspire you? Do you find you get lost in your story (or figure out how to write a scene) when you listen to a particular group or song? I think music will always do it for me. I may not always write to music, but it certainly helps me while I’m brainstorming!

Friday, March 18, 2011


I had every intention of taking a second book to work with me (since I’ll finish the one I’m currently reading before my lunch hour is up).

I had every intention of taking a soda* to work (since work was supplying lunch – YAY).

So much for intentions. I forgot the book. I forgot the soda. Wonder what the rest of my day will be like?

How’s your Friday going?

*Yes, I’m from California and it’s what I call a “soft drink”. My soda choice would be Diet Dr. Pepper (the only soda I prefer and have preferred since it was known as Sugar Free Dr. Pepper, when it came in a blue & white can – does anyone remember THOSE days?).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Joke

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

It's late, but not over yet. And I received the following joke via suddenvalues.com, so I thought I would share, since it is IRISH!!

An Irishman walks into a bar and orders 3 glasses of beer, drinking them one at a time. The bartender sees the odd ritual and explains that the beer goes flat and would taste much better if he only ordered one at a time. The Irishman explains he began this custom when his two brothers moved overseas to Australia and America and this was his way of remembering all the time they spent drinking together.

The man soon became a regular at the bar and became well known for ordering 3 beers at once. One day he walks in and only orders 2 beers. Assuming the worst, a hush fell over the whole bar. When the Irishman returned to the bar to order the second round, the bartender offered his condolences. The man looked confused for a moment, and then explained, Oh no! Everythings just fine! I just gave up beer for Lent!

I hope you didn't get pinched today!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Yesterday I hit the 80,000 word mark on my current WIP.

I’d love to take some time off and just write, but I sometimes wonder if I work that way. I know how I want a certain scene and when I finish that one, I usually have to stop and think about the next one. Technically, I can do that at work (when I’m not bombarded, anyway). If I was at home, would I still stop and think or would I check e-mails and blogs? Oh, wait – I do that at work, too!

Okay, so maybe it wouldn’t matter. I’d just be happier (and less stressed about being caught). Yeah, that’s it.

The end is so close and I’m consumed. Thank GOD my husband understands. He has kept the TV off (for the most part). He’s even checked to make sure I’m writing and not “surfing” (something I need at times). He’s been a real trooper because he knows how badly I want this book finished.

And I want it finished this month. That will give me enough time to edit and have it critiqued before I start to go pitching it at Nationals (June 28-July 1). And now I’ve also signed up for Lori Foster’s Reader/Author Get Together, where agents and publishers are taking pitches. That occurs June 3-5. Not so sure I’ll be ready by then, but by gosh, I sure can try!!

And I said work was making me stressed? Ha! But I prefer being stressed with writing, because it’s more fun – that’s for sure! I guess there is such a thing as good stress and bad stress.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Photographic Art(?)

I had promised earlier about posting some of the photos I took during my pursuit of a photography degree. I found my box of mounted photographs, all black & white, all taken and developed by me. The majority of them were taken for a project I called "Cemetery Art" and are not posted here (maybe another time?). I'm sure I have other pictures elsewhere, but these two are a good start. My scanning might suck, which would defeat the whole purpose of sharing my photos!

When I scanned these photos, they scanned a tiny bit crooked (since they are mounted, I can't line them up very well). Not too much to notice, I hope, anyway.

Framing the Subject. That was one of our assignments. Working full time and raising two little ones, I didn't get a chance to go out too much. So of course, the playground was it for me (which was basically our backyard – we were stationed at Ft. Monmouth, living in their housing). I took lots of pictures of my son, but this one turned out the best. At least I think so. And in case you can't tell, he's climbing up the ladder for the slide. I couldn't have asked for a sweeter face, either!

Another framing picture I took was of steps leading from our house to the playground. Nothing spectacular, but I tried to make them interesting by making it part of the frame (along with the fence). I also liked the light and shadows on the grass.

So, maybe there's a reason I'm not a famous photographer! But I had fun taking the pictures (and especially developing them). Maybe next time I'll post some of those cemetery pictures (New Jersey's cemeteries are full of some awesome statues!).

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Goals That Aren't Working

I’ve been bad.

I’ve tried setting weekly goals for myself. Not only in writing, but in exercising, too. Seems the only goals I’m interested in pursuing is the writing ones.

I know I need to exercise. I loved going to the gym when I worked closer to home. I have tried going back, and for the most part, I’ve gone. But two nights a week really isn’t doing much. I’d probably go more often if it didn’t take me over 40 minutes to get home (compared to the 15 I used to drive). And tonight took an hour – ugh!

My kids have moved out, so you would think I had lots of free time to write, but I think we spend more quality time with them now watching DVDs one night a week with each (Buffy & Angel with my daughter, Home Improvement with my son). And what is one night a week for them, is actually two nights for me. If I got home sooner, I could go to the gym and be home in plenty of time (also give them time to go home and do whatever it is they do). The operative word being "could" – whether or not I would do it, is another thing!

I’m not blaming them. I love spending time with them and I'm thrilled they spend time with me. I just hate my commute. Wish I didn’t have to work at all (but then, don’t we all?).

Now it’s gotten so I don’t even want to bother with the two days I do go to the gym. And this week I blew it off completely. I’m so engrossed in my WIP (so close to the end) and those two days are the two days I have the house to myself (husband teaches at night). I get so much written when there isn’t anyone to talk to (or be talked to, if you know what I mean). It’s bad enough I lose 40 minutes (or, rather 25, since I was losing 15 before), I don’t want to lose another hour at the gym.

Am I an obsessed writer or a fed up employee? I think a lot of the first and a little of the second.

Is there something in your life you obsess with that keeps you from doing what you should do? How do you manage to get the things you should do, done?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Joy of Writing

The words flowed today and I'm happy!

I had been struggling with my WIP. It wasn't because I wasn't enjoying the story. Far from it. It was more like I wanted to make sure I got it right before I went any further.

Some scenes I have embedded in my mind and the writing flows (like today). Other days the scene isn't quite cemented – I basically know what I want, but not how to get there. It can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Fun because I play different scenes in my head. Frustrating because I sometimes can't make up my mind which one is best!

Love scenes are ALWAYS the hardest for me to write. Action, action, and more action. I'm a dialogue person (which is strange considering I hate talking!). So you will see a lot of talking in my books, cause that's what people do when you have more than one in a room (well, except for those action love scenes).

But I'm getting close to the BLACK MOMENT, which can be fun to write. Of course, it means writing down all that emotion – which isn't easy for me, either. That's why I save all that for the edit, not the first draft.

The end is in sight. Not sure how I will get there, or how it will end, exactly (except for the HEA – all my books will have that) (And for those of you non-writers out there, that stands for "Happily Ever After"), but that's the whole fun of writing. I start the scene and the characters take me where it needs to go.

I think this book will be hard for me to end. I'm enjoying Jack and Sunny so much, I'll hate to say goodbye. But goodbye I will say. I just hope it's this month. That's my goal anyway.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Decision

There’s been an e-mail thread going around in the RWA Craft group about critique partners. Someone mentioned attending a writers group with very few romance writers, how she didn’t get adequate feedback, and felt uncomfortable sharing her work during her first draft.

It was kind of refreshing to read, to know it’s not just me.

She ended up quitting her group. But after reading the comments I received from my last post, and her e-mail, it got me to thinking. Maybe I’m looking at this group all wrong.

It’s not that I hate sharing my work. I just hate sharing work that isn’t ready. And it’s very hard to share a complete book when you only meet once a month (and you’re limited to three pages). Damn – that would just take, like, forever! And that’s not what the group is for anyway – that has been clear from the start.

But I can share short stories (whenever I get around to writing another), I can share good news, and I can critique work I’m interested in reading. I’ll stop feeling like a dummy when I read something I don’t get (i.e. Fantasy or Memoirs). I’ve got critique partners that will help me with my manuscript. I don’t need the group for that.

So I decided to stick with the group awhile longer. It certainly won’t hurt me, unless they all get wind of this blog and kick me out! *HINT* *HINT*

I thank everyone that read/listened and offered suggestions. It was really appreciated. Sometimes you just have to share your feelings or they’ll fester inside. I’m glad I was able to share here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When Do You Know?

I belong to a local writers group that meets once a month. It’s not for any specific genre (like RWA) or type (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, any writer can join), and it was free. I have been attending for about 18 months.

I’m beginning to wonder if I should continue. I don’t feel like I’m contributing all that much and their disdain at romance (my genre) is insulting at times.

I’ve made some friends there (and they follow this blog), but I really wonder if I’m doing me or anyone else any good by going. Critiquing someone’s work in about 10 minutes is not the way I work. So I really chalk it up to it being my problem, not anyone there (except for the snide remarks every now and again regarding paranormal romance).

So, when do you know it’s time to quit?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I’d Rather Be (fill in the blank)

Writing, writing and more writing. Since I’ve discovered writing, that’s what I’d rather be doing. Even when I’m stuck on my story, I still want to write.

But there was a time when that was different.

Back in the mid 1980’s, my answer would have been “taking pictures.” Or maybe more accurately “developing pictures.” Believe it or not, I have an Associates Degree in Photography. You wouldn’t know it by this blog, since I rarely post pictures!

But back then, when I had two real little ones, I not only worked full-time, I went to school (via the GI Bill) to get my degree. And photography was what captured my interest then. I would spend hours in the darkroom, losing track of time, creating photos. I dreamed of attending the Ohio Institute of Photography (and it’s ironic I was living in NJ at the time and NOW I live near the school!). I subscribed to all the photography magazines I could find. I have many books on how to take great photos. I was obsessed.

What changed? I realized I couldn’t pursue something that took up too much of my time without making any decent money in the process. Considered a hobby, it was costly (and money was tight). So I put it on hold.

Then times changed. Film? Forget it – everything’s digital now (which is great – instant gratification and all that – but just not the same). Maybe I’ve gotten lazier? Possibly (owning a darkroom is a lot of work and I think I’m allergic – to the work, not the darkroom).

I also got older. Back then I just wore glasses for distance. Now I have tri-focals. I’ve tried using my older camera and I can’t see when the subject becomes clear (it’s all fuzzy). And my digital camera really is crap since I can’t see the screen during daylight and the battery doesn’t last very long at all (my husband is the one with the fancy camera now – which is way more complicated than any SLR I ever owned). It’s very discouraging.

Would I have gone back to photography if I hadn’t discovered writing? I don’t know. I’m a lazy person now and still don’t believe I could make any money at it. But if I ever get around to scanning in some older photos, I’ll post them on this blog for you to see.

So tell me, what would you rather be doing? If you write, but hadn’t discovered it yet – do you think you would have found something else just as gratifying?