Monday, August 29, 2011

Dragon*Con is Coming!

I may be absent for awhile. Well, more absent than usual, anyway.

I leave for Dragon*Con on Wednesday and I'm looking forward to the craziness! Probably because I feel a little more prepared than I did the last (that would be first) time I went.

There are lots of writers workshops I want to attend, and lots of other things, too. There's so much to choose from!

I will have my camera (a better one than the thing I took last year) and I HOPE I get brave enough to use it. There's just soooo many people walking around and taking pictures (and soooo many people to take pictures of). Maybe I just need to stand next to other photographers and snap away.

My hope is to post some pictures on my blog while I'm there. The reality may not occur, though. I have to find the USB cords and such before I leave, or I won't be able to download the pictures!

One of the best things about the trip – my daughter prefers to drive. And seeing how I prefer NOT to drive, it works out great! I hope to get some writing (if not reading) done. Yeah, reading. I better make sure I have plenty. I just started Book #6 of the BDB series and I'm pretty sure it won't last the week.

If anyone out there will be attending the Convention, let me know.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Time Flies When You're Not Looking

For the past week, I've been alone in the house. My husband went down to Atlanta for some training and is expected home today.

I anticipated a great many writing hours during his absence. But days creep up on you quicker than anything, don't they? I was lucky to get 1000 words written this week (although I'm grateful I got that many!).

Of course, two of the days were spent with my off-spring, and I'm not complaining. I love spending time with them. Then there was a class I had signed up for and am struggling immensely (I'm beginning to think the class was a mistake!), so that's also taken up some of my time. Then there's the book series I'm reading (and reading and reading and reading). Well, you get the idea.

Those five days of being alone boiled down to maybe five hours of writing. Heck, I get that much time in when he's home.

But I did realize why I'm struggling with my current WIP. I'm still basically world-building. Trying to figure out what my character can and can't do – what will and won't work. With Book #3, my world was already created from writing Books 1 & 2, so I didn't have to think of anything but my characters and their story.

So, yeah, I'm happy with those 1000 words. It means I'm starting to get a handle on things. The story is moving forward. And scenes are starting to form in my head (something that was missing earlier).

Do I wish I had my world figured out earlier so I could have taken advantage of the quiet week? That would have been great, but I have a feeling it wouldn't have made a difference. This story will get written at the rate it wants to. Right now that rate is slow (at least, slow for me).

Monday, August 22, 2011


I wrote the back story to my female character and I think it worked. Now I just have to find time to write and not get sucked into the next book I'm reading (Book #5 of J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series). Yeah, like that's not going to happen!

So, that means setting some goals. I want to write, but I really want to read, too (and not just during lunch). Plus, I have other obligations (like a class I'm taking and time I spend with the family).

That means obligations first, then write until 10:00pm. I should be able to get at least an hour of writing (maybe more on those nights I don't have any obligations), which will give me at least an hour to read before heading for bed (provided I don't keep myself up longer because I want to read just "one more page"). Of course, if I'm engrossed in what I'm writing, I won't care about the book I'm reading. And I'm really hoping that happens, especially since I have a good handle on my character now.

It's hard when you're torn in so many pieces! Maybe it won't be so hard once I finish reading the series. But I'm sucked in now and there's no going back.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


My daughter introduced me to J.R. Ward's books. I have to say, I'm now an obsessed reader of her work. As soon as I finish one, I'm into the next. And I don't just read during lunch. I read at night, too.

This has seriously affected my writing.

But I can't really blame the books, as much as I'd like.

Lots of things seem to be going on right now. Lots of things, but not writing.

The thing is: I miss it. But I'm at a point in my story where I should KNOW my characters and I don't feel I do yet. So that's requiring me to think about them more. To understand their back stories (without writing them). Maybe I should write their back stories. Maybe that's what's missing. But not for the book – for me. For me to get to know my characters better. It's certainly something worth thinking about.

For you non-plotter writers out there, how do you get to know your characters, when it seems they're distant?

In the meantime, I'll enjoy the Black Dagger Brotherhood books. Because they're really GOOOOOD!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


For you writers out there – do you enter contests? Are you addicted and enter every contest you can find or choosy and only go for those that get in front of an agent or editor you'd like your work to be seen by?

I'm more of the choosy variety. Although with my first book I entered it into several contests. I thought I would get the feedback I needed. I got feedback, but nothing constructive.

On my third book, I had critique partners. They gave me the best feedback. So I didn't feel the need to enter it into contests.

Until now.

I'm curious. Will it do well? Will it make it to the finals? I just gotta know!

Hopefully, I won't be in the dumps come November!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Yesterday I felt tremendously guilty. Guilty, because I love writing so much, I'm letting it take over my life. Guilty, because my husband lets me!

Today I feel better. Not perfect, but better. I don't know if it's because I finally figured out how to write the scene I'd been struggling with, or if it's because we got three shows watched on the DVR, or it's because I found time to write AND spend some time with my husband (even if that time was watching TV). Heck, I even managed to cook dinner last night – a rarity in itself!

But I'm sure the guilt will return full blast. I just need to give it time.

I always associated guilt with wrong-doing. Yet, it creeps up whenever I want to do something for myself. So what am I doing wrong?

Can I get rid of this feeling? Will it ever go away completely? Or am I doomed because that's just the way I'm built?

I'm not really looking for answers. I'm just looking to rant a little. But if you have any insights, I'd be happy to hear what you have to say (or read what you have to comment!).

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Footy Weekend in Toronto

We went to Toronto this past weekend to watch my daughter and the Columbus Jillaroos play Footy (Australian Rules Football) against a seasoned Toronto team. They don't have many scheduled games (I believe Toronto will be visiting them on Aug 27), and we'd never been to Toronto, so why not go?

My husband and I watched a few games last year (we went to the tournament in Louisville), so we kind of knew how the scoring went. I expected to watch more than just her game, though, since it was a weekend event for Toronto (apparently they have three Footy teams).

We drove up to Detroit on Friday night after work and arrived at our hotel around 10:00 pm. Not too bad. And the Garmin said it was 4 hours to Toronto. We got up at 6:00 am, had breakfast, and headed on out.

What we didn't plan was the half-hour wait to get into the country or the 45 minute delay in traffic (either construction or an accident – we never determined which). My daughter was to arrive by 1:00 pm for a 2:30 game. We thought we'd get there by Noon and watch the men play. Instead, we arrived at 1:00 pm. At least, we thought we arrived at 1:00 pm.

You see, my daughter was given the directions to the hotel and not the field. She had left several messages on Friday to make sure she had the right location, but heard nothing by the time we crossed the border. Not wanting to pay any international fees, we had all turned off our phones. Now she was forced to turn hers on (who knows what kind of fees will show up on that!). Luckily, there was a message stating where we should have been. I really have no idea what we would have done if she didn't have that message! We made it to the field by 2:00 pm.

Both teams were short players, so they shortened the field. Don't know if that worked, or if it was the fact the same girls who showed up for all the practices were the ones who showed up for the game, but the Jillaroos won their first Footy game, 65-24. I'm glad we were able to be there and see it.

After the game, we went back into the city and celebrated at Hard Rock Café (My daughter and I do collectibles. Me-magnets. Her-shooter glasses.). We also spent a little time walking around and took a few pictures. Had to show proof we were actually there!

If the Jillaroos go back to Toronto next year, we'll make sure to spend more time there. The city is huge – like visiting NYC or Chicago. And the signs are in English. They won me over!

We drove the four hours back to Detroit (no construction or accident delayed us this time), and headed to the Hard Rock there (again – we wanted our collectibles, we just didn't eat there!). Thank God for the Garmin. I'm sure we never would have ventured into the city (even at 10:30 pm on a Saturday) without it. Same goes for Toronto. Driving in a big city is confusing, to say the least.

Even though we spent most of our time on the road, it was a fun weekend and I'm glad we did it. Next mini-trip is to New Jersey for my family reunion (cousins on my father's side). I'm looking forward to that one, too!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bad Habits

We all have bad habits. Don't we? Gee – I hope so. I'd hate to think I was the only one.

My habits have fluctuated over the years. Some I managed to kick, others are stuck with me for life, I fear.

When I was a little girl (in the single digits), I liked to chew my hair. I think it drove my mother bonkers, so she cut it. Short. Kids called me Julie Andrews and not because I looked cute. "The Sound of Music" had just come out and my hairstyle was similar to hers.

Hmmm, now that I think about it, I think that's how my mother got me to go along with her plan.

Mom: "Honey, how'd you like to look like Julie Andrews?"

Me, nodding like an idiot: "Okay!"

Luckily, I kicked that habit. My hair is long now and while I like to twirl it (a habit I fear I'll have for life), I no longer feel the need to chew it. Do I thank my mother? Do you think she knew that if I could no longer chew it, it would no longer become a habit?

I've read that it takes two weeks of doing something continuous for it to become a habit. Is that the way to break one, too? And why is it so easy to stop good habits, but not so easy to stop the bad?

I tried to get into a habit of cleaning my house. Fifteen minutes a day of "uncluttering". I mean, fifteen minutes is nothing! Easy peasy! So how come I can't even do it three days in a row? Should I tell myself it's a bad habit? You think that'll work?

If you beat a bad habit or created a good one, please tell me – how'd you do it?

Monday, August 1, 2011


I love listening to music. Especially at work (and the car!). A quiet place is a boring place (or a place to read).

I've brought some radios to work to listen, but the radio stations in the Dayton area leave a lot to be desired, and the radios themselves were cheap and lousy, so I listened to music on line. Only problem is that it would cut out on a whim and I'd have to restart the station. Kind of a drag.

Then a new radio station appeared in Dayton, playing the type of music I want to hear. So using the Barnes & Noble gift card I received for my birthday, I ordered a GOOD radio (one that plays my iPod, too – and is an alarm clock to boot). I received it on Friday. Plugged it in. The radio was great. And the display was digital (so I knew I was getting the station I wanted). I was all set.

I bring the radio to work, crawl under my desk and plug it in. I turn it on and – NOTHING!

Apparently our building is heavily fortified or I'm just too far away from the new station (there is a 22 mile difference between my home and my work) or the new station doesn't have a strong signal. Yes, I'm bummed.

But I can listen to them on-line. I guess it beats listening to a Los Angeles station (I'm in the same time zone for one), and they do play the music I want to hear. Unfortunately, they also cut out for no reason whatsoever. Oh well. What's an employee to do?

If I ever get sick of the on-line radio cutting out, at least I can listen to my iPod. Provided I keep the physical radio at work. My bedside alarm clock needs replacing, but I like the red display (and this new one is greenish). We'll see.