Thursday, December 29, 2011

Books for Christmas!

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season. :) We had a wonderful Christmas with our family. Danish dinner on Christmas Eve, Santa's presents on Christmas Day and many wonderful family gatherings throughout the last few weeks. We received many very thoughtful gifts, particularly in response to our recent flood. Though we are grateful for each one, I'm going to focus my blog on what my husband gifted me - my entire Amazon wish list of books.

I am very excited about these books. I had 12 in the list, with 10 arriving because the other two are future releases. More than just reading, though, I chose these books because I think each of them can teach me something I need to learn for my own writing. It's the first time I've picked books with every intention to enjoy and learn from the author's writing styles.

Currently I'm reading a book as an experiment for 42WD Publishing. It is a book I'm not really enjoying by design. There's not anything wrong with the story, it's the style that I'm not connecting with. The point of reading this book is to learn why I don't like it and what I might like or learn to like despite the dislike. I write about what I'm learning on 42WD's blog. It's a struggle, to be certain, but I'm learning how to read with an eye for writing. I'm convinced I can do the same with books I can like.

I selected them after reading another author's review of the story and synopsis of the author's style. If it was something I thought I could work on, I added it to my wish list. So now, along with the self-help writing books I've collected on author-recommendation, I have some live examples.


I know, I know. I can definitely be a geek about books. Without that, though, there wouldn't be much point to writing one (or many), would there?

So, what did I get and why? Well, let me explain. :) I'm only going to write about why I chose the 10 books I have. I can't review them, anyway, because I haven't read them yet. I've posted links to the book and to each recommending blog if you would like to read more. Each link takes you specifically to the blog post I mention (at least, that's how it should work).

  • The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab - This a ghost story, which I usually stay away from because I'm a scaredy-cat. I'm hoping to learn how to use suspense effectively while keeping it lyrical. Sister's in Scribe recommended this book.
  • You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis - This is a mystery that starts with tragedy. I'm hoping to learn how to place subtle clues throughout to lead to the answer while staying true to a character struggling through the emotions her journey incites. The Contemps recommended this book.
  • Don't Expect Magic by Kathy McCullough - This book is said to be a lot of contemporary with a little bit of magic. I'm intrigued by the combination since what I tend to read is either one or the other. I want to see how it's done. The Contemps recommended this book and The Apocalypsies posted an interview with the author.
  • Flyaway by Helen Landalf - This book looks like it's going to be a great character study of a girl dealing with difficult, real-life problems resulting from the choices her mother has made. The Contemps recommended this book and The Apocalypsies posted an interview with the author.
  • The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson - This is a ghost thriller. As I mentioned above, I am a scaredy-cat. This book is also a mystery. All of these areas are genres I don't write, but could definitely use aspects of in my own stories. The YA Sisterhood recommended this book.
  • Shut Out by Kody Keplinger - This book is completely contemporary and deals with a lot of teenage boy testosterone and teenage girls thinking they can manipulate it. I think it will be a great character study and just plain fun. I learned about this book on The Other Side of the Story when the author guest blogged.
  • Winter Town by Stephen Emond - This is a complete character study. I'm particularly interested in the female main character who, from one year to the next, changes from 'average' to 'goth.' The Contemps recommended this book.
  • Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler with art by Maira Kalman- This book is a breakup letter using items from the relationship to explain. It's supposed to be a heartbreaking trip through these teen's relationship. The items are written to be conceptual more than literal. I want to know! Side note, the author also writes as Lemony Snicket. The Contemps recommended this book.
  • Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally - The main character of this book is star of the football team, set to get a scholarship, and female. Then the new guy moves in. A contemporary romance, I think this will help me focus on my main character relationships. This book got a lot of buzz, so I'll just list the different links. The Contemps recommendation; YA Highway recommendation; The Other Side of the Story author guest blog.
  • Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay - This really caught my eye because it's told entirely in verse and is about the emotional struggling of finding faith in love when your own parents' relationship fell apart. Having started writing poetry, I think this is one I can appreciate and expect to learn how to use imagery rather than explanation in my writing. The Contemps recommended this book.
I fully believe I have a lot of exciting reading ahead of me. I hope to learn a lot and get back to writing with all my new-found inspiration and suggestions. Maybe I'll even have something to share here. :)

See you after the New Year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Keeping and Making Holiday Memories

When we got older, my sister and I would decorate the house while our mom was at work. We would get all the boxes down from the attic and start unwrapping the carolers Mom made at ceramics class, taping the green string of lights into the shape of a Christmas tree on the picture window and setting up our fake Christmas tree. When she came home to the lights in the window, then Christmas in the house, she would always be able to relax a little more and enjoy the evening a little more. Even the one year we used roofing nails instead of picture nails to hang the garland, she was grateful for the transformation which always made our efforts that more gratifying. (Though we realized the nails were big, my sister and I didn't know enough to think about the holes they'd leave behind when they came out. Mom uses Command strips these days.)

Though my family and I celebrate Christmas, it's not actually Christmas Eve or Christmas day that I remember about growing up with the holiday. Instead, it's the decorating. Putting up the lights and the garland, wrapping picture frames to look like presents, cutting out snowflakes for the walls, trimming the tree. All those things stand out in my mind than most of the gifts I ever gave or received.

Now that I'm older with my own family, we are working to combine the Christmases that my husband and I grew up with. He's from Denmark where Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Even Santa comes a day early for them. They celebrate with family conversations, lots of food, wine, schnapps, and an almond desert that has only one whole almond in it and the person who gets it wins the Christmas prize. Presents are unwrapped. People join hands and circle 'dance' around the Christmas tree singing carols.

This year we are adding Christmas Eve dinner to our American celebrations, along with the pajama presents given yearly. Santa will still come on Christmas Eve. After opening Santa's presents at home we'll have breakfast at my mom's house while the kids open their presents from her, and the extras Santa dropped there. It is the first Christmas our 2 year old son is really grasping and I can't wait until he gets to live it along with his more experienced cousins. It will be interesting to see which day stands out more in my memory as time passes.

Are there any season related memories that you remember the most, or is the day of the holiday what comes to mind for you? No matter what holiday you celebrate this season, I hope you have plenty of fond memories that come to mind as you are making new ones.

Friday, December 16, 2011

You Have Permission

The last two weeks not in my comfort zone have worked to shake up my world a little bit. We are finally ready to move back into our own house and back to our own routines. Here with my parents is simply different than how we are at home. The TV is on more - exponentially more. Even though they have wireless, it's more difficult to be online with all the extra noise and distractions. The kids have less to do, so are more likely to get in trouble. With four adults in the house, we're right on top of each other, particularly when the kid(s) are in bed. It's more difficult to find the time to crack open a book or really focus on getting the words out.

Yet, with all this TV watching and lack of privacy, accepting that I wouldn't be able to really work on my writing turned out to be not as bad as I'd thought. As I haven't been writing much because of everything going on, anyway, giving myself permission to not write at all was refreshing and enlightening.

I have come to the conclusion that down time in writing is completely under-rated. Of course, by down time, I mean not sitting on your computer or with your notebook, furiously trying to get out so many words per hour so you can finally finish this work in progress - particularly when words aren't flowing. Unless you're on a deadline, there's no reason not to simmer in creative thoughts. That's not saying you shouldn't give yourself (and stick to) a deadline if you haven't been given one. However, not writing a few thousand words within a specific time frame isn't necessarily the end of the world.

This is particularly true in two situations: Preparing to write the story and tearing the story apart on re-writing or revising.

Preparing to write the story is a time of research and planning. There is no reason not to take some time here to think things through, to let scenes form and build on themselves, juggling themselves into a vague order you can outline or note. Taking time here can help make your plot fill in so you're not stuck as much when you get to power-write the first draft. Instead of a word goal here, set aside times to meditate or sketch (pics or words) out your ideas. Search the web for inspirational images or photos. Create your playlist of songs that knock your brain into the story.

Re-writing has a different angle on the issue, but you can still be thinking about major changes along with minor ones. You have your ideas settling even if your story has a beginning, middle and end. What if your main character turned out too perfect? What if the love interest or suspense isn't convincing? Sure you could dive in and try to find plot holes, re-organize scenes, and otherwise chop up your work, but certain parts really just need thought and other inspiration. Watch your movies, read the books you put off while writing your draft. Maybe your main character needs a physical change to help add depth. The inspiration is out there somewhere - you just have to look. Throw what you find into the mix and let it marinade until the parts that don't work are filtered out, and the others have morphed their way into the changes you need them to be.

Stories are born of the mind, after all. It would be a disservice to not let your thoughts work through your creation. This shouldn't take too much time. Set yourself a deadline here, too. Use the 30 days between finishing the first draft and looking at it again. Or, if you really want to put it away for 30 days, set yourself a time period after that point. However you do it, give yourself permission to not write and let your brain work it's magic.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Flooded Out

Last week my area saw a lot of rain. November has been unseasonably warm, so the white stuff never came. The result was my little village saw it's second highest flood on record. The bridge dividing our town was closed by the state DOT for two days, resulting in hour long detours for locals, truckers and passers through alike. The worst part? The good pizza place was on the other side of the bridge from us. :P

The road I live on was a river. My family and I were able to get out before it became impassible, heading straight to my parents. It's a measure of how loved and lucky we are that I didn't even have to ask if we could stay with them.

Thankfully, the water never made it to our main floor, but it was only inches away by the time my husband and I risked our SUV to check. The water filled our basement nearly to the joists. We grabbed more clothes and headed out. A week later, we're waiting for the flood insurance we were lucky to have to approve the electrical and utility repairs needed. It won't cover everything lost, but it will get us hot water and warm air back in the house. We hope to be back in this weekend or soon after.

With all this going on, my brain has turned pretty numb. I've had moments of clarity where I could write a few pages, but mostly I've been focusing on small tasks that require action and not much thought. I haven't even read much, realizing I wasn't absorbing it, anyway.

I cannot stress enough how lucky we are. My parents took in my family of three plus our three dogs. We didn't lose anything we can't replace (thank you Internet Cloud, as our external hard drive was in the basement with a ton of pics backed up in both places). We should have our house back in plenty of time for Christmas. In the end, I'll even have new experiences and emotions to draw from when I do get back to writing. We are certainly lucky and I am amazingly grateful.

Please feel free to share your own stories. Comment or link your own post if you would. It's these type of events that help link strangers together, and give others hope while they're dealing with their own disasters.
Written with my Samsung Galaxy tablet. I apologize for any errors.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm A Horrible Blog Responder

Since I've started my whole online endeavor, I've collected a healthy list of blogs I'm following. By reading them, I believe I've developed a stronger blog style and have found it easier to narrow down on a topic for each entry. I can't get to all of them, but I do read most of them. What I don't do is respond.

I read a post on Google + about reading blogs or social network comments. It stated something about reading being fine, liking or plus one-ing being better, but commenting is the best way to show the author you're there and you appreciate their work. It shows you read their entry and that you thought about it enough to have something to say. It's more than kudos, it's getting accolades for the time and effort put into the work. Whomever posted it (sorry, I don't remember who) said it shorter, sweeter, but it holds true no matter how it's said.

I just read. I don't really even show my appreciation through a plus one or a share, even if the idea flits through my mind. A lot of the reason is because I read through Google Reader and don't take the time to make that one more click to the real link. Wow, look at that excuse - because that's all it is, an excuse.

Do you want another one? I'm incredibly shy and wary of saying the wrong thing in a comment. I constantly second guess myself. Who am I to know what to write? What if I write something that's wrong and someone corrects me or - much worse - think in their Internet anonymity that they can completely tear me apart for making such a dumb comment?

These thoughts stall me, then stop me completely. They really shouldn't. They're just thoughts. The fact of the matter is, even if I do get cyber-mocked, I've been there before and have been able to just roll my eyes at it. As for content, my blogging should show me practice makes better and commenting should be no different.

This week I improved my stats. I commented on one person's blog. Yeah, I know, it's just one, but it's one more than I did before. I plan to improve on this one way or another, whether it's in content or quantity. I really don't want to comment just for the sake of the comment, but I do want to show that I've read, digested and appreciate what all these blogging authors have shared with me. My unexpected perk? I gained a new follower because of it. :)

So what about you? Do you read without commenting or do you find the time and the words to share? And yes, I do get the paradox of asking non-commenter's about commenting. ;)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Gratitude

It hit me like a brick yesterday when I learned Anne MacCafferey has passed. Admittedly, I haven't read much of her work, but what I did I loved. She created an entire world and culture within it that spurred my love of dragons. In High School, I wrote my own world with dragons that was strongly based on her Pern, but not written half as well.

Just a day away from Thanksgiving, her passing helps to reinforce the idea of giving thanks and feeling gratitude for what we have. These last couple years have been amazing for me. I've known my husband for 10 years, but separated by an ocean we didn't actually get together until about 3 years ago, finally getting married a year later just after our first son was born. We worked for another 10 months on his immigration paperwork while he continued living in London, his only time spent with our son restricted to 3 short visits and video chats.

Since then, we've bought our first house together and have started improvements. He was able to get his dream job working for a company he'd thought was years out of reach. I have started actively working toward getting published with a non-conventional publisher who is willing to put the time and energy into helping me improve and polish my novel writing skills.

We have been so lucky and so blessed, yet we fall into the trap of focusing on the next step, the next project, forgetting what we have just accomplished. That is what is lovely about this holiday, set perfectly at the beginning of a beautiful winter holiday season. It is my husband's favorite American holiday where people come together to enjoy food and (hopefully) each other's company.

Last year we had 18 people at Thanksgiving. My husband is Danish and we were lucky enough to have 8 of his family members with us. Last year was about giving our foreign guests a taste of a real, traditional Thanksgiving which equaled more food than we knew what to do with. This year, we'll be down to 8 people. Where it won't necessarily be as festive, it should hopefully be more intimate, allowing us to enjoy those who were able to make it over a smaller menu and a football game including our state team, the Detroit Lions.

I am incredibly grateful for my husband, my boys (our bun is a boy, too), and our lives. Though we do plan on this place and this time being transitory, there is no reason not to enjoy all of our many successes.

This year I hope everyone is able to remember their successes and appreciate all their opportunities. Enjoy your families and friends, including the quirks we may not always welcome, but which makes everyone different and special. No matter what your plans are, I hope they are enjoyable.

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


I'm struggling a bit here with what to write. Every time I start something, I think - No! That should go on 42wd's blog.

So what do I write where? I need to sit down and hack out a grid, or something. I need time to sit down and hack out a grid. ;)

I wasn't given any specific guidelines by 42wd, or even a specific day, though that may change as the company grows. The understanding is I would write about my growth and development as a writer with them.

Okay. So what about here?

I'm at about as much as a loss as I am with the idea that I am going to rewrite my current WIP to fit a different model of thought. I suppose, being as unprepared as I was, it isn't a surprise I'm floundering. Figuring out what I want to do with each is just another challenge on top of all the other's I've collected lately.

Organization. That's what I need. I love being organized and I'm definitely feeling a lack of it at the moment. Easily fixed. Ideally, anyway.

One thing at a time, though. I think I've decided to start with the kids I watch and their scheduling. It may be the toughest of all the challenges since I'm relying on someone else to stick to it as well (the kids' parent). That being said, I can't rely on that one to work out before going after the others.

This weekend may be a good time. It may be the worst time. With so much going on during the week, weekends usually get packed to the brim between my husband and myself. We need to work on that, too.

Organization. I'll do it. In fact, I can't wait. I will have, to, though. Dinner with the family tonight, as it turns out. Then X Factor again. I mean, we have to have our priorities, right

Circle me on Google+.
Check out 42wd's blog here. You can circle them on Google+ here.

Monday, November 14, 2011

42wd Publishing

I've started working with 42wd Publishing!!! Getting a published work out there is still going to take a while, but that's the great part about 42wd. They're willing to work with me until it's ready.

Here's a link to my first post with them. Please follow me and the other authors as we go through our experiences, each from a different jumping off point.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Stealing Time

I'm revising today. In fact, I have been for the last few days. Yay! I'm not really sure how or why, but the kids are actually letting me do it during the day today, too (my 2-year-old and my sister's three, 3-9). The movie might be helping (don't judge, they're only allowed one per day).

I hate editing, but I don't mind revising, or rewriting, you might call it. It's basically saying the same thing, just better, and I love better. I may have even found myself an online writing/editing buddy thanks to Azure Boone's blog to help me as I go, because you never just do this stuff once. (Browse / sign up here if you're interested in getting your own buddy.)

This past week and a half I've been devouring helpful writer blogs like they're my left-over Halloween candy. I learned some new things, was reminded of others, but it basically got the bug back in me so that I'm willing to steal time to work rather than just taking whatever straggling minutes I can string together at the end of the day. Then I need to get myself an editing software to point out all the parts I hate to fix so I can use that cheat-sheet instead of wading through it on my own.

All this work is on my WIP, the one that is with the publisher at this moment, with whom I have a meeting soon. *gasp* It will be fine. I'll be told I need to do a lot of work, I think, but it will be fine. It will be great because I've already started (restarted?) that work.

Ah, what work ethic I've fallen back into. I love it. It's a shame life always makes you make that lemonade.

Other than the kids needing my - er, constant - supervision, Thursday nights are the nights my family and my sister's family gather at my Mom's house for dinner. It's lovely. The kids get excited about it every week. I don't have to cook! But I want to write, dang it. Apparently taking the Chromebook to dinner is frowned upon.

All will work out, though, I'm absolutely certain of it. There's more time to steal after dinner (maybe - X Factor is on), then tomorrow. Every moment I can get means I'm closer, so every stolen moment is worth it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Changing Fast - And For The Better

A few weeks ago all I did was watch my sister's 3 kids, raise my first (growing my second), take care of 9 puppies along with my 3 dogs and think 'wouldn't it be nice to be published one day?'

What a difference a few weeks make! Part of me actually thinks entirely differently than I had before, and I'm putting myself on a track to keep up that change.

First, I started up on Google+. After weeks of having it, I finally figured out how to find people to add. About the same time, everyone started sharing their own circles. I was able to 'collect' a lot of writers from all different points in the process, giving me insight I missed, or was wishing I had.

Second, I started this blog. The actual blogging is fun, but not really what's helped move me along. Instead, through all those people I added through G+, I found blogs to follow. They were filled with all the information I'd been searching for and hadn't been able to find. Now, some of you might say I could have just searched for it, but search engines and I do not get along. Ask my husband. We can both use Google search, type in the same words, and he gets relevant links while I get crap. Unfair in my view, but hey - when I need something searched for, I have a solid reason to delegate.

With all my new social networking skills and blog following, I now have a ton of information to sift through - a lot of it worth reading thoroughly. I have ordered a few books and will probably be ordering a bunch more as I come across more suggestions. I used to be overwhelmed by all the choices and not knowing which would be worth investing in. A few weeks ago, I was at a frustrating loss as to how to take the next step and now I'm practically flying.

Before, I think a part of me was okay with being stagnant with my lack of a career in writing. With all these new options presented to me, I'm feeling like I can make those next steps I need to take because I can see them. Not only can I see them, but there are now people in my life willing to help me along with a book suggestion or a web link, something I was seriously lacking. I'm reading blogs and posts from other authors telling me to stop making excuses and get back to not only writing, but to improving it.

Here I am, finally, ready to do just that. My tool box is growing, my confidence is returning and I'm starting to feel like I did at 16 when I first started thinking I was good enough to be published. It's a feeling I thought was regulated to teenage hormones and a naive view of the world. I'm glad I was wrong.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo - Not This Year, Unfortunately.

I may have completely forgot I have a blog. I didn't really get online all weekend, actually, and in the process forgot all the things I keep up with on a usual day. Well, luckily someone posted a comment and jarred me back to reality, so here I am. :)

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo. I just found out about it three weeks or so ago when I saw people starting to talk about it through Google+ posts. I became curious since it was obviously about writing but didn't actually look into it until the beginning of last week.

Ooh, did I want to do it. 50,000 words in one month is just my sort of challenge. I once challenged myself in high school to take my Spring Break to write a whole mini-novel. I don't remember how many words it ended up being. Back then, it wasn't about the words, it was about the story, which was not such a bad thing, come to think about it. Anyway, I did it. My mom thought I was crazy, that I should be out doing things rather than spending all my time on the computer. It was something I wanted to do and I did it.

Unfortunately, that will not be the case this time around. I debated all week about participating, but I kept coming back to the same reasons not to. First, I'm about knee deep into another story right now, the second book to one I had finished early in the year and spent most the summer editing and revising. Also, I'm about half-way through my second pregnancy and this one is kicking me all over the place. I'm either not feeling well, or I'm super exhausted. As much as I would love to say I could work around it, I'm not thinking I could with all my other responsibilities.

I am, however, set to participate in NaNoWriMo next year. In fact, I'm probably going to wrestle my husband into doing it with me. He's been talking about writing a humorous book for dad's ever since I was pregnant with our first son. NaNoWriMo may be just what he needs to kick start the process, even if that's not what he ends up working on.

This year I get to observe, mostly through Google+, as people post their daily progress, or lack thereof. Having just discovered the event, I suppose it's for the best. As much as I love challenges, I like to be fully prepared for them. This year, the time just wasn't there for me, but next year I'll know to make time work for me.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Publishing Process

My husband and I went to a wedding this past weekend. It was a three hour drive both ways, which always equals thinking time for me. It’s difficult to turn my brain off sometimes and when I have hours of inactivity and relative quiet, I usually just let it flow.

On the way home, I was thinking about my writing, which isn’t unusual. It’s very common for me to go into a meditative state while sitting in the passenger seat, lost in a different time and place while I live along with my characters. The odd part was, on this drive, I wasn’t thinking storyline. I was thinking process. Not the process of writing, either, but the publishing process.

I have, in one way or another, been trying to get published since I was sixteen. I was okay back then, probably just slightly impressive for a sixteen year old. I had won a writing contest and come to the attention of an agent. After a phone interview I thought I was very mature and knowledgeable about, I signed with them and shipped off my check (well, my mom’s check). It turns out this particular agent didn’t usually work with fantasy, but they dutifully sent me my update letter every time I asked for it.

I cancelled with them eventually, this time for an agency that turned out to be a scam. It was at that point I decided to try getting published on my own. I had a new book that was much better than the one I had written all those years ago and I was sure it would get me published.

Another handful of years later, and I’m still working on it, yet another book to try and sell. I’m currently waiting to hear from one publisher, wondering what to do if it doesn’t work out. Self-publishing? Try to find another agent, this time making sure I’m getting an appropriate one, or try to send my book off on my own again? At this point in time, those questions are on hold, though. They weren’t, truth be told, even the questions I was thinking about on my drive.

After all my different attempts, it has occurred to me that I don’t know very much at all about the publishing process. I mean, I know about as much as is outlined in Wikipedia, anyway. That can’t be all there is, though, can there? Shouldn’t I know more? Shouldn’t I have a better handle on the business I’m trying to break into?

How do I figure it out?

I’m going to try Google+. I’m asking here, and I’ll ask there. There’s a writer’s circle project going on. I want to circle some writers and ask them what they know, if they know any good books, etc. The goal is to get there this week, the weekend being my deadline if the weekly humdrum keeps getting in the way. I want to go to a bookstore, too, and see if I can find any books that might help. I’m hoping I’ll get my answers shortly, one way or another. Hopefully it’s not learning as I go - that path just takes so long sometimes - but I will be learning.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day of - Well, it's not rest, that's for sure.

I can’t settle on a topic. Nothing is working for me today. I get almost done and then scrap it. So, in deference to the rainy, kids-going-stir-crazy day, I think this will be my entry. ;-)

I may have to rethink the blog plan after this. *sigh* Ah, well.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blog Plans

I kind of thought that my goal with this blog would be writing Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This is for a few reasons.

I love schedules. I love being organized and knowing what is going to happen that day. This does not always happen with all the kids going through my house, the dogs, etc, but every time it does feels like success. Making a goal to write in my blog a few times a week should hopefully fit right in, no matter what’s going on that day.

I’m not really working on my manuscript right now (see previous posting, Should Be, Could Be) and blogging is a good way to at least be writing, even if it’s a few thousand words shorter than my usual daily goal. It gives me something to focus on, execute, edit and get out there. So I’m still getting practice even if I’m not making progress on my novel.

Lastly, as much as I’m not entirely certain of the success (current and future) of this blog, I really kind of like it. Short stories are not my forte, but a few hundred words on writing / getting published, I can do. Assuming I have the ideas, anyway.

Three times a week could prove a challenge, but I’m up for it. I hope, as this thing continues and grows, I can have different days for different things. One day could be specific to writing, another to getting published, and a third to whatever story I’m working on. I could even start that now, actually. Eventually, it would be nice to talk about what the readers are reading, once I have something published.

Ah, dreams. One day. At not even 30, I think I have some time to get there.

As all of this is laid out, I look at my calendar and realize - Today is Tuesday, not Monday. Lol. This is truly how time gets away from me sometimes. No matter. We can continue this week and try again next week. As I remember, yesterday was super busy and I was super tired at the end of it. This is only week two, though. I’ll get into my grove here shortly. Hopefully very shortly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Should Be, Could Be

I should be working on the second book in my current series. Yet, despite this knowledge, I’m not writing. In fact, I haven’t written for a while. Part of the reason is I have a two-year-old, watch my sister’s 3 kids (9, 6 and 3), then there’s my three dogs and we currently have 9 puppies. The puppies go to their new homes soon, so that should free up a lot of time. Right now, though, I really could be writing.

Haha. I guess I am, when I think about it. Blogging is writing, right?

This is, unfortunately, just a procrastinating event, however. The truth is, I’m stuck at this very moment because I turned in the first book two days ago. It’s always the hardest part of the process. Writing takes a long time. Editing is not my favorite part, but I’m getting better at it the older I get. Being patient while my small circle of reviewers take their time to read it twice just sucks. But turning it in ... letting someone who matters to whether it stays a forever-draft or turns into a printed work ... that is hard.

Silly, really. I’ll keep writing either way. Then again, how can I write number two when I’m obsessing over number one?

I would guess sending off a manuscript is a lot like sending your kids off to school. The first time you do it is agonizing, and each time somehow gets a little easier, but you still have that heart-wrenching feeling as your baby goes off to grow up. Granted, my baby is only two and I suspect Kindergarten may prove a bit more of a challenge, but at the moment, that’s my great analogy.

This particular attempt at becoming published is different from all my other ones, though. When I had tried before, I always started researching the publishing companies, seeing which ones were accepting submissions without agents. I’ve had two agents in my past and neither one was what they should have been - but then, I wasn’t as smart about this process as before, either. Good agents are out there, I was just never informed enough to be able to find them.

So I tried to get published without an agent for a few years. Every time I got my rejection letters, I didn’t feel rejected. I honestly just felt like there were too many fish in my sea. I just didn’t know how to get out of the masses to distinguish myself. There are many different long-term plans to get there, I just couldn’t dedicate myself to many of them because they didn’t seem right for me.

This time, my husband came to the rescue. He believes in me maybe even more than I believe in myself. He found a smaller publisher branching out into new areas of publishing and looking for new authors. He showed them my prologue and they agreed to read the rest of my book. So off it went, and here I am, waiting to see how my baby’s first day of school was, putting off writing the next book until I know.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Creating a Social Me

I find myself in an exciting position - a publisher is prepared to review my book and possibly enter into a contract. In the way my mind jumps 20 steps ahead, one of my first questions was “What about marketing?”

As it turns out, part of that marketing falls on me. A very strong suggestion was I created more of an online presence for myself - in essence, become more social. Where I am by no means anti-social, I’m relatively shy and tend to stay away from overtly social gestures. Becoming published, however, is such a big dream for me, I find myself chipping away at my containing walls to do as suggested.

So, enter my blog. This should be easy, right? I mean, I write a lot, so what’s the big deal about a blog? Pick a service. Check. Sign up and create profile. Check. Start a new blog --
Title: Huh?
Domain: *blink*
Theme: Oh.

It took a lot of back and forth with my husband, each of us brainstorming the title alone. Thank goodness for the Internet, because we were both checking out how to create a blog website. Finding helpful hints, but nothing that said: Hey, Carrie! Name your blog [Blog Name], I was stuck playing name games for a while. A title decided on, how to spell the word? Reverie is the French version and I like the whimsical look of it, but how many Americans will spell it with an ‘ie’ if I tell them about my blog? Revery it is.

Funny note about the word Revery. Google Docs doesn’t think it’s spelled right.

With the basics taken care of, mostly, there’s the description, and the key words and meta description and all these other little, yet important, details. I decided to take a break. I wanted to write my first blog. I could think about that stuff later when I wasn’t bugging my husband at work and he could be home to help me.

Then ... how long is a blog? I kind of knew what I wanted to write about, but how many words? I’m a novelist. Editing for a shorter length has not been a strength of mine for a long time. I found a site that said 250 words, laughed, and decided it was time to just write.

Look at that? Yay! My first blog post. Assuming it’s approved by my panel (husband), off it will go to start my entry into the social world of the Internet.

This will be good for me. Right?