Monthly Archives: October 2005

Third Sight

I picked up Suzanne McMinn’s Third Sight at Wal Mart yesterday. I can’t wait to read this book! BUT it’s got to wait until the two projects I’m working on right now are in the mail. UGH! I hate being so busy. But it could be worse. At least I’m writing.

My Brava request is a little on the hot side. Okay, a lot on the hot side. Not erotic but sensual beyond other books I’ve submitted. I’m interested in what the editor says. I think Brava readers will love it, if it sells. We’ll see.

My Intrigue revisions will start tomorrow.
Hope I can get more emotion on the page.

Man on Fire

My husband laughed when he saw I was watching Man on Fire. He said I’d hate it. Said he didn’t like it at all.
I asked him is if it was an action chick flick and he said that was an oxymoron.
Maybe it was, but Man on Fire is a fabulous movie.
A few years ago I watched a Mel Gibson movie about a man on a revenge trip. I hated it. But the entire time I watched it I kept saying this should’ve been a good movie.
Man on Fire is the movie I wanted back then.
The other day I read something about character driving emotion and emotion driving action and how that makes good plot.
Man on Fire follows that pattern. Every action is completely motivated. It made me look at my hero, Riley. Made me think more about who he is and why he does what he does.
Made me look at my villain. He’s such a wimp. That’s not going to work. I need to look deeper into who he is and why he does what he does.
My revisions just got a lot more intense, but they got a lot better too.
As for action chick flicks, I think DH was way wrong. Mad Maxx, Gladiator, Legends of the Fall, Last of the Mohicans…the list goes on. Emotion drives the plot instead of explosions.

Revisiting old works

I LOVE the Brava wanna-be I’m working on right now. It’s been so long since I looked at it, I’d forgotten these characters. Joe’s such a sexy guy. Del’s so funny. I can’t believe I wrote this book. 🙂 Boy is it steamy.
I want to flesh out a couple scenes before I send it in.
It’s pretty polished now, so I’m going to work on it and get it out before I sit down with Identity Crisis and give it MAJOR revision work. My hero’s conflict is strong but the motivation isn’t on the page. I know it, but the reader doesn’t. The suspense element is a little redundant right now. (Good thing! I need to cut about 20 pages) And my villain’s destruction is way too easy. I’m using the Discovering Story Magic sheets from Dallas National to help. Hopefully by Monday, that’s all I’ll be working on.


Well, sort of.
I embraced the You can’t fix a blank page philosophy for this book. Let’s just say I’ve got plenty of word-filled pages to fix now. 🙂
300 to be exact.
Still the draft is done. The mystery worked and it enhanced the conflict. I actually think it ended too soon. The last twenty pages are relationship pages. And that’s okay since the end of the mystery led to the relationship break, but I think Intrigue readers want the tension of the mystery to last a little longer.
My heroine stubbornly held to who she was even when I tried to change her early on in the novel. By the end I understood why.
During the revisions I’ll work harder at delving into my hero’s conflict. It seems a little forced toward the end. I love the book. Love the romance. Love the mystery. Revision should be fun. ahahahaha.

I love conferences

I’ve learned so much and been inspired and written lots. This conference has been a true blessing. I did learn from someone today that contractions aren’t to be used in writing EXCEPT in quotes. This was news to me.
Actually the person who told me this did a great job for the most part. And until she told me this, I listened to her. Once those words came out of her mouth, I think my eyebrows landed somewhere in the vicinity of Mars, I said REALLY???! and that was the end of that. My students had to hold their hands over their mouths to keep from laughing.
Ah well. Hopefully this person NEVER gets my book to judge in anything super important. Somehow, I feel confident she’d HATE all our stories. We use contractions on a pretty regular basis. 🙂
She really was nice. And she gave some good pointers too. I’m just appalled that a writing teacher thinks contractions aren’t supposed to be used. I wonder which guardian of language destroyed her ability to craft story.
I probably should’ve told her what I thought of that rule. But I had students with me and I thought that would be wrong. Especially since she spent a lot of time on our book. And she gave some amazing Photoshop pointers I plan on using immediately.
Tomorrow we go home. But first, we get to hear the absolutely AMAZING Thomas French. (I wonder if he knows you’re not supposed to use contractions? I bet it’s a box on the Pulitzer checklist.)
Today also I went to a class given by Pine Tree yearbook. They’re from Longview. and they’ve had hundred of evacuees in their town. Their yearbook staff has set up a blog where high school reporters help tell evacuee stories. It’s amazing! If you get a chance, check it out.

Gold Medal, Conference escape, Sometimes husbands really screw up!

Last year’s yearbook earned Gold Medal status from Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Woo Hoo!!!!
Publication competitions are a lot like manuscript contests. Last year my book got SLAMMED. This year, they love us. I love us too, so I ignore the slam years. 🙂

I’m in San Antonio this weekend with two of my editors. We’re attending the TAJE conference. I love this conference. It’s so uplifting. And BOY do I need uplifting!
And I needed the escape from home to finish this book!

Speaking of home, I just reminded DH he wouldn’t see much of me from now until December (Deadlines, deadlines, deadlines!). His response: That sucks. But it’ll be okay AS LONG AS YOU MAKE SUPPER.
Poor, poor man.
He’s just earned himself a month of bologna.
Worst part: He has no idea why I’m upset.
If I needed proof, I’ve got it now. Men ARE from Mars.
I think I’ll pick up a bologna cookbook while I’m here. Maybe I can find a recipe with spinach. He hates spinach. 🙂

So why is it?

That I’ve been blogging for almost a year and I still pushed delete instead of send on the messages I replied to yesterday? UGH!

The book’s heading into the big YIKES then the black moment then the HEA. I hope it’s not too complicated. It made perfectly logical sense to me and my CPs when I plotted it. But now, I’m not so sure. After this draft is done, I’ll work through all the plot lines. Make sure they’re logical. Then flesh it out. I’m not going to rush though. I plan on having it out the door by Nov. 18. That’s still a month to polish it, make it shine. Make sure the words work. 🙂 With the other request, I’m still shooting for Halloween.

I got contest results back on my Romantic Elements ST. And yep. Split decision. One This is ready to send with minor errors fixed. One this is okay but…. And one, the writer is obviously a newbie…. UGH!!!! 🙂
Actually it doesn’t bother me a bit. I got great feedback and I’d enter the contest again no question.

Another Request

A little over a year ago I sent a partial to Kensington and promptly forgot about it because of other projects. Today when I got home the strange return envelope I had waiting for me was the request for the full. Woo Hoo! It’s pretty much ready to go. Needs a little work on transitions and maybe a scene or two to complete some story arcs, but it can definitely be completed and mailed before Halloween. Best part, I have a second novel done and a third plotted for that book. If she likes one, hopefully she’ll like them all!

The importance of ritual

As I rediscovered my story, I also rediscovered some of the quirks about my writing style.
Music is extremely important to my stories. And finding the right music for each story is even MORE important. I tried writing Identity Crisis to my Prodigal soundtrack and could never get into the groove. There’s no way I could use my Cowboy Complications soundtrack to write Fallen. With my soundtrack playing, I can usually get into the feel of the story no problem.
This summer I discovered incense. I have to be careful. Some of it is so strong it gives me a headache and that doesn’t help much on the writing front. But if I find the right scent, that helps too.
Finally is place. I wrote my last book sitting at the dining room table. I tried the same thing with Identity Crisis, but it just didn’t work. Maybe that’s because it’s such a different book. I don’t know.
I tried sitting in my chair with the laptop. No good. I tried using the desktop computer. Still no good.
FInally I pulled my computer chair into the bedroom and found my place. I moved the chair into the livingroom and discovered it’s the chair not the place. For Identity Crisis, the chair is the key.
I don’t know if other people go through this or not.
I’m sure I could write without he chair and music if I had to, but those things help me get into the story faster.

When things get really bad

So yesterday I was eating lunch with my friends in the teacher’s lounge (a place notorious for its negativity, but we’re usually laughing) and everyone was in a lousy mood. If one person griped about girls wearing skanky clothes, another griped about freak dancing. If one person talked about helicopter parents, another yelled about stupid questions.
Now usually I’m the one people turn to for a positive spin on things. I mean seriously, as far as I’m concerned the majority of teenagers are awesome. They’re smarter today than they used to be when I was one, they’re far more aware of their world and they’re generally pretty decent human beings. It drives my friends crazy that I say stuff like this when they’re griping. And sometimes I do it on purpose just to aggravate them. But I always smile when I do it.
But yesterday was different. Yesterday I decided to try a new tactic on my war against negativity.
When the griping had finally died down to a dull roar I took one last bite of soup then shared how I’d turned the TV on last weekend, heard that 32,000 people had died in an earthquake and thought, Big deal. Then when I saw the news about New Hampshire, same thing. But when I learned that Bird Flu was in Romania, I finally paid attention.
Everyone looked at me. The room was completely silent. Until one of my friends said,
Bird Who?
Me-Bird Flu.
Her-Bird who?
Me-not who, what.
(At this point I thought she was kidding)
Me-where what?
Her-Where’d the bird fly?
The room roared. Finally another friend explained Bird FLU not flew.

Now honestly, that should’ve fixed the griping for good. And okay, to be honest it had. Except I decided I hadn’t shared enough negativity with my buddies.
One of my friends, still wiping tears from her face, looked at me shaking her head, disbelief that PollyAnna Mary Beth had just let loose.
I shrugged and imparted the best news of the day.
Because honestly, I said, the next time a kid gets smart mouthed in class, refuses to turn in work, asks why they failed a paper they only did half of, just look at them, tell them global warming is going to cause the world to explode, Surface just might be true, and even if it isn’t Iran will soon have nuclear weapons so the world’s pretty much gone no matter how you look at it. Their little problems really mean nothing in the bigger scope of things.

And that cured all negativity.

Nothing like a little honesty to put things in perspective.

The truth is, we live in a pretty decent time. Things might seem a little crazy, but I like the 21st century just fine. And I like my students too. Honestly, all the people I eat with do. It’s why we can laugh–even when it seems there’s nothing to laugh about. And it’s why I love the teacher’s lounge.