Monthly Archives: May 2006

Plans

I planned on skipping naps, but for some reason I’m more tired now than I ever am during the school year!
I guess I’ll work naps into my schedule too. 🙂
So far dh has been home any time I’ve tried to write. He’s got one more day and then I’m taking the computer to a coffee shop.

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Contests

My chapter is hosting their annual contest, Ticket to Write. Once again we have great final judges. It’s been an interesting time watching our coordinators put it together. Actually they’re amazing, but it’s different this year and that always creates friction among the ranks. Change is scary, but I think it can be a good thing.
One thing we’re changing: In the past we’ve had these one-two page critiques done by an amazing member of our chapter. People either love or hate them. I hate them. 🙂 But we’ve had enough positive feedback that they’re staying. The difference is, entrants have the choice. They mark whether or not they want the critique.
Another thing we’re doing differently: Contest entries get mailed to the specific category director. There was a lot of resistance to that idea, but it passed in the end.
I hope this makes the contest better. Two people have sold as a result of the contest, so it’s worth the shot if these are the editors your targeting.

2006 TICKET TO WRITE

Sponsor: Red River Romance Writers RWA
Fee: $20-25
Postmark Deadline: August 6, 2006
Eligibility: unpublished
Enter: up to first 30 pages, synopsis (2 pages not judged)
Categories/final judges: Contemporary Series, Susan Litman/Harlequin; Inspirational, Julie Swarzburg/Multnomah; Historical, Hilary Sares/Kensington; Single Title, Laura Cifelli/NAL; Paranormal, Kelly Mortimer/Ferguson Literary Agency; Hot and Steamy, Kathryn Lye/Harlequin; Romantic Suspense, Keyren Gerlach/Harlequin. Judges: experienced/PRO, published. Top prize: $25, certificate. FMI, entry form, and rules send SASE to “Ticket to Write” 1023 Pawhuska, Burkburnett, TX. 76354, debra.calloway@sbcglobal.net, or http://www.rrrw.org

And just because it’s fun

You Belong in 1976

If you scored…

1950 – 1959: You’re fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

1960 – 1969: You are a free spirit with a huge heart. Love, peace, and happiness rule – oh, and drugs too.

1970 – 1979: Bold and brash, you take life by the horns. Whether you’re partying or protesting, you give it your all!

1980 – 1989: Wild, over the top, and just a little bit cheesy. You’re colorful at night – and successful during the day.

1990 – 1999: With you anything goes! You’re grunge one day, ghetto fabulous the next. It’s all good!

the weight game

I’ve re-committed to Weight Watchers, and after two days, it’s going great. I’ve looked over the last year and realize two things: when I get stressed at work, I need to work out NOT take a nap and skip the exercise AND when I get into the groove of writing, I still need to make time for working out. I don’t know why I have problems with these two things, but I do. It’s summer so work’s not a problem, but I’m absolutely going to be writing a lot, so I need to work out a plan. I know I can do it.

On another note, a GH finalist on e-Harlequin sold to Blaze today. I’m so happy for Tawny! And inspired about my writing. Woo Hoo!!!

Memorial Day

I sometimes forget the purpose of this day. I’m going to try not to do that anymore. My dad spent years in the military, his dad did too. His brother served two tours of duty in Vietnam so my dad wouldn’t have to. My uncle didn’t die over there, but being there did kill a part of his soul. A part he reclaimed before he died, but not before I knew him. When my uncle died the Duluth VFW showed up. They gave him a 21 gun salute. It was the first time I remember seeing my dad cry. My uncle was a hero, he was my dad’s best friend. Right now I know there are several soldiers deployed in dangerous areas around the world. They’re someone’s best friend, sibling, or child. I’m thankful for them, and I’m thankful to those who’ve died over the years so I could be free.

Summer

Church today was all about being too hurried. About how you can be busy without being hurried and how important it is to make time for quiet time. I needed to hear it. 🙂
Now I need to remember it when school starts back up.
The days of summer stretch before me like perfectly wrapped presents. So far I’ve taken a nap. I need to get in gear.
The first thing I’m going to do doesn’t really seem writing related, but it is. I’m cleaning house. Actually, I’m going to do a fast straighten and then every day one room is going to get my full attention. It’s been a couple years since I’ve done this. And it is writing related, at least it is for me. For some reason, I write more when my house is in order. Not necessarily super duper clean, but nice enough to have friends over without wincing. I don’t clean a lot during the school year, and once I get in a book, forget about it. I think if I were published, dh might deal with this better. I hope we get the chance to see. 🙂
Along with cleaning house, I’m going to get back in gear with Weight Watchers, which is really kind of crazy because it’s not something you get in gear with then toss aside (proof positive in the fact that my clothes no longer fit!) Anyway, with summer here, I have the perfect opportunity to workout, eat right and grill lots. That’s my plan.
On the writing front my goal is to draft my new Intrigue and at least half my Women’s Fiction.
What I’m not going to do is nap every day. It eats up too much time.

Woo Hoo!!!

School’s out for summer!!!!

What I learned

Another year down and this one might have taught me more lessons than any before.
1: I don’t have to be in control at all times. Honestly. I don’t have to do it alone. I can ask for help. I can give it to God.
2: Teenagers, even seniors, are still kids. They’ll do exactly what you let them do. Most want to do the right thing.
3: Making the outcome important to the students will create a far more positive atmosphere than holding grades over their heads.
4: Details matter.
5: When they don’t follow through, it’s not personal.
6: Kill Them With Kindness works in almost every situation!

Funny how most of this can be put into practice in my life outside of school too.

Another thing I’ve learned…

by writing different types of stories is that I can write anything as long as I plot first. I think I’m more of a natural mystery writer with my shorter stories, more of a character driven writer with the longer books.
I guess the biggest thing I’ve learned over the last few years is that there are no right answers in this game, there’s just the answer that works for you.

I cried today in class. Sobbed really. I was sitting there after signing one of my senior’s yearbooks with several others sitting there and I lost it. I think they were happy. It showed them I cared, like they didn’t already know that!
Tomorrow’s the last day and I really am happy but I’m going to miss these kids!

Targeting lines

I spent the first few years of writing targeting a specific line and earning rejections. I learned a lot, but I didn’t get published. The last two years I’ve committed myself to story, to the words, the characters, the plot they want. No targets at first. Once I know the characters and plots, I know the line I want to target and I tweak the story to make it fit.I do my synopsis before I ever write the book, and by the end of it, I know exactly where the book’s going.
I still have rejections and I’m still learning lots. I think I’m a better writer because of it and I know I’ve fallen in love with the tension of romantic suspense and the deep characterization of women’s fiction. Had I continued targeting I wouldn’t have discovered that joy at all. I talk to a lot of authors who swear by the idea of targeting a specific line, and I see the logic in that once I sell. Until then, I figure there’s no sense limiting myself or the stories I want to tell. I’m not sure that’s smart writing in a business sense, but it’s great for my writer’s soul, so that’s how I’m doing things. 🙂

Education

DD and me: today’s walk
Me: You should’ve taken the final, even though you were exempt.
DD: No way. I didn’t even do the review.
Me: Your grades….
DD: Stop talking about my grades. Hey, I made a high score on that essay.
Me: (in my head: easy for you to say stop talking about your grades. I’m a teacher. College is expensive…) Out loud: Essay?
DD: Yeah that one I totally didn’t get. The passage from The Onion. Remember?
Me (no.) Uh….
DD: I told you, I BS’d the whole thing. I used Seinfeld quotes. Remember?
Me: Oh…You made a good grade on that?!
DD: Yeah. I told you Seinfeld was awesome.

I’m not sure what exactly that says about my daughter, what we watch on TV and grades in general. She rarely reads a book assigned, but she reads everything else she can get her hands on. Passing is fine with her. She could care less about A’s or B’s. Cool shoes, great books, musicals, Daria and Seinfeld rule her world. Her iPod has everything from The Nutcracker to the Shaun White Album on it. Her MySpace song is Tom Sawyer by Rush. She dreams of living in London and New York one day. She hates romance novels but reads YA like crazy, especially this terribly depressing but quite good story, Drowning Anna. (I keep hoping she’ll love romance one day!) She can’t wait to read Gena Showalter’s Oh My Goth.
Some day I’m going to learn to accept her grades as they are, but it’s so hard! I visited a university with one of my students last year and the counselor said grades won’t open doors, but they sure will close them. I guess those doors won’t be ones DD wants to go through.
But making her good grade courtesy of an episode of Seinfeld for a rhetorical argument might just prove me wrong anyway. 🙂