Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!

Where did Thanksgiving go? Wow, I was so busy cooking all day I didn't even have time to call or text my siblings until today. As much as I like gathering with family and the traditional meal, I really hate spending all day in the kitchen. One day, when all our kids are grown and married, I think we'll move to a more pot luck style Thanksgiving meal where each family member brings a dish so no one is stuck in the kitchen for too long.

My sister and her three kids are visiting and my dad and his fiancé will stop by today for a few hours on their way from Charlotte back up to PA. Love visiting with family!

On Writing: No writing while visiting family is here. Hope to get back to it tomorrow. I did enter the Golden Heart contest for the first time this year, and need to read over my synopsis, partial and full again before the 12/13 deadline. I am so ready to start a new manuscript. Congrats to all the writers wrapping up NaNo! I'm jealous I couldn't participate this year (too many relatives during the month.) Luckily, I did my own NaNo in August. But there is a special camaraderie during NaNo that is unlike the usual writer's life.

Monday, November 25, 2013

“Patience is the Art of Hoping.” Marquis de Vauvenargues

On Writing: Most days I can forget I'm waiting to hear from people about my manuscripts. I send off a query, partial, full, or contest entry and do a pretty good job of putting it from my mind and moving on with other writing projects. But every so often I think...well, do they like it? Do they hate it? Are they gathered around the water cooler laughing at that one line I left in but should have taken out? Yes? No? "No to my manuscript? Yes to my manuscript? Just tell me where you're at with my manuscript."

I was looking for quotes on waiting, since I've read that the publishing industry slooooows way down between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and I found these quotes on waiting. While not really pertinent to the kind of waiting I'm talking about...they made me smile. And smiling helps me keep things in perspective.

"I grew up with six brothers. That's how I learned to dance - waiting for the bathroom." Bob Hope
"Ten men waiting for me at the door? Send one of them home, I'm tired." Mae West

See what I mean? It's easier to wait while you're busy laughing, isn't it? Well, maybe it doesn't help everyone, but I grew up in a family that used laughter to handle the tough times, so humor is my favorite "go to" weapon/tool in life. And hugs. They work too.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

"Planes, Trains and Automobiles"

On Writing: Although I did get a lot of work done today, it was editing my partial, full and synopsis, so it didn't really feel like much got done. Yet, my brain is mush after reading and editing some of my m/s in triplicate. Harlequin author Sarah M. Anderson spent the week generously explaining and answering questions on revisions over at the Harlequin community boards. She talked about how you know when you're done revising and it's time to send a m/s out in the world. Sarah said for her, it's when her own writing begins to sound like dreck and she's sure she sucks. I'm so there on my current m/s. I need to finish getting it ready for the GH so I can move on to something new.

On Life: I'm not even a "foodie" but I love Thanksgiving. Mostly, the gathering of family and the time to be thankful for the bounties in life. But there is a comfort in traditional family recipes. We have mac n' cheese, stuffing, and roll recipes that our family loves. We HAD a jello salad recipe we grew up with, but none of the next generation likes it much, so it hasn't been made the last few years. We just have fun being together, really. Along with all of our own kids (yes, even son #1 got leave from the AF!) my sister and her three kids, this year my Dad and his fiancĂ© will visit the day after Thanksgiving, so that will make it extra special.

 I hope y'all have happy plans for Thanksgiving with people you like and love! I'm off to watch my favorite pre-Thanksgiving movie, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles."


Thursday, November 21, 2013

A New Plan

On Writing: I find myself chomping at the bit not being able to write creatively while I'm taking care of some of the other necessary parts of a writer's life. Writing queries, preparing a m/s for contest, reading in the constant effort to learn more... All really important things, but not the same as being creative. So, I have come up- with a new plan: I will write for thirty minutes a day on anything I want no matter what is on my "to-do" list each day. And you know what that means, don't you? Yup. A new spiral notebook or two to jot these creative sessions down into. I love shopping for new writing spirals! Yay.

On Life: I made up the shopping list at 6 a.m. this morning. (Husband is shopping now.) I cleaned the fridge out so there's room for all the holiday food.I've texted one sister for her sweet potato recipe that my visiting sister said is soooo good. Cranked out some laundry and cleaning the stored boxes out of our dining room that have been there since we moved in over a year ago. Getting things done.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Inspiration Emergency

Feeling the need for some emergency inspiration...

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to keep going that counts.” Churchill

"Never, never, never, never give up.” Churchill
 Okay, that should do it for now. I shall breathe and carry on. That is all.

Thanksgiving Menu

On Life: Today I need to write up the menu/shopping list for Thanksgiving. Our family, like many I'm sure, usually does the same dishes for the holidays every year. Each dish is wrapped up in childhood memories, so it makes it very hard to take it off the table and replace it with something new. (aka people get upset.)

We'll mix it up a little by using the smoker this year along with the usual oven-roasted turkey. We're thinking of smoking some beef briquette and a smaller turkey. The standard pumpkin and apple pies, of course. My favorite, coconut custard pie, is harder to find in stores down south, and I'm afraid to make one from scratch because the store-bought ones are the ones that remind me of my mother and taste pretty yummy too.

On Writing: I'd like to wrap up Why Can't This Be Love? as I'm anxious to move on to a new WIP. I think it's time to set WCTBL? to the side to marinate for a bit to get some distance from it. You know, like a couple sometimes needs time apart, so when they get back together they appreciate each other even more and can look at them with fresh eyes and a clearer head? I've got some ideas for the next brother's story, but I need to get going on it because if the brother is really who he is telling me he will require a little rewriting of the first two books in this series to accommodate him. I wish he had spoken up sooner, but he's the strong silent type apparently. ;)   

Monday, November 18, 2013

Almost There

On Writing: I am almost there on my Golden Heart entry. I would like to shorten my synopsis by a page, but it will work if I can't. My partial is now at 51 pages with the hook at the end, but the last two pages need some cleaning up. Just a punch up of a few lines so they are more "hooky." Then I have to still add a scene to the full, but then I think it's ready. Of course, I still have to run it through my edit list from the Angela James "Before You Hit Send" class and read it aloud.

My sister is here visiting from up north, so I try to work on writing for only a few hours a day so we can spend time together. I think I'll get up early tomorrow a.m. to get some extra time in before she wakes up, though since I'd really like to get this GH contest entry finished and submitted.

On life: Time to clean house to get ready for our Thanksgiving guests. And get the menu and shopping list together. And maybe run the china through the washing machine. And polish the silverware. Figure out seating for our family of 6, plus 4 from my sister's family, and 2 of my husband's friends from work. I think we have 10 chairs for 12 people, but we do have a piano bench that can fit one normal or two skinny people. We've got some skinny people, but they've got long arms and sharp pointy elbows too, so not sure two of them will work on the piano bench.


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Nada, Zip, Zilch. Yet Success.

On Writing: None. Not a word. Yet. I could still scratch something out tonight. I did come up with an idea for one of the other brothers in my series. So there's that.

On Life: Spent the day doing errands. I did do a short grocery trip, got my hair cut, picked up son #2's Rx at the pharmacy, got paint samples for the dining room, went over to the furniture refinisher's house and picked the stain for our dining room table and china cabinet, edited a paper for daughter #1, answered a survey for daughter #2 and spoke to Bella's Vet about this epic battle the two of us have been having.

I think I've mentioned my saga with the Vet. It turned a bright corner today and he is willing to change how he medicates our dog Bella who has Addison's disease. I'm pretty sure he's waiting to see if it works, but I have to give him credit for being open-minded and trying it. (Even if I had to drag him every step of the way.) If this newer method works, (and it does on many other A-dogs) then not only will Bella feel better and cost us less money for treatment, but he can use this on his other A-dog patients. So, tomorrow Bella gets her monthly shot and we're reducing it by 25%. We'll check the electrolytes on day 14 and 25 after her shot and if all looks good, her shot the next month will reduce another 25%. Really excited to see how Bella will feel on this lower dose.

After I get back from the Vet with Bella tomorrow...writing will commence and it will be prolific. Seriously. I kid thee not.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Contests and Cold Weather

On Writing: I'm thinking about entering the Golden Heart contest. It opened up yesterday and although it doesn't provide feedback, just being a finalist is a big happy deal. I'm getting both manuscripts ready just in case. Bringing Delaney Home is ready to go. I spent time working on cleaning her up yesterday and shortening/tightening my synopsis some more. Today, I'll work on Why Can't This Be Love? This will be more challenging because they say "end on a hook." But my hook ends on page 53. The combined entry of synopsis + m/s = no more than 55 pages. That would mean a 2 page synopsis. Right now my synopsis is 4.5 pages. I think I need the synopsis closer to 3 pages and need to edit my m/s pages to get the hook on page 52. That's my goal today. Anyone else thinking about entering the Golden Heart?

On Life: A cold front moved in yesterday. We even had freezing rain last night for a bit. It was 28 degrees this morning. Brrr. Although I grew up in the Northeast with cold winters, I've lived in AZ for 5 years, TX for 2, and NC for 10 and I've grown spoiled with moderate winter temps. I don't like being cold. The only thing I really miss about a colder winter is the "potential for snow." Not necessarily snow itself, mind you. Sure, everything is beautiful and peaceful looking covered in snow, but then you have to shovel it. No, what I really miss is the anticipation of snow. Hearing the weather forecast call for potential snow, and stocking up on fun things like hot chocolate, bread and hearty meals. And the feeling in the air the night before, like an electrified silence. Going to bed wondering what you'll wake up to. And if the snow falls, that safe feeling you have of being hunkered down inside with people you love. That's what I miss about living in the South.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank You, Veterans!

"As we reflect on the blessings of our liberty we ask our Heavenly Father that we may be faithful stewards of the freedom we have been granted. Let us never forget that we cannot rightfully celebrate the joy of our freedom without remembering the great price paid for that freedom. We stagger at the eternal debt we owe to the untold number of American Veterans who chose to set aside their personal ambitions and dreams to assure the well being of our great nation. We, the living are indeed the beneficiaries of those who made tremendous sacrifices for the advancement and surety of our liberty. May we always be humbly grateful to those brave American patriots who suffered and sacrificed for the glory of God and for the freedom of all Americans."

Coulby Dunn
4th Battalion, 503rd Infantry
173rd Airborne Brigade

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Writing Sample

    On writing: Just for fun: a sample of my writing. I wrote this as an assignment for a "First Pages" class and hope to turn it into a book when I'm done with my Cates' brothers series. I can't remember exactly, but I think the assignment had to include the heroine coming home after a night of drinking. It definitely gives a taste of the humor I write with.

     “Hey Red, whadda ya say we bump together and make some magic happen.”

     Frankie Hart slowly turned her head toward the offer. Slowly, because the shots of tequila she vaguely remembered throwing back a few hours ago were close to coming back up. The guy sitting next to her looked like he was high on something and it wasn’t life. Grinning at her, revealing his lifelong boycott of dentists he wiggled his eyebrows a few times and then winked. Or had a seizure. She scooted over to hug the passenger door just as it opened and she all but fell out of the police cruiser. Thank goodness hands caught her since hers were handcuffed behind her back.

     “Hi, Frankie. How have you been? I heard you were back in town. Um, teaching at the high school.”

     “Hey, Dave. Was. Got fired yesterday. Seems they got an anonymous tip that I had a record. Tell me you’re not still partners with— well, hell, yes you are.”

     Frankie thought it was cruel that her ex was even better looking today than he was seven years ago when she fell in love with him. Tall, dark and ratfink, that was him. He walked his muscular body right in front of her and stepped closer than he needed to, closer than he should have, trying to intimidate her. Did he remember how well they used to fit together? His cold green gaze said he remembered everything. And it meant nothing to him. She should have been ready for that, but wasn’t. It cut deep.

     “Francine Hart. You have the right to remain silent—”

      She head butted him. Hard. “So do you, Officer Hart.” The shooting pain in her head reminded her why she hadn’t been making any sudden movements with her head, and then Officer Hart, her ex-husband, was wearing her tequila shots and bean burrito down the front of his crisp police uniform. Who said reunions weren’t fun?

Friday, November 1, 2013

It's Here!

It's NaNo time! Waking up this morning on my way to make the coffee, I realized I did make one mistake already. I should have done a massive cleaning day of the house yesterday since lots of things don't get done during NaNo. I'll at least make time for a quick vacuum, load of towels later today. Visiting other blogs and on-line forums the last few days, I love the excitement everyone has for NaNo. Happy first day of NaNo everyone! Happy writing!