December 30, 2009

Reflecting on 2009



So long. Farewell. Adieu.



It was a long year that flew by. Strange, isn't it, how time works like that. So much has happened this year--some good, some not so good. So let's start with the bad.





BAD:


  1. We closed the doors to our church plant in March. That was a very hard thing to do, and I miss my Connection family so much.

  2. We put our house on the market half a year ago and it hasn't sold.

  3. Work is crazy busy this year = less energy for writing.

GOOD:

  1. My husband got a job preaching at a wonderful church in Irving, which is close enough that my kids can finish high school where they are!

  2. I finished my book this summer! HUGE accomplishment for me. My first novel...sigh.

  3. I joined a critique group that will help me develop my writing skills.

  4. My 2nd son got accepted at the Dallas Institute of Art and is doing FABULOUS and making good grades! Yay!!!!!

  5. My daughter is happier now, after quitting basketball and getting a boyfriend. (Yes, I miss going to bb games, but I like the guy!

  6. I'm having a blast with my blog and have met so many wonderful and generous writers, who encourage and inspire me!

I'm sure there is more to add, but those are what stood out to me. It is strange to look back over the year and see what happened. So often I think of what could have been. I could have done things differently. I could have prepared better. I could have.... okay, so I don't really need to go there, do I? What's done is done and I move on.

I'm going to set goals this new year. (Not like the funny ones I did Monday, although there was some true to those.)I don't usually write my goals down, but this year I am setting some specific goals that I really want to reach. I think if maybe I post them for all to see, I will strive to accomplish them. You know, kind of like having an accountability partner. I'll post them Friday, New Year's Day.

Do you ever look back and wondered what you could have done differently to make your year better? Or are you happy with your year and the way it unfolded?


December 28, 2009

Top 10 New Year's Resolutions for Writers

How about these for some New Year's Resolutions?
  1. Plan menus for the week so that my family doesn't starve while I am WRITING.
  2. Get a heavy duty shop vac to clear a path from the computer to the bathroom and kitchen. (we all have needs...)
  3. Get a pair of those heated computer gloves so that my warm fingers can fly across the keyboard and churn out another MS this year.
  4. Quit tweeting and updating my FB status as a form of procrastination in writing (or editing) my WIP.
  5. Cancel Cable so that there is nothing to watch on TV and I have time to WRITE. Oh wait...I don't have cable and STILL watch TV....hmmmm.
  6. Block all invites and applications on FB that has anything to do with Farming, Fish, Cooking, etc.
  7. Invest in some serious chocolate and candles to stimulate my day dream processes.
  8. Find some kind of physical activity to do at the strike of each hour in order to redistribute the dreaded writer's spread. (I wonder if standing on one's head would do the trick?)
  9. Quit spending so much money on great fiction books to read so that I have more time to actually WRITE!
  10. Tether the laptop to a desk so that I don't fall asleep in bed or on the couch anymore.
These are some New Year's Resolutions that have been swirling around in my brain the past few days. Can you think of any fun goals for writers?

December 22, 2009

Kissing Recouperation

I don't know about you guys, but I had so much fun yesterday! Seriously! There was a total of 88 bloggers who signed up to post a kissing scene on their blog yesterday! Who knew there were so many people out there who LOVE a great kiss....OR...almost kiss. (Yes, I know I keep saying it, but I just love the "almost" kiss!)

I have a confession to make. I haven't finished reading the blogs. I stayed up until 2:30 this morning readig them, but I just couldn't get it all done. Please, please forgive me! I will get to them this morning for sure.

You see, yesterday morning I got up early and started to read, but had to go to the doctor for a check up. Then I had to cook pies (buttermilk and chicken!) for a party I was hosting last night. YES...I'm a party animal, and hosted two parties in one day-a dinner party and a blog party! My husband thought I was nuts for running to the computer, then the oven, and then back to the computer all day.

I may have been away from the computer a good part of the evening, but my mind was not far away from all your blogs! I thought about many of the kissing scenes I had read, and I hope my guests didn't notice my "sighs". (for I read so many sigh-worthy scenes while baking away)

Thank you all so much for your participation in the Kissing Day Blogfest! You are the ones that made the day such a success! Thanks to Katie for our twittering conversation that got this idea going. You are always so much fun to tweet with...you and Krista...snort!

Annnddd, let me announce that FrankieDiane at Frankie Writes is hosting the No Kiss Blogfest on January 2, 2010. Sign up on her site to post your most tension-filled "almost" kiss. She's already got a list going!

Now, I'm off to read and swoon some more.


December 21, 2009

Kissing Day Blogfest!


I never dreamed this Kissing Day would take off like it has, and I just want to thank all of you for participating and making it FUN! Please check out my previous post HERE (or scroll down) for a list of links to all the bloggers that are participating in the Kissing Blogfest. I am so excited to read everyone's posts and swoon with the romance of it all!

So here is an excerpt from my WIP, If My Heart Could Speak. It is a medieval, set in the 1100's, England. To set it up, you need to know that the heroine, Jocelyn, has escaped from a convent as a boy, was rescued along the way by a knight, Malcolm, and became his squire for a tournament he was traveling to. He found out her gender, but due to circumstances I won't share now, kept the secret. Later, when more than one secret is revealed, they are forced to wed, albeit reluctantly. There are more twists that come, but you will just have to wait and read about it years from now when I get published. ;)

So in this scene, Malcolm and Jocelyn have been out riding and have returned to the castle stables.



“Will you be at supper, my lord?” Jocelyn bit her lip, knowing that she begged. He had not taken supper in the hall the past few days and she wanted him to know she had noticed the slight.

Lifting her down from the horse, he paused, holding her close, not releasing his grip on her waist. “Do you want me there?”


She glanced away from his questioning gaze, distracted by the warmth of his hands. “You need not come if you find it tedious.”


Malcolm caught her face with his hand and turned it toward his own. Her breath caught as he leaned down, his lips hovering over hers. Heart hammering in her chest, Jocelyn struggled for breath, waiting for the warmth of his lips upon hers. His roughened cheek brushed hers as those lips, which should have claimed her own, whispered in her ear instead. “You, my lady, are anything but tedious.”


Jocelyn swallowed hard and tried not to feel so bereft when he dropped his hands, stepped back, and gave her a small bow.


“I thank you for a most enjoyable ride,” he said, leaving her in the hands of his capable guardsman.


Jocelyn took a deep breath and watched Malcolm’s tall, broad form walk purposefully down the bailey. My, but he muddled her head into confusion. Just days ago she had fought against his kiss and yet today, well, today she was of a mind to be kissed senseless.



So there you go. My "almost" kissing scene. I love the tension before the actual kiss. It is almost better than full blown kiss. Almost. :)

I thought it would be fun to post a kiss from the show Bones that I just loved. I found a behind-the-scenes clip that I thought was fun to watch. Don't you ever wonder how actors gear up for those kissing scenes? Well, this is a cute one!



Please don't forget to scroll down and check out the list for all the bloggers participating in the Official Kissing Day Blogfest! Thanks again for all the snogging! Happy reading!





December 19, 2009

Post Your Link For The Official Kissing Day Blogfest!

I had a commenter, Rhiannon, ask if we were going to use a Mr. Linky for our Official Kissing Day Blogfest. I blush to say I had to google Mr. Linky and find out what in the world it was! But YES!!!! We are going to use it! This will be a good tool to list all the blogs participating in the Kissing Day Blogfest.

So use Mr. Linky and list your blog address so that we stop by and read your sigh-inducing kissing scene! If you are wondering what The Official Kissing Day is all about, I've included info below to get you up to speed.

Join in the fun and we'll stop by and see you Monday!




Official Kissing Day Blogfest

Monday, December 21st

A Writer's Tribute to Mistletoe


Here is what to do if you want to participate in the Official Kissing Day Blogfest:


  1. Write a post telling about the Official Kissing Day Blogfest. This way more writer/bloggers will get the word and be able to participate on Monday, Dec. 21st.

  2. Tweet about it, using the hash tag: #kissingdayblogfest (I don't know if this will help get the word out, but I thought it might be fun to try.)

  3. On Monday, December 21st, post on your blog an excerpt from your current WIP, or write a new scene that spotlights a kiss or an "almost kiss".
  4. If you are not a writer, or are uncomfortable sharing your work online, post your favorite kissing scene or almost-kissing scene from any book or movie.

**Please note that you do NOT have to do #1 or #2 to participate. I was trying to think of a way to get more writers to join in on the fun, but it is NOT mandatory! Just post your kissing scene on Monday for our reading pleasure!


December 18, 2009

FAT Friday & Editing Recap


This hasn't been my best week--in any area of life. Most of my woes can be attributed to Christmas and lack of time, really, that is just an excuse.

I've been to five parties with tons of yummy food. Now I can resist good food and yummy desserts during the year, but at Christmas, my will power goes out the window. Who can resist those sugar cookies shaped like snowmen and frosted up so cute? Sigh...I only get them once a year, right? Well, when I weighed in last night, I had gained. Not just one pound. No, I gained a whopping FOUR pounds! A bit embarrassing, but this week I am going to do better. I AM!

I've gotten home late every night this week too, which hasn't helped my eating. There have been activities that have kept me out until 8 or 9 p.m. and that is way to0 late to have any brain power for editing. So, I haven't edited much at all. I did do a couple of critiques, but haven't worked much on my own wip.

Of course, there is the area of my spiritual life. I always think that "this year" I am going to focus on the real meaning of Christmas and not get so stressed out by the busyness of December. I know you are laughing at me, but it's true. I want to feel it deep in my soul... the wonder and glory of this Season. I want to be awed by the beauty of the holiday and be enveloped by the warmth that being with family gives me. So, I'm trying to not rush through my quiet times, but sit and really listen. I'm not sure what for, but I hope I can maybe hear a whisper calling to my heart.

So how has your week been? Are you ready for Christmas? Are you stressed or have you found meaning during this busy time? Are you getting any writing accomplished?


December 16, 2009

Tagged & Questioned

Katie tagged me and now it is my turn...

Natalie
Tabitha
Krista

Tag, your it! Just answer the questions and post them on your blog. Easy.


***
What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?
That's completed? My first novel. I don't think I've kept anything I've written previously, other than some bulletin articles I did a long time ago.

Write poetry?
LOLOLOL, I'm terrible at poetry.

Angsty poetry?
That would be a no.

Favorite genre of writing?
Historical fiction, preferably medieval or regency.

Most annoying character you've ever created?
Someone who has read the first part of my WIP has said my main character is annoying. Sigh...I'm waiting to see if anyone in my new crit group think that! Personally, I think one of the villains in my WIP is annoying. She kinda goes off the deep end and really gets on my nerves.

Best plot you've ever created?
I like the one I just did. I would write a blurb here, but I can't do it in just a few sentences. I haven't got that elevator speech done yet! lol I will say it involves an escaped nun disguised as a boy, a knight, an evil step-mother, and a forced marriage.

Coolest plot twist?
I don't think I have great twists. It's all pretty predictable, I suppose.

Write fan fiction?
I didn't even know what fan fiction was until earlier this year! lol

Do you type or write by hand?
I type until I get "blocked" and then I write by hand. There is something about it that gets my creative juices flowing.

Do you save everything you write?
Yes, but I really don't know why.

Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?
I'm too new to this writing journey to have that scenario.

What's your favorite thing you've ever written?
My current WIP.

What's everyone elses favorite story that you've written?
My current WIP, mainly because it is the only thing I've really written.

Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?
Definitely the romance!

What's your favorite setting for your characters?
I love medieval with the castles and tournaments. All that chivalry stuff!

How many writing projects do you have going right now?
Just one. I hear of other writers having several things going at once, and I just don't know how they do it! I can't focus on more than one thing at a time!

Have you ever won an award for your writing?
No. I've never even submitted my WIP in a contest. I plan on submitting in the next month or two if I can find some to enter.

What are your five favorite words?
Hhhhm, let's see...snogging, thusly, gander, precious, cranky. Yes, they are all very random, I know.

What character have you created that is most like you?
While I would like to be more like my heroine (bold and courageous), I am more like her quiet friend, who is loyal, but likes to be in the shadows.

Where you do get your ideas for your characters?
History books sparks my imagination for historical characters. I have an idea for a contemporary series that I am basing on 3 sisters I know. I think you can get ideas from anywhere! The news, people watching at the mall or the park, history books, and even in the stillness of your mind.

Do you ever write based on your dreams?
I don't dream. At least, I don't remember my dreams. I would love to get ideas from dreams, but alas...that is not my lot in life.

Do you favor happy endings?
I'm definitely a happy ending girl! No angst for me.

Does music help you write?
I mostly write in silence, but sometimes if I get stuck, I pull up Pandora and play a station that features epic movies. It gets me back in the mood and helps to play the "movie" in my mind.

Quote something you've written. Whatever pops in your head.
His heart wanted to speak, but could not find the words. So his heart took action. (and then there is a kiss scene which I may share on Monday.)

Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?
I wish I wasn't, but I tend to "think" too hard about words and spelling and grammar while writing the first draft. I would go faster if I didn't, but I do it anyway.


***
Don't forget about The Official Kissing Blogfest on Monday, December 21. On your blog, post a kissing (or almost kissing) scene from your WIP. If you aren't a writer or don't feel comfortable sharing your work, share a kissing scene from a movie or book. It will be a great smooch fest! A snogging party!
***
Question: How many of you writers have more than one project going at a time? I'm curious!


December 14, 2009

Official Kissing Day Blogfest, In Honor of Mistletoe


I know some of you who are reading this are going to be disappointed. There really isn't an official day set aside just for kissing. Well, actually in the UK, July 6 is National Kissing Day, but that is not what this post is about. This post is for all you writers out there who have written a kissing scene.

The idea started when Katie tweeted about her giddy-ness at writing a kissing scene in her current WIP. Several tweeters, @nataliebahm, @kristaphillips, and @_MarybethSmith_, all chimed in with their take on writing kissing scenes.

I thought to myself, why don't we all post a kissing scene from our current WIP? All on the same day? We can hop around to all our friend's blogs and read about some sigh-producing, high-giddy-factor kisses. Who wouldn't love that? So here we go......


Official Kissing Day Blogfest


Monday, December 21st


A Writer's Tribute to Mistletoe

Here is what to do if you want to participate in the Official Kissing Day Blogfest:
  1. Write a post telling about the Official Kissing Day Blogfest. This way more writer/bloggers will get the word and be able to participate on Monday, Dec. 21st.

  2. Tweet about it, using the hash tag: #kissingdayblogfest (I don't know if this will help get the word out, but I thought it might be fun to try.)

  3. On Monday, December 21st, post on your blog an excerpt from your current WIP, or write a new scene that spotlights a kiss or an "almost kiss".
  4. If you are not a writer, or are uncomfortable sharing your work online, post your favorite kissing scene or almost-kissing scene from any book or movie.

**Please note that you do NOT have to do #1 or #2 to participate. I was trying to think of a way to get more writers to join in on the fun, but it is NOT mandatory! Just post your kissing scene on Monday for our reading pleasure!

Go HERE to post a link to your blog so everyone can find your blog and read your sigh-inducing kissing scene!

What do you think of our idea? Wanna participate?

Question of the day: What is your favorite word for kiss?

Mine is snogging (found in Harry Potter). Yes, it sounds a bit messy...and I do not use it in my writing...but what a fun word!

December 11, 2009

Fatless Friday, Editing and Critiquing


I have good news! I lost another 2.4 pounds, giving me a total of 22.6 pounds. I am so happy with that!

Now, for the not so good news. I haven't edited since Monday. I KNOW!!!! Isn't that terrible? I haven't been able to edit at lunch because there have been 2 luncheons and other things that have gotten in the way. Also, Tuesday night I had a ladies Christmas party and didn't get home until 9:30 p.m. Last night I had choir practice and didn't get home until 9 p.m. Tonight I went to my son's basketball game and after cooking supper, running to the store to pick up medicines, and cleaning the kitchen, I just didn't have the energy to edit.

So why don't I stay up late and do it? Well, I'm tired, thank you very much. Krista, T.Anne, and Marybeth are all editing away and I am not. I think my only saving grace is that I will have 2 weeks off in one more week. Then I will get to my edits. (of course, they will have finished by then, I'm sure!) No worries....we are all winners!

Now, for the Critique News! I let Lynnette Labelle do a little matchmaking and she formed a Critique Group for romance writers. There are 5 of us and we have set up a Yahoo Group to do our critiques. Three of us have up loaded a chapter and I am looking forward to getting to read them. (I haven't yet, due to the crazy week!)

I have gotten 2 critiques on my first chapter and I am amazed at the good feedback I've gotten. Yes, there are places that need work, but it was great to see what others see. I like having confirmation on things I've wondered about and I had some new things shown to me that I had never thought about before! I'm excited about how this will make my writing stronger.

So this has been my week. The good, the bad, and the new! How has yours been? How are you doing with your writing goals? Any successes? Any procrastination going on? :)


December 07, 2009

The Big Edit Whine



NOTE TO KRISTA: You are not allowed to read this post, because you will gloat all day long!

Okay, here goes.....

I am having a hard time with my edits. Again. Sigh...I know you all think I am the biggest baby in the world, but this editing thing is HARD! I'm still deep in the edits that my editor/dad did for me, and I am bogged down by all the things he has found.

Let me tell you some of my major issues:

  • Paragraph flow. I have some key sentences in my paragraphs that are all good, strong sentences, but they don't connect well. The sentences don't always flow in a concise and meaningful way. This tends to happen in reflective passages when my characters are deep in thought.

  • I don't use commas well. I forget them before "and" when connecting 2 independent thoughts. I use them when I don't need them too!

  • I'm not descriptive enough. Whether it is the scenery, the imagery, similes, etc...I don't do it well.

  • I have some character development issues that need to be fixed. For example, I haven't developed my villain (the abbess at the convent from which my heroine escapes) enough to understand why she does what she does. In avoiding backstory dumping, I am lacking pertinent info needed to make the character believable.

So you see, I have much to keep my busy. I am now wondering how fast my editing will go when I get through with these chapters my dad edited. I KNOW I won't find as many problems as he did. I do hope, however, that I am learning enough from these first chapters to apply to the latter portion of my WIP.

My only worry is that I am going to fall way behind and LOSE to Krista! Surely I can learn from these first edits and apply them with ease. LOLOLOLOL

I'm cracking myself up here! (And I KNOW good and well that Krista is laughing her head off with glee!) Yes, Krista, I know you are reading my post, even though I told you not to!


December 04, 2009

Fat-LESS Friday & Odes To ME


I was so into editing my WIP last night that I totally forgot to write my blog for today. Surprising, I know, since I have so much to share!

After weighing in last night at Weight Watchers, I was pleasantly surprised! I didn't weigh last Thursday since it was Thanksgiving and WW was closed for the day. (and who wants to weigh in after the Thanksgiving meal(s), right?) Get ready for this....I lost 3.8 pounds! DURING THANKSGIVING!!!!! I know, right? I'm even patting myself on the back for that feat! This brings me to a total of 20.2 pounds lost!
Now, onto the editing update. I am so totally into this editing competition with Krista. And you MUST hop over to her blog, because she composed an Ode in honor of me! And if you know Krista, you know it is a hoot!

I've been editing every day...just like Krista. I even took the laptop to work and worked during my lunch break. I will say that today I will find a better place to work other than the teacher's lounge . *grin* It's hard to concentrate among the cacaphony of women's voices raised in the discussion of their students. The edits are going well, though not quite as fast as I would like. (don't tell Krista!)

As I shared with Krista this morning when I commented on her blog, I do have a bit of an edge on her. My last day of work for this year is the 18th. (working in a school and having their holidays is SUCH an advantage!) I will have the rest of the year to work on my editing!!!! And yes, I know that there is Christmas going on and I will need to do some shopping. :)

So Krista, my friend, smack talk all you want. I'm so bringing it!


December 02, 2009

The Big Edit Race


I'm now officially in a race. Yes! I know what you are thinking...at least those of you who have heard me complain about all forms of physical exertion. No, it is not what you are thinking.

I'm in a race with Krista...or should that be against Krista?

I read a tweet last last night from Krista, who was at McDonald's beginning the edits on her newly finished WIP. Editing at McD's? Seriously? Who among you could manage such a feat? (And Jody, you can't answer because you have mastered the art of writing amid chaos!)

Amazed at such dedication and focus, I threw out a challenge to Krista. (Not that I think I can win, because anyone who can write with squeals and crying in their ears has a huge advantage over me.)
Here's the challenge: Race each other to see who can get their WIP edited by the start of the New Year. That's not too hard right? Well...it might be a bit difficult since it IS December! In order to accomplish this feat, it means a chapter a day, which is going to be extremely difficult. (Krista, quit with the smirking!)

So why the need for a race? Well, I happen to need the motivation. I need a challenge. I need accountability!

Yep. I find that I am a VERY competitive person. Put me up against someone else and I'm all over it! I rise to the challenge and I want to WIN!

So Krista...bring it on, girl!
Should there be a prize of some kind? Other than the reward of getting the WIP whipped into shape? What do you think?


November 30, 2009

Stuck In The Swamp Of Edit-land


I've been editing my first chapter of my MS and have found it extremely difficult. I keep procrastinating. Alot. I mean, I've been "farming" on Facebook, for goodness sake! I'm not sure why I can't seem to make myself just dig in and push my way through.

Maybe it is because there is an issue I've been researching and I cannot find the answer! I have searched online and found nothing. I went to the library, but alas, they were closed Thursday through Sunday for the holiday. Sigh...I even resorted to tweeting my question, but again, I came up with nothing.

The question is this: Could a medieval abbess of a convent (head nun, so to speak) force a woman to take her vows if she had been left at the convent as a young girl? Here's another question. Could a corrupt abbess marry off same woman to the highest bidder if the woman refuses to take her vows?

I don't want to be wrong, but then if I cannot find the answer, am I at liberty to make up whatever I want? Surely corruption abounds in every generation. Surely greed and power make people do things they normally wouldn't do, right?

Sigh...my story hinges on the answer to these questions. I need to find answers before I move on and I really need to move on and get this MS edited!


November 27, 2009

Winner of Just Between You & Me

Using a random number generator, the winner of Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones is:

Linda

Congratulations! Please send me your snail mail address and I will get the book to you! (my email is: sherrinda (at) gmail (dot) com)


November 23, 2009

Just Between You and Me-Review & Giveaway


I finished the book Just Between You and Me by Jenny B. Jones today. I've been reading more contemporaries lately, since all the ideas for future projects have been contemporary ones. I don't know if I just prefer historical or what, because the last few books I've read seem to be lacking somehow. I'm sure it's just personal preference. It is harder to "escape" in a time I am familiar with. Also, I think I like historicals because there can be more adventure...you know, duels, tournaments, battles, men in armor...sigh. ;)

Book Blurb:

A novel of losing fear and finding God.

Maggie lives life on the edge, seemingly unafraid of anything. But the image she so carefully constructed is coming undone.

Her job as a videographer takes her around the world. She tells people’s stories, especially those of impoverished children. That’s when she feels most alive, like she’s making the world better.

But when a secret from her past resurfaces, Maggie gets a call that sends her home. Her dad desperately needs her help. Her estranged sister has run off, leaving 8-year-old Riley in his care. She returns reluctantly, hoping to help her niece. There she reconnects with Cooper–a once awkward and shy, now handsome, veterinarian. Her feelings skyrocket when she’s with him, but she’s afraid if she shows him her true self, he’ll reject her.

An honest, hilarious journey that will transform Maggie–if she just learns to trust more and fear less.

*****************************

All in all, this book was a pretty good read. There was great chemistry between Maggie and Connor, with alot of romance. Jones does a great job with sassy dialogue and quick wit (which I love!). I also love the theme of losing fear and trusting God.

The book dealt with some serious issues within the family and the more I learned, the more I understood Maggie's wall she had built up around herself. It took a long time to chip away at the wall and I found myself frustrated at the slowness. But I suppose I am like that too. I can't see what is right in front of me, because I have my own plan and want to see it through no matter what God throws right in front of me!

I am giving away my gently read copy, so if you are interested and want a chance to win a copy, please leave your email address (the spam-free way) in the comment section. I'll announce the winner Friday. (No Fatless Friday for me this week!!!)

*U.S. residents only. (sorry!)


November 20, 2009

A Blessed Fat Friday!

First, an update on my weight loss. I confess I skipped my WW meeting last week, but I had a good reason. Our High School football team made the playoffs and they got to play in the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium! Knowing it would probably be the only time I could ever afford to go, (tickets are $100's of dollars!) I skipped the meeting and went to the game! AWESOME FUN, even though we lost. :)


So this week I went to my meeting, knowing I had failed in my eating plan, and was pleasantly surprised to only have gained 1.4 pounds! AAAAaannnndddd, I was wearing jeans! So, here's to a new week.


And Thanksgiving! Oh Lord, give me strength!


Now to the blessing of the day! My mom found out this past weekend that she had a blocked artery and needed a stint put in the back valve of her heart. So I traveled the hour drive early yesterday morning to be with her. She was wheeled back into surgery and in no time, the doctor came out and said when they went in, the heart looked great!


NO BLOCKAGE!


The doctor said that the nuclear stress test they do has a 15% false positive result and my mom was just part of that statistic. I, on the other hand, choose to believe that God had his hand upon my Mom. Isn't that wonderful? I think so!


So here's an update on my writing....or lack of. I had set aside my first finished MS and began fleshing out a new project, but God has been speaking loud and clear this week, with several confirmations on what I am to do. I am to take up my MS and edit it into the ground. My editor dad has been swamped with work of his own (and helping take care of Mom), so I am going to take what he has done so far and try to incorporate what he has found into the rest of the manuscript. Hopefully, when he does get back to it, he will have less to correct! lol (wishful thinking!)


So here's to editing. And deleting. And adding. And murdering my adverbs, though I truly think some are beautiful.


Have a great weekend!




November 18, 2009

Crit Groups


I've been thinking alot about critique groups lately and wondering if I should try to find one. I've been praying about it for awhile and then read Lynnette Labelle's blog Chatterbox Chit Chat. She has become a matchmaker for those who are interested in joining a crit group. All you have to do is shoot her an email and answer a set of questions.

I sent her an email. And I am nervous.

Many of you know my dad is an editor and does work for some really famous people. He has my first MS and has started editing it. He has alot of work himself right now, so hasn't gotten very far in the edits and I am itching to get my hands on it once again. I think I need to start working on it, digging in and really making myself learn how to edit.

I think a critique group might help me. I think it would give me different perspectives and teach me many things I couldn't learn on my own.

For those of you in crit groups, how often do you crit? How much do you crit per person in the group? What is the norm? Is there a norm?

Inquiring minds want to know...


November 16, 2009

Someone Is Reading My Blog

My husband and I took off part of Friday, got our kids out of school early, and went to Houston. The church where my husband grew up was having it's 50th Anniversary. My husband's dad was the preacher there for 28 years and so the whole family was there...all 6 kids flew in/drove in for the event. Many people showed up at what turned out to be a wonderful reunion of friends and family.

What blew me away was how many people asked me about my book. Was it finished? Was it finally edited? Was it published? Can they read it yet? I was taken aback by the fact that people knew about my book. What I had forgotten was that I now write a blog and this blog feeds into Facebook. And LOTS of people are on Facebook.

Isn't it interesting the amount of information that is made available for all to see? In some ways it is a bit frightening. In some ways, exciting. It makes you realize the usefulness of the Internet as advertising.

It makes me wonder what publishing and advertising will be like in the future if I get published. What will publishing, advertising, and marketing look like in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years? Do you ever think about that?


November 15, 2009

Winner of Seaside Letters

Using a Random Number Generator, the winner of Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter is:

DEBORAH

Congratulations! I'll get in touch with you, get your snail mail address, and get the book in the mail this week! Enjoy!



November 11, 2009

Seaside Letters - Review & Giveaway!


Seaside Letters by Denise Hunter was my pick as a Thomas Nelson Book Reviewer. I received my free copy and thoroughly enjoyed it. At first I was a tad bit frustrated at all the unknowns in the beginning, but it certainly kept me turning the page, trying to figure out the heroine and her reasons for keeping a tight wall around her heart.. Denise Hunter is GREAT at not divulging everything at once...no backstory dumping here! Hunter slowly began to unwrap the story, layer by layer and beautifully displayed a heart healed and ready to bloom.


One of the coolest aspects of the book is the beauty of allegory throughout the book. The theme of God's patience was strong and paralleled the hero's care of the heroine.The theme of forgiveness and acceptance was artistically portrayed. There was even a side-subplot that mirrored the theme of fear and the steps to courage.


Hunter delivers a sweet romance that makes you heave a sigh at the end. And oh...the kissing scene fair stole my breath away! Gotta love a heart stopping kiss. :) It reminds me of You've Got Mail in some ways, but with more emotional depth. I think you'll like it!


Here is the back cover copy:


Sabrina never intended to fall in love with Tucker McCabe, the man she serves coffee to every morning at a Nantucket cafe--especially since he's unwittingly tied to a past she deeply regrets. But she's fallen hard, though she's kept her feelings a secret.


When Tucker learns Sabrina is the research assistant for a local mystery writer, he asks Sabrina to help him with a little sleuthing of his own...locating an elusive woman he's fallen for online.


If Sabrina accepts the job, she'll spend her evenings in close proximity to a man who can never be hers. If she turns him down, he'll hire someone else--and that would be a disaster. Because if someone else sifts through all those letters and finds out the truth, Tucker will discover her secret...


That the person he's trying to find is her.


******************************************


Leave comment and email address in a safe format and you will be entered for a chance to win a gently read copy of Seaside Letters. The drawing will be held using a Random Number Generator and the winner will be announced Sunday afternoon!



November 09, 2009

Selling A House


We've had our house on the market for 5 months. There's alot of damage to our home that insurance won't cover, so we are just trying to get out from under it. The price has been dropped a couple of times, but a week ago it was dropped enough to get some interest. Three to four showings a day!


Oh. My. Goodness.


It is so difficult to keep the house in order with a family, especially with me working full time. Yet, I have to wonder why in the world don't I keep it straight like this ALL the time! Yes, I nag the family alot more. Yes, I am grouchy when things are out of place. But, oh, it feels like the slobs have left the premises, and it is ever so nice to walk into a straight and uncluttered home.


All it takes is a little more effort on my part. Discipline. Forging through, even though I really don't want to. Making things happen, even though I would rather expend my energies elsewhere.


It makes me wonder what would happen if I transfered this same type of energy to my writing. I keep thinking of the interview I did with K.M Weiland and how she writes for 2 hours a day, from 4-6p.m. It is not an all day affair. Just 2 hours. What would happen if I set an hour aside and made that The Writing Hour. Just think of the possibilities.


For you writers out there, what is the average amount of time each day you spend on your WIP?


November 06, 2009

Hanging Noodles on Your Ears on Fatless Friday


You heard me right. I'm not hanging noodles on your ears! Actually, this is the title of a book my oldest son gave my husband for his birthday a couple of months ago. It's all about idioms from around the world and it is pretty funny!


Here's just a few:


I'm not hanging noodles on your ears: I'm not pulling our leg (Russian)

A camel can't see it's own hump: Pot calling the kettle black.

Thighs shaped like banana trees: A compliment to an attractive woman (Bengali)

Look for hairs inside an egg: Nitpick (Italian)

By candlelight, a goat looks like a lady: Look before you leap (French)


Strange, huh?


Then I found a page that had some words that have been delisted out of the dictionary. Frankly, I think some of these should be revived. What do you think?


Vocabularian: one who thinks too much attention to words

Tardiloquent: talking slowly

Somnificator: one who induces sleep in others. (I always pray my preacher husband doesn't become one of these!)

Sarcast: writer or speaker who is sarcastic

Natiform: buttock-shaped

Idiorepulsive: self-repellent

Bowelless: lacking mercy

Anonymuncle: an anonymous, small time writer


Hhhhmmmm, look how many of those deal with writers! What'sup with that? From one anonymuncle to another, I proudly wear the badge of Vocabularian and try ever so hard to be a Sarcast. I'm bowelless when faced with anything that takes away from my obsession with the written word. And if I ever happen to become a somnificator, well, just send me a natiform card and tell me to wake up and get with the program!


Oh yes, it is a FAT-LESS Friday for me. I weighed in last night and lost another 1.8 pounds. This gives me a total weight loss of 17.8 pounds! Woohoo! I think it may be time to go down a size, but I am loving the loose feeling of my clothes!


Have a great weekend everyone!



November 04, 2009

Winner of Behold The Dawn!

Using a Random Number Generator, we have a winner for K.M. Weiland's new release, Behold The Dawn!

The winner is: Linda!

Congratulations!

A huge thanks to K.M. Weiland, for letting me interview her and for her generosity in giving away a copy of her newest book!

Check out Weiland's blog at Wordplay!


October 31, 2009

Behold The Dawn by KM Weiland - Interview & Giveaway!


I am privileged to share with you author K.M. Weiland, who has a new release, Behold The Dawn, just out. Enjoy what she has to say about her book and her writing life.

• Congratulations on your new release, Behold The Dawn! I know it must be thrilling to have another book published. Could you tell us about your story?

Behold the Dawn is a medieval epic, set against the backdrop of the Third Crusade at the end of the 12th century. It tells the story of Marcus Annan, a renowned competitor in the brutal tourneys—the huge mock battles that remained wildly despite being banned by more than one pope. Annan, haunted by the secrets of his past, is confronted by a mysterious monk who demands that Annan help him seek vengeance for a wrong committed sixteen years earlier. Against his will, Annan is drawn into the conflict, and he journeys to the Crusade in the Holy Land, where he rescues the widow of an old friend and attempts to deliver her to safety in Orleans. But he soon discovers that the past he’s been running from is finally catching up, and if he hopes to survive, he has no chance but to face it.

• What made you pick the medieval time period for Behold The Dawn?

I adore the Middle Ages. There is such an epicness about this period in time. I think you could write the smallest, quietest, most intimate story imaginable, and if you set it in the Middle Ages, it would still end up feeling epic! I suppose I’m particularly drawn to the medieval period because of its strange juxtaposition of brutal wars and romantic social mores. I love the swords and the horses, the beautiful gowns and the eccentric language. It’s a world apart—utterly alien from our own society, and yet eerily familiar in some ways.

• How long have you been writing? Tell us about your road to publication.

Stories have run amok in my brain for as long as I can remember, and I started writing them down when I was eleven or twelve. I produced a newsletter called Horse Tails for five years during high school and learned so much about story form, editing, structure, grammar, you name it. Novels were just a natural progression. I’ve written hundreds of short stories, but I prefer the novel as a form, simply because it allows us a longer, fuller arc. I wrote four truly horrible (although still dear to my heart!) novels before finally hitting a new stride and churning out my first publishable novel A Man Called Outlaw.

• Do you write in other genres? If so, what have you written?

I’ve written a fantasy story about a man who discovers that his dreams are really memories of another world. Settling down to do some serious editing on it is my next project. Look for it in print in a few years!

• What is your daily writing schedule?

I write for two hours, five days a week, from four p.m. to six. I spend the first thirty minutes “warming up,” pulling my mind away from the distractions of the day and getting myself into a creative mood. I’ll write in my project journal, read something instructive about the craft, review character and scene notes, and proofread what I wrote the day before. Then I turn on a soundtrack and get to work!

* I'm struck by the fact that you only spend 2 hours, 5 days a week on writing. Do you have a full time job? Part time? How can you work on revisions, write on your current WIP, AND have the time to outline your next project, all in 10 hours a week? I find that fascinating!

I work part-time as a church secretary, so I do have some extra time to focus on my marketing and my "extra" projects, including revisions of previously written stories. For the most part, my two hours of writing time each day is focused solely on my WIP. I'm a pretty slow worker, really. It can take me three years to see a story to completion. But, to coin a phrase, slow and steady wins the race. I don't think the quantity of work you produce each day is as important as the sheer consistency of setting aside a parcel of time, no matter how small, to write every single day. Best-selling novels have been written as little as one paragraph a day!

• What does your writing space look like?

I have what I call a “computer cabinet.” Not sure what the proper term is, but it’s basically a big armoire with the computer on a shelf and the keyboard and printer on pullout trays beneath. It’s great because I can close the doors at night and shut away my cluttered stacks of resource books and note papers. It has bulletin boards on the insides of both the doors, and I’ve covered them with inspirational quotes and photos and who knows what else! I have wind chimes and a sword letter opener pinned up right now.

• What advice can you give to writers seeking publication?

First, write. Then, rewrite. Those are the two single most important keys. If you don’t finish your first draft, nobody is going to read it. And if you don’t polish your first draft (and second and third), no agent is going to read it. I see a lot of young writers who dash off their first drafts, read them over once, have their mothers read it, then stuff them in manila envelopes and send them off, convinced their work is over. But as someone famously said, “Novels aren’t written. They’re rewritten.” Agents are looking for quality. And the only way to produce quality is to first finish your manuscript, then polish the heck out of it.

• What has brought you the most joy in your writing? What has been the most difficult aspect of writing?

Writing itself brings me joy. When a scene is just right, when the characters are flying solo with barely a glance at me for confirmation that they’re doing the right thing—it’s magic. Whenever I get this breathless feeling, this skip in my diaphragm (I call it “my chest collapsing”), I know I’ve aced a scene. It’s wonderful. Life doesn’t get any better than that!

The most difficult moments are always those when I’m 150 pages into a story and every word I write feels like absolute dreck. Never fails. I’m always sure, halfway though, that whatever story I’m working on is the worst I’ve ever written. But somehow, by dint of hard work and the grace of God, everything always pulls together in the end.

• Have you started your next project? Or do you have several in the works?

I have several projects in the works, including the completed fantasy, Dreamers Come, which I mentioned earlier. I also just started outlining my next project, a historical novel called The Deepest Breath about the passion, betrayal, and vengeance that dog two men and the woman they both love through the trenches of World War I, corruption in colonial Kenya, and the criminal underbelly of London. And I’m also working on a fun co-writing project that asks, “What if Robin Hood met Sleeping Beauty?”

• I have one last fun question for you. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be? These are to be indulgent, guilt-free wishes! (Our family’s spiritual and physical health are always on the list. . .these are wishes just for you!)

Oh, goodie! A fairy godmother! Just what I always wanted. Let me see…

1. An isolated cabin in a warm, beautiful, secluded area (but not so secluded that it doesn’t have wi-fi!).
2. Unlimited energy. You know those people who run around like they’re on a caffeine high all the time? I would love to be one of them!
3. A lifetime’s supply of macaroni and cheese—the world’s greatest comfort food! (And also some kind of health indemnity that would let me get away with eating a life’s supply!)
Don't forget to leave your email addy if you want your name in the draw for a copy of Weiland's new book, Behold The Dawn. Make sure to leave it in a safe way, such as: sherrinda(at)gmail(dot)com
Names will be placed in a random number program and the winner will be chosen Wednesday, November 4. I'm sorry, but U.S. citizens only. :(









October 30, 2009

I'm Back on Fatless Friday!


I've been gone for almost 2 weeks and my goodness, it has flown by. But oh, it was good for me. I spent time in the mornings with God, instead of searching through blogs and emails. I spent time relaxing in the evenings, trying to unwind from an extremely taxing time at work. (State data collection is today and I have been feverishly working to make sure there are no errors...bleh)

So, here are a couple of things to catch you up on. My daughter had a birthday Tuesday and turned 17 years old. Isn't she cute with her brothers? They are so goofy and we rarely get serious pictures in our family. :) And no, she is not super short. The boys are just extremely tall. We had a family dinner and her two older brothers and sister-in-law (not pictured, sad to say) came over for food and fun.

Also, I have lost some more weight, giving me a total weight loss of 16 pounds!!!! How cool is that? I'm just thrilled my clothes are feeling better on me. I'm not ready for a smaller size yet, but soon, I think.

I've been thinking through an idea for a book series. Contemporary romance. Weird for me, but the idea is consuming me. I had thought to join in the fun with the NaNo month, but I just haven't gotten a good plot yet. I've done the character sketches for the main characters, but haven't gotten "the map" laid out. And to do NaNo...I would HAVE to have a map.

I've missed all my blogging friends and hope to slip back into a more palatable schedule. I hope to get reaquainted with you all! :)


ALERT!!!!! I am interviewing K.M. Weiland, author of Behold The Dawn, tomorrow. You will enjoy getting to know her better and will have the chance to enter for a copy of her new release! Stop by for your chance to win!



October 17, 2009

Unplugged

I don't know when unplugged week is, but I am going offline for awhile. A week at least, if not more. I just feel God pulling me close and needing me to leave behind distractions. The evil one has been active and bombarding me lately and I need to gird myself with God's strength and power.

I will miss you all, but I know you understand. I could consider it an honor if you would pray for me. I will be back in time.


October 16, 2009

Fatless Friday

I was dreading getting on the scale this week. I'd eaten out 4 times this week, which is a difficult thing to do when you are trying to lose weight. I tried to make good choices and really cut back the rest of the day, but I was nervous. I thought I had totally blown it. I guess it evened out though, because I ended up losing another 1.8 pounds! That gives me a total of 13.8 pounds! Yep. Feels good, too.

Real good.



It is really rather amazing at how successful you can be when you really put your mind to it. When you focus and expend a little energy in something, it is awesome what you can accomplish. It just takes a little effort every day. Sure you might, mess up, get distracted, lose your focus and fail to stick to your goal for the day, but you know what? You get another day to start over.

Isn't this like writing? All it takes is a little bit every day. An hour a day. A page a day. 500 words a day. How about 1000 words a day? Steady progress is better than no progress, right? We may have days where we slip and get distracted. Sure, we may have bad days that make it impossible to put pen to paper, but hey...there's another day coming!

Now, if I could just take my own advice! lol No, really, I'm not laughing.
I need your prayers. My work has been unusually stressful this year. It is very taxing and draining, and I find that all I want to do when I get home is NOTHING! Please pray that God lifts me out of this slump. Please pray that things can change someway, somehow, so that the work load eases. Please pray that God's spirit would fill me with His energy, His joy, and His peace.
Have an awesome weekend!


October 12, 2009

Life Passing By


I went on a short trip to see my 93 year old grandmother yesterday. She was in town visiting my parents, who live an hour away. She wanted to take us out for lunch and so we went to Babe's, a family style, home cookin' kind of place. GREAT food, but oh my, the music was so incredibly loud, we had to shout at each other.

My grandmother has lived a long life and has experienced alot. She was a minister's wife for over 50 years, until Papaw passed away. She is an incredibly hard worker and spent her life to serve others. She hasn't any huge accomplishments to her name other than being a great wife, mother, and servant of God. I know, it is a HUGE accomplishment. A life to be proud of.

I look at my life and wonder what in the world am I doing? Will life pass me by so fast that I feel like I have accomplished nothing? Am I really contributing to the world? Does it matter what I do? What does writing have to do with anything in the grand scheme of things? It is such a solitary pastime and a preacher's wife should not live a life in seclusion, should she?

Sigh, I think the week of low clouds and no sun is affecting my mood. I would sing an Annie song, but I know for a fact it is supposed to rain once again tomorrow. Thanks for letting me wear my Doubting Pants today and spew forth from my well of gloom.


October 09, 2009

Fatless Friday!


I really worked hard at eating right this week and it paid off with another 3.8 pounds lost at my weigh in! This gives me a total of 12 pounds lost! That is like a small dog! lol The best part is I am starting to notice it in my jeans. Before, after I washed my jeans, they would be so tight I would have to lay on the bed to zip them up. I would then dampen the seat and legs and sit for awhile to loosen them up. (for a little comfort, you know) What a long process just to wear jeans! Yesterday, I pulled on my jeans, zipped and buttoned them with ease, and lo and behold, there were wrinkles and a little space in the leg area! Sigh...what a blessed day!

Speaking of blessed days...yesterday I worked until 10 a.m., then took the rest of the day off. I went for a skin check up at the dermatologist (where they biopsied 2 moles), and then went to see a movie! You all know how I have complained about my work load this year, so taking a day was pure bliss.

I saw Love Happens, with Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart and it was good. Not your typical happy-go-lucky love story. It had depth and dealt with the issue of loss of a loved one. I couldn't help but notice that Jennifer stayed entirely clothed from head to toe for the entire movie! I wonder if it the age of the actors...no, that's not it, because Sandra Bullock stripped down for all to see in her last movie The Proposal. I will say that it was refreshing to not have any bedroom scenes and to see more of the development of the relationship.

I did notice that the beginning of the movie was all about Aaron Eckhart and took FOREVER to get Jennifer Aniston on the screen. It made me think of writing romance and how you are supposed to get the hero and heroine together sometime during the first chapter. I did not do that in my ms. Well, I did at the very last paragraph, but you don't really know it is the hero. (you just know the heroine is getting saved from the hands of ruffians...while she is passing out) You meet the hero in the second chapter. I thought it worked, but maybe I need to rethink that.

Whew, I am rambling today, so let me ask a question for you writers out there. Do your hero and heroine enter during the first chapter? Do you think it is really necessary?


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