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?


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