Sunday, January 30, 2005

Two entries are milling about my head at the moment, fighting the urge to go back to sleep. If it weren't for the fact that A) I am not at home right now, B) this is the marathon day of chuch (yahoo!) visit with family, and then come back to try and figure out what's throwing the spanner in the works of the registration process for our chapter's upcoming class, I would. I'm pooped.

Went music shopping yesterday morning, and though I didn't come home with it, Tim McGraw's song, "How Bad Do You Want It?" keeps running through my brain. How bad do I want this romance publication thing? Bad. Reeeeeeeeeal bad. Eat it sleep it dream it breathe it bad. Market research and career planning as well as writing, and so far, it's putting me in the right frame of mind. Definitely have to go back and get the album. Also read more.

Spent last evening playing the Sims2, getting the Pleasant twins into adulthood from teen stage and back in love with their boyfriends who grew up before they did. Angela and Dustin are now engaged, and Lilith and Dirk will be by tonight. See? I can't even get away from the romance thing in computer games. It's in my blood.

Oh, and:

You are smart and sexy!

Which Ultimate Beautiful Woman are You?
brought to you by quizilla

The librarian part is accurate, but how did hell get in there? I don't think hell has books. It's hell. Wouldn't that...oh, never mind. Great hair, though.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

At this point, all I want to do is go home, eat something and play The Sims2. I've got Nina Caliente and Darren Dreamer in love, engaged, and as of last night got most of the stuff for a poolside wedding set up (okay, in clear view of Darren's first wife's tombstone, but I'm not moving the pool.)

The computer I work on hates me again. Not only does the printer require me to shut it off and then back on, and *then* print an individual page before repeating the cycle, but there's a glitch in the reaaaaaaaaally fabulous online class our chapter is hosting this month, and only one person has been able to register. With deadline coming in a matter of days. ::weeps softly::

Went to nag group last night (though it meant I missed the Sayid episode *again* on Lost, but my friend Linda did dvr American Idol) and did amaze the others with the big wad of paper I brought with me. Outlines of three (count them, 3!) novels, career planning strategy, and a new scene that was longer than the one I'd planned on. I chose to not mention the other scene for that book I'd written in addition ::cough:: and hid it under my copies. This way I'm one ahead for next week.

Laid out my career plan very matter of fact-ly, and yeah, I am doing the right thing. Which can be scary at times. Though I am getting very good at the polite smile and "thank you. I am concentrating on XYZ right now, but thank you for the ABC comment. Though there is still that part of my brain that wants to come back with "wah, isn't XYZ good enough?" When I know darned well it is.

Was going to post on an issue that's had some buzz in the blogosphere lately, but I'm tired, hungry, and have Sims to wed.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Thanks to the gorgeous storm we had this past weekend, I actually got some time off. One thing about working for myself -- my boss is a real slave driver, so when nearly two feet of the white stuff fell out of the sky, and I was stuck at home, somewhat edgy, because what am I going to dooooooooo?

My lovely husband, Rheuben, told me "watch TV, read books, and play computer games."

But...but...but...I have contest entries to judge, a book to finish, outlines to flesh out, and...well, I could read a couple of Harlequin Historicals and call it market research. Which I did. Next to husband while he snoozed until it was time to hitch the huskies to the sled, figuratively speaking. I am physically incapable of staying in bed later than my usual early rising time, so I slapped on some moisturizer, grabbed a book and dove back under the covers. Bliss.

When he left, I channel surfed and played The Sims2 for ages and ages -- finally got Darren Dreamer and Nina Caliente to crush on each other; next step love. I'll get him over Cassandra if it's the last thing I do. (She's quite happy with husband Don and their growing family.) With the exception of bathing, I did not get out of my jammies once, and it was wonderful. Bwahahahah. When can I do this again?

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Well, that's one way to get the morning off to a good start -- I checked my email, only to find a message from the wonderful Gina that my historical short story, "Frances, Queen of the Ocean," has been nominated in the Preditors and Editors poll. It really has. Right here:

If you've read the story and enjoyed it, please do consider voting. I've always had a special soft spot for this story, and am thrilled to be nominated. Before my second cup of tea, too, which is the one in which my brain arrives. Makes up for the minus five degree weather.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

One of the perks they don't tell you about when considering writing as a career, is that in addition to wearing sweats to work, you also have complete freedom to get up in the middle of work and dance around the living room like an idiot, singing along with Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" or "Tell Her About It" any time you feel like it. Which also gets the metabolisim going, so really, more places ought to try it. Did I mention I'm coocoo for Cocoa Puffs over Billy Joel's music? Genius, genius, genius.

And so that I keep this on the topic of serious writing, I did have the hero from my current WIP insist that "She's Got a Way About Her" fits his sentiments for the heroine amazingly well.

In other news, getting my stuff reading for the resumption of nag group tonight. I have a feeling their eyes may bug at the growing piles of paper I will be hauling along, but the whole idea was to keep ourselves productive, right? So I'm on the right track. We'll see what happens tonight.

American Idol last night...ah, the good, the bad, the ugly, and lovely lovely Simon.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Phew. Huge thanks to Jamie for solving my "where did Word go?" problem/panic attack. Which of course had to happen when I got the giant shot of creativity that has me churning out more proposals than a fortune-hunting polygamist. Come to think of it, maybe Word saw me coming and tried to hide. Smart program. My next goal is to get my ms productivity up to the same level as the proposal stuff. I know I can do it.

I'm much more productive in fall/winter than spring/summer, so this is only to be expected. I'm hoping to turn this surge into good habits, so it can become a regular thing.

Checked the submissions requirements for Wax Romantic, and it looks like "Tommy" and "Kicking the Habit" are out for that, since they've both been previously pubbed in small print mags that also folded shortly after buying from me. ::sniffs self:: Nope, I don't stink. Must be something in the water. Ah well, onward and upward. Someday, we Arabella Orphans will be on top of the world. I second whoever (Sylvia?) suggested there be an anothology of Arabella orphan stories. I have two to contribute. Who else?

Sunday, January 16, 2005

It's now official. Check for details. Arabella has folded.

I know author friends who, like me, are now free to pitch their stories elsewhere, and friends who are disappointed not to get their subscriptions, but subscribers will be refunded. I think we'd have preferred Arabella to be able to make it, but such is the way of the world. I wish the staff all the best, and am very proud to be affiliated with A Hint of Seduction.

Good stuff in my in-box also. Tim Harrison, my cover artist for My Outcast Heart, sent me some digital samples of his typical work these days (we'd worked together in the media fanzine circuit some years back, with good results) and I am, as before, very very sure I have the right artist for my cover. He'll be sending me some preliminary sketches soon, to look over, and I will of course be ready with my Snoopy happy dance when he does.

RIP, Arabella, but woohoo, art on the way!

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Kadaun's Lusts du Jour...

My friend, Kat's new blog. Her focus? Handsome celebrity gents, so go have a look. She does some great graphic work.

Which is wonderful medicine for some minor irritants of life, as is retail therapy. Plus she put in a plug for a romance reading/writing list we have, the Lion and Thistle.

Picked up Diana DeGarmo's CD at WalMart this morning. So far it seems a bit on the teenybopper side for me, but her "Don't Cry Out Loud" is wonderful, and "Emotional," well, with a title like that, how could I not? Besides, my Fantasia CD was lonely.

Not much planned for the day, though it is rotation day for the freebies at The Sims Resource, and I am plotting what I want to do for my Sims2 time tonigh. I make no apologies for the fact that I love when Sims2 toddlers pitch a fit in their crib.

Friday, January 14, 2005

It's raining at the moment, and I have a rain-scented candle burning, courtesy of the gift basket our landlord gave us for Christmas. The only thing I don't like about rain is that it washes the snow away, but if it's a choice between rain and sunshine, more rain, please. Hence the candle.

My brain is also melding this with some extremely fond memories of dear family friends on Long Island, since I had a peek at Bertrice Small's website yesterday, with pictures of a LI romance writers' gathering. Let me tell you, when you step off the New London ferry on the LI side, it's pure paradise. Go. Trust me. Just go. Haven't been there in years, but the pictures whisked me right back.

Which also plays into the fact that, this week, I've been plotting two (count them, two!) more books in what I might be calling my Bedford series, to follow My Outcast Heart. Hadn't planned it, but they fit in so perfectly that I can't not go down this road. One of my things this year (I'm saying 'things' instead of 'resolutions') is to finally get all the outlines I've been carrying in my head for literally years (double digit years, in some cases) into actual paper or electronic form so I can see what's what and slip into ye olde carreere planne.

Got my Golden Heart judging stuff in yesterday, so I know what I'm doing with spare time (hah!) Rheuben was home to recieve it, and told me he didn't know what it was, but whatever it was, it sure was heavy. Heh. I think I'll wait a day or so before waving the Let Your Imagination Take Flight conference brochure at him.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Vicki is joining RWA. Whee! I feel like a proud mama. Vicki and I chat about writing most weekdays (when we're not chatting about the Sims) critting and enocouraging and such. This fits in with what seems to be a really good writing week, at least this later part.

Yesterday, I was a writing machine. Career planning. Outlining. Note transcription, and the rescue of a scene I thought I was going to have to dump. Instead, I moved it to a different place, changed the focus, and it looks like it's going to stay. Another proud moment. Then I have a bunch of dialog-only pages between my hero and heroine that need to get some description along with them, and pieced together into an actual scene.

I've found lately that if I approach writing a novel like I would putting on a play, things seem to go easier. The dialog-only pages are like a table read. Get everyone around a table with the script, and read through it aloud. Doesn't have to have inflection, and the actors cast may not have worked together before, but we're not going for a production at the moment; just getting things out there. No pressure.

There's blocking; where are these people physically when they are saying these words. (Sometimes when I'm stuck I will draw a diagram of the physical location, marking who is where, and can/can't hear/see/smell what others in that locale are doing.) Costume -- what are they wearing, and how will it affect their movements or perceptions? Set design and props -- what things are there that they will use, sit on, climb over, etc?

I've noticed when I do the dialog-only stuff, after a while, I will start inserting stage directions and other notes. That's a sign that I'm ready to move into the next layer.

Of course it also doesn't hurt that I deny myself any form of the Sims (1 OR 2) until I've done my work for the day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Those who have actually seen me will be convulsing with laughter and courting bladder failure when they learn that I can tell one of my next addictive songs; "Baby Mama" by Fantasia Barrino. First off, the obvious stuff: great beat, sung by Fantasia, and it’s a song sung by someone who can relate to the lyrics. Love this song, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to one day hear it as a Lifetime movie theme song. Hey, do they need a scriptwriter?

Though as husband and I agreed last night, we are extremely married and over thirty. Our entertainment last night consisted of discussing our jobs (him chef, me writer,) the fact that it’s never a good thing for the cable guy to have to call for backup, and if said cable guy utters the phrase "I can’t figure out why this isn’t working," it doesn’t inspire confidence. Also, if the cat busts out of the bedroom twice while the cable guy is there, give up all pretenses and carry her around the apartment for two hours like a baby. It’s the only way to peace.

After discussion of that, we segued into husband’s new toys; two computer games. Husband is computer game addict, and I think it’s adorable. Amazing graphics on some mafia game; he warned me I would hate this game, but if the intro were a movie, I’d watch it. It has a Sorvino in it – this thing has real actors, very neat. Other computer game truly shows our age. Atari. Yep, Atari. I made husband open Pong, and I was instantly whisked back to the Shoenfeltzer twins’ basement, where I met the very first Atari I had ever seen. He was enthralled with Missle Command. I made him witness both a death and a birth in The Sims2 (same family, too, the Goths. RIP Mortimer, welcome baby Valentina.)

Which leads to the opener of this entry. If he got a toy, then I get a toy, and since it’s well known that the next puter game I want is the Sims2 University expansion, he played shamelessly on my American Idol addiction. (American Idol, Survivor and Lost are the never-miss, even if the TV is on fire shows in our family) Dear sweet man got me Fantasia’s Free Yourself CD, and I am bathing in the bliss. This woman has the talent, the range, the presence. Can I be the her of romance novels, even though I am caucasian, thirtycoughcoughmumble, married, not a mama (wait, does being a cat mama count?) nor ever having met Simon Cowell in person? Though he can join my crit group if he wants. I’m sure I could use it.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Had the perfect snow day yesterday. The kind that usually only come when a person is under the age of eleven, and is still pyjama-clad with the clock radio on, announcing the name of the person's school. Let me explain.

Yesterday was slated for our RWA chapter's monthly meeting, and of course I was looking forward to that, but all that gorgeous white stuff had been dumped on us during the night (yes, I am a snow bunny from waaaay back; don't do sports, but love love love snow) and continued to fall, along with icy stuff that turned all the trees, and unfortunately, the streets, to shining crystal. Wasn't quite sure what to do with the time, when a knock on the door alerted me to my friend, Jamie, who was going to be my ride to the cancelled meeting. She hadn't recieved the cancellation message, so she was there, I was there, my (nonwriting) friend Linda was there, so we put on the kettle, sat on Linda's living room floor and yapped until someone suggested going out to lunch.

We skidded out to Linda's car, and ended up at the restaurant where my husband cooks. We didn't announce ourselves, but either he spotted us or someone alerted him we were there, because he came by our table. We chatted for a few seconds, he kissed me and headed back to the kitchen. The waitress came up, looked at me, and smiled, asking, "Rheuben's wife?"

I was feeling puckish enough -- the sort of bravado only Diet Coke and two girlfriends can bring on-- to look around with a pannicked expression and ask , "What, is she here?" Which made us crack up even more. It's probably a good thing Jamie had to head home, or we would have had dessert, and who knows what that would have brought on.

Jamie and I did actually get a smidgen of chapter business taken care of by checking webpage stuff on my computer, so we should probably report that.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I like the pink. Bright, optimistic, eye catching, and identifiably feminine. Hey, all good things to look for in romance writing.

Got a good start on a new scene yesterday; though I'm all for separations that further the plot, and I'll have one of those later on, my hero and heroine crackle together. I'd forgotten how much I like the contrast between the two of them, and what a special "whole" they make.

Read a chapter in Bertrice Small's The Kadin this morning. This book was my first ever historical romance, and what set me on this road. Love the descriptions of what the Ottoman Empire looked like from the viewpoint of a young Scottish girl determined to make the best of her situation.

I know once I get over this middle "hump" I'll be in high gear once more. I love beginnings and endings; it's that middle stuff that gets me muddled. I know what happens; it's all clear in my head. It's only when I try to get it into some readable form that it deserts me.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Happy 2005. Wow. New calendars, so it must be. For those who follow this sort of thing (nosy!) I have the Get Fuzzy daily planner and the Worst Case Scenario day by day calendar. Because really, you never know. Hmm, wonder if they would be interested in a "Writing Romance" version of WCS. Either way, if I ever need to know how to get off a runaway camel, I'm ready.

For my wall calendar, at the moment it's the free one that came with my Romance Writers' Report magazine from RWA. Great quotes on writing romance, but I'm still looking for some scenic UK calendars. Any good recommends? I do still have my two Elaine Duillo calendars from way back when; alas, there won't be any more, but I can always scan the ones I have and slap them over the stock photography.

But new year brings new goals. Besides "activate cell phone" and "play Sims2" -- I saw the Phantom of the Opera movie on Friday and got a giant shot of "yeah, this is the sort of book I want to be writing." So do so. I've been an outlining fool during the holiday season, since actual writing time has been near nil. I'm starting blank books for the ideas cluttering my head, so when I have time to give them the attention they deserve, all the information will be in one place, with the proper collage elements tucked inside the cover (I find collaging helps the stories gel.)

Plus focussing on what makes a romance romantic. Which is a very good excuse to go see Phantom again.