Monday, December 29, 2008

This week is my favorite week out of the entire year; those seven days tucked snugly between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Past, present and future seem all a bit closer together than usual, and time in general seems to move a little slower. Christmas treats like candy canes and egg nog flavored anything also have the added indulgence of being termed leftovers, though they are considered still current in our family as we extend Christmas as much as we can to the full twelve days. (Starting, not ending, on the 25th.)

We had a quiet, peaceful family Christmas this year, sticking close to home, keeping the traditional Christmas dinner at a local Chinese restaurant (nothing to do with any movies – this came about when one family member forgot to get groceries on Christmas eve many years ago, and we did a frantic flip through the phone book to find a restaurant open on Christmas Day.) My real life romantic hero earned major points by presenting me with a digital camera, and though I swore up and down I would only make a mini Christmas album this year, I’m getting a full sized one together because of the vast array of Chirstmassy stuff that seems to find me. There’s a time when even the most organized of us has to throw her hands in the air and go with the flow.

Which is a useful thing in writing romance. I am a plotter. I am a big plotter. I have been asked to teach a class on my extremely detailed outlines and am in the process of planning such. I have been drafted as keeper of the family calendar, and the hubster and I are relying on planning and organization to get us through the final stages of clearing out my dad’s house so we can get that on the market. Phew. I get misty eyed in the planner section of department stores and my ears perk at the mention of Franklin Covey. I love lists, planners, organizers, color codes, tabs, files, etc and 2009 is the year we end clutter in our family. (pause to climb off color coded soapbox)

Even so, I’m intuitive. I’m known to go through entire half drafts (abovementioned extremely detailed outline) with a hero named Hero and likely secondary characters named That Guy, Tall Chick and Upstairs Maid because they haven’t told me their names yet. They might even live in that place called Way Off Over There, because…again, none of those people who live in my head have told me where they are. This does not dissuade me. The combination of planning and intuition may seem odd at first, but for me, it’s natural and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This week also transitions into the new year, and resolutions, new starts, and my vow to scream and kick wastebaskets (as Diana Gabaldon puts it) to keep my writing time sacred. For today, though, there’s a Psych marathon on TV and I need to change my toenail polish.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The well-connected reader

It's happened again. After reading parts of two Christmas anthologies, having to skip at least one story in each because I have not read the author's previous tales of the Fanfavorite Family, the League of Hottie Heroes, or Studmuffin Siblinghood and know that I would feel lost as a babe in the woods, I turn to a new release by a favorite of my own. What do we find here? After a great opening, getting invested in hero and heroine, and all comfy in the setting and premise, heeeeeeeeeeeeey, those names mentioned in passing look familiar. Uh huh. Thought so. The heroine's brother and sisterinlaw are the deliriously happy Mr and Mrs Previousbook. Put bookmark in place, set book aside, throw small fit.

Calm self with knowledge that previous book is indeed in my possession, then throw second fit because A) it is at home, B) I am not, and C) there is a looming snowstorm that may trap me away from previous book. Ask self why self did not finish reading previous book because one clearly remembers doing happy dance in Barnes and Noble when seeing a whole dump of that title. Remember that previous book did not make it into the hospital bag on one of many ER trips and lots of things got lost in the shuffle during those summer months. Grouse. Kick wastebasket. Peer out window. Snow yet? Not yet. Make mental note to check the area around where hospital bags were assembled.

Look at large selection of books where I currently am and try to reason with self that self wants to read all these too.

Self sticks out tongue and retorts that self wanted to read the book self brought.

Cannot argue with self. Look for other, nonrelated books by author of book and previous book. Yes! Yes! Do happy dance over finding other book by same author that has no sequel, prequel, spinoff or tie-in. Stop in middance. Will this confuse self when self gets home and dives on previous book like book-starved hyena self is? Self does not know. Self reads back cover blurb. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes -- young lovers separated and reunited. Self settles in for good read.

Ooh! Author's note. Self loves author's notes. Self reads author's note. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaitaminit. "Secondary Character, whom readers met in This Book and This Other Book." Self sighs, pencils a tiny "3" in the corner of the cover page and makes mental note to dig out This Book and This Other Book, because self knows self has them around here somewhere. Self can hear author now -- yes, self knows that Secondary Character is a secondary character and will provide a supporting role...but s/he knew those other people, and there's going to be something mentioned, somehow, somewhere, not neccessarily spoilerish, but possibly. Self has learned these things the hard way. ::coughcoughCatherineCoulterSongseriescoughcough::

Self pops honey-lemon cough drop and ponders the situation whilst shutting down for the day, as self is heading for home due to oncoming snowstorm. Self now knows exactly what self is going to read when self gets there.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

I'm calling it printercide.

There I was, attempting to print out a particularly nifty Borders coupon, and boom, printer leaps right off the printer cart and onto the carpet. Still attempting to print, mind you, even as it lay there upside down with its back cover off. I take this as a sign that it's time to install the new printer.

Which will afford me the added benefit of either procrastinating fixing yesterday's scene (which turned out to be a trip to nowhere, even after whacking my head against a brick wall all day) or time to think it through while disconnecting and reconnecting and figuring out what the thingamabob is and where it goes. Ah, the glamorous writing life.

In the end, though, I will have a brand new, straight out of the box printer, which is also a scanner. This will also save me from begging my technologically minded friends for advice in what might be making every single thing I scan on this machine have a bright yellow overlay. Which is also a good thing.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

In one and a half hours, I will be sitting across a table from my critique group, and they will ask me if I blogged. I do not want to tell them "no," because these are smart, loving women who can seriously hurt me if I fall short (but I love you gals, really I do) and they know blogging is good for me, so here I am. Plus I get a chance to use one of my icons if I do.

Real life still pit bull, me still pork chop a good deal of the time, but through it all, life does go on. Christmas preparations are full steam ahead here, as we do a lot of homemade gifts (hey, when you have artists and knitters in the family this is a very good thing) and the wheels of probatey things move slowly, but they do move. In short, life goes on, and so does blogging. I'm a talker by nature (gee, what a surprise) so it's not normal to be quiet, even in cyberspace.

Writing goes well; I'm looking (finally!) at the second half of the second draft of Endless Summer, and I'm excited to get Angus and Summer into their HEA at very long last. There should soon be more content from me at Purplepens, with an article and reviews in the work. Including some rather optimistic pontificating about the state of the historical romance in the near future (and not just mine, but I do have a new e-book coming out in March, so that fits, too.)

In short, there is lots to say, so the fear of my critique partners is not the only reason to resume this blog. A valid one, but not the only one.