Oct 7, 2013

The Yearly Spiderpocalypse - and FLIP BUGS ATTACK

So last night it got into the 40sand apparently this triggered the yearly SPIDERPOCALYPSE… wherein all the spiders that live in the country came inside because it’s gonna be winter soon, right?

And I am loathe to say that I could live with this – I mean, I do expect the yearly Spiderpocalypse, it is YEARLY after all – but last night I had something else. After being asleep for 3 hours, those flip/click beetles came inside too, and decided that my bed was the BEST PLACE EVER…

If you are unfamiliar with this particular critter, they don't bite or sting, they just crawl and click in woog-inducing fashion. See this video for an explanation if you want to be thrilled about beetles.

I woke up at 1am with two of them on my neck<--(I'd make this part flashing in red if I could). One of which I had trapped between my shoulder and my neck and he was flipping his fool head off trying to get free. And I don’t care if I’m a country girl, I don’t like bugs. And having them on me when I’m sleeping? Freaks. My. $#%*. OUT!

I woke up squealing and grabbing/flinging the bugs across the room. After I calmed down enough that my heartbeat didn’t sound like a techno drum track, I got up, went potty, SAW A SPIDER AND KILLED IT WITH A BROOM RAWR, came back, shook out my blankets and roughed up my bed to make sure there were no bugs there. Climbed in and settled down, feeling all Xena Warrior Princess(or pretending I did because dude, I hate bugs). Got the light off.

And felt something crawling on my arm.

Grabbed flashlight, shined on arm, ANOTHER BALLSY FLIP BUG… who got flicked across my apparently buggybuggy bedroom.

I’m about as harebrained as they come today. There was no sleeping after the flip bugs mounted their midnight assault. I was Totally Awake for hours. Now? Now I'm sleepy ... stoopid bugs.

Sep 25, 2013

Chicken Little and the Big Scary

Baby-author share time again.

I have a love for SmartBitches that is rather like the love an old school doofy-assed TSTL heroine has for her brutal-and-sometimes-rapetastic hero.

I love SB.

I'm also terrified of SB.

I bring this up because with my upcoming debut release, I've been dipping a toe into the review-pool. I have been working with Lisa at Tasty Book Tours, and she's awesome and I'm very grateful for her assistance(took the nerve out of asking for reviewers!). But outside that, there are a few review sites I've been reading for years that I'd love to submit to--IN THEORY. Ones where I load up the submissions page, become terrified, and close it. CataRomance and SmartBitches to name a couple...

The last really can send me into a full-blown, neurotic-bunny flip-out. Panic? Yes. Irrational paranoia? You mean... like where I become convinced that the longer I stare at the submission-focused page, the more likely it is that some brilliant SB-aligned hacker has activated my laptop's webcam and... can see me staring at it with deer/headlights eyes, sheet-wrinkles on my cheek, and staggeringly awful bed head? Yeah, I pretty much do that too. I don't know why I'm always tempted to consider it right after waking up. Maybe I have dreams where I'm totally brave, and then the computer reminds me that insanity is not quite the same thing as bravery... and I quickly close the danged tab.

So far, my review-getting experience has been very positive, but all review-soliciting comes with the inevitability of unhappy words being written about poor MountainMan. It's a given, someone will hate the book. Actually, they'll probably hate the heroine--she's kind of a handful at times. Someone(possibly many someones) will hate the book. Period. End of story.

I know this. I have accepted this. I feel I'm more or less prepared for the eventuality. I have an emergency-bad-review-boogie-bag, complete with dark chocolate, deluxe mixed nuts, and tissues to vanquish looming sniffle-snot-bubbles. But for some reason, there are review blogs I just can't bring myself to submit to yet for no real reason other than I'm totally a chicken. SmartBitches is right at the top. No idea what to do about that. I'm hoping that will eventually work itself out of my system.

Until then let me say: Bock-bock. Bock.

Sep 17, 2013

New Harlequin Contract!

Offered three book contract today(Medical Romance line), the fools! MUAHAHAHA...ha..ha.ha *maniacal laughter until hoarseness sets in*

The first book of those three will be my ridiculously working-titled: Circus Medicus. I thought about calling it Three Ring Love Affair, but that sounded distinctly ménage... and maybe a little kinky for category romance :)  I'm currently in the part of the writing process that I hate: the first three chapters. So slow. SOOO SLOW. Can't wait until I get to the middle, when it's all I can do to keep up with the mayhem and don't have to work at throwing out plot threads while keeping the reader interested.

Luckily, Author Amendments for book2--Uncovering Her Secrets--also came today! Just in time. I needed a break from the current WIP. So I've just finished printing them and have my highlighters and many-colored ink pens for making any corrections needed.

And I like to put in pictures, but since the only interesting pictures I've had lately have been frog-related: I re-share one and add a second one of the tiny frog who has been hunting in my kitchen window. See the hair on his bum? That's because he tried to get away from me by jumping onto the cat's bed... and it stuck to him since his skin has the general consistency of a Wacky Wall Walker.

That spec is not frog poo... just FYI
He looks so smart! I <3 this picture.



Sep 16, 2013

SYTYCW and Me (Really Long Post)







I was going to hold off writing about SYTYCW until a little later, when the contest was in full-swing, but I discovered tonight that my last year's SYTYCW entry is actually available for download on Harlequin.com! That's exciting for me. I don't actually know how long it's been there, I have been obsessively checking the print store, figuring that having the print books in stock would be the delay in actually having the book up for purchase, but not so! (Print is still not available, alas.)

So to mark the occasion, I thought I'd do a little recap of the journey to publication.

The first time I decided I wanted to write a book was in 2005... or maybe 2006. I don't have much of a grasp of time. I sat down and pounded out a truly horrendous manuscript in about two weeks. I was very proud of myself until I read it and then I promptly stuffed it into a drawer and it has never seen the light of day. (And never will.)

Fast-forward: In 2010, inspired by the success of friends, I decided that publication was actually something that could happen to regular people, and gave it another shot. I should probably pause here and say that although I had not been writing books/stories during that time, I had been writing every day since about 1998 for fun. I am a former MUSHer, which is online, text-based roleplay(or in everyday vernacular: Interactive Storytelling). My voice was well established by this point, but my storytelling skills needed work.

My first submission in 2010 resulted in a full manuscript request(and voice probably got that). The book had not been written(which had been okay'd by the editor prior to submission--back when neither of us knew how long it would take me to write the full), and I didn't get a version I was anywhere comfortable sending in until almost a year later. When I sent it in, the editor who'd requested it had retired, and I have no idea where it went. I checked up at six months, and then again at nine, Still Under Consideration was the response. In the meanwhile, I had gotten more comfortable with How To Build a Novel, so I entered another Fast-Track and got a Form-Rejection on it, entered a pitch(with the book that is actually now on sale--MountainMan!) and didn't get selected to pitch, had entered New Voices and SYTYCW for two years running and got nowhere, and then I got a big Fat-Form R on the full manuscript requested in 2010(which turned out later to have been an error), a few other Big Fails that left my confidence very shaky.

Added to this, I am a quirky writer--my voice tends toward irreverence and I like off-the-wall scenarios. I was not at all certain I could write category. As a matter of fact, by summer 2012, I was pretty-darned certain I couldn't. I'd decided to stop submitting to Harlequin for the time-being--focus on epublishers, learn more, and maybe try it again later when I was no longer convinced my Level of Suck didn't need to be measured on the Fujita scale.

Then I found out the 2010 full manuscript Form-R was an error. Got revision notes on it. My confidence was still in tatters, but I had one thing going for me and I was just going to focus on that one thing, the 2010 story. By the time SYTYCW2012 rolled around, I had decided not to enter it. Until about the day or two before, when my CP's(Michelle Smart and Aimée Duffy) talked me into entering. I had no story written, and the only fully formed story I had in mind that had never been submitted to Harlequin was MountainMan. So with a first chapter I'd written in the Spring in hand, I uploaded it to the site and dove in to write the rest of the book. I reached The End at like... 4am the day they were going to post the Top 28(semi-finalists), just in case. But again, I was not in the semi-finalists. Unlike the other contests, I didn't expect or even really let myself hope I'd be there. I was just using the contest deadlines to give myself hard-fast dates to get a book done by. And I'd done it. So yay me! I revised a the first half, then stuck it away and went back to revising the other book.

Friday -- Nov 9, the day after my birthday, I got an email from Suzanne Clarke, Medical Editor, asking to see the full manuscript. I emailed back saying I only had the first half revised, and could I wait to send it in when I got the second half revised. She emailed back asking for whatever I had polished.

Monday -- Nov 12, Sent in first half.

Monday -- Nov 19, Got revision notes on first half (Which were rather epic if enthusiastic)

Tuesday -- Nov 20, emailed back to thank her and set a Dec 7 deadline for the revised full

Thursday -- Nov 22 -- THANKSGIVING!

Friday -- Nov 23 -- Suzy emailed to ask for first three revised chapters earlier, if possible. I naturally, agreed and set another close date to send them by.

Wednesday -- Nov 28 -- Sent revised chapters 1-3

Thursday -- Nov 29 -- Sent the revised chapters 1-3 again because after sending on Wednesday, I had been filled with irrational word-hate and felt like it was a big ole mess of stupid. And that feeling disappeared after I chopped a paragraph that served no purpose beyond making me laugh. Whew. (Also, probably the first sign for editor that I'm a bit of a neurotic mess).

Thursday -- Dec 6 -- One day before deadline(Yay). I sent in the revised full. 

Tuesday -- Dec 18 -- Received another round of revision notes. Again, fairly epic in scope.

Christmas and New Years derailed progress for rest of December.

Revisions are hard!
Monday -- Jan 7 -- Contacted Suzanne to propose Jan 18 deadline for revisions, and she said sure!

Thursday -- Jan 24 -- Actual date I managed to send in revisions. They were hard, man.

Then I spent time with the Crickets of Scary Silence.

Wednesday -- Feb 20 -- Email asking if she could call in the afternoon. I said sure, but then promptly missed the call. Emailed, rescheduled for next day. I THOUGHT I knew why, and when I told my CP's about the email, they were sure of the reason -- but I was still pretty sure that it could just be that I'd totally crapped up the revisions and she had to talk to me on the phone to make me understand where I went wrong :)

Thursday -- Feb 21 -- Germs conspired to keep her out of office, rescheduled for Friday.

Friday -- Feb 22 -- THE CALL

And now, the Frootz of All That Labor:
  • Harlequin Ebookstore (Print not available until October)
  • Mills & Boon -- Where it is also available in print
  • It's up on Amazon's and elsewhere, but I think it does not actually become available anywhere other than Harlequin sites until October.

Sep 7, 2013

Upcoming Blog Tour for Craving

Tour Schedule also here, but text list below! 
 
 Sept 30th- Busy Mom's Book Reviews- Guest post/Review
Oct 1st- Deal Sharing Aunt- Interview
Oct 2nd- Rose & Beps Blog- Guest Post
Oct 3rd- Save Your Money For Books- Review
Oct 4th- Romance Bookworm- Guest Post
(none on weekend)
Oct 7th- Blue Eyed Book Reviews- Review
Oct 8th-Queen of All She Reads- Guest Post/Review
Oct 9th- Melinda Dozier- Interview
Oct 10th- Guardian's Hangout- Guest Post
 
(Stop 2) Harlequin Junkie- Guest Post
 Oct 11th- Faerie Tale Books- Review/Promo

Will have a Rafflecopter set up for the tatted jewelry prize pack(with gift card and copy of Craving included!), as well as several copies of the book along the way.

Sep 2, 2013

Aug 30, 2013

My Book! In the flesh!(or the paper...)

I got a package in the mail from the UK...

It's my book! All 3 paper versions of it, so I'm sharing. I'm also running around in circles hooting like a maniac, but no one gets to see a picture of THAT.




 The poor DHL man inhaled a gnat when he was trying to tell me to sign for it. But that's a small price to pay! :D (Poor DHL Man...)



Aug 29, 2013

Maggie the Emo Basset-Beagle

I have doggie drama. This shouldn't surprise me, Maggie's always been so emo I feel I should tart her up in a black corset and blood-red lipstick. But this drama is dinner-specific and I've never had a dog that didn't want to eat before.

Because she loves the laser pointer so much, for a while when she refused to eat, I could lead her to her dish with the red dot... and turn it off when it got into a deep nook, and she'd eat her food to try and find out where the dot was hiding. Now she refuses to eat at all unless someone shines the dot on her food. Even if she's hungry.

It's like those army dudes who have to hike behind enemy lines to find secret military thingies and shine a laser on them so the bombers can find them. In order to make Maggie eat, someone must paint the target! And even then it only works a little bit now. Sometimes she goes over to the food, licks where the dot is, finds she does not have the dot in her mouth as she wants, and refuses to eat anything else.

She'll eat people food, which we don't want to give her because... doggie food is better for her!

She loves pretzels.

She can eat her weight in banana chips...

And when she's outside, if there is cat poo anywhere in the vicinity, she tries to eat that!

She eats dirt. She eats sticks. She gets sick... which exacerbates the no-dog-food-eating situation. A dog can't live on pretzels, no matter how adorable it is to watch her eat them(she holds them daintily between her paws and bites off the loopy bit, then turns the pretzel and bites off the second loopy bit...), but when she refuses to eat anything for a day(no matter how many different foods we tempt her with), someone is gonna give in and share their dinner.

If anyone knows a way to trick a finicky dog into eating actual doggie food, please share!

Aug 26, 2013

More Fun With Tatting!

Hadn't done a choker in a while. When I'm working through story problems, I like to do stuff with my hands. Thus! New tatting... And I know, two posts in one day, the world may stop turning any second!

Still playing with the bead design, but quite like the little loop of beads in the center of each motif...

Lizbeth thread, size 20, Victorian Rose(I think?)

Tropes Tropes an Awesome Post

Not mine, but considering how frequently I talk romance and tropes, I couldn't resist sharing.

http://jamigold.com/2013/08/story-tropes-should-we-avoid-them/

Aug 23, 2013

Next Project and Internal Conflict Epiphany

Photo Credit: Cindy Shultz
Book2 is all done, aside from Author Amendments when they get here, I'm considering Uncovering Her Secrets on the shelf. I have a new project, and I'm so excited I'm kind of annoying myself!

That happens, I get new story glee at the beginning when I'm still plotting and itching to write. But I really REALLY have it now because I got the green light to dive into a story I wasn't at all sure would fly! I'll give you a hint: IT'S A CIRCUS. Oh wait, that wasn't a hint. BUT IT'S STILL A CIRCUS. A Circus Medical Romance *beams*. Circus Medicus is what I'm calling it, because I know that it will get a new title anyway.

So I'm in full-on Excitement Supernova! That glorious place at the beginning where I'm certain I'm a GENIUS, everyone will love my kooky story, and I should have it finished by Tuesday because it's going to be so easy to write. Excitement Supernova, Delusional Supernova... whatever! Call it what you like, I'm going to try and stuff some in a Tupperware and stick it in the freezer to whip out when things get hard again.

Supernovae aside, I decided to post this morning because last night I had an epiphany. Or maybe I finally just understood something my last editor was actually doing with questions she'd ask in revisions--those questions that made me dig deeper into the internal conflict.

Internal conflict is basically a coping mechanism, a belief a character has designed to protect them from X happening. X happened in the past, or something like X happened in the past, and the internal conflict is protection from X repeating.
 
Example: Patty was left at the altar. That jerkfaced-MIA-bridegroom broke her heart and now she's afraid of serious relationships--they all lead to marriage and you just can’t ever count on someone to be there blahblahblah.

Seems kind of shallow, right? People do get left at the altar without developing a complex. Children survive one parent walking out on them, and become completely stable adults without daddy issues. 

So here is my epiphany: One incident in an otherwise normal existence doesn’t make someone develop really strong coping/protecting mechanisms. 

Not unless it’s a horrible incident, like a plane crash making someone never want to fly again. Or a woman deciding to never have more children because her last baby spontaneous combusted during a diaper change… Big Horrible Incidents aside, one Average-Baggage incident does not believable, sustainable Internal Conflict make.  

But if that one incident confirms a belief suggested by an earlier incident? What if Patty has always had self-esteem issues, never could believe that her fiancée wanted to marry her, and THEN was left at the altar? Yeah, I can see that confirming what she already felt: that she wasn’t good enough to be loved by the kind of man she wanted, or something along those lines. Make her set her sights low, make her date the wrong kind of man.

Every craft book I’ve read about developing conflict always demanded I ask Why… but I guess up until now, when in the initial writing stages(first draft) I’ve never asked the one final Why that makes the difference. The Why that gets me to that deepest level(until revisions… when my editor asked me why…)

So, this is what I going to do from now on: When I get to this Incident that gave my character a complex(if it’s not horrible like BabySpontaneousCombustion)I'm going to ask this:

Why did this incident affect him/her enough to make him to live a guarded life?  What earlier belief did this incident confirm?

Until now, I think my initial Internal Conflict Incident has not been the root. It’s been the base of the tree, but there was always something in the roots that I didn’t pick up on until someone MADE ME think about it.

Anyway, that's my epiphany for the day. I'm sure it's not an epiphany to everyone, but if it is, feel free to steal my Why!

(And I'm still excited about the story after typing this long post. Circus Medicus YAY!)

Aug 16, 2013

A Writer's Most Important Trait

I know I haven't been doing this very long, at least not with official author credentials, but I have a couple bits of advice to share, so I'm gonna share them!

You can find a million blogs/websites online that tell you how to be a good writer, and I'm sure they all have nuggets of juicy and valuable wisdom. Some folks will rightly claim that having a great imagination is what you need to be a good writer. I don't disagree. Creativity will take you far. Others may say that you just need determination and to practice your craft, and eventually you'll get there. I slightly disagree with that, but on the whole, I think it's great advice.

But the thing is, if you want to write romance where emotion is king, the most important trait you can have is Empathy. If you can't really put yourself into someone else's shoes(which does take imagination, sometimes a lot of it!), then you can't be a selling romance writer. Not until you learn how. And really, all good fiction is character driven, so I believe this applies across the genre divides, but unequivocallyin romance.

I think the empathy level of romance writers is higher than average and that's why the romance writing community is so supportive, but there have been some instances(in the past couple months mostly) that have made me want to shake a baby author and say... Imagine it was you before you ________.

This even goes past writing and into the professional persona you have to craft. Everyone wants to work with folks who are easy to work with. Authors want to work with editors who are easy to work with. Editors want to work with authors who are easy to work with. Dairy cows want to work with farmers who have soft hands... and therefore are easy to work with!

Scared bunny
I say this with all love: Most writers(me included) at heart are a bunch of neurotic, paranoid, baby rabbits with a crack addiction. Great imaginations mean we're Great Worriers. There may be no snarling beagle cornering us, staring us down with those pointy teeth and floppy ears of DOOM... but we can picture it! So the fear is very real. The fear of submitting. The fear that our submission has been lost/ignored/destroyed-by-internet-gremlins... The fear that the editor hates our story(AND US!) and just can't find a nice way to tell us to stop with all the submitting already! The fear that our new editor is lamenting being saddled with us and our questionable writing skills...(Did you see my windmill arm flailing a couple weeks ago?)

Stop. Put that bunny back in his hutch and take away his lunch money.

Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy. Empathy.

That is all :)

Aug 14, 2013

No.Am. Cover for 2012's SYTYCW Entry!

Love how the white sheets blend into the white format of the North American medical covers. The smokin' hot couple looks even better in big format than I had hoped!

Tickled pink!

Compare to UK Cover here

Aug 10, 2013

Upcoming Tour Giveaway Jewelry

Not much to say here, got some final book2 tweaky revisions to make, but wanted to toss this picture up since I promised! This set will be part of the virtual book tour in October -- details soon coming.

The photo is misleading due to the display being black too. I need to put the pieces on something colored so the details can be seen without the flash that washes out the color(the thread is shinier than the velvet...).

(Only part of prize giftbasket)

Aug 5, 2013

Tatting and Tasty Blog Tours

So, with the upcoming release of my debut (yay!), I am spending this week tatting up something glorious(at least in my mind) to give away on the blog tour. It's also a good way to let my mind wander into new-story land and come up with the next ideas.

Right now, here are the necklace ideas I'm kicking around. Note, these are prototypes, so they are not flawless. Also, they're made with my first attempts at dying my own thread :) I've gotten better!



And now for the other newsy stuff. My editor who I've been working with for both books1 and 2 at Harlequin Mills&Boon has had to change up her position, and I'm starting over with a new editor. I've heard loads of lovely things about New Editor, so I'm very hopeful. If I'm honest, I have to say I'm a little scared too. I like to use unusual settings, people, and scenarios in my stories, and I think half of editing my stories involves making me tone down the humor that wants to overpower other emotions. My first editor just got me, is it egotistical to fear the next one won't? Like I'm some special snowflake who no one can possibly understand! It's irrational, I'm sure it is. But there it is: SKEERED.

Because the next medical I want to write is set in the circus. And at a glance, that idea seems to be slathered in crazysauce, but I swear I'm not making it crazy on purpose. I really have a whole, fully formed idea! Complex characters who may be a hot mess, as I like them. And it's not just an excuse to write some steamy sex on the bouncy-bouncy net below the trapeze. I SWEAR.

But, I'm a whiner and a worrier, and I think that goes hand in hand with being a writer. We have great imaginations, so we can really picture all the way things can go badly when we toddle out on the limb. I'm sure it will be fine.

Let me try that again I'M SURE IT WILL BE FINE. If you say things louder, they become truer.

Votes on necklace to pursue for blog tour giveaway? I'm thinking the pendant, with matching earrings, and possibly a bracelet if I can come up with something. The necklace also has matching earrings, and they are actually probably better than the necklace. But, that's why there's prototypes! (Also, the set will probably be black. I was leaning toward purple--since my UK cover is all purple awesomeness, but now I'm thinking black goes with everything. Not everyone likes purple--can you believe that? Will see what my trip to the geegaw shop brings today to know for sure what thread I'm tackling. Might be shades of grey!)

Jul 30, 2013

Revisions! And an unrelated photo

I have finished revisions to book2, Uncovering Her Secrets. Correction, I have finished a round of revisions for book2. I have no idea if I'm close to the mark or not. I hope, but I do not know.

However, to celebrate, I'm going to run around in circles until I get dizzy and pass out.

Either that, or I'll just pass out. That's always fun too.
Look, a cross!

And then I have several pieces to tat for a sale...

And I have another couple stories battling in my head to escape.

But best of all... I CAN READ BOOKS AGAIN. I don't read while I'm writing or doing big story revisions. Afraid it will corrupt my brain.

Now if I could only figure out how to combine tatting, reading and sleeping at the same time, I'd be all set.

Jul 15, 2013

MOUNTAIN MAN GOTS A COVER!

UK cover for Mountain Man!
Warning: This will be a post where I run amok and make little sense, as opposed to my usual posts of stunning brilliance. . .Ahem.

MY FIRST COVER EVER.

And I love it.

It's beautiful.

Top Ten reasons I love this cover, in no particular order:
  1. It's purple! Is this important? YES. Purple is the best color ever.
  2. See those mountains? THOSE ARE THE RIGHT MOUNTAINS. They may or may not be from eastern Kentucky where the book is set, but it's definitely Allegheny territory--either the Smokies, the Appalachians, or whatever they're called in Pennsylvania that I'm too excited to research!
  3. Hot couple. Ever seen a romance where the models did nothing for you? The heroine was frumpy, the hero had a sweater vest(*Cough* SORRY, AMY). So not happening here, at least for me and I'm totally right. If anyone disagrees, I'll be in the corner plugging my ears and singing How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? at the top of my lungs.
  4. Heroine's got the right hair color. (I know it's not really that important but this little detail makes me happy!)
  5. Hero's got the right hair color. (Same reason as above, but I love the Tall, Dark and Handsome and add it to the list of YAY!)
  6. Who's the scruffy puppy! Okay, so this hottie has no beard and his hair isn't touching his collar, but he's got the sexy scruff. Who's a scruffy puppy? You are! Oh yes you are!
  7. Hello sexy! Granted, it isn't quite as smoking hot as Amy Andrew's recent medical(which, by the way, is an awesome read and the reason I don't feel bad about mentioning the sweater vest debacle). I could not ask for more. *dreamysigh*
  8. It's got my name. This is very important. Might actually be #1 on the list, but I didn't want to seem like I was all egotistical so I strategically located this bit at #8 and then made the text massive so no one misses it. Dash cunning? Or contradictorily subtle?
  9. I get to squeal and run amok two more times before October because... there will be North American and Australian covers! 
  10. Comparing to future cover-siblings. In the future, when other covers fail to make me so gleeful, I can chastise them and tell them they should try to do better like my ELDEST child(cover) did. 
Okay, I'm done running amok now. Only I can't decide whether to make the picture larger, or change my background to it, or maybe bathe it in soft light and infect my blog with some mood music. Nothing screams sexy or puts you in the mood for love more than banjo music, right?

Jul 3, 2013

It's been forever...

I know, I stink. It's been forever since I blogged. February to be precise! And after that epic awesome post, and now that I'm like... a professional writer or something, I have had a bit of blog stage fright. No real clue why. Not so much about the writing, but about the BEING PROFESSIONAL, which I suddenly assumed I needed all future blog posts to be.

Bye bye Snapshots from Ridiculousville.

Bye bye Tatting Project Photos.

Or not. There's just no way for me to do that. So, in the spirit of horrifying my inner professional perfectionist wacko, I will enlighten everyone to something they probably already know. But which was news to me.

I've been watching Dark Shadows uhh, a lot. And I realized that at the beginning, where the Moody Blues song plays and the chick is on the train and it's all... WOO LOOK, IT'S THE 70s... I loved that part. I think that song might pre-date me, but it is still awesome in a completely incomprehensible way. Even the crappy-crappy poem stuck randomly in the middle of it for no apparent reason(other than maybe they were stoned).
Knights in Black Satin?
I don't know if everyone has this problem, but songs I heard as a child and never really understood? I tend to still not understand them 30 years later.(She Bop is about WHAT?!) So, my epiphany came when I decided I needed to see the lyrics to that crazy poem and I hit Google up for it.

Almost White Satin?
I'm not sure what I thought the song was about, but in my mind, it involved KNIGHTS. And satin. So I was shocked when Google kept correcting me in that snarky blue Google way Did you mean Nights in White Satin?  

....maybe...


Knight in White Satin!
Though there are lyrics that lead me to still think it might be more suited to Knights than Nights. Never reaching the end? Of what? A quest, maybe? Well, if they wore armor instead of white satin, maybe they'd do better getting to the end.



Letters are written never meaning to send? I have no idea what this has to do with Nights in White Satin either. But I could see a Knight in White Satin having one of those. A just-in-case letter for the possibility that he'd die while flouncing about in white satin while on his impossible quest. A letter home to mom to let her know he's dead, but he looked very shiny up until the dragon killed him.

I'm still dismayed. I liked it better when it was Knights in White Satin :( And I'm fairly certain I'll never get that image out of my mind.

Feb 22, 2013

First sale!

My So You Think You Can Write submission sold to Harlequin Mills&Boon Medical Romance line this morning!

I had an uncertain inkling it was coming since Wednesday morning.

I was composing a post for the SubCare thread at the Harlequin forums--just a roll call post announcing what I had out where--and before I hit Submit on the post I got an email from the lovely Suzanne Clarke, who has been working with me through the revisions. The email said basically, I want to call you.

At that point, I had an out-of-sanity experience.

In my mind: Upon reading the email, I gracefully sail into the other room and mention in completely casual tones, "Oh, by the way, this wonderful editor wants to talk to me." La la la

What really happened: I jumped up and ran through the house, but before I got to the other room, I forgot how doors worked. So I slammed into the door a couple times before I realized that I had to, oh, I don't know... TURN THE KNOB. And then I blurted out "SHE WANTS TO TALK TO ME ON THE PHONE!" Message delivered(sort of), I barreled back to my computer like Animal from the Muppets. She who? Who needs coherent details?

Later, I missed the call. You know, like a sane person who can't figure out what phone to answer when she hears ringing. Or doesn't hear ringing, because the phone I took with me through the house(and back yard) was the wrong phone and too far from the phone base to ring.

Rescheduled call for next day, but germs conspired to thwart our plans that day. Germs are devious little monsters. I know these things. I write medical romance. (heee)

Today she called and I giggled through the whole conversation, I think. Fairly certain I sounded like an escaped mental patient. But she said wonderful things, some of which I kind of remember! After I squawked a few monosyllabic words, she told me the new title and scheduled release date.

From here on in, Mountain Man has been new-named: Craving Her Rough-Diamond Doc, and shall be born into paper and ink October 2013 :)

I have a few tweaky revisions to make yet, which I'm fixin to tackle(when my brain resumes functioning). After that, I'll be brainstorming next story so I can whip up a short outline to pitch(Did I mention: Two book contract? YAY!!).

Maggie(my dog) has no idea what's going on, but she's very excited that there's lots of giggling and happiness today. She keeps doing the Maggie-dance: this involves hopping, massive tail wagging, occasional barking for no apparent reason other than she wants to make noise too.

Feb 20, 2013

More projects

Tatting!

I'm in love with it. Have yet to set up on Etsy, but I'm thoroughly enjoying doing it. When I have more of a repertoire of designs to work with, I will go on with the store, but for now, I'm just sharing photos on account of having nothing else to say on the blog today :D



Size 10 Lizbeth black thread choker with peacock seed beads. Overall length 11.5", black ribbon will be attached to tie in the back.


Have been making oodles of these hearts(different colors + beads). Will add another photo with the beading when I get the next one done. This size 20 Lizbeth Spring Flowers thread was the final prototype as I settled on the design.

Jan 31, 2013

SYTYCW Interviews

My pal Maria Buscher decided to interview entrants into 2012's So You Think You Can Write -- Harlequin's writing competition. So if you're curious how other entrants have been getting on, stop by her blog.

My interview kicks off the series, talking about Mountain Man:MD and what I've learned from revising him(so far). But I'm sure the others will have useful advice :D

New interviews will go up on Thursdays. Stop by!

Next few interviewees:
  • Fiona Marsden (Feb 7)
  • Janie Couch (Loveylove day! Feb 14)
  • Heather Gardner (Feb 21)
  • (There will be more, just stopping the list here.)

Jan 28, 2013

Betraying Your Voice Is Bad

I also speel gud
With an eye toward revision and submission, I picked up a novella I wrote last summer. It was written about two months before I wrote my SYTYCW entry, and I didn't think that there would be much difference in the writing style.

Wrong.

I remember now that I'd read something... some piece of writing advice(like I do) and I'd decided to Improve My Writing by incorporating this advice into my style.

The result? I completely lost my voice.

I read the first couple chapters and it was like someone else wrote it.

Someone slow.

With a limited vocabulary and stunted imagination!

Maybe someone in a coma, or perhaps this is what it would be like if a zombie tried to write a novella. A novella about zombies.

Bad. So bad.

I'm sure my skill set has changed, improved since last summer. With the revision letters, I'm getting an idea of my problem areas and learning what I need to do to address. All that is good, but I've come to the conclusion that in trying so hard to WRITE RIGHT, I sabotaged myself.

Gearing up to rewrite it now, and actually excited to do so, but so dismayed at this feat of ridiculousness I perpetrated like... six months ago.

Lesson learned. If it ain't broke, stop messing with it! Work on craft, not on voice. I've got my voice, and I'm comfortable with it. I like it. Now I need to concentrate on effective storytelling.

Jan 25, 2013

Revisions and Tatting

Sent my revisions off last night. No idea if they are in the ballpark of good, but I am feeling pretty pleased with the amount of work TrackChanges has allowed me to document. I took screenshots to show how much of it got changed from first submission. You know, so far.

The scene of the crime, where the word massacre occurred
Pink Tatted Top Hat Fascinator

And since I need a couple days to decompress and make stuff with my hands, and I'm exceedingly tired of scarves.... I'm making tatted top hat fascinators. Well, I've made two so far. The first version, the pink top hat, was a gift for my niece for Christmas.


Black Top Hat (Pattern)

Then I made another, in black for her mother(my SiL), who liked the pink one so well, I thought I'd surprise her. And I wanted to see if it was as cute. Of course it is. How can a tiny top hat not be adorable. The index card in the picture is shown for scale.


Have had a request for a friend of the family, something for her teenage granddaughter. So! Will whip that up before I dive into the writing again. Burgundy with a cream band and amber glass seed beads. Maybe feathers, we'll see on that count.

Jan 9, 2013

Wheee.... Scarves & Other Nonsense

From mid-August until December 25, I made 46 scarves. *crosses eyes*

Grandma Hair: Unchanged since the 80s
I got to witness half of them finding an owner at the family Christmas party. I thought I was gonna get to see an Angry Octogenarian Christmas Throw-down over the sparkly scarves. And they weren't even that sparkly. Imagine if they had more than a single thread of shiny silvery something-or-other woven through the polyester!

I'm sure my great-aunts would've been too polite to do any hair-pulling(or too smart to do any hair-pulling--when you get your hair set in a salon once a week and coated with enough hairspray to survive a nuclear blast, if anyone messes with it they might break a calcium-deficient finger). The little mental-trip I took to picture this granny-scuffle (as I huddled in the corner while they dug through the pile) was a nightmare of shiny shoes, broken hips and Christmas sweaters.

But the scarves went over well.
Even the non-sparkly ones.
And I may never make another scarf. Ever.

Got another round of revisions for Mountain Man: MD, and praying I can follow directions. And since I should be working, I'm taking a break to post about granny-fights and wondering how come pervy people reached my blog with the keywords: kids sleeping in their underwear, and teenagers fighting.

That's it, Google's off the scarf-list for 2013.