Tuesday, June 28, 2011

State of Blah...

Have you ever lost touch with yourself? With your writing?  The past few weeks, I've been in what I call a state of disenchantment.  I've got some stressors in my personal life, the day job is mentally challenging, I'm doubting my abilities as an editor, and the current manuscript I'm working on has been nothing but a struggle to complete.  All this combined put me in a major state of disenchantment. Basically, the ability to care shot out the window. 

Now I realize this is not the most productive thinking.  Honestly, how can I expect to anywhere with my writing when I don't care anymore?  And who would want to read something written by someone who doesn't care? Definitely not me.  The question is, how does a person get out of this funk?  This is what worked for me.

I picked up the phone and called my BFF, who has been where I am, and flooded her ears with the woes I tend to bottle up.  I got it all out in the open and off my chest. She let me cry on her shoulder, told me she loved me, and then kicked me in the butt and told me to get back to work. Talking through my issues with her helped. I wasn't so alone anymore. 

After I got the personal stuff out of the way, I revisited the problem manuscript. Why wasn't I in love with these characters? Why weren't they behaving the way I thought they should?  First, I figured out that the model I was using for the hero was too sweet. I've used him as inspiration for several of my sweet stories, and he needed to change. So I found a model who could be a bit more edgy, more raunchy if he needed to be, and BAM! My hero clicked.  So, on to the heroine. What was her deal? I knew I wanted her to be spunky, a bit of a control freak.  Now, my friend has said when she reads my stuff she can hear my voice in the work.  My voice was nowhere near this story. So heroine, while somewhat spunky, just didn't cut it.  I searched deep within to find out how I would act in the situation she was in.  Her problem, it seemed, was she was too perfect. She didn't have a flaw. She wanted to do something and it was done. If I wanted to do the same thing, I would trip over my own feet, knock a lamp off the table... you get the picture.

My point... We all go through slumps. We all have days when writing is the most painful experience in the world. Some have difficulties getting out of the slumps and give up all together.  My advice is this:  Step away.  When your story is fighting you, step away for a few days and work on something else.  Allow the story to process in the back of your mind. When you get back to it, you will have fresh eyes and will think more clearly.

I am not alone in my struggles. And neither are you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I believe we writers/authors (whatever title you want to give yourself) after we've become published have a responsibility.  We need to be mentors to those writers just starting their journeys. We have already gone through the process of writing, rewriting, submitting, rejections, and finally publication. We know what to expect, we experienced the gamut of emotions, we understand...

Never will I understand the attitude of you must struggle through this journey alone. Or if I see you as a threat, never would I try to dissuade you from following your dream.  I read a manuscript not long ago that I thought was really good. Yes, there needed to be tweaking, but rarely is a first draft NOT in need of tweaking. Another person read the same manuscript and their comments crushed the writer. They tore the story to shreds saying it wasn't realistic, they didn't follow the same rules the reviewer followed...just brutal.  I came to the conclusion that the reviewer felt threatened.  For every time they read a story that could possibly give them competition, they bash it.

I feel blessed to have been able to get my story out into the publishing world and have a contract.  I don't think I am the best writer in the world. I amuse myself with some of the ideas I've come up with--then again, if I don't like my stories why should I expect anyone else to?  But to tear someone down because you are afraid they will outshine you is utterly ridiculous.

If there is one thing I can do as someone who has gone through the process, I would like to be able to mentor my fellow writers.  I want them to know they are not alone, they never have to worry about asking for help. For those of us who attend local RWA meetings, never be afraid to lend a helping hand, or a reading eye, to someone who is struggling in the business. If we are not encouraging each other and supporting each other, how do we ever expect to succeed?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day.

Father's Day is a day to celebrate the fathers in our lives. For me, Father's Day is sometimes hard. My father passed away in 2003, as many of you know. The first Father's Day (2004) was horrible. I absolutely could not see a commercial or display in the stores without completely breaking down.  As the years pass it gets a little easier.  Last year I was able to walk up to the cards and pick a few out--one for my father-in-law and one for my step-father. 

I have noticed that the week/month leading up to Father's Day, my personality changes a bit. I don't want to say I become depressed--it's more like 30-day PMS. (Yeah, the hubby loves this. LOL)  Of course, I never identify the moodiness as caused by Father's Day until the day is right on me. This year, I realized I was pretty moody Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday morning, for example, I woke up tired but in a great mood. I kissed hubby goodbye and started getting ready for work. I looked forward to a day in a quiet office--all coworkers were off doing their thing in other locations--and I was happy.  Then this commercial about dads came on.  It showed a little girl lounging in a hammock with her dad and the announcer said dads were our first buddies.  That's when I lost it.  Oh yeah, freshly applied mascara streaked the cheeks, my eyes turned blood red (literally), my nose looked like a cherry, and my upper lip swelled.  I am not what anyone would call a pretty crier. 

I miss my father--some days are better than others--but I know he watches over me. 

Whether they be near or far, on earth or waiting for us in Heaven, you are in our hearts and we love you very much. Today, on this very special Father's Day, I wish all the fathers in our lives a happy Father's Day.   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pet words and phrases...

In your writing and speech, have you ever noticed phrases or words you use all the time?  I went to a retreat in Asheville, NC, this past May with The Wild Rose Press.  (Hi ladies!)  I discovered my pet word for the weekend was fabulous, oh and fantastic!  It felt as though I was using the word(s) in every response, every sentence--sometimes multiple times in the sentence.  I caught myself at one point and had to laugh.  I mean, if I'm using it in speech, chances are my writing is riddled with words and phrases I use all the time.

In my recent manuscript my pet words/phrases were: amber eyes (my hero's eyes were mention two dozen times); she/he nodded/sighed/shrugged/blushed... not pretty!  Yes, I've got to be much more aware when I write. But, hey, that's what editing and critique partners are for.  You know, I could make my pet words/phrases into a drinking game. Every time the hero shrugs, take a drink. Say fabulous or fantastic, do a double shot. :)

What about you? What are your pet phrases and words?

Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's crazy how time slips away so quickly.

I have no idea where the past year has gone.

I'm happy to announce that my newest story Made to Order was released on September 8 from The Wild Rose Press. I would like to say I have ten more in the release hopper, but alas, 'tis not the case. I have several almost completed short stories and novellas to submit.

On that topic, I was looking through a few loop posting and saw that one author had 21 releases in 2010 alone. 21!! Holy cow! Here I am so thrilled that I just released story number 7 and she's trippled me in one year. I am amazed and in awe of those who can crank out so many stories in such a short time. Seriously, it took me five months to finish my last story and I have no idea if it will ever be published. Yes, I realized I've got a full time day job that is very demanding on my time, not to mention a full time night job (and, no, I'm not a Las Vegas stripper thank you very much!) that takes up the rest of my time. But if I could for one month give up the day job and not have to worry about silly things like paying the house payment or feeding my husband, I would so do it just to see how many short stories I could get written in that time.

I've got to be honest, I don't know if I'm disciplined enough to be a stay at home writer. I get distracted too easily by movies and playing on the Internet. Still, I would love the opportunity to give it a shot. :)

Friday, June 26, 2009


Well, I heard from the agent, and received a polite rejection. She didn't give negative feedback, just said she didn't connect with my writing. Not happy with the rejection, but at least she didn't tell me to not quit the day job. After I received the rejection I went back and re-read the first three chapters. See, as an editor, I know what I mean when I say I don't connect with someone's writing. I mean the story isn't all that spectacular, but we don't want to thoroughly crush someone's dreams. We aren't Simon Cowell after all.

So after re-reading I could see why she didn't connect with it. Funny how I missed it during edits. I am now in the process of rewriting the story. I only wish I could resub to the same agent so I could redeem myself. Maybe I'll attempt to do so with a different story.

It's coming up on July 4, and The Wild Rose Press is closed for a week...well the bookstore will be open and new releases will be going out, but the editors have been given a week off. I am going to take advantage of the week and see if I can't knock out a few chapters for either the revisions or my young adult romance.

Have a happy Fourth of July!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Migraines, wine and writing...

I've been trying most diligently to finish the next round of edits on my current work in progress. Unfortunately, this week has been slow going due to a lingering migraine. My boss thinks there is a magically cure to migraine, and my thought is short of cutting of my head, or becoming a man, nothing will help. So I chug down Excedrin and keep going.

So what does wine have to do with writing? Well, I find that when I drink a glass of wine while writing, it helps relax my mind enough to let me be free with my writing. I'm not constantly getting caught up on what someone might say about what I am writing. The words flow more freely. I can only imagine how free my words would be after several glasses.

Still no news from the agent, and I'm on week six. I'm a bit panicked--not because I'm worried about being rejected, but because I'm worried they didn't receive the partial. Only two more weeks and then I can send a calm email asking for receipt confirmation...and then it's off to notsopatiently wait for their response.