I’m sooooo excited about my new website. I’ve been dreaming about it for years, right about the time I designed my first one and realized just how amateurish it looked. Isn’t this one sparkly and pretty?!? Thanks to Frauke at Croco Designs, I’ve now got a home on the web I’m happy to have people visit.
My goal was to finish the second draft of Nevermore on 1 May. Didn’t happen. I was 1 page short of reading/editing the hard copy. Finished that today and am now left with incorporating the redlines and writing two more scenes. That will complete the second draft. I’m hoping to finish by the end of this week. I’m going slower than usual because the school district (gotta love ’em) decided to schedule three minimum days this week. So, I won’t have another full day of writing until Friday. Ugh.
The third draft will consist of rewriting the first chapter to reflect comments I received back from an agent I had pitched to in an online contest and one of my critique partners. Then, I’ll have to do all the polishing (you know, taking out about 100 thats, buts, ands, justs, etc.). I’m still suffering under the illusion that I’ll have Nevermore ready to start the submission process in June.
Oh, and did you know? The Brenda Novak Auction to raise money for diabetes research is well underway (it began on 1 May). I’ve donated a lovely basket of crossword related items to promote my latest release, Crisscross. There’s crossword puzzle books, a pen, a tote bag, a coffee mug, and a few other goodies. You can find my listing here.
Wow, this week has shot by in a blur. Seems like just yesterday it was Monday and I had hours and hours and hours of freedom from tiny tyrants. Now, it’s down to just a few hours to get redlines incorporated, edit a few more pages, and get ready for “Mom, can I…” “Mom?” “Mom” “Mom”…I swear, there are days when I want to change my name.
It’s especially depressing when the upcoming week is State Testing at the school. Minimum days (home by noon) and yet another excuse for the school district to not teach our children anything. What, you say. Testing is necessary, blah, blah, blah.
Testing, I say, is a waste.
Case in point…I have two kindergartners. All next week is “testing”…there is no flipping way my kids are going to be tested for 3.5 hours each day on kindergarten lessons. Instead, they will test for part of the day, watch movies for an hour or so, and maybe do a lesson or two. For Kinderboy#2, school comes easy. He was almost ready for first grade the day he stepped into the classroom back in August. For Kinderboy#1, he’ll be lucky if he even completes the testing he is supposed to do. Not so much because he can’t, but because without the proper motivation (rewards of toys and candy), he won’t want to. I’ve heard the treasure boxes are fully stocked in preparation, so I have my fingers crossed he’s in a cooperative mood next week.
Then there is Drama Teen. School has never come easy for her. She has some ADD issues that have been around since her kindergarten days. And as for math…well, I still count on my fingers and she inherited her math skills from me. Need I say more? She “tests” dismally…so although she can maintain A’s and B’s in any class except math, I’m sure her State testing won’t reflect that. So, what sort of information is that going to give the bureaucrats in Sacramento? Nothing definitive, that’s for sure.
If, as I suspect, there will be little to no teaching/homework at the high school level next week, I have a devious plan to get some writing done and get away from my children for a few hours. I’m going to hire Drama Teen’s friend and have them co-babysit the boys while I sneak off to the library and/or Panera Bread for an hour or three at least 3 days next week. It’s the only way I can think of to preserve my sanity because, oh, did I forget to tell you…the week after next is parent/teacher conferences and guess what…MINIMUM DAYS most of that week too! ACK!!!
Essie over at The Accidental Mommy has once again thrown down the gauntlet to tell the truth, the whole embarrassing truth, and lots of it.
Today, because Essie knows that even though it’s true, some of us might not like to own up to the topic at hand, so she’s given us a multiple choice selection.
1. The best secret you ever kept from your parents 2. Worst date stories 3. Annoying Significant Other stories 4. What I wish someone would have told me before I got married
Being as my parents won’t ever read my blog (my dad has Altzheimers and my mother is severely techno-challenged), I’m going to tell you about our dog.
Tucker came to live with us when he was six months old. Marriage preparations between me and Mr. Wonderful were in full swing and for her bridesmaid’s gift, Drama Teen (who was then only 10) wanted a Labrador puppy like in a popular toilet paper commercial. When a “puppy” was found on the flightline at Edwards AFB where I worked at the time, I thought it was fate and adopted him (after we tried unsuccessfully to find his owner).
Then, the trouble with puppies reared it’s head. I’ve always been a cat person (we had two of them)…I never realized puppies did chew everything, pee on everything, and chase cats. Sigh. About a year into the relationship, pee spots began appearing in odd places. On the floor, a briefcase, puddles here there and everywhere. An examination of the walls with black light revealed lots and lots of pee.
Tucker had been “chemically” fixed. The vet determined it hadn’t “took” (gulp), so Tucker had the traditional cut and snip done. Problem solved, so I thought. Still, pee continued to make occasional appearances on walls and surfaces. Then about six month later, I caught Tucker peeing on the wall RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. Off to the pound he went. It was a Friday evening…
Saturday, I told my mom the dog was gone and what he’d been up to. She celebrated (she doesn’t much care for pets, period)
Plagued by doubts about doing the right thing all weekend, I was alarmed when I found a fresh spot of pee on Sunday. Gazing around, my eyes came to rest on our adorable, loving, male kitty. Yep…seems like Pikachu and Tucker had been having a peeing contest in the house. Unfortunately for the dog, Pikachu was sneakier.
Monday morning, I offloaded a huge lie to the staff at the shelter and brought a tramatized doggy home. Pikachu, instead, had to be re-homed. And then, later, the other cat due to a similar problem. Our house has been pee free since and I’ve come to realize I really do like dogs.
So, where does the lie come in?
I sortof never told my mom that we picked Tucker back up. She was so happy to see him gone, and I have this insane need for “parental approval”. Needless to say, it’s almost five years later…and she still doesn’t know we have a dog. When she’s come to visit, it’s been a bit of a juggling/magic act to keep him out of the picture… And after five years, I’m really not sure how to just “fess up to the matter.
First off, I know this is going to sound childish…but I have to rant.
After spending Thursday with a sick child, Friday contracting the virus (although I got a bit of work done), all day Saturday sick, Sunday feeling like someone wiped the floor of a NY taxi with me, I wake up this morning to….
Kinderboy#2 with PINKEYE…AGAIN. School rules…they can’t come to school until they are treated. The Dr. has called in drops…they “might” be ready for pickup around 2 pm (oh, right after school lets out…gee, thanks)
So…yet another TOTALLY unproductive day. Oh, but there’s the rest of the week…right? No…tomorrow is housekeeping…they’ll be here for 2-2.5 hours, ruining what little concentration I have. By then, I’ll probably have another 1 to 2 children home sick. I admire people who can write in the middle of chaos, but I’m not one of them.
Oh, and just in case I DO get any work done this week…the school has state testing next week…Minimum days all week, THEN, because they don’t like taking care of the kids any more than the parents do and they have the power to foist them off, they scheduled minimum days for 3/5 of the next week for “parent-teacher conferences.
On Thursday, Kinderboy#1 came home from school with a stomach ache. The school nurse told me he’d thrown up. Then, she dropped unwelcome news into my lap (figuratively). “There’s an awful virus going around. All the kids are getting it.”
Friday dawned, Kinderboy#1 felt better, kidlets went off to school, all was well… yeah, that was just Fate having a good laugh at my expense.
4:58 am Saturday morning. I woke up, feeling like crud and crawled out the living room to sit in the dark, hoping the nausea and tummy ache would go away. It didn’t. By 9 am, I was in full-blown sickness mode. Luckily Mr. Wonderful pitched in and ran to the store for lemon-lime full-sugar soda and various tummy ailment medications. He then took the boys out on their scooters to run around the neighborhood. When he got back, he collapsed on the sofa and gave himself over to the virus – it was noon. Drama Teen was the next to fall at 3 pm. Kinderboy#2 – 5 pm (right after he ate a huge plateful of mac & cheese – bleh)
It’s now Sunday morning, it seems that most of us have recovered. Hard to tell with Drama Teen, she hasn’t made her weekend appearance yet and probably won’t until around noon.
Needless to say…I won’t be eating Tyson Chicken Nuggets anytime in the near future. Sorry Tyson!
Sometime on Friday, I had a brilliant Ah-ha moment regarding my historical romance. Boy, would it up the tension, blah, blah, blah… it wasn’t until sometime during my recovery last night that I realized the timeline is off, off, off…ten years off. So, unless I want to decrease the age of my heroine (which I am considering), I’ll have to figure out what little bits and pieces I changed to “up” the tension.
I don’t know about other people, but I simply will not finish a book that doesn’t hold my attention. I have better things to do with my time. That being said, I found some authors I won’t be adding to my auto-buy books.
I recently bought some books from new to me authors. They were all “name brands” and I had hoped to open myself up to a few new series to enjoy. Now, perhaps my mistake was buying books too far into the series…but honestly, an author should be able to garner new readers with their books and not just rely on repeat buyers.
M.C. Beaton, A Spoonful of Poison — I simply could not muster any sympathy for the nymphomanic protagonist. What made it worse is that I had the solution to the mystery figured out by Chapter 3. I think I made it almost halfway through the book before I threw it against the wall.
Stuart Woods, Shoot Him if He Runs — This was one of those books in a series that simply didn’t have enough information about the characters. When two of the characters were inexplicably having sex (I’m assuming they had some sort of history, but it was never explained adequately), it gave me pause. AND I WRITE EROTIC ROMANCE PEOPLE. Seemed like the sex was just in there gratuitously. I had my suspicions of who the bad guy was…this one, I read about 1/4 of the book, was interested enough to see how it ended, and then threw it against the wall.
Sometimes I do struggle through a book, just because. I’m not driven to solve the mystery, but something about the story keeps me limping forward.
Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner was one of these books. I liked the protagonist (a bookseller). In the end, it wasn’t solving the mystery that kept me slogging through the awkward shifts in POV, but the budding romantic relationship and the smattering of historical details and characters.
As if it isn’t enough to write & self-edit a book, promoting one’s book is also an author’s duty. For those of us who are a bit shy or technologically challenged, this can be a nightmare.
I do have a myspace page, a facebook profile, and a twitter account. I try to access all of them at least once a day. For whatever reason, the Facebook account gives me the most problems. Partly because they are always “tweaking” it, much like what Drama Teen does with her recipes. Today, none of my blog feeds are going to my Facebook account. And I’m puzzled as to how I get my updates from my profile page to link to my newly created fan page without having to cut and paste. Grrr.
As if I didn’t have enough to do!
I spent 3 hours at Panera Bread yesterday editing Nevermore. I’m up to page 101 on the hardcopy but haven’t hit page 50 yet in the electronic version. The nice thing is that as well as taking out extraneous “telling”, I’m adding words. My goal, an additional 8K. I know that later on in the book I have 2 scenes to add….and the Chapter 4 rewrite should add a chunk as well.
The worst part of this whole process is I thought I had until the end of the month to get all of the editing done…however, the school district, has once again thrown a wrench into the works. Star Testing… a whole week and a half of minimum days at the end of the month! Lordy…no wonder our children don’t learn anything — Le sigh.
Wow – did this week go fast! The largest part of the issue is the Monday holiday, which caused Tuesday to be a Monday. Needless to say, I’m torn between wishing it was one more day long and being thankful that it’s over.
I did get some work on Nevermore done this week. I’ve done a preliminary edit of Chapters 1-3 (reading it out loud, smoothing out the prose, etc.). Then I hit Chapter 4. Ouch. Now, I knew it had issues… During the Donald Maass workshop in January, it was the scene that I worked on during the workshop. However, despite all that, it still needed help. Help came in the form of a “eureka” moment weeks ago. At about 4:30 in the morning, I suddenly realized what my hero’s “motivation” is. Now, I had a motivation to begin with — and I’ll still be using it as a sub-plot, but I now have his main motivation AND, even better, a way to tie the zombie issue in a bit stronger.
Amazingly, instead of being thrilled to bits to get my feet wet in editing and changing the manuscript, I’ve found that I’m dragging me feet. Why?
Yep. Even with over 30 short stories, 18 novellas, and two full-length novels under my belt (figuratively), I am afraid to finish this novel. Why? Well, mostly it’s because I *think* this is, to date, the BEST thing I’ve ever written. THE BEST. It’s not only a story from my heart but it fits commercial expectations of the genre. But, what if I’m just biased? What if I send it out to agents and publishers and it’s not as good as I think it is? Worse, what if it sucks? I don’t want to send my manuscript out with high expectations of finally catching that elusive agent/NY contract, only to have my dreams dashed.
Yet, if I don’t finish it, polish it, send it out — I’ll never know.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave…
As for the family — let’s just say that everything went pretty well this week. Drama Teen forgot her change of clothes for picture day AND her PT clothes for ROTC today. But that’s okay…I had to make a trip out to the school campus anyway since one of my sons, I shouldn’t have to tell you it’s Kinderboy#1, put his foot in the toilet at school because his friend told him to and I had to run a change of pants to the school. Only pants, you ask? Yep, because, of course, my little RADish lied and said he slipped and fell in a puddle of pee in the bathroom without letting the office ladies know that he had a soggy shoe and sock as well as pant leg. Sigh.
Kinderboy#2, well, he’s just anxiously awaiting the arrival of the ice cream truck…
What to post, what to post, what to post…???…. Oh! You’re there! Sorry about that.
It’s been a Tuesday disguised as a Monday around here, and I’m still scrambling to catch up. Last week, Essie, the Accidental Mommy was talking about the list. You know, the one discussed on the show “Friends” years ago. Five people, who if they walked into your life, could sweep you off your feet and out of your marital bed. I guess the idea is that Mr. Wonderful would turn a blind eye, because it would only be for one time, never repeated, blah, blah, blah.
My list is very, very short. I can’t come up with five…only two.