Friday, November 19, 2010

First Gifts Blog Hop

When I met my husband for the first time, I was sixteen. I had narrowed down my college choices and decided to attend a summer music workshop at my favorite one. On my first day there, as I sat in the cafeteria with my roommate, a guy walked up to the table. “Hi, I’m John. Can I sit with you guys?” he asked. He was a music and French major at the college and was helping out with the workshop that summer.

We remained friends, and I was excited to have know someone on campus when I arrived there for my freshman year. But John had gone to spend the year going to school in France. At the time, neither of us had email, so we sent letters back and forth across the Atlantic – hundreds of letters! I ran to my mailbox every day looking for an airmail envelope from him. While we’d been friends before, we became much closer that year; we talked about absolutely everything in our letters. Near the end of the school year, we both knew that things had changed between us, and I counted the days until he returned to the States.

John lived in the Boston area and I lived near Philadelphia, so we didn’t get to see each other the moment he returned home. So at the beginning of that summer, I planned a trip to Cape Cod. Yes, it was a vacation, but more importantly, it was my first chance to see John face to face in more than a year. I ran out of the rental cottage, hugged him, and he asked “do I get to kiss you now?” (I hear all of you out there saying “awww” right now!)

He gave his first gift to me then, his high school class ring. I wore it on a chain around my neck until we got engaged a little more than a year later. We were married the summer after I graduated from college, and we just celebrated our fifteenth wedding anniversary this August. Our children are our three cats, ranging in age from 14 to 3. He still brings me gifts for no reason – like the roses he brought home for me earlier this week! 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

RT Book Review

by Jennifer Wells
Genre: Paranormal RomanceParanormal/Urban Fantasy
Sensuality: HOT
4 1/4 stars RT Rating
Twins as different as night and day, a stalker and the wonderful, spooky uniqueness that is New Orleans make this one terrific read. Wells does a wonderful job of keeping the reader guessing as to the identity of the stalker. You’ll be scared one minute and chuckling the next, thanks to Wells’ subtle humor. This one is a definite keeper.
Janie is the straight-laced, responsible twin with a job at the local newspaper. She’s got the boss from hell and a cute co-worker named Ryan who she could definitely fall for.
Rachel is the wild hippie twin who sings with a band in a dive in the French Quarter and has horrible taste in men. After a fight with her latest loser boyfriend, Rachel moves in with her sister, bringing along her stinky ferret. Soon Rachel is convinced she has a stalker and the twins decide to switch identities so Rachel can keep an eye on those interested in Janie’s “Rachel.” (CRESCENT MOON, Sep., 267 pp., $14.99)
Reviewed By: Cindy Himler
Published: September 2010

Coming Soon: First Gifts Blog Hop

I'm participating in a special Blog Hop this weekend discussing the first gift I received from my husband. I can't wait to tell you my story!

If you have your own blog, join in the fun by clicking the link below.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo Doesn't Pay the Mortgage

Someone once told me that NaNoWriMo isn’t worth doing or finishing since it doesn’t pay the mortgage. At the time I could barely believe it. Had I heard right? Maybe I had, but surely she was joking.

Sadly, this statement came from a person getting ready to give up on her NaNo goal. I think of it like a person breaking up with her boyfriend because she thinks he is getting ready to break up with her. Better to be the dumper than the dumpee. In my NaNo example, she thought it was better to be a quitter than a failure.

Now, I think that if you come out of November with 100 more words than you had written going into it, that’s fantastic! Not everybody has enough time for 50k, and I can respect that. What I have a problem with is someone who gives up on the story she was writing only because she knows she’s not going to get that certificate of completion. It begs the question: Did you sign up for NaNoWriMo for some kind of achievement or did you do it because you love writing, have a story to tell, and want to hone your craft?

What bothered me about her statement was the idea that nothing is worth doing unless you get paid for it. Because isn’t that pretty much what she said? Why are you reading that book? It doesn’t pay for your groceries, after all. And why waste time with yoga class if it doesn’t pay the rent? Kind of ridiculous, right?

I can’t even begin to tell you how worthwhile I think spending my November writing a quick and dirty novel is. I get a story that was in my head out on paper. I look forward to the freedom of writing so fast your fingers can barely keep up with your thoughts sometimes. I believe that practice is the only way to become a better writer. And nothing compares with the sense of accomplishment I get when I write “THE END” on the last page of a manuscript.

My fellow WriMos, why do you spend your November writing like fiends? I’ll bet it’s not because you expect it to pay your mortgage.

I firmly believe that not everything worth doing is something you’ll get paid for. In my experience, the opposite is often true.

Now let me examine the other part of her statement. Does NaNoWriMo pay your mortagage? Probably not, but can it? Well, considering that my debut novel was a NaNo baby, it just might someday.

Whatever your reason for writing, keep doing it! No, it’s not easy, but yes, it is worth the effort. Even if it doesn’t pay your mortgage.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Writer’s Block, NaNoWriMo, and Another Way to Procrastinate

Every writer encounters writer’s block at some point.  I can attest to the fact that it’s brought me to my knees a few times.

“What’s the problem?” you (non-writers) may ask.  “Don’t you know where the story is going?  Can’t you just, you know… write it?”

The problem with this assumption is that sometimes I really don’t know where the story is going.  Some authors plot everything carefully before they begin writing.  Some are even organized enough to write an outline.  People who know me and my detail-oriented, list-loving ways might guess I’m one of these people, but oddly enough, I’m not.

I enjoy the organic flow of the writing, especially when it’s going smoothly.  When that happens, it feels a lot like I’m just sitting back and watching the characters do their own thing.   Sometimes they even surprise me by doing something I didn’t expect at all.  This is one of the best parts about writing! 

But this blog is about not writing. 

In some cases, I do know where a scene is headed.  But I can get stuck on a page or even a paragraph. Honestly, sometimes it is a single word.  Written, then deleted.  Rewritten.  And another word tried and discarded.  You get the picture.

Why does this happen?  And what the heck can you do about it?

As to the why, it can be for any number of reasons, and they can often be specific to the author.  For example, writing any kind of love scene is nearly impossible if I keep reminding myself that my parents and in-laws may someday read it!  If you love to write, but this is your problem, I offer one possible solution.

Write like it’s your diary.  Pretend nobody will ever see it.  Write badly.  Write stupid stuff.  Write about what happened so far today until your fingers start to write something that resembles your story.  The point is to write.  Give yourself permission to write ugly, sucky stuff. The prettifying and fixing and removing of all that other random junk is what the editing process is for.

Need some motivation?  What if you’re simply overthinking things?  I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  This is a website where a bunch of crazy people – me included – get together every November and write 50,000 words of a book.  It’s intense and difficult and exhausting, but I love it.  In order to hit the requisite 1,667 words a day that you need in order to stay on track, you don’t have much time for staring at the blank page or second guessing yourself.  Put away your inner editor and go for it.  If it’s not November, there are a bunch of similar projects going on year-round that you can get in on. 

My debut novel, Magick Charm, was my NaNoWriMo project from 2007, and I finished the manuscript in my free time over the next few months.  Sure, when I began editing the manuscript, there was a lot of work to do.  My plot lines were all over the place.  My high school English teachers wouldn’t have approved of my sentence structure or grammar.  And don’t even get me started on continuity problems!  But it was a completed book.

So far this NaNo, I’m a little bit behind. I call it the week-two ick. I usually hate whatever I’m writing in week two. The glow of starting a new story has faded and the fun part – when my characters take control – hasn’t yet kicked in. At this point, I’m just slogging through.

The result is my desire to procrastinate. Today, that procrastination has taken the form of this blog. Because have no doubt, this blog is an excellent distraction at the moment.

But I’m going to get back to the writing now. I know the evils of week two are almost behind me and my characters are going to start acting out any minute!