Friday, February 23, 2007

You Just Never Know...

"People die in front of us everyday. But I believe Meredith will survive this. I believe, I believe, I... I believe in the good. I believe that it's been a hell of a year and I believe that, in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that we will be okay. I believe a lot of things. I believe that... I believe that Denny is always with me... and I believe that if I eat a tub of butter and no one sees, that the calories don't count. And I believe that surgeons who prefer staples over stitches are just lazy. And I believe that you are a man that made a terrible mistake marrying Callie and I believe that because I'm your best friend I can tell you this and we can be okay. I believe that even though you made this mistake you will be okay. I believe we survive, George. I believe that believing we survive... is what makes us survive."
~from "Grey's Anatomy"

Update: I sent a query for the newly re-titled Lost in Paradise to The Wild Rose Press yesterday morning, and by the afternoon I had received a request for the partial. So that’s encouraging.

What was even nicer is that the editor remembered me (I had submitted One Night in Boston to her as well, back when I was querying a few places simultaneously). She congratulated me on the upcoming publication with Samhain and welcomed a look at my new work.

I sent off the partial…now we’ll wait and see!

Any Grey's Anatomy fans out there? What did you think of last night's episode? A tear-jerker, for sure, but I sort of felt, here's another week where Meredith whines about her "awful" life. This time we had to spend an entire hour watching her discover that, really, dating McDreamy and having good friends and a challenging career isn't the most terrible thing in the world. Does anyone else want to tell her to get over herself?

Best part of the whole show. by far: seeing Denny again, especially the moment when he and Izzie touch at the end. Magic.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out...

"It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power."

~Alan Cohen

So I made the decision to terminate my publishing contract with Virtual Tales.

There were a few reasons, really, one of which was that, despite the fact that they don’t have many stories up for sale on their site (they’re relatively new), it was taking them *forever* to draft me a cover or send me my first round of edits. And believe me, I know how slow the publishing process can take, but I’ve been lucky enough to have some experience now with Samhain, and it’s just a completely different story.

I also want to market my story in more ways than just an e-serial, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that with the electronic rights tied up at VT. Honestly, when I first queried them, I didn’t think the story would develop as much as it did. I thought I’d end up with 30K words, tops. Now I’m at 55K and I love it, I want more, I want to see it in print.

The nice thing is that the publisher let me out of my contract without any problem and waived the 90-days notice as well, so I have all my rights back ASAP.

The funny thing is that it took him less than 8 hours to remove everything from the website: my bio, my promo page, my name under the authors’ listings. And we're talking an overnight wonder: I emailed him at 10:00 pm (my time; I think he's on the West Coast), and when I checked at 7:30 the next morning, it all was gone. Maybe if they’d moved that fast with everything else, I’d still be working with them!

Oh, well. I know it’s the right decision. But now I’m back to the beginning with marketing Paradise, USA--which I thinking of renaming Lost in Paradise, by the way. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Very Blah Day

I have nothing the least bit interesting to say today, other than to tell you that I’m struggling with a decision to terminate one of my e-pub contracts. It’s a long story, and I’ll fill you in sometime when I have the energy.

I watched all 2 hours of American Idol last night because I was too tired to do anything else (and I hate wasting time like that, but sometimes it happens)…and was anyone else bored? Tip to the guys, no matter how good-looking you are: don’t pick a love song and then come out so frozen by nerves that no one can hear you sing the lyrics.

(It’s fun being an armchair critic, isn’t it??)

Here's a meme for along!

Hypotheticals: If you could bathe in a vat of any drink or food item, what would you choose? Chocolate, no question.

Anything Goes: What world-changing event would you like to take credit for? Women's suffrage. I think Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton are the bomb.

No-Brainers: What song do you keep hearing over and over again? For some reason, "Not Ready to Make Nice" by the Dixie Chicks.

Personals: What are you most proud of? Oh gosh, two things: my teaching career and the fact that I have amazing relationships with so many of my former students; and my writing career and the fact that it's progressing toward publication.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The End...Or Is It??

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”
- Cyril Connolly

Story endings: I find them incredibly difficult.

Some of my writing friends love them; they claim that the ending is sometimes the only thing that’s absolutely clear in the whole novel-writing process.

Not me.

I mean, sure, I have a general idea of where I want my characters to end up, but I stumble over the wording when I get there.

This weekend, for example, I was revising an ending for a novel that’s been about 4 years in the making. I finally got all the plot points worked out, but then I couldn’t decide if I wanted a flip, upbeat ending, or a more serious, God-I-can’t-believe-how-much-I-love-you ending. Either one would work with the tone of the novel, I think.

What do you think makes a good ending, especially in a love story? Do you like to see everything revealed and tied up neatly? Or is it okay if something’s left to the imagination?

Are there any stories you can think of where the ending stayed with you because it was so memorable, or so well done? Or, are there any stories where you felt supremely let down by the ending? (Yes, Marianne, I know: every Nicholas Sparks book. :) )

Oh, and in honor of last night’s new Prison Break episode, a yummy picture of the brothers to enjoy all day long:

Monday, February 19, 2007

My Schizophrenic Weekend

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
- Groucho Marx

Hubby and I love to travel, but we spent this Presidents’ Weekend at home this year, working around the house (him), writing (me), and doing our taxes (both).

And for some reason I decided I would tackle every writing project that’s on my four burners right now. Though I felt at times as though I had major mulitple personality disorder, I did get some good writing accomplished. Just to bring you up to date, here’s what on my plate right now:

Paradise, USA - This is the serial novella that’s been contracted by Virtual Tales. I’ve been emailing back and forth with my editor about the cover, which I think should be in the last stages of completion. I also worked on revising the last half of the story, since she only has the first half because that’s how this publisher works. I still love this story; I love the characters and I love what happens to them. I did run into a little snag near the HEA, only because I'm not happy with how the last few pages unfold, but I'll get it.

One Night in Boston - This is the full-length "24 hour romance" novel that’s been contracted by Samhain Publishing. I haven’t gotten the edits back from this editor, so the only thing I had to do was finalize the promotional blurb for her. That will probably be up on their website in a few weeks. Oh, you can also take a peek at my author's page, here.

One Night in Memphis - This is another full-length, “24 hour” romance that I’m really pushing to finish by June 1 to submit to Samhain. I would love another contract with them and am crossing my fingers that the 24-hour concept will catch on among readers. I’m about 1/3 of the way through this one, though I have an earlier draft (from a couple years ago) that I’m working with, so it’s not all brand new. Just most of it!

Summer’s Song - Finally, this is a single title romance that I wrote about 4 years ago. I shopped it briefly and had some interest from a couple of publishing houses, but no offers. I still really like this story and think I’ve figured out a way to make it stronger, so I spent some time this weekend working on the outline and the characters. I plan on shopping this one to traditional print houses and would love to have something complete by the fall.

So…that’s what I did this weekend! I feel good about my progress but, again, more than a little split between projects. I'm not really good at it, nor do I like it. I'd rather focus on one thing at a time. But that's not always possible.

What about you? If you're a writer, are you able to shift between projects? Or do you need to finish one before moving on to another? And if you're a reader, can you read multiple books at onc? Do you have a novel in the bedroom, one in the living room, and another in your bathroom? Do you have any problem picking up and moving from storyline to storyline?