Saturday, October 11, 2008

What Did I Get Myself Into?

"My test of a good novel is dreading to begin the last chapter." ~Thomas Helm

Yes, I'm trying to finish up my revisions of One Night in Napa so I can pitch it at the NJRW Conference in 2 weeks.

Yes, I'm trying to gear up for the book I want to tackle during National Novel Writing Month (in my head and on scrap pieces of paper here and there).

And yes, I signed up to judge the EPPIES this year and was just flooded with manuscripts in my email inbox this morning.

I entered One Night in Memphis in the EPPIES this year, which is the main reason I decided I should help out and judge other categories. And I do enjoy reading and reviewing for LASR. It's educational and enlightening to see what other authors are doing. But yikes, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now! The good thing is that the scores have to be in by November 10, which means a lot of reading in the next 3-4 weeks and then I'm done.

In the meantime, that really nice weather they promised for today is also calling me to do some outside work...and of course there are 2 stacks of papers sitting on my dining room table, waiting to be graded as well.

Good thing I'm a really fast reader~

Friday, October 10, 2008

Of Epilogues and Editors

"I want to write books that unlock the traffic jam in everybody's head." ~John Updike

Yesterday I stopped by my local animal shelter, where I volunteer on a pretty regular basis. I had given a copy of Lost in Paradise to the woman who runs the "cat house." (Yeah, that's really what it's called. I actually own a t-shirt that reads "The Best Cat House in Town." Go ahead, laugh). Anyway, yesterday she told me that she'd finished it, "because, you know, it's the kind of book you can't put down once you've started it." She was so glad that I'd added the Epilogue. It isn't that long, a page or two, but it does jump a year into the future and peek at the hero and heroine. And that's funny, because it was my editor who asked for one. Even though I thought I'd given the story its happy ending, my editor suggested I provide a little more. Turns out she was right; it needed an Epilogue.

Just another reminder that sometimes, what we think is so clear inside our our minds doesn't necessarily translate to the page, or to our readers. Thank goodness for editors!

It's supposed to be a gorgeous weekend here...what are your plans?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Music or Silence?

"Without music life would be a mistake." ~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

I'm a musical person. I started playing the piano when I was 8, I've sung in various choirs since about that age as well, and I sing along to the radio (which HAS to be playing) anytime I'm in the car.

But when I'm writing? I can't listen to it.

I know many people who like that background sound. I know authors who create whole soundtracks to listen to while they're writing. But when I'm working on a novel, I prefer silence. On a rare occasion, I have listened to super-sappy love songs when I'm writing a particularly intimate love scene. In those cases, sometimes the music and the lyrics help my own words to flow. Not usually, though. And I find this interesting, considering music is SUCH a big part of my life otherwise.

What about you?? Any authors out there who feel strongly one way or the other?

In the meantime, this is my new favorite song, just because it's so happy and mood-lifting:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: The Top 10

"Money is the root of all evil, and yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes." ~Louisa May Alcott

No author interview today - I'm taking a week off. Instead, here's an interesting article for you to peruse: The Top 10 Richest Authors last year.

Can't imagine why I'm not there!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Why I'm a Facebook Convert

"And yet, all the same - life and human nature being what they are - with a new generation always coming up, the most satisfying thing really is to reach the end of the race with the same companions who were with you at the starting post." ~Cicero

I blogged not too long ago about my grudging acceptance of Facebook as a social network phenomenon. I know teens and 20-somethings use it to keep in touch on a daily basis. Those of us over 30? I wasn't sure how useful or compelling it would be. But now that I've belonged for a few weeks, I have to say...I'm a convert.


Well, first off, some people from my past have discovered that I'm a writer, and being either curious or happy for me, they've gone out to buy my books. So it turns out that conventional wisdom on my author loops is right: Facebook is yet another avenue for author promotion...and you know I'm all about exploring as many of those avenues as I can!

But beyond that, I've had the very cool experience of reconnecting with friends I never thought I'd see or hear from again. It's amazing how quickly technology can join people, across time and distance. Case in point: last Tuesday, a dear friend from high school ~ one of those people you have a complex relationship with that you can't really make sense of when you're only 16 ~ sent me a "friend" message on Facebook. After I picked myself up off the floor from shock, I messaged him back. Five days later, we were having dinner together, after nearly 20 years of losing touch.

Surreal, right? But also very cool, and very worth joining Facebook in the first place. Plus, he's led...shall we say...a colorful life in those last 20 years, so I may just have found myself inspiration for a really interesting character in an up-coming novel.

I do need to do more to push the promotional aspect of Facebook, I know, especially since I never gave in to the MySpace craze. But for now, it's just sort of neat to see who pops up on my "Friends" page, who comes back into my life to remind me of the person I used to be, and who leads me to write yet another story that explores the ways in which our pasts influence our presents and our futures.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Today, Just Pics, No Talk

A photo montage today...

Our driveway (the top, anyway, in front of hubby's dream garage) 2 weeks ago:

Our driveway after a team of 6 repaved it (finally! I love it!!):

And a mum that I bought last year and stuck in the ground after fall was grown to 3x its original size:

Dayana's having a cool contest and chat at her blog today - go visit!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Verbs in an Internet Generation

"The Internet is not just one thing, it's a collection of things - of numerous communications networks that all speak the same digital language." ~Jim Clark

All right, so "Google" was transformed into a verb a while ago. If you need information online, you don't search for it, you google it. No-brainer. But the other day, one of my students said, "A friend facebooked me last night and asked..."

And I thought, wait a minute. Really? Facebook is now a verb too? Well, I googled the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, and sure enough, it is. Among other things, to facebook means to use the site, to send messages to friends via the site, even to upload pictures to the site.

Who knew?

So I got to thinking, what about other new verbs that the Internet has introduced to our language? Well, there's blogging, of course, and IM'ing. Apparently there's also flickring which means using the website to upload or view pictures. I find it rather interesting the way this shift in our communication methods has also translated to our language. Too, it represents yet another kind of generation gap. Tell someone over the age of 60 that you facebooked a friend last night after flickring and they might look at you like you're speaking a different language.

I suppose it's a normal evolution of a society. Are there other new Internet verbs you can think of? And what do you think about this new language, anyway?