Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Keeps Me Writing

"Those who write clearly have readers. Those who write obscurely have commentators." ~Albert Camus

OK, I'll admit it: posting my word count and my favorite sentences here every day has definitely kept me writing. When you're accountable to someone, even the "someones" in cyberworld, it's amazing how you'll find the time to write.

I am behind, though - I should be at 12,500 words by the end of today. We'll see how close I get; it's the weekend, which does mean that I should have more time. Theoretically. In the meantime, I also have to write a blog post for the Samhain Publishing Blog, which will be up around 3:00 EST today. Stop by and comment if you'd like!

Current Word Count for Entwined: 8,302

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: It complicates things more than a little, this child who holds Chase’s heartstrings.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I Hate These Phone Calls...

"Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly. " ~Author Unknown

Wow, I am SOOOO glad it is Friday! Been a crazy week here, partly because we got a telephone call Wednesday night that one of hubby's students was in a serious car accident, along with two of his friends..

I think teenagers shouldn't be allowed to drive until they're no longer teenagers. And they should only be allowed to drive the speed limit or under and without any kind of music and with no one else in the car. Well, maybe not really. But can you please remind the teens you know that even God's patience wears thin when they drive too fast and get distracted by their friends and TEXT MESSAGE WHILE THEY ARE DOING BOTH THOSE THINGS???

The word is still touch and go on the student. Sigh.

Current Word Count for Entwined: 7715

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: The coffee shop door opens, and Natasha Silverstone walks into his life for the third time in less than a day, a bolt of lightning that has singled him out from the heavens and struck him square through the soul.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lots of Links to Share Today

"The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about." ~Oscar Wilde

It's been a busy week for me in cyberworld! You can read author interviews here:

Brenna Lyons' Blog
Janet Walters' Blog

Or you can also take a peek at the interview I did for WOW-Women on Writing about co-writers Stella and Audra Price.

While I'm mentioning links, there is some exciting news over at Samhain. Here's a preview: they've just signed an agreement with BooksonBoard, an ebook retailer that's going to make all their novels available on iPhones. Next generation, here we come!

Also, the new erotic e-publisher Ravenous Romance recently signed some NY Times bestsellers. Here's an excerpt from their latest press release:

[Boston, MA, November 19, 2008] –Ravenous Romance™, slated to launch December 1, 2008, has signed several best-selling and award-winning authors to their roster, many of whom have crossed genres and will appear on the company’s launch list in early December. New York Times best-selling author John Skipp has penned a novel called Opposite Sex for the company under the pseudonym Gina McQueen, and recently quipped: “Sometimes you just get tired of killing people, you know? I just wanted to write something sweet and funny and sexy and wild, where nobody gets hurt, and the worst thing that happens is your characters are probably going to have to stop kissing eventually!”

John Updike’s protégée Catherine Hiller’s novel Cybill in Between will publish in early December. Updike has provided a quote for the book cover that calls Hiller’s writing “brave and joyful.” Mimi Leahy, an Emmy-nominated writer for “All My Children” and “As the World Turns”, will write several books and short stories for the imprint...

Finally, my cyber colleague Devon Gray is celebrating the release of Playing with Keeps, so take a hop on over to her blog and tell her I sent you to say congrats!

Current Word Count for Entwined: 6,698

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: He cannot stop listening to her talk, cannot understand the way it squeezes his heart every time she pauses.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writers' Wednesday: An Interview with Heather Stimmler-Hall

Welcome to Writers' Wednesday! I mentioned today's author a few weeks back, when I first read her book Naughty Paris. Now Heather Stimmler-Hall is here today to give us the skinny on this fascinating "travel" book:

Welcome to Allie's Musings, Heather! Can you tell us a little about your background?

I've been a writer as long as I can remember: plays, poetry, stories...when I was in high school I started taking journalism classes and we produced a weekly newspaper. From this I got an after school job as the Teen Correspondent for the big daily, Phoenix Gazette (absorbed by the Arizona Republic). It seemed like a more practical way to make a living as a writer, so that's the career path I chose. When I came to Paris in college, it seemed like travel writing was an obvious choice, and now I've been writing about France for American magazines and guidebooks since 1999. I also have a blog I write for fun called Secrets of Paris (

Tell us about your latest writing project or published title.

After years of writing for other publishers, I created my own independent publishing company in Paris, Fleur-de-Lire, and in September I published "Naughty Paris: A Lady's Guide to the Sexy City". It's a guidebook for the "Sex & the City" generation of women, very elegant, with over 200 photos and lots of fun advice and tips on everything from where to find the perfect corset to decoding French pickup lines and how to capture that elusive "femme fatale" allure of Parisian women.

As my regular readers know, I had the pleasure of checking out this book on its release...what an interesting work! So, what advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Travel guide writing is very different from fiction writing. You really, really have to remember your audience, to keep your information informative, essential, and above all, evocative of the place you're writing about. Read a LOT. The biggest mistake all beginners make in all kinds of writing is using clichés and other hackneyed phrases. They really distinguish a professional writer from a hobby writer.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

I'm not sure that I do! I have two small miniature pinschers, Pedro & Lena, who force me to get away from my desk at least three times a day for walkies and dinner, but it's a constant struggle to remain balanced, especially when you're a freelancer. I tend to have a better grasp of how long any given assignment will take me now, but I still end up procrastinating (I'm a Facebook addict) and then not sleeping for three days when a deadline approaches.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

Some might think that travel writers don't get writer's block, but it happens. It's always hard to think of new and interesting ways to say the same things over and over. Or sometimes I'm just not in the mood to write, especially if life situations get in the way. To break through this, I just write the crappiest first draft I can, on purpose, full of clichés and bad puns. Then I can relax a little since I have something to work with besides a blank screen, and get to editing, rewriting, etc.6. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creatingyour book(s)?Naughty Paris is completely different from the other traditional travel guides I've done. And since I didn't have an editor telling me how to write it, I often agonized over the tone, the angle, the length, what to include or leave out...I must have changed it twenty times in the course of completing the manuscript. But I learned if I went with my gut and with what I knew *I* would be happy with in the end, then it would all come out okay. People can tell when you're writing with conviction from your heart.

Heather, thanks so much for being here today! Readers, you can find out more at

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Few Odds and Ends for Your Tuesday Viewing Pleasure

Some random thoughts this morning:

1. I saw the movie "300" over the weekend. It got rave reviews, but I didn't really like it. Lots of yelling and warriors fighting and blood and gore. Cool special effects, though.

2. I made Liz's Taco Pie for dinner last night and it was a hit with hubby (with me, too). Thanks for the recipe!

3. Last night was the first time all year I didn't bring home work from school. I had two whole hours in the evening in which to write - I didn't even know what to do with myself!!

4. Only 5 weeks until Christmas. 5 weeks! I haven't even started my shopping...

Current Word Count for Entwined: 3800

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: He bends over the playpen, enraptured by the way her tiny eyelashes fall against her cheeks, the way her tiny lips part with breath, the way nothing about this life has touched her yet, and he thinks he could spend a lifetime standing over her, watching her sleep.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Role Models

Hubby and I went to see the movie "Role Models" yesterday morning (10:30 am show for only $5.00!). It was more entertaining than I thought it would be, though it does have more than its fair share of raunchy jokes and language. But the acting is pretty good, along with the overall message. I did find it funny in a lot of places :)

Writing-wise, I'm doing OK. Of course, it's still the first week, so the bloom is on the rose. I still don't know where I'm going with this story, but the journey's fun so far...maybe because I have no expectations.

Current Word Count for Entwined: 2790

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: They slept together a few times last winter, until he realized she had neither the brilliance of her mother nor the charm of her father.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The First Day of a New Book

"There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence-an overwhelming determination to succeed." ~Sophy Burnham

Ah, the first day of tackling a brand new writing project. You might recall that, though I wanted to do NaNoWriMo, November 1st was a TERRIBLE time for me to start a new book, so I put it off until yesterday, figuring I'd do my own Book-in-a-Month from November 15 - December 14.

And so it began. However, this project is an experimental trainwreck, I fear. It's unlike anything I've ever attempted before, a sort of conglomeration of romance and literary and first-person and third-person and present tense and past tense all at once. I'm breaking every writing "rule" that probably exists, and I have a sneaking suspicion at the end of this month that I will have a big pile of words with no clear framework to hold them up.

But that's OK. I figure one month of experimental writing can't be a bad thing. At the very least, I might free up my brain from the same kind of writing I've been doing for the past 6+ years. Maybe I'll end up with something worth editing someday. Maybe not. But it will only be 30 days of writing.

Anyway, I decided I'd post my word count here each day, along with my favorite sentence from the previous day's work. I'm doing my best not to look back, just bulldoze forward and get words on the page. In fact, that's what I'm off to do right now, 'cause I just realized that 1600+ words each day is an awful lot to produce!

Current Word Count for Entwined: 1451

Fave Sentence: "Now Natasha stands in the center of a room that was her mother’s, her father’s, a room that should be hers but feels wrong, too big, too awkward, a shoe that will never curve around her heel and toes the way it should."