Saturday, January 03, 2009

Which Would You Rather Read?

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." ~Mark Twain

One of my goals this year was to write articles for ezines and newsletters...and I have one deadline coming up in the next couple of days, if I want in on the January Samhellion newsletter. The theme is Goal Setting/Resolutions (of course), and I can write pretty much anything I want to: a "how to", a general article on the writer's life, a recipe, a short story...

I just don't know which one. I don't feel particularly inspired in any direction, but I'd also like the promo and publicity that comes with having an article published, so I want to do something. Hmm.

Which kind of piece would you most likely pick up and read? Are you looking for inspiration in setting and meeting new goals? A glimpse into my personal life? Or maybe just a light, humorous read? A new recipe? A story to warm the heart?

Help me out, please!!

Friday, January 02, 2009

On Writing

"But before I go, I want to thank you for coming. Would I still do what I did if you didn't? Yes, indeed I would. Because it makes me happy when the words fall together and the picture comes and the make-believe people do things that delight me. But it's better with you, Constant Reader. Always better with you." ~Stephen King

That quote is from the Introduction to Just After Sunset, Stephen King's newly released collection of short stories. I got it for Christmas and started reading last night. And was immediately reminded why I always liked his writing: he is a phenomenal story-teller. In his short stories, he relies more on suspense and perfect characterization than horror, in case you're not a fan of his longer works. By the way, if you're a writer and haven't yet read his book On Writing, go pick it up today. Really.


Also if you're a writer, a lengthy article in the most recent Romance Writers Report covered's multiple opportunities for authors. Most of them I had no idea about. Check these out:

**Writers and readers can create a profile area where they can blog, store pictures, and share bio information.

**Authors and readers can chat and interact.

**Spice Briefs, Silhouette Nocturne Bites, and Harlequin Historical Undone are short stories/novellas that readers can purchase OR places where aspiring authors can submit short pieces to get their foot in the Harlequin door.

**Readers who are members can get free online reads.

**Aspiring authors can also get podcasts by Harlequin editors talking about what they're currently seeking.

**And editors hold pitch sessions every quarter, during which aspiring authors can actually pitch to an editor in real time, through online message boards. Pretty cool, huh? The article claims that 50 aspiring authors have so far sold their first book to Harlqeuin that way -- 21 in 2008 alone. So what are you waiting for??

Thursday, January 01, 2009

My Writing Goals for 2009

"We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential." ~Ellen Goodman

Happy New Year! Can't believe it's really 2009...

Marianne asked me in the comments yesterday if I had something else I'll be working on this month instead of Entwined. And that got me thinking about my writing goals for this year. I haven't made any formal resolutions for the rest of my life, but it's not a bad idea to have some benchmarks for my writing. So here we go:

Writing Goals for 2009 (remind me to revisit this blog post on December 31, 2009)

1. Finish Entwined (see -- I will!) & figure out where to submit it
2. Write another One Night novel (polished draft) and submit to Samhain
3. Sign a publishing contract for Summer's Song
4. Write another Pine Point novel (rough draft)
5. Write at least three articles for various ezines/newsletters

What about you? Any goals for the new year, writing or otherwise??

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Farewell to 2008...

"Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. " ~Benjamin Franklin

Ah, I'm waxing nostalgic today...can't believe another year has come and gone! Sometimes I write resolutions for the new year, but I haven't gotten around to it yet, so that may not happen for 2009. Instead, here's a reflective meme that I swiped (and shortened):

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before? Held my own book signing!!

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? About half. And no, I probably won't make resolutions for 2009. I have some idea of what I'd like to accomplish, and that's enough for now.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Not this year.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thank goodness.

5. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? More free time. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening!

6. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? I'm gonna have to go with November 4, 2008 - the election of Barack Obama as U.S. President. Historic.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Probably developing my writing career and realizing I can write more than one book!

8. What was your biggest failure? Hmm. Not traveling as much as I wanted to.

9. What was the best thing you bought? My laptop and a wireless connection for the house!

10. Whose behaviour merited celebration? The American voting public, absolutely.

11. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed? Where to start? How about with the guy who dressed up as Santa and shot 9 people on Christmas?

12. Where did most of your money go? Savings, actually. I'm very diligent about that.

13. What did you get really, really excited about? My various book signings!

14. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Probably about the same. Maybe a little sadder just because of some personal/family things going on right now.
ii. thinner or fatter? Also about the same. I try really hard!
iii. richer or poorer? Richer, in both money and life experience.

15. What do you wish you'd done more of? Traveled abroad.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of? Given in to my sweet tooth!

17. Did you fall in love in 2008? With a person? No. With new experiences? Yup.

18. Did your heart break in 2008? Yes, but not due to unrequited love.

19. What was your favourite TV program? Hmm. I'll go with favourite NEW TV program: Fringe.

20. What kept you sane? My writing. My family. My friends. The pets at the shelter where I volunteer -- nothing like furry love to make the bad feelings go away!

21. What political issue stirred you the most? The US Presidential campaign and election.

22. Who was the best new person you met? I met some cool people during my writing and book travels. And also my new students this year :)

23. Favorite book you read? I can't say I read one that really blew me away, unfortunately.

24. Favorite movie? Probably "21." Based on a true story, it's got a good script and good acting. I'd see it again.

25. What are your plans for 2009? Continue to write -- sign at least one more book contract -- and travel outside of the US.

What about you??


And here is the final installment of "progress on Entwined." I reached 33, 000 words - not great but not awful. I do have something decent with which to work, though, when I have time to pick it up again in 2009.

Current Word Count for Entwined: 33,137

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: Maybe identity is everything; maybe it explains the pieces of him that never felt complete until he came to Blakely, the reason he fell for Natasha, the struggles she faces whenever she looks at a blank sheet of paper, the way words fall like waterfalls for him, when the mood is right.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Made-up Memoir

"Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened." ~Winston Churchill

Did you see this article about the "Holocaust survivor" couple who lied in their memoir? Berkley Books has canceled the release of "Angel at the Fence" after discovering that the author made up this "true life" love story about young children who meet on opposite sides of a concentration camp fence and then reconnect years later and marry. The author claimed he only wanted to spread love and hope to readers. In fact, he and his wife met on a blind date in NYC and have been married for over 50 years.

I feel like it's A Million Little Pieces all over again. Why is it that people feel they have to lie to sell a story?

Current Word Count for Entwined: 32,356

Yesterday's Fave Sentence(s): I think I’m in love with you, he wants to say. He moves his mouth against the skin of her shoulder, practicing.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Decision

Yes, a decision ~ I'll be signing and mailing my contract for One Night in Napa to Samhain Publishing today! Funny: the other two contracts I signed with them were dated January 2007 and January 2008. Must be a winter thing, hmm? Actually, I've made the decision to try and write/submit more than one book a year, so that I have something coming out on a slightly more frequent basis. Of course, I say that now, but actually doing the writing is a whole different story! That also means that I will likely put aside Entwined pretty soon. It's a fun project, and I've loved working on it, but it needs so much more time and attention and development that it may get put on the back burner for a while, after January 1st.

Anyway, the agent who had been reading Napa sent a rejection yesterday, which made it a whole lot easier to sign that Samhain contract without guilt or "what if" wondering. I know it will be released in 2009, I know it will go to print, and I really like my new editor. So I'm happy, overall.

Summer's Song is still with the Avon editor (I won't be expecting any feedback on that for a couple of months, at least). If Avon doesn't want it, I will probably also submit that one to Samhain. I do like working with them; they have an aggressive owner who is making bigger strides in the industry all the time; and I like building up a readership by keeping my name in one place, at least for now.

So it's a nice way to round out 2008. What about you? Goals or resolutions for the new year?

Current Word Count for Entwined: 31,453

Yesterday's Fave Sentence:(s) Involved. It’s a funny word, he realizes. It can change into pieces like I loved or O devil if you hold it up to the light and twist it.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

How Quickly is "Quickly"?

"True friendship is a plant of slow growth, and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity before it is entitled to the appellation." ~George Washington

Question: when an agent tells you she will read your book "quickly," because she knows you've been offered a contract by a publisher, how many days/weeks/months do you think that should reasonably translate into? Let's take into consideration the December holidays ~ then give me your best guess.


The loveliest surprise: when you open your email account and discover a message from someone in your far distant past, one of those friends who once was part of your daily life and then kind of disappeared with time. That's one of the nice things about growing older, I suppose - getting to rediscover people from your past and realizing how rich your life is when you add them to the people in your present.


Current Word Count for Entwined: 30,605

Yesterday's Fave Sentence: There are truths that should stay hidden, truths that belong to no one except the people who create and hide them in the first place.