Friday, September 28, 2012

Good Enough Isn't Always Enough.

I was reading a book and came across this statement. 

“I’m not interested in making what’s easy. I’m interested in making what’s beautiful”

It wasn’t talking about writing but it applies just the same.  I don’t want to throw a book together and make it just good enough.  I want it to be the best it can be.  I want to stretch and grow to get it there.  I want it to challenge not only me as the writer, but the reader too.  Otherwise, what’s the point of all the effort? 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pooped Right Out.

Please forgive the potty mouth title.  The other day I was reading over an excerpt and realized I had put “pooped” for “popped”.  Not quite the meaning or imagery I had wanted.  I think these types of misspellings are the most dangerous.  Not only is the misspelling a real word and therefore there are no spell check red squiggles underneath to give it away, it’s close enough to the real word that when you read it, you read the word you want, not the one that’s there. 

You know how it’s always easier to notice things in other peoples’ work?  I think author intent has a lot to do with that. When we read or own work we are so familiar with the story and the emotions that we don’t notice the clunky sentences.  We end up seeing what we meant not what we wrote.  That’s why crit partners and beta readers are so important. 

Other good ideas to help see your work in a new way are try printing it out, reading it out loud, putting it on an ereader or in a different font.  Anything that helps you view it differently than the last dozen times you’ve read it.  Maybe then you’ll catch the poop before it pops and you hit the send button.

Have you ever had a mistake like this, and did you catch it before you sent it?   

Monday, September 24, 2012

Entropy Again

I won an arc for IN A FIX over at Debutant Ball.  I had a bunch of books on hold at the library that all came in at the same time so when I this book came I put it on the shelf by my bed so I could concentrate on things that had a deadline.

It's probably a good think I didn't pick it up because when I did, I couldn't put it down.  It's a fun, fast paced read, full of twists and laughs.  If you're a fan of Janet Evonovich's Stephanie Plum series then you'll like this book. Personally, I think you'll like it if you're not a fan of Janet Evonovich either.  Warning, there is swearing and some adult themes.

And maybe I should have actually said what its' about.  Here's the blurb from goodreads:

Snagging a marriage proposal for her client while on an all-expenses-paid vacation should be a simple job for Ciel Halligan, aura adaptor extraordinaire. A kind of human chameleon, she’s able to take on her clients’ appearances and slip seamlessly into their lives, solving any sticky problems they don’t want to deal with themselves. No fuss, no muss. Big paycheck.

This particular assignment is pretty enjoyable... that is, until Ciel’s island resort bungalow is blown to smithereens and her client’s about-to-be-fiancĂ© is snatched by modern-day Vikings. For some reason, Ciel begins to suspect that getting the ring is going to be a tad more difficult than originally anticipated.

Going from romance to rescue requires some serious gear-shifting, as well as a little backup. Her best friend, Billy, and Mark, the CIA agent she’s been crushing on for years—both skilled adaptors—step in to help, but their priority is, annoyingly, keeping her safe. Before long, Ciel is dedicating more energy to escaping their watchful eyes than she is to saving her client’s intended.

Suddenly, facing down a horde of Vikings feels like the least of her problems

Another good book I recently finished is Dead Witness by Joylene Butler.  Suspense is not a genre I regularly read but I couldn't put this book down.

Here's the goodreads blurb:

 Valerie McCormick is a wife and mother from small town Canada. While visiting Seattle, she becomes the only witness to the brutal seaside murder of two FBI agents. When she flees to the nearest police station to report the crime, she becomes caught up in a web of international intrigue and danger. Suddenly, she and her family are in the sights of ruthless criminals bent on preventing her from testifying against the murderer. Even with FBI protection, Valerie is not safe. Whisked away from her family and all that is familiar to her, Valerie fights back against the well-intentioned FBI to ultimately take control over her life with every ounce of fury a mother can possess.

And Livia gave me the Daisy award.  Thanks Livia!  I'm supposed to list some weird things about myself.  I probably should have asked The Engineer what to put because he's always telling me I'm weird for things I think are perfectly normal and when I think something is weird he doesn't.  So weirdness aside here's some random facts about me.

I slept with my baby blanket until I got married.

I love to sing at home or in the car but I won't do it if anyone besides my kids can hear me.

I'm not a big fan of fruit based deserts.  Give me chocolate or ice cream any time.  Or cookies.  Seriously, you couldn't improve on the cookie.  I like pie, but only for the crust. Which is pretty funny as I have a reputation as an excellent pie maker.   

Every time I get a haircut I come home and trim it again myself. 

I can't cut or draw in a strait line and I'm not crafty at all.

I love yard work, but can't stand housework.

Hmm, I guess that's enough info about me.  Hope you all had a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


The blank page stares back at me.  I only have a glimpse of the MC, a faint idea of plot and the empty page waiting to be filled is overwhelming.  But I start, my fingers hesitant on the keys, slow, unsure as I try to find my way into the story.  As I slip into the characters my fingers go faster, each word inspires three more.  I think of things that need to happen to get them where they are, or to get them out of where they are. My mind wants to write these scenes at once.  It would be easy to get distracted but I keep on the path I started and before I know it the scene is done, hours have passed, and the real world is clamoring for attention, but, I smile.  I know I have a story here.

Monday, September 17, 2012


If, like me, your completely bummed by not getting into the GUTGAA judging round here's a little something to cheer you up.  Even if your not bummed you should enjoy it.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Gender Confusion

I just finished a book that has been getting some buzz in the book world.  I enjoyed the book, liked the concept, the writing was good, BUT it took me 70 pages to figure out that one of the MCs was male. 

70 pages! 

Now, before you all laugh at me, there were clues to his being a guy but he didn't feel like a guy.  To me (and maybe this is just me) he read like a girl.  Even at the end after constantly telling myself "remember he's a boy" I still couldn't quite get a feeling for him in my head.

What can I say?  We always talk about the subjectivity of writing and the reader/writer relationship. Maybe he came across as typically male to some people (though I can't figure out how)  I guess this reader couldn't see what the writer was trying to convey. 

Have you ever had this happen?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Importance of Being Named

I just started a new novel.  It's so much fun to draft and explore this world and characters and I'm very excited about it.  The only thing is none of my characters have names yet.  I know, it's weird. Whenever I come to a place where I need a name I end up writing some sort of identifying information like GHM, which stands for Golden Haired Man, or Young Soldier, or Hired Man. 

All these characters have names, they just haven't trusted me with them yet.  I know the characters will tell me when they're ready, but I hope they get ready fast.  It's quite awkward.  In the meantime I might just read a few name databases to see if anything resonates. 

How do you come up with names?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wide World of Books

As I research agents and agencies and check out their recently published books I'm amazed at how many books are out there.  How many I haven't read, or (hanging my head in shame) even heard of.  I used to re-read a lot of books.  I don't do that much now.  I've been introduced to so many amazing books. My TBR list is so long I just don't have time for it. Oh, I still pull out favorites every now and again, but it's a little overwhelming, the thought of trying to stay current in my professional industry.  Still, it's nice to know there's so many books out there, nice to know I'll never run out of reading material.  Even better, it's nice to know publishing is still a wide field and that, even with all those books out there, there's still room for more of us. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Printer Friendly

This post is inspired by Elise's post yesterday. On top of my bookshelf I have a stack of manuscript drafts. Sometimes it's the full draft, often just a chapter or partial.  What you can't see in this picture is one more draft that's in a black binder on the shelf.  It blended into the shadow. 

I know I'll recycle these at some point. I really do like trees and am not trying to kill them all off in one manuscript. but for some reason I just can't let them go yet.  To take them and drop them off at the recycling center would seem like abandonment.  Worse yet, it would seem like I had given up on the manuscript. Yea, I'm crazy, I know.  I have all those drafts on the computer.  Plus the finished project.  But I'm not ready to toss them.  There they'll stay until my beautiful book is published or shelved.  Then I'll be able to move on. 

What do you do with your printed drafts?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hi, How are you?

It's time for the GUTAA meet and great.  Deanna has some questions about ourselves to answer and I'll try to come up with something interesting.  If any of you have any questions about who I am or what I do feel free to ask them in the comments section.  Otherwise here goes.

Where do you write?
Generally at my desk in the bonus room above the garage. I do carry a notebook around in my purse and sometimes I come up with some pretty good scenes while I'm out and about.

Sit down at your writing space and look to the left.  What do you see?
Right now?  A mess.  I found a new cooking website and printed out a bunch of recipees so right now I have papers everywhere.  Normally I'm pretty tidy though. 

Favorite time to write?
I don't have a favorite time. With a two year old and a three year old I just get to squeeze it in whenever I can.  If I waited for a favorite time I'd never get anything done.

Drink of choice while writing?
Again, I don't really have one.  While I sometimes snack on chips I rarely drink at the computer. I'm way to clumsy and I'm terrified I'll end up dumping it on something electronic and important.

Music or silence?
Silence.  Unless you count the noise of kids or whatever Hubby is working on.  I'm pretty good at tuning those things out.

What was the inspiration for your latest Project?
The work I'm currently querying was inspired by the poem The Betrothal by Edna St Vincent Millay.  It has always been a favorite of mine and while I was thinking about it one day one of my MCs, Paul, came up and introduced himself.  It was like he was just waiting for me to find him. 

Most valuable writing tip?
Just keep writing and don't give up. 

Otherwise, I'm a wife and mother of two. I graduated in comparative literature with a minor in Russian.  I was only two classes short of a second minor in horticulture but The Engineer was graduating at the same time and looking for jobs and I didn't want to say behind for a semester in case we ended up getting a job far away.  I like quilting, gardening chocolate and family.

It's Labor Day!  I'm going to go labor in my yard. See you later.