Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger...

I'm sick with a cold or the flu or something. My throat is recovering from being extremely sore since Saturday afternoon. My head is in a fog, though today it does seem to be clearing off a little, but not enough that my head isn't throbbing and the coughing and sneezing has become a natural part of my behavior. My nose alternates between being clogged up to running like mad. My body aches and the cold chills keep fighting with the hot flashes of a low grade fever, I believe. UGH!

I'm sitting at almost 37K, but I have a feeling that a week from now I won't be finished with my 5th novel like I had hoped for. I had set myself a goal of starting this one on the 4th of January and finishing it by my birthday on February 4th. This cold or whatever it is is taking a toll on my writing time, so we'll see how that goes over.

Since Saturday I've written all of 1,700 words. That's not exactly the kind of count I like to see over three days times, that's for sure, but when my head is thumping with pain and my eyes can't focus on the words, there's not much I can do to reconcile that until I'm feeling better.

Maybe I've been pushing myself too hard since the beginning of the year, or maybe its the fluctuation of the weather as of late. Plus, my husband recently broke his foot, so I've been taking up slack for the things he'd normally be able to do on his own or the things around the house that he'd usually help me with that he can't now. Maybe it's all just taken a toll on me.

I'm trying to give myself downtime to get better~ to tell myself that if I miss the mark on my goal of finishing this book it won't be the end of the world. Even if it takes me a week or so longer to finish it, that's okay, so long as I get better. The sooner I get better the more I'll be able to write.

The thing that gets to me is that I have started learning to set a "standard" for myself that if I start a novel, I will finish it in the shortest time possible instead of putting it on the back burner like I have done so many times before in the past when I first started writing.

I had so many false starts in my youth with my writing. I'd start, but if things got busy I would push my writing off, telling myself that I'd finish it "someday." I didn't make it a priority. I was young and naive and I didn't set goals for myself, so I never had to push myself to accomplish anything. Even with the writing bug eating away at me day in and day out.

In the past couple of years, I've started reshaping my way of viewing myself as a writer. And remodeling my writing patterns. NaNo had a lot to do with that. Writing a novel in 30 days inspired me to keep going, keep pushing through the walls inside me that kept telling me I couldn't do it. And since then- I've finished 4 and have this 5th one I'm working on now. And that's not the end of it. I still have a LOT more stories that I need to tell, that I have to get out of me. Probably some that haven't even surfaced yet.

Now if I could just get this fog to clear....I'll come out stronger for it! LOL

I'd like to ask, if anyone would like to chat or share about it~

What gets you through illness or tough times when you have writing to do, whether you're on a self-imposed deadline or a professional one?

Are there things you do to insure you keep going regardless?

Do you give yourself a few days away from writing to feel better? Or do you keep plugging away no matter how bad you feel or busy you are?

Are there any tricks you use to keep from getting sick or home remedies you use to help you feel better sooner?

I'd love to hear about it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Over 30

I hit the 30K mark last night on my current WIP. It's moving forward and I'm more than halfway to 50K, though I'm sure the novel won't end at that point.

The novel I'm working on now is the first book of a four book series about each of the Galloway sisters. Jasmine is the slightly clumsy, but classy, sophisticated interior designer with a down-to-earth side. She's the 2nd sister, but she's the one who got the first book. She bid on 1st place and won...LOL

Originally I had planned out which order the books would be in, but a few nights ago the oldest sister, Juniper, who is an actress, wouldn't shut up. She was like a bug in my ear when I was trying to go to sleep. She was telling me how things will pan out in her story and I was thinking-

"Hold on, I'm not done with Jasmine's story yet. You need to be quiet. And the next book was supposed to be Blossom's, not yours."

Being the oldest of the girls AND an actress, she loves the spotlight and well, she wouldn't let me go to sleep until I agreed to write her story next after I finish Jasmine's.

Blossom's will be the 3rd book. She the tall, slender sister, the runway model.

The last book is Violet's. She's the baby. A 2nd grade teacher.

My Galloway girls are the focus of my writing this year. If I get all four books done quickly enough, I will move on to some others- whether it be starting another book or getting back to my revisions for the other books I have already finished.

Baby steps...baby steps. :D I want to submit, but I know my finished works are not ready just yet.

Hope everyone has a great day!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Making Headway and Happily Ever Afters...

Yesterday I wrote just over 4,000 words, bringing my word count total up over 22K. That's more than I have written in a day so far this month with my current WIP. It felt good to jump over the 100th page mark as well. I suppose I just let go, relaxed and let it flow because it didn't really dawn on me until last night that I'd really written so much. I feel like I jumped over some invisible hurdle yesterday that was holding me back.

I knew I had slacked off because I hadn't been feeling that push or determination about getting my butt in the chair every day. I would catch myself checking blogs and emails instead of writing. But yesterday, I found some focus. I concentrated on my characters. I let them begin to lead the way.

Mind you, I still feel as though I have to give them a little push now and then to get them motivated in the right direction, but they're working with me. Which is better than feeling as though my characters are acting like rebellious teenagers who purposely do the opposite, just to spite the powers that be. They're being "good" kids...*knock on wood*

Of course, I don't think it hurts when I can "see" my characters in my mind. I don't really make a collage or anything like that, but I have started "casting" actors & actresses into the roles of my heroes and heroines, because once I have an idea what my characters look like, the story plays out more like a movie in my head. I've only just started doing this with my more recent works, but I'm finding it does make it easier to envision them as real people, living real lives.

Right now my hero and heroine are coming into awareness of each other, but there's a black moment coming soon that could set this budding relationship asunder. But of course! As strange as it might sound, I'm looking forward to the *new* conflict that will arise. I love romance, but I don't want to make this relationship easy. Easy is boring. I've got to make them work for it. Easy is the reason "happy" couples are written out of soap opera story lines.

If there's no conflict, no reason to fight for their love, then their story is basically over. If they have the HEA, there's conclusion and generally the writers close the door on that couple. A soap opera is basically a huge romance novel with a LOT of heroes and heroines blended together.

There are a few staple couples, the matriarchs and patriarchs of the families, but there always have to be some couples who are always in the midst of conflict. Fighting for the love they desire, the love they need. Once they find their way to each other, marry, settle down and have kids- they've got their HEA and they get categorized as a "normal" couple.

There are no obstacles in the way, so unless one of them is diagnosed with some incurable disease, that story line really has no where else to go. BUT, if the other person finds some obscure antidote in a jungle or on a tropical island and they go off on an adventure to find it, risking life and limb for the life of the one they love..that's continuity. There's something to fight for! Something to hope for! And a possible future worth saving!

Or you have the "put the child in peril" storyline- if a young child of a "happy" couple is kidnapped, then of course there's adventure to be had and more story to tell....especially if the couple is estranged and searching for their child will give them a bond that will bring them back to each other.

There are also love triangles, temptations and "unintentional affairs," Oh My! That, of course is on top of personal issues for characters like amnesia, rape, pregnancy, mental illness and skeletons in the closet. And then we have those oh-so-evil villians who manipulate, connive and do everything in their power to destroy "happy" couples...most the time for reasons unknown to the viewers. Soap operas have a way of making "small town life" big and busy....always with something going on somewhere, five days a week.

That's what keeps soap fans tuning in.

And well, when you write romance, you scale it down a bit. You have one couple and basically one storyline per novel,(though you might include a few small side stories that CAN sprout out into other novels for secondary characters) but you still need a lot of the same elements they use for soaps. You need attraction and love, character development, conflict and resolution.

I love writing romance for the same reasons I watch my soap opera. I cry with the characters, I cheer for their successes, I hurt when they hurt or lose someone they love and when they have their happily ever after, well I'm happy too. When a couple on my favorite soap are written out because they get their HEA, its not much different than finishing a good romance novel. I'm sad to see them go, but I still get a sense of satifaction knowing that "all's right with the world" where they're concerned.

And now that I've rambled on and on I'll leave you with this---

Have a great Friday and relax and enjoy the weekend with those you love. Surround yourself with the people who make YOUR happily ever after what it is.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tagged Again!

Let's see if I can do this one correctly. I'm not real tech savvy, so I'm not sure what this "Technorati Authority" means...but here goes
_____________________________________

This link loving in 2008 came from my friend Christie Silvers.

I have randomly selected 5 of you below to be tagged and I hope that you will similarly publish this post in your blog. You will have to tag 5 other bloggers and just keep adding on to the list.

(Do not replace, just keep on adding! Yes we hope it will be a long list!)

It’s real easy! Tag others and see your Technorati Authority increase exponentially!

The benefits of Viral Linking:- One of the fastest ways to see your technorati authority explode!- Increase your Google PageRank fast- Attract large volume of new traffic to your site- Build your community- Make new friends!

Add your blog url here...The Strategist Notebook Link Addiction Ardour of the Heart When Life Becomes a Book The Malaysian Life Yogatta.com What goes under the sun Roshidan’s Cyber Station Sasha says Arts of Physics And the legend lives My View, My Life A Simple Life What Women REALLY Think Not Much More Than This Christie's Thoughts
http://tarynraye.blogspot.com You are next...

Now, add/tag 5 of your friends blogs…
Dave P- http://www.myspace.com/biteme53
Jarrod- http://www.myspace.com/jrod0206
Jennifer- http://www.myspace.com/jendow23
Mecia- http://www.myspace.com/61460814
Heather- http://www.myspace.com/HeatherKeen

Monday, January 14, 2008

Life Has Been Busy...

If it's not household chores like laundry, dishes, cooking, etc...there's stuff with school for my stepson or other things going on.

I have started writing #5, though for 4 days I haven't had time or energy to work on it. I've been thinking about it, jotting down ideas and plot twists, but until this morning I hadn't written anything since last Thursday and even then I only wrote about 500 words. Today I have written over 2,000 so far. I've taken a break though to fold yet another basket of laundry and then talked to my mom for a bit and fixed my daughter lunch. I'm just now getting my butt in the chair and checking emails so I can clear my head for writing.

Won't be long though till I'll need to start supper too and there'll be dishes to wash, but lucky me- tonight is a Cub Scout Pack Meeting, so for a bit it will just be me and daughter at home while the boys are gone to the meeting. I'll put daughter to bed before they get back home- X fingers crossed X. Then I might be able to fit in some real "quiet time" writing and then I'm going to check out what's going on tonight on Romantic Dialogue radio on NowLive.

As for #5- I'm hoping that since I started it on the 4th of this month, it's my hope and determination to have the first draft complete by the 4th of February- my birthday. After that, I'll see where I want to head from there. There's 3 other stories that will go with this one, separate books about the other 3 sisters in this series. I'm hoping that by the end of this year, I'll have each sister's story down.

So anyway..that's my ramblings for today. I need to focus this chattiness toward working on my novel.

Hope everyone has a great Monday!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tagged

LOL- Here goes nothing...I've been tagged by my delightful friend Maddie James. Most of you know the drill, right? Someone tags you from their blog, you post the rules and the stuff, and then you tag more people. Loads of Fun.

Here are the rules, as given to me by Maddie~http://maddiejames.blogspot.com/

Link to the person who tagged you *check*
Leave a comment on their blog so that their readers can visit yours *check*
Post the rules on your blog *check*
Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog *check*(see below)
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post *check*
Include links to their blogs *check*
Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog (about to go do that now)

7 random or weird facts about me…

1. I can pick things up with my toes, which have been dubbed "lobster claws" by those who know me well. I can also pinch with them.
2. I once waited on Bobbie Ann Mason (author of In Country and several other books), when I was a cashier at Kroger and she kept commenting about the tiny metallic butterfly clips I wore in my hair.
3. I love old Sandra Dee movies, especially If A Man Answers and I'd Rather Be Rich.
4. I'm a closet karaoke singer.
5. I'm a stay at home mom to my 9 year old stepson and our 5 year old daughter.
6. I have 3 butterfly tattoos.
7. I love Friday the 13th and believe it's very lucky, after all, my daughter was born on Friday the 13th.

So, there is it...Now who to tag??? Check below-

Devon Matthews~
http://devonmatthews.blogspot.com/

Deana Hawkins~
http://www.myspace.com/countrygaldeana

Leann~
http://www.myspace.com/LeaAnnLarry

Heather~
http://www.myspace.com/HeatherKeen

Bryan~
http://www.myspace.com/bem16

Heidi Dahlquist
http://www.myspace.com/heidicd

Christie Silvers
http://www.myspace.com/christiesilvers

I'm off to notify my lovely tagged friends!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

That Tastes Like a Personal Victory!

Well, I did it. My 4th novel is finished....

At least the first draft is, and as I said in the previous blog, it does feel clunky to me, but at least I've written the last part and now it's time for it to simmer before edits and revisions. But just the act of typing the last chapter, the last line, the last word to my first draft is exhilarating and elating.

Truth is, I've been in a state of aggravation with myself over not finishing #4 DURING NaNoWriMo back in November. It has been a point of irritation within me to know that I didn't get it done then and for all of December I've chewed on my lip and sat on my thumb trying to get back to it with all the holiday stuff cluttering up my thoughts. The door to my writing flow was closed.

But today- clunky or not, it came out fine in the wash...at least until I get back to it after it rests a while.

Now I'm at another crossroads....where to go from here. I called my mom to tell her I finished #4 and in the process she asked me about what I would start next. I told her several of my working titles and gave her a general idea about each. She and I agreed that my next project will be one that I've been thinking about for a while. A series about 4 sisters and each one's struggle to find happiness with the right guy...even when they don't think they want or need one.

It wasn't really a hard decision considering that my girls were calling me no sooner than I typed the last line of #4. I had that gut instinct flagging me down to hitch a ride...and when I stopped- well, the four girls jumped in the car...So when I got to these working titles and told my mom a little about each sister she told me she thought these are definitely the ones I should go with because she thought they sounded really good.

So ready or not...I'm heading that way- down the road where Love is....

I'm off to fix myself the files for each and then I've got to get the meat on for taco/burrito night!

Have a great one!

A New Year ~ A New Post

2008.

It has pounced upon us. And with quite a cold bite. The past two mornings it has been bitterly cold, dipping down to 16ΒΊ yesterday morning, but with a windchill that made it feel like 3ΒΊ. This morning....11ΒΊ, although there's no windchill this morning...no brisk wind knocking at the door, so the temperature is accurate without figuring in the WC factor. Still, it is insanely cold and though it's somewhat warm in my home, my toes still feel like ice cubes in my socks.

This new year is also a new start to my writing. Yesterday I finished writing Chapter 23 of my current WIP and started Chapter 24. So far so good. I know it's a bit clunky, but I want to get the first draft finished before I move on to edits.

I've also accumulated round about 35 TBR books, so that's another thing on my list of things to do that is "writerly" related. I know I've got a bookcase full of wonderful writers, just a matter of balancing my reading time with my own writing time this year.

I'm not sure what direction I'm going to go after I finish up novel #4. I may take a short break- though I've basically done that through December...so more than likely I will do some editing and revising on my finished ones and look through my idea "box" and figure out which one I want to work on next. I do know I want to write at least 2 more books again this year, though if I can manage more than that, I'll definitely attempt it, though I know I'm also faced with the quandary of getting those edits done and polishing up so I can start submitting.

The last year or so has been amazing and I've come a LONG way from the writer I was before in terms of my determination and confidence to finish what I start and believe that I can achieve it. And I need to remember that I don't have to keep dreaming about being a writer. I AM a writer, whether I'm published or not. Writing is my heart. It's a part of me that I can't shake off because it's sewn into the fabric of who I am.

So here's to a great year- a great start- the next new chapter in my life.