Thursday, October 30, 2008

2 Days and Counting

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us.

I keep thinking- How can I still be this excited about NaNo?

This is the 3rd year I'll be participating and I'm still just as antsy and eager and nervous and thrilled as I was the first year I attempted it- thinking I wanted it so badly, but didn't think I could possibly accomplish it in just a month.

And then I did.

And then I did last year, too.

It blows my mind to think that 2 years ago, before NaNo started, I had barely finished my first novel. Since my participation in NaNo, I've written 7 more novels and this will be number 9 I'll be working on during November.

Of course, Halloween is the night before and we're taking the kids trick or treating. My baby girl is going as a cheerleader and stepson is going as Darth Vader. Hubby's going as a zombie and I'm going 80's retro- big hair, bright make-up, funky clothes.

It's sure to be "interesting" to say the least. Much as I don't want to take time away from the start of NaNo- we've got to go grocery shopping Saturday (since our normal grocery day is Friday night, but that's the night of trick or treat) and we're going to drop the kids off with hubby's mom in the afternoon so we can get what little is left of the Christmas shopping done.

Yes- we're ahead on the shopping this year. I've got a lot of stuff ordered on the net, so I'll be having to keep an eye out for all the items arriving over the next few weeks.

I've also gotta straighten my daughter's room and get it organized. My cousin is giving us a twin size bed for her that is in storage at the moment. I've already ordered a brand new Tinkerbell bedset for it and I'm hoping we'll get it before the holidays.

I also have to go through my closet and pull some stuff out that needs to be put in the basement because it's just taking up space in my closet and plus I need to make room to hide presents this year. Last year I used the spare bedroom to hide all the presents- This year my stepson was moved into the spare room and daughter was moved to his old room, so the spare room is right out in the open in the middle of the house. Kinda hard to hide stuff in plain sight.

So, amidst all the stuff I need to get done this weekend, I've also got to fit in time to write. Can I do it? Oh, I'll find a way...No doubt.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thursday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkins

Well, I did it- got both the kids' pumpkins done- Aren't they purty? Chris's is the one with wolves, Koty's the cat and pumpkin.

Koty didn't really want to use a different design, but I think it turned out pretty good.
Now I need to rest my wrists for NaNo!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Pumpkin Carving Mayhem!

Well, I set out this morning to carve both the kids pumpkins. I got Chris's done, but Koty's pumpkin was being a rotten little booger. She wanted this cat design and unfortunately it had such intricate designs that after I got the small details done and started to cut out the rest of the larger portions, the cat's head and then body fell out- so the only thing there was a big empty hole.

So aggravated- mostly with myself. I just can't believe I messed it up.

Dave's going to pick up another pumpkin for Koty that I'll work on tomorrow, unless I get the notion to work on it tonight. I'm developing a sore throat and my head feels like it's going to explode. Hopefully she'll pick an easier design and I'm going to take extra care to get the stencil just right, too.

Considering I botched one today, I'm going to wait to post the pictures I intended to post until I have both pumpkins fixed up. But I will- Promise.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Working a Playlist

I'm trying to build a novel writing playlist for my NaNovel. I've does this before when writing other novels and am trying to find songs- albeit I have a rather large collection of older CDs- it's hard to find "just the right" songs. You make do with what you have though, right?

For the variety I'm going to my NOW and Totally Hits CDs. There are a lot of songs I've got on cassette that would work, but well- can't rip them to the computer the way I can CDs.

I've also been searching online for pumpkin carving stencils because Chris's mom bought him and Koty both a pumpkin and rather than let them sit on the porch and rot- I told the kids they could pick a design and while they're at school I'll carve them so we can put a candle in them and they'll get to enjoy them for a little while.

Got homemade beef stew going in the crockpot this chilly morning and plan to make some yeast rolls after while. Might attempt making clover rolls, but not sure yet. They would be cute.

After I get the song playlist laid out, I'm going to spend more time working on the bare bones of my novel and get more ideas on the page so I have plenty to go on. Of course, you can't start writing even the first page until November 1st, but the more ideas and plot lines I can think of, even if they don't make it into the novel, the better. I'm shooting for the 50K for my 3rd win, but I'm aiming for the novel to actually come out somewhere around 80-85K total on word count.

A continuation of my prior four book series about the sisters- this novel will pick up the beginning of the stories about the four brothers of the hero in the 4th in the first series. Did that make sense? LOL It sure was a mouthful!

Hope you have a great Monday! Stay warm!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

So Many Thoughts...So Little Time

My head is abuzz with so many things right now. Autumn has truly settled upon us. It was 44ΒΊ this morning- Brrr... I feel the surge of energy, the need to nest and prepare for warm, cozy hibernation in the coming winter months.

My thoughts are turning to NaNoWriMo, holiday decorating, gift shopping, mailing cards, the kids' birthdays, days spent with loved ones with good food and conversation- everyone talking over everyone else. Can we say I've got the end of year jitters? LOL

That's not a bad thing- I'm just full of an energy- ebb and flow of the excitement that always greets me this time of year.

I've already made my donation to NaNo and ordered my shirt for this year. Can't wait to get it!

I've been trying to sort through ideas for the kids and hubby for gifts for Christmas. Hubby isn't so hard- it's dividing the kids lists among the grandparents. My mom doesn't really care if I make a list and doesn't really follow it if I do. Hubby's mom tends to follow the list and then add more that WASN'T on the list. Hubby's dad- they sometimes get the suggested items and sometimes they get what they find. It's tough to get through to all the grandparents that they don't have to go overboard- especially with big items. We prefer smaller ones- CDs, DVDs, books, etc. Stuff that's not going to take up what little space the kids have left in their rooms.

We'll see how that goes. My daughter's room is a disaster zone as it is and she's not willing to give up any of the toys she has. And this year she's really hoping to get my old Barbie RV for her dolls from me as part of her birthday present. Now just a matter of me figuring out what she can do without in her room in order to make room for that thing! Haha!

Busy, busy, busy...I need a nap! LOL

Friday, October 17, 2008

Where'd I Put My Groove? (crosspost from myspace)

Since I've been back home I did hang that wallpaper- but all the hard work done me in. LOL

I haven't opened any writing files or worked on anything as far as brainstorming or outlines or anything. I think my brain shut down cause it KNOWS NaNo is coming up- taking a "hibernation" of sorts until then..Here's hoping the noggin wakes up before the 1st of November! LOL

I do still need to work some outlines for the novel I'm planning to write. I have a little, but not enough to suit/prepare me for starting on it- bare bones.

This Sunday is also my hubby's birthday- so I've gotta make him a pineapple upside down cake- his favorite. Saturday we are going to his mom's for a cookout- hopefully it doesn't rain. But before we go over there we're going to go up to town so he can take care of getting his driver's license and registration and tags taken care of and then off to Wally World so he can pick out what he wants for his birthday. Knowing him, I have a feeling he's going to end up with a couple of new movies- Indy and Ironman (most likely).

While we're there- I've got to look for a few things for my Halloween costume and get some stockings for Koty's cheerleader costume so her little legs don't freeze while trick-or-treating.

Where has October gone? It's just flying by. Before we know it '08 will be over- and in all honesty- I'll be glad. It's been a rough year, not just for my little family, but for family and friends around me. We've had to replace the stove, the washer, have the roof fixed. Work has gotten busier for Dave and he's doing all right, but I hope he's not working himself into bad health again. Two years ago when he had pneumonia and was hospitalized, it was devastating and here's hoping we don't have a repeat of that- not so soon after the last bout of it.

One of my uncles was diagnosed with rectal cancer and he's doing all right, though his is too far gone for treatment to help. One of my aunts was diagnosed with lung cancer- her chemo and treatment helped a LOT and she's doing good. My aunt who has brain cancer is still doing very well- coming up on 5 years of surviving next year. An ex of mine's father has cancer and my friends' mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Relatives of friends have died. My old landlord from back in the day when I lived in my apartment passed away. And then last night my sister called to tell me a classmate of mine from back in school died in a terrible work-related accident in my hometown. He was only 34 years old (barely older than me, cause I'll be 34 in Feb).

This has been a year full of scares, sadness and trouble and I'll be glad to get into 2009 with hopes that things start to get better. We need a break from tragedy and disappointment.
A few good things that have happened this year though- To shine the spotlight on the brighter side-

I'm back in touch with my best friend. A very good thing. My daughter started kindergarten and is doing really well. My friend who's been in Japan with her husband in the Air Force for quite a few years found out they're being transfered out to England at the beginning of the year. She's really excited about that. Another friend is pregnant with her first child.

I've written 4 novels (so far) this year. Mind you, they need more added to them to get a decent word count, but I did "finish" four- now it's just a matter of plumping them up into big healthy novels and I'm hoping to complete number 5 in November. Marriage is good. Kids are good.

Maybe there's at least a little balance in the good and bad. Now if I could just find my groove and get it back! I know it's around here somewhere! LOL

Have a wonderful Friday everybody!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Journey as a Writer

I've probably been writing as long as I can remember, but I think the moment I realized I wanted to be a writer was around the time I was 10 years old. I had been writing and illustrating little teenage HEAs and letting my friends read them while we sat on a blanket under a tall tree in our yard. Of course, those little stories are long gone. I tossed them in my "I'm an adult now and that's so immature and stupid" phase. In some ways I wish I still had them, just for a good laugh.

I don't remember how old I was at the time my mom told me she had a book she wanted me to read she thought I would enjoy. It was a Harlequin novel called The Guarded Heart by Robyn Donald. I laughed and cried and after that I couldn't get enough of reading romance novels, so I would forage through my mom's collection and read what I could. The stories inspired me and I knew I wanted to write like that.

My family knew I wanted to be a writer- I was always jotting something, staying up late on weekends and during summer vacation to write in notebooks. I took spiral notebooks and pencils and pens with me everywhere I went, in case I wanted to work on something or got an idea. My parents got me a Smith Corona typewriter/word processor and several books about writing and the business for Christmas the year I was 17.


My dad sat me down and warned me that it wasn't an easy business to get into and that I might still have to work a day job if writing didn't "pan out." He told me the writing world could be harsh and critical and I better prepare myself for rejections and disappointments. It wasn't that he didn't believe in me, and he wasn't trying to be mean, he just wanted to make sure that if I dreamed big, I wouldn't see things through rose-colored glasses.


My mom on the other hand encouraged me and told me she knew I had it in me and she believed in me, even though she'd never read anything I'd written other than papers for school. I started writing a lot more in my late teens and early twenties, but somewhere along the line, my fear of failure or success got in the way along with working and just taking care of myself.

I had started writing a novel that was near and dear to my heart because of something personal I had gone through and I needed to get it out, but eventually I got to a part in the story that, emotionally, I wasn't prepared to write. Life again got in the way as well and I stopped working on it and any other writing other than poetry and song lyrics.

That was around the time I was probably about 20 or 21. I didn't pick the story back up until I was 31- a ten-eleven year span of feeling like something important was missing in my life because I wasn't writing.

Throughout those years, I changed jobs, moved away from home and back again, had different relationships it seemed my life had little room for anything else. Then I moved here, got married, became a step mom and then a mommy myself. There wasn't time for writing, no matter how much the desire taunted me constantly that I should be writing something, anything, everything.

In the late summer of 06' a friend's encouragement nudged me into digging out all my old writing papers and ideas. If nothing else, I had to prove I could finish that novel I had been so determined to write all those years before. And I did. I'm not gonna lie though...when I went back and reread it- it was awful...stunk...wasn't fit for anything. I've since done a few rounds of revisions on it and it's beginning to shape up, fingers crossed.

But once I finished it, therein lay the next step- what else could I write and finish and how long would it take me. I was convinced another 10 years. LOL But I discovered National Novel Writing Month shortly after. I took the chance and came away with a 82+K first draft- in a month.

The first person to read something I'd written? I kept my writing to myself for the most part for years. No one read it but me. Fear and insecurity washed over me and there still aren't many who I'll allow to read my writing- at least not at this time....

My husband offered to read it, but never has. My friend offered too but never did...but my biggest supporter? My mother? She said-

"Print that story out and let me borrow it. My daughter wrote a novel and I want to read it because I'm proud of you."

She liked it, bragged on it and told me she knew I could do it- now when was I going to start submitting it to get it published? LOL She says she wants to see me published before she dies, cause it would be a shame if she never go to see me accomplish it. :D

It's still going to be a little while though. I have work to do and lots more to add to a few of my novels that fall short on word count. Given just a little time and hard work and determination, I think it's manageable.

Since then, I've let my sister read my four book series. She liked them, loved them even, though she did have some critiques for me, but with good intentions that helped me clear my head to see what mistakes I had made.

Now to get these others shaped up and extended to a decent word count and polished and I'll see where it goes from there.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Had One of Those Days

I did a lot of cyber surfing yesterday checking out agent and publisher sites and blogs. Did I learn anything?

Absolutely.

I'm about 20K off on word count for the majority of my manuscripts for what most publishers want in novels.

What does that mean for me?

I need to go back through and figure out how to "extend" the stories. A few I know needed a little more to them anyway, but with a few of them, the story was pretty tight from start to finish, meaning there's little room for big changes, unless I also do a LOT of editing of other parts.

And that also means I'm not nearly as ready to start submitting as I thought I was. At least, not until I get this under control and take care of it. So it looks like I'm back to work on each different novel, plotting extra scenes and adding more depth and description, etc.

I'm going to work on that this month (October YIKES- where did this year go?) and then I'm going to work on my NaNovel next month and get it finished, and work toward a higher word count on it as well. Then I'll take a break from that one to come back to the others and cover my bases.

I'll get it eventually. It was a bit disconcerting and did give me a few moments of "what am I even thinking?" yesteday. Those moments of self-doubt and self-loathing reared their ugly heads, but now that I know what I need to do- that's what I will do.

First and foremost today, I need to get my current word counts and see where I go from there. Wish me luck!

Have a great first day of October!!!