2 Blondes, 1 Redhead & a Reviewer

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

An ideal day?

Apparently I was doing that to forget to post.

So…ideal day or how to relax?

My Dad says my mom can’t relax because her ‘apron’ is always on. It’s tough to relax in your own house when there is always something to be done.  Well let me rephrase that; a woman can’t relax completely in her own house. Why?  Women go from Point A to Point B and see all the things that are wrong or undone in between.  Men go from A to B in a straight line, physically and mentally.  I know men.  As a Marine’s wife I’ve been around predominately men all my life.  If it isn’t interfering with their day, their moment of whatever, it doesn’t penetrate their brains.My mother needs to be away from her house to relax.

Not me.

My perfect (writer) day is writing a few thousand words of a story I want you to read.  That’s it.  Now, throw in some terrific Gevalia coffee and ending the day with a book someone else has written and I’m golden. Good.  Happy, in the shiznit place of delight.

So besides sleeping late and staying in my jammies, what’s an ideal day?  Takeout food and my family.  The take out is for me.  No cooking.  That means not even thinking about it. Check that off the list.  But I’m flexible.  It’s all about the mental freedom.  You have to give yourself permission to ignore the world and focus on your own wants and needs.  (I do) That goes for men and women. My husband works very hard and will drop anything to help another, but lately hasn’t done for himself.   I have to push him, for example, to go fishing.  Yet when he does, he returns so relaxed. I feel a little guilty when I am pampering only myself.

I’m learning to get over it.

I admit that I don’t relax well.  I’m wound up a little too tight.  Always have been.  You’d think I’d get more done in a day, but I don’t.  I get distracted very easily and lately, my willpower took a walk.  But when I’m really stressed, my solution is to surround myself with white light (imagination at work here people) and let it encompass me, and push out anything negative.  I know, a little heebee jeebee woo-woo but stress is all in the mind, so why not start there?


How do you spell R-E-L-A-X?

Sometimes, especially if you work from home, the line blurs between working and relaxing.  There is no time clock, so the days can be long (or short – shame on you).  No boss keeping track of your time and one eye always on meeting that next deadline.

I’m very guilty when it comes to my time management.  I enjoy working in large chunks of time.  Bursts if you will.  I’ve been known to work for 30 hours or so before I collapse in a puddle.  But that works for me.

The only times I actually do the relaxation thing is 1- on vacation and 2-days of jubilee.  By vacation I don’t mean the trips I take with my family.  Those are vacations with a lowercase v.  I’m talking a selfish vacation all by myself.  Be it a trip to see a friend or a cruise around the Caribbean, the time is mine to do with what I please.  As for days of jubilee . . .

Every single time I finish a project I take several days and do nothing.  I mean stay in my PJs like a root veggie.  I turn on the TV and start zoning out to some of my favorite shows.  My taste is very eclectic.  I’ll have various episodes of Chopped mixed in with Counting Cars and Antiques Roadshow.  Thank God for DVRs.

Once I have my fix of TV, I turn to reading.  I don’t read while I’m working so I save up a stash of TBRs.  When I read for pleasure and relaxation, I read true crime, preferably with pictures.  Every now and again I read fiction, but normally it will be something recommended, or it could be something burning up the charts that has me curious.

So how do you refuel?

Do You Get Vibes?

Do you get Vibes?  I’m talking feeling that ripples through you and you KNOW something is wrong.  I had that last night.

I was in my office, watching to TV and a wave of pinpricks slips down my body.  I recognize the feeling.  Sheer panic.  Something is very wrong.  Now I’m not one to have anxiety attacks so my first reaction is to go hunting for the reason.

Five minutes later, I get a call from my mom, my father is in the hospital with chest pains.  I thought, Don’t ignore that vibe again.  Dad is doing fine, resting and better.  He’s in his 80’s so surgery for anything is a big deal and luckily, that didn’t happen.

So, I’m back in my office, because the TV is so loud where ever my husband is, I can’t take it.  Once again, that feeling slides over me.  I smell something chemical, like burning rubber.  I go searching and I can’t find my husband.  And I’m looking everywhere.  No sign of Bob. I’m calling louder by now and get my youngest to start the search.  The CSI moment was when his smokes and cocktail were still in the kitchen and his dinner, freshly served, was getting cold.  Big panic. My husband is nearly 60 with high blood pressure. I’m running around our 2 acres with a flashlight in the dark, calling.  I see the dog, and he’s happy, and I’m still screaming for Bob.

No response.

Out in the back yard on the pool deck–still no response.  Panic is high. I’m imagining him on the ground, dead.  Yes, that’s the extreme but I’m a writer, my imagination does not sleep.  At a last ditch before calling the police… I turn on our deck lights.  There is Bob asleep in a beach recliner chair in the FAR end of the yard, a spot he never goes.  Panic doesn’t dissolve, it turns into sheer relief.  The tears come and swiftly escalate to sobs.  He’s alive and fine.  He walks over and realizes how upset I am and his arms go around me.  I really lose it.  Then as the sobs subside, I hit him, angry that he didn’t answer me.  For about three minutes I hated him for scaring me and almost pushed him into the pool!

So that’s a vibe that didn’t end in anything bad, but I know that without Bob, I’d want to join him.

Oh—and that chemical smell?  He was using WD 40 on the yard chair and then tested it out.  The test turned into a nap that nearly destroyed me.  Any wonder I want to beat on him now?

So, I ask, do you get Vibes, a signal of something?  How do you handle it?


Never surrender!

Unlike my fellow Babes, I have kept projects around for years. In my defense, I write different genres and for different publishing houses, and now my own self pub imprint. I write quickly, and relatively cleanly. I am no First Draft wonder, by any means.

I have learned about revising this year. I don’t like it <g> I have taken two stories written many years ago – Crimson Gold, five years, DD Valentine, three years, and turned them into different stories completely. It would have been easier and less stressful to rewrite the premise from scratch. 

I’ve learned also that I am stubborn, focused, and like a bulldog with a bone when it comes to making something work. Square hole, round peg. Give me a freaking hammer, and be done with it, lolololo. Not necessarily good traits, but there we are.

I have six partial manuscripts – story ideas that I haven’t had time to finish. I know they are there, and when I have time or they will fit in my schedule, I would like to get them done.  keep the content current, and voila.

Patience is not usually something I am graced with. But when it comes to eventually completing a project, I tend to work through until it is done. And done right.


Tally ho!


Same old, same old

First, sorry, I keep forgetting when Monday is *g*.  So we’re talking about what it means if you’ve been working on the same project for years.  It’s happened to a lot of us, but is it worth it?

Um, in two words, Hell no. After about 6 months you’ve polished it so often the finish has rubbed off.  Not only are you too close to the material to really see/fix any problems, but as time marches on, you’ve lost that freshness and enthusiasm.  I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met who tell me they’ve been working on something for 12 months or more.  Now yes, there are lightning strikes and sometimes those manuscripts sell, but most of those are manuscripts finished at one point and shopped for months or years.

So what’s the solution?  If you’re at the 6-month mark or if you’ve done three drafts, time to move on.  Time to get excited about your next project.  Tuck that old project in a drawer – or a flash drive – and take the lessons learned and move forward.  You can learn volumes about a project.  Honing skills necessary to improve your craft is always good, so don’t look at a long-running work as a failure.  Hopefully the most important thing you’ve learned is how to take a book from beginning to middle to end.

Conversely, if you’re a 3-chapter Sally, time to rethink your process.  If you’ve spent 6 months or more ‘polishing’ your first 3 chapters, time to bone-up on plotting and pacing.  I should know, I was a 3-chapter Sally for years.  I’d write the first three chapters, then have no clue where to go next, so I’d write 3 more chapters of a new project, then have no idea where I was going, and so on and so on.  In all those cases I knew the ending, I just didn’t know how to get through the middle of a book.  My saving grace was learning to organize my manuscript.  The first manuscript I wrote using organizational techniques I sold.  And I did it in one shot.  No drafts, no polishing, just made myself do it right the first time.

So take stock and be honest.   Especially to yourself.

Burn out… in spades

Confession. I am burned out.  I’ve been writing non stop for 22 years and the well is empty. I don’t know if I should just throw in the towel and call myself something else, but I can’t.  My mind won’t allow it.   I’m stuck between a rock and immovable place.  Three years I’ve been trying to get out of a blue funk.  Can’t go forward and can’t go back. I tried that. Writing a historical makes me roll my eyes. Its the language not the story.  I’m accustomed to shaving everything down for pacing and now when I need to slow it down add more, I can’t seem to find a zone.

Have a I mentioned that I hate being a writer this year?  Or that I’ve been here before?  Many times.  I doubt I’m the only writer in this place, but after so many years of busting my chops, I don’t have the need to write a specific story.  Not even Max’s., the last Dragon One.  It will get done, I can’t leave unwritten stories lying around though I have files of them weighing down drawers.

I’ve tried reading, watching movies, more reading of OPW and editing my first 7 chapters to death.  So I’m setting small goals.  My ass in a chair for one, and my back to the TV. ID Discovery is fun and interesting.. and yes I’m addicted.  But I have stories that I don’t think I can write as well as they should be.  This was never a problem before. that a big hill… ?  Sure I’ll climb that!    I miss that motivation. The one that enabled me to sell a Desire the first time out, no revisions.  (I know…. be in awe, I sure was)  It will come to me, I haven’t given up, though at times It feels like it.  I blame a lot of things, hormones, the slaughter of E books that aren’t up to par, which FYI is making editors reject rather quickly.  But I can’t use that anymore. I miss selling a deadline and working, but mostly, I miss that I WANT to get to writing feeling.  I love my job, just not this year.  And I do love it. How many jobs can you do in you pajamas?

Am I ready to give that up and put on Panty Hose?  NO way.  I am nothing, except a writer.  I write for a living, I make money at it and also I don’t write if I’m not getting paid. That last one has changed a bit. I’m writing more for less or no money to get my foot back in the door, before they try to shut it.   I have a great idea for a series, now to make it a story.  =)




Dragon Con – in a nutshell

This is the first time I’ve ever been to Dragon Con – 55,000 people- six hotels, with two runovers in addition.  Sherrilyn Kenyon has the corner on merchandising with her fabulous novels and Goth Barbies. C I Wilson, NYT author, and artist Heather Carr made a great impression from their double booth. We have love for the winged cat in common!

Wonderful agents Lucienne Diver and Dierdre Knight were in attendance, along with some small publishing houses, and an indy bookstore. There were writer tracks offered, and I met Nancy Holder and David Coe (among others!) There were bands – I fell in love with CruxShadow. We saw Peter Pepper, and a steam bunk band called the Extraordinary Contraptions. I danced with Kathleen Pickering and Shannon Aviles, and unicorns at a drum circle. There were t shirt shops and dice bins. Gamers, jewelry, decorative swords, anime, cartoon drawings to paintings, and the hall of fame. All kinds of celebrities were there to meet their public. First and foremost, Dragon Con is about fans. Costumes ran the gamut from a political statement to dressing up as your favorite Furry.

Piks and I were there to sell our latest novels, and meet readers. We did, and were touched by quite a few of them. People are amazing, whether dressed as the Breast Cancer Awareness Pirate (Moo!) or not dressed up at all – Miranda, Chelsea, Sydney – the experience was so terrific that we signed up already to do it again.Image


dragon con panel pic 2

dragon con panel pic 2

Dragon Con MG/YA panel

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