Thursday, June 30, 2011

Well Worth The Effort

You know I've been struggling over the giraffe tale. Such a little thing.

Today my daughter finally got to read the four thousandth draft. She loved it. Nearly jumped up and down. Said all the places she thought it lagged had been successfully changed to great action. The flavor is now back to the original. (not sure if that was chocolate or strawberry)

There is only one part - pretty by itself - that both of us wondered at. That means it must be changed... but that is feasible.

Will not be able to work on it tonight. There's a 4th festival nearby and I'm taking the little one.
Tomorrow - while she's swimming - I'll work on that last little part and then send it off to my editor.

THEN - the final touches on the cover letter and off to some publishing houses.

Life is grand.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Ah - a writer's life for me....

The last two days have been spent working on the little two-hundred eighty some word picture book. I am still mind-boggled over this process. I suppose, if I'd not received input suggesting I make some changes, I wouldn't be in this predicament. I'd be having fun writing 'Blue.'

I've got all the rhymes right - but will it still tickle my heart the way the original did? That's the question of the hour.

I'm putting it aside for a couple days - to let it simmer in the pot. We'll see what it smells and tastes like when it comes out.

That means - I can turn to 'Blue' with renewed vigor.

I meet with one of my writers' groups on Saturday. They will commiserate with me - bless their dear hearts!

As for now - life is tenable.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Letting Go

I don't know if publishers realize that authors are subcreators. Tolkien used that term when speaking of created fantasy worlds. I think it goes further than that. 

To me, it means that I accept the gift of writing (what one could call the Muse). I accept it and develop it, much like a mother's body does her child.

How, then, can I 'let it go?'

And yet, that is the norm. What 'they' say to do. Write your story, tale, poem, adventure, thing, submit it, and then go on to the next 'bit.'

Doesn't seem logical, does it? 

Yet - in the end we do have to 'let go' of our children so they can grow and become adults.

Perhaps the time frame is my problem. With children, you get a long time before you must let them go. You also get a lot of 'little' let them go moments in their lives. Kindergarten, dating, college. You have the time to get accustomed to letting go. You get 'trial runs.'

I think that might be the first lesson that an author should learn. Letting go in increments. Ah - critique groups fill that. Having an editor does the same.

Ok - I can handle that. Along with coaching. Can't forget that my editor is my coach.

Life is letting go.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Second Posting

Sorry for the second posting of the day, but I just had to jump up and down and share that I finished Chapter Seventeen.

I'm off to spend time editing it. But such fun and such a feeling of accomplishment.

Especially since this is the chapter my daughter said needed a severe re-write. I did it and was still able to save a lot from the cutting room floor.

Hooray hooray!

Life is good.

Friends and the Lottery

Too hard to find good ones. Too hard to win one.

Met with Cheryl from the Writer's Ink group. She gave me two hours of her time today. Bless her. She'd done some research too and brought it with her. A great asset, this woman, and I hope to continue to develop our friendship. (She'll be wanting a 'thank you' in the acknowledgments section! And she'll get it.)

She mentioned the lottery and I had to laugh. I had been thinking about this publishing thing, and the slush piles that sit on publishers/editors desks. If anything is like a lottery, it is that!

Winning the lottery, finding the perfect man, having a best friend, winning that dream vacation, losing fifty pounds in time for 'that' wedding, being a successful writer. I'm sure you can think of more. 

I suppose my chances of being published are a wee bit better than my chances for winning the lottery, but I shiver when I think of those slush piles. I do have talent. I know that. I must continue to hone my patience skills and keep my courage from flagging. And submit, submit, submit. It's like the lottery - if you don't buy a ticket, you can't win. If I don't submit, I can't get published.

Didn't have a chance to get the MS to my daughter today. I will tomorrow. My friend helped me re-write the cover letter. She had some great thoughts. The first one, and one I've known about, is not to send a 'blind' letter. "But darn it all," I exclaim, "I can't find names at the publishers websites." "Call them," she says. Ok, I can do that.

Life is taking a chance.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Time Consuming

I truly cannot believe how long it takes to write a simple little children's picture book. I will never pick one up again without thinking of the sweat and tears that probably went into writing it!

I don't have trouble with drabbles. I just write until the thought is complete and then go back and delete or add words to make it the 100 words that a drabble is supposed to be. I've always liked drabbles. *moans*

I went through all the rhyming words. It's taking days. I think I've got it down now. I will take it to my daughter tomorrow and see what she thinks. She has become an amazing asset in this process.

After I get her approval, I'll send it off to my editor. If it comes back with no RED marks (whoo hoo), then I'll send it off to publishers.

A friend is meeting with me tomorrow to discuss how to find out who to send it to. If you remember, in an earlier post of mine I was going quite mad trying to find who to send the MS to at a publishing house.

Life is going great guns!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Giraffes are going strong

Had my writing class Tuesday night. Was blown away by the great comments from my instructor/editor. She also took the picture book to her 'poetry expert' who agreed with her. The book is coming along nicely. They loved the meter. Said it worked quite well.

Only problem was - I was 'cheating' with rhyme. I'd use class and past - they said to try to keep it 'pure' so I'm going back to the problem areas and rewriting. 

It's not hard - not frightening - but time consuming. But what better thing to spend my time on than my little bit of subcreation.

Life is good.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Character Names

Honestly, I wrote a bit of the latest chapter but then ran into the snags we all do at times. 

Character names! I've got four boys who are squires and they must have knights - so - four more names. Love it! Not really. 

Fantasy demands different names than 'normal' writers, I think. I create a world and the names can't be Joe or Fred or Jane. They've got to have a tinge of 'fantasy' to them. Also, when I'm creating a world that has at least four different countries, that means that the folk coming from each country should be different. And also the same. Different than the other three countries and yet all the same 'type' in the same country. I hope that makes sense. 

I tell you what - if there is a country named Curry, and that name's roots come from Ireland, then the folks who live in Curry should have names that are Gaelic or Irish. And so on down the list of characters.

It's a challenge, but it's necessary. It's important. 

I succeeded, I think. I had to put the names down on a separate sheet, their country of origin, and all the folks who live in that country - trying to keep things straight. But well worth it. They flow better. If my readers are sharp, and I think they are, they'll figure it out. Delight in the symmetry of it.

Life is complicatedly fun.

BTW - I've got a new follower. Thank you, JPA.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fun Contiinues

Continued from yesterday...

After my writers' group, I remembered there was a festival at BayArts. I was late for it, but better late than never. It was great. They had vendors. The two art galleries were open. There was a band.

Uzizi - never heard of them before, but they play a mean gig. Their stuff is based on 18th century sacred harp music. Really. With a huge portion of hard rock 'n roll. They've got electric guitars, drums, harp, violin, mandolin, and a choir. YUP - a real choir. It is strange, unusual, but toe-tappingly great. If you happen to see them around, stop and listen. BTW - they have no website so I put their FB link here. Not much info. They must not update it.

Also, Nancy Christie put up an interview with Neil Tepper on her blog. He wrote, "Prescriptions for Living a Creative Life."  It's about courage and writing. You know I firmly believe in that. The main crux was this. If you work harder you will produce less. His studies indicate we might be better taking a 'day off' from writing and the Muse then might not hide.

Well, yesterday was my day off. And it payed off. Today I wrote quite a bit of the next chapter of 'Blue.' Saved the stuff from the cutting floor for later on and used the idea I got whilst listening to S. Andrew Swann to take the chapter to a new and hightened tension.

Whoo hoo!

BTW - If you haven't seen the 'elevator pitch' on Nicola Morgan's blog - you must watch it. Covers all the do's and don't's in under four minutes.

Sorry - A long-winded blog today, but 

Life is fun!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Who Would've Thunk It

If I'd known yesterday what I was going to be about today, I'd have saved myself the head-beating. *g*

Stayed up way too late last night watching a Sean Bean movie that I'd never heard of, "Windprints." Features a pretty young Sean Bean. It was good.

But that meant that I got a late start today. I went to hear a SciFi speaker at my local library. S. Andrew Swann. He was quite good. Spoke of plot development and such. You can never hear these tips enough.

When I go to these things, besides getting some valuable information, I also find I 'zone out' and the Muse starts to speak. It's only for seconds, but the Muse immediately puts into action what I'm learning from the speaker. It's interesting!

After that, I had a quick bite and read 'Blue' again. My daughter loved the story (she did finish it), but chided me for not finishing it myself. Said she wants more. Unfortunately, she did not like the last written chapter. Said it was too quick of a transition.

She is correct, of course. When I read it again, I discovered that in my need to 'push' the book along, I was short-changing my characters. 

As I listened to the speaker, the solution to the dilemma exploded in my mind. Whoo hoo! On to the next chapter. I'll be able to 'save' some of the stuff I'd already written by putting it in a different context. 

Life is good.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bangs Head On Desk

Ok. I've got the picture book done. It's great. It's incredibly good. It's unique. It's cute. Yadayadayada.

I've got the 'generic' cover letter written. 

But after all these years of conferences, workshops and such, I still don't know how to find a 'real' person at a publishers' house. 

I've been fortunate in finding publishers who will take unsolicited books, but I want desperately to have a name to send it to. I think it only good manners.

I have been on the net for days/weeks/hours looking. I went to blogs that I've been following. All to no avail

So - I'm going to go back and pull out all the handouts I've been given over the years and try to figure out what to do.

I'm also going to email friends and such and harangue them into having pity on me. Ah - perhaps inviting an unsuspecting author out for coffee.......

Life is frustratingly wonderful.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hit 2000 Hits

Started this  blog on November 10, 2010. I don't think 2000+ hits for seven months is too shabby. In fact, I'm most grateful. I know some folks get thousands a month, but this is quite fine for me. 

'Course - you could tell your friends.......

My daughter read the giraffe picture book. Delighted with it. She can 'see' the illustrations that could go with it. She is most pleased and most enthusiastic. This is so wonderful for me!

She is a great proofreader. She made two changes. Now - with a tale that is only 280 some words long, each word is important. The two changes were great. Fit in with what I was going for, and made the story even better.

One of the problems that I had with this was in the use of the word 'gambol.' Both my daughter and my son thought the word was just too .... I changed it to frolic. Works with the meter and the meaning is instantly 'seeable.' Bless my children's hearts!

She is now on the couch reading "Nothing But Blue Skies." I try to stay away, let her have her space, but when I hear the giggles, I just gravitate to the living room. She's still reading. There are a little over 21,000 words so far. 

Can't wait to find out what she thinks. If the giggles are any indicator, I think I have a hit.

Life is exhilarating.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sh! I think my guests are gone...

Spent the evening working on the cover letter for the giraffes picture book. I think it works. The 'elevator pitch' sounded good to me. I sent it off to my editor and my little writers' group. We meet next Tuesday. I'll let you know what happens.

I was watching a J.J. Abrams ("Super 8") interview the other night. He spoke of the filming process, but more of the editing part. It sounded like movie editing is close to 'our' MS editing. He said they lock themselves into a cave (about eight people) for months and work out all the bugs. The interview was fun. (See the link below)

I felt better after hearing that. (The midges here are insane so I'm quite familiar with bugs - sorry, had to put that in!)

It seems no matter the discipline or the media, it all comes down, in the end, to using a magnifying glass on our 'stuff' and making it perfect. That perfection takes time, a whole lot of time, and can be quite painful. It is for me.

I edit as I go along. I write a bit or a chapter or two and then -- dum da dum dum - I take the magnifying glass and look real close and there is always something. Even on the four hundredth time of looking - there is always something that can be changed. A word that can be made stronger. A character who needs just a twinge to make him/her more alive. A scene that needs cutting or stuffing or exploding.

And then - when the book is completed, I start the process all over again. It is well worth it.

Life is good.

(For entire enterview - go to

Sunday, June 12, 2011

I've Got One Free Moment

Guests are gone for the day, so I've spent my time re-reading 'Blue.' It still works. I get goose-bumps reading it. When I think this story started as a lark, to help me get my mind of 'Sword' - it's dumb-founding.

I fixed a few things and have now printed it out. I plan on giving it to my daughter tonight. I'm about one-quarter of the way done with the book. I think. You probably know better than I that the Muse is  laughing to herself!

I presented chapters twelve and thirteen to my writers' group yesterday. They continue to like it. There were a few critiquers there who hadn't read any of the previous chapters. They still liked it. 

I have two characters, well - really three if you consider the dragon - who change to another character. I try very hard to make sure that it is crystal clear who is whom, etc. etc. Some of the critiquers were able to follow the changes and some were not. 

I'm wondering if the genre has anything to do with it. Both men had no problem with it but both write science fiction. Some of the memoir critiquers struggled. That's a good thing, though. It made me go back and make sure I was not too ambiguous.

Another thing. The men seemed able to accept the 'physicality' of the chapters. The women wanted a different word for the male 'thing' that our hero/heroine suddenly has. One of the men wondered how a publisher will react to this. One of my secret fears, too!

I plan to finish the cover letter for giraffes this afternoon or evening. Thank goodness for the little yellow pad!

Life is good.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I have not abandoned this...

I can't be 'on' the computer for the next two weeks. Though I will try.

I've got house guests and one is sleeping in my computer room.

As you know from previous posts, I like to post around midnight or so... (like tonight)

So I can't tell them not to go to bed late.... tonight they did and I snuck in to write this quick note. 

My Skyline group meets this Saturday and I'll get my next two chapters critiqued. Or better yet, I'll be coached (see previous posts). Looking forward to that.

Life is too full sometimes.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Honestly, I cannot fathom why I sometimes have to 'force' myself to write. 

'Blue' has been mired as of late. I have put my energies into the giraffe tale. It's finished and ready to move into the next phase.

'Blue' is not ready. If it had its own way, it would never be ready. I think it hides from me.

Tonight, I opened the old folder and pulled up the file. There it sat, sticking its tongue out at me. But I would have none of it. 

I read the last few lines that I'd written and commenced to challenge her. Worked awesome. As it always does. This waiting and not writing and procrastinating is a bunch of hooey. Stupid. I sometimes want to scream and pull out my hair when I do this. 

Because every time I do force myself to write - it flows. The story is there, waiting for me, hoping I'll come back.

I'm sorry, 'Blue.' I'll try to be better.

But oh - it's so exciting to see what's next. Why do I wait? Why do I wait? Why do I wait?

Life is puzzling.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


After yesterday's stellar meeting, I couldn't function till I began working on the last little tweeks to my giraffe tale.

It's finished. *g* Until my editor gets her hands on it!

I will present it in two weeks. I sent it off to friends for their 'final' input.

Very excited. Thankful to Writers' Ink and Cheryl. 

Cover letter has been started. Will send it out on Wednesday, June 22nd. I've got a list of publishers for the first grouping. 

Update on Nothing But Blue Skies: I've sent Chapters 13 and 14 to my Skyline group for Saturday's meeting. Chapter Thirteen's very different. I have a bit of trepidation as to its acceptance. Remember - coaching.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mind Blowing Day

I'll try to be coherent, but I am so filled with blessings, I can hardly think straight.

As I said awhile back, our little Writers' Ink group met last month and discussed how we might have put ourselves last. It was a mind-boggling and very enlightening discussion. (see Saturday, May 7th, blog)

This month, I almost missed the meeting by putting family first - a graduation. Now I'm not saying putting family first is wrong, it just isn't a positive thing. I've got to put myself first if I'm ever to be there for my family.

So - I squish time and decide to arrive late at the party so that I can have at least an hour with the group. My gosh, I was so very glad that I did.

We discussed critiquing. I was telling the members how I had to learn to accept critiquing. Ruth suggested that critiquing is really coaching. Now, I can understand that. And I can accept that. What a great way of looking at 'good' critiquing. Of course, there will always be bad coaches, just as their are bad critiquers.  

I can accept coaching. A paradigm shift. Don't call it critiquing. Call it coaching. To me this is a real breakthrough. I know it's only words - but as a writer, I know the power of words. IF coaching makes it easier... no, more productive for me to accept, than I'm going to accept coaching. Another thing to remember. Thanks, Ruth. 

Our fearless leader, Cheryl, is truly bringing out the best in us, discussion-wise. She had put another 'saying' on the board, but we were so busy with the critiquing discussion that we totally blew it off. She's magnanimous enough not to care. 

I'll write more. It was a grand and glorious session - even if I only could 'take' an hour.

Life is awesome.

Friday, June 3, 2011


What are they good for??? 

You know, I love a good weekend. I vow that I will write on the weekends. I've given up the hope of writing during the week. I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of all my appointments and such. The day planner screamed, "I give up," a year ago!

As I said, I've finished the giraffe picture book - except for that last line - drat it all.

Tomorrow, I start up on 'Blue' again. I'll start as soon as I get up and then I'm off to a writers meeting. I look forward to this one. We don't critique. We sit and laugh and talk about how life is as necessary to a writer as air is to breathing. 

Then, next weekend, I'll be presenting another chapter of 'Blue' at another groups meeting. I've got to figure out which was the last one I sent as I haven't presented in about three months. Way too long for presenting, but what can I do? 

My classes start again in two weeks. That will be good. Sadly, they are too few and too far in between. I suppose if I went to workshops, conference, writers' groups, and classes all the time, I'd not have time for writing.

Hopefully, tomorrow and Sunday will hold much in store for 'Blue.' This is another one of those instances where I'm not sure what the Muse has in store. I just have to step out in faith and see where she leads. 

Life is interesting.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

German Sorrow

My heart is full of grief for the German people during this horrid e-coli outbreak. Also, to all those who are affected as this outbreak grows.

I just wanted to take a moment to send positive, loving thoughts to those affected.

Life is interesting. 
(About the only thing I can say when I have no clue as to what to do.)