Friday, May 31, 2013


Oprah at Harvard - Commencement address (see youtube link below.)

Extend yourself in kindness. That is the true message. A speech of hope.   The single most important thing - common denominator for people - we want to be validated - we want to be understood. 

Oprah has done over 35,000 interviews. When the mike is turned off - everyone turns to her and asks - "Was that ok?" From Pres. Bush to Pres. Obama, from heroes, housewives, victims, perpetrators of crimes, to Beyonce - everyone asks. Everyone wants validation. 

Oprah said it is imperative that we walk in each other's shoes. Go for face to face interaction. Put down the cell phone for a moment. 

She said there's a light inside each of us that illuminates our very human beingness if we let it. 

Only one goal - to fulfill the highest expression of myself as a human being - max out my humanity - lift myself up, my family, and the people around me   discover who I want to be

So much of her speech rang true with me. Especially as a writer. It's a great speech. Check it out if you can. I don't do it justice here.

In the meantime, my writing buddy read my synopsis and made some great comments. Back to the drawing board. We'll see each other next week. I hope to have the synopsis ready for her second perusal. She's still working on her character bios. 

I'm going to try to go to a writers meeting tomorrow. I've not been there for a few years, but I'm being called back, I think. *g*

Life is validation.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Synopsis - Again

Finished my synopsis but it's four pages (after formatting). Too long, I think. It's hard to say because there are differing viewpoints of how a synopsis should be formatted. This makes it tough. Writing a synopsis is mind-boggling and body-draining. To have to fight through scores of ideas for synopses is even harder. But - plow through I must.

I have been writing about my synopsis (because I've been working on it almost since day one of writing the book) on this blog for a long time. I went back and found some of the relevant posts. I'm offering the links that I've found. 

As with all things writing, there are a truckload of different ideas for what a synopsis should contain and what a synopsis should look like (formatting). Most experts say, read the guidelines from the publisher or agent that you're going to send it to, and then write it like that.

In my mind's eye, that's like cutting off your leg to spite your face. If you wait until you are ready to send the synopsis out before you write it, you are creating a whole world of problems. A synopsis cannot be written in five minutes. I've been writing mine for years. My writing buddy has spent at least a hundred hours on hers. 

The experts say a synopsis should be alive and unique and grab the publisher/agent. To do that, you've got to spend time with it. Lots of time with it. 

I found a notation where I wrote that you should make a five-minute synopsis, a one paragraph synopsis, a one page synopsis, and a four or five page synopsis - just in case. Holy crimeny, Batman! 

I'm writing a four-pager and a two-pager.  I figure my 'hook' will work for the five-minute synopsis, if I have to use one. Again, remember to get the guidelines for the publisher or agent where you're sending the synopsis. But being prepared as best you can, is the best bet. 

Here's the promised links.

I'm going to print them all out and give them serious thought. Again, there are a truckload of different opinions. Take each with a grain of salt and then, be bold and write. 

Here's a link to one of my older posts that I thought is pretty informative.

Life is a synopsis.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Road Traveled Over And Over And Over....

I was going to title this the Road Less Traveled, but the road to publishing isn't less traveled. In fact, I'm asserting it is heavily trafficked. 

I have been sending out an MS for the last year or so. It's rather discouraging. I belong to the culture of today- that is - the culture that expects instant gratification. It's endemic to the American culture. Fast food restaurants are just one part of it. (I want this blog to be instant - it's not!)
(see the marshmallow experiment here

I'm trying to teach my little one to develop delayed gratification. It's an easier way of living, believe me. Consequences of this incredible instantness buffet us constantly. 

I blame my writers' blues on it. Why can't my manuscript be published the moment I'm done with it? Why doesn't the first publishing house it goes to not publish it? Why isn't an agent falling out of the woodwork?

Phew! Hard to live like that, I'm telling you.

I put up this next link the other day, but it is so good, I want to make sure everyone who is struggling to get published sees it. James Lee Burk is a very successful writer. But it took him forever to get published. None of this instantaneous stuff. His story is compelling and uplifting. 111 rejections over nine years.

Never quit. Never show anyone you're hurting. Never think you're a loser. Keep the rejections to autograph and sell. Could Burk's advise be any better?

A book recommended by WD tells about the battle to win the publishing prize. It looks good. I'll be getting over to the library and checking it out. (Sorry. Until I start selling my own stuff, it's mighty hard to buy other folks works. Though I always buy my friends books!)

There's a phrase that goes around. Paying your dues. I suppose I thought I'd paid my dues by writing my books. Not true. I'll be paying my dues all my life. I have to make that my mantra. It will help against the feelings of dejection when another rejection happens to float under my door.

The July/August edition of Writers Digest is awesome. There is one article by Fred Rosen called, It's A Wonderful Life. A great short ditty about what it's like to keep trying. Fred's path was difficult. I don't want to go down the same one. By listening to others experiences, I'll be better prepared to fight the battle and win the contract.

In that same article is a quote from Ross Thomas who says, "Writing five hours is like ten hours of laying bricks." So the extreme fatigue I feel when I'm finished writing for the day is understandable.

Give yourself a pat on the back. Writing is awesome. And difficult. And uplifting. And debilitating. And if you're still working at it, throw some confetti around and exalt in your tenacity, your courage, and your strength.

Life is a challenge.

Monday, May 27, 2013


Resting at a lake can be exhausting. It did me in. We hardly walked - just to the lodge around the lake and such. I think it might be the clean air. 

The trip down was really hard - about a six hour drive. We stopped a couple times but my legs got the better of me by the time we reached the cabin. I spent the rest of the night trying to recoup.

Food at the nearby lodge was fantastic. Views were incredible. Peace just permeated the place. I so wanted to take a canoe or kayak ride, but I'm physically not up to it.

I rested quite a bit - which is what I needed. I was able to write a little on the character of Andor. It felt pretty good. I picked a few names out for some of the cities, but a couple I'm just not happy with. I think I've got about four more to develop.

My synopsis is together. Now I begin the editing process.

I spoke with my editor tonight. Bless her. She called to see how I was doing. Could'a, should'a, would'a. I should have spoken to her at the end of our class last week. About my concerns about other writers. She was most solicitous. She opened my eyes to a few things. That's why I like her. She teaches me all the time. 

I want to share, but I'll do it tomorrow when I'm less tired, about the publishing process and how it takes time and such.

My little one called tonight - extremely excited - she wrote another story and wanted me to transcribe it to her blog. Bless her heart. It was a fun little tale. I'm so very glad that she finds 'creating' a story so thrilling. You should have heard the joy in her voice.

Life is joy-filled.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Too Much

In the middle of the beauty of this national forest, I wonder at my overreach. I wrote that I was going to do this, that, and the other thing while here. Not happening.

I brought my synopsis. I hadn't read it since I cut and pasted my notes together. I gave it to my friend who read it while we sat at a special cove. I was stunned (no humility here) by how good it was. I have much less work to do on it than I thought. I'm only halfway done, but there's hope.

I realized I hadn't named any if the cities, so while I have this wi-fi connection, I'm going to work on that.

Sadly, I don't think I'll have time to read my MS as planned.

Going back to the lake tonight to cook chicken over a grill.

Life goes by too quickly.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Page Added - Delving Deeper

I've been trying to 'smell the roses' as of late. Life is full and complicated. Writing is introspective. I needed to 'get out in the world.' 

I have always been an extremely poor photographer. Most of my photos end up with heads chopped off or one of the group left out (with only an arm to show they were there.) Pictures blur. Frustrating. Especially when they are of my little one. I hate that. 

Now - I do have a trusty rusty camera. But I don't know how to use it. I do have a trusty rusty Droid. I know how to use that. It doesn't matter the piece of equipment, though. The pictures can, and do, turn out horrendous. 

I haven't gotten any better. But I think I'm learning to focus. And take my time. The need to record the beauty of life, to open my eyes to the bigger picture (pun intended), and to rest in the world around me, decided the issue for me.

The other day, my little one was making flower soup. I don't know if any of you have ever had any. I 'taste' occasionally  but never put any in my mouth. It's disgusting. Don't tell the little one. There is mud in it. The water is usually taken from the standing water in teacups and such on the back deck. The flowers are never washed nor are they ones that I know to be edible. *shudder* But the soup is strangely beautiful and her dollies appreciate her efforts.

She picked flowers for me. I stripped them from their stalks and took away the leaves and pieced them together. I liked what I saw. The colors were beautiful, striking, and oddly restful. I took some pictures with the old Droid and - voila - they are on the 'Photography' page on this blog. 

Hope you enjoy them. I can't wait to see what I find on my retreat.

Life is seeing anew. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Final Edit

I finished 'Nothing But Blue Skies' - all the edits my editor made and then some. I know you're probably like me. Thoughts come in the middle of the night, while driving the car, even during church services. So besides the additions/corrections/things that my editor suggested, I kept getting a boatload from the Muse. Bless her heart.

I did not save the file as 'Final Edit.' I've learned a lot these past years. Nothing is ever final until the book is on the shelf. (even then, I've heard of authors who want to 'fix' things in a published book.) That's what the 'Special Editions' are for. *g*

I am going away for the holiday on an extended writers' retreat. I'll be holed up in a cabin (air-conditioned) with a lake nearby and civilization somewhere to the east. 

I'm adhering to the Four Principles, i.e., I'm not expecting anything but I'm hoping to read the entire MS and seal it. I'll take it to my editor next week and we'll see what happens. I feel I'm still missing a portion of one of my characters. I'll spend this week-end seeing if he really needs more. I'll also complete the character biographies and continue on with the synopsis. Phew!

I printed out the MS to take with me. I'm not sure if I'll have internet while there. I printed off the beginnings of my synopsis, the map, the photos of what my characters look like, my notes, and my character bios. 

One thing I had forgotten - when I print out a large piece of work - to go into print - hit color - and change it to draft. That way, I'm not using as much ink and the job prints one heck of a lot faster. When you've got a large MS, the best thing is fast printing. Also, I've learned that printing only ten pages at a time works best. Otherwise, you get missed pages and such. 

I've saved everything to The Cloud so I can get into and edit stuff if we end up at a wi-fi cafe or a library. 

I'm looking forward to some time away. Hope the bug spray works. Have a blessed holiday, you folks in the US.

Life is retreat.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Compassion II

I had my next 'C' word post all done and ready.... until I went to my writers' class today.

I wrote a blog post about compassion and paying-it-forward. Today I was hit again by something that surprises me. Something that leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

One of the class remarked that she was giving away her secrets by telling us something of her publishing route. I sat, dumbfounded. I've been told hundreds of times that writers are a different breed. They are generous to a fault. I didn't see any generosity today. I am hoping that this is not something SCBWI condones. The woman is an SCBWI member.

I am a neophyte in this business. I suppose once you have an agent or a publisher you want to keep them close. You want to protect the relationship you have. You want them to promote and sell your books. 

Wouldn't your relationship be better if you showed them that you had their interests at heart, too? That if you gave them the name of a prospective client it would make you look good? And help them. Wouldn't they remember your kindness and loyalty and reciprocate? 

I have always lived in the clouds. I suppose this is another down-side of that, but I can't live that way. As you've noticed, I try to share what I can on this insane journey. 

Another classmate won a contest at a conference. I was so happy for her. She wondered how she might use that to get her poetry piece (which was quite good) published. I suggested we all find a publisher or magazine or whatever and share it with her. I reasoned that if each one of us (there are 6 students) found a 'contact' for her, it would be a nice gesture. She is, after all, a classmate, and a friend. The instructor, I thought, looked surprised.

But isn't that what we're supposed to do? Help each other? There are truckloads of books being published yearly by the big publishers and there are truckloads of little publishers needing authors. Are we really shooting ourselves in the foot if we 'share' our fortune? 

I'm still kind of shook by the experience.

Life is a surprise. 

PS - reminds me of the Jackie Deshannon song, Put A Little Love in Your Heart

PS - I promise I'll post the next 'C' word tomorrow. Unless something else comes up *g*

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Forget The 'C' Words For A Minute

I was reading another blog this morning. It spoke of writing what you know. That was, and probably is, the advise given out by those 'in-the-know.'

I remember, many years ago, thinking that I couldn't write because I knew nothing. My world was small. My family mundane. (I know differently now!) I'd watch 'I Remember Momma' and think, I'd like to write about my mom. She was incredible. But our life seemed so dull and ordinary. Why would anyone want to read about it? 

I think of Jules Verne. Wow. If he'd ever listened to such advise, we'd never have some of the glorious tales (and movies) that I grew up with. The same for Daniel Defoe and 'Robinson Crusoe.' I cut my teeth on the 'Lucky Star' series by Paul French, who it turned out was a nervous Isaac Asimov. 

Late in life, I write. Because it dawned upon me one day -- writing about what I know doesn't mean I can't write about living on the Moons of Jupiter. I know people. I know their wants and needs. I know how they suffer and laugh. These are the important things.These are the attributes that draw us to like or hate a character. 

With the internet, I am no longer hampered by the fact that I haven't seen the mountains of Tibet, or the oceans off New Zealand, or the vast expanses of the South Pole. I'd love to see these places in real life, but I can see them, probably even better, via the internet. Someone has been to these places. Someone has photographed or filmed living through a volcanic eruption. Someone has dove from the top of a waterfall into a crystal-clear, sky-blue lake. 

I can write about anything. I know that now. I've written a children's picture book. I've written an epic adult fantasy. I've written the first book in a three-part series of a Middle Grade fantasy. I'm in the mist of writing an adult science fiction and I've got the beginning (and the plot) for an adult romance novel.

Life is variety - one way or the other. *g*

Monday, May 20, 2013


I'm stuck on 'C' words at the moment. 

My writing buddy inspires me. She has such courage. She works full time, gets up at 5am to write, and then spends her week-ends at the zoo or the art museum writing more. I'm in awe.

Courage is writing at the crack of dawn. Courage is sharing, being rebuffed, and continuing to write. Courage is getting rejection after rejection and 'putting it in a shoe box' *** for autographing and selling when you become a best selling author.

Courage is reading until you're blue in the face. Courage is opening up your mind and heart and learning, learning, learning.

Courage is trusting that you will prevail. Courage is reminding yourself that your are good. Courage is never quitting.

*** See this awesome interview at WD of James Lee Burke.
And James' FB page.

Had expected to be writing about curiosity but the James Lee Burke interview set me off on a different direction. Now isn't that the way with writers? We are easily swayed. *g*

Life is courage.

Saturday, May 18, 2013


I've been thinking about the 'pay-it-forward' concept lately. Especially as it regards writers. I don't see if, often. Unless their is a dollar associated with it. I am not trying to sound cynical, but you all know of what I speak. A conference, a workshop, an author visit, all entail the giving over of money. I, above all else, understand that money is needed to live. Shees!

I am trying, in my own small way, to pay-it-forward. I've been blessed to be able to attend a few conferences and workshops. I like to put on here what I learned. I don't 'give up' the details of talks and such, but I do give a quick synopsis and my own impressions and what I've learned.

I also started meeting with a friend to help her with her dialogue. It has turned into an incredible friendship. I learn from her as much as she from me.

As this publishing process goes on, though I don't think I'll share who I send my MS to, I plan on sharing every part of the blasted process. From pulling my hair out to crying my eyes out (hopefully, it won't come to that).

As I've said, so far this year, I've sent out 'Sorrysorrysorry' to two publishing houses. I waited til I got a reply from the first and then sent it out to the second. I have the next victim already lined up. But I wrote 'exclusive' at the top of the cover letter for the second publisher and plan on waiting for a month before I send it out to the next publishing house.

I have created a spreadsheet and I'm marking down who I send it out to and who responds. 

Life is cryptic.

PS - found this fun periodic table.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Life As We Know It - Isn't

I'm hoping I can relate what I'm feeling at the moment. Even being a writer, I can get flummoxed by the intensity of what I'm thinking/feeling.

Today is one such day. The course of life is terrifying. I spent the evening with someone who actually 'lived' a "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" scenario. Many times over. Listening to her, and knowing what she said truly happened, made my heart sick.

Too many friends have been through rough spots in their lives. I won't even begin to tell it here - one, because they deserve anonymity, and two, because you can find their stories in thousands of books.

I know authors who are afraid their work will be plagiarized if they put it out before it is published. I can only say to them, your story has already been written. A thousand times over. What you need to do is make it uniquely yours. That story that floats in your subconscious and keeps you up at night. I read somewhere that there are only about five plots in the whole world - the rest are subdivisions, if you will, to those plots.

If I look at life and the horror stories, or the happy-ending stories, I have much to write. And none of it will be like the story my neighbor is writing. Just as, unfortunately, the story of a child molester has his/her own story. The plot is there, child molester, it's what I do with it. 

This subcreation thing is mind-boggling. I can make up so much. I can tell a story every day of the week. If I don't get held down by my lack of self-confidence, my fears, and/or my poor time management. *g*

I don't want to delve into the mind of a sociopath. Thankfully, I can choose not to. But the story is there, waiting to be written.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is - go for it. Even if the idea your Muse is shouting at you is one you've seen before, you can twist it, like a piece of cotton candy, into something unique. Like a snowflake. They are all made up of water, but each one is different. 

Our genetics, our environment, all touch us and make us unique. That makes our stories unique. I'm glad I'm writing 'Blue.' I've had a moment of self-doubt, but I see now that 'Blue' is unique and what I'm trying to say, though it's been said a thousand times before, might be unique enough in the way I present it that it will touch someone. Or some ten thousand. Or some hundred thousand.

Life is unique.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


At Saturday's Skyline meeting, a fellow writer said (about the chapters I presented) that she had trouble visualizing exactly where my characters were. She said that, as she read, she thought of places described in other books and used that description to 'see' the what of what I was writing.

I found that quite disturbing. It means, to me, that she is being taken out of the story. That is horrid news. But -- easily remedied. I now have a reason to go back and delve deeper into my scenes and make them more real, make them more alive, make them more vivid. For me, it is an easy fix. I know what these places look like. They are burnt into my mind by the Muse. I am not sharing what I see with my readers. Good point. I'm so glad I have a great group of critiquers to rely upon.

I also found it interesting. Does that mean that my book reminds her of such and such a classic? Does that mean that my writing is as good as, say, Shakespeare? *g*

Another little note. I once wrote a 500,000+ word fantasy epic. It was my first attempt at writing. I made ten thousand mistakes. I love the book. It's got over 50 characters, lots of subplots, and covers one man's life, all 90+ years. I learned how to keep track of all the years and the events and the characters by focusing completely on the script. During the almost eight years that it took me to write that book, I honed the skill of focusing.

With 'Blue' I've discovered that I can still write and 'know' where I'm at in the story and who belongs where, etc. etc. etc. I don't have nearly the characters and such, but I am pleased that I don't need copious sticky notes - just a couple.

As for tools to use, I find my handy-dandy droid works great for helping me with this aspect of writing. Today, I was reading over the final MS of 'Blue' without a pencil. I wanted to make sure the flow worked. Well, I couldn't go very long without wanting to correct some things I found in it. So I pulled out my droid and sent myself message after message. The changes weren't monumental, but they were necessary.

I've spoken about tools before. I urge you to use anything and everything at your disposal to keep yourself on track and to help you, when the time comes for publishing.

Life is full of tracks. 

PS - Sent out 'Sorrysorrysorry' to another publisher. Fingers and toes crossed. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Never Stagnate

I'm having dinner with my son and daughter-in-law tomorrow night. Besides being absolutely the best host/hostess ever, my daughter-in-law is going to work with me on social media. She's going to help me set up another FB account for Nothing But Writing. It will be linked to this blog and therefore, more accessible to people. I was going to wait til my granddaughter grew up and learned more about computers (she's a wiz as it is at the ripe old age of 6), but I never turn down free help. I've got my fingers and toes crossed.

My editor is having a meeting regarding the last SCBWI 'blow-out' conference. I can't wait to hear what she learned. Lots of folk from our area were there.

Class starts soon and I'm not sure I'll be signing up. I am almost done with 'Blue.' I'm still reading it through without pen or interruption. It's about 68,000 words so it is taking a bit of time. So far, I'm pretty happy with it.

Skyline will be holding its annual conference in August. The roster of speakers is pretty awesome. I'll put up a link here perhaps next month. Not sure if our website has been updated to include the conference information.

Aside from that, I'm working on 'The Other Side.' I've got a lot of research to do on this Navy Seal aspect.

My writing buddy called today to say that she is using the tools we learned about in the book, Becoming A Writer. She was really excited with her progress.

I've always thought about the worse thing that could happen to me is to stagnate. Seriously not in any trouble with that prospect at the moment.

Life is open.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Blast From The Past

Wow! My writing buddy brought over a ragtag, well-used book. I am always intrigued when she brings over books that look like they've survived a flood or some such thing. This book was truly old. It was written in 1934 by a woman named, Dorothea Brande. Reading it - you'd swear it was published in the last year or two.

You know I don't usually write book reviews, but this book is outstanding. AND - you can still buy it or get it from the library. Someone had the sense to reissue it.

We spent the night reading excerpts from it. My buddy had a gazillion passages highlighted and we went through one after the other. It's not your usual self-help book, nor is it an 'education' treatise on how to write. Rather, it's a delving deep book. Learning who I am as a writer, and bringing that into my tales. Being aware that I am creative and pretty neat. It's pretty mind blowing.

I presented two chapters of 'The Other Side' today to the Skyline group. There are two main characters is the book: the protagonist and the antagonist. Each chapter is written in one person's POV. I asked the group if they 'liked' the hero better in these chapters (I'd gotten some mixed reviews during prior presentations.) The group is 'liking' the hero better. Phew!

Then, one of the best critiquers I've ever had suggested my antagonist, who is a Navy Seal, isn't 'clever' enough. I realized he wants a 'McGyver' type guy. I think I'll go back and watch some of those segments. I had a crush on McGyver anyhow. This won't be difficult.

It's interesting what comes out with a good critique group. They're hard to find, and you can get flayed easily enough, but when you find a good group, grab it.

I printed out the entire book of 'Nothing But Blue Skies.' I am reading it WITHOUT pen in hand. I want to 'feel' the book, to make sure it flows, the characters are true and growing, the arc works, and the plot is thick. After I finish reading it, I'm giving it to my daughter.

I have discovered a sadish truth. Family can disappoint at times. I'm sorry, daughter-mine, but it's the truth.

I have a dear friend who has written a book. His wife is editing it. She has other things to do, as we all do, but she's kind of dawdling. I feel for him.

I have a dear friend who has written a book. She gave it to her sister. Her sister has other things to do, as we all do, but she's kind of dawdling. I feel for her.

I am a dear friend who has written a book. I gave it to my daughter last year. She has other things to do, as we all do, but she's kind of dawdling. I feel for me.

I'm giving it to my daughter again. With a deadline. And a smile. I'm not cruel. (And I'm glad she didn't read the MS from last year. I've made some pretty drastic changes.)

Life is waiting. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013


Good grief. I haven't cried over my writing, or things connected with it, in a gazillion years. The one and only time I did cry was after a stinging critique. It was my first and it was brutal and it hurt. I left the conference where it happened and went home and just curled into a ball and died.

Well - I didn't stay dead for long. My Muse wouldn't let me. She's incorrigible. A stalker, even.

My frustration level is high. I feel like the laws of physics have been broken and I don't know what to do about it.

I've been trying to 'find' an editor from a publishing house to send out 'Sorrysorrysorry' to. The task seems monumental. I must be doing something wrong. I research and research. I thought I'd found someone, but it didn't work out. And now - to add to my frustration - I can't find the websites I was using to find someone. My head hurts. 

I finally broke down and let the tears fall. 'Course, other things have been happening in my life, things that weaken me. But the news of the week has been courage and faith in the impossible. I keep telling myself that. Today I was weak.

Thankfully, a friend called just in the midst of my tears. She hugged me over the phone. You know how that feels. It's good. Not quite adequate, but good, nonetheless.

I'm better now. I know I'll find an editor, but I cannot believe this process is so difficult. I am probably naive, but I think finding an agent is easier than this. I'm told agents don't usually represent an author of picture books. 

I printed out the last ten chapters of 'Nothing But Blue Skies' and sat on the porch in the glorious sun and reread them. Made only a couple changes. I've bolded the 'magic' words. I wasn't sure whether to italicize or bold them, but my character thinks a lot and those thoughts are italicized. I didn't want to confuse my readers, so I went with bolding. 

I'm beyond satisfied with the story. Though I'm wondering if I need a couple 'rest' scenes in the midst of it all. These last ten chapters are all part of the climax and the winding down and I really want to make sure my readers are not exhausted by the time they finish reading. *g*

As for the last chapter. I've only got four pages left, but they have TWO major rewrite areas. And then I've got to make sure that the ending makes sense. I was going to have one character go off in another direction, but my editor said I should have the hero/heroine do that. Which really works well. Now, I just have to write it. *g*

Life is frustrating.

PS - I've set 14 May as the date I will finish editing the last chapter of 'Nothing But Blue Skies.' It's the feast day of Bl. Julian of Norwich. I like this woman's philosophy!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


My daughter-in-law sent back her 'tweaked' versions of my letters to publishers. She did it well. She rid it of superfluous words and strengthened the important ones. I really like what she did with it. I'm going to work on them tomorrow, put in the next address, and send it off. This is for 'Sorrysorrysorry,' but the experience is invaluable in what I'll be doing the rest of my life -- marketing my books.

The last chapter of 'Blue' is turning into a quagmire. Since I am deleting the four following chapters, I want to make sure I end the chapter with all the pieces/parts connected. I want to make sure I answer all the questions I've posed from the beginning. I need to make sure character growth is rampantly visible. 

I had hoped edit # 17 would be it, but there have been so many changes in the last ten chapters that I know I must go back and reread the whole book and make sure all of the above are taken care of and that the ending is not too 'quick' so that my readers aren't trying to find the lost pages. :)

Had an incredible time with my writing buddy on Friday. I left her a vm today about the progress I've made over the last ten days. These little moments of celebration -- I am starting to enjoy them.

I sent out the last couple chapters of 'The Other Side' to my Skyline group. We'll meet on Saturday. I can't wait. I've not spent anytime on this story since the mega editing began, but I read it over last night and I still like it - a lot!

Horror stories are coming out now that the kidnapped girls have been rescued. This real life story is so much more than any fiction writer could make it. Pray for the three girls that, though they had the courage and tenacity to survive their decade-long captivity, that they harness even greater courage as they begin to heal.

Life is healing.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Never Ending Tale

I'm in the midst of what I am truly hoping is the last edit before sending 'Blue' to an agent. But it refuses to end. I drive to the lake for a break and a new scene rears its ugly head. I sit on the porch, sun shining down in long-expected heat, and a scenario says, 'Why don't you do this? Wouldn't this just look lovely?' I'm in bed and a character shouts, 'Wait. You forgot to treat my wounds.'

I shake my head. In joy and in perplexity. Joy for the tale loves me and won't let me go without it being the best. Perplexity for the never-ending quality of the beast.

However -- I love it. Every moment of it. Because it means the Muse and I are on the same wavelength. Nothing can compare to a Muse who is constantly harassing. 

My editor told me I had to move a whole scene. I hadn't a clue as to what I was going to do with it. It fit perectly, I thought. The timeline couldn't be changed. I nearly chewed on my fingernails, something I haven't done since in high school. A glimmer came to me. An idea of where the dratted scene could go. Lo and behold! I love lo and beholds that work. I moved the scene and almost fell over. It fit perfectly.

Let me tell you one wee bit about it. A character is kneeling to pledge his fealty. The moved scene had another character bending his knee to pledge fealty. Ay Caramba! I love it when that happens. It feels like I'm in a groove. That everything I do is right. Of course, that doesn't last for long, but I'll sit here and reread the passages a few times and rejoice.

For the real world -- truth is stranger than fiction. We had a rash of abductions in the early 2000's. It was horrid. The families swore the teenagers were still alive and had memorials and prayer vigils every year. I would watch and pray so hard, never believing that the girls could possibly be alive.

Tonight, they escaped their captor. THREE girls - Michelle Knight, taken in 2002, Amanda Berry in 2003, and Gina DeJesus in 2004. They had been imprisoned only miles from their homes. An incredibly happy day, but one touched by sadness. Amanda Berry's mom passed away a few years ago, firmly believing her daughter still lived. Such faith and courage. It has given hope to so many in Cleveland. I weep in sorrow and in joy. 

God is good.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Marketing 101

I took college courses in writing and business administration. Now I wish I'd taken a couple in marketing. My sweet daughter-in-law, though, is coming to the rescue. We celebrated the Kentucky Derby Saturday night with hats and bourbon drinks and much laughter. Though the person we rooted for did not win, we still had a great time. Once the race was won (good grief - it only takes about two minutes as the culmination of a lifetime of work!!!), we talked about this and that.

She brought up my book and I told her about the difficulty I had with writing the cover letters. She is in the midst of writing press releases towards a certain goal. She told me that she is concentrating on making sure the press releases she sends out are 'outside of the box.' She suggested I try that with my cover letters. 

We've all read the 'rules' and such that publishing houses say they want submittors to follow when they send an MS. Well, I think my DIL has the right idea. I'll follow the rules, to a degree, but I'm pretty sure I know which way I'll go with the next set of letters. My DIL suggested I send her the letters I've used. I did that late last night. Can't wait to hear what she thinks of them. But they are all formula-type letters.

She is also going to help me get optimum exposure with my blog and with facebook. I hadn't realized she has a lot of experience with blogging. She doesn't have her own, but for her business, she does. It will be interesting to see what happens. In fact, I'm pretty stoked!

The link is from a friend. You know I like finding things that will help different aspects of my writing. I think this will be useful. However, the book must be bought and there is a 'companion' piece that I've heard  is good, too.
Life is marketing. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Time Is Crawling

I feel like weeks have gone by since receiving the rejection letter. It doesn't hurt as much as the first one. That was about a year ago. I got some good feedback last year and 'fixed' Sorrysorrysorry. It's better than ever. I tell myself. *g* 

I have the next person picked out (and publishing house). I can't seem to get up the nerve to do it. I've got to write the cover letter and that is always daunting., but I know a lot about her and it shouldn't be hard to write.

I called my writing buddy. She's going to help me with it. Two heads, two firm hearts, are better than one when tackling something difficult. Thank goodness for friends.

I happen to be a Tolkien fan and she is a C.S. Lewis fan. I found a great program on PBS about the two men. We're going to watch it next time we get together. To remind us how close we are getting and to help encourage us. 

I'm trying to get more sleep. I sit here sometimes, in front of the computer, and my eyes are blinking and my head is nodding. Now - isn't that about the silliest thing you've ever heard of!!!

So I'm off to bed. I edited two more chapters of 'Blue.' I feel like I'm on a roll with this part of my writing at least.

Life is keeping my eyes open.