Wednesday, September 30, 2009

1 down, 1 to go (contests that is)

I figured when it rolled around to 2 pm Eastern time today with no email or phone call that I did not final in the SF Heart to Heart contest (not that I was checking every 10 minutes or anything). I received an email later in the afternoon with a summary of the finalists and my name wasn't on the list. Imagine that? I don't accept failure easily (and that's how I initially viewed this). I'm an over achiever. Always have been. Truthfully (and probably arrogantly), I thought writing would be no different. It's not that things have been easy. I've worked my ass off for everything I've accomplished, but when I set my mind on something I succeed. Writing is so different to anything else I have attempted. In many ways it's totally subjective and the time frames between key milestones can be vast and can result in having to go back to square one. Am I disappointed? YEP. Am I down? SOME. Am I discouraged? NO (OK, maybe just a little). I'm going to eagerly look forward to receiving the written feedback and look at it with an open mind. That was the primary reason I entered anyway; not to win. But, hey I'm also competitive! Tomorrow is another day with another contest announcement (gulp!). The good news? I'm not nervous about the result any longer. It is what it is.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A fresh week and some nerves to deal with...

It's a new week again (at least for me this feels like my 'Monday' coming out of a teacher work day yesterday). Monday is the day each week where I sit and develop some specific goals to achieve for the week. My somewhat analytical brain can do nothing else unless I have objectives. I have plans, big plans for the week (finish my current polish, outline a new story that keeps hammering away at me demanding my attention and read the rest of the RWR). Then my reminders pop up and it hits me. Dead and square between the eyes. This is the week where finalists will be notified for the 2 contests I entered way back in August. I originally entered them to get feedback and some (OK, low cost !) critiques of my story. I entered both my completed (targeted for Blaze) novels to the SF Heart to Heart 2009 and my most recent one to The Golden Pen 2009. Finalists will be notified tomorrow and Thursday respectively!!! Now I'm nervous because my mind has already jumped there; I'm a finalist. But when tomorrow and Thursday roll around, maybe I'm not (more like probably) and I'll have that disappointment to deal with. I need some validation to everything who keeps asking me "What are you doing these days?" I want to say I'm a writer but it sounds so lame when they invariably ask if you have any books and you have to explain you're on the journey, blah, blah, blah. I want to be able to say at least 'but I was a finalist in a writing contest' or 2 or more. Although it's almost here, the wait will be hard.

Anyone have any great stories to tell about contests? Any cool responses to pesky questions about what you do when you're an aspiring author but don't have anything published yet (that doesn't make you sound lame)??

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes...

My eldest (7 year old) daughter called to me excitedly when she was looking at the newspaper. "Mommy, Mommy, come quick you're in the paper". Intrigued I rushed right over to see what she was talking about. There was little chance a picture of me was in the newspaper. She pointed to an add for a cosmetic surgeon advertising a new mini lower face lift procedure and gestured to a series of before and after pictures. "Where Honey?" I asked. She pointed. "There, that one". I could see the pair of pictures she was referring to. I had to ask, I just had to. I knew better but I couldn't help myself. I'd left myself wide open. It really was my own fault. "Which one?" I asked. She of course proceeded to point to the 'before' face lift picture (taken in the worst possible light, without any makeup and a sour expression). "It looks just like you."

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Have you ever discovered something so shocking, so fundamentally disturbing, so completely unexpected you just can't get it out of your mind? As I was struggling through my day yesterday I devoured a new snack my husband had brought home. It was the most addictive thing I have ever tasted. It did occur to me briefly that anything that tasted that great would have to be bad for you. I ate the entire package (which really wasn't that large). 10 oz isn't large, right? It was over the entire afternoon after all and I had a diet soda with it. My hubby when he realized was horrified. The entire packet had 1400 calories! There isn't a word I could come up with to describe my thoughts at that moment. I still can't stop thinking about it. This has got to be one of the most calorie dense foods out there. OK, so it's not really a 'food', but gosh it tasted so GOOD. Needless to say THIS has gone onto the household banned list from this point forward.

What things are on YOUR banned list?

Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a Slump Day

I've never believed in writers block and those that talk about their 'muse' seem to me to be a bit airy fairy. Just get your butt on the seat. Sure, some days are harder than others. Some days the creative juices flow freely and you struggle to get all the thoughts and ideas down before they disappear forever. Other days it's just plain hard work. Today is one of those days. I've accomplished a good word count and what I've written is OK, but each and every word was an effort to lay on the page. I'm working on the middle of a book. For me, smack dab in the middle of the book is always the toughest. The hero and heroine and are in the nitty gritty of getting to know one another (really know one another) and beginning to show signs of growing as individuals and a potential couple despite some serious hurdles about to come their way. I could be overly critical but I am always worried it will feel like it slumps in the middle and it's a filler before the slide into the Happily Ever After. I'm hoping tomorrow I will sit down refreshed with new eyes and the big picture will became crystal clear again!!

Women's roles

I think about the role of women in our society all the time and am often preoccupied by it as I construct my female characters. I've never cooked a family meal in my life and hubby and I have had the absolute role reversal since we've been married. I had a successful corporate career and grew a business, while he stayed home, looked after the house, kids and cooked for all of us. I remember my son coming home from one of his first play dates. He was astonished. He told me his friends mother actually knew how to cook! It really hit home at that point that our kids have really had a different perspective to many other families. I try to instill in all our kids, our daughters in particular, a belief that anything for them is possible, that nothing is out of their reach. I always have a giggle when I see some of those pictures from the 50s reinforcing the traditional stereotypes, so when I saw this picture I couldn't resist. I am not one for absorbing all of the funnies that abound out there and passing them on (my family know not to send any of that to me), but with this one, I couldn't resist.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I was procrastinating!

Yes, I should have been writing but I added this cool countdown to the Golden Heart contest. It looks way cooler than the effort it took to get it working but it is my constant reminder I better get my ass into gear if I want to enter. It's a bit much to count down to the second, but alas I couldn't find one that was any simpler (and every second probably really counts anyway)! I've decided I will enter the ms I wrote last year (once I revise/polish again) AND my current ms (the one I submitted to Harlequin as a partial). I figure this contest is probably the most prestigious one out there for this genre for unpublished authors and I'm going to go at it with both barrels blazing (or both manuscripts hopefully rocking the house). I can't help my over active brain imagining both being finalists and how I could bask in that glory for a long time. How cool would that be?? OK, back to reality with my butt on my seat and actually writing. I'm considering unplugging the Internet for a day (or maybe 10)!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's a fresh week

It's the start of a new week and I'm feeling like it will be a productive one. I'm a little behind on polishing of my manuscript compared to where I wanted to be but I padded the back of the plan a little so should still be on track. I have been loitering again on the eharlequin forums. I get equally inspired and discouraged when I poke around over there. One the one hand it's great to see others striving like I am and making wonderful progress. On the other it's often discouraging to hear how long some of them have been waiting on responses to submissions to editors. This industry takes forever! I often think if I ever attain enough clout perhaps I can manage to shake some things up a bit and be an advocate for the struggling aspiring author! I guess they say you have to suffer for your art, right? I think all the wonderful ladies on the eharlequin forums more than qualify!

It's now 47 days since I submitted my partial to Harlequin Blaze (not that I'm counting or anything)!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm so sure...

My hubby asked the other day what I would do if I got a rejection back on the partial I sent to an editor last month. Keep writing? YES was what resounded through my mind. I've been thinking about it a lot lately and I just know deep in every cell of my body that I was meant to do this, that I am capable of doing it and that I will be successful. I just know it without question. I've never been so certain of anything in my life and I know without any doubt that this is what I want to do with my professional life moving forward. If I get a rejection? I'll be devastated because I know what I sent in was good enough. I may became a victim of our economy with publishers buying less new authors but I just know if I stick with it, I'll get there. The question will be how long will I persevere, how long can I continue to maintain the confident and positive outlook that will keep me going? That, I'm not sure of...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I had a 'me' incident...

Sometimes things happen to me. Odd things. Usually, it's just to me and in many cases no-one else really knows (unless I spill). In other cases its a full body embarrassing moment. I have thought a few times about sharing these on my blog. Sure, they'd be funny but would people really buy the books of someone they might think is well flaky at best and really dumb at worst? At the moment, no-one's reading this blog anyway, right? I figure, why not? I had one of these moments yesterday. It was a normal morning of chaos trying to get the kids off to school. I rushed in to put in my contacts. The first one went in and all hell broke lose. It stung like you wouldn't believe. It was so painful I had my eyes clenched so tight, it was difficult to pry it open enough to get the damn contact out. What could have happened? I concluded I must have had something on my hand; cleaner, bug spray something, but for the life of me I couldn't figure it out. With my eye watering and bright red, I had to wear my glasses to drop the kids off. They kept looking at me. I guess they'd never seen me wear my eyeglasses outside the house before. Anyway, early afternoon I was in the bathroom, my eye still bloodshot and honestly I wasn't seeing very well out of it when it hit me. A few weeks earlier my eldest daughter had gotten her ears pierced. We were going out of town for a few days and I needed to take a small amount of the solution they provided. YEP. You guessed it! I'd had a brilliant idea to save some space! Put some in one of my smaller old bottles of contact lens solution. The night before I'd run out of my large bottle and had found an old travel size bottle. I had soaked my contacts overnight in ear care antiseptic!!!! Guess there's a reason they tell you not to put solutions in incorrectly labelled bottles. Well, the eye is still a little sore but getting back to normal.

It's not just me, right? Others have these things happen to them. Don't they??

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A funny thing happened

It just occurred to me today that I am reading less. Substantially less! I have been reading fewer books and have been reading them a lot slower than I normally do. I usually start a book and have to consume it as quickly as possible. I wonder if its because I'm writing my own that I need to put my energies there or because I don't want to be distracted from MY story and MY characters that I can't 'dilute' them with another author? A NY Times best selling author actually mentioned that at the RWA conference this year during a key note speech and I remember thinking at the time that I could still be true to my own story even if I read someone else's at the same time. Now I'm wondering if I am self (and subconsciously) monitoring and controlling that automatically. I did look at all the great romance titles out by my favorite authors today and felt a bit of a spark but nothing that I felt like delving into immediately. Perhaps my own stories have become enough of an 'out of life' experience that the elements I usually got from reading are now coming from writing? Interesting and something I'll have to observe over time....

Monday, September 7, 2009

Someone else knows....

... that I' m writing romance. My husband mentioned it to another mother at my daughters school. Well, HE sort of knows what I'm doing but nothing about the content. I've never let him read a single word. It's funny that a lot of people will say 'Oh, yeah, I wrote a romance once...'. I've heard that alot. What does it mean exactly? I too was interesting in pursuing that career? Or, it's so easy anyone can do it even in my spare time? At first it was liberating. This successful, corporate woman knew what I was doing and that I was working on something productive. I began to discuss the specifics of my approach to being published, what I had done to be organized about it and how I have been educating myself on the business side of things (which I find so fascinating). Then not so much, especially when she said 'there's no way I could write or read anything like that now without tongue firmly in cheek'. What/why does the think I'm doing it? I can only imagine in dread. Now, I hope she doesn't tell that many people! It would be one thing to be published or know you're going to be published, it's another to discuss your pursuit without any hint that you're going to make it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Life Happens

Well, I had all these amazing intentions once the kids were all back at school of doing a shit load of writing and finally be able to sit down and just get it down. The reality? Far from that! STUFF just happens that gets in the way of devoting myself to my computer, important stuff, time sensitive stuff, kid and school related stuff and writing just seems to be the thing that can too easily be pushed aside. My son just started 4th grade and getting him into the swing of things relative to a substantially changed (and greater) homework schedule had me sitting with him till 10:00 pm last night. I already did school for God's sake! Hopefully once he settles he will get more independent. I sat down today and drafted a calendar for the rest of the month with specific goals marked because I have a draft novel I want to complete by the end of September. I think laying it out like that helped my analytical brain and breaking it into smaller specific goals by every couple of days helped. It sure looked pretty anyway! We'll see how I stick to it and how much more life can interfere with what I want, need, have to do!

BTW, looking at the calendar reminded me that it's almost a month since I sent my partial into the editor. I try not to look, I try not to count and wonder, but it's a losing battle I guess. Maybe, I start a automated counter so I don't have to wonder anymore???