Monday, June 27, 2011

Channeling my Inner Demon

Remember in The Excorcist when Linda Blair's head spins around and a voice straight from the depths of Hell comes out of her mouth? Yeah, I know it was 1973 but it's not like you haven't seen it on late-night television.

My head didn't spin this morning but I had the voice down. Granted, it was the fifth time I told my sleepy ten year-old to get out of bed. With each request, she'd raise an eyelid then cuddle deeper into her cocoon of blankets.

"Please," I begged. "I have things to do. You need to get up. Now."

"I'm tired." She snuggled up to her bear.

"I understand but you need to get up. Practice starts at 9:15."

She did the eyelid and cuddle thing.

"Get up." I pulled the blankets off of her.

"I don't want to." She pulled the blankets back on.

I tried to be a good mother. I remembered to count to ten. I took a deep cleansing breath. I said, "This is the last time I'm going to ask you nicely. Please get up."

"I don't want to."

Then it came. The voice. Rough and deep and angry and slightly Satanic. "GET UP NOW."

She looked at me like my head had actually spun on my shoulders and started to cry. "Why are you so mean to me?"

The voice wasn't done. "GET OUT OF THAT BED."

Sniffle. Sniffle. "Why are you YELLING at me?"

Gee. I don't know.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Lazy Saturday? Ha!

What happened to lazy Saturdays? Seriously?

I've lost count of the loads of laundry done today. I've ironed two weeks worth of shirts for Dreamy One. I've picked up the house.

Somehow working full-time, adjusting to the summer schedule, driving kids here, there and everywhere, and trying to put a few words on paper have eaten June. Whole.

Saturdays have become catch up days - and not catching up on word count days.

Sundays are writing days. I hope.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The first five pages

There are critique sites out there, good ones, where aspiring authors can submit the first five pages of their work in progress (WIP) for review. Anyone submitting can count on a variety of input. Some comments are incredibly helpful, others less so.

Many writers take the well-meaning critiques to heart and resubmit the same five pages again and again. I applaud them for their dedication. After all, the first five pages - a mere 1,250 words - are what an agent might consider before making the decision to ask for a complete MS or sending a form rejection letter.

Those five pages are a first impression.

I wonder though - with the time and effort that go into the first five are the next two hundred pages just as good? They need to be.

I am working on a chapter that seems trite. If I read it out of context, I would assume a nine year-old had had a bad writing day. Who wrote that drivel? Me? Did I drink one too many glasses of wind before I tried to type?

Yikes. I guess I can take comfort in knowing the first five pages of the MS are awesome

Monday, June 20, 2011


What makes us creative?

What gives us a spark?

Turns out the muse lives within us all - on the right side of our brains.

Our left brains, the side we use most often, governs organization and detail. It lets us multi-task e-mail and blogs and deadlines. The majority of  people in the developed world favor the left side of their brains.

Accessing the right side - the emotional, creative side of the brain can be a challenge requires some effort. Two of the best ways to tap into that right-sided creativity are meditation and repetitive exercise. So, if you see me on a treadmill with my eyes closed chanting 'oommm' don't worry about my sanity. I'm just trying to find creative solutions for the problems in my novel.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who would you be?

Last night Dreamy One and I went out to dinner with one of our favorite couples. Sangria and tapas were ordered. Conversation meandered from red hair to house flipping to naughty greeting cards to the economy.

Then, N asked, "If you could be anyone for a week, who would it be?"

The expected questions were asked... Living  or dead? Do I get to pick the period in their lives I want to visit? Yes and yes.

I thought...hmm.... Shakespeare? No. Dorothy Parker? No. What do I want to do for a week? The answer was was easy. "Jimmy Buffet."

Dreamy One raised an eyebrow.

"Seriously," I insisted. "Think a beach, a margarita and flip-flops."

The other answers were the Pope, Winston Churchhill and Chief Justice John Roberts.

"You're sure about Buffet?" asked Dreamy One.

Positive. I'd spend a week with my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world and a cold beer in my hand (yes, I know that's the Zac Brown Band but I'm sure Jimmy Buffet is down with the sentiment).

Plus, Jimmy Buffet writes. I've even read one of his books. A book the Kirkus review said was..."So laid-back and rambling it's perilously close to sloppy, but Buffett's considerable charms as a performer and goof-off artist keep things afloat." Where is Joe Merchant? is the equivalent of cotton candy...spun sugar.

I'll let Dreamy One and our friends face WWII, lead the world's Catholics and write legal opinions that can change our country. You'll find me in Margaritaville.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So the drama

Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. Their eyes meet. They're drawn to each other. They flirt. They talk. They date. They fall in love. Their parents approve. They get their HEA (happily ever after) without any drama.

While this might be the love story we want - for ourselves or our children - it's not one we want to read about. Frankly, its kinda boring. No conflict.

Two strangers see each other across a crowded room. Mary is in a relationship - it's complicated. John is fed up with women, especially complicated women. Neither is looking for anyone new. Their eyes meet. They're drawn to each other. Mary thinks he's a jerk. John thinks she's complicated. End scene.

Mary's boyfriend is arrested for fill-in-the-blank. He swears to her he is innocent (NOT). John is appointed as the boyfriend's defense attorney. Mary and John bicker and rub each other the wrong way and get under each other's skins while boyfriend sits in jail.

Mary feels awful - she kinda likes John. She shouldn't. She should stand by her man - even if he is an embezzler/thief/generally bad guy.

John feels worse. He has feelings for Mary. It's totally unprofessional. What's more, if he gets her  boyfriend acquitted, he'll lose her.

Ach - the drama, the conflict, the rocky road to love. But - I bet you're wondering what happens next...

Boyfriend breaks out of jail and threatens Mary? Mary is implicated in boyfriend's crime? John's complicated ex-girlfriend shows up with a baby she claims is his? Could be...

I am oh-so-happy to live a boring HEA and I'm oh-so-happy I don't have to read about it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I'm melllttting

It is too hot for June. Frankly, it's too hot for July, August or any other month. Then again, I am a lover of winter. I actually like sleet and snow and gusts of cold wind.

I get more done in the winter. Cold invigorates. Heat saps.

I appreciate the variations of a gray sky more than the endless bleached blue that puts in an appearance every summer.

If I must watch sports on television, I prefer watching football or NCAA basketball (with my husband) or figure skating (with my daughters) to yawning my way through a game of baseball or golf.

I've reached the age where a swimsuit is not my friend.

I hate getting into a sun-heated car and sincerely thank the genius engineer who came up with air-conditioned seats. As my mother would say, "Best invention since sliced bread."

I don't like yard work, bugs (with the exception of fireflys), dragging around a hose, high humidity or ironing linen clothing.

Just so you know I'm not a complete curmudgeon - I do like cicadas' songs, summer dresses, sandals, ice cream, fresh peaches and having my husband grill dinner because it's too hot to turn on the oven. I like late twilight, the freshness of the air in the morning, the sound of children playing in a pool and unexpected cool breezes. Most of all, I like entering an air-conditioned house.

And now, before my brain melts like a popsicle in the sun, it's time to increase the word count.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where does the time go?

I'm getting nothing done. It's a kid thing. Today - time trials for swim team and a soccer game - all in 90 degree plus heat with humidity off the charts. I collapsed this afternoon.

Tonight, I get to go pick up the 13 year-old and her friends from a movie. Where does the time go?

Some fab new books arrive about the 1920s, so some of my time is spent reading - ahem, researching. I am learning more than I ever wanted to know about The Stork Club (it started life as a speakeasy), loose morals, hemlines, the difference between auction and contract bridge, the growing popularity of golf and why cocktails became popular (syrups covered the taste of cheap booze).

Good stuff to know but it doesn't advance the word count of the WIP....yet.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Coming Out

The day I decided to say - out loud - "I want to be a writer" - I became accountable to my dream.

I am a writer. I write this blog. I write novels. And, I write articles (for which I am actually paid).

Dreams evolve. I am a writer. I want to be an author. I want a publishing company to say they love my MS as much as I do. I want to see it sitting on the shelves at Rainy Day Books. I want to download it to my Nook. I want to hold it in my hands and flip through its pages. I want someone to read it and think Yes! I've thought that/felt that/wondered that.

You know my dream. I just need to make it come true.