Friday, February 21, 2014

Judging Books

Every year the Romance Writers of American has a huge contest, called The Rita.  It's sort of like The Oscars, but for books.  Winners even get a golden statue.

If one enters, one must judge.  I normally enjoy that.  This year however, I received eight books!

Now rules prohibit me from discussing a particular book specifically.  But when I first looked at my stack, I was slightly disappointed.  Nothing jumped out at me.  No cover or back cover copy intrigued me.

I plowed my way through two of them.  They were ok.  Not bad.  Not great.  Just good.

Then I read the third.  It's a genre I rarely, if ever, read.  But it grabbed me.  I smiled through the entire story. Yes!  That's a Rita book.

Fourth, once again.  Meh.    I've got four left now.  I just started the fifth one and once again, I'm smiling.  It's good.  Entertaining.  Well-written.  I'm enjoying it.

I hope the last three surprise me as well.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review - Made My Day

The April issue of RT Book Reviews is out and I get an online copy.  Since my book The Wolf Siren is out in April, I checked to see what the review said.

It made my day.  I've posted it on my Facebook wall and for whatever reason, it won't let me post it here.
But it was a good review, and I got 4.5 stars.

Made my day as I struggle through writing two books at once.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Thursday Musings

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  Years ago, my husband and I used to make reservations and go eat fancy dinners.  One year, we didn't feel like it and we cancelled our reservation and went to Chili's for hamburgers. Hamburgers are a treat as we don't allow ourselves to have them very often - someones not for a month or two - as we're always battling our weight.

So now the tradition has evolved of our V-Day hamburgers.  Sadly, Chili's shrunk theirs and this year we have to figure out where to go.  I asked around and got various responses - In-and-Out, Kincaid's, Twisted Root, Five Guys, Applebee's, etc.  We've tried several of these and while I love them, they're not exactly what I had in mind for celebrating.

We've narrowed it down to Red Robin and Cheddar's.  I guess we'll decide tomorrow.

Other than that, I've been working.  Yesterday wasn't too good as I had an eye exam that seriously strained my eyes.  I left at 8:30 am and by the time I went by Visionworks and picked out frames, it was lunch time. And my eyes never stopped hurting.  I worked, but got less than a third of what I usually accomplish done.

Today will be better.

Oh, and Katniss says Happy Valentine's Day a day early!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Things That Make Me Happy

This morning, I woke up to snow flurries.  And cold.  15 degrees, which is very cold for Texas.  And then something happened.  It began to snow in earnest.

My dogs loved it.  For Peyton (the one in the grey sweater), this is his first snowfall.

You can see how thrilled he is.  And I am too.  I love a good snowfall.   I'm at the kitchen table on my laptop, sipping hot cocoa, with chicken enchilada soup simmering on the stove for lunch.

Best kind of day.  And hopefully, it will make up for the incredibly bad day I had yesterday!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Writing Musings

My little blog here is about lots of things.  The pool.  What I cook.  Vacations I take.  And the occasional book promotion.

Well, today I want to talk about writing.  And some of the misconceptions people have about my livelihood.

First off, writing is not typing.  If it were, I'd finish a book in a few weeks.  Or less.  I type pretty fast. Typing is copying words that already exist.  Writing is actually creating those words.

Having an idea is not the same thing as writing a book.  I can't tell you how many times someone has come up to me and said "Hey, I have this great idea for a book.  How about I give it to you, you write it, and we split the profit?"  Um, no.  Ideas are everywhere, they are a dime a dozen.  The execution of the idea, the finding just the right words and scenes and characters - that's the difficult part.  Like most writers, I have an "Idea File" where I toss random ideas in case I want to develop them later.  In a story, there is so much more than the idea.  There's character growth, conflict and resolution, secondary characters, subplots, suspense... I could go on and on.

Secondly, writing isn't easy.  If it was, we'd all be doing it.  I love my job and wouldn't want to do anything else, but I'd be lying if I said I sit down every morning at the computer all fired up and the words just flow. There's actually a lot of sweat and nervousness and self-doubt.  Me, I've sold 36 plus books to publishers and I *still* have to convince myself that I know what I'm doing.  Sometimes I wonder if I can do it, complete this book, give my characters a voice and the idea in my head justice. Sometimes, I can't quite convey what's in my heart on paper.  It looks flat, and lifeless, and I have to go back and figure out what I did wrong.

Writers aren't all rich.  I wish I was.  My husband wishes I was.  Sure, I am making a living, but I made a hell of a lot more money running our commercial insurance agency.  So please refrain from pointing out an uber successful novelist (like JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyers) and asking me why I'm not famous like them. Once again, if it were that easy, don't you think I'd be doing that?

And that brings to mind another point.  As a professional writer, I don't get to sit around and wait for the creative muse to strike.  Inspiration doesn't hang out in my office.  I have a job.  I do it.  That involves sitting down at the keyboard, and working.  Writing.

Wow - I wasn't aware when I started writing this blog that this was going to turn into a rant.  Not my intention, at all.  So to refocus on the positive....

When I have a good writing day, the world is full or rainbows and butterflies and I sing.  Yesterday was a good day.  I was happy.  I'm starting this day happy and optimistic that I'll have the same success.  (We can only hope!)

If I have a bad writing day, otherwise known as pulling words from my... you know.  If it's bad, then I glower.  I don't sing.  I'm unhappy and sulk.

I always prefer the good writing days!  Wouldn't you?

Monday, February 3, 2014

A New Month

Well, the pool is all done.  Sort of.  We have a pool service coming three times a week to brush the new plaster, vacuum up the sediment (we're told it's normal for that stuff to bleed sediment at first), and treat it with chemicals.

The last two weeks of January, I worked solely on The Long Wait, the book that's due today.  I didn't make it - I still have a bit to go, but in two weeks I wrote 14,318 word on that story which is roughly 71 pages. Not bad, though not the amount I needed.

But... I'm loving the story, both the suspense and the romance are working out (I'm in awe of my subconscious mind sometimes.  I thought I'd written myself into a corner, but had an epiphany while watching American Idol one night.

So there's that.

Now however, due to deadlines, I have to go back to working on both books.  I must write a minimum of 1500 words on the Colton Continuity and 1000 words on The Long Wait, which will make it approximately 2 weeks late.

So I'd better get busy.