Friday, April 27, 2012
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
1. It’s motivating and encouraging.
2. I can watch and learn from her.
In fact, currently she’s teaching an online class through RWA on self publishing and I’m taking it. I’m not a very vocal student—I’m more of a lurker—a stalker. I’ve made Debra my case study and here’s some Debra versus Kristy stats.
Debra has five books out, six if you include her nonfiction book on grieving. The first book in Debra’s Montana Sky series is only .99 cents. Debra’s book won the Golden Heart—I think that’s a huge selling point. Romance readers know darn well what a Golden Heart is and what to expect from a Golden Heart winner.
Debra has three books in the Montana Sky series and the covers are all very similar. I think the advantage here is if readers enjoyed the first book, they can correctly assume they’re in for another sweet western experience with the other two books in the series.
So, what can I do with this? I’m entering contests. I thought about changing my covers, but people seem to love my covers so I’m sticking with them.
In the next few months I’ll be participating in a couple of “book buffets” where I’ll offer my books for a discount.
But mostly, I’m writing. Debra has six books, I hope to have four published by the end of the year.
The interesting, or should I say boring, thing about all this writing is it gives me nothing to say in conversations. When friends ask me how I am or what I’ve been up to, I have very little to say. I admit I’ve been holed up in my room playing with fictional characters, but that can only take a conversation so far. And unlike writing fiction, I can’t just make stuff up. That would be lying.
I’ll finish Losing Penny by the end of the week. Tomorrow disaster will strike at a donkey basketball game. I love writing--the making up stuff part. Even if I don’t sell as well as Debra. Yet.
Monday, April 23, 2012
I remember when we bought our “big enough table.” Before the big enough table, we ate at a table that my husband made. I loved that table. The kids sat on a homemade bench while the grown-ups sat on folding, wooden chairs—I liked how the chairs looked, but I didn’t like how they pinched fingers and easily collapsed. The chairs had to go and eventually we bought a giant oak table and eight Windsor back chairs.
When we bought the “big enough table” I said, This is a forty year table. Since then, how many breakfasts, lunches and dinners? How many science, homework and sewing projects? How many Thanksgiving turkeys, bunny pancakes and Valentine cookies? Only four of the original chairs have survived. They’re so worn, I’ve covered them slip covers that match the fabric of the curtains and pads on the four new chairs. With both leaves locked in place, the table can easily seat twelve. The pale blond oak still shines when I oil it. It stands firm beneath me when I stand on it to clean the ceiling fan. Twenty years later, it’s hard to believe that my table has already survived half of its life expectancy. Maybe it’s a life time table.
Next year when the girls leave, maybe we’ll take out the leaves—but then where would we put the chairs? No, I think we’ll continue to eat at that big enough table, even when we are the lonely-onlys.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
I’m rewriting a mystery I wrote years ago, back in the days when I loved Elizabeth George, PD James and I watched PBS’s MYSTERY every Sunday night. I stopped reading Ms. George after she killed Lynley’s wife and the last PD James I picked up I had a hard time slogging through. Even though in junior high I set and accomplished the goal of ready every single Agatha Christie novel somewhere, somehow since then I’ve lost my love for mysteries. I’m not loving this book, but I do think it has its moments and because I think it’s worth resurrecting I spend a few hours on it each week.
But not all of those hours can be murder and mayhem. Sometimes I have to throw in the Boy Scouts, maybe string one or two of them up from hooks in the slaughter house (just for fun) and push them around. And if somebody’s hair gets tangle in someone else’s zipper—that’s all good, because sometimes the purpose of the scene is to change the mood.
From THE RHYME'S LIBRARY
Please, don’t let the boys be at the river, Blair prayed as she instinctively walked toward it. She glanced back at the house—no sign of Alec. Maybe the boys were with him. Still, she followed a path through some long grass toward the river—the worst case scenario.
Muffled voices and scuffling came from behind an outbuilding. She rounded the corner. A low fence surrounded a slaughter house. A beam studded with hooks ran above the boy’s heads, and from one of these hooks they had hung the boy by his feet. He swung wildly from a rope and the boys took turns pushing him. His face turned toward Blair, his mouth hung open, and he crossed eyes.
His distorted face loomed toward her, and she rushed toward him. “Boys -” she began, as his head swung ominously close to the slaughter house wall. He hurtled at her, his head hitting Blair in the belly and lifting her off the ground. She screamed and fell to her knees. The swinging boy twirled around her head, her hair tangling in the teeth of his jacket zipper. He balanced on her head, his legs and arms kicking and flailing while the boys laughed. Blair’s shoulders sagged under his weight.
“My hair!” Blair called out while the boy twisted, trying to free himself. Every movement tugged on her hair. With one hand she tried to keep the boy from swinging, while the other clawed at her tangled hair. “Hold still! Ow!”
Someone gave an outraged gasp and another burst out laughing. She knew that she had to look ridiculous with a boy attached to her head like an elaborate hat.
“What happened here?” Blair recognized Alec’s voice. She tried to knee-hop so that she could see him.
“We weren’t doing nothing-” a boy said.
Blair still couldn’t see Alec, but she cried out to him, “Get this boy off my head!”
“I think her hair is stuck,” a boy offered.
“How-” Cheryl began, but her words were lost in laughter.
Blair tried to wrench her hair free and immediately her hair tightened in the zipper’s teeth. “Help me!”
Alec stepped forward to clasp the boy. It helped to have the him still, but Blair couldn’t think of a time when she had been in a more uncomfortable position. Cheryl began to tug Blair’s hair, but her hands shook as she laughed. Blair considered hitting her.
“Stop,” Blair told her. She struggled to keep her weight on her uninjured leg. “You’re hurting me.”
“I’m just trying to help,” Cheryl said, working at the jacket. “Jacob, can you get out of the jacket?”
“We need some scissors,” Alec said.
“You can’t cut my jacket,” Jacob said. “My mom would kill me.”
“We’ll have to cut her hair,” Cheryl said.
“I’ve a pocket knife,” a boy said.
“That’ll work,” Alec said.
“You’re going to cut my hair with a knife?” Blair’s voice rose to a squeak.
“It’s my knife,” the boy said. “So, I get to do it.”
“No,” all of the adults said at once.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
We were vacationing in the San Juan Islands with my husband’s family. I hadn’t written anything in weeks. When we visited Victoria, BC I knew I had to see Craigdarroch Castle. My novel, Hailey’s Comments takes place on a fictional island in the Pacific Northwest. The Dunsmuir home is a stone Victorian mansion, complete with turret and a widow’s walk that overlooks the ocean. In my novel the family matriarch, Helen, is murdered by her grandson, James Dunsmuir.
Monday, April 9, 2012
I’m about 13 scenes away from the end of my novel Losing Penny…thirteen scenes…about 130 pages. It sounds far, but it’s not. If I had the time and attention I could hammer it out in a week. Plenty of time, no attention.
I spoke in church yesterday—Easter Sunday, the Atonement of Christ—not an easy-peasy speak off the top of my hat sort of thing. (If you’re interested, you can read the talk on my family blog http://tatetattler.blogspot.com/)
An interesting thing happened—I shared the pulpit with the bishop who served while I swas Relief Society president—so, about six years ago, we shared the pulpit on a number of occasions. That’s totally off topic and I’m not sure why I’m mentioning it, when I’m supposed to be writing about how I’m not writing…
So, what does the fact that I spoke in church yesterday have to do with the fact I’m not cranking out my thirteen missing scenes? I’m speaking at the University of Santa Barbara’s Institute of Religion on Friday. Last night I had a dream that I was lost in Santa Barbara and I needed to find the institute building AND write my talk in less than fifteen minutes. So, I took the hint and this morning I wrote the talk. It’s all done. If I get lost, at least I’ll know what to say.
Also, I’m thrilled to be included in a group of 12, 13 if you want to include me, talented writers who’ve created a group blog. Today was my first post on Authors of Main Street (here’s the link http://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com/) and I’m completely distracted by all the action happening on Main Street. We've had more than 500 hits since we opened shop last week.
Also, I went to the gym with my teenage daughter and took a ridiculously hard kick-boxing class. The dynamo leading all that kicking and boxing looked about twenty years younger than me and she kept complaining about her advanced age. An hour later, and even my fingers hurt.
Taking stock of the right here and right now—
Talk written, check.
Main Street blog posted, check.
Killer kick-boxing, check.
The scene where Penny decides to publish Drake’s Viking book…not happening and I’m not sure why not.
Usually when this happens it’s because something plot-wise is off track, but I’m not finding it today. Here’s where I left off—if anyone has suggestions or questions, let ‘em fly. I’m going to rest my weary kick-boxing fingers.
From Losing Penny
“Magdalena was a five foot ten, one hundred and thirty pound mistake,” Drake said firmly. “My mistake with Blair was…monumental stupidity.” He paused. “I’m not going to be smart with Penny.”
“What?” Drake asked. “You don’t think I can be smart?”
Andrea’s smile broadened. “Oh no, I just think it’s funny that someone so incredibly brilliant can sometimes be so incredibly stupid.”
“Thanks,” Drake said. “You’re right. I’m stupid when it comes to her. I really don’t know what to do next.”
“Blair loved you.”
“Yeah and I blew that.”
“But before you blew it—you must have been doing something right.”
Drake thought back to the early days when he loved Blair and she loved him. Before he met Magdalena at that stupid sabbatical. The sabbatical of stupidity. Had he ever loved Magdalena? Or was she a convenient excuse to distance himself from Blair—avoid any real emotional detachment? As long as he had a dream of Magdalena then he couldn’t really love Blair, couldn’t commit, couldn’t start a marriage or take on the responsibility of a family. And Blair wanted a family. She wanted children. No wonder she didn’t want him back.
“What did you do to make Blair fall in love with you?” Andrea asked.
Drake frowned at Andrea. “We wrote poetry together.”
Andrea laughed. “I’m pretty sure Blair didn’t love you for your poetry.”
“What do you mean?”
Andrea looked away, fighting a smile. “I’m just pretty sure that Blair didn’t love your poetry.”
Drake’s mouth dropped open and Andrea must have realized how badly she’d hurt his feelings, because she rushed in with, “Okay, try it. Take Penny somewhere romantic—the beach at night, or the old stone church and ask her if she’d like to hear your poetry.”
“She doesn’t really like poetry. She reads Snivel Drivel.”
Andrea brightened. “I love Snivel Drivel!”
Drake nodded. “You’d probably love Penny. Everyone does.”
“Everyone loves Penny?”
“Everyone who knows her.” Including two million blog followers, who knows how many television viewers and one crazed stalker.
“I think you’re exaggerating. She has to be a little unlovable.”
He thought of the dirty socks in the middle of the living room and shrugged. “Yeah, I guess everyone has their flaws.”
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
A. Point out the nasty rash that came from their nastiness (or not, since I don’t know) and demand compensation for a trip to the vet and medicine
B. Feign ignorance and expose other dogs to nasty rashiness and perhaps be banned forever from Wendy’s Poodle Place. (Just reward, I think—I’d ban me, too.)
But I’ve chosen the clippers and medicated shampoo route. Grendal does mind the bath and her sentence with the clippers. She knows exactly what’s up when I run the bath and lock the door. She suffers through the whole ordeal with her head bowed, meek, submissive. But when it’s all over, she’s okay with the haircut. Dogs are great that way—they’re not even a little bit vain. Getting a bath and a haircut is just part of being a Schnauzer. Something all Schnauzers must endure.
My friend has a doggy groomer that comes to her house every two weeks. She doesn’t have to go Wendy’s Poodle Place. The doggy mobile comes, parks in front of her house and voila—a well groomed Cockapoo I tell myself I can’t afford the doggy mobile, but on days when I dream of my books selling much better than they currently are—I dream of a traveling doggy groomer, a cleaning lady, and a gardener. Someone who will happily do all the nitty-gritty bits of my life so I can focus on a story where all spills and messes are quickly cleaned up, all the plants live long and healthy lives and Schnauzers have perfectly trimmed beards.