Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Before you close your eyes tonight, please take a moment to think about all those brave soldiers, men and women, who have, throughout the years of our proud country, fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.

Think also of their families, who miss them every day.

I know I will.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Revisions Revisited

A week in an Internet-free zone has been hard on my blogging but great for my writing. Revisions on The Cowboy Way are going better than well.

I have writing friends who talk about “revision hell,” but for me it’s always an eye-opening experience. Having to concentrate on each sentence, each word, asking myself if it fits, if it progresses the story, if it makes sense, and having to be honest with myself about the answer, has made me a better writer. It’s been emotional and exhausting, but it’s been fun and kinda cool.

I’m looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend. I’ve made plans to go shopping with a friend. I’m sure that at some point we'll hit a book store.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Not Writer's Block...But What?

I'm having a Scarlet O'Hara day today...I haven't done one thing that couldn't just as easily be done tomorrow.

I did have lunch today at a wonderful vegan restaurant with my friend Jennifer, and we did talk about books, but talking about books is not the same as writing one.

When I got home I watched the news--none of it good--and read for a few minutes, listened to the thunder pounding outside, and hoped for rain.

Dinner was late and I didn't get to the computer until 9:00pm. Slaved over the same ten pages I've slaved over all week. Ugh.

Not a productive day. The muse is not amused.

I'd love to say I have a fool-proof plan for tomorrow, but really, I tolerated 30+ years of work-related planning and the nicest thing I can say about it is how wonderful I felt when I was able to give it up.

So, here's the not-a-plan. I will finish off those doggone ten pages that have given me grief and edit/rewrite (as is required) the next ten. Possibly more, possibly not. There is only one thing writtten in stone. I will try.

P.S. It never did rain.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stolen Moments...With a Book

On Saturday, with the announcement that I finalled in Central Florida Romance Writers Touch of Magic contest I've put myself on a rigorous schedule of editing and reworking the manuscript (The Cowboy Way) just in case it's requested by the final round judge.

That same day I stopped by my local library branch to pick up a hold they'd called me about. I thought it was the new Peter Walsh book--he's the world's best (and most down to earth) organizer and has great advice about getting control of clutter.

Not that I have clutter in my least none I'll admit to.

But, ahem, anyway, much to my surprise, the library had THREE books for me. The Peter Walsh, which can wait (much like the clutter I don't have), but also Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks and Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, which cannot. Can Not. No way.

That's where the stolen moments come in. I started with the Brooks. Have you read her books? Oh, my gosh. What a delicious writer. Read Year of Wonders first. You'll be forever changed.

From the first word, Caleb's Crossing is amazing. The voice is incredible. The descriptions are lyrical. I'm allowing myself only 25 pages a day so that I can keep up with my own writing and still be finished in time to take it back to the library. At some point I know I'll break, and keep on reading, probably well into the night.

Uh oh, I think I just heard the ominous sound of a tiny cracking in my resolve.

Think about cowboys, Karen. Think about cowboys.

I'll let you know how it all works out.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I Can Hold My Breath for 2:02:04

Did you see the Derby? Aren't those horses some of the most beautiful creatures on earth? As a Kentucky girl (have I mentioned that before? Oh. Only about a million times? Sorry. It's in the blood) I have vivid memories of driving past horse paddocks, watching the colts gambol around with such charming abandon. I always hold my breath during horse races--mostly from awe, but also in fear that one of the horses will break down or be otherwise injured. When the race is over I cry. Every time. I never cry at NASCAR races or hockey matches. Or T-ball. Or squash. I'm weird like that.

Have another breath-holding experience to report. Touch of Magic contest (Central Florida Romance Writers) finalists were announced at the meeting today and I finalled with my cowboy contemporary, The Cowboy Way. Thrills, chills and excitement! Happy dancing and lots of hugging. Manuscripts go to the final round judges next week. Should hear results mid to late June. If your fingers are not otherwise engaged, please cross them for me.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hurricanes on the Brain

I’ve got hurricanes on my mind today, which is strange, because the weather is so perfect here. Highs in the high 80s, breezy, a bit of a shower around noon.

It won’t be like this for long, though, this being Florida. Wicked hot weather is on its way. I’ve learned that from my experience as a 25-year Florida girl.

Hurricane season starts in about a month, but that’s not the only reason I’m considering the weather. For an exercise at my RWA chapter meeting tomorrow we’re going to work on plotting a hurricane story.

Like every other writer in the southeast I have the seed of a hurricane story in my head. The hero is a widowed state senator, at a low point in his career and popularity after a drunk driving arrest. The heroine is a widowed stay-at-home mom, forced to go back to work after her husband’s death. Both have pre-teen daughters who attend the same school and hate each other. Because I remember the unpredictability of Hurricane Charley when he visited Florida with his friends Frances and and Jeanne, I’m setting this one in an upscale community on the Gulf coast.

If my idea is selected for the exercise tomorrow I may go home with a completed plot.

That would be an extremely exciting prospect if it weren’t for the fact that I already have five other projects in production. Plus that half-formed idea for my NaNoWriMo book.

Oh, heck. Why not make it six? The more the merrier, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Just Call Me Nature Girl

My favorite thing about working outside (translation: on the screened porch) is watching what goes on in the natural world. I’ve already mentioned my revelation about the whirlybirds on the maple trees, but I don’t think I reported when all the mating began. Wow, it’s been busy out there.

Business at the feeders has been brisk. I have six squirrels this year (they’re pigs, I tell you…pigs with fur and tails!) and when they started to mate they went at it hammer and tongs. I was concerned that someone was going to get hurt, but so far all is well. I should have noted the date it all started and then looked up the gestation period of the gray squirrel, but it was easier to just sit and let the spring breezes waft over me. I’ll save all the naturalist stuff for next year.

Also have three pairs of cardinals this year, and oh, were they ever sweet during mating. One pair would fly to the roof of the storage building in my neighbor’s yard and the female would wait while the male flew to the feeder, selected a morsel (black oil sunflower seeds this year) and brought it back to her. Then he’d feed her and return to the feeder for another offering. I wasn’t surprised then, when small dark flying objects started dive-bombing the back yard on Sunday evening. Fledgling cardinals are not known for their aerobatic control, but I knew they’d improve as time went by. They were back this evening, led by Mama and Papa Cardinal. Neither of the fledglings ever made it to the feeders, though they came close to figuring out the landing part. They stayed mostly in the maple tree, quietly chirping the whole time, so that Mama and Papa would know where they were. Can’t wait until tomorrow for a return visit.

In other news, the love bugs are swarming, the lizards (actually brown anoles) are showing their flags and I actually had a hummingbird fly through the yard. Unfortunately, the feeder was drying on the kitchen counter. I’ve changed the process for cleaning it—I cook and cool the sugar water before I bring in the feeder. That way I’ve got it back outside in under five minutes.

On the writing front, I’ve developed plots for two new short contemporary romances this week. Ideas are rising, just like sap, and the muse is happy at last.

UPDATE: The fledgling cardinals returned to the feeder with their parents on Thursday, then by themselves on Friday. They're still chirping constantly, which leads me to think Mom and Dad are nearby. All is well in the natural world.