Friday, October 19, 2007

To Be Continued . . . .

I apologize for not posting anything new for a while. Life has taken over and my time has been very limited. I'm still alive, I promise, and doing okay, though I'm VERY tired with all the extra hours I've had to work in the bakery. My goal for writing hasn't happened, but I'll keep trying. I had hoped to go to the Eden Writers Conference this weekend, but other committments and lack of money nixed that idea. Maybe next year.

I'll be back tomorrow with a new post. Until then . . . Adieu.
P.S. Oh, and about the picture - those are my squirts. On the left is Birdy and the right is Tin Man. Aren't they cute?

Quote of the Day: "One has to be just a little crazy to write a great novel."

- John Gardner

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ten Most Kissable Characters

Julie Wright tagged me with the weirdest tag to date.

The author (Veronica at Toddled Dredge ) explains the tag as, “Ten Literary Characters I Would Totally Make Out With If I Were Single and They Were Real But I’m Not, Single I Mean, I Am Real, But I’m Also Happily Married and Want to Stay That Way So Maybe We Should Forget This.”

I must admit I've been at a loss on who to select. Call me strange, but I've never even thought of kissing a character-primarily because they're not real.

That being said, I've thought it over and made a few selections more because I like the characters than because I think they're in any way worth kissing, and since the only way to kiss them is to stick my mouth in a book, the point is moot. Papercut lips anyone?

1) Sparhawk from David Eddings Elenium series. I can't help but like the hard outer shell of the warrior with the kind and compassionate inner self.

2) Butch from J.A. Jance's Joanna Brady Mysteries. He's a great cook, rides a harley, and makes a great step-dad.

3) Garion from David Eddings Belgariad and Mallorean series. Can't say why, exactly, but he's always seemed like a neat guy.

4) Prince Raoden from Brandon Sanderson's Elantris. The strength, determination, and compassion of this character are very appealing, though if I had to kiss him, I'd rather it be after he finished his transformation at the end of the book.

5) Death in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality. I know, I know, it's a little psycho, but he's a really cool character and is a very compassionate incarnation once he becomes the grim reaper.

6) Skif from Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series. He's mischevious, a little reckless, and doesn't often pay attention to the rules. Gotta love it.

7) Mark Iverson from Betsy Brannon Green's Hearts in Hiding. There's just something about the protector . . . .

8) Pug from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga.

9 & 10) Okay, I'm cheating a little here. The last two are from my own book, The Sapphire Flute, but since I created characters that appeal to me, it would make sense that I'd be able to inlude them. The first is Aldarin, step-brother to MC Ember, and the second is Brant, fiancee to MC Kayla.

Well, that feels a little weird. It's kind of like posting a list of all the boys you secretly wished you had kissed over the years. I keep having to remind myself they're not real. They're not real!

Anyway, that's my list. As for who to tag, I'm not at all sure who has and hasn't been tagged on this one, so I'll just cross my fingers and leap. I'm tagging Paulette & Michelle (both of whom are moving, so it might be a while), April, and, oh, let's see . . . I'm tempted to pick James Dashner, but I don't think he'd have much success on this one. Hmmm, how about my dear friend Jenica. All right guys, have fun, and let me know when you post so I can come see!

Quote of the Day: "I think the first duty of all art, including fiction of any kind, is to entertain. That is to say, to hold interest. No matter how worthy the message of something, if it's dull, you're just not communicating."
-Poul Anderson

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Armor of Light

I officially changed the title of my book to The Armor of Light today. It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? Of course, whatever publisher ends up taking on the series (keeping the faith here, folks) will probably end up changing the title anyway, but I want to like what I've got while I'm writing it, you know?

I've set a goal for myself of 1,000 words per day. I wrote a short prologue last year and yesterday I polished it up a bit, added some more to it, and wrote another thousand words for chapter one. At first I thought I'd written another 2,000, but later realized I was counting the prologue too. I was rather happy with that. Okay, that's putting it mildly. I was flying high for a couple of hours thinking I'd doubled my goal, but was still happy knowing I'd hit it, at least. I would have written more if I'd had more time.

Today was a wake-up call for me. I've complained for so long about the fact that I never seem to have time to write. Well, yesterday I worked for seven hours and had a bazillion other things to do, including spending time with my kids, but somehow I managed to squeeze in over a thousand words. If I can manage to write on a day like yesterday, certainly I can find some time on the not-so-busy days. One hour. That's all it takes to write a thousand words if I park my rear in the chair and pound away at the keys. Surely I can find and hour, even if it's only in 15 minute increments. A thousand words a day, every day, would get two to three first draft books done in a single year. One hour a day to accomplish so much.

I decided to track my writing progress here on my blog. I like the accountability factor, much like Tristi Pinkston's tracking of her weight loss. Maybe someday I'll be courageous enough to post that on my blog too, but for now, writing progress is going up, and I plan to keep it up!

Quote of the Day: "A word is a bud attempting to become a twig. How can one not dream while writing? It is the pen which dreams. The blank page gives the right to dream."

-Gaston Bachelard

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A New Beginning

The day in Salt Lake was very enjoyable. I was only able to watch three shows instead of five, as I had to hunt down my cell phone. I finally discovered my eight year old had taken it to school with him. Needless to say, he was in a bit of trouble when he got home. I was too tired to watch the last movie. My bedtime is normally 8:30 with such an early job, so by the time 9:00 rolled around I could hardly keep my eyes open and had to drive forty miles home.

I did enjoy the movies, though I'd seen them all before: Transformers, Evan Almighty, and Ratatouille. They were some of my favorites of the summer and definitely worth revisiting.

I started outlining The Golden Breastplate today, though I'm considering renaming it The Armor of Light. It's been so long since I started a new book, I'd forgotten how much I hate beginnings. Some people can jump right in and know exactly how they want to start a project, but I am NOT one of those people. I get pictures that form in my head of where things are going throughout the middle of the book, and sometimes the end, but the beginning? I sweat and write and sweat some more and write it over again and again and again. Why are beginnings so scary?

I think part of the answer to that is the fact that we're so often told you've only got thirteen lines to grab an editor's attention. Now, I know full well that I will probably rewrite my beginning a dozen times before I'm ready to send it anywhere, but knowing that it has to catch somebody's attention more than any other part of the book sends me into a panic. I'm not sure what to do about it at this point, but knowing what is in part causing the problem does help-a little.

Back to work again tomorrow and actually looking forward to it. For some reason, working so early makes my day feel more productive. At least I can say I did something, even if my house is a wreck and I don't have anything more done on my book than a title, knowing how many chapters I want, how many days the book covers, and what happens in three of the chapters. It will come, I know that. Somehow it always does. I've just got to be patient and make sure I ask the Great Creator for his input. He's a much better writer than I am.

I'm sure things will look better after a good night's rest. Maybe it will help me remember how to be creative again.

Quote of the Day: "Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing."

- Bonnie Friedman

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Well Deserved Day Off

Okay, here it is, the big announcement you've all been waiting for--


I find myself both relieved and a little sad to be finished. I'll be starting on the next book in the series tomorrow, titled The Golden Breastplate.

In the meantime, I am taking a day off from life and going to the dollar theater. I plan to spend the whole day there. I'll take a book and read it during my lunch and dinner, then head back to the movies. It's a cheap date with myself. Six bucks will let me see five movies, and yes, I do plan to see that many. I haven't taken myself out like this for a couple of months, and I need it! Especially after all the long editing days I've had the last couple of weeks.

So, thank you, my friends, for your words of encouragement and support. It has helped tremendously.

I'm outta here!

Quote of the Day: "It is perfectly okay to write garbage – as long as you edit brilliantly."

- C. J. Cherryh

Monday, October 8, 2007

More Progress Reports

104 pages today. I was hoping to finish as tomorrow and Wednesday are going to be busy, but it's almost ten and I still have to get up at 4 in the morning. I don't dare stay up or I'll pay for it tomorrow. I only have 34 pages left until I finish inputting changes. I'm so dang close. It's frustrating not being able to take the time tonight. I'm not the most patient person in the world, as you can probably tell.

On another note, I've become obsessed with Medieval and Renaissance music as of late. It's very inspiring when writing a fantasy based on that type of a world. The two groups I've come to love the most are Trio Mediaeval and Ensemble Dreiklang Berlin. The first is a trio of sopranos that sing polyphonic 14th century style music. Their blend is exquisite. The second is an instrumental group of mostly recorder players, and some of those recorders are HUGE. I downloaded both from iTunes, if anyone is interested in finding it or listening to samples. The music absolutely inspires me.

Sorry I haven't posted much for a few days. I've been super busy and I didn't want to post until I had something to report. Hopefully tomorrow will be the big day when I can say label it as "done."

Quote of the Day: "It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does." - William Faulkner

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I'm heading to bed, but wanted to let everyone know I didn't get selected for jury duty after all, so I only had to be there for a couple of hours. I spent most of the day inputting those edits I couldn't do yesterday. 125 pages of success! Woohoo! I'm more than 2/3 done. I've got several things to do tomorrow, so I'm not sure how far I'll get, but I should at least have it all done by the weekend, even if it's not in the mail yet. It will get there. Thanks for all the support, my friends. You make it much easier to go on when life falls apart.

Quote of the day: "Tell the readers a story! Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences." - Anne McCaffrey

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Cold Medicine High

I was reminded today why I hate cold medicine so much. I took two pills at 5:00 this morning - two pills that are only supposed to last for about four hours, and I'm just now coming down off the high at 10:00 pm. Needless to say, I got absolutely nothing done on typing those edits in today. How could I edit when the page was swimming and my brain had turned to fudge? I'm a little disgusted with myself. I knew better, but took them anyway.

So, it turns out I really do have jury duty tomorrow, though what that entails, I don't know. I guess I'll find out in the morning. Oh, and my van died. Can you believe that? My hope was that even if I did have to go to the courthouse in the morning, things would get settled out of court just before and I'd still be able to go to the luncheon of the beautiful blogging babes. Without a vehicle and being sick to boot, I'm kind of stuck.

Unless a miracle happens, The Sapphire Flute will not be in the mail on Friday, but I'm doing my darnedest. I can't believe the opposition I've had in getting this thing done. It gives me hope that maybe there's a reason for it??? Maybe it can do something for someone somewhere? I can always hope.

Quote of the Day: "Any man who keeps working is not a failure. He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as writer." - Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Progress Report

That's my dog. Isn't she cute? Her name is Moo, but we call her Moo-moo. Yes, that is the name she came with. We extended it to be "Mulan", but we don't call her that often. She lets the boys do just about anything with her- thus, the chickie-hat.

I haven't made as much progress on edits today as I'd hoped for multiple reasons - we had the young writers workshop today (which went great! Thanks, Jewel!), I just caught a bad cold, and I had to works double the hours I normally do this morning. I also had some major additions to some of the chapters to increase the sensory detail. I think I did pretty good considering all of that. I got another 59 pages done for a total of 167 out of 489. I think tomorrow will be better. I don't have nearly as many demands on my time, though I've got another 2 or 3 chapters that are going to need the sensory detail added as well. I honestly think tomorrow will be a great editing day. I might just make that friday deadline. I'm sure going to try. Thursday might be a challenge since I might have to do jury duty, and if I don't have to do that I've got lunch with the blogging babes. I'll find out tomorrow and will let you all know.

So, I'm going to bed. My brain is fried and my throat feels like I swallowed a bag of sand. Blech! Good night!

Quote of the Day: "I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." -Isaac Asimov

Monday, October 1, 2007

Goal Accomplished, Part 1

I finished my on-paper line edits today. One hundred and thirty-seven pages. I went to my favorite restauroffice (Pizza Hut) and sat there for four hours while I whipped through the climax of the book. Let me tell you, that was the fastest four hours that have passed in my life. I was so caught up in my story, I forgot to eat! Crazy, eh?

And speaking of crazy, I work tomorrow morning, and for those of you who don't know, I work in a bakery decorating donuts and I have to be there by 4:30 am. It's almost 10:30 pm. I was supposed to be in bed two hours ago, and I'm still up. Guess why? Yeah, I was inputting my edits to the computer. I've done 107 pages since the kids went to bed. Most of it has just been a comma here, or a changed word there, but there are a few chapters that I've added whole paragraphs, and I'm trying to decipher my scrawl with bleary eyes. Anyone else would say I was torturing myself, but it's just so exciting! I want to finish! This has been the story of my heart for sixteen years, and I'd about given up on it until it won first place in the fantasy category of the LDStorymakers first chapter contest. I figured I should take a second look at it after that. It needed a lot of work, which is why it's taken me six months to get to this point - but it's almost done!

So, here's the goal, and I'm really hoping you guys will keep me accountable here. I have two people waiting for this manuscript, and I want it in the mail by Friday. Kick my bum, people! I need this one heck of a lot!

Quote of the Day: "I . . . have to constantly balance "being a writer" with being a wife and mother. It's a matter of putting two different things first, simultaneously." - Madeleine L'Engle