Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inaugural Post

The ELIRWA has started their own blog to keep readers informed about all the happenings regarding starting a new chapter of RWA, as well as in their writing lives. Lucky me; as chapter President, I got to post the first entry.

So, won't you stop by and take a peek at one of the projects I'm most proud to be involved with these days?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When Did Life Become This Juggling Act?

My more loyal followers will already know I'm sick. Have been since January 4th. Nothing major that I know of: more a chronic sinus/ear/head/stomach bug that I can't seem to shake despite two anti-biotics, a round of lab tests, and regular appointments with doctors. No real diagnosis=no real cure.

Add to that my poor girl was involved in a rear-end collision in January (totally not her fault), and the requisite insurance runaround afterward spilled over into February. I finally got the car fixed two weeks ago; now I just have to bring it back to the body shop for some minor touchups.

And recently a dear family member was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, which has kept us hopping to Manhattan for daily updates on his condition and prognosis.

Clearly, 2009 has it in for me.

What's a poor girl to do?

Keep going, of course. I have another visit with my doctor today (followed by son's lacrosse practice), an appointment with a specialist on Thursday, another college to visit over the weekend, those copy edits from Avalon to complete (halfway through--should have them back to my editor before the middle of the week!), the day job which is probably wondering when they'll see me again, and edits to look forward to on my upcoming release from The Wild Rose Press (last correspondence pegged them hitting my inbox before the end of the month.) I'm presently querying the WIP I just finished and struggling to get Katherine's website up and running.

And did I mention I still have to do my taxes, too?

I'm not even looking for extra hours in the day anymore. I'll settle for a quick rewind back to 1984 when my most pressing concern was whether or not I should dry clean my jeans.

So why does Gertrude choose this inopportune time to whisper the seeds of a new story in my ear? Somewhere that 3-month old, Baby New Year, is giggling.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

When It's Time to Change...

Yup. I wanted a new fresh look for the blog and fell instantly in love with this template. The font colors, etc. are still a work in progress because the blogger edit system isn't as easy to update certain aspects as I'd like, but eventually I'll get it exactly the way I want it. Until then, bear with me and I hope you like the new look.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Makes a "Real Writer"?

I hate to break it to you, but writers come into this world the same way as everyone else. And when we take up the pen or set our fingers on the keyboard, we have the same 24 hours in a day, the same family obligations, the same career issues, and other distractions as everyone else in the world. The difference is we make writing a priority.

Note I didn't say, the priority. Because that's an ideal most of us can't or won't commit to. But for those of you struggling to become a "real writer," here are a few basic ideas about what that term really means.

Real writers show up at the keyboard every day. Well, okay, maybe not every day is spent in front of a computer. But we do find unique opportunities to jot down notes, play with plot points, and keep our writing a priority when other priorities demand our attention. We get out of bed an hour early, skip our favorite television show in favor of some writing time, or sneak in a chapter once the kids are asleep. We try to write or work on our writing in some way at least five days a week (like a real job...'cuz, hey! That's what it is!) We might bring a pad and paper to jury duty or the doctor's office or a school function. We read on the beach and in the bathtub and before we go to sleep, whether it's books on the craft or books by our favorite authors, we're constantly studying the market, the trends, and the business. We attend workshops, whether in person or online. We (okay..."I") run dialogue while stuck in traffic. The point is, we spend a great deal of time focused on writing.

Real writers don't blow deadlines. My dear friend and idol, Bertrice Small, will back me up that this is a Cardinal Rule in writing. Blowing deadlines is unprofessional, inconsiderate, and just plain self-destructive. Good girl that I am (honest!), I'm big on following the rules. So even when I don't have a true deadline, I set myself on one. Whether it's to finish a WIP, complete edits, start sending queries or followups, or to send something back to my editor (like the copyedited version of A Run for the Money, which I'm currently reviewing), I choose a reasonable date as my goal and stick to it. The important thing to remember is to make the date reasonable and then stay focused as if your career depended upon you making that deadline. Because, in the long haul, it does!

Real writers have discipline, not excuses. Through the years I've met lots of people who want to write and have even begun the process. Some may have finished a manuscript or two. A few have not only completed a manuscript but have received a request from an agent or editor to review the manuscript for possible publication! But...somewhere on the journey, the glorious momentum stops. The writer becomes distracted or fearful of the next step or procrastinates on the follow-up and wham! Years go by and they still haven't moved forward. Or they've begun a new project without ever completing the final steps on the old project. And they get caught in this vicious circle: start something, stop; start something new, stop; start something new, stop. The list of excuses is endless: "I'm waiting until I have more time," "My day job is crazy busy," "The agent or editor has probably forgotten all about me by now," "I decided to write something totally new and different..." Sorry, kids. You want to be a real writer? Stick your butt in the chair and write! And when you've completed your story, submit it! And while you're waiting to hear from those submissions, write something else!

Real writers take risks. It takes a lot of courage to decide you have something worthwhile to say to the world at large. It takes even more courage to start the process of writing. And you're dipping into that courage well again to finish the story, to share it with outsiders, to submit it to publishing houses and agents even when you get rejection after rejection. And the need for courage doesn't stop when you sign the contract either. There are reviews and booksignings and speaking engagements and promotion, and a host of other terrifying "monsters" to face. Again and again and again. The trick is to keep going, always moving forward, always conquering those monsters. about you? Are you a real writer?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Every once in a while, I take a chance and get a surprise. That's what happened when I picked up a recent James Patterson release. Sundays at Tiffany's was a sweet premise that actually delivered!

No worries, kids. I'm far too busy to begin doing routine book reviews. But I made an exception this time because it's been a very long time since I've felt any passion for a book written by James Patterson and his gang of co-authors. If you're looking for murder and mayhem from Mr. Patterson, keep going. This ain't it. But if you want a quick romance that will leave you feeling warm and fuzzy, you just might be in for a treat with this one. Like coffee ice cream with hot fudge on top (readers will understand the reference.)

What author has surprised you lately?

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Final Chapter

Can I just take a moment to breathe here? Maybe squee a bit? Because I just started writing the very last chapter of Ends...With Benefits (title soon to be changed)!
And I love, love, love, LOVE this story!
So for those keeping score at home, here's how the writing progress has looked so far in 2009:

Completed revisions to A Run for the Money, due to be released by Avalon Books in August of this year.
Signed the contract with The Wild Rose Press for my first historical under the pen name Katherine Brandon, Kismet's Angel. (Edits should be received by the end of March.) **Note to self: Must buy Angel charm to signify sale now that contract has been duly signed and received by all parties!**
Am about to complete WIP and will do a quick review/revision before firing it off to my beta readers for input. Then the query process begins.

Bear in mind that during these last three months I've also co-founded and now preside as president of the ELIRWA, a provisional chapter of Romance Writers of America, taken care of my poor car which was rear-ended by a speeding bunch of teenagers (I get my baby back today--YAY!), narrowed The Girl's college choices down to three, and am still baffling my GP and specialists alike with a laundry list of bizarre illness symptoms that have no connection and make absolutely no sense (I've been sick since January 4th!) time you want to tell me how you'd love to write a book when you have "the time," refrain. It's not about having the time, it's about making the time.

And now, I'm off to Le Day Job.

Monday, March 2, 2009

You Want the Weather?

Well, it's snowing here. Lots and lots of snow. Don't believe me? Here are a few photos from earlier today. And p.s., it's still snowing. We've been advised to expect up to 14 inches from this storm.

That brown rectangle in the center of the yard? That's my inground pool under ice.

If you have to drive in this weather, be safe! And if not, turn up the heat, snuggle up with someone warm and hope for sunshine tomorrow.