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Archive for August, 2013

Hubby and I arrived in Helen a little before lunch time. Our motel room wouldn’t be ready for a couple of hours, so we parked and walked around a bit. We ended up at one of our favorite restaurants, Old Heidelberg. We had a huge pretzel, hubby had a couple of sausages (can’t remember which kind), and I had a Reuben sandwich with German potato salad. Now here’s the weird thing. Later on in the room, I was looking at reviews, and this restaurant had some bad ones. And this just proves how subjective reviews are. Hubby and I couldn’t finish our meals because of the amount of food. He had two HUGE sausages with two sides. But a couple of the bad reviews complained about the small portion sizes. Who ARE these people? The portions are BIG. That shows that what’s big for some people is small for others. That’s the same thing with our book reviews. Some will like our work and some won’t. Just a little food for thought…no pun intended. Okay, yeah, I really intended that pun. 🙂

Another thing that happened. When we got back to the room, there were people in the room above us who RAN for two straight hours. I thought they were going to come through our ceiling. I knew it had to be kids and couldn’t figure out why their parents let them do that. I finally went to the front desk to complain. It turns out, the people up there had three rooms and were regular guests at the motel. They were called and it turned out the kids were playing in that room by themselves without adult supervision. These were kids 6-8 years old. But, the noise stopped immediately. So yay!

I hope those of you who live in the USA are having a nice holiday. And everyone else, a nice weekend. 🙂

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In my last blog post, I stated my three main goals for this week. They were:

1) Write at least three hours this week
2) Do at least 15 minutes of housework per day using the FlyLady challenges
3) Get back to my healthy eating habits. (I’ve been doing great on exercise, but my old eating habits are sliding back into my life.)

I was a miserable failure at 2 and 3. No housework to speak of. I’m still struggling with the eating habits. Not TERRIBLE, but not that good, either.

Let’s talk about that first goal. Honestly, I can’t say I succeeded or failed since the week isn’t over. However, I’ve been reading all of Susan Bischoff’s notes on plotting (using the term “notes” is putting it mildly) and figuring out how to apply them to my current WIP. So I HAVE been working on writing stuff, but not actually writing. I’m planning on doing the actual writing on Thursday and Friday, when I’ve got some things sorted out. I usually write more on Saturdays, but since hubby and I are doing our anniversary trip on the weekend, I’m going to try to get my three hours of writing in on those two days.

More writing news. I’ve been tossing around a paranormal romance idea (no vampires or ghosts this time!) for awhile, and I think I’m going to start doing a little plotting with that. I want to see how I do with Susan’s method on something I’m just starting rather than something I’m halfway through. I’m excited about this idea because, like Soul of a Vampire, the title came in my mind before the story. And the cover for this one can be awesome considering the subject matter. Curious yet? 😉

So, how are the rest of you doing so far this week?

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Yesterday, I spent several hours with Susan Bischoff. This is always fun, not to mention that she always inspires me to write. We talked about a lot of things. First, she helped me expand on the plotting I was trying to do, giving me lots of good advice about plot points and where they should be in my story. And I finally admitted to someone (Susan!) that I had been finding excuses not to write because every time I thought of my WIP, I got this scared feeling in the pit of my stomach. I’m AFRAID of my manuscript. (And Susan GETS this.) There, I admitted it to all of you. Honestly, this is very new to me. I used to be able to churn out words with no problem, they all made sense, and I wasn’t afraid to publish them. This fear of my own work is SO not me. But I guess it IS me, isn’t it? I’ve never understood writers that were afraid. Now I get it. You know what, though? I’m not going to let myself be held back by that fear any longer. I’m tired of it, and I’m stronger than this. So there! *blows raspberry at the fear*

So my goals for this week (baby steps, no long term goals):

1) Write at least three hours this week
2) Do at least 15 minutes of housework per day using the FlyLady challenges
3) Get back to my healthy eating habits. (I’ve been doing great on exercise, but my old eating habits are sliding back into my life.)

After this week, we’ll see what needs to be done next.

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During lunch today, I took Lynn Lorenz’s spreadsheet template and started (oh my!) doing a little plotting. I actually filled in chapters and scenes that I had already done on my WIP and will work on the future stuff tonight or this weekend. I can already see that I’m going to have to tweak it a little and do it my own way. Lynn makes a great big cell for each chapter, and I have trouble fitting stuff in. I think I’ll make rows for each chapter and maybe have columns in each row for my scenes. I don’t know. I just love playing with spreadsheets. I do want to pay attention to her plot points, though.

I remember when I was eating with Kait Nolan and Susan Bischoff one time, they were trying to explain to me that plotting didn’t have to be scary. That I didn’t have to lose my creativity. That I could still be flexible. Then I tried it and failed miserably. Did I do it wrong? IS there a wrong? Was I just not ready then? Or was the thought of USING A SPREADSHEET what sparked my interest? I don’t know, but I was all excited after I talked to Kait and Susan that time, and then I was disappointed that I couldn’t do it. I think maybe we should have talked about it longer, and they should have beat me senseless so I could have awakened as a plotter. LOL. So let’s see how my latest venture in plotting will go. I’ll keep you all posted. 🙂

Now for something fun. These are the guys we got to spend time with all week at the RNConvention in Vegas. Four of them were the Mr. Casanova contestants, and the one in the middle is a Hunk-O-Mania dancer and a friend of Jimmy Thomas, who was the creator of this convention. Their names are Justin Tatum, Michael Mecucci, Julian Mora, Michael Hendrickson. and Shawn Cunningham. Shawn won the Mr. Casanova contest. The guy is 6’8″ tall! And all of these guys are really sweet and friendly. You know, because it doesn’t matter that they’re GORGEOUS.

the guys

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No writing yet, but I’ve decided to pick back up my earlier goal of writing Thurs-Sat every week. I need the other days to get my house and other aspects of my life in order. After I get a handle on everything, I’ll probably add another day to the schedule. Last night, I cleaned out one side of the cabinet under the bathroom sink. This was a big chore, and I ended up with a full trash bag of stuff to get rid of. HOW did all that fit under the sink?

Now, what I need your opinions for. I’m having an audiobook narrated for Haunted Lake. The producer/narrator wants to know if I want music. He said he could do music at the beginning of each chapter or just at the beginning and ending of the book. I’ve listened to a LOT of audiobooks, and most of them don’t have music. Some of the well known authors have music. I’ve heard the music both ways that the narrator asked about. At the beginning of each chapter, the only problem I have is when the music is louder than the narrator. Otherwise, it doesn’t distract me. I’m kind of leaning toward music at the beginning and the end. So, what do you all think? Music at each chapter, music at the beginning and ending of the book, or no music at all? Haunted Lake has a ghostly mood, so I wondered if the music might add something.

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I’ve kind of been off and on with the social networking lately. I’ve been so overwhelmed with stuff. Since I got back from the RNConvention, I’ve been flooded with FB friend requests. This is a GOOD thing. But now I’m trying to juggle Facebook, my blog, my writing, my housework, my laundry, my…my…my…. So you get the picture. The way to start this week is to get organized. I need to set aside certain times to do certain things, but leave things flexible in case something comes up. If I’m too rigid with the schedule, I’ll drive myself crazy.

So, I’ve missed visiting a lot of my friends’ blogs, and I want to apologize if you’re used to hearing from me on your blog and haven’t lately. See above…overwhelmed. But I want to remedy that. It was so much easier during the rounds when I was a ROW80 sponsor, because then I had a RESPONSIBILITY. And I don’t take that lightly. This week, I’m going to try my best to get back to blogging regularly and visiting blogs, too. I’ve been interacting a lot on FB with my RNC friends, but I don’t want to neglect my ROW80 friends. Because, you know, you guys rock. And you’ve helped me SO much. I MISS you! And I also miss my blogging friends who aren’t a part of any particular group, but are just FRIENDS. I feel so blessed to have so many friends, no matter where I found them. Isn’t the internet great?

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As most of you know, I haven’t been writing lately. There are several reasons for that, but not very good ones. I spent the last week at the RNConvention in Las Vegas, so I’m hoping being around a couple of hundred authors all week and sitting in on amazing classes will jump start my writing. So far, I still seem to be suffering from jet lag or something. Or maybe the little bout of dehydration (or heat exhaustion, who knows?) because of my stupidity in Vega. I hope I feel better by tomorrow!

Happy writing, everyone! Here is a picture from the RNConvention book fair. That’s me signing something. 🙂

me signing

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I’m a pantser. I admit it. What’s hard to take is when you have friends who mention they can tell a story has been “pants” like it’s some kind of evil. So you can imagine how that makes ME feel. I’ve tried to plot and outline. Every attempt has left me frustrated and made me feel I was losing that creative flow that comes from sitting down and writing before the ideas stop coming. A pantser HAS to write when the idea comes.

If there was one thing I took away from the RNConvention, it was that there’s a better way than plotting OR pantsing. I took a class called “Plotting for Pantsers” given by Lynn Lorenz. She gave us reasons why plotters are too rigid, often taking years to write a book. She said many times they get so caught up in plotting that they never write the story. She also said pantsers often get lost, forget what they named characters, and lose the plot because they forgot to include this or that. So she showed us a way to blend the two together. I won’t go into the whole process, but she basically uses a spreadsheet to start with. She has lines for chapters, different cells for scenes, etc. The way she does this seems really doable for pantsers. And maybe plotters, too. The point is, I think I’ve finally found something that could work for me. Some books, especially novellas, are easy to pants. But when the plot becomes more complicated, you need more structure. She talked about turning points in your story, etc. The way she does this, you can pretty much tell where that turning point is going to be without having a rigid outline. This lady just had it all together, in my opinion.

Btw, the majority of authors in the room were pantsers.

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Tomorrow, I will be getting on an airplane and heading home. I can’t wait. I miss my family. I miss my cats. I’m ready to be home!

The first day of the convention was work. We volunteers spent hours filling swag bags. But it was fun. That’s when I first met many of the people who I knew through Facebook. Later that night, as you all know if you read my blog, I got upset because I felt like I was abandoned by my friend. I was just having a hard time for some reason.

Thursday was filled with interesting and informative classes. That was great. That night, we had the costume party, which was fun.

Friday, more awesome classes. Then the RONE awards. There was great entertainment, including an illusionist and a singer.

Saturday was the book fair, which was the most disappointing part of the whole convention. I’m not going to say much about that. Saturday night was the Mr. Casanova contest. The contestants did skits from excerpts of romance novels. Let me tell you, these guys have great senses of humor. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time.

Sunday was about relaxing. The only thing going on was model photo shoots with the Casanovas. We just kind of wandered in and out of where that was going on all day.

Now for my adventure. Saturday, I walked to the Silver and Gold Pawn Shop where they film Pawn Stars. I didn’t take into consideration the extreme heat. It was a mile to the shop. On the way back, I started feeling funny, rapid heartbeat, hard to breathe. Then I started feeling chilled. I guess I was dehydrated. I STILL don’t feel right, and it’s been over a day. I won’t be doing anything like that again!

All in all, this was a pretty good convention. It had lots of glitches, but this was the first one. It was geared mostly toward indie authors, although trad published authors were also there. I met book reviewers as well as some WONDERFUL fellow authors.

One person really did a nice thing for me. I didn’t know how I was going to get my 50# box of books home. A friend of Anya’s had driven in for the book fair. She took my books home with her and is going to ship them to me! What a nice person she is. She’s now a friend of mine, too.

Will I go again next year? That’s going to depend on a lot of things, one of which is whether or not I can get hubby to go next year. I’m not that crazy about Las Vegas, and I really wish they would consider another venue. So we shall see.

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Today’s post is totally different from yesterday’s. Everything got worked out that had hurt my feelings. The cigarette smoke still bothers me, but at least I don’t have that bad feeling about the city anymore. I was just so stressed last night, and I felt terrible.

Today’s classes were great. The high points for me was attending H.P. Mallory’s class and getting to meet her in person. She and I started this indie thing at about the same time. I didn’t think she would remember me, but she did. 🙂 Then I got to do Mark Coker’s class. I’m sure most of you know he is the founder and owner of Smashwords.

Then there was the costume ball. Anya and I dressed up in our finest and had fun. There was actually a wedding during the party. I didn’t know Jimmy Thomas had a license to marry anyone, but he did. It was cool. The best part was seeing all the costumes and taking pictures. When I get back home and save to my laptop, I’ll post some. I’m on my iPad right now because it has 4G on it. The wifi here is too expensive, so I haven’t used my laptop.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot of fun today, so now I feel bad about whining yesterday. But I felt so depressed I had to share. Things were much better today!

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