Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Mentors and Friends

I read a great post today by Kate Walker - sent there by Julie who just happens to have her very first M&B book out this month!

Where would we be without mentors? Without someone in our corner, cheering us on, helping us over the hurdles? Someone to show us where we've gone wrong and help us fix it? I know that I for one would be very much behind where I am now in my journey to publication.

It still sounds so funny to me to say that I work "with" two M&B authors. After all, both of them are multi-published. They've passed the "gonnabeez" part of it and are now DOING. They've proven themselves. I feel incredibly blessed that both have faith that I can be where they are right now. That my writing is WORTH all the time and effort they put into it. WHen I say that I work "With" them, I feel like lightning should strike me at any moment.

My writing has grown by leaps and bounds over the past year and a half. That time period is very definite as that is when I first started working WITH (lol) Michelle Styles. I started getting more full requests. I started thinking...and learning....oodles more. Last summer I was approached by Trish Wylie - a fact that still kind of blows my mind, to be honest - saying she'd read my entry in a first chapter contest and would I be interested in a critique?

Trish writes for M&B Romance and now Modern Extra, so of COURSE I said ABSOLUTELY! Even better, we entered into a relationship - I also critique for her. And again it blows me away that I might have anything wise and insightful to offer. Her books are fantastic.

Both Michelle and Trish have demonstrated not only with words but by their commitment to me that I can do this. I will do it. Some days it's all that keeps me from throwing in the towel. And not only that, but my mentors have become my friends. It is very, very special. And after reading Kate's post today I thought they deserved that little bit of thanks from me.

Monday, February 27, 2006

How Time Flies!

Even I was surprised that I hadn't updated this since Wednesday night!

I had a nice weekend. Very low stress. Which is a very good thing. Saturday morning we took the kids sliding...which was a hoot. The hill is very steep, and it was snowing lightly and about -12 C. I was amazed that my 7 yr old, normally very timid, had the best time sliding down ALONE. Even I was scared to go alone. We did lots of screaming and had a few tumbles...I was sure my legs were going to give out going up so much...and then we went to Tim Horton's for Hot Chocolate. YUM.

In the afternoon I indulged in some retail therapy. Only spent $10 on myself but got the husband's birthday looked after and also my eldest's birthday which is 2 weeks from today. All in all the weekend was relaxing, which was good because I have a long to-do list this week....I need a haircut. I have critiquing to do. I just finished editing 2 sets of bylaws (yawn). I have extra kids on Thursday and party preparations on Friday, banking, and oh yes, let's not forget my part time job! AND, I want to get a start on the new MS. I'm still in the character development stage. :-)

The situation from the post below has NOT resolved itself, nor will it I expect. My main objective at this point is just carry on with what I said I would do. Put my personal feelings aside and hope everyone else can do the same so that we can get done what needs to be done. No trumpets are sounding when I enter these days, that's for sure, and I will admit to not particularly liking the chilly reception I am getting from some quarters. It is something I will have to just suck up...put on my big girl panties and deal with it.

In all honesty I'm sick of it....and am starting to resent all the energy it's taking- energy I'm much rather be putting towards my HEA's and publishing goals.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The High Road is Damned Lonely

I'm posting at nearly 11 local time because I can't sleep. In fact, I'm very stupidly going through oodles of tissues and my nose is getting raw, but I'm indulging in a very uncharacteristic bout of tears.

I did something tonight I do not regret, although I am most upset with the outcome.

Those of you who know me well know I'm a type A sort of personality. I'm a "get 'er done" kind of girl. I take on a job, I organize it, I finish it. I'm also scrupulously honest. You don't often have to wonder what I'm thinking, I'll tell you. That doesn't mean I'll just blurt it out...I might think long and hard about how to say it, but I won't stab you in the back. I'll come right out and say it to your face, and expect that as mature adults we'll discuss it and work it out.

Because I'm that type of person, I think most of the world thinks I'm maybe a little harsh. Unrelenting, perhaps. I'm not sure what words others use to describe me...maybe a railroader? I don't know, I don't see myself as others see me, only how I feel inside. I do know that I have high expectations of myself, and of others. Not that people can't make mistakes, my god we're all fallible. And perhaps I always get the shit kicked out of me because I expect too much of people.

At a meeting tonight, I tried to open up a dialogue - an honest one - about something that happened recently that caused so much stress and upset that I really thought as a group we should deal with it. I was hoping someone else might bring it up so I wouldn't have to be the bad guy, but no such luck. I believe my opening words were, "Are we going to talk about what happened over the last few months?"

I got crucified. I spent nearly a week of my time covering someone's ass because they screwed up. I listened to everyone else bitch and whine over the situation, but in the end, it was me that took the heat. Not the person that screwed up. I deliberately tried to word it so that it wasn't a "blame" session, but a discussion on what happened and why it shouldn't ever happen again. There were six of us there tonight. One got the hell out before the discussion happened - she'd been forewarned of fireworks. Two others ripped me to shreds, then walked out. THe third...the person who really made a mess and had all sorts of excuses for it, was last. As a last ditch effort I really tried to make her see that this was not personal...it was about the organization and not her personally, and what I got in return was so cold and harsh that I just felt like I was left there to publicly bleed.

I had one supporter. At the end we were both crying, her because she's been there and because she felt bad for me...and me because I had the unmitigated gall to stand up for what I believed was right and be honest and upfront and was left in tatters.

I have feelings. I am a human being, and just because I stand up for my values and my belief that people should be accountable for their actions, doesn't mean I have no feelings. Doesn't mean I can't be hurt.

I haven't served on committees in so long I'd forgotten why I'd sworn them off so long ago. I was really reminded tonight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

And the beat goes on...

Things are ticking along. I have one chapter left to do a big edit on, and then I'm putting this ms down for a nap. In a few weeks I'll pull it out again and do another final edit. So I'm starting a new story! Today I am filling out character sheets.

One of the problems I encountered with the nearly-finished WIP is that I didn't know my characters well enough. It took a morning with my cp asking me very tough questions to break through.

Funny enough my cp blogged about this. Not this specific incident, but the process. She said this: "despite time differences and distance, when imaginative minds chat online the brainstorming levels grow to insane proportions!"

And this: "You gotta know your characters... I don't just mean what they look like, what they do for a living, who their friends are and where they live. I'm not even talking about what has happened in their lives to bring them to a certain point in time. What I'm talking about is really knowing them. Being inside their head. Its no use having them battered and mistrusting from past hurt if you then have them trust the next person they meet. Cos people just don't do that. They are shaped by events and circumstance. And I think it's all too easy to forget that when you're writing unless you really *are* your characters."

Brilliant, my CP. To read the whole post, go here.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Blurb Writing

Blurb writing is like a paper cut compared to synopsis writing which is like a stab wound. Both painful, one just a lot smaller than the other.

I suck at both, incidentally.

And today I will probably start my synopsis for The Baby Bargain (new title for the WIP). In preparation, I thought I'd write a 2 line blurb to go with my tag line on e-harl. This is what I came up with.

"What happens when a rancher at the end of his rope meets Alex, pregnant, alone and down to her last dollar? A bargain – but will it solve their problems or make things even more complicated?"

Suckage. Totally. But they say you get better with practice, so I'm sure other versions will follow...the scary thing is I can't write 2 snappy lines, and I have to come up with 2 PAGES! LOL

Of course, I could always procrastinate and instead do some character workups for my next ms.

Did any of you watch Grey's Anatomy last night? McSteamy (Mark) is smoldering hot. He is SO going to be a hero in a later ms. Just not this one. He won't fit. But there's a place for him somewhere....somewhere he can really use those eyes. And be damned if he won't have a dirty mistress.....(you had to have seen the show to get that).

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Pop the Bubbly!

I have finished the first draft of my WIP, the newly revised titled "The Baby Bargain!"

It's 1:19. I never write at night. In fact I'm a '10o'clock and I turn into a pumpkin' kind of girl. But tonight the muse hit with a vengeance, I was on a roll and I just ploughed through until I finished it. It feels MAHVELOUS!

Of course I did have a few glasses of red tonight which means there's a very real possibility that everything I wrote after 8 p.m. is total shit.

Hey. I can fix shit. :-)

Anyway now I'm for bed and hope that I can get to sleep....or else wake up the hubby for some celebration....(snicker)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Five Guilty Pleasures

I was tagged by Michelle, so here I go:

1) Dark chocolate. I try to rationalize it with the fact that there IS some nutritional benefit, but in the end it's a guilty pleasure.

2) Listening to music loud and singing along like I'm on stage

3) Red wine, good cheese, and an hour spent in frivolous beautification.

4) Surfing the web for potential Hero models

5) Daydreaming complete alternate realities

I'm tagging Trish Wylie, Biddy Coady and Michelle Willingham.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Um...should I blush?

The PJ's You Are Most Like: No PJ's

You're a bit of a hedonist - opting for comfort over everything else
You have an understated, easy sexyness that men love
You'll risk that for the feeling of sheets against your bare skin!

Valentines and Progress

Since I seem to forget to do this ALL THE TIME, Here is our little bouncing buddy....

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. We had decided not to do anything this year, it is our 14th together and we never did do big stuff anyway. But yesterday he came home from work with a pink gift bag. Inside was a jewellers' box. And inside that was a beautiful diamond-studded cross on a gold chain.

A few weeks ago we were waiting for passport pics to be developed and were browsing around the mall. We popped into a few jewellery stores and I casually mentioned that I found this necklace quite pretty (and reasonably priced). Never in a million years thought he'd go back and buy it, but he did and it's lovely.

However I had nothing for him, so I'm going to have to make good on his birthday in a few weeks!

My CP sent back 5 chapters today. The first I fixed substantially, the other ones had fewer comments which is good because I already liked where they were heading. Anyway I got all 5 pretty close to where I want them. At the end this whole ms will need one final tweaking edit. All I have left now is the last 10,000 words. I should have no problem making my word count. Tomorrow is dedicated to beginning those last chapters and having a look-see at Michelle's latest chapters which I'm SO looking forward to!

All in all life is good. Now off to lab for blood test - I'm being put on the bone marrow donor list.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

News of a sort

I have news...of a sort. Just enough to up my anxiety level to Orange if we go by the US homeland security alert colours. LOL

I e-mailed M&B this morning, as it has been slightly over a month since I last heard anything. I received a reply within 10 minutes. Stating that my ms was being assessed "as we speak" and that I should hear "very shortly".

Oh my poor stressed heart and frayed nerves.

I know that very shortly could be 2 hours, 2 weeks or 2 months. Please god don't let it be 2 months. I'll have a heart attack by then.

Now, for someone who has REAL news, Michelle Styles got a 2-book contract today! I'm so happy and proud! See Michelle you did not suffer any form of the sophomore jinx!

(Shameless plug) It is titled A Noble Captive and will be out late this year in hardback and early next in paperback in the UK. I LOVE this book. Buy it.

Monday, February 13, 2006

In honour of Valentine's Day

Darn, now Biddy is getting started......

Your Candy Heart Says "First Kiss"

You're a true romantic who brings an innocent hope to each new relationship.
You see the good in every person you date, and you relish each step of falling in love.

Your ideal Valentine's Day date: a romantic dinner your sweetie cooks for you

Your flirting style: friendly and sweet

What turns you off: cynics who don't believe in romance

Why you're hot: you always keep the romance alive

Your Gemstone is Ruby

Daring, ethusiastic, and spontaneous.
You are energetic and passionate, with an appetite for life.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Universal Language

I have just returned from a funeral. It was a first for me as the entire service was in Punjabi. It was a Hindu ceremony and although I didn't understand a single word, one thing was abundantly clear - grief is the same in any language.

The reason I went is because the deceased is the father of one of my 7 yr old students. I lost my father as a teenager and I remember very clearly how much it meant that some from my school attended the funeral. They were there for me. Only for me, not for the rest of my family and it meant so much. And despite the cultural differences (my friend and I were the only non-Hindus there) I am glad I went. This student actually broke out of the departure line and came to see me. The woman with her said she wanted to see Mrs. Alward. This girl's brother was also very appreciative - he is in his 20's and so obviously dotes on his baby sister. I think he was glad that someone was there for her, and he told me yesterday he was so glad that her teacher and I were watching out for her at school.

The ceremony was very respectful and sacred and I honestly believe that if more people viewed other cultures and religions with respect and an open mind, this world might be a very different place.

And even though I understood not one word, the sadness in that chapel didn't need to be spoken.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

This one I predicted....and one I didn't

I knew the answer before I ever started. :-)

You Should Date An Italian!

You love for old fashioned romance, with an old fashioned guy

An Italian guy is the perfect candidate to be your prince charming

If your head doesn't spin enough, just down another espresso with him

Invest in a motorcycle helmet - and some carb blocker for all that pasta!

There's been a lot of talk about "colour" types at work lately and there I'm classed as a gold (and I sure am, OMG), but in this case I'm.....

Your Power Color is Green

You feel most at home in a world of ideas.
You're curious and logical - and enjoy a good intellectual challenge.
You're super cool, calm, and collected. Very little tries your patience.
Your only fear? People not realizing how smart and able you are!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I couldn't resist.....

Thanks Julie....I think.

You Are Miss Piggy

A total princess and diva, you're totally in charge - even if people don't know it.

You want to be loved, adored, and worshiped. And you won't settle for anything less.

You're going to be a total star, and you won't let any of the "little people" get in your way.

Just remember, piggy, never eat more than you can lift!

I'm tagging Kris Starr, Trish Wylie and Michelle Styles!


Just a quickie post today...feeling rather discombobulated...it's been a strange week and it's only Wednesday. Things should start to even out today though which is good. Except I have a lot to do and am abysmally behind on housework. And writing.

Last night my girls were cute though. My eldest gave up the comfy chair so I could relax with my tea. Her sister covered my legs with the fuzzy blanket. Then the eldest rubbed my shoulders while my youngest got out the wheelie-massager thing and took a turn rolling it over my back. After that? They took off my socks, put my legs over the upside-down laundry basket, each took a foot and massaged with mint foot lotion.

I fell asleep in the middle. It was HEAVENLY.

I need to make their breakfast and get clothes from downstairs as the laundry is done and the kids probably need jeans!

Monday, February 06, 2006

I wish Kris would stop these...they're addictive!

Your Famous Movie Kiss is from The Empire Strikes Back

"Captain, being held by you isn't quite enough to get me excited."

Your Perfume is Blue

Like Blue, you change and adapt frequently.

One moment you're sexy and captivating...

The next? Fun, warm, and inviting.

You're hard to predict - but that's the essence of your charm.

Power scents: Jasmine, orange flower, and lotus flower.

You Are Boyish Sexy

You're the kind of girl who gets along with all the boys
Whether it's holding your own in a game of touch football...
Or kicking some major butt while playing Xbox.
You hang with the guys easily, while still keeping your girly sexiness.

All I can say is at least I didn't get Bill Gates.

Your 80s Heartthrob Is

John Stamos

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Congratulations Trish!

A quick post today, but important.

One of my CP's, Trish Wylie, sold to Modern Extra Sensual today. I know she was very nervous trying a new line, but I knew as soon as I read the ms that she'd sell it no problem. It's due out in September, and she has a Romance out in November, so she's going to have a fabulous fall!

I can't wait to see what they come up with for a cover. The latest covers have been GORGEOUS!

Anyway lining up some cyber drinks....and this lovely French gentleman to serve them....for you, Trish.....

A whole bunch of bull....but it's fun!

Ok. Please excuse any typos in following post.

I'm half-or maybe 3/4- snockered on a half bottle of mediocre shiraz. Dh is out so I've treated myself to an hour of Il Divo Dvd's and now have BSG's latest episode playing in the background. Had a cool chat with Kris Starr tonight and am sitting here basking in my own brilliance.

Hell yeah I'm brilliant. So what if reality will set in tomorrow. For now I rule. I'm a writer, dammit. An ARTIST. I'm gonna keep plugging on until I make it. People have FAITH in me. Yeah baby!

Well hell, if I can't be my own cheerleader, it's a sad day. So what if it takes 14% alcohol and some fine tenors to get me primed. I'm good to go. I know I can do it....as long as I keep working hard. And I've been working hard the last year. I like to believe it shows. And one day...it'll make a difference.

Note to self - bookmark this post for when Mr. Self Doubt and his most annoying relative visit again.

Anyway, because I was funny enough to make someone spew tea on their monitor (probably figuratively speaking) tonight, I'm a gonna post a few pics in her honour...well and for my own perverse entertainment as well.

First, T, this is for you. LegolURS. Sorry but I just liked it more than Orli.

Then, because I like a man in leather with lots of power between his legs.....it took me 23 pages of gallery to find this picture, oh the sublime tortures of research....

And finally, the man behind the leathers.....

Have a nice day. Lucid, sober remarks to follow...after strong coffee tomorrow. :-)