Friday, March 31, 2006

Wind Stealers

Do you remember this episode of "Friends"? I don't remember who had the book - I'm assuming it was Phoebe because after all it just sounds like her, but it was a whole "female solidarity" kind of thing and talked about men "stealing their wind".

Well I'm not here to rant about men per se, but we all know them. People that steal our wind. People that take our good news, vibes, optimism and manage to throw a bucket of cold water on the whole lot.

I was so overwhelmed by all the good wishes I got when I sold...couldn't believe how many people offered congratulations and said so many amazing things. But there were a few - a handful - that you could just tell were, shall we say, less than enthusiastic. You know how it goes. You talk on the phone, drop an e-mail, say something about whatever it is that's making you happy. Maybe it's professional, maybe you've fallen in love. Maybe you're planning a wedding or having a baby or whatever. But there will always be people who can't handle it.

I'm convinced that a prerequisite for being a wind stealer is unhappiness, and a general jealousy and feeling of impotence. A lack of courage to stand up and take control of their own lives, or they haven't found their passion and choose to remain in their own rut. These are people who are unhappy with their own lives and on some level really resent you for being happy with yours. I get it more than I'd like. At first it was being a SAHM. Oh, it must be nice not to have to work. HAH. But that's another rant...

When I started writing, it was "cute". Sure I was doing what I wanted but after all, I wasn't really succeeding at it, was I? But now...now that I've sold a book and there's actually potential in this whole gig, I'm subject to wind-suckage. One example - not mentioning names - is a phone call I made. I listened to this person talk about their week for 10 minutes. As soon as I said anything about my week, which lets face it, did have a lot to do with writing, the subject was abruptly changed and I got the "well I don't mean to cut you off but I've got to go." Cut me off? I got in a few random sentences in the whole conversation.

This is also a person who is not particularly happy with her life, I think. On several levels. I'm running out of safe topics.

I saw it again last night, with a friend. She's having some pretty cool professional things happen right now, really exciting. But her sister changes the subject or just gets nasty. I know it's because she wants the same thing but is too afraid to pursue it, and she resents the fact that her sister is doing what she can only dream about. Wind stealer. It leaves you feeling completely deflated.

Don't let them get you, guys. Surround yourselves with people who can be truly happy for you. Don't let suckage dilute your joy in your own life.

Don't let them steal your wind! :-)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

NOW IT IS REAL!

Just as the first flush of new-sale bloom has faded, I finally heard from my editor and now it really really feels real.

Should get a release date soon, hear about edits soon, and also I should feel free to send her any fulls I have, directly.

Did anyone misplace 4,385 words? Or do they have any they could donate? LOL

I'm all giddy and silly all over again. GO ME!

Also I'm sending out hugs to my friend Sue who got the big fat ugly R today. It's just not fair....it was a revised, revised, full! She is SO going to wow them with her next book...it just really hits home how tough this biz is when you are told you did basically everything right but something didn't quite work.

So Sue, lifting a glass to you, your talent and your perseverance. You ROCK!

Revisions

So I'm working on another ms to send to Samhain. Problem is I really really really need this ms to be 50k. And according to my computer word count, my finished product was sitting at just under 42K.

So how do you add 8k to a manuscript?

I've already gone through and done the emotional depth thing, so it's a matter of deciding what to expand. You can't just add words for the sake of words. THe bits that you put in have to add to the STORY, not just the WORD COUNT. I've spent the last few days working on it and have now added about 3k. Not even half.

What have I done so far? Well, for one I've given them a sexual relationship. In the spots where previously they've turned back from intimacy, I've let them have it. I wanted to do that in the first place and couldn't due to **other guidelines. So we have a hot kiss in the laundry room, some action in front of the fireplace, and a whole lotta dealing with the fallout. I've taken an arc that was only mentioned before and started padding it out. But a lot of these are things that require a light hand, not beating over the head with it. Hence the 3 k and not 8.

I've got a couple of chapters left to go through, add, layer in the expanded level of internal conflict, and then we'll see. I've never been particularly happy with my epilogue, so I may rewrite it. Expand it into a whole chapter rather than 3-4 pages. Then it's off to my cp with her thoughts before I send it along.

Then, and only then, is it back to the WIP. Which I'm really looking forward to.

**guidelines for another publisher, where this ms was originally targeted

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Personal Hell that is Web Design

Ok, so I've never had a course. My computer savvy is at about a 6 or 7 on the 1 to 10 scale. I sold a book and my loving husband bought me FrontPage so I could design my website.

I shall refrain from using ANY of the words that coloured the air in the living room last night as I worked on the laptop.

Part of the problem is that the little booklet thingy had NOTHING about it that resembled a user manual. It nattered on about code and xml and html and my eyeballs were rolling back in my head....

*ahem*.

So, I gripped my sword and went into the fray.

I don't have a gray background with classy black font and splashes of passionate red. Which is ok...sometimes what you envision and what happens are two VERY different things and I'm used to that, hey, I'm a writer for God's sake! But trying to get my little buttons to show on the side - or even horizontally - took me nearly a half hour. THEN, figuring out how to change the text WITHIN those buttons took me another half hour. And lots and lots of cursing.

It's one of those things that I hope as I go along I get better and less frustrated...although the "free" software we downloaded a few months ago was infinitely easier. God only knows what'll happen if I try interactive buttons....or cute links, etc....

Sometimes I wish I weren't so cheap and I could hire hot men to do this sort of thing for me. :-)

Monday, March 27, 2006

I should????

You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!


Well....that surprises me.

But I can see why I got that answer....because my answers were more all encompassing rather than focused on LOVE. And I think that's because I love opening my mind to new things and possibilities.

A knack for details and dailogue, and making a character come to life, it says. Important for crafting a romance novel, no? Joy in the storytelling - absolutely!

As a side note, I hate Trish Wylie today. She's off to see Il Divo in concert. mumblemumbleluckywitchmumblemumble.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Battlestar and Boots

Ok so I posted long ago about last week's Battlestar Galactica episode...and said it deserved a post of its own.

I love this show. I know some don't because they don't like Sci Fi or whatever, others won't watch just because it's Battlestar Galactica (dudes, it's so far departed from the 80's you really should get over it and watch one episode). And I know a few people who stopped watching.

One in particular I think stopped watching for the very reason I love it.

It asks the hard questions. Questions about religion and morality and human relationships that have no black or white answer. It's edgy and dark and complicated.

I will admit that I wasn't super happy with the beginning of this season. I mean, it was all right but it seemed that RDM was more concerned with tying up all the loose ends of last season...it wasn't until Final Cut that the series seemed to MOVE on. But this week - this week I was reminded WHY I love BSG SO MUCH.

Pegasus Part One. A new Battlestar, a heartless Admiral, cruelty towards prisoners, (cylons, but that's the point...it doesn't matter who the enemy is, some things are just WRONG)dissension within the military, protestations of love....it was all there. I spent the epidode on the edge of my chair, either with my hands on my head or saying, "Oh, Frak!" (The BSG equiv. of the F word). FABULOUS. Here we are with a handful of humans left and the episode ends with vipers from both Battlestars flying out AGAINST each other....

In honour of it - a pic....



And now on to the boots segment - much shorter but in looking at various pics I have to say that this guy wears the best boots....

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Donna Alward it is!

So, I've made my decision.

I'm keeping my name.

It was hard for me to decide. But in the end the temptation to see my own name on my book - to OWN it, won. So I did not fill out the pen name line on my new author information sheet.

I think my husband was secretly pleased.

I also got more flowers yesterday, from our friends John and Joyce. It was unexpected and very sweet of them and brightened my already bright day.

AND - my contracts are signed and ready for the post office. Go me!

In celebration, and because Kris got me thinking of this....

DROOOOOL.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Quickie good bit to my day

In other news, (LOL)

I got my confirmation letter for my Romance sub at M&B. It appears to have gone to the same editor that had my last, so I am very pleased and relieved. I wanted that to happen because honestly I think I really did improve with this book and I wanted her to see that. I have my fingers firmly crossed that in a few weeks I'll have a full to polish up to send. I just love this story so much. Honestly my favorite one to date.

Now back to previously scheduled scene....

Feelin' the Love - and Getting Back to Work!

I'm still feeling the love - thanks to EVERYONE who stopped by here and on my other writer loops to offer their congratulations! I've been overwhelmed! It is amazing to read all the wonderful supportive things people have said...I'm really touched!

My Mommy sent me flowers yesterday...I wanted to post a picture but my camera dock is dodgy and I need dh to download my pictures. And the family went out to a fabulous dinner last night. I also received a few e-mails from a friend's FAMILY in England...which was unexpected and so very nice!

But better than dinner is what my husband said when we woke up this morning...."I can't believe you're going to be published!"

He has also said he wants me to use my OWN name - because if it were him and he'd accomplished it he'd want his name on it! What a babe he is.

However I am having a moment of irrational panic. My editor hasn't e-mailed me back and I can't help this feeling that somehow it's all a cosmic joke and someone's going to turn the corner and say "Gotcha!"

After all this time I know that there's one sure way to take my mind off of it. And that's getting back to work - so it's back to upping the word count meter today. The only way to sell more books is to write more books. So off I go!

Monday, March 20, 2006

And now you know.....the rest of the story!

I couldn't resist the title today...there was always this radio show at home that had this story thing....and the reader always ended the program with that line!

Details! OK (deep breath)....

As most of you know who visit here, I got a great rejection a few weeks ago. The issues were problems with too much external plot and a few hero things. However the general comments were that they liked the writing. So I got to thinking that those problems might not be an issue to another publisher. Honestly I've been so focussed on the Romance line that sometimes I forget that there's a whole other world out there!

I knew a bunch of people had sold to Samhain recently so I visited their site, did some checking and took a chance and sent them the full right off the bat. I figured it would be a couple of months to hear so as you know, started a new story. Then Saturday night, after too much wine and the BEST EPISODE EVER of Battlestar Galactica (Which deserves a whole other post!) I had a little pity party with my dh. I was just frustrated and wanting to sell so badly and feeling like I was getting SO CLOSE and yet was still so far away...he said all the right things. I knew he was right - it was a matter of time. But after over 4 years sometimes you're entitled to a little frustration after the better part of a bottle of Aussie Shiraz.

Lo and behold I got up Sunday morning and while dh was making breakfast, checked my messages. And right in my inbox was a contract offer for The Girl Most Likely. After TWO weeks, not two months!

I stared at it, went ho-hum and fired off some e-mails to some of their writers for some input. Had breakfast. Made beds.

Started to feel a glimmer of excitement. I think dh was a bit puzzled.

Got to church, my friend Carla saw my big grin, and I said the words -

I sold a book.

Once I said it it was real and I grinned and bounced all day!

This is a great start to a long career I hope...a launching point for me. Here's hoping it all just grows from here!

Before I sign off there's a few people that need acknowledgement because they've worked damned hard to get me published. Michelle Styles told me once that I had to sell because ALL her CP's have eventually sold. It's one I told you so I don't mind getting. THANK YOU Michelle for all your help over the last year and a half! (Note: Sue, you're next.)

And it's no coincidence that this is the first book that Trish Wylie critted for me. She is a royal pain in the ass and a wonderful CP. I think she was damned near as excited as I was yesterday. I couldn't have put this book together without either of you so champagne for my CP's!

GOD. Now I have to go pass out somewhere. I woke up this morning and my first thought was, "I'm a published author!"

Details as to release date, etc. will follow, naturally!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

MY FIRST SALE!

I've sold to Samhain Publishing!

I'll put on more details later when I have time, but I'm popping champagne and getting ready to party!

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Productive Week

I have a rough partial.

I never thought I'd churn out over 8 k this week. But after inserting a scene this morning - my pacing was going too fast - there I am. I shuffled another scene to what HAD been the end of chapter three....and voila.

I have to go back through and refine it a little to make sure it makes sense, since I did a fair amount of shuffling, but I've got 45 pages already written on this. The only thing I'm missing is a kiss. I'd wanted to end the partial on a kiss, so as I go through and pad it out with what needs to be there, I could still have it happen. I only have 11 pages in chapter three, and the setup is right, so I can definitely work it in.

If things go well, and I have a productive spring break (no work, no school runs) I am really hoping to have this written by the end of April. That gives me 6 more weeks. I'll polish the partial up and send it, then work on the edits of the balance of the book.

It also means that I should have this done by the time I hear back from M&B in regards to my Romance partial that's there.

Last year I worked harder than I'd ever worked before...and this year I'm upping that even further. I'm even more determined, more motivated. If hard work will get me there, I'm gonna make it.

Of course when my characters decide I'm wrong about something and everything goes sideways, I won't be this upbeat. :-)

Happy weekend everyone, and cheers on this day o' the Green!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Plotting

I'm riding the wave for now...having written over 6k in 2 1/2 days. It's a good start...I know I can't keep up this momentum, but I'm happy for now.

We've had a bit of a discussion in various areas concerning internal vs. external plotting. One of the main criticisms I got on my last ms was that I had too much external plot, and it's something I've consciously been working on, both with The Baby Bargain and now with Original Sin.

For a long time I didn't really get the distinction...or the subtleties. I kept thinking that THINGS had to happen to my characters. Now I realize that with the subgenre that I'm writing, not so many THINGS have to happen at all. Now with certain subgenres or lines there is lots of external plot...lines like Harlequin's Intrigue or Bombshell for example. But with the Romance line and with Modern Extra (the two I seem to be attached to for now), the emphasis is on the internal plot.

Talking to other writers has helped me understand this so much better. When I develop a plot line now it usually consists of things that happen to my character's emotions. Like in TBB - "when Alex makes her 'fake' vows to Connor she realizes she is falling in love for real." Now external plotwise, this is negligible. But importance to the story? It's a main turning point. Now I know I have to let my conflict come from my characters, rather than having things happen to them that they necessarily react to.

It's not that you can't have SOME external plot. But it's got to be a situation that furthers the romance and the emotion. And most of the time external plot is what throws your characters together in the first place....but the internal plot is what carries them to what happens next - and keeps them together.

In TBB, I have a tornado. Yup, an act-of-God-completely external event. But it's the catalyst that takes my characters from keeping their feelings inside because of fear to admitting them and finding their HEA. And yet I'm still a little worried that it's too external.

I've rambled WAY long enough, so for a lighter EXIT I'll leave you with a pic of my current Hero - and this pic inspired a bit that's going to come up in a later chapter....

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Monday, March 13, 2006

Aha!

And a little positive reinforcement never hurts.....

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.

I feel young today....

You Are a Chick Rocker!

You're living proof that chicks can rock
You're inspired by Joan Jett and the Donnas
And when you rock, you rock hard
(Plus, you get all the cute guy groupies you want!)


I love Rock and Roll. Put another dime in the juke box, baby!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Tying up loose ends

Last week I spent a good deal of time tying up loose ends. I did a fair bit of critiquing; I did the taxes for both the hubby and myself. I volunteered a day at school, I had parent/teacher conferences. I worked, I finished knitting my poncho, made phone calls, saw the dentist...you get the idea.

The main purpose of last week was that I had a vehicle all week since dh was out of town. But the benefit was two-fold. The only writing I got done was polishing and then mailing my next partial, but this week all those pesky, time consuming jobs are done and now I can absolutely focus on starting this book.

I feel a tad bit guilty about the break, but I know that once I get started I'll be more productive. Time away motivates me, my creativity builds up and I know I'll be off to a good, hard-working start.

I am unsure of myself with this ms since I need to make sure I start it in the right spot and also I need to make sure I have everything "together". Motivations, characters, what I want to achieve - all has to be unified when I start this baby. Add to that it's for a different line than I've been targetting, and I'm feeling a wee bit of performance angst.

The best way to combat that is just to jump in with both feet and do it. I'll either succeed or I won't, but I know for sure that if nothing else I'm going to learn a lot from this book.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Wake up and Smell the Refund!

Did I actually say we were getting a "nice" refund?

I did the taxes tonight. OMG. I knew it had to be wrong and went over the figures again. I was wrong- but only out a pittance. Our refund this year is simply staggering!

After much rejoicing and cursing in happiness to my cp who miraculously pulled an all nighter, I have resigned myself to it being right. Which means that we are literally at the end of every hole we've dug ourselves. It means we won't have a huge credit card bill after our trip home to see family this summer. It means that we can leave our savings where they are for our trip to Disney World later this year.

Which means right now I'm horribly afraid this isn't real and I'm really jinxing myself. :-)

And makes me want to dig out bills and decide how I'm going to divvy this up. Sad, I know. But I'll probably have to do it if I have any hope of sleeping tonight.

Sweet dreams all!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I Feel Lucky!

But I feel lucky, oh oh oh, I feel lucky, yeah
No tropical depression gonna steal my sun away
Mmmmm, I feel lucky today


For some reason as I was leaving the post office today this song popped into my head...and I haven't listened to Mary Chapin Carpenter in YEARS!

But I do feel lucky today. I mailed my partial, gave the envelope a quick "genie-rub" for luck and passed it to the post lady. Picked up my tax forms, grabbed a chocolate macadamia nut coffee, 2 litres of milk and bought a lotto ticket for tomorrow night.

Why? Cuz I feel lucky.

Can't tell you why, but there it is. And when you feel lucky it's a good time to take chances.

I'll feel less lucky when I'm sitting in the dentist chair this afternoon. :-)

But, I'll feel MORE lucky when I do our taxes up tonight because I know we're getting a very nice refund. :-)

Monday, March 06, 2006

I love Mondays

I'll probably be shot by poison darts for daring such a title for today's entry. But I do love Mondays.

Weekends are fun and housework gets done and we do cool stuff sometimes like going sliding on Saturday. But I miss my routine. Sad but true. So I love Mondays because it means getting back into my routine and getting stuff DONE.

Today it is of course updating my blog because I've been very lax. We did have computer issues on the weekend which resulted in much cursing and grumbling by my dh and got resolved by performing the dreaded "format c:" function. LOL. He did manage to get my basics back on and running before he left for the week.

Next up is polishing up my partial and getting it ready to send. I have chapters to crit ASAP for one of my CP's and meeting minutes to type. All of which won't get done today but I WILL get a darn good start on things. With the dh away it means no fighting for pc time and less to do around the house...which translates into me having more time to get these sorts of things done.

I'm also doing taxes this week. Shoot me now. I'd procrastinate if I didn't already know that we're getting a good sized refund. :-)

Off to polish, polish and print! Nothing like getting back up on the horse....

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Rejection

I received my rejection for "The Girl Most Likely" in the mail yesterday. When I grabbed the envelope, I could tell it was more than one page. Sad, but true! SO I was very much hoping it was a revision letter.

It wasn't.

I did say a while back though that if I didn't get revisions I would at least settle for a detailed rejection, which I got. My hero was a bit wimpy - good thing they didn't see the first draft. LOL I was very pleased they also gave me page numbers. As well there seemed to be a lack of internal conflict which ultimately was the main factor that made them choose to pass on it.

My CP's get on my case all the time to keep my heroes strong. So that's an area I've been working on. Also I've consciously been working on character driven plot...an area I think is much stronger in the new WIP. Neither comment struck me as out of the blue and made a lot of sense.

There were also some compliments. Apparently they enjoyed my characterisation very much and said my voice was "very fresh and sparky". I love that. It's my new thing now. This is me, I'm fresh and sparky. LOL What I took away is that while the story didn't work for them, my writing on the whole DID. Which means I have to hit them with the right story now. I'm hoping The Baby Bargain is that story. On Monday it's time to polish up that partial and print it out. And hit them with the next one.

As solace for my wounds though, I got a fabulous hair cut last night and then stopped and bought myself a new shirt. Nothing better than retail therapy!