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This year's goals

I am bad about keeping up w/ my blog(s) but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been productive. Since January 1st I have written 12000 words (and haven’t even gotten to my goal words for today). I am *thisclose* to finishing up a book I need to send to my editor for consideration (fingers crossed). I am 2/3 rds through the sequel to the book that I am pitching to agents (again fingers crossed).

So again at the January YR meeting we set our 2010 goals. Mine are as follows:

—  Write every week honest and true I write every day–haven’t missed one since September–knockwood–but there’s less pressure for weekly than daily, if I miss I don’t have to beat myself up.

Get an agentself-explanatory

Sell to NYagain, need I explain?!?!

Avoid umbrellasthis is an inside joke. One gal, when I “don’t get” her story, has waved an umbrella–among other things–at me 😆

Get an office spaceI don’t *need* one. I just really, really want one. I mean, do I really need to pay for space when I am home alone during the day… but I WANT it! A fellow writer gal has one and I am pea-green w/ envy :mrgreen:

I figure those are decent goals. They are attainable, though the second and third are as much dependent on someone else as my effort. A not so attainable is the cabana boy. Still on my list, yet well…. I have to have something crazy put there or what’s the fun!

So here’s to 2010 and productive writing. Write on People!

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I have my two front teeth

(Cross posted from the Chica blog) My boys made their lists for Santa the other day (okay, yes, I have a 15, 13 and 11 yo, but I have an 8 yo too who is still enamored with the jolly fat man). I could have guessed 90% of the items on there–the boys are nothing if not predictable. But there were one or two that raised an eyebrow–the 8 yo and 15 yo putting iTouchs. (A 32 G for the 15 yo no less–shaw and reindeers might fly out my butt). I will say this was the first year they didn’t put a gaming system on there–we literally have one in every room (but mine) and 7 handhelds–most of which they paid for. Trust me, the dh would NEVER buy something if you already have one that semi-sorta works.

Anyhoo–as I was perusing Amazon yesterday and pricing the items–for Santa of course–I started thinking, why shouldn’t they put it on their list. They never know when their mom Santa will flip a gasket and actually get it. It *has* happened once or twice before, so…

Still, I like that optimism. Why not shoot for too much rather than err on the side of some.

So, I have come up with a wish list of things that I want for Christmas:

– An agent (not too much to ask, and I am looking)

– The muse to stop being a bi*atch and help out (A little trickier but w/ the right cajoling she’ll get cracking)

-A book in a brick and mortar store I walk into (mine are readily available online, but haven’t made that jump to ordered a bunch for stores yet–though they did get in libraries across the country and that’s pretty cool)

-A Kindle… the big new fangled one (it’s a work expense!)

and in no particular order: a pretty cashmere sweater–to keep me warm while I write, a new Coach bag–to carry my notebook for when ideas hit, Elle Tahari flats–as seen on Oprah–to walk my behind to the post office to mail off queries, a big gaudy silver ring–to give my finger some style as it flies across the keyboard, wireless printer–for those times when I’m not at my desk and need to print something but am too lazy to walk into the next room, chocolate, copious amounts of chocolate–’nuff said and a cabana boy–I just want one!

What would/are you going to wish for this year–and it doesn’t have to be for Christmas… Whatever you celebrate make a wish list. Heck even a shooting stat gets wishes, why not go for it…

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Goals due soon

At the beginning of the year, the ‘Buds set goals for 2009 and we go over them at the Christmas party. (to see how we all did) I must say, I have been busting my butt this year. Just as a refresher:

~ Finish two books. (I have well over 20 open WIPs to choose from so it’s not like I have a lack of ideas to choose from)

~ Submit two finished books (they kinda go hand-in-hand w/ #1 goal, y’know)

~ Start and finish a new book from start to finish (but not until I have finished the afore-mentioned two books)

~ Submit brand spanking new book (you see the pattern here right, this is supposed to be how it works–rather than staring the WIP and making 42 save copies of it and stopping around page 90 and thinking it’s crappy and watching a week of Lifetime and finishing two quarts of Chunky Monkey to appease the pain and doubt . . . . wheshew . . . . I guess I needed to get that off my chest!)

~ Look for an agent (I won’t be so bold as to put find an agent–a lot depends on that other person too)

~ Write every week (I know me, every day ain’t gonna happen–but if I do better, like two or three  days a week, I will have gotten so much more done!)

To date I have completed all but the agent goal and I am a quarter of the way through that. WOOHOO.

Now, however, I am not sure what to set for the 2010 goals…. hmmm…. wait and see I guess.

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Guest blogging

I am guest blogger at   THE SIZZLING PENS    today.

Come see me and leave a comment and you have a chance to win a copy of my new print release.

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Mind out of the gutter folks. I’m talking about your characters.  I have started and stopped so many stories I could line every bird cage in Fort Worth with my half-way there, not close to done WIPs. When asked if I’m a panster or a plotter I always answer: yes. Because truth be told, I do both—even in the same story. Both have their drawback and both have tried and true methods. And you can get stuck with either. I can’t tell you how many times I have plotted a book out, I know where it’s going and who the bad guy is and then in the course of writing the thing, I learn, he didn’t really do it, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I’m stuck staring at my screen trying to figure out who really did it.

Sometimes when this happens, I add it to the bird cage pile. But others, it makes the story stronger—even more fun to write. It’s a challenge. It lights that fire of creativity under my bum. If I can work myself out of the proverbial corner—because I didn’t see it coming—the reader will (hopefully) be more entertained because they didn’t see it coming either.

Still, once I am in that corner, I have to get out. But how? There are ways to jar the story in another direction—to open a doorway, or pop in a ladder, in that corner. Where does the ladder/doorway come from, you may ask.

Some writers will toss in another dead body (maybe even the person they thought did it to begin with—talk about a monkey wrench for the whodunit). Some writers will ignite a bomb and send the world into chaos for all the characters (right, Geri). Think about this: what is the worst thing that can happen at that moment? Make it happen.

If you’re not writing a suspense novel, it could be an ex unexpectedly showing up—maybe even with a baby in tow. A long lost family member who has secrets the H/H doesn’t want revealed. Again, what’s the worst thing for one of the characters? How can you really make them sweat? Something that will throw the H/H’s world off kilter from what you already thought you knew. And as an added bonus, it will pull the reader along for the ride.

Whatever works to drag the story from the corner, go for it. It can be quite the adventure.

  j0395712

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When I grow up…

This was my chica post last week, but I wanted to post it here too (I am always looking for interesting jobs). So if you have one/know one pass the info along!

What do they want to be when they grow up?

It’s funny how some things stick with you, part of the details you can’t forget, but the source or where you heard it *poof* gone-gone, no more. So I apologize for this first part: I can’t remember much, but this has stuck with me—and stayed—every time I start a new book: character occupation. At a workshop (I’m sure it was a RWA-type workshop), a speaker commented on the types of jobs the characters in romance novels have. What stuck out was his mention of when writer’s main character’s are well… writers. It was more or less an off-hand remark about us not getting out enough and we (being writers) start to look inward for ideas. Hence the writers as characters.

I myself have a WIP in which the heroine is a writer—a romance writer at that (and I like it that way, thankyouverymuch).

Finding a job that suits your H/H as well as the story can be tricky. There are the obvious job choices that can play into a story: Police officer, PI, any number of soldiers/special forces. And you have Cowboys, actors and musicians—these will often contain built in conflict/plot.  

Then there comes the mundane (which can often lead in to the wheres and whys of the story).

After I have named my H/H (which to me is just about the most important starting process) is finding them a job. It’s hard to make it exciting and flexible enough to withstand whatever turmoil they go through in the course of the book. I mean, nowadays if you miss three days of work in a row because you’re on the run from some big bad dude, chances are, you’re not going to get your job back—and this is assuming he hasn’t already come looking for you at your place of employment and has blown it all to hell. HR people aren’t too keen on this. At the same the challenge can be fun.

My first novella released, I was hard pressed to come up with a job for the hero, I ended up doing a lot of research online and made him an actuary (I can’t even remember what put me on this track but it played into the wheres and why of how the H/H hook up at the beginning—He’s at an insurance salesman conference and she’s getting snockered at the hotel bar. To this day, I can remember the pay-scale but couldn’t necessarily tell you what the job entails.

I suppose he could have just been at the bar and met her, but through his job, and a little switcheroo with his name tag (because of his job), an added layer of angst came into the plotline.

When I come across an interesting job, I stow it away in the mental files for when it will work just right in that next WIP.  It is a balance you have to consider.

How do you decide what your peeps want to be when they grow up?

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TCP 2009“Don’t worry about it, darlin’.” Large, calloused hands stilled hers as the voice sunk in.

Her gaze drifted up tight, faded denim, cupping and hugging every inch of muscular thighs to a silver belt buckle. A dark T-shirt covered flat abs with just a hint of ripple and the pecs of a well-sculpted man. She gulped. God he was so damn fine.

It was the mouth, though, that made her pulse skitter into overdrive… How many times had she fantasized about those lips? Her mouth dried as her vision filled with the crooning six-foot-two man of dreams and desires.

She dared not look him in the eyes, though she could remember the color from staring at his CD covers so many times. The chocolate brown orbs matched his thick hair to a yummy T. Almost the color of the mess she’d made all over his worn boots.
(more…)

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