• It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
  • A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
  • You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
  • Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
  • Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
  • I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan

Monday, November 22, 2010

Runaway Muse

My muse is on the lam. If you should happen to stumble upon her, please pack her up and ship her home. I will happily pay all necessary expenses!

An author recently told me, "The second book will be the hardest you'll ever write."

I hadn't been worried about book 2 until that moment.

Then, after I finished the final copy edits for book 1, I asked my editor, "What happens next?" She replied, "’s all about focusing on ensuring Kyle and Victoria’s story (book 2) is a suitably amazing follow-up!"

Yikes. No pressure there.

So here I am, under deadline, unable to get chapter 1 into the computer in any form I'm happy with. I know people say....just write down anything and move on. But I can't. I need to wrap my head around chapter 1 before I can move on. It's killing me.

I'm sure the craziness of life has something to do with my difficulties. I'm hosting Thanksgiving for 24 in 3 days, followed by Chanukah for my family and a special dinner for over 100 people the following week.

Is it silly to even try to write this time of year? Deadlines don't care about the holiday season mayhem. My life is in chaos. Somethings got to give. I'm afraid it's going to be blogging.

I'll be back in early December when I'll be joining the medical romance team for a blog party welcoming three new medical romance authors (one of whom is ME!) I'll post the information as soon as I have it. Hopefully you'll have time to stop by.

Until then, wishing you all stress-free days in which you accomplish everything on your to-do lists!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Report Card Rejections

My childrens' school system instituted a new program this year where I can get their grades via computer weeks before I receive a paper report card. I think it's great. Marking period ends on a Friday, grades available the following Wednesday. Problems identified earlier, threats made, plan of correction implemented immediately, not several weeks into the next marking period.

Numbered grades are accompanied by comments so you can see exactly how your child is doing and why. A pleasure to have in class. Satisfactory effort. Assigned work not complete. Homework quality must improve. Low test scores. Work improving. Late homework.

I'm proud to say my son (11th grade) missed straight A's by one point (an 89 in honors social studies). My daughter (8th grade) needs to work on French, social studies, and homework quality. Let the nagging begin!

What does this have to do with writing? I read so many posts from writers upset about receiving form rejection letters. Wouldn't it be great to get a report  card rejection. Something quick like: A: Better than most but still not there. B: Getting closer. C: Average - need to do something to make yourself stand out. D: Needs a lot of work. F: Didn't make it past the first page. And a few quick comments would help immensely: Voice is a pleasure to read. Satisfactory punctuation. Plot not complete. GMC (goals, motivation, conflict) must improve. Slow pacing. Saggy middle. Good story - no market. Take a writing class.

So what do you think? Are you all for an industry wide grading scale so you have some idea where you stand? Or have you had enough of report cards while you were in school? 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Creature of Habit

Hello Friends!

Wow it's been a busy week since I last posted. Which brings me to the topic at hand. I am a creature of habit. I eat the same thing for breakfast (maple brown sugar oatmeal with raisins, two Eggo Nutrigrain low fat waffles, and juice) most days of the week. I follow the same morning and nighttime rituals. When I drive somewhere I take the the route I'm comfortable with, regardless of whether it's the quickest.

I may sound boring...I'm not...only my comfort in the routine is.

And finally getting my new computer up and running has shot my work routine in the gut!

I knew this would happen, which is why I've put it off as long as I could. (My brand new Dell has been sitting in the box, unopened, since August.)

Yes, it boots up quicker, and I love my new keyboard, but so far, those are the only positives. My screen looks different, even though I'm using the same one I used with my old computer. For some reason the words look smaller and I had to increase the font size. As a result, my familiar websites and blogs seem narrower and a bit elongated, if that makes any sense, and it's reeking havoc with my temperamental eyes. I upgraded to Windows 7, and while it's similar to Windows XP, it's taking some time to get used to. Thank goodness my computer guru clued me into F1 (help).

Of all he times to be under deadline for my second book AND receive the line/copy edits for my first book. But I'm muddling the expense of my blog time.

So what about you? Do you embrace change? Welcome it? Look forward to it? Or do you fight it like me? And any Windows 7 pros out there who can give me some helpful hints?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What I've Learned So Far

Since receiving 'the call' my life has been a whirlwind of activity. In an effort to help you all who are not yet published, but close, you know who you are - you're finaling in writing contests, agents/editors are requesting partials or fulls - I'd like to share what I've learned so far.

In the process of pursuing publication, writers spend a lot of time waiting. Waiting for critique partners to get back to you, waiting for contest results, and waiting for a response to your numerous queries and submissions. How you spend that time can ease your transition to contracted/published author.

Within a few days of receiving my offer from Harlequin Mills and Boon, I needed to complete more revisions and submit a brief bio, a dedication page, and a Dear Reader letter for my book. Then there was the contract to review (thank goodness for my agent, Michelle Grajkowski), the promo picture to coordinate, and the website to design. Oh, and did I mention I have a deadline for my second book? 2/1/2011. That's in three months. A little stressful considering I worked at writing my first book for over a year and then revised for five months to get it where it needed to be for publication.

Anyway, my suggestions to you all who are close to publication:

1) When you visit author websites you enjoy, jot down what you like and make a note of the web designer (usually listed at the bottom).  This will help you when it's time to create your own website.

2) If you have some techno-savvy, which I do not, consider exploring do-it-yourself website options.

3) When you visit author/writer blogs and websites, note their promo pictures. Are they outdoors or indoors? Formal or informal? Note outfits, expressions. Figure out how you want to look in your promo picture. Maybe have a friend or family member play around with your digital camera. Although, in my very limited experience, while a professional portrait is not required by my publisher, it is highly recommended.

4) When you read books by your favorite authors, pay attention to the dedication pages, the bios and Dear Reader letters. Becoming familiar with these, maybe playing around with writing your own, will make it much easier when it's time to do it for real.

5) Join writers loops where you have access to published authors. Their suggestions and guidance are invaluable. For instance, I am a member of Heartbeat RWA, a special interest chapter of RWA for medical romance writers and writers who use medical scenes in their writing, as well as others. Once I posted news of my sale I was contacted by several of the published author members. I was invited to join a Medical Romance authors loop and I was invited to blog on the Medical Romance Authors Group Blog at All because I'd put in the effort to find special interest groups, specific to my writing, ahead of time.

6) KEEP WRITING! Toss around ideas for new stories. Create character profiles for book 2 or 3 or 4. So when an agent/editor asks, "What else have you got?" you have something to show them

So what do you think of my suggestions? Have you done some of these things? All of them? And if you have experience with do-it-yourself web design, would you please share it here? (While I've contracted with Novel Website Design to build my site, some of my visitors may be looking for info on how to do it themselves.)