Monday, March 11, 2013

Knitting Procrastination

Book plug - Haven't received my copies of Father By Choice yet, but as soon as I get them, I'll be sending out a copy to someone :) I'll give one out on my blog and another out on my facebook account. /Book plug

Okay, now that that's over, let's get on to the knitting. I've been knitting for a very long time. Off and on over the years. I learned to knit from a book I checked out from the library when I was 9. Back then (in the stone ages), the only place to get yarn from was Walmart. However, for a brief period of time Kewanee had a craft store.

Man, have times changed. I have downloaded patterns, found Ravelry and ordered yarn from the Internet. We have a really nice knitting shop in the town I live in and there is a Michaels not too far away. Of course, I think Kewanee is still stuck with Walmart, but at least there is the Internet now.

So what I'm working on. I made a beaded scarf but haven't done the finishing so no picture yet. I'm also making fingerless gloves for my daughter. It has a basketweave look. This is the one I've finished. I'm working on the other one.

I found a book on Kindle called Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders. It has a beaded fingerless glove that I want to do, but had to order the beads for it since neither Michaels nor the knit shop had the size beads I needed. But I did get a lovely dark purple Alpaca yarn.

I'll post it when I get it done. The other website I found is KnitPicks and bought a bunch more yarn. Now I need to make sure I actually use all this yarn, which means no more buying until this is used up.

My son wants a pair of fingerless gloves too. And I'm thinking of trying as many of the patterns in the One-Skein book as possible. I also picked up some patterns for sweaters and shawls. I really want to try clothing. Most of what I made when I was younger was afghans and the ocassional Christmas ornament.

Now for what the title of this blog post indicates. Yes this feels like procrastination or avoidance of working. I try to keep it to the evening when all I'm doing is watching TV anyway. But I do want to get things done and it's a lot faster to finish a glove than to weave together a story worth telling. It also gives my mind time to think about what I'm working on. But too much... well, then I'm just avoiding. Then again it's a cool hobby that's very fun. What hobbies do you have?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Super Excited! FATHER BY CHOICE Available for Preorder

Even though we spent last year in a state of flux because we moved from the Midwest where my husband and I grew up to the Southeast coast where winter has been moderately cold, I was actually able to finish a book while all that was going on. And the great news is it will be released on April 23rd!!! This year!!!

The story is about Brady Ward, the middle brother of three brothers. After spending the past eight years abroad, he returns to the States only to be confronted by the woman he shared one night with. Maggie Brown did try to let Brady know that she was pregnant eight years ago and when his oldest brother started giving her money, she figured she had Brady's answer to how involved he wanted to be. Until Brady's brother comes forward to tell her that Brady doesn't know and sends her to tell him.

This is my first small town story. Set in the fictional town of Tawnee Valley, I tried to create a world that has as many benefits as it has flaws. I grew up in one of the larger small towns in the Midwest, but my fictional town is smaller than even that town. With the shorter format of Harlequin Special Editions, I tried to still maintain the charm of a small town book while keeping the romance in the front.

I can't wait for it to be out so I can hear what readers think!

What type of stories draw you? Small town? Big cities? Family dramas? Work dramas?

P.S. I'm thinking about blogging about my knitting as well. I just found Ravelry.com and have lots and lots of ideas. I'm currently working on a shawl and a pair of fingerless gloves. What do you think? Want to hear about knitting or only writing?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Check, check! Is this thing on?

Yes, I suck at my blog, but I haven't had much to say. So now I do and want to post longer than Facebook allows so...

I love Pride & Prejudice! No really, I love it. I don't just like it, I love it bunches. I would totally marry it if I could, but since I can't... I'm going to extol on its many virtues.

1. The book - Not my first exposure to it. I own a copy and adore it. I think it's really hard to understand the full story without first reading the book. I'll admit it's a little hard to get into at first. The writing style is completely different from modern storytelling techniques, but once you are in, you are in. :) While I have read other Jane Austen's books, this one remains my favorite.

2. The BBC awesomeness - Yes I saw the BBC version first, complete on (if I remember correctly) 6 VHS tapes. Loved it. It does give the most complete version of P&P on film. No one can deny that the actors lived in the essence of the story. Wonderful.

3. The Kiera Knightly version - My favorite version of the movie because it doesn't take a day to watch and it stays close to the story structure. The filming is lovely and the setting is a personal fav of mine because I lived in Sheffield just off of the Peak District where Kiera Knightly is on a cliff looking like she's going to get blown off :)  Also I've been to Chatsworth Hall which was used for Pemberly Hall in the movie. The bust of Mr. Darcy resides in the statue room which does include the statue of the veiled woman seen in the movie. The statue of the woman is uncanny up close. You can see that it's stone and even look closely to see how it's done, but your mind truly believes that the veil is like cloth.

4. I've been to Bath! And the home of Jane Austen. They have some of the dresses from filming the BBC version and it's a beautiful place. Though Bath is not in P&P, it is Jane Austen (so fan girl!)

5. Becoming Jane - Love, love, love this movie. To think that the woman who touched our hearts with her story of love had a love story of her own... It's mostly made up, but I'm okay with that.

6. Bridget Jones' Diary - Such a quirky movie. It's adaptation of the original story thread is incredible and deliciously modern. It took out bits and pieces and spun them into a story that works. Again I've only saw the movie, but I still love it :)

7. OMG! Have you seen the Lizzie Bennet Diaries!http://www.lizziebennet.com/story/ I just spent the weekend catching up on it and can't wait to see more. Wish I'd discovered it after it was done so I could see the whole thing and not have to wait. But yay!!! They've done a wonderful job of modernizing the story. I have to go follow them all on twitter to find out what is happening. So much fun!

Is there an author or movie or book or series that drives you ga-ga? Something that if you see it's on, you have to stop and watch it?

Sunday, January 08, 2012

What I Learned from my Sims 3 Writer

My daughter received Sims 3 for Christmas and as much as I tried to stay away, I couldn't help it. The new version has writer as a career. *rubs hands together in glee* So here are a few things I've learned from playing Sims 3. My character's name is Stella.

1. Playing Sims is a time suck. I knew this before, but dang, hours will pass without anything really happening as you watch your little character run around the screen doing nothing as well. Unfortunately, time suck means time not spent writing. Time not spent writing means that the books don't get done, which means nothing to turn in, which means no income. Hmmm...

2. Stella starts out with a rapidly decreasing needs bar. She has to go to the bathroom, make food, sleep, shower, have fun and talk to other people. Otherwise she gets really cranky. Lesson: Take time to be a human. We need all these things too.

3. Writing without breaks makes for a cranky Stella who won't continue write until you give her some fun. Fun includes reading a book, playing video games or hanging out with a friend. Lesson: We need to have fun once in a while. Maybe it doesn't have to be a four hour marathon of Sims 3, but 15 minutes of doing something else every couple of hours should help.

4. If Stella doesn't leave the house for a while, she goes stir crazy. Simply going out to the bookstore or library or anywhere there are other people for an hour is sufficient for her to remedy the situation. Lesson: Leave the house and clear your head every now and then. Being cooped up is bad for your mood. Even better go out with someone and chat about stuff before returning home to work.

5. If Stella doesn't write, she can't pay her bills and has to get a job or her stuff will be repossessed. Lesson: If this is your career, you can't sit and play all day and expect to be paid. You must work on your book and finish it to reap the rewards of royalties.

6. Stella is loaded. She brings in 100,000 simoleons every week from over 20 books. But she's had no time to develop relationships. Granted there was that one guy, but the jerk ended up being in a relationship. Jerk. Lesson: It would be wonderful to earn tons of money from book sales, but without my family what would it matter. Keeping up relationships is more important than writing. At least to me.

7. Stella is loaded because she finished over 20 books. Lesson: Watching a Sim type is not the same as doing the work yourself. Unfortunately we can't speed up time until we are finished a book. We have to put in the real time and that means not procrastinating by playing games or watching TV or whatever it is that keeps up from writing.

So my Sim has taught me quite a bit about what kind of writer I want to be. I need to be more balanced in my approach to writing. I need time to play and take care of myself and my family. But I need to make writing a priority in my life and not keep shoving it to the space that should be reserved for playing Sims. I figure I'm going to use working on my Sims family (she cloned herself :) who needs a man...well me, but not Stella) as a reward for finishing my goals. Incentives do help ;)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My People!

When I started writing, I did it alone with communication every now and then with other writers, especially while in England (different time zone and all that). For a while I had friends in an endurance writing group who would meet in a Yahoo conference box and we would sprint (write with no distractions) for 45 minutes with 15 minute breaks. I finished quite a few of my earlier stories using this method, but like all good things, I was able to work during the day and most of them had day jobs :( So as that dwindled off, I moved into lurking in chat rooms on Romance Divas and Writechat.net where they do 20 minute challenges (same as sprints but with a cooler name).

You'd be amazed at some of the numbers I could produce in 20 minutes. Okay maybe not you, but I was ;) But there was a lot of chatter going on in the chat rooms and sometimes no one was around and it's kind of weird to whip yourself. Enter Twitter.

Oh, thank you, you brilliant writers you, who use twitter as a device to orchestrate #1k1hr challenges. The goal 1000 words in an hour. People who write during the day are there! And there's almost always one going on. With a book to write that's fully plotted and just needs to be drafted, this is manna from Heaven. Of course it doesn't stop the phone calls or the TV calling (what? it does. It mocks me with it's darkness.), but it does give me that kick in the pants to write, which is what I need.

I know 2 posts in a month. I'm spoiling ya :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Hard Sell

Selling the first book should have been the hard part of this business. Usually it takes a few tries and you get closer each time and finally after much toiling you sell. L.A. Cinderella was my third completed manuscript and I entered it in a contest because they were low in entries. When it won, I got a request for the full and eventually a contract for that book. I started working feriously on Casanova Exposed, but it wasn't right for the line. My editor and I have gone back and forth on a few more books and we're getting close, but somehow I'm just not finding that next book.

So for me the hardest sell has become my second book. I'm continuing to submit to Harlequin because I love category romance and want to find that story that will resonate with readers. So I continue to try. I'm also looking at writing single title contemporary romance and one of my favorites, paranormal romance. I have plenty of ideas and am continuing to submit, because that's what this industry boils down to: perseverence. You'll hear it over and over again from all levels of writers.

Will I self-publish in ebook? Hubby has green lighted me if I want to go that direction, but I'm not ready for that. There's more to a book than just the writing and right now, I want to focus on the writing. I haven't completely shelved Casanova Exposed, just put him on the waiting line for later.

Right now I'm at a cross roads in my career. I have something on submission with my editor, which hopefully they love. I also have two more synopses ready to go should we need something else for them to look at. But the looking at takes time. So while I wait, I need to figure out what direction next. And hopefully I figure out the right next move.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bad Author Bad

I feel like I've neglected my poor blog for so long. :( I even got repremanded at Nationals by the lovely Abigail Strom, a fellow Special Edition author, for not posting since March! (Totally deserved the reprimand) L.A. Cinderella is enjoying a world tour after being published in Australia, Italy, Argentina and the UK. I never know when the next box of books will come in. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for France.

I went to Romantic Times Conference out in L.A. and got a great tour by my critique partner, Jeannie Lin. I just returned from New York where the Romance Writers of America had their national conference. It gave me time to talk with my editor and agent and reconnect with my writing friends and meet new friends. I had a fantastic time and it really was the kick in the pants I needed to keep on keeping on.

I've been working on proposals for Special Edition and when I get just the right one, I'll let you all know. I've also had my single titles stewing in the back of my brain for when I'm out on submission again. Trying to decide between reviving my angels, classing up Las Vegas with a contemporary or bringing back the dead with my zombie book. So dark paranormal, light contemporary or dark humor paranormal (kind of a mix of both). Meanwhile, I have a lot of ideas for Special Editions and hopefully one of them will be the right book to work on next.

I haven't given up yet :) And I still need to write a ton this month because I'm behind where I was last year and this month last year I wrote almost 20K words. Of course, I was recovering from surgery last year and probably a little loopey on pain meds, but words is words. ;)