Monthly Archives: February 2006

Why I Write

This has been a good week story-wise, for the most part. I had to take a couple of things out. (I posted about it in one of my group blogs, if you’re interested.) But overall, the writing has gone well.

I’m working very hard on my writing just now, because I just finished up my contract with Luna. The third book’s been turned in, and it’s time for that option book. (The one I’m working on.) I’d like very much to get a new contract as soon as possible. Then I’d like to get another contract with somebody for other books, so that between the two I could let my son have the extra year in college for the double major he’s mentioned, if he really wants it. So that’s my goal and that’s why I’m working very, very hard right now on all those little, intermediate goals. Wish me luck.

Cultural Heritage

Looky! I’m blogging TWO whole days in a row!

It remains to be seen whether I can keep this up.

But it occurred to me a while back that one could determine a person’s cultural heritage by what they eat on holidays. If you have haggis on Hogmanay, you’re obviously Scottish. If you eat matzo and latkes on Hanukkah, you’re Jewish. If you have roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on… Well, I’m sure you get the idea.

And by those terms, my ethnic background is Texan. Can’t be anything else. Because I must have tamales on Christmas Eve (and yes, I have made them from scratch, but I’d rather buy them because they’re a lot of trouble to make, but if I have to…), and I must have black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for luck.

The tamale-black-eyed pea combination is quintessentially Texan, harking to both our Southern and our Mexican heritage. Yes, I’m genetically as Anglo-Celtic as I can be, but my ethnic background is still Texan. I even put chile powder in my meatloaf–but I may switch to green chiles. Makes it even moister and yummier…

So there’s my thought for today.

New beginnings

Hmm. I’ve blogged about this elsewhere, but not here. And since this is MY blog, I really ought to share what I did this past week in the writing.

I got the new book started. I pulled out the file folder with my ideas and the few pages I’d already written and got busy last Monday. I did Tarot readings for each of my characters–they work as well as character charts (better in some ways), and give me a chance to practice reading. I did a “year” reading for them and a “life lessons” reading. Then I worked on plot points.

I don’t want a detailed plot when I begin or one of those “First Draft in 30 Days” first drafts. That doesn’t work for me. I’m not a multiple draft writer. I generally get my final draft in three go-throughs. First draft is in longhand, second draft is when I type it into the computer, then I go through it one last time and I’m done, and there’s generally not that much change between 1st draft and the 3rd. But I’m not a seat-of-the-pants writer either. Stephen King can sit down at his computer and follow the story where it goes. I can’t. I’d get lost before I found the end of it.

I fall somewhere in between. I do plot points so I know where my story is going, but there’s enough room that I don’t feel I’ve already written it and don’t need to do it again.

These are Syd Fields’ turning points or Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey–basically the same thing. And then I take those plot points and write a synopsis–hopefully of a reasonable length. So I wrote an 11-page synopsis. At 1 page per 10,000 words, that should give me a decent length book for Luna.

Then I pulled out the 6 pages I’d already written. Things have changed since I wrote them. I moved the setting, expanded on the magic–little things, but enough that trying to squeeze the changes between my handwritten lines was getting problematic. I can’t read that small any more. So I rewrote the pages. Just 6 pages. Doesn’t count as a new draft. That got me back into the New Blood universe well enough that I was able to push on, finish the 1st chapter and start the second. I am happy. The book is begun, and I ought to be able to get more done next week, and then more, and more.

Now I just have to print out The Eternal Rose again and send it to my agent before I send her the new proposal.

Things Romantic

I’m going to try to blog more often. Don’t know that I’ll make it by every day, but more often.

So, that said, it’s going to be necessary to come up with things to blog about. Not always an easy thing. But here goes for today.

With Valentine’s Day this week, lots of folks are focusing on things romantic. This morning, the Methodist Church in town, which is half a block from my house, invited the ladies to the men’s prayer breakfast they have…every week, I think. And since the parsonage occupies the half block between our house and the church, making the pastor & wife our neighbors, we got invited to come. At 7 a.m.

I’m not real good at getting out of bed at six o-freekin’-clock in the morning, and I didn’t actually have to–but 6:15 a.m. isn’t a heck of a lot better. But since my fella said “You don’t have to go, but it would be nice,” I got up, threw some clothes on (blue jeans dress up real nice with my beaded, embroidered denim jacket), and let him drive me the half-block to the church.

I was close to the youngest one there, and I’ve passed the half-century mark. I imagine the younger folks all had kids to feed and get to school. Anyway, they fed us a yummy breakfast complete with from-scratch biscuits, and had a local singer with his guitar performing while we ate. At the end, they presented all the ladies there with a red carnation. (I put it in the vase with my Valentine roses.) Then the fella dropped me at home and I went in to wipe my eyes and take a nap.

Wipe my eyes? You noticed that, huh. Yeah, I’m one of those sentimental types. The singer did an old song about a man who offered to bring his bride a daisy a day–and at the end he was delivering the daisies to the cemetery. I teared right up. Tried to hide it, but… And then, after the songs were done, and the preacher (it was a prayer breakfast, remember?) got up to talk, he told a few more stories that were just as beautiful and sad. I wasn’t actually sobbing in the fellowship hall, but the denim jacket was getting spots all over it because I couldn’t catch everything. I am incredibly easy when it comes to tears, and I wonder if that’s just a girl thing, or a romance reader/writer thing, or what?

Anyway, romance? Even the happy endings can make me cry. I might as well just embrace it, ’cause I’m never going to change it.

Cool beans!

I got a mention on the “Smart Bitches, Trashy Books” blog. Sarah raises an interesting question, and those of you who’ve read my book already know I blasted that “romance” envelope into smithereens.

In her comments, Sarah says: It makes me want to lock the Baby Daddy characters and the In the Billionaire’s Bedroom characters and the I Married a Mediterranean Oil Tycoon characters in the room with the Compass Rose characters and some Emma Holly romantica/erotica characters and have my own romance novel reality show.

Weird thing is, I kind of like reading some of those Baby Daddy and In the Billionaire’s Bedroom books. I started off there, actually. My first two books were Silhouette Desires. And the very first one was a sheikh book: Hide-and-Sheikh.

Yeah, a lot of the books are silly–but some of them aren’t. And that’s where some people’s comfort level lies. And even if they are just silly fun, sometimes that’s what one is in the mood for. Now, I have to admit, I’m not real wild about some of those Mediterranean Oil Tycoon characters because they tend to be a**hole jerks and not fun at all, but they do vent a lot of hostility for me because I just want to smack them upside the head and beating the book against the table (before I go back to read the rest of it) is somehow liberating.

I didn’t set out to explode any envelopes. I just threw stuff into the story that I thought would be fun to write. Now, I’m not sure the genie will go back into the bottle. The story of these particular characters will wind up with The Eternal Rose. But there may be more adventures in Adara when the little girls grow up. The next “universe” I plan to take on, the next proposal I want to write, is a very sexy Victorian steam-punk blood-magic-with-a-twist book. And I worry just how sexy and out-there these characters are going to push me…