Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year !

Most New Year's Eves I was just grateful to see the back end of the last year and praying like hell the new one was going to be different. But in 2009 I signed a three book contract and a marriage certificate! All and all, a fabulous year. In my defense, although I'm not sure why I would be feeling defensive about happiness and should probably look at that, I was stuck in a holding pattern for a long time! Now I'm looking forward to 2010 and all the new adventures on the horizon.

My wish for everyone in 2010, and yes, I'm going with a cliche, is that you take chances ( within reason, of course, not suggesting you dive off a cliff or anything!), follow your dreams, live authentically, learn from everything, grow as a person, and be the powerful creature you are!

Okay, self-help pep talk over. Now get out there and live!!

PS: Two words: Vision board. Seriously. I'm a huge believer. Of course, me being me, I couldn't just have a vision "board." I have a huge three panelled poster board that stands on an easel in the corner of my office covered in statements and pictures from magazines. Hey, if you're going to do something do it right!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Don't Kill Your Darlings! ( Writing tip # 2 !)

I've never been a fan of the expression" Kill your darlings." In fact, it bugged the hell out of me. I always thought, Well, then what should I leave? All the lines I thought sucked? I get the concept behind it; you have to be willing to let go of a line, paragraph, or entire scenes if it doesn't work for the story. But the idea that you should kill sections you really love, just because you love them doesn't work for me.

So here's what did!

There were times when I was revising STILL MISSING that I had to cut a scene or a paragraph, but there was a line in there that I loved, and OH, MY GOD did I love it. So I'd spend hours trying to fit it in somewhere, or building entire paragraphs around it, trying everything and anything to hang on to what was now the most-wonderful-line-ever-written-that- would-catapult-me-to-superstardom-and-had-to-be saved-at-all-costs.

But then, the little voice in the back of my head ( the same one I used to ignore back in my dating days) would start to whisper, You're trying too hard to make it fit. It shouldn't be this difficult. It just doesn't work. You have to move on. Then the voice would start to chant the dreaded phrase, "Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, kill your darlings."

But I couldn't. I wouldn't.

So I found a loophole. I opened another Word document and pasted in all the pieces I couldn't let go of. Sort of a holding area, or a waiting room, if you will. I told myself I'd go back and see if I could fit them in another time, in another chapter. And you know what? I never did. But they're all there if I need them.

So if you don't want to kill your darlings, relocate them!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Writing Tip #1

I'd planned on doing a twelve-tips-before-Christmas-count-down sort of thing, but then my dog got sick and I've been running back and forth to the vet's, turning into a crazed puppy mom--Googling any and all symptoms in total panic mode. Then we found out it was Cushing's disease, which required more Googling and more panic. Do you know how many Web sites there are on that? And how many different opinions? Seriously, if my head wasn't already spinning that would've done it. The good news is that said puppy will soon be on a treatment plan. Right now she's enjoying a nice Valium buzz on the couch while I consider joining her.

Okay, so as much as I'd love writing an entire post on my dog drama, and Lord knows I could, I'm pretty sure others might not find it so riveting. So, here's a tip about pacing.

I've heard a few times that you should read your manuscript out loud to yourself, but that never really appealed to me. I'll read the dialogue out, and sometimes various sentences, just to get the rhythm right, but reading the story out loud didn't help. Until I was reading a chapter to someone else. That's when I realized I was speed reading a few parts because I worried the listener was going to be bored. At some point a light bulb went off-- I like to think that was sooner than later, but I'm not sure exactly when the magic "Hey, wait a minute!" moment happened. Anyway, I kind of clued in that if I'm worried about losing my listener's attention in those areas, I better be worried about losing the readers. So ever after that, if I'm not sure about a spot, I'll read it out loud, and if I rush it, or find myself skimming through it, it gets cut way down, or out altogether.

Just recently, I was at a friend's poetry reading and she asked me about a certain section, which she realized she'd read really fast. We discussed my theory about rushing past areas we're subconsciously worried about, and that's when she had her light bulb moment. She said that when she was reading, she thought, "This part's going on way too long, I'm going to lose my audience." Then she started talking faster.

So, there you go. If you're speeding through it, you better weed through it!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter Morning Walks

I love early morning walks when you can see your breath hover in the air and every footstep crunches on frozen earth. The sound of dog nails scrabbling at iced-over puddles and excited yips as she tries to get the stick buried beneath. The morning sunlight that shines through the bare trees, making everything glisten and sparkle. And then, back inside, a hot shower followed by an even hotter cup of tea. Peanut butter spread on a Wasa cracker ( mental note, tell husband we're out of peanut butter). Draft of new book open, inspiration for the next scene. A keyboard. Bliss.

Friday, December 4, 2009

My New, New Cover!

Wow, I thought I loved the cover with the cabin on it, but then St. Martin's Press came up with this one and OH, MY GOD!!!

The cover blurb still has to be added, but I couldn't wait to share it. I'm so just so damn happy! I really feel like this cover represents STILL MISSING and Annie's story ( you'll see!).

Now just seven more months and it hits the shelves!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Breast Cancer Video

I'll never look at pink gloves the same way again! I've gotta say the male janitor in the hall is my favourite.

Check it out!