Sunday, May 31, 2009

Blog Awards For Me!

I'm super excited. I admit, trolling through blogland, I always wished someone would nominate me for a blog award. Why? Because it meant that my blog inspired/humored/brightened a reader. I mean, that is the point after all. So today I read Keli Gywn's Romance Writers On The Journey blog and did a happy dance because along with some other fun blogs, Keli nominated me for the One Lovely Blog award and the Lemonade Stand award (for great attitude - whoo!). 

Thank you Keli. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

True Character

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure - the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."                 -- Robert McKee
I found inspiration in this today, I hope you will too. 

Monday, May 25, 2009

Where The Wind Blows - Future Book Review

I ran across a trailer for a new book coming in August of 2009. The cover and title are actually what caught my attention. 

From Caroline Fyffe's website: 

Two hearts meant to be together; 
One secret bound to rip them apart.

Chase Logan liked being a loner, a drifter, free and clear as a mountain stream. But one look into Jessie Strong's sky blue eyes and in the span of a heartbeat, he found himself agreeing to be her husband-and a father!

Jessie Strong knew it was all pretend. And only temporary. Just until the adoption went through for three-year-old Sarah. But the longer Chase stayed, the less she could imagine a long, lonely Wyoming winter without him. Times may be tough-supplies short and danger just outside the doorstep-but with the strength of the pioneer spirit and the warm glow of love in their hearts, Chase and Jessie are determined to have a true family at last, no matter WHERE THE WIND BLOWS.

You can view the trailer here:

I'm not sure how I feel about book trailers but hey, this one sold me. And since I love westerns so much, look for a review when I pick it up in August. 

What do you think of book trailers?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?

Oh there are so many answers to this question! And most of them are books I tend to read over and over again. But to name a few:
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
  • Charlotte Grey by Sebastian Faulks
  • Charms for the Easy Life by Kaye Gibbons
What would you read again for the first time? Feel free to post your answer here or over on the Booking Through Thursday website. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Have You Tried?

Writers ...
Have you heard of this book?
Have any of you tried it?
I ordered and used Wiesner's First Draft in 30 Days ... I liked the book and I continue to reference it. I just wondered if this one had repeated information. I would assume not but thought I'd send feelers out there first. Thanks for any input. 

(click on the book for a link to Wiesner's website and info about the guide.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society ...

From Emily to Reader
Sunday, May 16th
9:00 pm

I adore it.

Ever Yours, 

P.S. I was right about Juliet, Dawsey and Sidney, but only after I had written the previous blog post. 
P.P.S. I want more.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Might I Suggest ...

I've heard many good things about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows and so I picked it up the other day. And am I glad I did! I read through half of it last night and can't wait to get back too it. I love Juliet! I love Elizabeth (who I haven't even met yet!), Dawsey, Amelia, Isola, Eben, Sophia and Sidney. And my do I have hopes that Juliet will open her eyes and see Sidney. 

Told entirely through letters, this book about the after days of WWII on a small occupied island in the English Channel has captured my imagination and won't let go. Go out. Buy it. Read it. Love it. Then tell everyone else about it. The only sad part, so far, is the book has been published posthumously. It's sad this author isn't here to see what good work her book is doing.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Visual Inspiration

I surfed the Internet today instead of writing. OK, to be fair I really didn't have time to sit down and write. I had to do some work here at home, general cleaning kept me busy and I had a job interview this afternoon (that didn't really turn out to be for an actual job - but maybe more on that later). So in just the few minutes I had to devote to my manuscript, I did a bit of research on English Gardens. I felt it was a good thing to research because, honestly, what regency novel have you read that hasn't had the amorous couple tromping through a winding garden path away from the ball? (Bad heroine! Like you didn't know what was going to happen!) Anyway, I found some great pictures and one in particular struck my fancy. Take a gander and see what you think. (Thanks Beth for the link!)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Cue Lights and Angel Music


Yesterday was a little painful. One crappy false start followed another crappy false start which then followed one more HUGE crappy false start. Yeah, a whole scene worth of crappy. So I went to bed with a headache and I really wanted that hot bath, chocolate and cry that a very understanding co-writer suggested. 

Today I woke up, looked at my manuscript (before my kid woke up laughing - LOVE when that happens) and thought, "more crap."

Except, I was wrong. Today was not crappy. You know when you start out writing a scene and it just ... runs? Especially after trying to get it right for a whole day? Then with a fresh perspective you start writing that first sentence, then the next and the next and before you know it you have a whole page and you think: "yup, this is what I wanted, this works, this is awesome."

I mean, the awesome feeling will pass. I'll read it back later and think: "hm, OK, this doesn't make sense, this needs to be changed and this is just dumb." But all along, this scene ... it works. This is it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Review ~ Heart & Soul by Maeve Binchy

With the insight, humor, and compassion we have come to expect from her, Maeve Binchy tells a story of family, friends, patients, and staff who are part of a heart clinic in a community caught between the old and new Ireland.

Dr. Clara Casey has been offered the thankless job of establishing an underfunded clinic and agrees to take it on for a year. She has plenty on her plate already – two difficult adult daughters and the unwanted attentions of her ex-husband – but she assembles a wonderfully diverse staff devoted to helping their demanding, often difficult patients.

Before long the clinic is established as an essential part of the community, and Clara must decide whether or not to leave a place where lives are saved, courage is rewarded, and humor and optimism triumph over greed and self-pity.


Clara and her daughters. Declan the doctor and his nurse Fiona. Vonnie, her son and the twins. Linda and Nick. Nora and Aidan. Ania and Carl. Hilary and Clara. Clara and Frank … pick a story, any story! In true Binchy fashion, Heart and Soul follows the stories of a dozen different people all drawn together by a little heart clinic in a rundown part of Dublin. The clinic is literally, the heart and soul of this book.

Binchy is a master of multi storylines. Each character is presented as essential to the fates of the others and each serves his/her purpose and their actions are believable and sympathetic. Love is the driving force here. Romantic love, familial love and love co-workers who become friends. It is a consummate tale of community and finding one’s place in the world.

If you’ve read other Binchy books you’ll run into some old friends – some you may have even forgotten about because they’ve played such small roles in other books. I really did enjoy catching up with these lovely friends.

I do have a bit of a grippe here. Although I do enjoy books such as these, I really do wish Binchy would return to writing about a single strong-willed heroine who’s life is told through the actions of others. I enjoyed her lengthy sagas of 1950-60 Ireland and cross my fingers that she’ll write at least one more of those.

Things I Liked

~ The reappearance of old characters! Like old friends, Binchy brought back some characters from Night of Moon and Stars, Scarlet Feather, Quentins, Evening Class and … well others. I liked catching up with these characters and enjoyed seeing some of their stories coming to an end.

~ My favorite story was that of Ania and Carl. Perhaps because Poland sounded a bit like old Ireland but more importantly because Ania’s story read like that of a fairy tale.

Things I Didn’t Like

~ The twins. I was often confused by their conversation and a little annoyed with the fact. I am glad they only had a little part but could have done without their trip to Greece.

~ Although I really do like Binchy’s style of multiple storylines, I am ready for her return to a more single-thread story where other characters take a backseat and provide background to the main issues.

~ I wish there was a bit more about Barbara. Everyone else seemed to find true love at the end and poor Barbara was sort of left in the cold. Perhaps we’ll see her in future books!

Rating: B

Additional Info

~ Published – January 2009

~ Price ~ $26.95

~Favorite Author Book ~ The Glass Lake, Circle of Friends

~ Author Website - 

This review can also be found at Reading Romance Books

Ouch! That Hurt!

So, I cut myself on the ax. Not the literal ax, no, the delete button ax. It hurt when I deleted those 200 pages. I think I'm bleeding. 

But today, I started filling out the rest of my story. I have some scene ideas and one big background factor that is going to tie the whole thing together. My poor notebook, which was about full the first time I finished my manuscript, is now bursting at the seams and I am in need of a new one. 

So today I need to get a new notebook, finish my first scene (that's actually like two chapters in), write a review of Maeve Binchy's Heart and Soul, change a million dirty diapers and do some laundry. 

Update: This scene is giving me a headache. I've written 1,300 crappy words today and I know I won't end up keeping half of them, if any. I am trying to recapture the voice and mood of this story but its eluding me. No one said diving back in would be easy. But it should be.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Austen Heroine ...

Taking a break while cutting down trees (figuratively of course, see previous post) and I ran across Which Austen Heroine Are You? quiz. Quick, fun and for me, dead on. I hope. 

Cutting Off The Dead Limbs

This past January we experienced a mega ice storm. A half inch of bone chilling ice covered the roads, the power lines, our driveway (I love sliding down the hill to the mailbox) and our trees. I woke up the next morning to see half our very large pear tree laying across our fence. It had split almost entirely down the middle. That afternoon my poor husband got out in the cold and doctored the tree. It looked so forlorn with half of it gone and unfortunately, we can now see straight into our backyard neighbor's kitchen (which means they can see into ours and my baby boy's butt when he gets a bath in the sink). We were sure the tree would have to come down in the spring. How could it survive the ice damage? 

Well spring is here and as I sit at my kitchen window and look out, the pear tree is alive with green, green leaves and tiny but beautiful sprigs of white flowers. Sure, half of it is still missing but I can see a little tiny branch making it's way out. The tree has survived and it's here to stay. 

Like the tree, my current manuscript has suffered some damage. A rejection, the tearing apart of chapters, the deletion of characters and most importantly I (oh God, deep breath) have decided to chop off the entire last half. Yeah, I'm doing it. Because it needs to be done. The third and fourth acts are like those dead limbs - covered in ice, black and deadened - and they need to be removed, put out to the curb for the city to come and pick up. It hurt to do it - to literally highlight 200 pages and hit delete - but wow do I feel good about it. It's like getting a really good haircut and your head just feels so much lighter. The first half of my book was so good, I am so proud of it. When I looked at the second half, the spirit of the book had dimmed. My characters didn't seem like the same people and my voice was just off. But I've fixed that. Now I am going to go back into those first two acts, widen them out, add scenes, people, places and make the book into what I originally envisioned. Make it LIVE. 

I feel good.

Sometimes we need to sit back, identify the dead branches and cut them down. Sure, we're left with half a tree, but that's half a tree ready to grow. 

Friday, May 8, 2009

Starting Over Again ...

The past few months have been nothing short of life-changing for me. There were fantastic changes, like giving life to a beautiful baby boy. And there were not so good changes like losing my job and the recent death of my grandmother - a woman I now realize I thought I knew, even judged at times, but probably didn't know a damn thing about her really. All these changes - a thousand more little ones too - have combined to slow me down and I haven't had the time, energy or creativity to continue writing. Add to that the rejection of a manuscript I am really proud of and you could say I dropped out of what I love doing. But now I think I am ready to come back. But there are some hurdles with that. 

The first - I am a different person than I was six months ago. My world view has been altered over the course of a few short months (although let me tell you, those first three felt like a LIFETIME. I don't remember Christmas ... or New Years ... or January ...). So returning to an old manuscript, I see it with completely different eyes. I don't like what I see in most spots. 

Secondly - Time: I don't have it. I've been robbed. Well, been robbed of long stretches of time. For now I have perhaps 20-45 minutes at a time to sit down and just think, let alone write. This forces me to work quickly and I don't work well under pressure.

Third - I've been out of the romance writing loop for awhile and it seems like in the time I was gone, publishing took a completely different turn. Perhaps I am wrong but I feel as though (from just a few days of surfing my favorite sites) romance has turned from historicals and veered directly toward contemporaries. Bummer for me since I have several half finished historical novels going on. 

All this combined means I have to completely re-invent myself and my writing style. So welcome back to me, now start all over lady.