Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Time To Celebrate!




My friend and talented author has hit the New York Times Best Seller list! That's big time, folks. I'm not surprised. I expected it. Really. And this soon too. The woman is smart and did I already say, talented? Oh, yeah, I did. Well, she is.





Who is that? Christy Reece! Never would guess, huh? Go and buy.












Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If I Won A Hundred Million Dollars

I had planned to talk about housework and my hurt foot. Don't worry. I'm okay. Just bruises. But that's so boring.

Instead I rather talk about what everyone dreams about: winning a hundred million dollars and what we would spend it on. Yes. A hundred million, not just a million dollars. Sad, isn't it? It's the sign of the times when a simple million isn't enough.

Linda Howard's book BURN covered a lot of what I would do if I won. Her heroine didn't shout and call everyone about the news. She knew her life was about to change big time. So she kept quiet and waited until she could figure out what to do next. Then she went to an investment firm and asked questions. Lots of questions that helped her make the right decisions. That was smart. I've watched programs about lottery winners who'd won tons of money and were broke within ten years.

In Linda's book, the heroine quickly realized who she could trust. It was sad so many people let her down. Her father stole money from her and her best friend used her and claimed she was too good for her old friends. I can imagine that happening to anyone.

Even I knew you should never spend the principle. So I would spend the interest this way. I would set up a trust for my children and grandchildren, my parents and my husband's mom along with all our immediate siblings. I have step-siblings and they're on their own. Sorry. That's the way it is.

I would build the house I've always wanted. It would be environmentally sound with solar panels and skylights. I believe it's called Green Building. I love sunshine and need a lot of natural light. It would have a patio you can see from nearly every room in the house. Lots of flowers and a simple water fountain in the middle.

Then my hubby and I would travel. We love visiting new places. Of course, we would make sure to take one trip a year with any of our family who wanted to go with us.

I'm sure I would set up a foundation for donations to the charities I pick. Yeah. That would be nice.

I guess that's it. Now time to go and buy a lottery ticket in a nearby state. Alabama doesn't have one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Female Dracula But Real

Not only did I write articles under the name of AuntieWIP, but I also did History Tidbits and "Did you know..." articles. This is one of my favorites.

DID YOU KNOW...
Bram Stoker’s Dracula was thought not only to be based on Vlad Tepes, but a Hungarian countess, Erzsebet Bathory. Engrossed in the art of black magic, she kidnaped and tortured young peasant girls. From all reports, she enjoyed drinking human blood and bathing in the fluid. She believed the blood would keep her young and beautiful. After her cousin had her arrested in 1610, she was imprisoned in a room with the windows and doors locked. Her followers, including a sorceress named Darvula, were executed.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

AuntieWIP Explains Types of Subplot

A few years ago, I wrote articles under the name AuntieWIP. Most of the time, I asked questions and had others in my chapter give the answers. Other times, I wouldn't receive any answers, so I would give the answers myself after some research. The links for my research have pretty much gone bye-bye, but I left the ones that are still valid at the bottom.

There are three types of subplots: 1) connected, 2) comparable, and 3) conscience.

Connected
This one is the most obvious and, of course, the most used. It’s where a writer’s main plot has a smaller plot(s) that hints at or provides momentum or information for the main plot. This will give the main plot a three-dimensional feel and provide your characters with depth. Often used in larger book formats where you have more room for your characters to grow and show backstory.

A good example is in Debra Webb’s STRIKING DISTANCE. You have Tasha North tracking down an assassin to save the head of the Colby Agency. At first, you have no idea of the connection between the assassin and a main character, but as the plot moves along several subplots reveals their connection. The author subtly provides hints until the connection is revealed. So as not to reveal the twist, read the book and see how well crafted the subplots are entwined into the story. In this case, the subplot becomes fundamentally connected to the main plot.

Comparable
This can be used for effect, but an author needs to be very careful. It can also become more of a fill, making a manuscript longer, and bore the reader to death. You take two plots, either of the same importance or one of more importance and written parallel of each other.

Sorry, it has been years since Auntie has read a book like this, though there are probably many excellent ones. The best example would be the movie LOVE ACTUALLY. A wonderful romantic comedy. The only connection the four stories had was that they were about love. The stories were presented in parallel of each other, but of different types of love.

Conscience
All authors would like to use this more, but we have to be careful in popular fiction to not preach or push our particular causes on those that just want a good read -- a delightful escapism. We’ve all read books that tell us a moral behind the story or makes us think about how we treat the environment or our fellow humans. If you’re subtle with it, it can give a story flavor.

The one that comes to mind first is Linda Howard’s CRY NO MORE. Some of you are saying, “What? That didn’t have anything related to public awareness.” Linda doesn’t preach or thrust her views at you. It’s all woven into the storyline. You have mention of the Amber Alert and adoption practices that help but at times can hurt needy want-to-be-parents. None of the information provided in her book dragged down the main plot or made you feel like it’s all your fault. They actually solidified the story further.

For more information on subplots, check out the following:

http://www.storymind.com/dramatica/plot/subplots.htm

Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Man-Speak

Every once in a while, a man's POV will jar me out of the story. He'll say something that sounds so much like what a female will say or think. The female author had forgotten for a moment she's writing the narrative from the man's POV. Now there's probably a few men out there who think like women do, but those are few and far between.

Men have a totally different way to communicate and though it can cause a problem at times, overall I'm glad they don't talk like women. Heck, even I get tired of how some women talk. In my day job, I work with a lot of men and I've learned how to keep my conversations short and to the point. Now I'm not always good at it, but it comes in handy in speeding up my workload.

Most (note most, not all) men, even during male-on-male conversations, keep their sentences short. It doesn't mean they never talk at length. It's just they don't often use a lot of compound sentences. So they can talk with a buddy for two hours but easily cover hundred subjects.

An example of another part of man-speak is the names they use for women's lingerie. (Can you tell this is what jarred me out the story?) They'll say bra, panties, or underwear even. Then there are those who are totally uncomfortable with mentioning them and they'll call them boulder-holders or granny panties or a few other silly nicknames.

But they will rarely call them demi-bras, underwires, hiphuggers, thongs, bikini, etc. If they do, it's because they were married before or are have several vocal sisters. But even if they do know what to call them, they'll avoid the right name just to save their manhood. LOL!

Friday, March 26, 2010

WATCH MOLLY RUN

I decided to blog with a tidbit from one of my stories. I think it's funny. What can I say? I have a warped sense of humor. It's from the hero's POV.

He shifted in the driver’s seat of his marked SUV and stared at the mansion in front of him. He’d hoped something would click and tell him what had happened there two days ago. Even looking at the Farley place with an eye for detail, examining every window covered by blinds or curtains, it still gave off an air of being closed up and empty, not revealing anything.

Today was his day off, if there was such of thing for a small county sheriff. But this was definitely a time for overtime. Two deaths were two too many for the little county seat. The last person to die of unnatural causes in Sand City was Jeff Mason about ten years ago. His wife had purposely and fatally run over him with the tractor as she’d found out he’d gambled their farm away at a casino in Mississippi. Truth be told, losing her family homestead was bad enough, but she also found out he’d taken a million dollar life insurance policy on her and planned to spend it on his girlfriend.

And how did she find out about the policy? Five minutes before he’d died, he tried to shoot her with his hunting bow but missed. When she’d jerked the bow out of his hands, he took off across the corn field, yelling at her about the policy and his pregnant girlfriend. He never was very bright. She’d jumped in the tractor and did the deed. Later, in court she’d pleaded self-defense. It would’ve worked too except she ran over him twice and then got off the tractor and shot three arrows in his groin. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be too thorough.

****
I thankful for knowing several talented women who are so kind to me. Diane Richmond, JoAnn Weatherly, Christy Reece, Laura Hayden, Jeanie Therkelsen, Jennifer Echols, and so many more.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Playing Hooky

I've been playing hooky from the blog but not from writing. Monday, I worked on my submission to Kensington and by Wednesday I cried, "UNCLE!" Like everyone, I could revise that book (clichés alert) until the cows came home or in this case, when there are snow balls in hell but never have it perfect. Nothing I write is perfect. Heck! I'm not perfect. So I said enough is enough and emailed it to the editor. It had been fully critiqued by two people and partially by two others. So anything wrong is going to be wrong and all I can do is pray now.

Now I'm working on the other book. Mainly revising the synopsis. Though the editor asked for the full, she also asked for the synopsis. I figure they'll check it before sending it to a reader. Then again, what do I know? Lately I don't feel very bright. I'm tired. Working over at my day job and then coming home to write is getting to me, but I'm determined to hang in there. I want to mail the this submission Saturday.

Nothing ventured. Nothing gained. Oops, forgot to warn you with another cliché alert.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Food And That Four Letter Word

While I was at the conference this past weekend, I heard my buddies talk about how they dreaded weighing afterwards as all of the good food they were serving and the wonderful dessert reception they had Friday night. I ignored their grumblings because as most of you know, I have a bit of a weight problem (Southern understatement here).

I did eat dessert Friday night, one slice of cheese cake, and all of my meals including the bread. Then when I got back home I faced the music...in this case, the scales. Surprise, suprise! I lost 3 lbs. How did I do this? By all the walking I did going from the room to the elevator, from the elevator to the meeting rooms, standing around, etc. I get more excerise at conferences than I do at home or work. Normally I'm sitting to do my job, sitting to work on my manuscripts, sitting to watch TV or movies or play games on my computer. Yes, I'm shameless. I play games on my at-home-work computer.

It's hard to believe I actually do restrain myself from eating everything I like. Goodness, if I didn't, I would be fork-lift-me-out-of-the-house big. But it's time I get serious about doing the deed. You know, that four letter word we all whisper at one time or another.

DIET.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Silken Sands Conference

Well, I've neglected my blog this weekend as I was having fun with my buddies, Laura Hayden and Jeanie Therkelsen, at the Silken Sands Conference. There were so many people I know there and I got hugs from everyone. Such sweeties. Laura and I shared Linda Howard Award of Excellence duties and announced the winners. That was fun too.

Several wonderful things happened, but first I have to let you know that Jeanie had received THE CALL from Kensington Publishing a couple weeks before and her editor was at the conference. We're all so happy for her. She's a smart and talented lady.

So Laura and I were luckily enough to hang with her and the editor bought us lunch. We sat and talked for two and half hours. It was great. Jeanie is so lucky (besides THE CALL) to have such an easy to talk to editor. The funny part is I had a scheduled appointment with her for the next day. I behaved by keeping my mouth shut on that. Besides, the lunch was about celebrating Jeanie's three book deal. The lunch with the Kensington editor was one wonderful thing.

That night I worked on my pitches and, for the first time since Kelley St. John helped me in 2003, I had a problem. Maybe in the back of my mind I remembered how all my requests ended with rejections. On top of that, sometimes I received nothing back from the editor or agent. Thankfully, my brain kicked in and I was able to work up some pretty good pitches if I say so myself.

By the way, I renamed the manuscript I pitched to the Silhouette editor and I liked it better than any other I had come up with before. I called it WATCH MOLLY RUN. When I told the editor the title, her eyebrows lifted and she smiled. I think she liked it. The beginning of the pitch went well until she asked about the suspense part. I kind of flubbed that...just a tad...but she still asked for the full. Of course, she probably asked for everyone's full as soon as it sounded like it would fit her line. But she could've said no anyway. So I was happy she didn't. That was another wonderful thing.

Then my appointment with the Kensington editor was next. The Gulf Coast chapter had placed the editors on the back patio of the hotel near the beach. It was windy but a pretty day. Her back was to me when I walked over to her table. I came around and said, "Surprise!" She laughed and said, "I was expecting you." Later I asked Jeanie if she'd said anything to her and she told me no. Either the Gulf Coast chapter had given her a list or I had let something slip during the lunch. Didn't matter. She was smiling. So I told her a little about my book along with my pitch. She liked it was about a female assassin. And before I could tell her it was a la Shannon McKenna, she said, "Like Shannon McKenna, right?" That tickled me so much! She got it. I asked her if she was Ms. McKenna's editor and she no, but she loved her books. YES! Now, I'm not saying I write like her, but I love her books too and I hope mine are simliar but in my own voice. Speaking of voice, I hope she likes mine. Goodness, I do. Anyway, this was another wonderful thing.

I can't say I have a good feeling about it. One second, I tell myself my books are great and then the next I wonder who am I kidding?

::sigh::

For now, I'll take one day at a time and keep writing. Even if the Kensington editor rejects the manuscript, I know I made a good contact and she won't run from me whenever I see her next.

The picture was taken this morning. It was rather stormy when we left.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Yeah, Yeah, I Know…I Did It Again

I really have cut back on contests. Just three so far this year and probably not much more than that the rest of the year. I recently received some scores from one. This is on a brand new manuscript I’ve only written three chapters and it’s a totally different book from all my others. Very much mainstream romance. No one gets killed by bad guys or shifts into a were-animal.

The comments I’m getting continue to be mixed but I’ve seen a trend where they have to struggle to find things to mark me down. For example, one judge said I needed to describe the cubical and elevator. Huh? Why would I bore people to death with something so mundane? Those two have nothing to do with the plot and describing something most everyone knows about would slow down the scene. Of course, another said I took too long giving descriptions of those locations. Considering it was mainly showing the heroine moving from her cube to the elevator and to the owner’s office, it was mostly showing her nervousness, I wouldn’t really call the areas descriptions until she enters his office and that was mostly done to impress his importance.

While one judge didn’t answer the question of whether or not they would be interested in reading the entire book, the other two typed in VERY in all caps or underlined and with no hesitations (if she fixed this or that). That was nice to see.

The other comments gave me something to think about. I doubt I’ll enter this into anymore contests. They’re too expensive and I rather finish the books and send to editors. Sure it would be nice to final in every contest I enter, but that’s not really my goal in life. Being published is more important.

I’ve read several entries I know have finaled in contests (benefit of being a coordinator and judge) and I can see why they do. But I can tell you very few of them are “my type” of book. The type I’d pay money to read. Though I did for the first time ever read a book (purchased) I had judged in a contest a couple years earlier. It was so freaky. I was reading the beginning and thinking how it was so familiar. The first thought through my head was I had bought it before. I looked at the copyright date. No. It was recent. It wasn’t on my bookshelf or in my give-away bag. Then it dawned on me. I had read it in a contest. I enjoyed the book though I wouldn’t consider it a keeper. In fact, I’ve already given it away. But I was happy to see they sold it.

Hey, I haven’t given up hope yet.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yeah!

My youngest is back home! Happy, happy. Even with two animals. Don't get me wrong, I love animals but not in the house. Yet I'll put up with them for now.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Income Tax Time

Well, for the first time I tried to file my income tax papers via e-file. What happened? They rejected them. Why? It appears someone has mistyped their child's social security number incorrectly and it matches mine or my husband's. So now we have to mail it in instead. Drat!

Then again it was kind of funny too. When I told my husband someone claimed one of us as a dependent on their income tax, he said, "Who would do that?" LOL! I explained that it was most likely an accident (hopefully) as my computer program that works it up, uses the same general info year after year. Besides I double checked it.

Hopefully we won't have anymore problems.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Like A Virgin

The title came to me as I was reading a book. Years ago, I would say most of the historical and contemporary books I read, the heroines were virgins. That still holds true for the historicals. Makes sense considering the primitive birth control back then. When I was younger, I liked this. I could relate. But as I got older, it became more of a nuisance in the contemporary books. My oldest daughter also mentioned how it wasn't realistic too.

Now don't misunderstand me. There's nothing wrong with a girl waiting until marriage, but with the cheap and readily available birth control, few do. I'm just tired of reading about thirty year olds who are beautiful and still virgins. It's a myth that beautiful women stay home waiting for the phone to ring, especially nowadays. Instead, they go out and find someone to love or at the least have a good time with.

Well, in my contemporary books, only one heroine is a virgin. She'd made a conscious decision to stay a virgin until the man (vampire) she was in love with married her. I have a tendency to write my heroines as rather loose. LOL! Maybe I enjoy the thought of a woman testing the waters like men are known to do and when she finds the right one, no other man will do.

Of course, all of this (like the whole blog) is just my opinion.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Miami Vice

Every Friday night in the 80's, you could find me in front of the TV watching Miami Vice. It changed how they filmed crime drama. The music. The clothes. The cars. And oh, my the men. Thank you for Don Johnson.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Pay Back

No. This isn't the Mel Gibson movie I love to watch. Though I don't care for the man's personal business, and it is his personal business, I really enjoy his old movie PAYBACK.

This is about karma. I firmly believe you reap what you sow. If you do evil things, they will come back on you double or more. And of course, if you do good, the same will come back double or even triple.

Now, I know I'm not perfect. Sometimes I let things and people get to me. Thankfully I don't act like a fool and show my rear-end. I hold it in and ask questions. A lot of times you find out people just mess up. I know I do.

But most of the time I'm kind, considerate, and patient. I have to tell you. My patience is about to wear out. I'm ready for some of that good karma I've been throwing at others to sprinkle on me. Sprinkle? Hell, I want it to downpour!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

And The Moral Of The Story Is?

I love writing books that have a moral to the story. Thought I don’t intentionally plan to write the book that way. Yet I find myself looking at the book after I finish writing and realizing I’ve done it again. Most of my books have something to do with family. Usually that part narrows down to you look after family no matter the cost or endure your family’s faults because they’re the only one you have. But those aren’t the morals I’m talking about of course.

For example in the PREACHER’S SON, now titled PROTECTING MARY, the moral of the story is don’t base your opinion on hearsay as appearances can be misleading. Or like a old cliché, don’t judge a book by its cover.

In a SHERIFF TO CALL HER OWN, the moral is breaking the law won’t help you find justice. Or the cliché for it is two wrongs don’t make a right.

I could keep on but you get the idea. Of course, every book I write has an overall moral. Love conquers all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's Free!

Whenever I see or hear the words, IT'S FREE! Or BUY ONE AND GET ONE FREE! I'm all over it. Of course, if it isn't something I can't use or no one I know can use, I won't get it, but most likely I'll try it. My grocery store has those type of sales all the time and I love it. It especially comes in handy with me having a college student. She gets the second one. :-)

I ran a little contest over at Romance Magicians and I was surprised how few of the chapter members commented. I can tell you if someone in the four chapters I'm part of said they were giving away gift certificates, I would be all over it, trying to win one. LOL! Oh, well, live and learn.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Be Sure To Check It Out

Hey, some of the Southern Magic authors are giving away books and gift cards to Books-a-Million. Of course, I'm helping. Come over to Romance Magicians' blog!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

How To Goof Off The Right Way

Boy, oh boy, I’ve been a goof off lately. Very little writing. Like only twenty something pages in one month. That’s extra slow for me. The reason is that I’m reading. I believe deep inside I needed the break. A bit of feeding the creative juices too. So far I’ve read eight or is it nine of Susan Elizabeth Phillips’s books in the last two months. I enjoyed some of them more than others, but all were well written. Even with the revised GLITTER BABY, I could tell it was an older book. Her style now is tighter (storyline in particular) with more romance. The way I like it.

Next I’ll read Kresley Cole’s newest one PLEASURE OF A DARK PRINCE. After that will be Christy Reece’s NO CHANCE. And then I’ll return back for more of Susan’s books. A little break from SEP’s with other wonderful authors is the way to do it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Being Vision Impaired

Do you ever feel like you’re vision impaired when it comes to your writing? I do. I feel like I’m looking through a View-Master. You know the binocular type toy so popular when I was a kid.

Though everything in front of me looks beautiful and three dimensional, I can't keep in my mind what happened in the last reel (chapter). It bothers me. So in the book's "History" file, I write a brief synopsis of each chapter as I'm writing them. Any plot points I need to solve or clarify in future chapters are set in bold print. Any special quirks are set in red. Like dimples, tattoos, cracks knuckles when nervous, etc. This way if anything interrupts the story (life does get in the way), I can read the little synopses and not have to read the whole book to get back in the swing of things.

I love lots and lots of notes. One of the drawbacks of being ADHD.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Alice In Wonderland

I've watched several movie verisons of Alice In Wonderland and the only one I've ever liked was the Disney TV verison. What really strikes me about the newest verison is the advertisements. I have yet seen Alice in the advertisement for more then two seconds. It's all Johnny Depp. I like the actor but for goodness sakes, the movie isn't called The Mad Hatter.