Monthly Archives: January 2009

It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye

I’m still trying to organize my writing stuff. I’m determined to reduce my paper baggage. But I’m having a hard time letting go of stuff.

For my current wip, I have notebooks and hard copies from the three times I rewrote it, an encyclopedia of story and character notes, poorly written query letter attempts and diagrams of settings from scenes in the story. All this stuff is from the late nineties. I really don’t need them anymore because I’m totally reworking the plot and the characters have changed– a lot.

Still, I can’t bring myself to put the papers in the recycle box, especially not after I’ve gone through the pages. I may have to just put them in the recycle box without looking at them. But then I’m afraid I’ll be getting rid of a genius bit of dialogue or the filler for the gaping plot hole in my story.

Well, writing this post has helped me arrive at what to do with my writing stuff. I’m going to pack it all up in a plastic container and put the container in the garage. Good plan, right?

So how do you handle your old notes, discarded scenes and other stuff that doesn’t make it into your stories? Do you delete or throw away the wordage and not give it a second thought? Or are you like me and can’t let any of it go?

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Filed under Kimberly, writing

Thursday 13 sniffling sickos

13 things I have done to try and make myself and my kids feel better

13) Hot showers. Sounds simple but OMG they help my achy body. The kids have come to enjoy these too.

12) Hot tea with sugar. I give myself permission to admit I hate honey and just drink the tea, the sweeter the better. The boys like to dunk sugar cookies.

11) Nap.  I have napped and napped and napped. In bed and on the couch and in the chair. Even though my children are home, they are sick too so movies, pillows and blankets and tissues are the order of the day. Every one is falling asleep in weird places and that is okay. I woke up after a few minute nap yesterday to find my son was using my feet as a pillow.

10) Soup in mugs is good stuff. Chicken noodle, tomato, veggie beef, minestrone, whatever. Crackers are fine and cinnamon toast is an anytime food.

9) Movies. Lots and lots of movies. Most kid oriented but some for me just because. Anything to keep me from moving off the couch. Microwave popcorn does not upset tummies.

8 ) Pajamas. I don’t think a single member of my family (hubby not included) has had day time clothes on in nearly a week. It just feels better to sit and be miserable in PJs than in clothes.

7) Might as well embrace the glorious scent of Vick’s Greasless Vapor Rub. It lingers.

6) Simple comfort foods. Mac and cheese, grilled cheese, mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Soft stuff.

5) I will have a pile of laundry to do in a few days but it can wait for now.

4) It is okay to NOT write or read. I have been doing edits but slowly and dragging them out just because I can. My head hurts too bad to concentrate too much.

3) Instant pudding is God’s gift to sick mothers with sick children. Strawberry cream, Oreo cookies and Cheesecake flavors. They feel special, I accomplish the task in less than 5 minutes.

2) Cough drops actually don’t taste THAT bad.  Or maybe I simply have no more working taste buds.

1) If it has to be icy, I’d rather stay in anyway, under a blanket, with my kids and giggle our snotty way through the Princess Bride than do our daily grind. The family that’s sick together, sticks together.

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Filed under Inez, misc., rambling

Emotional Discipline

I’m feeling a bit under the weather this morning, so I’m going to give you a reprint of an article I wrote a while back and posted in the “Articles” section of my blog.

I hope you find something interesting in my musings on “Emotional Discipline”…

~~~

A recent newsletter from Jessica Page Morrell included her musings on the subject of emotional intelligence. I began reading expecting it to be about the logic of my character arc. It wasn’t. It was about me–and every other writer out there. Jessica was discussing the ability to do what needs to be done despite how I feel at the moment. Can I be depressed, feeling miserably misunderstood and undervalued, and still put my butt in my chair, get my eyes on the screen and put fingers to keyboard and write? Can I channel those self-destructive energies into character conflict instead of into tearing my own ego to shreds?

A very interesting, thought-provoking read, especially coming on the heels of a short motivational piece by Ralph Marston about how my time use highlights what it is that I really want, as opposed to what I say I want.

I want to be a full-time, published writer. If that’s truly what I want, then my choices, what I do with my time on a daily basis, will reflect that desire. If I allow my emotions to get between me and my keyboard, I’m shooting my dreams in the foot. So emotional intelligence becomes an issue that I need to be aware of. And it’s not that I shouldn’t honor my emotions and acknowledge my feelings, it’s that I then need to channel them into my writing instead of allowing them to deflect me away from my work.

I think a better term is emotional discipline. Intelligence works as far as informing me that the potential roadblock exits, but it’s discipline that will get me around (or more likely over!) that blockade.

Feeling like a fraud, like my writing sucks? Write a story or an essay.
Feeling depressed and miserable? Write a story …
Feeling angry and upset? Write a story and allow the characters to act on those emotions … and witness the carnage I’ve avoided in my real life.

But whatever emotion I’m experiencing, I need to learn to deal with it, soothe it, put it away with honor, and get my butt in my chair and my hands on my keyboard.

Why? Because I want to be a full-time, published writer and my time use needs to reflect that desire.

~~~

And now, having re-read my own article, I will get back to my work-in-process…stuffy head and all!

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Have I Got a Line For You

So it’s been an interesting experience.  I’ve been participating in the first line contest of over at Karin Tabke’s blog.  I’ve done alright,  it’s round six now.  But I’ve learned an interesting and valuable lesson participating.

Usually I think more about the overall feeling of the first few paragraphs.  Sometimes I use throwaway lines.  They create a feeling in the overall read but they aren’t individually of profound importance.  Having to look at every word to stay in the contest has made me consider every word at the beginning of everything I’m writing.

I got a request from one of those agents last week and for the first time I read my first page with an eye critical to each individual sentence rather than the feeling as a whole.  It was an eye opening experience.  I had Bria Quinlan look over every sentence with me and doing it made my first page considerably stronger, just by evaluating the importance of each sentence.

I couldn’t write an entire novel that way (though Bria probably could, I mean, come on.) But I can certain pay special attention to the first few pages.  Editing for absolute impact rather than ambiance.

Has anyone ever done this before?  Thought hard about what it would look like and say if each sentence was the only sentence people could see?  It’s very interesting.  You should try it and see what it tells you about your writing.

AJ

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Filed under AJ, misc., writing

When The Threads Break

As a reader, I’m willing to believe just about anything.  But there are some things I have a hard time believing because it doesn’t make sense to me.  Or the situation doesn’t seem plausible.

Like in Van Helsing.  Kate Beckinsale’s character is a butt kicking, weapon wielding demon/monster huntress.  She comes off as fearless and a fighter to the end.  But in this one scene, when she’s face to face with some vampires, her kick buttness disappears– POOF!  And she’s about to get bitten.  I was like, Huh?     But being There’s A Reason For Everything Kim, I said, vampires must paralyze their victims before biting them so they don’t move.  I could buy that so I kept on with the movie.

Then something happened that I couldn’t justify and a few of the threads suspending my belief snapped.  Kate Beckinsale’s character and Hugh Jackman’s fall through the earth.  Not to the center, but a couple stories.  I’m expecting bumps, bruises and dirt covered bodies.   I get those.   And Kate’s hair looking like she just got out of the beautician’s chair.  Her curls were untouched.   Perfect.   I couldn’t justify that.  So for the rest of the movie, I was in a state of half belief.

So what snaps the threads suspending your belief?    Do you keep reading/watching if you can’t  believe anymore?

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Filed under Kimberly, movies

Coffee with your characters: a reunion

So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night,
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, adieu,
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu.

Saying goodby is hard. I have said this before, I hate to leave my MCs. I do. I come to love them too much to dust off my hands and yell NEXT!

2009 is the Year of rewrite/revise and finish for me. So I get to visit with all my MC’s again. It is like a giant sit down with Coffee and cake.

***insert reunion sequence***

Livvy brings out a tray overflowing with sugary sweets, fresh from her bakery. Rich yeasty goodness fills the air and everyone inhales deeply. Laura starts asking about recipes and Carly whips out a steno pad to record every word, terrified she will miss a quarter teaspoon of something. The pen slips and jams into her thumb, leaving a big blue streak surrounded by red. Coe comes over, examines it and promises she’ll live. He goes back to his discussion with Alex on microsurgery techniques. They are basically speaking their own language and Jesse walks away with a grimace. Who in their right mind would sit around and discuss things like perforated bowels?

>
Charlie looks on with a bored eye, sips her coffee and sneaks the éclair off Coe’s plate. He won’t care. Jinx and Taric try to tempt Jesse into pouring salt in Michael’s coffee cup when he’s not looking but Frannie puts the kibosh on that with one firm look. Taric escapes with a grin as she barrels over to her chagrined husband. She plops baby Lauren Rebecca in Jinx’ lap and tells him to behave. He arches his left eyebrow and tells her he’s better when he’s bad but ends up blowing raspberries on Lauren’s tummy.
>Myla cants her head to the left before approaching Rhys. His sword fascinates her and she grabs Taric’s for comparison. The newly crowned king just shakes his head with an indulgent smile. A detailed discussion on weaponry draws the gentle giant from his shell. She barely reaches his sternum but he is enthralled with Myla’s knowledge and listens intently. He avoids John at all cost, finds his vocabulary offensive and crude. John simply thinks Rhys is one huge mofo he wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. But a longer look reminds him of Andros and he borrows Carly’s note pad. He is lost to the pen’s scratch as a new tale forms in his head. Livvy fingers his hair, automatically refilling his coffee cup.
>Willa removes a squirming Lauren from her father’s lap and puts her on the blanket with Elaina Hope and Christopher Thomas. The babies drool and coo and Willa delights in each tiny giggle. Her rounding belly makes getting down a lot easier than getting up so she stays on the blanket surrounded by diapers, happy as a meadowlark while Jesse snaps picture after picture, capturing the best shot before the sun goes down. He catches Christopher’s first wobbly crawl on film. Michael watches with a soft gleam in his eye, imaging things to come but he does not refuse a second helping of Triple Orgasmic Caramel Bliss.

>

The dessert name sparks Charlie’s interest, of course. She starts outlining a show topic, sweet and sexy foodplay and grills Livvy like a burger about the top rack of delights in her shop. Something she says penetrates John’s haze. He winks at Livvy and she blushes to the root of her ginger hair. Charlie’s laugh rings across the deck and Coe looks up, plucked from medical jargon in time to see her smile.

>

The look may have lingered if Carly hadn’t tripped over a duck-shaped rattle. She went sprawling, knocking the table leg, upsetting the coffee carafe. Dark steaming liquid darkened the note pad and John cursed as his story faded to smudged blue and brown.
>

The loud masculine voice startled sleeping Batu and his cry sets off a domino effect. Four weeping children of various ages are shushed and soothed while Laura efficiently cleans up the mess. Michael leans to whisper in Alex’ ear and he nods.
>“Babe, it’s time to go. We’ve got a drive in front of us.” Laura sighs but dries her hands on a paper towel.
>“Pictures first.” Jesse calls setting up the timer. “Who knows the next time she’s going to have us all on the same page.”

>
The group draws together. The children on the blanket are the focal points and Willa never rises, her sparkling gray eyes always watching the babies. A scowl crosses Rhys’ face until she looks back to him. Then and only then does he grin a small bit. John grumbles but stands with his chin propped on Livvy’s crown, arms around her waist. Taric pulls Myla beside him, promising she can speak to the blacksmith about Rhys’ hilt design when she gets home. For now, she is to just look straight ahead and smile.

>

Charlie peeks around Coe’s shoulder, her hands buried in his front pockets. A whispered warning ignites a glimmer in her eyes and she shifts her thumbs. His jaw drops and a blush darkens his cheeks. Carly waits until Jesse sits in the deck chair before crawling in his lap, careful to put her weight on his right knee. She knocks him in the chin with her elbow but he is used to it by now and just sighs. Jinx holds two fingers up behind Michael’s head until Frannie elbows him in the gut. His soft oomph! makes Alex snicker and Laura turns in Michael’s arms to throw him a questioning look. Alex just takes her hand with a gentle squeeze.

>

snap* The camera clicks and everyone packs up, kisses and hugs are handed out and waves are sent.

>

They were all born in the same place, a writer’s mind. All have taken different paths but still, visiting with old friends is always bittersweet.

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Filed under bizarre analogies, Humor, Inez, rambling, writing

Online Marketing Class

In keeping with Emily’s post, I thought I’d share information about a class I just signed up for…

****PERMISSION TO FORWARD GRANTED AND ENCOURAGED****

ONLINE MARKETING TIPS & TRICKS

INSTRUCTORS: Mandy Roth and Michelle Pillow

COST: $15 for NEORWA members/$20 for nonmembers.
Registration information can be found at http://www.neorwa.com

WHEN: Feb 2 to Feb 13 (6 lessons posted over two weeks)

WORKSHOP:
Marketing on a Budget is a very real possibility especially if you know how to go about doing it. With today’s technology and the internet, it’s easier than ever to promote yourself and your book at a great price. With a little work on your end, you can spread the word.

To prove that we’re all about helping authors, anyone who registers for this workshop will receive a static cover ad spot on the Raven for one month (dates assigned by owners). That right there means the class has paid for itself.

Topics covered in this workshop:
Websites: Their importance, if you need one or not and ways to get one for a low cost.
Newsletters and personal author group: Establishing a place where your readers can be informed of new releases and coming soon material.
Online banner and cover ads: How to make your own to help cut cost.
Print promotions: Bookmarks, business cards and misc bulk material.
Blogs and blog touring: Getting started, interview tips and suggestions.
Social Networking sites: Myspace, facebook, etc.
Making a book video: Easy step by step guide.
Press Kit: What to assemble and how to make it assessable.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS:
Award winning authors and promotional goddesses Mandy M Roth and Michelle M Pillow combined have over twenty five years experience in the world of marketing and know what it takes to promote a book. They’ve been published by several publishing houses including Random House, Pocket Books and Ellora’s Cave. Their Raven Radio show has been
mentioned in Romantic Times Magazine!

~~~

So there you have it! Anyone feel like joining me for a crash course on Internet marketing?

Enjoy your week!

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