Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday - A New Beginning

Ah, Sunday. A new beginning!! And it was a great day. Good weather, good writing and a no win/no loss trip to the casino!

Started the day by moving 'Lita' along. I like it!

Then worked on cleaning up 'Abby'. Really cutting the words out. Toooo many 'ly' words. I guess those 250 word exercises at the Lake Havasu City Writer's Group really did help me to sharpen up my writing. Makes the story more punchy. And, I'm really liking the characters more and more! Sometimes, I sit back, after a good run of words and ask myself, 'Did I write that?'

Then I reread Dave's 'Drift'. Very graphic segment. Filled with people I don't particulary like or care about. But, that doesn't take away from the authenticity of the dialog or his writing. We meet tomorrow to exchange feedback. He called today to apologize for not coming to Denny's on Saturday. I told him we all missed him. His excuse, he forgot. He was so busy sprucing up 'Tude' to get it ready to send to agents/publishers that he just forgot. I can understand. I have been consumed with 'Abby' lately.

Then, I managed to do a crit for DeskDrawer, Flasher's Dozen and FlashXer. Felt good. Now if I could only find the time to write a story for those groups. Oh well, maybe tomorrow!

Went to the casino across the way for a couple hours. Fun! Met some nice ladies and was able to talk a little about Spring Frenzy which provided me with the opportunity to talk about my books. Marketing, marketing, marketing. But, in this case it was fun.

Busy day tomorrow. I'm off to Sleepyville.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Metaphor vs Simile

Lovely writing day! Started out by putting the final touches on my assignment for my LHCWG meeting today. The assignment was to write a 250 word story around the opening line, 'Nick had considered himself a lucky guy, until now'. I think it came out great at 249 words. I'll know whether it worked or not at the next meeting when I get the crits.

Then, more work on getting 'Abby' ready to send to publishers/agents. I'm having such a good time with it. I forgot how much I like the characters. It's almost like going to a family reunion and hearing about everyone's escapades.

Then it was off to the LHCWG meeting. The business part got bogged down a couple of times, but all in all it went quickly and we got to the crits. The feedback on 'Brothers' was positive, except for some dialog questions. Got into a real discussion over a piece turned in by Grace. She was working on metaphors. I thought it was an interesting exercise on her part. She mixed metaphors and similes, so we discussed the difference. I guess the difference is the use of the word 'like'. For instance, 'She's as mad as a wet hen' is a metaphor. 'She fumed like a wet hen' is a simile. More simply - a simile states that A is like B - a metaphor states that A is B or substitutes B for A.

Then it was off to Denny's. Lois, Vivien, Anne, Margaret and Jo. Small crowd today, but it was interesting. We got to talking about our past love lives. Got a little racy at times, but all in good fun. Then we got to talking about family dynamics and how different families interact. I felt good about me and my five siblings. We're very different, but our core value system is pretty constant - family first. We can argue and disagree, but it never lasts.

Then home to work on 'Lita'. I'm going to have quite a few pages for Dave when we meet on Monday. Still don't know if the current episode is pertinent to the story, but I really like it. I'd hate to cut it.

Then I watched 'Unfaithful' with Gere and Lane. Edgy picture. I've heard that 'Love makes the world go 'round.', but sometimes love 'stops the world'!

Last night we went to a new restaurant in town, 'Mario's'. Their eggplant parmigian is soooo gooood. Also, made reservations to go to the Riverside Casino on 3/8 to see 'Riders in the Sky'. They offer locals in the area two tickets for the price of one, so Betty & Jerry got two and I got two for Patti and me. Looking forward to it!

Well, it's back to 'Abby', so 'So Long Pardner! See ya tomorrow!'

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Updating Abby

GREAT writing day. Moved 'Lita' along and had a hard time stopping after a half hour or so, but there were other things I wanted to get done.

I wanted to get something submitted. I found an agent that requires the entire manuscript as a single file. My 'Abby' is broken down into 11 separate files. So, I decided to bite the bullet and bring all of 'Abby' into one document and reformat it to all single space, left justification. It took all afternoon and evening to get that done and do a line by line edit using some of the crits I've gotten on it over the years. I'm having a ball with it. Love Abby and the gang so it's fun to play with them.

Other than that, I workded three hours at Republican Headquarters. It's still early so I'm going back to 'Abby'. Slan leat!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Forward Story Movement & Submission!!

Started the writing part of my day late, early afternoon as a matter of fact. But, I did move 'Lita' along and I've thought of a way to make this scene featuring Patrick as part of the core story. Hope it works out.

Laughter Loaf Ezine has a new design up at their website with a statement that they will be publishing again, soon. They are going to use my 'National Save the Quill Day' in their next issue. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Got a short story 'The Robbery' sent off to a place called River Walk Journal. They have on-line submissions, but I don't understand how it words to put the story in a tiny square. I did the browse, found my story and did an insert. When you read it, it just shows the title. I'll just have to see what happens. I do like that story and it would be a hoot to see it published!

Also, took a folder over to MCC to their Leisure Studies Director with a cover letter and sample of handouts for workshops that I would be willing to do for them. It would be nice to get some speaking gigs to help market my books.

The reason why I was so late with the writing today was I was enjoying (?) my bi-yearly, fun-filled, time having a mammogram! Yikes, it never gets easier. Then went to the County Assessors office to apply for widow's reduction (I got it) of my property taxes. Should make a big financial difference. Tomorrow I man the Republican Headqtrs Office for a few hours, then have on-line Pioneer Membership Training. Now, that I could do without! Wind is blowing ike mad, so think I'll go curl up in bed. 'til tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hannah, An Ebook!

Just a little in the way of writing today. Moved 'Lita' along with an episode about Jim's son. Is it pertinent to the overall novel? Not sure, but it stayed in line with character development of the Farrell clan and made for an interesting scene. Will I pull it when the novel is finished because it adds nothing to the story? Maybe. At least it was writing and it was fun.

Then, I received a request from an on-line friend to crit an essay she has written that she wants to submit to an Irma Bombeck competition. It was a great use of all the senses. I was honored that Joan thinks my crit would be of help, so I gave it my best shot. I'm not good at critting grammar or POV, I just know what sounds good. I hope I helped her.

Got an email from Virtual Tales today with my royalty statement. They only write checks when your royalty amounts to a certain amount and I missed it by three dollars! So, maybe I'll make the magic check writing mark next quarter. One can only hope. Oh, the editor said he is giving 'Hannah' a final once over, then within a short time, it will be available as an ebook! Yahoo! I'll try again to send info out to potential readers. I'm just glad they are keeping the story up on their site. I have a feeling that it will be 'discovered'; Hannah' is a good story.

Saw a Blues Brother's movie today. In all honesty, I thought I'd dislike it, but found it was pretty good. Don't care for Belushi or Ackroyd, but they did a good job and were not as vulgar as I normally find them to be.

Then it was off to another night of losing bingo. What gives?? Busy day tomorrow so will keep this short. Slan leat, for now!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Writing, Reading, Listening Report

Good writing day!! Moved 'Lita' along with a plausable set-up/hook for the 'on-the-road' section of the novel. I worry about too many characters, but that's what I have to work with amid the Farrell family.

I've been forgetting to mention the book club on Saturday when we discussed the books of Agatha Christie. It was one of our more lively discussions. There were some who adored her work, then there were those of us who didn't much care for her. I felt cheated in the book I read. The killer was a fat, old judge. During the story, this old, doddering, fat man 'managed' to physically kill men and women half his age and size. Among the far-fetching scenarios was how he managed to drop a large marble slab from a second story window onto a former policeman. He also faked his death by putting paint on his forehead, like a gun shot wound, then folks carried his huge body upstairs and put him in bed. I guess the folks weren't too bright because they failed to notice it was paint, not blood, and I guess he managed to hold his breath for the laborious trip being carried from the parlor up a flight of stairs and deposited in his bed. Puuullllleeeesssseeeee. The Christie afficianados said I should have seen the movie because it worked quite well. I guess it's like how a terrible ending Grisham book can be made into a good movie due to good script writers who know how to keep a character true to the character the writer developed, before dropping all the beautiful set-up and just 'ending' the book. I know a writer can change the character of a writer, but the writer must bring the reader along with hints of the change and not just have it happen on the last page. It would be like describing Santa, both in appearance and action, to be a kind, giving spirit, then on Christmas Eve, he decides the long ride in the sleigh gives him allergies, so he hops a plane to the Caribbean and no presents are delivered to the waiting children. Wouldn't work, just like finding out on the last page that the killer is the fat, old judge running around killing folks. My, my I did go on about this! Oh, JOan's treats of pastries and fruit sweetened up the reviews.

Then, tonight I went over to the Writer's Forum at the college. Sue gave a program on writing for children and getting it published. The biggest turn out was the writer's group, but there were some strangers there. She provided some well laid out informations sheets and the program rolled along in an easy to follow logical order. In fact, I found out that profanity and questionable behavior is now acceptable in young adult literature, say for high school level teens. I was surprised. I'll have to tell Dave that his 'Tude' will have a bigger audience by adding that group to any marketing plans.

The middle of the day was spent banking, going to the Republican Women's luncheon meeting, signing off at the DMV on my 5th wheel (I'll miss it) and getting some shopping done at Walgreens and Family $ store. Busy day, that left no time for submitting anything to publishers/agents. Tomorrow for sure!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

When to Write, When to Stop

Good writing day. I moved 'Lita' along. Good character expo in this episode. I had trouble making myself stop writing. But, I had errands to run. And, as I teach in my Short Story Writing workshop, a writer writes EVERYDAY. So, if I didn't stop and make myself do my errands, I'd probably have to add to tomorrow's list of things to do and I might not have time for my daily 'creative write'. I really thank that professor who gave me some hints about how to manage to write every day. She was a plethora of knowledge for me and instilled a committment to write in me so strong that I think I could give up food before writing. Well, maybe not spaghetti! :-)

Spent some time today with my Flasher's-Dozen writers group. Did two crits and sent off a new sub for the prompt 'pinch'. No feedback as yet.

Wrote my 2008 President's letter for my property owners assoc. My last one. HOORAY!! I sent it to my fellow board members for editing.

I finished my book 'The Black Hole' by Alan Dean Foster. For last third of the book, I could hardly put it down. The descriptions were brief but complete and the characters were so well defined that I loved/hated them intensely. I even loved the robots!! But the ending was a disappointment or at least very odd. Good loveable characters should be made to survive. Oh, he had them survive, sort of. But I wanted them to be saved in the traditional manner after all they'd been through. I liked it so much, I ordered the movie.

Watched 'Independence Day'. I always enjoy that movie. A little too testosterony, but still good.

Goodness, it's after midnight! Gotta run. Sleep tight.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Good Hooks-Good Conflict-?????? - Don't Cheat the Reader

Slow writing day. Moved 'Lita' along, in fact it sounds pretty good to me. Also, got feedback from Dave on the last few pages I gave him and he said they worked better for him than previous chapters. In fact he liked this one. He had some good suggestions to make, but nothing big. I was especially worried about the killing scene and how that would play as read by a cop. He said he found it believable. Yeah!

Had our Denny's night last night with Lois, JOan and Cindi. What fun to just chat and find out what's happening in our families, but the real fun part is when we begin our crits. JOan tried out a 'closing sentence' prompt from one of her oneline groups. It was good, but needed tighter closure. It was odd that I felt that both Lois' piece and JOan's need better closure. Their hook and conflics were sure to pull the reader along, but the endings left this read needed more info to be able to close the story out. I was surprised that there was no 'Planet Orb' from Lois and no 'Teri' from JOan. I'm really interested in both of those stories. I did get to read/crit the story by Cindi about the abused wife. Very powerful!! Of course, well written. I hope she can get it into print. Her attitude is so positive. I would think she'd make a good example because her attitude about the experience is respectbful; one can see the hurt and frustration after all this time, yet makes for a good example in how we compartmentalize both the good and the bad in our lives. Then when we need a story, we did into our cast of characters/situations and whallay! A story!

Got good news from the doctor today. ALL tests came back normal, actually better than normal, which prompted the doctor to say I get an A+ for the results. However, my throat still hurts, so he suggested an eye, ear, nose and throat specialist. I have to call him and make the appointment. also got my date for a mamogram. I'll be glad when the dr. appointments are over for another year.

Yvonne's son Joe is not doing well. She thinks he'll be dead within the month. I wanted to go over to see her and her son Gary who in town to say goodby to his brother, but I just can't make it happen. Besides, there are too many people there besides just Gary. I'm going to try for next weekend.

Then tomight we went to a Chinese buffet for dinner. Good! I'm beat! Almost falling asleep as I type, so I'm gone.........

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Spring Frenzy - Part 2

What a great day yesterday. Had almost 30 attendees at my Journaling workshop. Sold a few books, both 'After the Way, Before the Peace' and the 'Offerings from the Oasis'. It was a great bunch of folks. Very attentive and willing to share their experiences. I hope the nudges that the technique handouts I gave them give them the info they seek to better their journaling experience.

Moved 'Lita' along a lot! Those Farrells are really neat folk! I meet with Dave today, so I'll be interested to see what he says about how I killed off Villasenor. He has seen the real thing and I'm just conjuring it up. The experts say to write only what you know, but if that's so, why are writers blessed/cursed with such an active imagination!!

I've not been active on my on-line writing groups and that makes me upset with myself. I learn so much from them. I haven't even submitted anything this week! But, Spring Frenzy was very time consuming and very worthwhile, so I'll forgive myself.

Got my hair cut/colored yesterday. Love visiting with Liz. Her son is getting out of the army in the next few weeks. His heart is getting better.

Kim and kids are on their way to Missouri to visit Stacy. There goes my visit from them during fireworks week here in Havasu.

Busy day. Meet with Dave for our one-on-one crits and then on to Denny's for my crit session with Lois, JOan and Cindi. Fun-Learning-Fun!!! Ciao!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Spring Frenzy 2008

What a fun day!! This is the week our city's Parks & Rec. Dept. hosts a week of activities geared to the senior citizen to help them become aware of what things are available for life enrichment in Lake Havasu City. The activities range from exercise, to golf, to cooking, to dancing, to financial planning and some academics like Intro. to Spanish and writing workshops. I will be conducting workshops on 'Writing Short Stories' and 'Journaling'. Today was my Short Story session. Had almost 30 folks in attendance. Very attentive, eager to learn folks that ranged from curious to serious, from fiction to memoir. I gave them handouts to help with grammar and gave them my four favorite bits of advice - write every day, write for yourself (doesn't matter what your family/friends think about your work), join a crit group and know when to quit editing. Folks waited after the workshop to tell me how much they enjoyed it and I sold one of my novels and three LHCWG anthologies. Nice!!

Tomorrow I do the workshop on journaling. Hope it goes as well as the one today. There was a man at my workshop today who took the journaling workshop last year and has been a daily journalist this past year. How nice to hear. This year, I'll add the option of blogging to the types of journals one may keep.

Moved 'Lita' along. I'm liking it more and more. I really like the Farrells. Didn't get any subs sent out due the workshop prep, but I'll get to it this weekend.

Got a thank you from Susan for the answers to her questions. Hope it helped her. Hope it was what she was asking.

Talked with Jim and Hailey today. He's coming down to Laughlin in a week or so. Hailey and I have been talking to each other's answering machines, so it was nice to finally chat, although I was interrupting her from 'American Idol'! Went to bingo tonight. Not a win amonst the four of us!

Need my beauty sleep so I can be bright eyed for the workshop tomorrow, so goodnight for now ...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sharing Tips and The Power of Editing

As for writing today, good movement with 'Lita'. Hope it is as good as it felt when I read it tomorrow.

Then I finally answered Susan's emails about writer's block and stringing words together too closely. For writer's block, I suggested she try just doing a mental data dump with her thoughts. Don't worry about form, punctuation or even meaning. Then, after the work 'ages' an hour/day, go back and work with it. As to the stringing problem. The same advice holds true. I stressed with her the value/power of editing. To me, it is almost as important as the writing. Hope I made sense and that it is what she was looking for.

At our meeting yesterday a topic came up that brought a lot of discussion. One of the writers is telling a story, an intense story, and she is yet to put names to the man and woman involved. I felt that a name would bring me deeper into her story. But, listening to others, I learned that sometimes it works better without names. The reader isn't hampered by a mental picture of someone the writer knows with that name. I see both points of view on the subject. I'm still not convinced, but it does give me pause and I'll have to give it a try.

Worked on my workshops for Spring Fling, Journaling and Short Story Writing. I'm pretty much prepared. Just need a few more handout copies. One of the handouts is a copy of writing/editing techniques from an elementary school publication called 'The Arrow Writer's Handbook' from the Scholastic Book Club. It is written in basic form, yet covers the absolutes of writing like grammar/usage/style/spelling and more. One of the best 'how to' pieces I've run across. I'm excited about the workshop, but also nervous. I hope I can make it worth the attendees time! It would be nice to sell some books, too!

Had a nice lunch with the Pioneers today at Indigo Joe's, a local sports bar. Great food, good service and fun conversation. The place has 50! TV sets!!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Meeting Day - Denny's Day - Good, Good Day

Started the day with moving 'Lita' forward. Always feels good! Then it was off to the LHCWG and that is always a good day. Good writers, good people. I didn't have last meeting's subs because I was in Phoenix on the meeting day. They sounded good, quite varied in topic. They critted my 'Meet Bubba McCoy'. Some good ones with useful suggestions.

Marji handed out crit teqniques. I must have four or five various 'how to' formats. But, too much info is a heck of a lot better than too little, so it was nice of Marji to present them.

Cindi had some good news. She sent her mss out and got a request for several chapters from the publisher. Yahoo!!! It's a story of an abusive marriage. Sounds intense. Got my fingers crossed for her.

Then it was off to Denny's (Lois, Cindi, Margaret, Anne, Sherry and Evelyn). Lots of good talk about writing techniques, ideas and good old support. Oh, and some good movie reviews!

Tonight, I sent off 'Don't Let the Chini Get You' to a college anthology contest. Can't hurt, I guess.

Tomorrow is the Pioneer Sunday Social, so need to call it a night.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Query Sent - Great Start to February!

Let's see, what did I do in the way of writing today. Well, I moved 'Lita' along again. I'm about to end a scene with everything working out happily, so now I need to get the family in some kind of a predicament, again. This time it will have to be an episode as they travel to Wyoming. I checked for events in the northern area of Texas in the 1890s and most of the history focused on the railroads moving into the area. So, maybe a problem with railroads. Hummmm.

Also, sent out another query letter with a synopsis of 'Abby' to an agent in London. Also, have all the info to enter a contest at Crab Orchard Review. They've not found my work worthy of note in the past, but maybe this time!

Had my yearly blood work done today. Will find out the results next Friday. Met with the gal who volunteered to paint the walls around the pool at the clubhouse. She had the same type of gentle beach/wave idea that I was thinking of. It should look nice. Then out to dinner at Bad Miguel's with Donna and Hank.

Oh, I think I sold my 5th wheel. It will be sad to see it go, but they seem like nice folks who will take good care of it and enjoy time spent in it. So, don't need that picture of a truck that I've been asking folks to find for me. Tee Hee

So, another busy day tomorrow, but a Writer's Meeting Day, so all is right with the world. Adios!