Thursday, August 31, 2006

Guided Daydreaming: 5 tools to jumpstart the muse

You’re not writing… but you could be. That is, if you could just get past that blinking cursor or all the lines crowding up a blank page. You could stare at the walls. Sometimes out of sheer boredom you’ll start to write. But usually it is best to walk away and reset your writer’s mind.

Stop being frustrated. Step away from the desk. Fill your brain with something else. The writing mind works best when avidly interested. Challenge your mind and the muse will hunt you down. If you are so blank there isn’t even an idea brewing in your subconscious, try these tips for guided daydreaming.

  1. Read outside your comfort zone. Politics, horror, the business section of the newspaper – it doesn’t matter what you read, just that you are looking at it with fresh eyes. Note the tone, study the prose. Learn something, even if it is what not to do.
  2. Sensualize. Take a deep breath through your nose, then another through your mouth. Smell and taste the world around you. Listen closely. Experiencing the depth of the world beyond sight and touch, the writers’ crutch, will enlighten your writing and your life.
  3. Eavesdrop. Do it to be nosy and lift a story idea, or be professional and study the cadence of the conversation. Uncomfortable with spying? A radio call-in-show can have the same effect.
  4. What’s her story? Look a little deeper at the strangers around you. Imagine what they go home to, why the woman in the supermarket express line is scowling at the eleven items in your cart. Why does it matter to her?
  5. Why? Think like a three year old, but solve your own mystery. Why is the sky blue? Why do airplanes stay in the air? Why has no one invented a sunscreen and bug repellant combo? Learn something new. There’s a story there.

These exercises stretch your mind, helping you to tune into the ideas bouncing around your brain. You may not use what you learn all at once, but it will reflect in your writing at some point. Keep stretching your mind. You never know when the muse will kick you in the butt.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Whatcha workin' on?

I know the world is still in summer vacay mde (it can't be just me), so not alot is actually getting done. Except planning. Some of you may even be game for the 3-Day novel challeneg and plan to draft a book over the 3-day weekend. I'm going to try that, someday. Once the Labor Day weekend is past us...what are your plans for the fall?

  • Finish the draft of The Cinderella Complex, the secret book I'm writing while waiting to hear back from my editor.
  • Get the balls to ask my editor which synopsis & syno style she liked. I sent 4 stories, 4 different styles.
  • I'm attending my first writing conference in Seattle!
  • Draft whatever story the editor liked best
  • Set up question rooms at eHarlequin & Romance Divas for NaNoWriMo.
  • Come up with an idea for NaNo...or borrow one of the 4 ideas from my editor
  • Enter the HQ American 1st chapter contest.
  • Enter Hook, Line & Sinker contest (1st 3 pages)
  • NaNoWriMo!!
  • Enter Just One Spark & Cooking Up A Storm in RITA
  • Enter Gotcha! Contest

This looks like a lot - here's hoping I make a sale and can throw all this out the window!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


We had the BEST anniversary dinner. We thought we should do fancy - you know, the composed salads where you get two bites for twelve dollars, but...we left that restaurant. Yep, up and left. And went next door. To Typhoon!

The exclamation point is in the name for a reason, and the food was THE BEST. Don't you love when something exceeds your expectations and makes so so blissfully happy? You know, restaurants, jet boat rides, 12 years of marriage. What a great time.

The hotel room had "conservatory windows overhead allow for stargazing from the comfort of your bed. "
Tomorrow it's back to work...

Monday, August 28, 2006

She's Got Legs! - Amanda Brice

I know this is a HUGE cover...but check out the shoes on my friend Amanda's cover! I vote she has to mock up some of those shoes for the next conference so we'll all know...that's the She's Got Legs author. Be careful what you write...

For me, it's always clothes, shoes, and recipes I want to copy from stories...should I do a recipe companion for Cooking Up A Storm? What about the waffles in Just One Spark?
Amanda's Blurb: Daria Wyatt didn't want to go to her high school reunion. Although she'd had a more fabulous life in the past fifteen years than, oh, ninety percent of her class, she knew seeing those girls in person wouldn't exactly do wonders for her self-esteem. If only her younger sister Kara hadn't insisted that she go. Backed into a corner, Daria borrows Kara's high heels in an effort to give her more spunk. But in her rush to get out the door, she picks up the wrong pair, a butt-ugly purple platform creation with green sequins...

Publisher: Freya's Bower (Electronic: Bites, Chick Lit)

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Anniversary Time!

Yesterday my m-i-l picked up the boys and took them to little boy heaven, otherwise known as Grandma's house complete with Grandpa's horses. They don't even miss me. Ah, well. I guess I'll have to wait until they go off to college for them to miss me. Thank goodness I have 13 years to prepare myself for that!

Our anniversary weekend began with a wine blending class - with a cabernet I named Stink Wine. Truly, PEW!

Today was a jetboat tour! We were still soaked hours later.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I love books...HUGE shock, I know, so it's no surprise Fiona Lowe tagged me with this one:
1. One book that changed my life:
Great Exectations. I read that book early, and often. Every time the take away changes for me. As a kid it was that fairy godparents are a rather scary idea, then it was that being given too much makes you work less hard, and once...I'm ashamed to say, it almost came to blows when an English professor dared suggest Pip doesn't get the girl in the end. I can turn nearly any book into a romance.
2. One book that I have read more than once: Bible. I'm not getting preachy. I've read it more than any other book. Read it as a kid (twice) then was a Religious Studies read it in many, many forms.
3. One book I would want on a deserted island: One book is a nightmare to me. Can I have notebooks instead & I'll just write my own?
4. One book that made me laugh: I always read stuff that makes me laugh...Emma does it for me, even now that I've been through it a dozen times.
5. One book that made me cry: The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy - so many peole to weep for in that one. I avoid books that make me cry.
6. One book I wish I'd written: anything on a best seller list, or with a 'nice deal' contract, but lately I wish I'd written Crusie & Mayers Don't Look Down. My husband would LOVE if I'd written that book. My brothers too.
7. One book I wish had never been written: Careful. I'm one of those free speech freaks. Write what you want...just don't put it in my kid's library.
8. One book I am currently reading: One? You don't know me very well, do you? Sarah Bliston's Bed Rest (MP3 player), Jeanne Ray's Julie & Romeo Get Lucky (CD in car), Kimberly Llewellyn's Tulle Little Tulle Late (diaper bag) and Jane Porter's The Secretary's Seduction(bedside table).
9. One book I have been meaning to read: The DaVinci Code. 'nuf said
10. Who's next?:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

I am a dirty girl, and not in the fun way...

How do you learn how to be a housekeeper? Not like Alice on the Brady Bunch, but keeping your floors clean. Both my parents lack the neatness gene, and my husband is the spawn of a neatnik, so he never learned how to clean because everything just was clean.

I'm a piler. I bought bookshelves to get stuff off the floor in my bedroom/office...and it's on the floor again because I don't want to clutter up the shelves. Duh - what?

And the dining room table...there is always a corner that is piled with mail, magazines, calendars, notes, get the ugly, ugly picture.

If the lovely editor lets me write EVERYBODY LOVES RACHEL, I'm going to work this out a bit. Rachel is a slob, like me. She was raised in a world filled with boys and never learned how or when to clean grout. Not to mention why.

Writing is cathartic for me. JUST ONE SPARK helped me work out my retail angst. I had some left...FOR KICKS got the rest.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Do NOT wake my kids! I'm working, people!

The landscaping crew set off my neighbors car alarm and work my kids from their naps. I've discussed the logic of their returning to naptime bliss -- if Mommy can write and eventually sell enough books we'll have th emoney to take them on a fun try to Australia in the summer of 2008. Won't that be great? Um, yeah.

They know we're going because Uncle Chris will be graduating from medical school, and it has nothing to do with me and my 'work' as they call it. So, we're going, and I have until June of 2008 to make the money, so please no telemarketer calls during naps, or landscaping mishaps, or door-to-door salesjerks who can't read my 'no soliciting' sign. I'm working here, people!

Not playing on the internet. No, not me!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kids should come with an exhaustion antidote!

I've had energy issues lately, and yesterday I thought I was in my groove as my MIL, cousin & I marched three babes around the beach - feeding seals, picking up mole crabs, swinging (on the beach!), playing in the sand, flying kites, splashing in the freezing water, riding a carousel, playing arcade games, eating pizza and fries, and the necesary trip to the salt water taffy candy store where my kids bought - popcorn.

On the drive home...I crashed. Sweet Pete, I was tired. So tired sleep didn't help. I took a nap today!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Scattered...and loving it!

I tried 3 different kinds of synopses for the 4 synos I blasted into cyber space and into the lovely editors inbox. I figured if I was going to write 4 synos in a weekend, I might as well make it a learning experience in the different types of synos, the kinds I like to write, and which kinds my editor responds best to. Thanks to Trish Wylie, Natasha Oakley, & Ally Blake for generously blogging their examples. I had fun with it.

Let's play what's where, shall we?

For Kicks (NaNo '05) - Rocky River Romance
Breaking His Rules - Rocky River PASH & Sourcebooks
Stripped, If You Say So, Par For The Course - homeless

Playing With Fire - synopsis
Only Fitting - synopsis
Just One Night - synopsis & 1st chapter
Everybody Loves Rachel - synopsis & 2 chapters
The Cinderella Complex

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Suckopsis .. Synopiss .. Editorial Torture Device

The lovely editor is determined to make me love them. Someday I will look back on this time of synopsis drugery and laugh, but now I am...OK so I am laughing. But I have a great sense of humor. This is crazy.

I did manage to write 2 synopses today for completely new story ideas. I love dreaming up new story ideas. This one is sexy, has two weepy moments that I can see so far, and will make me exercise for research. I can't lose with PLAYING WITH FIRE.

Then there's ONLY FITTING. This one has THE BEST opening I've ever thought up. Me. Of the washing machine opening. THE BEST. I've decided I'll post them when I get comments from the lovely editor, roll the whole thing like a learning exercise for us all.

Friday, August 18, 2006


A double rejection day. I tell ya, that smarts. Sometimes I feel like I am the only published author this happens to. Then I realize, no, I'm just one of the few who is open about it.

My lovely editor called this morning to let me know that the two books she was considering were not right for the line. I'm telling stories that are too light on the emotional angst. I'm not into books that make me cry, but I'm realizing both JUST ONE SPARK and COOKING UP A STORM have a choking up moment. I didn't have that in either of the two books I turned in. Not having that gut clenching scene made the resolution too easy, and my editor wants the characters to work harder.

She's offered to work with me through the next book. It's an exciing concept. I'm going to write up a handful of synopses, and we'll discuss the pros and cons of each one.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Reviewers Choice Awards

When: Friday, August 18th 2006
Where: CataNetwork Message Boards (
Why: to celebrate romance novels, specifically those being awarded a Reviewers Choice Award
What to wear: your most sparkling gown, pictures will be taken on the Pink Carpet and you'll want to look your best
Ceremony Hostess: Stacy Dawn
Enews Reporter (live from the Pink Carpet): Madison Chase
Extra: we're giving away prizes to those who participate and goodie bags to anyone who wants one
After Party: meet your fellow readers & favorite authors in the chatroom at 9pm EST for an After Party
Nominees have been announced. Visit this link to see who made the cut:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Want some CHOCOLATE!!!

I'll do anything for chocolate, but I doubt I'm eligible to win this one. I check my agent's blog every so often and found this post :
I want you to write 3 days of journal/diary entries for your character. I want to know what they did, what they thought and here about the events in their life. Don't try to fill this with action. I want to know what they did on a normal everyday or today.

You have until August 31st to complete them. Send the completed manuscript in RTF format to me at In the subject line write JOURNAL ENTRIES. 5 pages maximum, 12 pt. font double spaced.

The best entry that truthfully allows me to understand your character
inside and out will win a box of Godiva Chocolate.


So..if you want some chocolate, to know your characters better, and to earn the respect of a literary agent...enter this one. Really, even without the chocolate, you can't lose!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I'm coming to Australia!

Well, my books are at least! I am so geeked. Just One Spark will be there in January, and Cooking Up a Storm follows in April. Since they are Thanksgiving & Christmas books respectively, it makes me giggle, but they'll be there. My books. In the land of Oz.

Happy Day!

CataRomance Reviewers Choice Nominees have been announced...and JUST ONE SPARK made the cut! Put a smile on my face :D

In other husband bought me a new blender with a frappe setting. Truly, the man is perfect.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Forget Book-in-a-week

I failed my own book-in-a-week challenge. Not sure why. It just wasn't there for me. BUT, my brothers' wedding this weekend was lovely, and I got TONS of ideas for the wedding series I wanna do.

I did in fact look like an ovesized stop sign in my bright red bridesmaids dress. However, I still shimmied my way nearly out of said dress more than once. Ah, well. We're all family now.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Penguin's Best

For their 60th Anniversary, Penguin compiled a list of the BEST books in different categories. I love books, and I love lists! What fun.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest :: Ken Kesey
The Diary of a Madman :: Nikolai Gogol
Wide Sargasso Sea :: Jean Rhys
Crime and Punishment :: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Notes From Underground :: Fyodor Dostoyevsky

THE BEST SEX (I'll be looking these up!)
Story of the Eye :: Georges Bataille
A Spy in the House of Love :: Anaïs Nin
Lady Chatterley’s Lover :: D. H. Lawrence
Venus In Furs :: Leopold Von Sacher-Masoch
The Canterbury Tales :: Geoffrey Chaucer

The Brothers Karamazov :: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Heart of Darkness :: Joseph Conrad (I completely agree!)
Diamonds are Forever :: Ian Fleming
The Master and Margarita :: Mikhail Bulgakov
The Secret Agent :: Joseph Conrad

A Room with a View :: E. M. Forster
Wuthering Heights :: Emily Brontë
Don Juan :: Lord Byron
Love In A Cold Climate :: Nancy Mitford
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof :: Tennessee Williams

David Copperfield :: Charles Dickens
Middlemarch :: George Eliot
She :: H. Rider Haggard
The Fight :: Norman Mailer
No Easy Walk to Freedom :: Nelson Mandela

Of Mice and Men :: John Steinbeck
The Age of Innocence :: Edith Wharton
Notre-Dame De Paris :: Victor Hugo
Jude the Obscure :: Thomas Hardy
The Old Curiosity Shop :: Charles Dickens

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde :: Robert Louis Stevenson
Dracula :: Bram Stoker
Frankenstein :: Mary Shelley
The Castle of Otranto :: Horace Walpole
The Turn of the Screw :: Henry James (This one freaks me out!)

Vanity Fair :: William Makepeace Thackeray
Lolita :: Vladimir Nabokov
Baby Doll :: Tennessee Williams
Breakfast at Tiffany’s :: Truman Capote
Emma :: Jane Austen

On the Road :: Jack Kerouac
The Odyssey :: Homer
The Grapes of Wrath :: John Steinbeck

Three Men in a Boat :: Jerome K. Jerome
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland :: Lewis Carroll

The Great Gatsby :: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Vile Bodies :: Evelyn Waugh
The Picture of Dorian Gray :: Oscar Wilde (I love this story)
The Beautiful and Damned :: F. Scott Fitzgerald
Against Nature :: J. K. Huysmans

The Autobiography of Malcolm X :: Malcolm X
The Outsider :: Albert Camus
Animal Farm :: George Orwell
The Communist Manifesto :: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
Les Misérables :: Victor Hugo

The Time Machine :: H. G. Wells
The Man in the High Castle :: Philip K. Dick
The Invisible Man :: H. G. Wells
The Day of the Triffids :: John Wyndham
We :: Yevgeny Zamyatin

A Clockwork Orange :: Anthony Burgess
Hell’s Angels :: Hunter S. Thompson
A Tale of Two Cities :: Charles Dickens
Another Country :: James Baldwin
In Cold Blood :: Truman Capote

Junky :: William S. Burroughs
The Moonstone :: Wilkie Collins
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater :: Thomas De Quincey

The Subterraneans :: Jack Kerouac
Monsieur Monde Vanishes :: Georges Simenon

1984 :: George Orwell
The Monkey Wrench Gang :: Edward Abbey
The Prince :: Niccolo Machiavelli
Bound for Glory :: Woody Guthrie
Death of a Salesman :: Arthur Miller

Maigret and the Ghost :: Georges Simenon
The Woman in White :: Wilkie Collins
The Big Sleep :: Raymond Chandler
A Study in Scarlet :: Arthur Conan Doyle
The Thirty-Nine Steps :: John Buchan

Madame Bovary :: Gustave Flaubert
Thérèse Raquin :: Emile Zola
Les Liaisons dangereuses :: Choderlos de Laclos
The Scarlet Letter :: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Anna Karenina :: Leo Tolstoy

I, Claudius :: Robert Graves
Hangover Square :: Patrick Hamilton
The Beggar’s Opera :: John Gay
The Twelve Caesars :: Suetonius
Guys and Dolls :: Damon Runyon

Treasure Island :: Robert Louis Stevenson
The Iliad :: Homer

The Count Of Monte Cristo :: Alexandre Dumas
From Russia with Love :: Ian Fleming
War and Peace :: Leo Tolstoy

Cold Comfort Farm :: Stella Gibbons
The Diary of a Nobody :: George and Weedon Grossmith
The Pickwick Papers :: Charles Dickens
Scoop :: Evelyn Waugh
Lucky Jim :: Kingsley Amis

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Book in a week?

We'll see. The babes are going to stay with my folks...and I'll be back online when this book is done. Some writers call it going into the cave...I hope there aren't any bats?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Writing Action/Fight Scenes and Writing the Kick Sass Heroine

A Q & A With some of the Hottest Paranormal Authors in the Genre!!
August, the 5th, 6th and 7th in the Diva Classroom! Authors Attending:
Want to know how to write realistic fight and action scenes? Want to know what makes Mia, Eden, Kitty, Maya, Damali, Katie and Tru such KICK SASS heroines? All you have to do is ask. *Note: LA Banks will only be able to attend on Monday, August 7th!


I can't beleive I forgot to post this. Every year Romance Junkies - a website for romance readers - holds a first chapter contest for writers. Each week they put up new entries. First chapters are my favorite to write, so I like to enter this contest to see how I fare against all the other writers out there.

Everything is anonymous, so it's not a polularity contest. Just a fun way to see books in progress. Check it out!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

CataNetwork Readers Lounge

Guess what author is talking about what they're reading on the CataNetwork Readers Lounge? That would be me, chatting up fellow MXer Julie Cohen's Delicious.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Little Things

Little things can make a newbie author's day. Like finding your new book is available on pre-order from Amazon. Cooking Up A Storm doesn't have a cover yet...but it has an ISBN!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Avon Romance invites you to express your desires...

Avon books has just launched a new website for fans called FanLit ™. The site features an online-writing contest that allows fans and aspiring romance novelists to participate in the creation of a novella. Initially, visitors to the site will vote on the best story idea, based on several posted there. Contest participants will then write a three-page chapter based on the winning story idea. Visitors to the site will vote for their favorite chapter each week. The contest begins Aug. 23 and goes through Oct. 12.

You don't have to be a writer to join in the fun. Readers are a huge part of the process to select the best entries. The FanLit ™ writing contest will be guest-judged by bestselling Avon authors Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Cathy Maxwell, Teresa Medeiros and Victoria Alexander.Great weekly prizes will be awarded to the winners, including: a complete signed set of participating authors' Avon novels; inclusion in Avon's monthly advance galley mailing list for one year (which means you will get Avon books before they are on store shelves); a framed, limited-edition print of Stephanie Lauren's TO DISTRACTION cover signed by the author and artist; a free, one-year subscription to Romantic Times BOOKreviews magazine, and free registration and hotel accommodations to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Houston, Texas, April 25-29, 2007.

Other prizes include an exclusive trip to New York to meet with Avon staffers, a Fox Television Studios $5,000 development deal and much more. Go to for all the details.