Monday, January 30, 2012

Breaking the Door Down

Last night, as I was cleaning up before dinner, I realized that I hadn't heard any screaming, fighting, banging or any other typical boy noises for an extended period of time. It dawned on me that I hadn't seen any running with scissors, dropping of dog on face, or spilling of juice in a while either. Where was my little boy? I went looking for him, calling for him, and soon after screaming for him. I went in the toy room, outside, in the pantry...all his usual hangouts. He wasn't there! I started to get frantic. Then I went and got Mr. Humphries frantic. We both started looking.

The little guy's never in his room, so I wasn't expecting much when I grabbed the handle to look inside. But it was locked. It's never locked. He doesn't even know how to lock the door.

Yet, there it was. He must have locked himself in there. I banged and screamed for him to open the door. So did Mr. Humphries. 15 minutes later, we started to become unnerved that he wouldn't even respond. If he was sleeping, how was it possible that he could stay asleep through the house-shattering noise we were creating out there?

I started having visions of him lying unconscious on the floor, having choked on some candy he wasn't supposed to have...or worse. Finally, I told Mr. Humphries just to break the door down. I couldn't wait one second longer. So he did. He kicked the door right in half! And guess what? Little guy still didn't wake up! We had to grab him and shake him to make him respond at all. He was totally fine. Just tired. Just totally friggin' tired!

Lessons learned:
  • Get a key for those doors.
  • Cherish that little guy, even when he drives me insane and makes me buy new doors.
  • Make more scenes in my book like that. I've felt that kind of tension in reading good books. I felt it in the extreme last night, but that's what I am going for. Gripping desperation to know what is happening.
  • How to break a door down...

Have you experienced any extreme circumstances like this?

Friday, January 27, 2012

F it Friday

No, I don't mean that F word! (Man you guys have dirty minds ;).

I mean:

Forget what, you ask? I'll tell ya!

Did you have a crappy day this week? Did something stress you out? Did you get a bad bit of critique back on Monday? Get strep throat on Tuesday? A huge credit card bill from delayed Christmas purchases Wednesday? Find a large Christmas-sized dog poo hiding under the bed (for who knows how long-or how many more there might be) on Thursday?

So if any of that, or more unusual amounts of Fun stuff, happened to you this week...Forget it! It's Friday. All worries, disappointments, and stresses magically disappear on Fridays. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

May you all have a Fabulous weekend!

Just for Fun, what had you saying "F it" this week?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Creative Outlets

"Creative outlets are essential to a well-rounded and happy lifestyle. Lack of a creative outlet has been shown to trigger many psychological states such as depression, stress and apathy." Source

I think this is why I started writing. I felt all of the above to some degree: depressed, stressed and apathetic. Sure, I was married to the man of my dreams, had two beautiful kids, finally finished law school, and passed the bar. Shouldn't I have been ecstatic? Yes. I was. To a degree. But...something was missing. Then I started reading a lot. A couple of girls from work started an informal book club where we just swapped all the books we had. I devoured books like I previously devoured reruns of Law & Order (that all of the sudden seemed so unrealistic). Until it dawned on me: I can write. 

So I did. I wrote a book. It was a paranormal romance set in France. Early in the mornings and late at night when the family slept, I would sneak away to France on an adventure. It lit my world up. I found something I felt genuinely excited about. It filled up that missing space that I only sort of knew existed. 

It's been over three years and three books later, and I still love and appreciate what the world of writing does for me. For my spirit. For my mind. I could have chose painting, music, crafting, theater (I was a theater major undergrad)--all these things involve the art of creation. Yet, I chose writing. I still choose writing because it gives me a spark, a passion, a sense of creation I've never felt before. It makes me believe my little voice may actually be heard.

Why did you choose writing as your creative outlet? Or if writing is not your main outlet, what is?

Monday, January 23, 2012

You Are What You Write

We've all heard the saying, "You are what you eat." Right?

Well, I've also heard it said, "You are what you write."

At first, I thought, "Oh no. Do I really want to be a serial killer or something?" After careful thought and consideration, I have come to appreciate this saying. I have had a little moment of reflection, and asked myself, "Self, what are you really trying to say with this book?"

I didn't think I was trying to say anything. I created a story that meant something to me for sure, but I wasn't writing it to send a message to anyone. Yet, my story does say something about me. It says I went to law school because I wanted to make a difference, but often times feel I can't even make a dent. It says I believe in our country, our Constitution, our political system, but feel disgusted by its failures. It says despite the darkness we find all around us, I still hope for a better future.

So there's my little self analyzation. What does your book say about you?

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Do You Know When The Sucker's Done?

I have been revising my manuscript since November, or October...I can't remember which because revisions have killed several thousand brain cells. In any case, it's been over two months. Maybe closer to three. And here's the bad news: I know I'm not even close to being done! I have only allowed two people to read it. One read a few chapters and gave some awesome advice. The other read the whole effin' thing and gave a lot more of awesome advice. But I have plans to get it out to at least two more critique partners and a few Betas today. Here we go again!

So here's my question(s): How many crit partners should read your manuscript? How many betas? And how do you ever know when the sucker's done?

P.S. I know everyone is different--pro's don't need nearly as much revision time and/or critique partners while pre-published writers like me need a lot more. Everyone's journey is a little different. So, let's just talk about what works for you. Okay? Okay.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Paris, Baby!

 Last week, Mr. Humphries and I "redboxed" the movie "Midnight in Paris," starring Owen Wilson.

I was skeptical about it because I have never been a huge Woody Allen fan. But hey, it had Paris in the title so I had to get it. It was so lovely. It's about this writer who goes to Paris and ends up going back in time to meet some of the greatest writers and artists from the 1920's: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Picasso, Dali, and others. They help him write the novel he has been working on.

Which led me to this brilliant idea... (you feel this one coming?)....I need a trip to Paris! So we promptly turned our passport applications in on Friday. Supposedly, they should be back within two weeks or so...and as soon as we have them in hand, we are jumping ship! I mean jumping on a plane;) We will distribute the children among family, pack for two weeks, and DO IT!

Lately I have been feeling uninspired, weighed down, lost in the doldrums. Really, those are just really nice ways of saying I feel totally freaking crazy and caged. Not just with kids, job, life issues, but with revisions! Life gets like that. I know I am not unique. But I refuse to let my dreams stay on hold for one more year. 2011 was a year of hard work and unfulfilled goals. 2012 will not be that way! Vive le Paris.

Do you need a break? Where would you run off to if you could?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My First Blog Interview

I don't normally post on Tuesdays, but today Leigh Covington (the artist formerly known as Abby Fowers) has most graciously offered to interview me and actually post my outrageous, controversial, scandalous answers! Just kidding. Nothing scandalous. Totally on the up and up. So go check it out: My First Blog Interview

Thank you Leigh.  I love your new blog. And I love your enthusiasm, generosity, and kindness towards others in our little blogging community. I owe you one!

Monday, January 16, 2012

B is for Brave

Last night at the Golden Globe Award Show, the award for best supporting actress in a film went to Octavia Spencer. Ms. Spencer played Minnie--a maid in the Civil Rights era movie "The Help," which is based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett.

Ms. Spencer quoted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in her acceptance speech: "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance." She also went on to say that although the "Help" characters are fictional "they represent scores of real people."

I love that she won last night. I love that today is Martin Luther King day. I love that books and movies have a real effect on society. I personally feel changed by this story. I think the telling of it was brave and inspiring. It has had a real impact on the story I have decided to tell.

Did you love "The Help" too?

Happy Martin Luther King Day! May we all  strive to be more brave!

Friday, January 13, 2012

What Kind of Critique Partner Are You?

The Meticulous Line-Item Editor?

The Big Picture Brainstormer?

The Pacer?

The Voice Coach?

The Negative Nelly?

The Bookaholic?
(You don't write yourself, or know much about the technical part of writing, but you're an avid reader with a general sense of what is good and bad).

Personally, I've had all different kinds of critique partners. Let's just say I have a few notches on my CP Bedpost! Right now, I've got some especially awesome CP's rollin' around in the bed sheets with me! Wait, too much? Sorry.

But as for me...I would call myself a Big Picture Brainstormer. I wouldn't say my strength is in grammar or coaching voice. Not. At. All. In fact I hardly ever draft the correct version of contractions, i.e. wont, dont, your, their. I know, not awesome for an attorney who drafts very important legal documents (spell check is my best friend). No, I like to hit the major plot elements. I like to strategize and strengthen the ideas.

So what kind of CP are you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Book Clubs: Yay or Nay?

Last week I attended my very first book club meeting. Weird eh? I am 33 years old and somehow it was still a first. What's my deal you ask?
  • Do I think I am too cool for a lame book club?
  • Am I not cool enough for an awesome one?
  • Perhaps too busy to add another activity to the agenda?
  • Afraid of the structure associated with a club?
I don't know!  Maybe a little bit of each...and more? All I know is that I disregarded them all for a friend, was way cool! It was an organizational meeting so we discussed what books we would wanted to schedule for the whole year. I think the highlight of the night for me was suggesting we read I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER by Dan Wells, in October for Halloween. The faces! Oh the faces! Did I mention this was a church book club? I am such a B-Word.

How do you feel about book clubs? Yay or Nay?

Friday, January 6, 2012

My Author Crush

I'm not talking about a romantic crush. Nor am I talking about any other kind of weirdo crush. I'm talking about an awe/admiration/adulation crush. For an author. So don't get any ideas about my personal life!

My author crush is Ally Carter.
 She's the author of the Gallagher Girl Books and the Heist Society Books. She is quite literally a writing genius. So clever, so smart, so unique. But more specifically, this is what I love about her writing:
  • In Miss Carter's world, the sky is not the limit. There is no limit. The unimaginable is not only plausible, it's convincing.
  • Every character is interesting. There are not too many superfluous characters in her books. Everyone has a place, a mystery, a unique angle. From accents to swagger, from family history to profession, from disguise to raw truth.
  • She leaves you wanting more. Not just at the end of the book, but at the end of each chapter and the end of each scene. Not in an annoying cliff hanger sense, but in a bigger picture sense. I want more mysteries revealed, I want more exotic locations to travel to, I want more personal chemistry building.
  • Twists! Oh my H-word, the twists. Miss Carter can nail a twist. I love to be surprised. I love the "aha moments." I love the unveiling of a secret. I love the spontaneous. Reading one of her books is like going on an adventure.
  • France. Miss Carter must be equally obsessed with France as I am. As I mentioned in previous posts, I lived in France (all over France, from Bordeaux to Tours, Nantes to Paris) and I adore the place. She hits France more than a few times, and I mark each trip like one of my own. She takes me there!
  • I could go on and on, but the bar tender should cut me off. "No more bullet points for you! Time to call a taxi Miss."
So, the question of the day (that you may or may not want to admit publicly) is: Who is your author crush? 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

B is for Better

2011 was a'yite. Not fabulous, not extraordinary...not totally bad. Just a'yite.

See I always thought that 2011 was going to be my year. I was born on the 11th. My sister too. It seemed like a good enough reason to make it my lucky number. But no. As I revisited and reflected on my 2011 goals I set one year ago...I hung my head. 12%. I achieved 3 out of 25 of my goals! Suck a duck.

I am still not totally sure how I feel about such dismal results, but I know I need to move forward.

I can do better. I have been inspired by all of you who have high hopes, bright enthusiasm, and faith in the future.

So here are some of my 2012 Goals:
  • Write more like Ally Carter. (She is definitely my favorite author of 2011)
  • Get an agent like Ally Carter (Kristin Nelson is high on my wish list...but not as high as Sara Crowe:).
  • Finish current round of revisions with my CP by Jan. 31
  • Make it polished like a baby's butt by March 1. (That would be nice if I only had a few more rounds of revisions left). 
  • Attend a few conferences
  • Go to Europe. (That has nothing to do with writing, I realize. But its still on there). I used to live in France before I bore my litter, and haven't been back in 10 years.
  • Start querying by March 31???
  • ENJOY the Journey!
2012 will be BETTER!!! Dontcha think?