The Worst Prank Ever

No Makeover Monday today. The Easter Bunny brought me a horrendous sinus infection. Hard to organize with a 50 lb weight on each cheek. Instead, I decided to rerun the post below. We buried my Dad on April Fool's Day nine years ago. This just seems to fit. 

The Worst Prank Ever

or 

How to make your daughter cry in 30 seconds or less

Dad sometime in the 80's

When my boyfriend and I abruptly dropped our plans for the Fourth of July and made the three hour trip to my parents' house. I'm pretty sure my Dad already knew what was coming. Especially when mom and I announced we were going shopping and leaving the two of them alone.

First, Dad tried to encourage Scott go shopping with us. When Scott insisted he would rather stay and hang out with him. Dad decided there were a few "chores" that needed immediate attention around the house.

Like cutting down a tree in the back pasture.

So, as I drove away with my mother, knowing full well Scott was going to ask my dad to marry me.

My Dad was smiling, waving and revving a chainsaw!

My mother promised me that Dad would not kill Scott and hide is body in the back pasture. I wasn't so sure.

Dawn and Scott 1997

 A little less than an hour later, my Mom and I were strolling through the mall, heading for the wedding dress store when her cell phone rang.

Checking the display she said, "It's your Dad."

I was all smiles when I answered. "Hi, Daddy!"

Dad was loud, but he rarely yelled and usually did not cuss when talking to me. 

"What do you mean this S.O.B wants to marry you?" He was yelling.

I laughed at first. "Well, you know. He kind of likes me."

Dad got louder. "Well, I told him no. I told him he was not welcome in this family. He told  me to go F*&# myself and took off. He's walking to town right now!"

At that moment, I burst into tears in the middle of Dillards.

My mother took the phone while a very sweet cosmetic counter lady comforted me with a box of tissues. Through the my sobs, I heard my mother saying things like "Well, what did you say?" Pause "What did he say?" Pause. "Why is he walking? Why didn't he take his truck?" Pause. Longer Pause. Longer Pause.

Mom and Dad early 80's

Then, my mother's face changed. She stepped behind a makeover screen, which offered no real sound protection and let loose with a string of insults, ending with "This is your idea of a joke? Your daughter is crying. Crying. Right now in the middle of the store." Then she turned to me, "It's a joke, Dawn. It's a joke. Everything's fine."

I took the phone, through the tears and uncontrollable shaking, I was able to hear my Dad's booming laugh and the words, "I'm sorry, baby. I thought it was April Fool's Day!"

I could barely speak to him or my future husband for the rest of the weekend. Although, my husband disavowed any knowledge of a plot to tease me. He swears he was in the bathroom the whole time. Yeah, right.

So, how did the conversation really go?

Scott: I'm  sure you know why we're here... I want to marry your daughter.

Dad (putting down chainsaw) : Well, if you know her well enough to want to marry her, you know if that's what she wants, there's nothing I can do to stop her. So, welcome to the family. Want some ice tea?

Scott: Thank you. Tea sounds good.

Dad (Patting Scott on the back): Let's call Dawn.

 Miss you, Dad.

What I did on summer vacation...

Thinking about Thursday
So, school starts on Monday. Well, it starts for the kids on Monday. It started for me two weeks ago. Two weeks of sitting in meetings and being reminded why I never had the urge to join the corporate world.

I love teaching.
I hate meetings.

All and all, it was a good summer.

I spent a night sleeping on a  sloped floor, staring  at these guys, hoping the glass was as strong as we were told it was!



Swam in the ocean for the first time in my life. Prayed my friends from above didn't tag along!
And I got to go here!!!!!

So, what did you do on your summer vacation? If you didn't do anything, feel free to make something up. I won't judge.

Workshop Hangover

Thinking about Thursday

Look, it's Nora Roberts! And, she's standing with ME! 
 
This time last week, I was sitting in my first RWA NATIONALS workshop.
It was an absolutely exhausting, fantastic trip. 
I came home with my brain so full I haven't been able to even open my WIP.
Don't think that was the intended result. 

Other than the general physical exhaustion, which  I have finally recovered from, I think I have a "Workshop hangover". 

RWA was my 3rd writing conference this year. So, I've had this feeling before. I should be completely pumped, motivated, cranking out words so fast you can't see my fingers moving on the keyboard. 

Instead, I couldn't even write my blog post on Tuesday and haven't managed more than a few emails this whole week. 

Why? Because the sheer sense of responsibility to create a quality product is overwhelming. 

After all I've learned this year, I feel like I've been to OZ and seen the man behind the curtain. He's short, ugly and looks alot like my internal editor, Boris.
 I know people are going to tell me,
 "Just write. Just get the words on the paper."

But, I'm past that. I am in my fourth round of revisions.  
And, because of what I learned last week, facing down a HUGE rewrite. 

Please, don't read this as whining.

I will do it. 
I have 11 days before my real life pounces, again. 

I plan to make good use of that time, but I'm still... oh, I don't know... 
Paralyzed with fear? 

Am I the only one? Do you come back from conferences all afire and ready to go? Or does the knowledge it isn't just about "getting the story on paper" give you a moment's pause? 


Writer Round Up

Thinking about Thursday
Writer Round-Up
Since I am in California at RWA,
I thought I'd give you the opportunity to get to know a few of the 
SUPER-COOL people I get to hang out with this weekend. 
In no particular order:

 and many, many, more. 
I hope to come back with lots of new friends for author features and Tell Me Your Story Tuesdays. 
Let me know if there's anyone at RWA 12, I should say HI to! 



A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California

Thinking about Thursday

Book Review

Tuesday, I interviewed Keli Gwyn about her debut release. If you missed out on that fun, you can read it here. Now that I've had the opportunity to read A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado,  California, I can't wait to tell you about it.

First, let me say, as an inspirational romance set in the old west, this book was WAY out of my normal reading. But, since I've followed Keli's journey to publication, including crying with her when she opened her first shipment of books (Did you miss that? You can see it here.) I felt so invested in this book, I did little dance in the kitchen the day  I opened it. 
Sorry, no video of that. 

About the Book

An ever-resourceful widow, Elenora Watkins arrives in El Dorado ready to go into partnership with Miles Rutledge. When he refuses, Elenora becomes the competition across the street. Is this town big enough for the two of them?
Miles can’t help but stick his well-polished boot in his mouth whenever he comes face-to-face with Elenora. Can he find a way to win her heart while destroying her business?
Miles’s mother, Maude, is bent on Elenora becoming her new daughter-in-law while Elenora’s daughter, Tildy, thinks Miles would make a perfect papa. How far will these meddlers go to unite this enterprising pair?

Check out Keli's video of the real life inspiration for her story. 


What did I think?  
Let me just say, I smiled like a loon through most of this book. The characters are immediately real and loveable. There is one particular scene where the men in the barbershop are teasing Miles that made me realize people in that time were real. They had lives not so removed from ours. They weren't all gunfighters and staunch lawmen.  They loved their families, flirted with their wives and the men, because they are men, still showed affection by dogging on each other. 

Having been accused (or praised~ whichever way you want to take it) in my life of being a "stubborn, independent woman", I loved the character of Elenora.  Her quick wit and resourcefulness instantly drew me to her. The banter between her and Miles adds a delightful flavor of humor and authenticity to the story. 

This is an inspirational romance, but the message of faith is by no means heavy-handed. References to the Lord and prayer arise organically and do not pull the reader from the story as I have seen in other inspirational works. 

There is also plenty of "romantic tension". Enough to keep you turning the page to find out "Will they?" or "Won't they?" for just a kiss!
  

So, my question to you is, what have you ever wondered about the old west? Can you imagine the people you know living there? If you were there, what would you be? A shop owner? Sheriff? Outlaw? 

The names of those who  leave a comment today will be combined with the names from Tuesday and entered in the drawing for an autographed copy of Keli's book.   

 

Help! I'm becoming a PLOTTER!

Thinking about Thursday

In my Confessions of  Plot-First Writer  post, I confessed that I am a "die-hard pantser".  If you aren't into writing, that means I like to write without planning it out first. I just sit down with a blank page and start pouring out a story.

That is how I have always worked. I love the excitement of feeling the story unfold as it is playing in my mind. I don't really know any other way.

But, lately, I've been having these...urges. Feelings that I don't understand.

I want to lay out Storyboards  and make sure I have a proper character arc.

Who AM I?


I can tell you it all started with my shiny, new WIP (work in progress). Actually, it isn't that new. It is my NaNoWriMo for this year and it is already over 53,000 words. But, it is still shiny and I still like it. But, there are so many characters! And, they all keep tapping me on the shoulder and saying,

"Hey, I want to do ____ . Can you make that happen for me?"

The weird thing is in "real life" I am very much a planner. I have  a color-coded Google calendar that rules my world. When I used to plan workshops, I would walk through every step in my head from the minute the participants arrived until they walked out.

One of my favorite self-talk phrases when I am stressed is, "Okay, Dawn, take a breath and put it order. What needs to happen first? Then, what? And, after that...."

Does that mean I have been denying my true nature by writing without a plan or have I have been using my writing as freedom from my normal (over)scheduled life?

As long as I'm confessing,  I might as well admit that I wrote a synopsis before I started my last three manuscripts... Please don't think less of me.

So, it is possible to be a pantsing-plotter? If I dabble in a few story arcs or w-plots, is that a gateway to stick notes and whiteboards? Will that eventually take me to *shudder*outlining? If I go to the dark side, will I ever return to the exhilaration of my pantsing ways?




 


Golden Moments

Thinking about Thursday

For the next 5 minutes, I am having a golden moment. That rare occurrence in time when everything that absolutely has to be done is complete.


My world is like a sky (stay with me, I'm feeling philosophical here.) Most of the time the sky is cloudy with rays of sunshine poking through. The clouds are white, puffy, floaty types. Things that are always there (laundry, dishes, trying to figure out how to serve the kids breakfast in the morning without any milk~ You know what I'm talking about, right?).


But, there is almost always a storm cloud in the distance. I can hear the faint rumble of thunder, see streaks of lighting. That is the cloud of Do-it-now-or-else.

Right now, in this moment, that cloud is gone. Blown away by the wind of determination. It will be back tomorrow. I don't doubt that for a minute, but today, I'm going to sit back and enjoy some time in the sunshine.

What are your golden moments like?

Five simple goals

Thinking about Thursday

Technically, it's the end of another year. As a teacher, I tend to measure years from August to July, rather January to December, but that's just me.

Last year, I came up with three basic goals for the year:

1. Find a critique group/ partner.
    I have to let someone with objectivity read my work. It is just time. (Achieved. I have two AWESOME, WONDERFUL, FABULOUS, critique partners. Teri Anne Stanley and Genevieve Wilson. Thank you both for all your support this year.)

2. Attend a writing conference.
    I am aiming for DFWCON in February.  (Achieved and it was great! You can check out the experience here. Cannot wait to go this year. Check out the website! http://dfwwritersconference.org/

3. Query.
    Even if it is just one email. Just to prove I can. (Um, yeah... Look how good I did on the other two!) 


This year, I am expanding to five goals:

1. Become RWA PRO. This will force me to meet left over goal #3 up there.


2. Attend more writing conferences.  I actually have THREE on the agenda for this year. First, Texas Two Step Conference (put on by my local RWA chapter) in late April You should really come join me! Then DFWCon in late May.  All building up to RWA in July! I cannot describe how excited and, maybe a tad bit terrified, I am about that.

3. Pitch to an agent. That is the one thing I did not take advantage of at DFWCon last year. I have to do this year. I mean, I am going to all these conferences. Surely, I can manage to sit down and make words come out of my mouth for 10 minutes, right? Give me a minute,  I'm feeling woozy.

4. Edit, edit, edit. I have several (and by several, I mean, more than three.) completed manuscripts begging to be edited and polished. My husband brought me pretty pens and clean flash drives for Christmas. All I need to do is hit print and start hacking. Yeah, it's that easy. (not).

5. Keep up this blog. The friends I have made through this blog in the past year have been amazing. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting and Thank you for being a part of my world.


I wish you all a successful 2012. 





Do you have goals for this year? How'd you do on the ones you set for last year?

Happy Holidays!

Thinking about Thursday
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
From our family to yours.


No real post today. I have a ton of Christmas stuff still looming over me like a thunder cloud. Please feel free to enjoy these "Ghost of Christmas Past". Okay, most of them have nothing to do with Christmas, but they are past so, you know. 

Anyway, Merry Christmas...Happy Hanukkah...Merry Festivous...Happy Kwanzza... Merry Random day you get off from work because you don't celebrate holidays at all. Whatever your choice... Happiness and peace to you. 

Let's Talk about Sex ( That one always gets attention)

Just Me (Since we talked about Sex, I felt I should introduce myself.)  

How He Won My Heart with a Hammer (You can be in awe of my husband's romantic side.)


Remembering the Good Ole Days (You know you want to see my 80's hair!)
No Plot Swap Tomorrow. Here are some links to previous swaps to tide you over. :) 

Dream Style (Check out the comments on this one!)
Boy Band Style (Picture of me with 90's hair!)




It's beginning to look a lot like...

Thinking about Thursday
This is what happens when I try to get a sweet picture for the Christmas card.


It's beginning to look a lot like...

One week from today, I will FINALLY be on Christmas break. Most of the districts around us are getting out tomorrow, but we go until 11:05 on Wednesday, Dec. 21st. 

At 11:06, I plan to break into the hallelujah chorus and do the Jingle Bell Rock all the way to my car.

All I am thinking about today is:
1. The Christmas shopping I haven't done 

2. The fact if I have to listen to the 
one more time I might have to stab someone. 
(My level 1 students put on a Holiday song performance. I have heard the same six Christmas songs approximately 39,285 times since they started practicing last week.)

3. It was almost 70 degrees here yesterday, so I am not exactly in the "Holiday" state of mind.

What about you?
Do you have all your Christmas shopping done? 
What's the weirdest gift you've ever given/received?
Have any cool holiday traditions you want to share with us? 
Do you have a high-pitched, squealing version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town stuck in your head?











 

Confessions of Plot-First Writer

Thinking about Thursday

This post first ran last  March. While I have finished the revisions mentioned, I am now smack in the middle of NaNoWriMo and realized my "Plot First" tendency has yet to be cured.  


I was three chapters into my NaNo before I realized my characters possessed supernatural powers. I figured this out shortly after one of the main characters blew up a car with his hand.  I literally had the thought, "OH, he's a superhero!"


How does that happen? 
Please read below.


I am swimming in a sea of revisions right now. So, much I am dreaming about my WIP (Not in the way Stephanie Meyer dreamt of Twilight and made a bazillion dollars. More in the way, I wake up feeling like I never slept and I still only have a  twenty in my pocket.) Working through this round of revisions with my awesome crit partner , I had some revelations about myself.

  • I am a "Plot-First" writer. This great post by Claire King  titled Layers Not Lines is a prime example of how I plot. With one glaring exception:
  • Remember, I said. "Plot-first"? That means, I don't think like this:
 "There is a woman, feeling heartbroken and lonely. She tries to hide this by acting strong willed and aloof, but is truly afraid and insecure." 
       
            I think like this:

"There is a building that burns down. Okay, what kind of building? Oh, it's an art Museum. Yeah, like the Kimbell. Someone, hmm, maybe a woman named...whatever, I'll name her later. She burns it down to hide that she stole several pieces of art. But she had to steal them because the bad guy.... for now, we'll just call him BG. He made her steal them or he was going to...." 


  • Why is this a problem? It has been politely pointed out that my "writing process" can leave my characters lacking introspection and depth. *Ouch*. During an eye-opening workshop with Anna DeStefano, she showed us how to "plot through characters." It is a fascinating, seemingly simple, yet truly complex process that she stated she could do for weeks. WEEKS! I'm not sure I heard much after that because my vision blurred and the room started to spin. I don't even spend weeks laying out my plot. ( I am also a trying-to-be-reformed Pantser, but that is a post for later.)      

  • So, how do I help my poor puppets characters? I give them faces, thanks to Google Images. I try to give them a bio and a theme song. I try, honestly, I try to fill out those character sketch forms. I am not criticizing them. I know they can be useful, but my brain protests. It screams, "What does her favorite flavor of ice cream have to do with her blowing up the art museum?
        So, where do you fall in the Plot vs. Character spectrum? If you are like me, how do make sure your characters aren't underdeveloped? If you are a "character writer", do you struggle to keep your plot moving like I struggle to keep my characters arcing? Is arcing a word?  



  

Spirited Anthology

Thinking about Thursday

Spirited 13 haunting tales
  
  

                             This isn't exactly a book review. Mostly because I'm pretty sure the prerequisite for reviewing a book is that you read it and you see that haunting cover above? I'm not sure I can read it!
                              I may write romantic suspense about creepy stalkers and chill-inducing serial killers, but ghost? Especially spirits of children? Um, no. They freak me out. Like, "can't wash my face because I am scared to close my eyes alone in the bathroom" FREAK me out. 

                              But, that being said, this would be a freak out for a good cause. 
From Amazon:
With this celebration of things that go bump in the night, Spirited authors hope to slay the specter of illiteracy that plague our youth. All proceeds from Spirited will be donated to 826 National, a non-profit organization that offers free after-school tutoring, workshops, and in-school programs because "strong writing skills are fundamental to future success."

So, I'm torn. Fight illiteracy or fight nightmares? 

What about you? Do you like ghost stories? Does your imagination ever run away with you even as an adult? What freaks you out? 

Be sure to come visit tomorrow for the 
FRIDAY PLOT SWAP~ SPIRIT STYLE!

I swallowed the heebie-jeebies in my stomach and found some plot-producing stories of the supernatural for you!

Write What You Know?

Thinking about Thursday
*This blog repeat brought to you by Finals week*


Write what you know? 
You've heard this, right? I have never understood it. 
I write romantic suspense.
Emphasis on  suspense rather than romance, which you already know if you read my previous post.
To date, I have never been stalked by a serial killer, kidnapped,  shot at, or even used a firearm myself. My experience with bullets is limited to taking the picture above. I don't even like scary movies.

So, exactly, how am I suppose to write what I know? I mean, unless someone wants to read about me being viciously attacked by a sink of dirty dishes or the wild car chase to get my daughter to gymnastics. I don't know much!

This lead me to what I am thinking about today. How did you choose your genre? Or did it choose you? 

Mystery and suspense feel natural to me. But, my personality is far from dark and brooding. In everyday conversation, I am good at making people laugh. I struggle with bringing that humor to my stories.

When I was dreaming of being a writer as a child, I wanted to be Judy Blume. Now, I spend everyday in a room thick with teenage angst. But, I have no desire to write YA. I couldn't be surround by it all day then delve deeper in my writing time. 

At some point, I have to step away from what I know and escape into what I write.

So, what about you? Why do write what you write? Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?




 

Developing a Platform~ Guest Post

Thinking about Thursday

Developing a Platform
Guest Post By
Writing Coach 

Many writers realize that nowadays we have to have a platform. One really great way to build platform is through public speaking. However, many writers shy away from this because of fear of talking in front of large groups. While public speaking can be done in person, consider other options such as online workshops, webinars and other ways of speaking to a group without standing in front of a group.

Once you’ve gotten over that hurdle or determined where you’re going to speak or you’ve been invited to speak, the next thing a writer needs to determine is what they’re going to talk on. I suggest that writers write on something that’s related to the topic or what the theme of their book or the research associated with their book and their genre, without speaking directly to the writing process.

For an example, if you’re a suspense writer and your book is about kidnapping such as Amy Wallace’s was, she did a wonderful job of teaching and speaking and having a website surrounded around safety for children and protecting your kids and the FBI and things like that. While reaching out to people who are interested in the topic of her book she did not specifically talk on her book.

Another example would be if you write Regency romance, such as Linore Rose Burkard. She has a wonderful website and offers things like information on clothing of the era and social mores and etiquette. Therefore people who are interested in that time period can get valuable resources from her and also will begin to develop a relationship with her and read her books because they know her and they’ve seen her stuff.

As a writer consider speaking on topics that are based on the research that you’ve done for a particular book, novel or industry, and not just be like you need to speak about your book specifically, about publishing specifically or publishing journey specifically.

Engage individuals who are interested in the topics that you cover in your book and that will help you develop your relationship and thus your platform.

Thank you, Tiffany, for those great suggestions. 


Tiffany Colter has been published locally and nationally. Her publishing credits include Charisma Magazines, Suspense Magazine, Today’s Christian, Encounter, On Mission and The Toledo Business Journal. Online she has a successful blog that teaches business principles to writers the Writing Career Coach and she writes a monthly Marketing Column and a quarterly Feature for the Afictionado E-zine. Suspense Magazine regularly publishes her work in their “Ask Your Writing Career Coach” column.

She teaches on topics as diverse as Writing for Small Business Owners to Special Needs Adoption to Thriving during Financial Crisis. Her speaking is managed through Command Performance Speakers’ Bureau.

I happen to be an exception to the "writer=introvert" rule because public speaking has never bothered me, but I know there are people who fear it worse than death.  

So, what about you? Does speaking in front of people make you break out in hives? Or do you love being in the spotlight?

What a coincidence!

Thinking about Thursday

My husband and I recently spent an evening watching

 You can check out a great summary of the plot in this video:
*MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! *





The movie deals with the idea that some of life is fate and some of what we think of as coincidence is actually us being redirected by onto our "path".

So, today, I am thinking about coincidences in my life.

  • When I was nine years old, my mother and I moved from a small town in west Texas to a small suburb of Joplin, Missouri. On the first day in my new school, I noticed one of the boys in my fourth grade class looked strangely familiar. That's because I already knew him. He lived in the suburb of Joplin, but spent summers with his grandparents in the small town in west Texas. I recognized  him from my Sunday School class. We didn't grow up and get married or anything. In fact, we weren't even close friends. But, I've always sort of wondered why that happened.  The towns are close to 500 miles apart and neither was exactly a booming place. So, why was this same little boy in my life at both places?
  • I did most of my growing up just outside of Oklahoma City. Shortly after I moved to Texas, I returned to OKC one weekend for a Bachelorette party. I was driving down I-35, when my parents (who lived 30 miles outside of OKC and didn't know when I was coming to town) pulled onto the highway in front me. I called them on my cell phone and told my dad to look in his rearview mirror. We had a 15 minute impromptu visit in a gas station parking lot. That still fascinates me to this day. Everything that had to be timed exactly right for us to cross paths at that precise moment. It boggles my mind. But, was it a coincidence? Or for some reason, was I supposed to see my parents that day?
  • By far the most important was meeting my husband. We met at a church we were both visiting for the first time. I knew the one person who had invited me. He didn't know anyone. I introduced myself to him because 1.) he was really cute and 2.) I didn't want to sit alone through the bible study class. (He would tell you I picked him up which I deny, but that is a story for another day :) ) We went to lunch immediately after church and have basically been together ever since.   
      If we hadn't met that day, we may never had met.     Because  of various circumstances, I would not have been back to that same church (if I had decided to go back) for at least a month. It was a large church with multiple services.He was out visiting new churches, who knows if he would have come back to that church or that service.


What coincidences have you had in your life?  Have they led you on a certain path? Or just made you stop and think, "Hmm"? 

California Dreaming

Thinking about Thursday

In honor the first week of school, this is a re-post from January. It just still seemed appropriate. 
 California Dreaming
 
(Or is it gray? Did you know there is actually a website devoted to answering that question?   

             I am not really dreaming about California, but I felt like giving  a nod to The Mamas and The Papas anyway. Today, like most days when I am flat tired from my day job, I am dreaming about the life of a full time writer.
           I picture it like this :
  1. I send the kids off to school with a smile because I haven't spent the morning yelling things like,    "When you are late, then I am late! I don't care the socks don't match. Put them on and let's go!"                 
  2. I walk an hour on my treadmill while analyzing my plot points, constructing my character arcs and composing witty, believable dialogue. Added benefit: I lose 20-75 pounds while  working.                                                                                                                                                        
  3. I walk through my clean house with no dishes in the sink and no mound o' laundry poised to avalanche on to the kitchen floor to my computer.
  4. I write uninterrupted for hours as the words flow freely in the silent buzz of the empty house. I pause only to smile at my four legged companion who likes to sleep on my feet. Several thousands words a day grace my work in progress.  
  5. I have a quiet, peaceful lunch with my husband without having to remind someone not eat with her face in the plate like she is a dog. We also discuss sensitive topics without converting the conversation into "hide -the- true -meaning- from- the- kids" code which neither one of us can understand, but the kids can decipher with little effort. 
  6. I go back to writing for hours when he returns to work. Then easily shut down the computer when my children arrive home. Confident I have written my best and expended my creativity for the day.
  7. I spend the evening guilt-free. I cheerfully help with homework and prepare dinner instead of trying to write, microwave chicken strips and recite spelling words.
  8. I check homework, make the costume for the school play and remember snacks for the Girl Scout meeting because I am focused and organized without the added responsibilities of teaching
  9.  I check my email, converse with my friends on twitter, and prepare my blogs.
  10. I climb into bed at a decent hour, knowing all my ideas will wait. I have all day tomorrow to write. There is no need to stay up until all hours of the night.
*SIGH* So that is my dream. I know nothing is ever like you think it will be and my dream probably needs a reality check.

So tell me, what do you picture being a full-time writer to be like? If you are a full-timer, what is your day like?
( Be gentle. It is the only bubble I've got, don't burst it too harshly)

Reevaluating

Thinking about Thursday

As I mentioned on  Tuesday, today I am revisiting the goals I set for myself  here. 
Let's see how I did.

Dawn's Goals for Summer 2011
1. Finish revisions on Story #1 (with help of wonderful crit partners Teri Anne Stanley and Genevieve Wilson) I did finish the revisions. More than one set of revisions actually. In fact, I revised myself right out of the story. No matter how much I tweaked it. I just couldn't get it right. So, I guess this goal is a success?

2. QUERY, QUERY, QUERY. I am going to do it! You heard. I wrote it down. HOLD ME TO IT! Don't hold me to it. Or, don't hold it against me that I didn't do it. The story I had been working on wasn't ready. You can read about that decision here.

3. Complete the writing boot camp I am currently enrolled in, but have not had time to read the first lesson for yet. I did complete the class, well, I sort of completed the class. I didn't take advantage of the option to pitch to the teacher ( The Fabulous Candace Havens.  She is awesome. You should take classes from her!) 


I haven't decided how I feel about my semi-successful summer. I am definitely in a better place than when I wrote this about the end of last summer. 

So, what about you? Did you have goals for the summer? Writing or otherwise? Did you meet them? Kind of meet them? Remember you wrote them down? 

Knowing when to let go

Thinking about Thursday

Everyone shelves their first novel, right? That is what I hear from most of writer friends. "Oh, my first novel? It's under my bed (in a file cabinet, locked in my mother's attic, a pile of ashes that were washed down the kitchen sink). Never to see the light of day."
That is what I am thinking about today. The manuscript I have been working on (and working on and working on) is far from my first novel. I have been writing most of my life, so I have completed several others. You want to talk about "never meant to see the light of day"? These would make your heart ache and not in a good way. But, they were all steps in the process.

I suppose this one is, too. I have never put so much work into a manuscript before. I have never had such great beta readers and critique partners before. (Shout out to the terrific Teri Anne Stanley and my NTRWA chaptermate, Genevieve Wilson.) Of course, I have never been this educated about the publishing process before.

Despite all of the crits, all the revisions, all the heart, soul and tears. I think it is time to put this one the shelf. Sadly, not the one in the bookstore I have dreamed of seeing it grace.

I had high hopes of querying it this summer, but it's not ready. I know that and right now, I am too close to it to get it any closer to being ready. We need a break. Some time apart. Maybe I will come back with fresh eyes and all the parts I can't seem to work out will magically fall into place.

So, what do you think? Where is your first novel? How do you know when it is time to just let it go?

Literary Confessions

Thinking about Thursday

I have a confession to make. This will probably shock and appall you. I hope after you have heard what I have to say, we can still be friends.

Here goes:
I've never read anything by Jane Austen.
I've never read Little Women or seen the movie.
I abandoned the Harry Potter series after book three.
I've  only read one Nancy Drew mystery in my lifetime.

In my defense:
My favorite classic book is The Secret Garden
I read and re-read the Anne of Green Gables series more times than I can count.
I have also read all of the J.D Robb In Death series,  Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series and the entire Twilight Saga.   
(Not sure if that last one adds much to my credibility)

Whew! I feel better getting that out there.

What about you? Is there any author or series you are hesitant to admit you haven't read? Or  hesitant to admit you have read? Let it out. I won't judge.

My Space

Thinking about Thursday

I have been reading Stephen King's
On Writing .

I found it fascinating he did most of his early writing in a laundry room in his family's trailer. He discusses later having an office and a great desk. The desk eventually becomes a symbol of his career's place in his life. my favorite section was when he talks about starting to write part of Misery in a hotel at desk used by Rudyard Kipling .

King says this about a writer's need for space:  

"You can read anywhere, almost, but when it comes to writing... most of us do our best in a place of our own." 

I have a desk. 
Isn't it pretty? The picture really doesn't do it justice. It is a beautiful desk with all kinds of little drawers and cubbies. I love it. 

I would love to show you the inside. I really would, but unfortunately, that would cause an avalanche of old paperwork, children's art work and a pile of pictures I never seem to get into an album. 

This is where I write. 
  The left side is mine. 
The right side belongs to this guy. 
 He gets up every time I do, so he was utterly confused by my attempts to get a picture of him in his spot on the couch.

So, that is my space. Tell me about yours. Do you have a beautiful desk, but write on a love seat? Are you in the laundry room of a double wide trailer? Do you have  a furry friend who keeps you company?  

Feel free to add a picture or two. You can post them on your own blog and give the link. We can do a blog-hop. I love seeing pictures of where other people work.