a jolt of reality
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reality: n. something to be tampered with only after several cups of coffee.

Road to Writing
When I first started, I thought all you had to do is write a book. Can you say *naive*, boys and girls? Join me on my journey as a pre- published writer looking to see my name on the cover of a book. I'll talk about all the bumps, bruises, joys and frustrations I encounter along the way.

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Burn Me Once
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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Insanity strikes again!

What was I thinking?

My daughter's soccer coach called last week, and wanted to know if we wanted to put her in the tournament this weekend. The official season for our county recreation center is over, so this is over and above. I called my husband to see what he said . . . he was all for it.

Of course he was! It's not his butt that's gonna be sitting on icy metal bleachers during two nighttime practices this week!

And, our whole weekend is shot now. OK. That's unkind. It's not shot. But it will be filled with tournament play.

I ask again: What was I thinking?

Not much happening on the writing front. It seems I've become the Queen of Procrastination.

I can't write. My kids are bugging me.

I can't write. We're going hiking.

I can't write. I have to get caught up with TiVo so it doesn't delete something I want to see.

I can't write. I need a nap.

In my own defense, I seem to be more productive when either nobody else is home or when everybody's asleep. When I can open Rocky up, pop the headphones on, and get lost. And that hasn't been happening since the holiday.

The good news is, I had a great dream the other night that sparked an idea. It's the same way IH came to me, but this time, I didn't dream the whole story like I had with IH. Just a few good scenes. Yesterday, I downloaded Post-It software from the Post-It Notes site, and started storyboarding.

Yeah, I know. That's just more procrastination. But at least it's something.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving

to all my American friends!

And to all my non-American friends, happy Thursday. :)

Wow. Two short entries in a row. I'm on a roll!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Didn't I say something about blogging shorter entries? Yeah. That'll happen.

I found my sanity!

Almost. I didn't actually find it, but I do know what happened to it. I've found that my usual joke about my kids stealing my sanity is actually true. And they're holding it hostage for candy.

I spent today preparing for Thanksgiving, and since my kids are out of school for the rest of the week, I took them along. Can you say "mistake", boys and girls?

It started out okay -- we started out the day with haircuts for them. We go to a place that specializes in kids' haircuts, so they get to sit in little toys (my son does, anyway -- my daughter's getting too big) and they watch cartoons and play video games while the stylist's scissors cut away the excess and I'm finally reminded what my children's faces look like.

From there we went to the Honeybaked Ham Store. You didn't actually think I was going to cook, did you? My little darlings (notice my tongue is firmly in my cheek with that) started to get a little rowdy, but nothing too bad yet. Spent the equivalent of a loan payment, but Thanksgiving dinner is covered.

We stopped back at the house to unload the truck and then off to Wal-Mart we went.

I guess I should add the we live out in the middle of nowhere. We're just outside of suburban Atlanta, but it's at least a 20 minute drive to anything. I mean, we've got a cow pasture at the end of our street, for cripes' sake!

Anyway, Wal-Mart. My own private hell. On second thought, judging from the snickers I heard from people as we passed, maybe it's not so private after all. Now, my kids are almost 10 and 5, so their whole world is videos, video games, and candy. Actually, it's whining for videos, video games, and candy.

Man, I should just get one of those little digital recorders and tape my regular rants. "No!" "I'm not buying you candy!" "Your room's not even clean! Why should I reward you?" "You're making me insane!" "That's it. I'm running away." And my all time favorite, "Can I trade my kids for these groceries?"

Any trip through the checkout line incorporates all the above statements. Every time. Every single dadgumm time. And the guy buying a loaf of bread one register over snickers. The teenagers buying chips in front of me roll their eyes. And the little old lady with brown 'n serve rolls behind me gives me a pitying look.

So there I stand, positive I'm aging at least 10 years as I tell my kids for the 7,547th time I will not buy them candy.

So there. They can keep my sanity. I don't need it. And I'm not giving these little people candy!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Trash or treasure?

One of the writers' mailing lists I'm on has been having a conversation lately that got me thinking. It started when a new author sent a post to the list asking (and I'm paraphrasing), "Many multi-published authors say their first manuscripts were crap. What is it about your first that made it crap?"

Like I said, paraphrasing. I think the original post was phrased with much nicer language.

Anyway, it got me thinking. The manuscript I'm planning to start querying with after the first of the year is, in fact, my first completed manuscript. After reading the many responses that came across the list from published authors, I started to second guess myself.

Is this manuscript, this story I've worked so hard on, this baby I've polished to a shine . . . is it crap? Am I deluding myself in thinking it actually has a chance in hell of being published?

I went back and read the responses on the list a little more closely, taking note of the problems these authors cited with their first manuscripts.

Head hopping/POV everywhere - This one was a biggie, and included in nearly every response so far. Most people said that when they started, they knew nothing about POV (point of view).

Yup. I understand this problem. The first draft of Irresistible Harmony (IH) had this problem, since the concept of POV and staying in one person's head was one I learned after I penned that first draft. But I have learned this concept since then, and that first draft was many moons ago. Pretty sure that problem's fixed in this one.

Overdone narration/description/too much introspection - I've been lucky enough to have some fabulous critique partners who have, from time to time, said, "Lynn, I'd really like to hear how this went down." That nasty old "Show, Don't Tell" rule that used to give me fits. I think I've come a long way with that. I might not have beaten that monster, but I do believe I wrestled it down to submission. Although that introspection thing might be a problem. Might need to double check that.

Cardboard or two-dimensional characters - I'm hoping IH doesn't have this problem, and if my CPs' reactions to the story are any indication, it doesn't.

Dialogue problems - I've come to believe that dialogue is probably my strongest suit, if I do say so, myself. Matter of fact, it's probably the one aspect of my writing that came the easiest to me.

Muddled voice - Now, this one's a biggie for me. The tone of IH is very different from the stories I've written since. Although I won't say IH is angst-ridden, it certainly doesn't show the dry humor my newer manuscripts have. At least, not throughout. But it's there. But overall, voice is hard to define. And most writers will say that you'll know when you find it. Can you see the giant question mark over my head?

So . . . my conclusion? I haven't really reached one. Except to say that despite my hesitations, I'm still going to go ahead and try to submit this puppy and see what happens. A majority of the writers I've spoken to say that their first ms (or two, or three) have been banished to a dusty spot beneath their bed, never to see the light of day again.

IH isn't going there yet. But there's always a chance.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Thanks to 4 Guys From Viewpoint for this image! Posted by Hello

Breathe. Just breathe.

That's what my CP Teresa said to me on the phone tonight. Repeatedly. Amid screaming laughter. Because I'm having another female moment. Matter of fact, I considered titling this entry "Female Moment Part II".

Tonight, I came home from a trip to Wal-Mart with the kids, opened Rocky, and downloaded my e-mail. And nearly fell out of my chair.

You see, last month, I put up an entry called Having a Female Moment . A large portion of that post was about the band Final Frontier and my reactions to their lead singer Rob Moratti in the video I downloaded from their site for their song "Lydia".

Right now, I'm a bit giddy (to put it very very mildly), a little embarrassed, and slightly freaked out. Because what I found when I downloaded my e-mail today was an e-mail from Rob Moratti himself. At least, I'm pretty sure it was him, or else somebody is playing a very cruel joke. But I'll go on the assumption it was him.

I won't go into the details of the e-mail, but he did thank me for being a fan, and mentioned my comments put a smile on his face. He also noted they would be shooting another video for a track on their upcoming third CD, High Tension Wire.

So that's why I'm giddy and freaked out. Why am I embarrassed? If you've read my original Female Moment post, you know. When I wrote that post, it never occurred to me that the musicians I mention in my blog would actually read it! Obviously, my first reaction was to go back and read that post. To make sure there was nothing there that would make me wear a bag over my head if I ever had the opportunity to see Final Frontier live.

Thankfully, nothing too bad, but all the drooly faces (in my BraveJournal version of this blog) did give me pause. And I can't help but wonder what he thought when he saw it. Thank goodness I can laugh at myself! (And please, Teresa, no napkin comments!)

So, Mr. Rob Moratti, if you were brave enough to come back again, thanks so much for your wonderful e-mail. You've made my day, my week, my month, and quite possibly, my year.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

I have seen the light!

OK. Not really. I'm still fighting with that scene. And visiting Miserable Melodies didn't help. Although I did laugh myself to tears over a version of "O, Holy Night" they have.

So rather than continuing to fight, I opted to write more. Thought I'd include the climax of the scene here as an excerpt for your enjoyment. Ready?

The setup. They're in a bar. A dive. Definitely not a high-class place. And the band on the stage is the worst band in the entire world, who announced earlier that this was their first gig out of their garage. Chad and Dakota are trying to figure out what song the band is now playing. It seems familiar, but they're not sure.

“Hotel California,” she said. “They’re playing Hotel California.”

Cocking his head, he listened. Yeah, OK. Could be Hotel California. Could be a musical rendition of the death of a cat. “You sure?” he asked.

At that moment, somebody started to sing. The lyrics were definitely those of the classic Eagles tune. One of the night’s ‘special guests’ had joined the band on stage and was trying to sing harmony. At least, that’s what he thought they guy was doing.

Chad glanced around the table. Matt’s head was in his hands, his shoulders heaving just as Dakota’s had been moments ago. Dunc had pulled his shirt up over his head. And Bert was methodically slamming down the beer in his mug, refilling, and repeating the process with the speed of Superman chasing Lex Luthor.

Chad howled with laughter. He couldn’t help it. Between the sounds of the worst rendition of one of his favorite songs coming from the stage and the reactions of his buddies, there’d been no hope of holding back.

It looked like the band’s drummer noticed too. Without ceremony, the dude came out from behind his drum kit, climbed down to the floor in front of the stage, turned his back to the crowd, and dropped his pants.

Yes, the entire audience was being mooned by the giant, hairy, toothless drummer.

Dakota screamed. Dunc pulled his shirt down from over his head, followed Dakota’s gaze, then dove underneath the table. Matt fell out of his chair. And Bert just kept slamming down those drinks.


I'm sitting on my couch, Rocky in my lap, on the verge of pulling every hair from my head.

Right now, I'm editing the stuff I wrote during the last BIAW I participated in, and one particular scene is driving me absolutely batty and has me growling in frustration.

The scene takes place in a bar, and is based upon a real-life experience one of my CPs and I had when we were unlucky enough to see the worst band in the world. It's a pretty pivotal scene in the story -- both the hero and heroine realize their love for each other, and admit it to themselves, but not to each other. Falling in love wasn't part of their plan.

All the elements of the scene are there. I've been referring to notes I took during the actual experience (Yes, I actually got up from my chair, ran out to my truck to get my notebook, brought it back into the bar and took notes on this horrendous night. I had to. In this case, truth really was stranger than fiction, and we knew nobody would ever believe us.) and keeping in mind where I want the scene to go. I haven't written the scene all the way to the end yet, and I suppose that could be part of the problem. I don't know. What I do know is the scene feels flat, and it's just not coming off as wildly as the actual experience was.

I've got my headphones on to shut out external distractions, and maybe that's the problem. The music I'm listening to is too good. But I don't think I own any really bad music. I could go back to Miserable Melodies and listen to the kazoo band playing "Whole Lotta Love" again. That might do it.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Tarot for Writers

It's a workshop I'm taking through the From the Heart chapter of RWA. We're learning how to use the Tarot to help move different aspects of our stories along. So far, our instructor Arwen has posted a spread to help find characters' goal, motivation and conflict, and there's been a Hero's Journey spread. Yesterday she also posted one for characterization.

Since I wasn't feeling well yesterday, I climbed out of Synopsis Hades for a day and tried the spreads. Still haven't finished all my interpretations, since I did the spreads for all the characters I have stories working in various degrees of completion, but some of it was very enlightening. When I did the Hero's Journey spread for the heroine of Irresistible Harmony, I was shocked that the card that came up hit her situation right on the head!

Think I'll play with that characterization spread today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

*Cough, Cough*

Will the person who gave me this cold please come and take it back? I don't want it anymore.


Synopsis Hades

Yup. That's where I am.

I attended an online chat the other day with an author who writes for Medallion Press. She said such wonderful things about them, and encouraged me to submit my ms to them. Since she's the second Medallion author who's said this, I figured I'd give it a shot.

What was I thinking?

Medallion doesn't just want a synopsis, they want a chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the story. That's what I'm trying to do now. And it's driving me insane. And I, in turn, am probably driving my CPs insane. I'm sure they're getting tired of receiving little update e-mails from me: "Just wrote the kiss!" "ACK! Seven pages in and so-and-so isn't dead yet!" "Writing the seduction." "Ten pages and still no accident!"

I can picture my CPs, sitting in front of their computer screens, snickering behind their hands. "Is she insane? What made her think she could do this?"

OK. That's not fair. Actually, my CPs are very helpful. Very supportive. They even tell me I don't need to lose weight. (A little white lie never hurts, right?)

So, I'll go back to my own little hell, work on that synopsis, pull my hair out (good thing I have plenty to spare!), and pray for the best.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I'm Back!

Yup, been gone a while, at least from the world of blogging. What've I been doing?

Well, two of my critique partners had requests for full manuscripts, so I've been critting my butt off. Sure wish I meant that literally. [g] But they've both sent them out, so now it's just down to the waiting on them.

I have another critique partner I owe a crit to, I'm hoping to get that out today.

I took a workshop at RWAOL ( RWA Online Chapter ) given by BJ Daniels called Adding Suspense to Hooks. A great workshop. I learned a lot, including the fact that although I haven't been doing any of my own writing lately, I haven't forgotten how.

Right now I'm taking a workshop through the From the Heart Online Chapter given by Arwen called Tarot For Writers. So far, we're learning the basics of the Tarot. Eventually, we'll learn how to use it with our writing.

I dabbled in the Tarot a few years ago, but life got in the way and I put it aside. Now that I've picked it up again, my amazement with this particular divination tool has returned full force. The day we started the workshop was the day after I finished all those crits I mentioned. The "mind card" card I drew in the Mind/Body/Spirit spread (as homework from the workshop) was The Hanged Man. Arwen gave the keywords for that card as "withdrawal and rest". The keywords she gave us for the daily card I drew two days in a row (The Magician) were creative energy.

Think the cards were trying to tell me something?

So I took a break from writing. My husband came home after a two week business trip in Las Vegas, and we took the kids hiking yesterday. And I've been reading the Harlequin Flipside "Undercover With the Mob". No writing. Almost.

In my spare time (*snort*) I've been jotting down a long synopsis of Irresistible Harmony, just writing down the basics of the story as I might describe it to a friend. I've been working on this for a good week, and I'm almost done. But then I have to type it into the computer and try to arrange it into some sort of cohesive document that would be understood by somebody other than me. That'll be the tough part.

about me
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Location: Atlanta-ish, Georgia, United States

I'm a wife, a mom, an operating room nurse, a writer, a hobby photographer, and a music lover who knits and crochets. And I'm fairly certain I've lost my mind.

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Fire Me Up

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