Thursday, June 30, 2011

Meme-ilicious My answers to my bloggy friends' questions

Ok, I got tagged in the question answering thing by my friend Michelle, my newly-found greatly-loved Twitter buddy.  I haven't done one of these in a while, so this should be interesting. If nothing else, it might be a bit of a challenge to answer honestly with maybe a little snark added in for fun. 

If you could go back in time and relive one moment, what would it be?  This is already too hard.  I left this one to the end.  I've completed this whole thing and still can't answer this one.  I feel like there is so much cooler stuff ahead of me.  Well, when I was in college, our chamber choir went to England and we sang around the tomb of the unknown soldier in Westminster Abby.  Our voices rang off all that concrete.  Never heard anything like it.  We sounded like angels.  That was pretty darn cool. 

If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?
 I don't think I'd change anything.  Possible cop out, but I am who I am because of all the mistakes and missteps I've made.  You don't grow if you don't mess up and learn from it.  Although, I when I was in high school, when I had another offer from a really nice guy, I should've taken it instead of pining over the jerk that broke up with me. LOL!

What movie/tv character do you most resemble in personality?  
 I'd say Amy Adams, first because she has red hair like me, but also because most of her characters are feisty and stubborn.  My first memory of anything remotely stubborn comes when I was 4.  My mom took me to the Dr. once a week to get allergy shots.  There was a nurse there, Martha, a sassy black lady that I LOVED.  She gave the best shots.  Hardly hurt.  She always told a story about me putting my hands on my hips when I was 4 saying, "Now Martha, wait just a darn, darn, minute."  Because I wasn't ready for her to give me my shot.  Told that story on me til I was a lot older.  So that's proof of the origins of my  feisty and stubbornness.  LOL

If you could push one person off a cliff and get away with it, who would it be?
I could never do that in real life.  Although my husband wants me to learn to shoot a gun in case somebody ever breaks into our house.  He's paranoid like that.  You just never know.  As far as the cliff, I'd never be on one because I have a whole 'height' thing, plus I can't think of anybody that gets on my nerves that bad.

Name one habit you want to change in yourself.
self-doubt.  Not sure if it's a habit, but it's something about myself I wish I could change.  

Describe yourself in one word.
kind-hearted (I hyphenated it so technically it's one word)

Describe the person who named you in this meme in one word.

Why do you blog? Answer in one sentence.
To help hone my writing skills, but also to meet people.

Who am I tagging?
Not sure.  The people Michelle tagged are most of the people I have on my blog list.  I'm still a newbie at the blog thing.

Meme The Second:
Are you hot?
Apparently, more than I realized.  I got propositioned by a guy on Facebook the other day wanting to find the 'right woman' and told me how cute he thought I was.  If he'd looked past my picture, he'd have seen the next thing that says 'Married'.  Husband votes yes, and his vote is the one that counts.

Upload a picture or wall paper you are using at the moment.

 Hugh...what can I say?  Just look at this picture.  My husband and I have a 'freebie' list.  Like if  one of the celebs on our freebie list came to the door for one night.  We could go.  Like a hall pass.  lol  Hugh is at the top of mine. ;)  Halle Berry is at the top of his.  HAHA!

 When was the last time you ate chicken meat?
This week.  Made a casserole with broccoli, cheese, chicken and rice in it.

The Song(s) you listened to recently?
The two that I keep going back to on my ipod are:
Rascal Flatts-"I won't let Go"  Been using that for how one of my characters feel in a new MS I'm working on.
Sara Evans-"A little bit Stronger" Also using that one in the same MS.  Helps me get inside the characters' head.  Does that even make sense?
Taylor Swift-"Mean" I just love this song! One of my 5th graders sang this for our end of year talent show that me and my partner music teacher are in charge of.  The song hadn't been released as a single yet, so I hadn't heard it when she tried out.  The week after school was out it was on the radio a lot.  I think of Hanna up on the stage with her guitar when I hear it. :)

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
I had to think way too hard and it took way too long, but it's because I'm a perfectionist and tend to be long-winded.  ;)

Do you have nicknames?
Red..that one goes back to when I was four. My best friend, Craig, still calls me that sometimes. Some of the people in my family call me Suze(pronounced SOOZ) not (SOOOZEE).  Suze Orman completely confused everybody so now NOBODY can pronounce my nickname correctly if it's written out.  I have a few college buddies that call me Swooze, but only a few.

Tag eight Blogger friends.
I'm not even sure I know how to tag anybody in a blog.  This should be interesting.

1. A.M. Supinger-Inner Owlet

2.Stephanie Diaz-Stephanie Diaz
3. Robert K. Lewis- Needle City
4. Anita G. Howard- A still and Quiet Madness

5. Julie A. Lindsey-Musings from the Slush Pile
6.Donna Earnhardt-Word WranglerNC
7. Wendy Sparrow-Where Ladybugs Roar
8.Dean C. Rich-The Write Time

Who’s listed as number one?
A.M. Supinger- My new Tweeplet friend on Twitter.  She's sweet and a great cheerleader.  Her blogtest was only the 2nd short story I'd ever written and she thought it was pretty good.  I was pretty proud of myself for entering her contest and she was so encouraging. 

Say something about number 5.
Julie A. Lindsey is a Twitter buddy, who is 'living the dream'.  She's gotten a contract with a publisher that is going to publish 3 of her books within the next year.  She's also a writer/mom like me and great fun to talk to. 

How did you get to know number 3?
Robert lurks(haha) around Agent Query and Twitter throwing in comments now and again about different topics, although they always seem to come back to Brandy Beans.  One of these days, He will taste a Goo-Goo cluster and I will finally get a hold of some brandy beans.  Probably in the fall when you can ship chocolate without the danger of it melting. :)

How about number 4?
Met Anita on Twitter as well.  She's an author and a really cool lady.  She's part of the goat posse that Michelle told me to crash. I mistakenly took her for a red-head, but she forgave me for it.  lol

Leave a message for number 6.

Hey Donna, if we ever meet each other at a Writer's Conference we SO have to find a bar to do kareoke in! :)

Leave a lovey-dovey message for number 2.
  My dear sweet Stephanie, oh how I count the days until I can tweet with you again....ok that's enough..that's a little weird.  lol

Do number 7 and number 8 have any similarities?
Both I met on Twitter, both are writers and both seem to be really great people.  I'm really lucky to have met both of them. :)

Dudes, this took a LONG TIME. But it was fun.
And seriously–don’t get stressed if I tagged you. This should be fun. If it isn’t? SKIP IT!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A Beautiful Day

I've been sitting in my house most of this summer.  I know...stupid.  Mainly because the weather here has been a little weird.  Cooler and rainier than usual for TN.   Now, today was a beautiful day.  I looked out my kitchen window over the giant pile of dirty dishes in the sink and decided to go sit outside for a few minutes.  So I took my new Kindle, that I've just started figuring out how to use, and sat on my covered patio with the cool breeze blowing.  While I was sitting out there reading, I thought, what constitutes a perfect day?  I'd seen a post on Facebook from a friend I work with that asked if there was one day you'd want to do over again, what day would it be?  I couldn't answer.  I've experienced so many perfect days, there's no way I'd choose just one.  I've been so blessed to have TONS of perfect days.
I decided to go sit on the 15 year old swing set that Greg built our oldest daughter when she was two.  We built a bench swing on it so we could sit and swing while the kids played on the rest of it. 
As I swung back and forth, I looked around at the perfectly blue sky.  The white puffy clouds, which are my favorite, hanging around not looking like they weren't in a hurry to be anywhere.  The sound of cars and a motorcycle buzzing and humming by the front of our house is so familiar, I don't hardly register it.  The tops of the trees that have grown into giants since we moved into our house 20 years ago were dancing.  There was my oldest daughter 'tanning' as she calls it on the trampoline, while the youngest was still in the house playing a game on the computer.  I didn't feel too bad, she'd been out walking earlier when it wasn't as warm. 
I thought you always hear people say, appreciate everything because today might be your last day.  Take it all in.  Take nothing for granted.
I guess today was my day to stop trying to do everything else.  It was great.  I wasn't out there long...maybe 10 minutes, but it was enough to make a great memory.  It was my beautiful day.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Fighting with your Manuscript-Who's winning?

You would think by now, I would've figured out that if a manuscript(MS) is leaning in one direction or another with or without your consent, that as a writer, you would just follow it.  RIGHT?  WRONG!
Some of us new writers are stubborn and still don't trust our instincts yet.  Once again, I've had an explosion of an idea in my brain.  An answer to a question I've been wrestling with all this time.  It took the words of another writer and several days of simmering in my brain before I actually figured it out.

I've been grappling with my query letter because, the way I have my MS, the first 8 pages are in the present-Main character girl is in her 30's.  Goes back to when she was a teenager in high school for body of MS then the last two chapters, switch back to present and she's 30 again.  I've always thought I wanted to write in the women's fiction genre, but the whole middle is YA, because she's a teen.  So I've asked people smarter than me what they thought.  I've had 3 different friends read it and liked it like it was, but then trying to pitch a story that goes back and forth like that in a little less than 250 words has proven almost impossible for me.  I've written that query 20 times if I've written it once.  I asked a writer friend, who's opinion I respect, @DarkeConteur, and she said that sometimes you have to go where the words take you.  She said she never meant to write a YA short story, but she had one that moved in that direction anyway.  I think she said that one was published, but don't quote me on that.  So having those words in my mind, I've been working on this all week.  Trying to reconstruct something I thought was pretty good to start with and having little success. 
Then, this morning it hits me.
Take the beginning out and start where the YA part starts. Duh. Accept the fact that it is what it is and it's a YA novel.  Even though my intention was not to go there because everybody else was, that's where this MS has ended up.  I've had a teen friend of my daughter's read it and she loved it.  She said she sat up reading it and it made her cry.  I added some things to the chapter before it goes into the part where the Main Char. is 30 and ended it with hope, but there's no sparkly happy ending.  She doesn't get the guy, but she's stronger and she's heading to college.  I think there's a triumph in there and that's what I wanted for the end.
I think this is the answer I've been needing, but the word count will have to come down a bit.
I feel better about this illumination than anything else in a long time. It feels right.  I can take what I have when she's 30 and that can be 'women's fiction' and can move forward with that MS when the time is right.  :)
So I didn't actually allow my MS to win...did I?  I did feel like we were fighting each other...I guess I did let it win.  The words seem to know what's best.  I just need to be a better listener.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sometimes you just need to walk away

Well, since my last post, I was in some heavy resentment when I realized I needed to tear up my Work In Progress (WIP) and restructure it.  I tried the other day to bang around some ideas, but all my attempts failed and I was ready to quit.  That's the first time since I started this back in 2008 that I really thought I didn't need to write.  "Stupid of me to think I ever could.  I'll never be able to make this work."  This was the audio tape I was hearing in my brain being played back to me every time another of my attempts at salvaging what I already had and just moving things around a little failed.
I've learned over the past two weeks, that the best thing for me is a 'cooling off'' period.  When I get that frustrated over a writing project, my best bet is to stop thinking about it.  Just take it out of my mind and do something totally different.  So far, my results have been better than I could've ever expected.  All because I'd gotten frustrated over what I was writing in my main WIP, I've made progress in something else.  It used to be the only story I was working on.  Then I needed a break from it and bounced around some other things.  Now I have a few chapters in each of these other projects as well.  They give my brain a rest and allow it to still be successful and creative.  Just in these two weeks when I've been frustrated and needed a break, I've pumped out two short stories that I'm pretty proud of.
So today, I didn't write at all, until just now.  Didn't write one thing other than talking to my Twitter friends and commenting on my friends' posts on Facebook.  At first, it wasn't really on purpose, but then as the end of the day drew near and I hadn't written anything, I realized I needed to do that to allow my brain time to 'perk'.  After I started supper on the grill, I began to write down a new and hopefully improved outline/synopsis of what was coming out of my mind at this point with the main WIP.  I think this will work better, although, I haven't actually started writing it yet.  I've got a better feeling about it than I did yesterday, so I hope my intuitions are correct.  My good friends, Brenda and @DarkeConteur both said they thought the main part of the story needed to stay in the present and do memory/flashbacks rather than start in the present for the first 8 pgs., switch to the past-stay there the majority of the time and then end in the present again.  I've seen it done that way in movies, so I thought it would work, but books are different from movies.  My biggest clue was when I was trying to write my query letter.  No matter how many times I wrote it, I couldn't make it say what was happening in the book and it still make sense in 250 words.  I think this will help the pacing and keep the reader turning pages.  I hope so anyway.
So, tomorrow, I'm setting my alarm, getting up before my husband who gets up at 5:30 and take advantage of the quiet house and see how much I can get done tomorrow.  Writing makes me happy. :)  I think I'm going to keep doing it after all.  As for now, I'm typing and sipping on a margarita I made for myself.  Cheers! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Out of frustration comes a new story

Yesterday, I was ready to throw my poor defenseless laptop out the door.  Frustration over my main manuscript was at a peak.  It's something I don't usually have to deal with when I write.  So I gave up...sort of.  Walking away from it ended up to be a good idea.
My 'Twitter friend' @A.M.Supinger is having a writing contest on her blog and asked me to enter it.  She said it would be 'fun'.  I wasn't sure about it when she asked me.  It was a short story contest, but the week before, I'd entered a short story contest of another 'Twitter friend @MichelleSimkins.  I'd never written a short story and one of the criteria was to use these pictures as a writing prompt.  I started thinking about the pictures and a 2,000 word short story began creeping out of me.  After several hours of writing and rewriting, I had, what I thought was a pretty cool story.  I'm a newbie writer to begin with, but writing a short story had never appealed to me. Never thought I could do it.  Turns out it was because I'd never tried.
So, a week later, I tried again.  Another 2,000 word short story with the writing prompt being, "Haunted Love".  The short story required those two elements in it and was due by June 28th.  Since I'd written one short story using pictures of the Stone house, as the story was called, I decided to use pictures from a friend's vacation I'd seen on Facebook.  It was an Inn they stayed at on Bailey Island in Maine.  I've never been to Maine, so I looked at her pictures and then looked at the Inn's website as well.  After looking at the pictures, another story started popping in my head and I started writing.
Once again, my brain shocks me at how it works.  Characters and things that happen to them just appear in there and I just write down what I see.  So, around 12:45 this morning, I'd finished my story, edited it and was ready to send it.  Once I put it in the body of the email, I decided to wait and look over it one more time when I was a little more coherent.  So this morning, I edited a little more and sent her a tweet announcing that I'd emailed it to her.
Two short stories in two weeks...working on them for not that long.  I didn't think that was too bad.  I may actually be some sort of a writer after all.

Monday, June 20, 2011


AAAAHHHHHHH!  Ok, I feel a little better.  For the past 24 hours I've been grappling with the idea that I may need to tear apart my manuscript and start over.  Not completely over, but restructure it.  I've worked on it all morning, having to take 'mom' breaks here and there.  For the most part, it's been frustrating and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and not really getting anywhere. It doesn't feel right to move things around from where I've got them, but I've had several people that I've asked about it say I might need to.  *sigh*
So far the changes I've made, I don't like.  I feel like the changes are slowing down the momentum of the story, which is not what I want.  The story I have written moves pretty well, so I thought before I started fooling with it.

Right now, I'm SO frustrated with it, I'd rather do housework than write.  That falls under the catagory of "You know it's bad when: " So I decided to write down my frustrations on here and maybe later on, I can look back at this and say..."Oh yeah..I remember that.  I was ready to pull my hair out that day." Hopefully, this is only a minor set back.  I may just put it up and start working on my Vet MS and maybe I'll get an idea of how I need to fix the other one.  That's the way my brain works.  Even though I may not be working on the problem right then, my brain is still trying to come up with a solution, even if I'm not thinking about it at the moment and then BAM!  Something comes at me out of nowhere and it's usually a pretty good idea.  That's what I'm hoping anyway..

Right now, my instinct is to leave it like it was.  I like the way the story flows now, but it's still bothering me that most of it is a memory.  So, I wonder where I should go from here.  Only time will tell, I guess.

I'm not the most patient person in the world, so I hope some sort of resolution happens soon.

Friday, June 17, 2011

When creativity explodes right in front of you

I've been a busy beaver since school's been out working on two different manuscripts.  One I've worked on for so long, I have to leave it alone for awhile.  It's kinda like being with relatives too long.  You love them so much, but if you're around each other for too long, you start getting on each other's nerves.  That's what happens to me with Ellie, Jack and Jaston.  I've read, re-read and re-written their dialogue so many times, I get to a point where it all just sounds stupid.  Then I hear Diana Gabaldon's voice in my head saying she never gets writer's block because if she gets stuck on something, she starts writing on something else.  I decided that's what I needed to do.
She said if she got an idea for a scene, she'd go ahead and write it out and worry about how it would fit in with everything else later.  I've been doing that with my new MS.  It doesn't have a name right now.  I'm sure one will come to me at some point.  Right now, I just save my documents as 'Vet/warlock'.  The story is still new so there are a lot of questions I still have, but the characters are showing themselves to me a little at a time.

My deal is I have to be patient, so the characters can tell me the story instead of my forcing a story on them.  That seems to work much better for me.  It also makes the writing process fun for me.  I'm not sure what I would do if I had  a real deadline to write with. It would probably stress me out.

I haven't abandoned the other MS.  It's still near and dear to my heart.  My critique partner, Tina, who is a joy to work with and a great writer in her own right, went through my "Never Alone" MS.  Now, I'm going back over it and fixing what she thought it needed.  I think after that, I'll start the query process.  I might ask one or two more people to look at it to see if it has any other errors she or I didn't catch now that I've changed some things. 

On a whim, I wrote a short story for  @Green_Woman 's blog contest this week too.  That was interesting.  I'd never written one before.  I had to use some pictures as a writing prompt.  It turned out to be really fun, but 2,000 words nearly killed me.  Having that restriction kept me on my toes for sure.  I have another friend on Twitter @AMSupinger that has a writing contest on her blog too.  She wanted me to write another 2,000 word short story on 'Haunted Love'.  This should be easy since my first MS has a ghost as a main character, but so far, I'm not getting any kind of creative burst for that one.  Maybe next week...:)