Monday, December 31, 2007

I scheduled in fun yesterday and by golly, I had it! LOL I made it to Atlanta. Got in last night and hung out with friends. I watched them play Madden and I made one of the guys choose the Rams. The other one refused to play my Rams. He chose the Patriots and guess who got SPANKED!!!!! Yep, Patriots. This game is just like real life! (NOT!) LOL Well, this got me to thinking about my own Playstation. The one that's lying on the floor, next to the TV and not connected. The one that I bought maybe 4 years ago so I could learn to play Madden and spank butt. Yeah, that Playstation. So now since I finally bought a second controller for it last year, even though I've only played it twice, maybe now I'll finally buy Madden and learn to play. I'll have to pencil that into the schedule.

So I did have Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Moseley and I listened to it on the way down. It was great listening. Walter Moseley's Easy Rawlings stories are awesome to listen to on the road. They are so engrossing, funny, and enjoyable. I love them. Then had time to listen to my Jack Johnson's Brushfire Fairytales CD. I like this CD as well, but I do like In Between Dreams better.

And now, here I sit at a Panera's in Lithonia, getting some writing done before I welcome the in the New Year. Even though I bring my camera, I'm bad at remembering to take pics. Even worse at posing for them. But I'll try to put up a couple of good pics of tonight's New Year's party with my motorcycle club.

Here's to wishing you have a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous NEW YEAR!!!!!


Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's the 30th of the month which means it's my day to post at You can check it out by clicking the link. I also place an RSS feed on the side of my blog. Check it out today, and any other day to see what the writers there are blogging about. :-)

Well, I'm up and packing. I'm heading to Atlanta to bring in the New Year with friends and members of the Atlanta Chapter of my bike club. It's also part work too because I'm doing a write up on their New Year's activities. Along with doing that write up, I'll be working on a short article for And between working on Book 3, I'll think of ideas for my feature at Sportwave Online. I'll have fun too because I do plan to get some socializing in. That's actually going to be one of my New Year's resolutions because I don't spend enough time socializing, I think. :-) Still something I have to push myself to do. Maybe the first step would be to actually TALK on the phone though. LOL I don't know. I'm a text queen. My coworkers joke with me about basically having a computerized phone on my hip and I do everything on it except talk. I rarely pick up the phone and when I do, I'm anxious to get off. I'd rather text our conversation. It's just that I prefer talking in person rather than on the phone. The phone to me is just for the set up. When, where, and what time. But, of course, for me to have a person to person conversation, that means I have to uh, get out and socialize. Sigh. I'll work on it for 2008.

Well, I'm all geared up for the ride! :-) I bought Jack Johnson's Brushfire CD. A coworker let me borrow his Between the Sheets (?) CD and I absolutely LOVED it. He told me Brushfire was even better, so I bought it for the ride. I already listened to the first couple of songs and I've enjoyed them so far. And, I also have 20 hours worth of books on CDs. I have something by Walter Moseley. I think Devil in a Blue Dress, but I'm not sure. And I have The Price of a Child. So, believe it or not, the drive to and from Atlanta will be exciting. I'm looking forward to it. I love long driving trips specifically for this reason. Also gives me time to think about what I'm writing as well.



Saturday, December 29, 2007

I've been spending time going over the chapters I've written already. I confess. I'm like, "What the hell was I smoking when I wrote this mess?" What I'm finding out is that I'm not a good at writing under pressure or forcing myself to write if I'm not feeling it. Which is one reason why it would be hard to write to whatever the market dictates.

Okay, let me tell you what happened. Earlier this year, I was trying to hurry up to submit the first few chapters to my agent to shop. Probably wouldn't be an issue, except that I had so much going on this year (moving, job hunting and hopping) that I couldn't fully concentrate and get into a groove with this book. I've known for the longest the story I wanted to write. But in a rush to submit SOMETHING, I skipped my normal writing process. I didn't fully sketch or flesh characters. Well, I was only going to submit three chapters. Character sketches wouldn't matter for that, right? I could always go back and flesh them out later. NOT!

And then, I found what is comfortable for me is to just focus on the plot the first draft, then round out the story and flavor the second and subsequent drafts. Cool. Okay, but I don't know what the hell I did for the first five chapters that I wrote. It didn't flow. Characters were flat. I had first and third POV in the first chapter. I mean, I really looked at it and said, "What the hell? Who fucked up my story?!" LOL It was so screwed that it took me a minute to figure out how to smooth it out.

Well, the first thing I did was go back to my normal writing process. I went to what works for me. I sketched my characters to the fullest, then did my chapter by chapter plot outline. It still took me a minute to smooth out the first chapter. It was the opening I wanted, but it didn't flow. But I massaged it and massaged until now, GWA-LA! It's the way I want it.

Whew! That rush job? Remind me never to do that shit again....


Friday, December 28, 2007

This is surprising to me, but I'm tickled pink. :-) I have to admit, the best gift I got for Christmas actually came from my manager. Now, who would have thunk a thing like that? A manager actually picking out a gift that fits you as an individual rather than say, one of several fruit cakes that was distributed to every employee alike? No, rather than give a "one gift fits all" present, he gave all of his team gifts that fit their individual personalities. He gave me this cute little writing inspirations book. I'm in a unique situation where my manager actually knows I'm a writer and thinks it's cool. He even asked me a few questions about writing, as he dreams of writing his own novel himself one day. So, anyway, the book is The Pocket Muse - Ideas and Inspirations for Writing by Monica Wood. It's just a tiny book with tips and writing prompts to get you writing. This is my first little book like this and flipping through it makes me anxious to try some of the writing prompts and put them on my website. It probably don't sound as fascinating as I'm making it out to be and actually, I don't know why I'm so fascinated by it. LOL But I just think it's the coolest little thing.

One thing that really got me though was the writer's opening. She talked of leaving her job and becoming a full-time writer. And how, after a while, she longed for her old job. She longed to be amongst people again on a day to day basis. I could really relate to that. When my first book was published, I wrote full time for a while. I felt blessed. I felt like it was such a dream fulfilled. But after a while, I wanted to go back to work. Writing is definitely a lonely profession, and I confess to having somewhat of a reclusive personality. It's nothing for me to go days without seeing a single soul or weeks without socializing, and I don't get lonely. I'm comfortable. Too comfortable. I can easily see myself becoming a total recluse closed off from the world. I have to force myself to socialize as it is. Not working, I think I'd end up being the reclusive senile drunk we've all heard of a time or two. LOL Besides, I agree with Monica's quotation of the paradox: You can't write without fully living and you can't live fully and still find the time to write. So true.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Well now. I'm finding that the more I blog, the more I keep up with my writing. I'm thinking, maybe it's like doing more or being on your best behavior when you know your parents are looking over your shoulder. Being that I'm a writer and I'm supposed to be writing, the mark of shame would be to come here and have to confess that no, I haven't written a thing in over a week for no other reason, other than I've been goofing off. But as it is, by writing everyday, it's feeding into the current desire to finish my long overdue third novel, as well as sprouting ideas for new one. Just by thinking about what I could possibly write today, I thought of a new idea for a book. Now, exactly how the thought came about, I have no idea. Thinking about a blog post, and the final story idea, I see no connection. lol

But one thing I'm starting to think about is the route of publishing for the next book. Yes, when I'm finished, I will go the route of publishing again. Of course, I'll submit to my agent to shop for a deal. But to be honest, I don't feel the urgency or the necessity of getting a publishing deal anymore. No, I'm not saying that I don't want one. If one is indeed offered, yes, I'd take a look at it and consider if it's worthwhile. But one thing that comes with publishing your own first is that you know you can do it again, so there's no worry about whether or not you will have a published novel. Yes, there's still a stigma with self-published vs. traditionally published books, but when you've done both, I think, you're beyond caring what people think of your route of publishing. It would be the same book regardless of the route (provided you self publish a quality product). For me, the only think traditional publishing does is perhaps give you an advance to where you can promote (and you'll do the same promotion no matter the route). You lose a little control over your final product though, I found. And for book three, I have a clear visual in my head of the title and cover, and I'm not sure if I want to part with it. And that makes it more important to look at the current products of the publisher. So, basically, I've learned a lot by having done both methods. I had my agent when I self published Counting Raindrops and she was supportive. I'm sure if I chose to do that with book three, she would be supportive again (at least I hope so).

Like book one, I'd do it all myself if I self published. This morning, I was reading Lee Goldberg's December 26th blog posting about a posting he read on a vanity publisher that was sued by 275 defrauded authors. Aspiring authors, beware. Doing it yourself can be expensive, but you know you're not going to rip yourself off either.


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

So yes, as I counted on, there was wrapping paper and Christmas boxes from last year at my mother's house. And I discovered that apparently procrastination runs in my family, as I and my two brothers all took up a secret location in the house to use mom's wrapping paper (and scissors, and tape, and labels, and bows) to wrap gifts that would be unwrapped in less than 15 minutes. You can't just give someone a gift at Christmas. Unwrapping is 95% of the gift exchange experience. Nothing like going home and feeling like your shortcomings are normal habits.

It's becoming tradition for my family to go see a movie on holidays and yesterday we went to see The Great Debaters. Awesome movie! This brings my movie viewing total up to one this year and it was well worth it. I'm not a big movie watcher only because I never make the time. I have to pull myself away from books to do so. But seeing this movie makes me want to check out a flick more often, if it's going to be as worthwhile as this. As I get older, I find my interests changing. I'm more into stories of real life obstacles turned triumphant victories. I'm also finding myself becoming more interested in science fiction and fantasy, which I can't help to notice, seems like a total contrast to me. It's like, one minute I want something real that I can relate to, and the next minute I want to escape from it and go to Never Never Land. I feel so creatively bipolar sometimes.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

It's Christmas morning and I've put in work already. So far, I've spent a good hour sending out text messages to wish all my friends and distant family members a Merry Christmas. This year, I wasn't too good at getting my Christmas cards out in time. How many? How about zero. It all just happened so fast. One day I'm eating a turkey dinner, then, KAPOWAH! It's Christmas. So, I'm taking the procrastinator's way out by texting all my friends and family. I'm about halfway done because I'm reading and replying to my other texting family and friends who are doing the exact same thing. So, like for every text you send out, there's 10 to reply to. LOL I'll finish the rest later.

Okay, I went Christmas shopping at the bookstore right? And they have gift wrapping, only, I have a $20 bill. I don't want to have my books wrapped and not put something in the donation jar because, well, everybody's looking. So, I ask the cashier for change. "We can't give out change," she says. I give her the stupid look. And I want to say, "Well, I can't purchase these books," and walk off after she's rung them up, but it's Christmas Eve and only a few hours left til stores closed and I don't want to go anywhere else anyway. So, she has me over a barrel. I give an empty look and say, "Ok." But I'm thinking, that's okay. Because I'm visualizing the leftover roll of Christmas wrapping I have in the back of my closet behind my suitcases. It'll be fun to wrap them myself, even though I'm not good at it. After all, sloppy wrapping shows effort. :-) So I take them hope and prepare to go to the closet to get the wrapping, and it's not there. Uh, not the Christmas wrapping....THE CLOSET!!!! I was envisioning the wrapping in the closet of my OLD apartment! I forgot I switched apartments in my building last year and that closet, nor the Christmas wrapping, does not exist. So, I'm left with either the non-biodegradable grocery bags (news report said they contain petroleum so while we thought we were doing the environment a favor, it was all for not. Yet again, we were guilted into making corporations richer), or going over Mom's house early so I can borrow some of her wrapping paper. And yes, she DOES have wrapping paper. Because at worst, there will be the old paper that she saved from last year's Christmas gifts.

Sigh. A procrastinator's work is never done...


Monday, December 24, 2007

Okay, it's Christmas Eve and I just started and finished my Christmas shopping. Yes, I'm forever the procrastinator, when it comes to shopping. Anything to put off fighting for parking spaces and crowded shopping malls. But this time, it wasn't so bad. One, because I listened to audio books while I drove. So having to circle the lot a few times gave me more time to find out what happened next. :-) I even pulled it to a spot and waited a few minutes until I got to that "breaking point" in the story. And two, well, I cheated. I decided to do the majority of my a bookstore. LOL Yes, I cruised the bookstore, which is my passion anyway, until I found a book that would be suitable for each person on my list. And so what if I spent extra time looking at books I was interested in? That's not the point. LOL So anyway, after three or so hours in one store (which is triple the time I like to spend in an entire mall), it was off to buy supplementary gift cards and I'm done. And here I sit at Panera's again, doing a little writing. What a deserving treat!

Writing is flowing again. Reminds me especially of writing book one. I get goosebumps thinking about certain scenes and I'm anxious to describe it on paper (or screen) as best I can so the reader can get the full impact of what I'm seeing and envisioning. Yeah, it's that writer's feeling again. I haven't really set a target for completion. Ah, what the hey...I'm going to shoot for the end of January. Wait...maybe mid February. Forgot, I'm an Engineer again. LOL

So, I'm back in a reading and writing frenzy, as I've said before, I'm sure. The thing about reading to me is, that it makes you itch to write. I haven't experienced it yet, but I would imagine that when I get writer's block, all I would have to do is pick up a few books to read. It inspires me to write. I've heard some writers say that they can't read when they write because they fear copying someone else's style. It's hard for me to relate to that. Yes, reading inspires me to write, but in my own style, I believe. Mainly because it seems difficult to honestly write in another style than what I comfortable with. When I write, it's like there's a drum and I'm writing to a rhythm. I'm familiar with the rhythm, which makes it easy. It's natural. I don't have to think about it. If I purposely try to write in someone else's style, or just force myself to write another way, it's difficult to me. I would imagine the writing would be choppy or disjointed. Because I wouldn't know what the hell I was doing.

On the contrary, even though I'm reading for pure enjoyment, I'm learning various methods other writers use say in presenting an idea, showing motives, introducing characters, using props and scenes, etc. It's like word association. When someone says a word and you're supposed to name the first thing that comes to your mind. You don't think of the same word that was said, but something else. And you probably could think of MANY different words from the mention of that same word. That's what reading while writing is like to me. It's pretty cool! ;-)


Thursday, December 13, 2007

Aaaahhhh!!!! I've finally found another groove. Another writing groove. Now, after work, I head straight to Panera's in the Loop and get in my writing for today, as well as do a little reading. All while sipping a latte or eating a toasted cinnamon crunch bagel (or brownie on naughty days). It's a relaxing environment and I have the background noise going on so I can write (I can't write in total silence. Silence is loud and distracting. I can't concentrate). And often times, like right now, you can find some interesting characters for future use. Listening to dialogue is fun too. Ahem...not eavesdropping....but um...research. lol So there's a couple of older gentlemen sitting at a table across from me. Got to be late 50's. One black, one white. Old managerial fogey look. And they're sitting here gossiping their behinds off! If I was reading it in a book with no tags attached, my mind would conjure up two teenagers or two women sitting on a porch with curlers in their hair. The conversation just does not match the looks.

There's another group of older gentle a few tables over. Hey, it's not my fault if they're talking loud enough for me to hear. But the white male (and I know that he is white not because I look at him, but appaarently, he feels the need to make this known to the men he's sitting with. And I look up to find that they perhaps have roots in India, and from what I can tell, not blind) is emotionally talking about a verbal conflict with another what sounds like co-worker, and talks about speaking to each other from the heart and with understanding. It's just the emotion in it all. Makes me want to sing kum-baa-yaa.

Lesson learned....if you're in a coffee shop and there are people by you with laptops, keep your voice to a minimum because you never know when someone is randomly blogging about you under your very nose. lol

So anyway, I'm making consistent progress on getting book three done. Finally. :-)