December 2010


The gals at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood have just announced the details of their new Winter Writing Festival and I can’t wait to dive in.

The gist: You set the goals that will work for you and check in with the Rubies once a week to let them know how you’re doing. You earn 1 point a day for meeting your personal goal, and anyone who earns 50 points during the festival is a winner.

The challenge starts on Jan. 10. Now all I need to do is craft some goals.

Get more details here.

We had a write-in/brainstorming session at Starbucks this afternoon before work, and I lamented the fact that I’ve only written about 600 words since the end of NaNoWriMo.

I’ve had days when I want to write, but the simple fact is this: I’m stuck.

The (finished) NaNo novel has been shelved, and I’m attempting to work on Bethany and Cody’s story, “Trouble in Paradise?” The key word there is “attempting.”

Beth and Cody are on the island, completing the network’s tests as they film their “Temptation Island”-like show … but nothing really awful has happened yet. They’re bumping along as happily as they have been. Nothing’s really settled, but nothing’s bothering them too much. Neither one has strayed — nor will they, even if Cody does develop some serious doubts about Beth’s faithfulness.

It may be time to up the ante here. (At least that’s what my romantic-suspense writing friend suggested. She said there’s a saying among suspense writers that when you’re stuck it’s time to boost the body count.)

I don’t have anyone to kill off … but I guess I could boot one of the couples off the island. (Any couple who fails three tests gets sent home.) I’d prefer it to be the contestants no one likes very much, but I suppose it would make for a better read if it’s someone I like. Bumping off the creep is too easy, right?

Alas, I think that means Jack and Jill must exit. They’re young and enthusiastic  — friendly, likable characters who want to win the prize money so they can pay for their own wedding, thus putting a stop to parental interference. Cody has recruited Jack as a running partner.

I just hate to see Jack and Jill go down in flames — but better them than Beth and Cody. 😉

Besides, their exit might make both Beth and Cody wonder : If Jack and Jill, young and seemingly madly in love, can’t avoid succumbing to temptation, perhaps no one can.

I doubt this will be my last post of the year (I certainly hope not!), but I thought it was as good a time as any to look back at what I’ve done this year.

That’s right: I was catching up on my Word Count Countdown spreadsheet and realized just how much I’ve gotten accomplished since Jan. 17.

  • 185,287 words written
  • Wrote one complete series-length manuscript (during NaNoWriMo), finished up one that started the year 1/3 finished, expanded and edited two others; and wrote about 1/3 of my second single title
  • Sent out countless query letters and got a few nibbles; haven’t landed an agent yet, though.
  • Finaled in the FCRW Beacon contest (waiting to hear on the final results).
  • Prepped two Golden Heart entries (one in single title contemporary, one in series contemporary)
  • Started — and finished — NaNoWriMo
  • Volunteered to judge the GH (am waiting for a judging packet now)

I feel like I’m finally on my way. And I owe it all to the encouragement of my NARWA sisters, the gals at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood and, of course, Jennifer Ashley, the speaker who somehow lit a fire under my butt at the January NARWA meeting.

Thanks, guys. May we meet on bookstore shelves!

An e-mail arrived in my inbox today with the subject line: “Your Submission: …”

Since I was at work at the time, I had an argument with myself.

“You can’t open that! You’re supposed to be working,” the me with the Midwestern work ethic said. (It’s the same me that never calls in sick because I don’t want to leave my coworkers in the lurch. I have something like 140 sick hours built up because never feel like I can take it.)

“Open it. It won’t take long — and it might be good news.”

“No, really. Good news or not, you can wait until you get home,” the angel me insisted.

My impatient side snorted. “Yeah, right.”

No need to guess which side won. I clicked on that e-mail faster than a hungry dog scarfs down its dinner. I’m not even sure I took time to carry on that conversation in my head before I opened it. (I should have!)

Unfortunately, the news was not good. Another rejection — the second on the partial MS for “Blind Date Bride” … well, the third. Two agents and one publisher have taken a pass.

I still have hope, though. At least it was an encouraging rejection, complete with a “hang in there and stick with it.”

The agent’s complaint? Worry that the voice isn’t unique enough to stand out in the market.

Now that’s a little worrisome, because I don’t have any other voice to write in. And confusing, because in the Beacon Contest judges’ comments, they loved my voice.

Then again, the judges’ comments are on “Beauty and the Ballplayer,” not “Blind Date Bride.” Maybe BDB still isn’t ready for prime time.

And maybe I just need to continue my agent search. Somewhere, out there, is the agent who will fall as in love with my story as I am. I just need to find her (or him).

Lucky for me, my friends at the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood wrote a blog post about just that topic today: the agent hunt.

It’s funny how wildly my mood has swung. I was euphoric about my contest final two weeks ago, especially after reading the judges’ feedback. I had a feeling it was the start of something big. I imagined myself on the verge of signing with an agent, selling a novel or both.

Now, I’m down in the dumps, questioning my story … my voice … even my writing talent. Yes, even a “good” rejection stings. (I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that.) 😉

I know rejection is a — huge — part of writing. We all get them. Even the bestselling authors got them at one time.

Even so, I can say it definitively: I don’t like the downslope of the writer’s roller coaster.

It’s time to make something good happen so I can crest another hill. 😉

 

Uh-oh. I think I’m suffering from a case of the “post-novel depression” my friend Mallory writes about.

That’s right. I went to my local Starbucks this morning when the Boyfriend headed off to tennis. I was all psyched to get back to writing. After taking a week off post-NaNo, I needed to write again.

Or so I thought.

I sat at the Bux for about two hours and managed to write … all of 200 words.

Aargh.

I could blame it on the fact that I stopped work on Beth & Cody’s story in the middle of a scene. I had a hard time picking it back up, having absolutely no idea where I’d originally intended it to go. (And I’m not sure I much like the new direction.)

Oh well. That’s 200 words I didn’t have this morning … and tomorrow is another day. Maybe I’ll eke out another 200 words (especially if I finish this scene and move on).

Well, I’m dealing with the disappointment of not getting into the first round of “Speed Dating with Deidre.” I didn’t even get the consolation prize, a chance to send in a one-page query.

However, life — and the querying process — will go on. So will the nerve-wracking process of entering contests.

None is more nerve-wracking — for me, at least — than the Golden Heart. But I cleared another hurdle in that process: I mailed in my entries … all 654 pages of them, plus a disc with each full MS, a week ago Monday.

That's a lot of paper!

That’s what they looked like stacked together. Singly, they looked like this:

Two entries, complete with synopses.

Still pretty impressive, eh? Nothing like requiring a couple of trees to make the supreme sacrifice to the Golden gods. 😉

Anyway, I checked with the Post Office today, and delivery confirmation said my entries were delivered on Nov. 24.

Delivery confirmed!

Now, the wait begins.

Since I volunteered to judge this year, I suspect at least some of my fretting time will be usurped. I’m not complaining!