Friday, October 31, 2008

NaNoWriMo

Taryn brought up an excellent point this morning. National Novel Writing Month begins tomorrow! Aack! And, like, I'm signed up!

Taryn has planned her novel. Excellent! You're allowed to do that. You are not, however, allowed to have already begun writing the novel. You begin writing no sooner than November 1, and by November 30 you have at least a 50,000 word manuscript. That's the objective. Well, that's one objective. Another--and probably the main one for many people--is to prove to yourself that you can actually write a novel. To do it in thirty days is darned impressive.

If you're able to accomplish this, you WIN. There can be as many winners as there are entrants. You are not competing against someone else. You are competing against time, I suppose. And the possible frittering away of time (say, email). You are also competing against doubt. Yours, and that of anyone who thinks you can't write a novel. On November 30 you can print out your completion certificate and say, "Hey, I did this thing!" Not sure how many people will be impressed by that, but as I recall when I WON the first time, I sure did print it and I sure did show it to some people.

NaNo HQ sends a weekly pick-me-up email. These are not Time Fritters. These are important Positive Reinforcement. You can also read lots of encouraging stuff on their website, and read what other NaNo participants are doing. You can even meet up with other NaNo'ers in person if you want to. For me, though, the main thing I keep in front of me is this: 1667. The number of words I need to write per day in order to win. This means that if I'm going to have a day with family, away from the laptop on Thanksgiving and that following Saturday (which I am), I'd better do some extra words somewhere along the way.

You can spend money doing this, but it's optional. They do raise money for literacy charities, and to support the website, etc. Each year I donate something. You can also buy stuff. They have a store with t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. I like the typewriter poster, although it freaks me out a bit that there are no letters on the keys. I touch-type, but still, that looks almost scary. Okay, yes, I'm easily frightened.

But hey, I'm completely jazzed about NaNo! I'm signed up, and I've got time to do it. I never had the time before, but you know what? I did it anyway. So can you, I bet. I hope you'll want to check it out: National Novel Writing Month.

Magdalena

I said I was going to talk about my real-life Kate today. Well, she got bumped by NaNo. Lucky girl. Happy Birthday! (And she isn't really Kate. She just has that soft southern drawl like Kate.)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Betsy is Back!


Thank you to everyone who has commented or emailed about yesterday's post. (And one who talked me through self-doubt via telephone.)

I appreciate your encouragement so much! Very happy to report actual progress on a story. Boy, that feels good. It isn't the story I intended to write, but it is the one that has decided to be written. Who am I to quibble?

If you have read Midnight in Legend, TN (in the Ladies of Legend: Finding Home anthology), you will remember Betsy, who was receptionist at McClain Realty. She became Midnight Shelby's good friend and a supporter of the marketing campaign for Legend, Tennessee. It's funny that this is the story I am writing, because my intent was to write the story of Kate, a secondary character in The Blank Book. But no, Betsy is eager to be on the page again, so I will oblige. She's so dang cute with those blonde curls... and she's so sweet. How could anyone tell her no? How could bad things have happened to her since we last saw her in Legend? Well, that's life I guess. Even if you're fictional, there are no guarantees.

So Betsy and I will be working through some issues. She'll have issues with Greg, of course, too... Oh, you don't know Greg. He arrived on the scene yesterday, very loudly, and scaring Betsy half to death. Then he laughed at her. Not smart, Greg. You wanna be careful about laughing at a woman who's been through some stuff.

I have an idea the sparks will fly today. Yeehaw--I do believe we're on a roll!

Anyway, Kate will have to wait, but I hope it won't be long. My real life "Kate" is having a birthday tomorrow. Maybe I'll talk about her...in a nice way, of course. Always in a nice way.

Magdalena

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Confession Time

I spend all day every day--with very few breaks--sitting in this chair doing "writing stuff."

I do promotion stuff, like this blog, the SisterWriters blog, and I read blogs written by other writers, as well as blogs written by romance readers. I read Publishers Weekly, and other real business type things. I keep up pretty well with my Facebook and MySpace pages. And I check to see how The Blank Book is doing on Fictionwise. Hm. And sometimes, while I'm there anyway, I browse. Okay, and I also look to see how Ladies of Legend: Finding Home is doing on Amazon.

It all relates to writing, but I've really fallen down on doing the writing. So, as of today, I'm back to the original schedule I set for myself. Early to mid-morning is for reading and replying to email, walking a couple of miles, posting a blog or two, reading the contents of my Giant Blog Feed Reader, and checking MySpace and Facebook.

Mid-morning through afternoon is not for any of those things. That time, except for an actual lunch hour I allow myself, is for writing. I have a list of new stories to write, and a list of older stories to revise. Having this very tidy list isn't doing me a lot of good right now, though.

You knew this would happen, didn't you? You knew I'd have trouble keeping my focus? Thanks. Now I'm pledging to do better.

And hey--in other writing news, be sure to get your copy of the newest book in the Ladies of Legend series. Maddie James' novel, Murder on the Mountain, was just released at Resplendence Publishing.

See you tomorrow morning! Feel free to leave me a comment... Um. I might sneak in and look at comments in the evenings, you know. Evenings are unscheduled.

Magdalena

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Other Book I'm Reading

Yesterday I sort of promised to tell you what other book I'm reading right now. Here it is. The Wyoming Kid, by Debbie Macomber. I'm not a fast reader, and am just about one third of the way through.

It is a sweet story about Joy, a school teacher new to town, and her best friend's brother, Lonny--a young rancher who "retired" from the rodeo.

Here is the end of the blurb:

"Now he has to convince Joy that marriage to the Wyoming Kid will be as exciting as an eight-second bull ride and as sweet as the cookies she loves to bake."

If you're a Debbie Macomber fan, you'll want to read the interview at Harlequin American's blog. She discusses this book in the interview, among other things.

I'm not a book reviewer, and I'm not a fast reader, so you won't get a lot of this type of thing from me. It just happens that I'm reading two at the same time. You probably do that a lot, but I really don't.

So...what are you reading? Any suggestions for me to add to my TBR pile?



Magdalena

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yes, I Really Am Reading This



Rumors of Another World: What on Earth Are We Missing?

by Philip Yancey

Not only am I really reading this, but a group I'm in is studying it together. I happened upon it during one of my many enjoyable perusals of fictionwise.com. The Sunday School class I'm in has ordered the books, and I of course have the ebook version. Yes! My Sunday School class! (No, I'm not the teacher.)

Check out the book blurb I have borrowed from the fictionwise site:

What on earth are we missing? Philip Yancey believes we are missing the supernatural hidden in everyday life. In Rumors of Another World, Yancey investigates the natural world and discovers the supernatural hiding in plain view. He grapples with why God made the world and what our role truly is, and seeks to answer the question, "How do I live in the natural world while expressing the values of the supernatural?" Philip writes, "I have come to understand faith as the highest form of integrated encounter. Faith puts together, assembles, re-orders, accepting the entire world as God's handiwork. We live among clues, like rescuers sifting through pieces of stained glass shattered by a bomb, and only with a blueprint or some memory of original design can we begin to connect the shards, to assemble them into a pattern that makes sense of our world "Nature and supernature are not two separate worlds, but different expressions of the same reality. To encounter the world as a whole, we need a more supernatural awareness of the natural world." Yancey invites readers to join him on a journey of discovery. He challenges us to tune into "rumors of another world," and connect the seen with the unseen. He promises that the grace-filled result will be a life of beauty, purpose, freedom, and faith.


See why I was intrigued and suggested it as a study book?

Yes! I can think deeply sometimes. Golly. Give a girl a break.

Of course, I am also reading a romance. Tell ya about that one tomorrow, maybe. If you're nice. :)

Magdalena

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Weekend of Ups and Downs


This weekend has been one of ups and downs.

A fun visit with the progeny in his new lair. (UP) Tried to sleep in a hotel that was too full of very happy partygoers, and instead checked out in the middle of the night and started the three-hour drive home where it's quiet. (DOWN) Narrowly missed hitting two deer who decided to stroll across the highway as I approached. Thank goodness their timing wasn’t slightly different! (Adrenaline UP)

Woke up muzzy-headed in the middle of the morning, and currently wondering how the bizarre charges the hotel has put onto the credit card will work out. (Blood Pressure UP)

Read the blog Maddie James posted on SisterWriters about her visit to Joseph-Beth Booksellers yesterday. Saw photo of Ladies of Legend:Finding Home on a shelf directly above… well… and then…



Sat here too long catching up on email and writing this blog. I’m starting to feel a bit weak. (Blood sugar DOWN) Now, who will bring me some food so I can continue to sit here and look at the pictures of these bookshelves?



Magdalena


Friday, October 24, 2008

What I'm Reading Now


Table for Five, in paperback, by Susan Wiggs. Its copyright is 2005. I know I'm a little out of step. But I love this book. Beautifully told story.


In my digital To Be Read pile is her newest, Just Breathe.


I want to be Susan Wiggs when I grow up.


Magdalena

Happy Friday



It's a Rainy Day here. Steady, gentle rain. I love days like this. Love the sound, the smell, and the fact that it makes me stay inside. Except for being sure the dog gets to go out, I will be indoors today.

In the sitting room, possibly with a little fire in the fireplace. Definitely Earl Grey tea later.


This is perfect weather for reading… I’ll finish Susan Wiggs’ Table for Five today.


But I’ll also be writing. I’ve played on the internet too much this week, creating the new blog, advertising myself all over the place. I’m tired of talking about me.


Today it’s not about me. It’s about my characters. We’ll be spending several hours together, getting to know one another better.


Happy Friday.

Magdalena

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Behold! The Giant Road Block!

Have I mentioned that, on my journey to become a successful romance writer, I have a Giant Road Block? Yep. I put it there myself. Good thinking, huh?


My Giant Road Block is this. I write Sweet Romance. As in, if one were rating it, one would probably use “G.” Occasionally perhaps “PG.” My aim is to write beautiful love stories with such emotional depth that the reader doesn’t care whether or not there is a fully described love scene.


Surprisingly, this is not a large portion of romance market share. Go figure.


I could get rid of the Giant Road Block by learning to write hotter. It’s been suggested to me several times that I spice it up, and maybe I will have to do that. Others have said I should be true to myself, and write what I love. Thus far that’s what I’m doing.


So the Giant Road Block? See the little light on top of it? I try to think of it as a beacon. Be cautious, stay on the path you’ve chosen, don’t lose your way.


Still, the constant flashing glare is a bit obnoxious…


I'm putting up a new fun poll today about romance novel heat preference. Please feel free to be brutally honest.


Magdalena

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Packing for the Journey

I know you’re wondering what stuff I packed for this voyage of discovery…this journey to the center of my soul…this walk on the wild side…

Or at least I hope you’re wondering, because I’m going to tell you.

What Went Into the Suitcase
Laptop computer

Cell phone

IPAQ pocket computer



Ah, the basics. The Electronic Devices That Make My Life So Very Much Easier!



Then, of course, there were the other things. I always have to keep opening my suitcase and stuffing more things in before I can actually head out on a trip.


Second Round – Additional Important Items

Battery chargers for the stuff I packed first

Earl Grey Tea Bags, Honey, Spoon, Favorite Mug

Really cute blue Compass
Extra Socks
Sunscreen

Camera

So—ready to set off into the unknown! Yay for exploration!

But what about the quality of water on my voyage of discovery?

Third Round – Jammed Into a Rather Large Tote Bag
Bottled Water
Squishy Pillow

Blanket

More Extra Socks



And then I decided, instead, to just kind of hang out in my sitting room and let the “journey” be representational instead of literal.


You thought that’s what I meant all along? …Well, right. Of course. I did mean that. I was just checking to see if you realized. Good, then. We’ll move onward…

Magdalena

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day One

Well, to be brutally honest, this isn't Day One. But it looked good as a title.

Like it says at the top of the page--way up there--we have a journey ahead of us. We may need this nifty compass.



I resigned from my office job a couple of weeks ago. I've resigned from a lot of jobs in my life. All of them, in fact. I have worked with a lot of good people, and in some lovely offices--especially the last one, which was beautifully decorated. But lovely decor and really fun co-workers couldn't fix what was wrong.

What was wrong, of course, was inside me. My heart was not in that job. Over my years I've worked to make a little money--never a lot--and because I was expected to go to a job "like everybody else."

Turns out, I guess, that's not me. I don't have to go to a job, because what I am is not a church secretary or legal assistant or customer service rep.

What I am is a writer. Bane or blessing? We'll see.

Because this time, at the age of, well, fortysomething, I'm going for it. I've given myself permission to work a writing career full-time.

Shortly before I resigned, this advice came up on my Zen page-a-day calendar. Now, most of the deep philosophical stuff on the pages of that calendar were a hard slog for me. But on September 15 I "received this" from my Zen-A-Day:


"Do, or do not. There is no try."


Know who said that? Yoda. He's about my height, and has big ears. I relate to him.

So here I am, setting out on this journey, hoping Yoda is floating along somewhere ready to yell at me if I start to mess up.

I'd like to hear from other writers. I'd like to hear from other women who are reinventing themselves. No reason to take this journey entirely alone.


Magdalena