Thursday, December 28, 2006

Charlie Brown Xmas

So the Saddest thing oldest daughter (who lives in Durham, NC) didn't get her xmas package.....DHL Sucks was supposed to be delivered Sat before xmas but wasn't delivered until yesterday....AND THEN SOMEONE STOLE IT!!!

I can't believe it I'm so bummed for her.....she's a little hot about it too, see her post for 12/28... kind of grinch rips off xmas???

The money and treats can easily be replaced, but the feeling of violation doesn't go away....merry christmas....

In other news, I've decided to move forward with my own novel editing service....I will be setting up the website over the weekend, then I will share it here so you can all have a peek. Part of what I will be talking about at PPW is how to develop multiple streams of income for your writing business. And the novel editing service will be one of mine. As most writers know, one of the biggest obstacles for the working writer to overcome is unsteady cash flow. You have vast stretchs of time between paychecks sometimes and then have a whole pile of money come in at once. (Well maybe not a whole pile, but at least enough to catch up). A good writer friend of mine, who is also a New York Times bestseller said it's a bit like being a farmer and you have to treat it as such. You may work for months with no income and then get one or two big paydays per year.

I've thought about that quite a bit, and decided that it would be a very good thing to pursue various writing opportunities not only to even out the cash flow, but also so I would not have all my eggs in one basket (forgive the cliche). If your income is dependent on one publisher then if you lose your contract or that line folds, you're screwed. And this happens everyday. So it makes sense to plan for that eventuality. It would be like a corporate employee looking at the odds of experiencing a layoff. It happens to most people at least once in their lives (and sometimes more than that) so why not plan ahead and protect yourself.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Long time no blog.....

Very busy as usual. Many book projects in the works as usually, but they seem to be piling up which is normal for year end I guess. I'm also working on the presentation I will be doing for Panhandle Professional Writers in Jan. I will be talking on how to break into freelancing and ghostwriting, but I know I'll spend most of the morning addressing another issue. I can't figure out for the life of me why so many people spend so much time talking about writing and very little time doing it. When there is so much work out there, it baffles me why they wouldn't go get it. I guess some think that in order to be a great writer you have to suffer. I'm not really big on that. I'd rather work.

In other news, I actually had to show up for jury duty for the first time ever. AND I got picked. It was a simple one day trial (in fact it was ridiculous) but I did get to start a new book. It's called Team of Rivals and is about the events and the people surrounding the Lincoln presidency. I like historical books, but I usually shy away from politics since they are usually one sided. This book has proven unusually good. It gives backgrounds and family situations of all of Lincoln's eventual cabinet members so you have a really good understanding of who they were as people and why they thought the way the did. Very good book. Though jury duty really sucked.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Christmas times a comin'

Don't you just love the holidays???? I do. I'm already shopping for ideas for this year's Christmas tree theme. WHAT???? Your tree doesn't have a theme?? tsk tsk......

Though I'm nearly swamped with ghostwriting, editing and article projects that I must complete ASAP, I'm also back to working on my own stuff. One of the books we brainstormed in Santa Fe is a holiday book I've been thinking about for years. Literally years. They had a great suggestion on that I use a red cardinal to enhance some of the imagery. So the other day I was in the Hallmark store and saw a little ceramic cardinal that was exactly like what I want for the book. So I bought it and put it on my desk at home for inspiration. Can't wait to start writing it!

In other news, I finally got a good picture of my son and his girlfriend Laura. They are both students at Rhodes in Memphis. Aren't they cute?

Must get back to the grind now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back From Vegas

Tired, but happy. Vegas was wonderful as always. We stayed downtown this time and I really enjoyed it. I played at the Golden Nugget Poker room most of our stay. I won a tournament at Fitzgerald's and placed 5th in one at GN. Most of the money I won was in cash games. The best game was on the day we left. A 3-6 Full Kill game. I made $125 per hour on that one. Wish I made that in real life. I hadn't realized how much my game has improved in the last two years. Playing in a regular game at home makes all the difference. Hopefully we'll be going again soon.

We had a terrible time getting home, our flight from DFW to AMA was canceled at midnight and we ended up spending the night at the airport because Nascar was in Dallas over the weekend and there were no hotel rooms. It was a miserable night. But other wise it was a good trip overall. Can't wait to go back. The sad part is that it was the last trip of the year. So all that's left now is work. Bummer. And do I have a lot of that to do!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I'm back on the merry-go-round once again. I'm just now digging out from the work I left undone before leaving for the weekend last week but I swear that someone has backed up a dump truck of more stuff to do and is slowly drowning me. I guess everyone wants their projects wrapped up before the end of the year so there's been a mad rush to get things scheduled this week.

The writer's retreat in Santa Fe last weekend was great. We all had a good time and got lots of work done. But after three days, it leaves me brain dead. Thanks to Anita, Liz and Susan for all their help with my two book ideas. I hope to get started on them soon.

Yesterday was the last night of my writing classes for the semester. So sad. I had a wonderful group this fall. I can see several having published within the next few years. I hope most of them join the critique class next spring so I will get to hear the last part of their novels. Last night Jodi Thomas ( spoke to the class, and as always was wonderfully inspiring. They don't know how lucky they are to have the likes of Jennifer Archer ( and Candace Havens ( speak to them as well. The published authors here are some of the most generous people I have ever met, and I know its not like that everywhere. This is the perfect place for a writer to learn from the best and be nurtured through all of the hard times ahead. There's alot to be said for "Good Writer Karma" as Candy Havens says.

Lots of ghostwriting projects piling up right now too. I'm on the search for more ghostwriters if anyone is interested. Most of these projects are with clients who want to be motivational speakers. Many are from Canada & Australia and all seem to be easy to work with.

I'm also leaving for Las Vegas on Nov 1-5. This is a trip my hubby planned and is for pure recreation. I will probably be spending 12-14 hours a day at the poker table, which is exactly how I like it.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Santa Fe Writers Weekend

It is a cold and dreary day today but I'm working diligently on my projects this week to get ready to be gone to Santa Fe over the weekend. We are having a brainstorming session (me and 3 other writers). I can't wait!! Mountain air, a Kiva fireplace and hot coffee....mmmm....makes me very writer like. Everyone is bringing at least one or two book ideas to brainstorm and I think I will go back to one I started a couple of years ago. Some writers that first read the idea thought it would be difficult to sell. But I still like the idea and want to explore it. I think that sometimes when experienced writers tell you that it may be hard to sell, they are saying that it is very different: and isn't that the whole point? Ultimately it may never see the light of day on a bookshelf, but the idea just won't die and keeps pestering me beyond reason. So I guess this may either be the start of something great or an exorcism of an idea. Either way it will be great to finally explore it.

The Classes I teach at AC are almost over. So sad. I always get so much renewed energy from the students. I will be doing the same slate of classes for the spring beginning in Mid January, but we may change the line up a little for the fall and include a Ghostwriting/Freelance class. I'm speaking on that subject at the Panhandle Professional Writer's meeting in January so we'll see what kind of interest there is for a class.

I'm finishing up the ghostwriting project for the Real Estate book this week (woo hoo!) and will be starting another one concerning cosmetic procedures. How I got to be the plastic surgery guru, I don't know. Just happenstance I guess that those projects gravitate toward me. I will be working on my next article for the January Issue of Credit Union Business as well which will be about Supplemental Executive Retirement plans.

Meanwhile, I will be planning my own retirement to the Cayman Islands.....I hate winter.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Cruise Photos!!

Hopefully I can get them to post....we'll see.

Here is the ship we went on. The Conquest. It was so absolutely wonderful I can't even tell you how great it was. The theme of the ship is art so everything was decorated by artwork from the masters and all the dining rooms and lounges were named for them. We had dinner every night in the Renoir dining room and lunch in the Monet dining room. (the casino was still called the casino - get real)

This is my favorite picture from the cruise and it is now the screen saver on all my computers. It is Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. Looks fake doesn't it? I may have it made into a big puzzle or something its just so darn pretty. Wish I was there *sigh*.

This is sunrise in Jamaica as we were sailing toward Montego Bay . Jamaica was beautiful, but depressing with the way the people have to live. But then most things look better from a distance.

Here's some on Island scenery in Jamaica.

Here's the square across from the dock in Cozumel. The shopping and the Mexican food were great! I just wish I had brought more CASH!

Here's one of me and my little turtle buddy. It is a seven month old green sea turtle. Of course if I was holding one like this in the states, I would probably be arrested for a felony. In Cayman, they eat them. The Turtle Farm is just that - they raise them for food. It should probably be called the Turtle Ranch.

Kevin took this picture and I think everyone has commented on his limited photography skills. He did better on this one :

Our last sunset. So sad. We're already planning the next one so I'm sure I'll have more pictures soon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More Projects

Ready to work again. Though I'd really rather be in the islands. *sigh*

There's something about fall that puts me in the writer mood. I don't know if it's the old 'school days' mode or what, but it makes me want to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Lots of projects coming up in the next few weeks which is perfect timing. Classes at AC are wrapping up (I can't believe their almost done) and my other projects will be finished this week.

We'll see which projects I take on myself and which ones I assign to other writers, but it's looking good. This morning I'm consolidating plans for our writer's weekend in Santa Fe. It will be a brainstorming session with myself and three other writers. I love these kinds of events as they really get the juices flowing.

Need to touch base with some of my other writer buds. One in particular has been on my mind lately so I think I will give her a call and see if we can do lunch.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Back to Reality

So sad to be back.....the cruise was wonderful! We ate, drank and made merry!! The islands were beyond my expectation, except for Jamaica. We took a tour to the Appleton Rum estate and it was a 2 hour drive through some really depressing areas of Jamaica. The scenery was beautiful, but the people didn't have electricity or running water and the roads were terrible. Its not exactly a place you feel safe either. So definitely not something I would do again.

Grand Cayman however was another story. Being a British territory it was very clean and wonderful (though a tad expensive). Seven Mile beach was so beautiful, you stand there thinking that it's fake. But it's not. The Sea Turtle farm was fabulous!! So different from here where they are almost sacred beings. There, they raise them for food! I would totally love to buy a house on Grand Cayman ...and their tax free status is certainly attractive. Maybe someday.

Cozumel was great too, and very cheap. They have recovered nicely from the hurricane, a short ten months ago and we had some great Mexican food and I bought a fabulous necklace that I love. We are already talking about going back there for a long weekend. (Tip: cash is king in Mexico!!)

I hated to come back to real life, but that's the way it is. At least I have the writer's weekend in Santa Fe to look forward to (Oct 20-22). Then its off to VEGAS BABY!!! (Nov 1-5). Did I mention that I made $340 on the last day of the cruise playing poker? Schmucks abound even on the high seas.

Now it's back to work. Bummer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

For what it is worth.....

Had lunch today with the fabulous Jodi Thomas. For those of you who don't know, Jodi has been my long time mentor. Whenever I'm in a tough spot writing wise, or just need that little lift, Jodi's there. You can't buy that.

So today I was struggling with choices. Which things are important. Sounds familiar, does it not?? But she had the same sage advice. Go with your gut. And my gut says that my work is the most important thing. As easy as it is to push aside your own dreams in order to make a buck, it is also just that easy to reconnect and say, "Wait a minute, that's not what I signed on for." Everything falls into perspective. My original dream started more than 20 years ago...yes 20. And I still won't give it up. If anything I'm more dedicated than ever. I do have something to say to the universe, and it's important. Even if I don't feel so at times.

Every writer comes to that cross road, and I've been there many times. But I always choose my writing. It leads me to bigger and better knowledge of self, if nothing else, and that is irreplacable.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Color Me Worthless

As the cruise approaches I find it harder and harder to concentrate. I think my mind has already left for Jamaica, but we are actually still 16 days away. *sigh* A quick update on the busy busy fall schedule:

Classes: So far I haven't lost anyone yet. Which is very good. Sometimes after the first class, there will be a certain amount of attrition when they realize that these classes are for serious writers, not wanna bes. But so far so good. More good news on that front, the wonderful and funny Candy Havens has agreed to speak at my Thursday night class on Sept 21. What a treat that will be. Her new book just came out last week and you can check it out at

Writing Projects: I've pretty much wrapped up the plastic surgery book and am already starting on the real estate book. The Canadian novel that I edited is in the bag and I'm looking forward to having most everything wrapped up before we go cruisin.....on the ocean, with fruity drink in distracted again.

Pricker update: Just when you think all is well, we've had yet another incident with the cactus. The same day I posted about how big they were and how much they'd grown, someone (I'm guessing a kid) came along and kicked the crap out them. So I go home after my first class last week and my husband was like, "I've got some bad news." So I'm thinking maybe someone has died - or worse, they CANCELLED THE CRUISE! But no. It was the fact that there were now pieces of my wonderful little cactus scattered all over the alley. Sad, Sad day. But I was too tired to go look at the damage until the next night. They were stomped all right, but seemed to be perking back up. Now, a week later, they have sprung back to life and are growing very well. I'm still convinced they are the perfect plant. Not only do they deter adolescents wielding cans of spray paint, they apparently are indestructible.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Fall is in the air....

Yes folks, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and brand new textbooks is all about me this week. I will once again be teaching writing classes at Amarillo College. These classes are always a great boost to my own writing as I see all the talent we have here and want to press forward that much harder.

We are also just 27 days away from our cruise. Jamacia here we come! Barring any wayward hurricanes of course. As long as we get on the boat I don't care where we go. I plan to be playing poker most of the time we're out to sea anyway so no big deal. I love the idea of being completely away from everything. There's no excuse to check up on work or the multitude of projects I have to do, I will be out of the country. In fact I think that is what I will put on my out of office, "Dee is currently out of the country and unable to answer your email at this time. Hopefully she will be back. If not, good luck." That's so tacky isn't it? hehehehehehehehe

I also hired another writer to do a golf book for Life Success. It's basically a parody of the business world using golfers that this caddy encounters on a daily basis. Pretty neat. Meanwhile I'm still hard at work on the plastic surgery book. Now on the fourth chapter concerning boob jobs of one type or another. My favorite so far was the man boob chapter. Don't ask me why.

I also got another assignment from Credit Union Business Magazine which is a great thing. They have such a beautiful and well written magazine that I'm really proud to be a part of it. Don't know where it will be slated on the editorial schedule, but I will let you know.

Pricker update - for those of you following along, the prickers are now about knee high. Which is amazing and probably due to the fact that we've had more than 1/3 of our yearly rainfall in less than a month! It's a tropical downpour everytime I turn around and it's starting to negatively effect my roses. They are desert plants, not water lillies!

Kids are back at school and life is settling into a routine again for us. A very quiet routine which is a great thing. Except for classes, and the book projects, and the articles...and ....and.....and...

Thursday, August 17, 2006


You know I just figured out that if you don't sleep, you get a whole nother 8 hours in your day. Imagine that! I stayed up til 1:30 this morning inputing changes and printing out a copy of Frenemies for Jenny to take to Colorado with her. I dropped them off in the wee hours. Was very proud of myself too...until I got up and realized I left my last four chapters on the printer. So I'm sure Jenny will be wondering what the heck happened.

Though I should be tired, I'm excited because my author copies of Credit Union Buiness came today and the article looks great. My kids are now gone and the house is quiet. IT'S FABULOUS! I will actually be able to get some work done . And it's a good thing because I'm loaded up with projects over the next couple of months. Hi Ho Hi Ho its off to work I go.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Damned if you know the rest

It's a hard week of work I'm looking at folks. Three chapters on the plastic surgery book, a chapter outline on the real estate book, final edits on the Canadian fiction novel PLUS working with two writers and one copy editor on a total of five(count 'em FIVE other projects). And I can tell you that working with writers is right up there with herding cats. Not that I'm complaining, but I am. It's either boom or bust in the writing life and you never get to choose. So since it's boom right now, there are many sleepless nights in my future. And that's just the way it is. Did I sign up for this or what??????

On top of which, the collegiates are home. I have two college kids(although one of them just graduated so I guess she is a grown up) and they are home until Wed. At which time they will drive cross country and start their lives once again in Memphis, TN and Durham, NC respectively. I hate to see them grow up, but then again, three days of their crap strung all over my house and I'm ready to say Buh-Bye!!!

Needless to say I'm looking forward to my cruise to Jamaica like you can't believe. It's 41 days away and my sister has lost 30 pounds. Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy for her, but still, the desire to send her a humongous box of Twinkies is still there. But instead, I'm sending her the latest novels by Jennifer Archer( and Linda Castillo ( I hear that since she's been dieting that she's a regular at B & N. Not a bad replacement I must admit, but these authors are a must have. You know, maybe she should write a book on dieting through fiction. It could be a NYT bestseller......lots of drama and suspense.......yet zero calories......the dieting wave of the FUTURE!!!!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Time to Query

Its time once again for another round of magazine queries. You have to consistently send these little babies out if you want consistent cash flow. And who doesn't want that?? Speaking of cash flow, I got my brother's money in the poker game on Saturday, as expected. I really should write some articles on how gender differences effect poker players. It is really interesting.

The collegiates will be home this weekend!! Exciting and sad too cause Jen won't be a collegiate anymore. She'll have a real job. And who knows when she will be able to come home again. Oh well, that's the way things should be I guess. Today I'm working on the plastic surgery thing again and waiting on final edits to come in from the author for the Canadian book. I'm anticipating a very busy weekend again next week.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weddings, Poker and Books OH MY!!

I hardly feel like I've had any down time since conference but I'm not as tired as I thought I'd be. This weekend is a great time to catch up so I'm working on the plastic surgery book this afternoon. The only problem is that this kind of book makes you really look at yourself in the mirror every morning and know I could do something about all these wrinkles...and the droopy eyes and the turkey waddle...and.... and.....geee........I'm old.......when did that happen??

Tonight Kevin and I are going to a wedding. Jodi Thomas' oldest son is getting married. I can't even remember the last wedding I went to. It seems like all we go to these days is funerals. How depressing. Does that mean we are getting old or what? At least tonight will be a happy occasion.

In other news, the little brother laid down his Harley yesterday and broke his arm and shoulder in four places. Like everyone in the family didn't tell him that would happen. So was he grateful that he didn't die? Or didn't split his head open? Or be paralyzed for life? NO. He was just glad they didn't have to do surgery because that would have ruined his new tattoo. Yeah. I know. So glad he has his priorities straight after 35 years. So now that he is laid up, he called to see if I could come over and play some poker with some of his buddies he works with at the hospital. He said it was a great time to take his money since he's doped up on painkillers. Yes, I was laughing. EVERYDAY is a great day to take his money at the poker table. I guess if I was a good sister I would suggest some great books for him to read to improve his game. Naaahhh. I'd rather just take his money. Obviously he has to learn everything the hard way.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Atlanta RWA Conference Wrap up

Conference turned out to be great! I was able to talk to and meet everyone on my target list. I also ran across a few other people that turned out to be great contacts. The big news is that Jodi Thomas(my long time mentor and critique partner) won her third RITA. They also inducted her into the Hall of Fame. Winning a RITA is very much like winning an Oscar(except it is for writing) and just as hard. To win three times in the same category is truly a career accomplishment and one I hope to achieve one day. I also took lots of pictures at the awards and at the author book signing. As soon as I get them burned to CD I will post a few of them.

Some of the more interesting people I met turned out to be Canadian. Which is really handy since I've been editing a book for a Canadian lady that had some uniquely Canadian expressions and slang that I didn't get. They sat at the bar with us one night and explained most of it. I also found out that one of them had family from Jamaica (where we are cruising to in a short 54 days) and she gave me the low down on what to do and see.

I'm still very tired, but ready to get back to work. I'm copy editing a book on wellness during pregnancy today and then will be working on the plastic surgery book. I also accepted an assignment to ghost write a book for a group of realtors that is designed to help women get into real estate. It looks like fun. The publisher that I ghost write for has asked me to be a project manager for them and I think I'm going to do it. Seems like a natural for me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Book Covers and Editing Projects

I finally got a photo of the cover for one of the books I did a copy edit on.

It is for an optometrist with a really interesting story. I also accepted another ghost writing job, this one for a plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills. Looks to be just as interesting.

I'm finishing up the edits on another book which took me a little bit longer but hopefully I'll have it done before I leave for Atlanta next week. I have the preliminary cover for that one too, but it's not been given final approval yet so I can't post it. It is really a neat cover though.

The ghost writing and the editing have proven to be very steady work. I also have two articles coming out this next month, one in Route 66 Pulse and the other in Credit Union Business magazine. I'll post those clips on the website as soon as I get my copies.

In other news, Class Registration opens up at Amarillo College on July 24th(next Monday) for the two writing classes I'm doing this fall. They are "Writing the Great American Novel" and "Critique for Writers". I hope to see some new faces as well as a few familiar ones. If you know of anyone in this area who might like to give it a whirl, have them call AC at 806-371-2921. Or register online at

Monday, July 17, 2006


I was talking to a friend recently about all the projects I have going and how it is really a balancing act. Then the subject of overdue payments came up. She said, "Don't you feel weird having to ask for money?" Ummmm....NO. I earned it, they owe it. Quite honestly, very few reputable people in the writing business are out to take you. Don't get me wrong, it does happen, but rarely. Publishers and editors live and die by their reputation. They can't afford to let word get out that they don't pay, or pay slow.

So what do you do if someone hasn't paid by the time stated? I give a friendly professional nudge. I NEVER assume anything good or bad. I see writers at meetings frequently who are complaining about not being paid, or being paid slow. I always have to ask "Did you talk to them about it?" the large majority of the time the answer is no. hmmm. I thought this was a business. And to be in business you have to act like a business person.

Let's take an example:

Let's pretend that you are a florist. You send out fliers that say people can order flowers and that you must be paid by the 10th of the month. Little Boy Blue orders flowers for his mother because she's sick of hearing the horn and you deliver them. The 10th rolls around. Then the 15th. Next thing you know it's the 20th and you are pacing back and forth thinking of terrible places to shove Blue's horn. This is unproductive behavior. Had you sent Blue a reminder, then followed up with a polite and professional phone call, you would have saved yourself a lot of stress. Blue's a busy boy and he's already moved on. A gentle nudge is generally all it takes to save yourself hours or even days of worry and hassle.

I have worked with some very organized and business-like publications and some that are more seat-of-the-pants. Generally some kind persistence really pays in the long run.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The next guy I marry....

I'm sure all of you know how incredibly glamorous a writer's life is, but for those of you who don't , here's a glimpse:

As usual, everything at my house breaks at once. Right now the ice maker in the frig is frozen in time, while water drips slowly out out of the bottom of the appliance onto my wood floor. But of course I put off calling anyone because I'm afraid he'll tell me I need a new one and I really have better things to do with my money. But then, my teenage daughter gets on a cleaning spree and tries to wash every pillow in the house at the same time. So now the washer is full of water and won't drain. Actually, it won't do anything. While I have the same sense of dread, I can't put off getting the washer fixed. So I make the call.

Mr. Fixit shows up at my door bright and early and proceeds to remedy all my appliance problems in less than 45 minutes. I am amazed at how effortless it seems and I catch myself thinking: The next guy I marry will be able to fix things.

Of course, he probably won't put up with my moods. Or make me bacon sandwiches at midnight, but you never know.

But that sparked an idea. You know how every woman has a set of 'rules' or standards about men when they are young? How many girls that you knew said, "I'm going to marry a doctor, lawyer, or a rancher(This IS Texas) Doesn't that seem silly now? If we'd been smart, we would have said "I'm going to marry a mechanic, or a plumber or *sigh* a CONTRACTOR!!"

Anyway, it made me think of an idea for another book about a women who starts a matchmaking service for women who have stopped daydreaming and want a practical, honest, hardworking guy - with skills- instead of a guy with money. And what lengths the men in their lives will go to in order to win them over. We'll see where it goes. I think the title will be "The Next Guy I Marry......."

Monday, July 10, 2006

The company of writers

Funny how I crave the company of writers. Getting together to talk about the writing biz may seem like an indulgence but it makes great business sense. It never fails when I have lunch or get together critique-wise I always learn something new about the market, trends, editors who jump ship to another company. This kind of inside info is even more valuable when you are contemplating a national conference like RWA in Atlanta in a few weeks. Knowing who has connections with who, who likes what, which newbies are the up and comers will all help you to feel at ease and knowledgeable.

Most people are amazed at how incredibly small the world of publishing is. When you understand that there are 50 or so acquiring editors in New York, it makes you realize how few people decide what is available on the shelf to read. When you couple that with the fact that most times they can't even tell you what they're looking for it can make the book business very frustrating indeed. One way to alleviate this frustration is to spend time with the multis. Who are the multis? The Multi=Published authors. They aren't a one shot wonder they've been around. They know people and connections. They hear the rumors as well as the fact and can separate the two for you. I have several multis I will be seeing this week so I can prepare myself for the stress and fun of conference.

Pricker update: someone ran over one of my little's like six inches from my back wall in the alley......of course, being cactus, it looks like it's bouncing right back....I hope they got a flat....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

And miles to go before I sleep.....

Why does time speed up when you least want or need it to?? What is up with that? I did have a productive weekend. As much as I'd like to say Frenemies is polished and ready, the best I can say is - it's close. I catch more stuff every time I read it and since I swapped view point and subplot I still catch a few stray thoughts that don't belong when I go through it. Hopefully in another week it will be more perfect. Yes I said more perfect. On the way to completely perfect. I hope.

More on the plate as far as editing. In addition to the content editing I'm doing for one project I also have another copy editing project coming in today or tomorrow. I hear it's an easy read and needs only light grammar check. Hopefully that's the case.

I'm currently working on the newsletter and will have it out soon. Here I was, worried that I wouldn't have enough info for a whole newsletter and now I'm having to decide what to cut! thanks to all for their suggestions and ideas.

One other note, for those of you that are interested in the Rita awards, Candy Havens is interviewing several of them on her blog. You can go to her website at and click on the blog link. Among the questions she asks the nominees is how they came up with the idea for their nominated book and where they were when they got the call from RWA. Great stuff!!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Lots of work ahead...

Looking forward to the holiday. I am taking the next four days and polishing up Frenemies. I won't be doing much else, but that's okay. I got the cover art for the book I will be editing starting next week. It's really pretty good. You never know about cover art, sometimes you have to wonder what they were thinking, but luckily this one is good. I talked to the author in Canada about some of the preliminary changes and she is a very agreeable sort. Which is great.

We booked a shore excursion for the cruise in September. The Apple Rum Estate tour in Jamaica. They give you a tour, feed you lunch and ply with all the rum you can drink. Then get you back to boat before it sails. What's not to love about that? We're still thinking about the submarine tour in Grand Caymen. I think we will be doing most of our shopping in Cozumel. Which would be great if I liked to shop, which I don't, but I kind of feel like I'm supposed to on this trip. I probably won't post again until next week, so have a very happy July 4th everyone!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Pricker Update

For those of you who have been wondering, the baby cactus have had a growth explosion and now have been transplanted out to the alley to stand guard against the spray paint delinquents. I'll let you know how it goes.

On the writing front, it's been a pretty productive week. I've finalized the synopsis for Frenemies (which is a huge load off my mind) thanks to those who helped polish this up!! I am now looking forward to doing the final edits on the full manuscript over the holiday weekend. Jenny ( ) and Heather(grammar nazi) will be reading it next week so I want it as polished as possible. I'm sending out the partial to Tara Gavin at the end of this week so I'm crossing my fingers.

I also had another conference call with the publisher for the editing job. I gave them a quote and I can have it delivered by July 25 before I leave for the RWA conference so that works perfectly. I also sent a query to a slick that covers the Southeast Coast. Since I will be down there in a few weeks, I'd like to do a story for them.

They now have my blog linked to the Australian writers magazine, click on the Writer's Diary link and scroll down. I'm interested to see what kind of traffic flow I get from 'down under'.

The marketing booklet that I did in May for Dawson Publishing has been backed up a little. They are running behind. No biggie. A few months is a nano second in the publishing world. I will be working on the newsletter over the weekend as well. As soon as it's up, I'll send everyone a link.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Synopsis Hell

I can't believe it's been a whole week since I posted. I guess that should tell you that the writing has really picked up. Unfortunately there is never a steady flow of work. I'm either twiddling my thumbs or burning the candle at both ends. And obviously headed into the depths of cliche land. *sigh*

I did pull out the synopsis for Frenemies again and begged my friend Jennifer Archer ( for her masterful touch. I have several critique partners and each has their own strength, but Jenny's is definitely in the area of synopsis. Hopefully the next couple of days I will get it into shape and ready to send finally.

In other news, I had an interesting phone call this week with the editorial coordinator for the publisher that I ghost write and edit for. While we were talking, he made the suggestion that I should consider becoming an agent. I laughed, but then later I thought....hmmmm.... maybe a few years down the road when my career is more solidified, that might be an option. You never know, but it makes me even more aware of the contacts that I'm making in the publishing world right now. Speaking of which, the RWA Conference in Atlanta is only a few short weeks away. I'm formulating my strategy and figuring out which editors I need to contact or speak with again. I'm sure it will sneak up on me (like it does every year) and I will feel less than prepared.

Is it just me or does summer seem to go by in a blur?? Why is it that warm weather makes me feel like I have to spend every waking hour DOING something? I need to step back and just enjoy it. And I will. After I finish this next editing job, get my synopsis in shape, do at least another two chapters on the current book, finish the gift card article, get my freakin roses planted and blah blah blah blah......

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Making Your Way

Once again tonight( or is it morning now?) I am reminded that each writer travels their own path. While some are singularly fiction minded others snub their nose at that market and concentrate on 'what sells'. It frustrates me to no end that others' opinions might keep a new writer from pursuing their goals. For me I can say that nonfiction is something I write for money. Not that I don't enjoy it, but still.... Fiction I write for love. There's no other way to describe the process and differences between the two. I guess I find nonfiction easy, so I don't think about it terms of what it can do because in my mind it is a short lived piece of work. But fiction, on the other hand is very subjective. I find it immensely intriguing for that reason. How do you move one person, or a whole nation for that matter, to feel exactly what you feel as you type the words on the page? What is it that instinctively connects the writer with the reader? How can someone read mere words on a page and allow it to effect their whole life ...And their children's lives?

I can tell you it doesn't really happen like that in nonfiction. You are reporting or helping, but you aren't impacting the way that person sees their universe. I was told a while back that fiction is for fools, I should write what sells. I can only laugh at the shortsightedness of this person. How many people remember the works of nonfiction from the 19th century? Anyone?? I'll bet very few even from the 20th century. But how many of you read Uncle Tom's Cabin? The Scarlet Letter? Gone with the Wind? Shakespeare? What great quotes do you remember?

"Romeo, Romeo where for art thou?" Romeo & Juliet
"You had the power in you all the time." Glenda the Goodwitch-Wizard of Oz
"Frankly Scarlett, I don't give a damn!" Gone with the Wind

"Non Fiction may pay the bills, but fiction will change the world. " Dee Burks

And you can quote me on that one.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Another Great Writer....

Isn't it weird how writers just seem to connect to each other no matter their background or type of genre, we just seek out those who are traveling the same path. One really neat lady I met at the conference this weekend was Deborah LeBlanc from Lafayette. She writes thrillers for Leisure. What an entertaining speaker!! And a genuinely nice person. You can check out her website at . The conference went really well for most all of my students and Hillary Sares from Kensington asked for several things from them so I'm excited. I hope several of them get their books out in the next year. They are very talented people.

I'm getting back into the swing of things this morning, catching up on email, etc. There are several things on my to do list that have been on there for several weeks and I just keep not doing them. Like finishing my synopsis for Freniemies. I hate synopses, but then, who doesn't? Time to just do it.......Bummer........

Friday, June 09, 2006

Meet & Greet at the OK Corral

The first day of the FiW conference is in the bag. Though many of my students were incredibly nervous and hesitant about encountering a big time New York editor, they all handled it very well. And guess what...She didn't bite. In fact she asked for work from several of them so I'm trilled for them and crossing my fingers that the ones who are finalists in the contest tomorrow win win win!!!! I know I keep telling them that its enough to be nominated...and it truly is....But dang it, I so want them to WIN!!!

On another note, my good friend Jennifer Archer received the writer of the year award. And deservedly so. Its great to see someone that you know has worked her butt off, finally start getting the recognition she deserves.

I also ran into a friend I haven't seen or heard from in over 16 years, Tonya Tittle. When our kids were tiny, we used to get together and talk about how much we wanted to write and how great it would be to do that for real. So I turn around today and there she is.....Just exactly like I remember her. Only this is her first writing conference. It is so weird how people retain their dreams no matter what life throws at them. I hope she continues to chase that dream.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Prickers Have Arrived!!

For those of you who are unaware, we've been having an issue with the back wall that surrounds our yard getting tagged. We've lived in our house for 8 years and not had a problem, but this year they have spray painted our wall 3 times. No, its not gang related just kids with nothing better to do. This last time they painted big mushrooms and marijuana plants along 25 feet of wall. Artistic little delinquents. So I'm thoroughly sick of buying paint and me or some member of my family having to spend our weekends covering up their artwork. On top of that, it just plain hacks me off.

After entertaining several ideas about what to do(some legal, some not), a guy at work suggested we plant cactus in the alley along the wall to deter the worst of it. I LOVE this idea! Little prickers for the little pricks. Perfect. So of course I got on eBay and found what I needed right away. A variety of Prickley Pear similar to what you see out in the cattle pastures around here. But it grows really fast.

So yesterday the baby cactus arrived. A whole box full of misery awaiting our little artists. Hehehehehehe..... I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

FiW Conference

The FiW Conference in Amarillo is this weekend. I'm a little concerned because I haven't gotten my confirmation yet, but so far neither has the other few people that I know are going so maybe they are really back logged. I know there is a lot more interest this year so hopefully that means many more people. I called to get the final info for the fall classes that I'm teaching at AC. I will be doing flyers to put in the bags of the conference goers. Since so many of my former students finaled this year, I'm hoping there will be a lot of interest.

Thanks to all of you who posted or sent me emails about the newsletter I am planning! The overwhelming majority of interest seems to be in the marketing and promotions area although information on how to get into freelancing ran a close second. I hope to have the first issue out in July and right now I'm thinking about doing it Bi-Monthly. I plan to have my wonderful little autobot send out emails when its ready so you can go to my website and pull it up. I thought this was better than sending an attachment with all the viruses out there these days. And back issues will be available with a click of the mouse!

I will be putting in little short tips and pieces of interest as well as notifying you of great books that will be coming out in the near future. I have yet to dream up a title for it, so if any of you have any ideas on that, let me know. Also, if any of you have a book coming out, or tips or comments that might be useful to other writers, email me and I'll include them as well.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Top page count

I have figured out that the top page count I can manage is 40-45 pages per day. That's it. I've discovered that I need a mental break of about 45 minutes to an hour for every ten pages or so that type. Even if I am still awake and have more time to write, I get to about page 42 and the neurons refuse to fire anymore. Its almost like they organize a walk out. I have also learned that it is dangerous for me to drive after an extended writing session. Like you've had a bottle of Nyquil. Very weird.

The ghostwriting project is outta here!! I'm so happy I could spit! I had to set a few things aside to get it done, so I will be getting back to those this week. Now that I know that sustained effort will produce tremendous page counts, I'm excited to give it a go on my other projects. I'm also contemplating starting a monthly newsletter as my contact list has grown. Maybe something with writing tips and new and exciting market directions...what do you all think? What would you like to see in a newsletter?

Friday, May 26, 2006

Looking forward to the Holiday

So much to do, so little time. I have really been looking forward to this weekend. I have many writing projects to work on, but I also plan to play in the dirt some. I have a few more roses to plant and I bought some pompass grass to fill in a large eyesore out back by the alley. We will be kidless so I hope to get many things on my revolving to do list done including sending out several queries for projects I hope to work on next month. That's the thing about freelancing. You only get out of it what you put in and if you get lazy the bank account shows it.

I also spent the morning hearing about a cruise to Mexico my friend Bruce just got back from. It was on the same cruise line that we will be traveling on in September. I can taste the sea spray and fruity drinks already. September seems so far away, but I know it will creep up on me suddenly just like graduation did. I still need some markets for the cruise articles so I'll be sending those out the beginning of next week. I will also be printing up my fliers to distribute at the FiW conferences for the classes I am beginning this fall at Amarillo College. I hope some of my former students will be receiving awards at the conference they are incredibly talented people.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Middle of the night....

Okay I realize it is the dark dead of night....but still.....I got a few articles scanned yesterday and posted them to their links on the website.I realize that it's no big deal to most, but for the web challenged it's really somthing.

I was rereading the article on Romancing The Big Easy. I can't help but think back to those days in 2001, when we went to NOLA.....I wonder about those we talked to - those who are left.I still wonder if things are okay;how are they coping ....what changes have they made.I want to be relive the incredible VIBE that is New Orleans.I emailed a magazine to see if they are interested in this kind of story. Hopefully they will be. This is a story of human frailty, human perserverence...How could they not be interested?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Blah Blah Blah

You never know how much you can really get done in a short time until you are pressured to do so. I know I've always been a deadline kind of writer. I NEVER miss a deadline. Maybe that stems from being an editor and having to deal with flaky writers who missed deadline after deadline and then turned in crap. So I have this really big project and I figure to get it done I have to produce volumes of pages. Over last few days I've done 80. Can you believe it?? 80 freakin pages. Granted it's nonfiction, which I'm pretty comfortable with, and its in an area that I happened to like very much but still.....80 freaking pages!!

This begs the question, Why is it taking me so long to finish my other projects?? Am I just lazy or what? I think it's because I don't have a deadline. If someone was standing there waiting on the finished product, I know I'd already have finished. So here's the deal sports fans. The summer (June & July) will be my clean up months. I hereby vow to finish the first draft of Come As You are by June 30. I also vow to finish the rewrite on Frenemies and SEND THE PROPOSAL that's been sitting on my desk since January. AND I promise me and the powers that be to get my nonfiction book proposal finished and out the door before Conference. And that's by July 26th.

Make no mistake that I will still be pumping up the freelance articles as well.....very busy summer ahead.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Graduation Excitement

Graduation went really well. North Carolina is such a pretty place. And as always, Duke is soooo organized. We left last Thursday and spent several days with the kids before the big day. We drove to the coast, visited the historic district of Raleigh and ate at the Angus Barn, which is apparently the Big Texan of North Carolina - sort of. The decor is similar, large barn-like structure with antler chandeliers and primitive type wood tables. But everyone is very dressed up - and so is the menu. It was great for a graduation celebration. Graduation itself was a great experience and I can hardly believe that I have a kid that is a college graduate. I should feel old, but I don't for some reason. I'm really proud of her. I have pictures to follow as soon as I figure out how to get them on here.

I also read two books while I was enroute (well I actually read four, but didn't like two of them so we won't talk about those). One of the good ones was the new one by Mary Kay Andrews, Savanna Breezes. Its struck me as really ironic. I am working on a book that is in two first person points of view, but I hadn't seen it done well by anyone currently out there. But this book was a perfect example of two first person points of view done very well. And it worked.

The other one I read was a book called 'The Book of Joe'. This was a really interesting read. It is about a writer who wrote a scathing book about his home town that was made into a big movie and then, when his father has a stroke, this writer has to return to face a whole town full of very angry people. It's funny(especially the part where the reading club drives by his family's house and flings copies of the book on the lawn) but also delves into the idea of how to resolve old hurts and heartaches and still come out not seriously screwed up. For any of you women who are writing from a male point of view for some of your scenes, I highly recommend this as a study in what guys think and how they relate to each other.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Maybe Myrtle

My sister and I are traveling together to the graduation extravaganza this weekend. We had to fly out on Thursday, since it's mother's day weekend. Who holds graduation on mother's day? Apparently Duke, and every other college in North Carolina. So we will have some time on our hands before the big event. We're thinking about taking a day trip down to Myrtle Beach. My husband and I went a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. It's no South Padre, but still is nice.

I may see if my sister wants to go down to the plantation we visited last time that's south of Myrtle. It was a strange and unusual experience. It's hard enough to confront the idea of slavery and what that meant in your head, but to go and see it in person was pretty hard. The thing that bothered me the most was that some of the people, who were period actors, had ancestors who were slaves on the property. I couldn't hardly grasp what that must be like and still can't . But I would like to go again and take some awesome pictures with my new camera.....which is STILL in the box.

Its always fun to go new places and see new things....and then return and hit the highlights again. One highlight we will not be experiencing is the Cooper River Bridge! Once was quite enough!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Graduation Excitement

So my oldest daughter is graduating college at the end of this week. I can't believe it. I remember when she left like it was yesterday.....wait a minute it WAS yesterday. And now its over. Just like that, she's a grown up. She called last week squealing(yes, squealing) as she had signed her first lease on a little condo in Durham, where she is planning to make her new life. I can hardly remember that kind of excitement, and refuse to dampen her spirits one bit with talk of 'reality land'. Let her be excited. You're only young once.

I also bought a new digital camera to take on the trip to Durham, though I haven't taken it out of the box yet. I got a nice one, reasoning that my kid will only graduate once and I don't want crappy pictures....and then there's the cruise this fall to consider as well. I want great photos of that too.

I worked on several projects that are in various stages of completion this weekend. I also went to Linda Castillo and Ronda Thompson's book signing. They are always a treat. I plan to try and get some work done the next three days before we leave for Durham. We'll see how far I get, but I have to think that I've come pretty far already, and I just have to do at least One Thing everyday. What one thing did you do to further your career today?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

CEO of My Career

A big thank you to all those who gave feedback on the new website! The overall response was very positive. As I organize my writing more and more these days (I have to because I'm paranoid that I'm going to forget to do something) it occurs to me that I should focus on the long term and not get overly distracted by the short term though both are important.

I've been rereading the book by Jim Collins, Good to Great. I read it before, but I don't think I got as much out of it. His book is one of the definitive management studies of the 1990s and very applicable to anyone trying to run their own business. And writing is definitely a business. I'd highly recommend it for those of you who may be struggling with which direction to go. It really gives good insight into planning for the long term and focusing on those things that will get you to your goal rather than being distracted by the everyday crappola. The whole idea of my two year plan (now down to 21 months) is build the freelance(which is short term income) and still concentrate on the books (long term income). It is just taking me a little while to learn to juggle them both.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


I can't believe its almost been a whole week since my last blog.....been busy busy busy. Today I've been trying to get the content up on my website. Most of it is still under construction, but some preliminary feedback is probably in order. Check it out at This is a website for my freelancing and ghostwriting business, not my fiction. And no I'm not giving up one for the other I'm just adding on.

As far as the my One Thing list goes, I'm up to 47 for the month. This really seems to be working for me so I'm going to keep at it. I may develop it into a One Thing series of self help books, who knows. I've finished two more paying projects this weekend and have one more still on the list besides the article assignments. All in All I'd say April has been a kick butt month!!

Monday, April 24, 2006

The Grill Master

Needless to say, when I got home Friday there was a shiny new grill at our house. And after reading my last post, my husband wants everyone to know FOR THE RECORD that he was not pouting......he was merely planning his next move........whateva......... This weekend we had grilled everything: steaks, hamburgers, pork chops...thank God he left the watermelon alone.

I did make some progress this weekend on Come As You Are but not as much as I would have liked. I also did some market research into some more magazines that I would like to write for. I'm amazed at how time consuming the research is, but I know it is well worth it. I spoke to the publisher that I am ghostwriting for and should receive my first advance check tomorrow. I know it sounds silly, but there is nothing more gratifying than taking a check to the bank. Its like validation that you are pursing a real money-making occupation and the fact that you love doing it is just an added perk.

Friday, April 21, 2006

A Man and His Grill

And no I don't mean the kind you wear on your teeth(sorry Jenny). Every so often, my spouse provides the most comical interludes. It usually involves him and some piece of mechanical equipment(the one exception being the baby bird incident). So here's what happened:

We have a gas grill out by our deck. The old 1970s type that the gas company used to install. Last week, my spouse discovered that the interior workings of said grill had rusted beyond repair. Since he knew he was off work at the end of this week, he waited until yesterday to get the parts and proceeded to attempt repairs. To witness my husband trying to be Bob Vila is like watching Big Bird scale Mt. Everest. I arrived home at 5p. House quiet. Husband pouting. Pieces of grill all over the yard.

To his credit, he almost had it put together, when the pipe holding the whole contraption(which was also quite rusted) snapped off and the grill flipped onto the ground. $100 and a whole afternoon wasted. I felt really bad for him, but couldn't figure out why the top of the grill was over in the garden. Apparently that was the result of a temper tantrum. Okay I'm laughing now.......

My husband is a funny guy. He never even raises his voice to any human, but inanimate objects have the power to send him over the edge. I witnessed one of these little tantrums several years ago. After struggling for some time trying to get the grass bag back on his mower, I hear a cussing fit like you can't imagine and the bag goes flying across the street. Funniest thing I've ever seen.

So last night I took him for a sympathy dinner. Burgers at Chili's(it's not like we can grill our own now) and then he wanted to go to Home Depot to look at grills. You know what this is like. There's no looking. This was a pre-buying excursion. Next time you want to get your husband really excited, skip Hooters and go straight to Home Depot- New Grills For Sale.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Bummer.....the manuscript that I sent off last week was on my doorstep when I went by the house after lunch. I hate this process but at least I know now instead of waiting months and months and hoping. It was read and sent back by an assistant editor but at least I can tell it was read. In fact it looks like it was dropped in on the subway and gathered back up. But onward we go.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Weekly Evaluation

OH my! If my weekend is any indication I will be swamped with writing assignments for the rest of my life! Which is fabulous! I completed two editing assignments and organized my office(sort of) then I worked on 'The ABCs of Buzz'.....then I worked on my 101 Cheap(or Free) marketing ideas(I had 85 in less than 30 minutes so that will be easier than I thought). I put some time into thinking about my nonfiction book proposal and I think I came up with a good angle. Will start that next weekend. Today I'm scheduling interviews for my banking article and trying to think of a second pitch I can make to them. I might as well gather the quotes for two articles at the same time. I also came across a guy who has his own publishing company in Arizona and he asked if I was interested in editing and maybe some ghost writing. So I sent my resume and some samples. I plan to concentrate the next two weeks on getting my website up and running and send out at least ten queries for articles. I need to have things constantly in the pipeline to build a sustainable income stream. Gee I haven't been this excited about working in years......

Thursday, April 13, 2006


What happened to spring?? This time last year we had snow....Today it is 90 degrees. How wrong is it when the back of your knees sweat?? I'm busy, busy today writing and submitting. I finished two editing assignments this week and yesterday I finished and submitted another article to Black Finance. This one on questions you should ask about your 401k. Thing that gets me about people and their money is how complacent they become. They don't step back and think, Hey! This is my life here!!

The same is true about the writing life. I had lunch today with a writer friend (the fabulous Jennifer Archer) and she talked about how she's just realizing how much of a time waster she is. Aren't we all though? Yes, we are. Its easy to get used to the ebb and flow of life. You FEEL busy, but are you busy doing the things that move your writing career forward? Every so often it really helps to stand back and evaluate how you are handling your career. Think about it, even top CEOs take time to evaluate how things are going and what needs to change to get things moving again. And that's what you are. CEO of your writing career. If you don't like where it's at, or feel stuck in a grind, then you have the power to change.

Here's a suggestion: Take a week and account for every day, in 15 minutes intervals. This is similar to how they used to have you account for all your calories before you started a diet. This is a time diet. Get a little notebook, then write down what you are doing every 15 minutes of the day. After you have a full week(include the weekend), then evaluate where you spend your time and how much of it is really devoted to 'necessary' things, and how much is just 'wasted'. The biggest complaint that most writers have is lack of time to write. When you sit back and evaluate your week, I guarantee you will find many hours that are completely wasted. Resolve to use that time to your best writing advantage, then get after it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Hmmm. Yesterday when I got home, there was another request from a different publisher for a partial of my contemporary romance. Tis the season I guess. Though I should be thrilled, its almost like a bad flashback to two years ago when I sent out a few queries and 3 publishers requested my book......then none of them bought it. It was devastating and really had a detrimental effect on me for a LONG time. I realize now that I shouldn't have let it get me down, but that's easier said. When I look back, I think that all that bad made me so much stronger as a writer, and now WHEN it happens I'll be much more realistic and ready to go, realizing that the hard work is just starting. And no, I'm not getting an ice cream today. I had to walk around the park last night in horrible wind, being battered by elm tree seeds...not worth it.

Monday, April 10, 2006

My Reward

I decided that I deserved a treat for sending off my book today. Something little, that won't blow the budget(or the diet) too bad. So today at lunch I swung into the drive through at DQ and got a small soft serve ice cream cone. The kind we used to get all the time as kids. It was yummy. And the perfect thing to celebrate the possible advance of my fiction career. Of course that means an extra lap around the park this afternoon, but what the heck.

On the nonfiction front, I received an assignment from a banking magazine this morning for an article for their August issue. It will make a nice addition to my published credits and a nice addition to my bank account(which is always appreciated). This afternoon I am going to work on the pitches for the follow up books to the one I'm sending today. Just in case I get 'the call' I want to pitch them the whole series.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I had dinner last night with a fellow writer, Kara F. It was fun talking about the plot for her new book and my husband didn't even complain about us ignoring him the whole time. Then I get home and there is a request from a publishing house for a full copy of my contemporary romance! I'm so excited!

I didn't go to bed until 1:30 am and then my eyes pop open at 6 this morning. I was looking forward to sleeping in today(my first Saturday off in more than 2 months) but it's like that Disney commercial; I'M TOO EXCITED TO SLEEP! So I'm up getting ready to print out a clean copy of Liar's Fire and ship it off to NYC. I probably won't sleep for a week..............

Thursday, April 06, 2006

When Things Come Together

There have been times(many times) when I decided to do something and everyday after that was a struggle. Nothing came easy and every path I tried seemed strewn with boulders the size of a Chevy. But this week things seem to be coming together....Really gelling....You know, like the commercial "Are you gelling?" yes indeed I am.

Its times like these they I try to remember when the rocky road of writing turns to ice. Why is it that the bad lingers so long in a person's mind, while the good is a fleeting thrill that's soon forgotten? That's one advantage of writing things down. You have a record of the good and can go back and capture that emotion when things are tough. You can also see how far you've come. While it doesn't lessen the blow when bad things happen it lessens the sting a bit. I would encourage every person out there to journal or blog the events of their writing life to remember the good. BTW I added two things to my One Thing a Day list. Yeah me!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Mile a Minute

You know how sometimes your mind races a mile a minute? That's me today. Its strange that when opportunities are presented it sets your mind into fast motion as to the possibilities. I just started the One Thing list yesterday and already have seven things on it. And it's looking like three of those things may actually come through. Very Nice. And a tribute to the One Thing Everyday concept. Me & Linda should make that into a motivational seminar and a nonfiction book and a class and.......see what I mean?

In other news, I cleaned my office this weekend(most of it) and it seems I have some 300 books to get rid of. Does anyone out there have an idea of what to do with them? At first when I thought about it, it seemed almost sad the amount of work those authors put into these books that I now want to give away. Then I realized that most of them have gone on to bigger and better things, from winning awards to the NYT bestseller list. These were the stepping stones of their careers.

And now, as I look at the pile of manuscripts that cover the top of my desk, I sincerely hope that years from now someone is piling up my old books to give away and thinking, "Gosh she's come a long way!"

Monday, April 03, 2006

Time for a Change

In the spring, I like the time change. Longer days, shorter nights, deck date weather. What is a deck date? Its when you and your spouse sit out on deck each evening and watch the sunset. It may seem a bit boring to some, but it is wonderful bonding time for us. Away from the kids, away from the phone, away from everything. Definitely worth looking forward to after a long winter.

I'm breathing a big sigh of relief this morning. The last event I have on my calendar for this spring is now over and I can look forward to two months of quality writing time. Not that I didn't enjoy the classes, meetings and seminars tremendously. Saturday, we had a critique boot camp with about 65 attendees. They were wonderful and the day went very well.

I spent most of the week with the speakers and one in particular was really encouraging. Linda Rohrbough is a nonfiction writer that is making her way into the realm of fiction. She pointed out several areas of writing expertise that I have that have been languishing the last few years. I'd like to move into some nonfiction and her suggestion was that each day I need to do one thing toward that goal.

It sounds so simple, one thing. Yet how many days went by last year that I didn't do one thing toward my writing goals. How many weeks? Yes, there were entire weeks I did nothing. How do I expect to make writing my entire life if I can't do one thing each day toward my goal? So I am making a resolution(I don't care if it isn't Jan 1; it still counts): I will do one thing each day toward my goal and I will write down that one thing and keep track of it. I'll let you know how I do, and I want to know how you do too. How many things have you done this week toward your writing goals?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Rose By Any Other Name

I confess. I've fallen off the wagon. I promised myself last year, after purchasing some 12 additional rose bushes ( I already had nine), that I would take a break from adding to the them for a year or two. But today, Jackson and Perkins called me while I was at home eating lunch. "We noticed its been a while since you've ordered, is there a problem?" No, no problem at all. Then she proceeds to tell me about all the new and wonderful roses they have ready to ship, and at a huge discount too. I sat listening with rapt attention, like it was my own personal 900 number. Please don't talk dirty to me, tell me about the roses!!

I have to wonder why it is that roses make me so happy. I've tried to explain it before, but no one(at least no man) seems to get it. It's like..... hmmm. What? I'm supposed to be a writer. Well its like first love and baby laughter all rolled into one. The feeling of when that special someone gets down on one knee with a ring. The memory of love ones lost but still cherished.

Writers often sit around and talk about what goal or achievement will solidify in their own minds when they've made it. Will it be winning the Rita, or the Tenth Rita? Making the NYT bestseller list? Having your book translated into every language on the planet? I'd love to achieve all of those things and one more. To have Jackson and Perkins name a rose after me. The Dee Burks Rose. Heheheheheh. And I only bought 5.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

3 Queries, 2 Partials and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

At least once a month I go over my submissions spreadsheet for the books I have that are ready to sell. I make sure I've logged any rejects and responded to all requests. Then I dig back into my research and decide where to send it next. However, today I pull up my spreadsheet and find that it's been 3 months since my last submission! How can 3 months slip by so quickly? I'll admit I've been busy, but am I too busy to sell a book? I think not. While I still have a few submissions out, today I'm sending more queries and partials for my contemporary romance. I know the odds are slim as they are for every aspiring novelist but I still have faith. I think of the publishing game kind of like I do the lottery, you can't win if you don't play. And I'm a player. Or an addict depending on how you look at it. Maybe I should form a support group, Queries Anonymous. I'm not sure what the meetings would consist of, but I have a feeling wine and chocolate would be involved.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Let's Do Lunch

Don't you love to hear that phrase? Especially when it's one of your writer friends calling? It is so encouraging to get to take a break and talk about writing over lunch. What you're working on this week, what ideas you have, what goals you have for next week. All these things contribute to what I like to call Publication Anticipation. It is similar to spring fever for writers.

As you get together and encourage one another, you also anticipate the great things that will happen this year. It gathers your confidence and concentrates it all over again, like a well you go back to time and again when your spirit tires out and your determination falters. It may be only an hour, but it is enough to resurrect that feeling of excitement and belief in what you are trying to accomplish.

So, are you sitting there wishing you could go to the well again? Pick up the phone already!! Your writer friends are probably wishing the same thing. Invite them out for lunch and renew each other's spirits. Let me know how it goes and next week, we'll do lunch too.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

RITA Update

In addition to Candy, two more fellow writers are up for RITAs. Jennifer Archer ( and Jodi Thomas ( . Congrats ladies!! The awards this year are a must see event. It says so much that Texas writers are repeatedly honored in this way. Amarillo seems to be a hot spot for growing not just writers, but award winning and bestselling writers. I think the old adage is true, Writers Beget Writers. There's a lot to be said for struggling along the path together, and having mentors to guide and encourage you. I can't imagine trying to write in isolation, having no one to bounce ideas off of, critique my work, or just plain listen to me moan about the difficulties of this business.

Its not that other writers guarantee anyone's success, only you can do that, but they keep you from giving up. They pick you up when you've been trounced on by life, dig you out from under the mountain of rejects and give you the will to keep on going. Ninety percent of this business is persistence. Thousands of people each day sit down and try to write a book. Of those, maybe 1 percent will ever be published. And they make it not because they are the best writers, have fancy English degrees, or are married to a publisher. They make it because they never gave up. They planted their butt in a chair everyday and made it happen.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Great News!

A friend from Dallas, Candace Havens has been nominated for a RITA award. For those of you who may be unaware, a Rita is Romance Writer's of America's highest achievement. She has been nominated in the category of best first book for Charmed and Dangerous. You can check our the lastest info on her at Way to go Candy!

A friend of mine said just this morning that Karma evens out the universe. When you do the work to succeed, you will. It may be fast, or it may be years in coming, but eventually you will be rewarded. For those of you out there that are still waiting for your time to come, I would encourage you to keep the faith. Belief in yourself and your abilities will allow you to ride through the tough times. The times when your family tells people that you write as a hobby. The times when you stare at the blank screen at a total loss as to what to put on that page. The times you camp out by your mailbox only to receive a postcard rejection addressed to Dear Author.

There are several authors I know that have told me that the good news of a sale arrived just when they were thinking about throwing in the towel. So if you are holding the towel this morning, put it down. Your good news may only be a day away.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Help From My Friends

Don't you hate it when you are writing and the words are flowing and then you get stumped by one word or awkward phrase? And your mind refuses to move forward until you fix it? That happens to me frequently. Its as if the internal connection to my mental thesaurus becomes unplugged. Those are the times I'm so very glad to have writer friends, and even friends that aren't necessarily writers that can help. One of my friends, affectionately known as the Grammar Nazi, is an excellent resource. I can send her an instant message at any time and get help with words, phrases, or just have a whine session. The latter being the most valuable sometimes. If you have someone like this in your life, you are a very lucky person. I know I am.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It's Snowing!

Strange how the weather has the ability to impact your mood. I love to write on snowy, rainy or otherwise gloomy days. I don't really know why that is, but they are also the days I'd like to curl up with a good book. Maybe that's it. Whether its writing or reading, my mind loves to be engrossed in a good story when the snow flies.

It reminds me of how important it is to remember that your characters are people too. Readers will identify with those events they recognize as part of our common human experience. Funny thing though, the items that usually have the most impact are the tiniest details. Lets take snow for example. You have all had the experience of waking up in the middle of the night and being instantly aware that it's snowing.

How do you know? Is it that strange eerie quiet as the snow buffers all sounds from the outside? Or the very distinctive glow that streams through the bedroom blinds, an unearthly light from the reflection of white. The crunch of foot steps though the pure white power, the taste of one unique flake on the tip of your tongue. These are the the details that place your character in our world. The little tidbits that create the suspension of disbelief in your readers and engross them in the story. Next time you write a scene or even a paragraph think about the details you can add to make your writing sparkle.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Answer the Door

Well who should come tap tap tapping on my door this morning but good old opportunity. His ears were probably burning from my post yesterday. In my inbox this morning was the offer from a new financial publication in New York to be a contributing editor. The first issue comes out in June. I've been talking to the editor in chief for a couple of weeks now and we kind of clicked. It will be a monthly pulp for a while until the advertising base is solidified, but I'm kind of excited. It will be nice to use some of my financial knowledge for a change. Some of you may or may not know that I used to work for Prudential as a qualified funds specialist, so this is really my cup of tea.

It just goes to show that all the past experiences you have as a writer, be they good or bad, may be the foundation for new experiences down the road. They are the things that make up each writer's path.

Many of the students in my classes ask how to get to from point A to point B in a writing career. It sounds like a cop out to say it depends, but it depends. It depends on your goals, your persistence, and your willingness to learn. So many factors go into a career that there's never any way to boil it down to a formula that you can follow. The best I can do is to say, when opportunity knocks, answer the door. You never know where it will lead.

Monday, March 20, 2006

When Opportunity Knocks

I decided that I could use a miniature vacation today. This has been a horrific month busy wise. I wrapped up two Writing classes that I'm teaching at Amarillo College. Another will begin in one week. I have two weeks left of a memoir class at Craig Methodist and a critique seminar to help with on April 1. I spoke to two groups in the past two weeks about writing, the Widow and Widowers club (I was promoting my next memoir class) as well as Panhandle Professional Writers. Whew! It makes me tired just reading how much I've done. And on top of that I actually got pages written on my new novel.

I have been asked many times how I juggle all the things I do and still have any time to write and I'll admit its not easy. But I have always been one of those people who gets the most done when I have the most to do. It's true. I have taken time between day jobs before to stay home and write "The Great American Novel". You know what happened? Not a darn thing. I became a slug languishing on my couch watching daytime TV all the while feeling guilty that I wasn't writing.

I heard a saying once that opportunity never knocks on the home of a hermit. I believe that to be fact. The more you put yourself out into the public as a writer, the more opportunities you get to promote yourself. These opportunities also give you the chance to network with other individuals giving you more ideas for your own work. So while I'm on mini vacation today, I'll be hard at it tomorrow listening careful for the quiet knock of my next opportunity.

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