Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer 2016

Oh Summer, where did you go?
I haven’t written in weeks…2.5 to be exact (not that I’m keeping track). Normally, that wouldn’t bother me too much, but my sweet summer writing time is quite literally up and I’m nowhere near my 100,000 word/2 novel summer writing goal. To make my own dissatisfaction even worse, I return to adulting and the daily working grind in 1.5 days (not that I’m keeping track). Completely mentally unprepared to adult, I’m also befuddled about where my summer went.

June blew in and BOOM school was over and summer vacation at the lake was A-MAZING! I have only the fondest memories of June…between vacation and writing…it was a sweet stress free time. The Ozarks with the FAM was simply grand, and once I returned, my writing seemed to take on a life of its own…simple bliss.

With July came a barrage of doctors, from dentist to eye doc to annual tests to vets. This is where the summer took a turn for the worse. My dude’s cancer returned after 4 short months. In the exact same place. At the time, treatment options sounded horrid. Needless to say, there were tears (a lot of them) and anger (a lot of it). Alas this too shall pass, and it did. Some new avenues were presented and things started to look up. AND I’m happy to report, while cancer still riddles his body…he has no idea, and I’m not about to tell him… #lovemydog. Even with all the angst July brought, I managed to finish a novel. My 4th. It’s nowhere near ready for any sort of publication, but the story is there, just waiting for polish and shine.

Then August showed up and well…more on the medical front. Nothing serious. Just obstacles and nonsense. Of course, amongst all the chaos, there was time for a splendid staycation with some of my FAVE people from Jersey. Riding high on some summer fun, I was blown away to learn of the passing of my dearest friend’s father, and within a few hours a red eye was booked. I was going home. After a tumultuous 60 hours in the Midwest, I was glad I could be there to celebrate the life of a truly wonderful man.

***Big Kyle, you lit up the lives of all those who knew you. The world just doesn’t make men quite like you anymore and you certainly made the world a better place. You will be deeply missed now and always. May you rest in peace.

Now, near the end of August with the 2016-2017 school year looming, all I can think is that I failed as a #booknerd this summer. One lousy novel written and only five read…not the best for this gal. Time to re-evaluate goals and aspirations. More than anything, my goals are fluid and ever changing as life is unpredictable and I’m a realist.

Re-evaluated Goals

Writing: Make sure to carve out weekly writing time with a focus on the rough draft of Modified. Be patient and let the polisher work her magic on Gems. #onward #dreambig

Reading: Continue with the 2016 Reading Challenge.
***Side note: The list will get finished, even if it carries into 2017. I needed a book that intimidates me and I choose the first seven of the Outlander books as the bundle on my kindle is monstrous. Possibly a little over zealous on my part. #readingismypassion #fluidgoals

Teaching: Positively impact the lives of little humans to the best of my ability. #newschoolyearishere

The unpredictably of life can be unnerving and terrifying at times, but the unpredictable part also leads to some of the most exciting adventures. However, if we continually worry and fret about the parts of the past that didn’t work out, it’s impossible to move forward to reach your dreams. #goalsandaspirations #aimhigh

Until Next time…

Don’t stop Reaching for the stars even when life gets complicated.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

It's All About the Process

Ah, the iceberg photo. I’ve always thought it was a cute little meme. Then I slammed into it head first. The initial pain was excruciating, but the ride has been wild, tumultuous and highly enlightening ever since. It’s all about the process…over time…

A few years back, I wrote and self-published a novella, If the Silver Slippers Fit. At that time, the novella was a huge achievement on a variety of levels, a real feather in my cap. But not to stay in one place too long, I was soon onto the second Ruby Hood.
Nearly two years later, I wrote the sequel to the novella, If the Sapphire Slippers Fit. Time, characters and adventures had passed, and the new story spun its own tale. Sapphires was fresh and so much fun to write. Finally, the rough copy was complete and ready for an editor, another feather in my cap. With any luck, I’d have this ready for publication by the fall.

To make sure there was continuity in the story, the editor read the first installment as well as the second, then asked if she could quickly edit the first one. On cloud nine and revealing in my own accomplishment, I readily agreed, even at $45/hour. After a week, the editor sent me an email, letting me know she was done with the first story and would like to meet to discuss the notes. Anxious to move ahead to the sequel (the real reason I’d hired her), I agreed. Everything was going according to plan.

Then I got the invoice. First, my heart palpitated then sank to the pit of my stomach. My entire editing budget for both books was blown…in one shot…on a stupid little novella that was already published! I was devastated, and now I didn’t have enough money to edit Sapphires. This was NOT the plan! What had gone wrong? To start, I had grossly overestimated the quality of my work, and underestimated the time needed to fix my errors. When the editor used the word ‘quickly’, I should’ve asked what that meant, but the time for rehashing mistakes was over. Suddenly, nothing else mattered except getting my hands on those very expensive edits. Deep down I couldn’t help but think…those edits had better be written in gold and a bit of blood.

The night before the meeting, I reread my story. While I read, I was struck by the mediocrity of the novella. Certainly not what NYT bestsellers are made of.  With an open and very intrigued mind, I walked into the coffee shop the following day. I spent several hours with the editor, poring over 22 pages of edits. First, she presented the plethora of problems, errors, flaws and weaknesses that riddled the story. Some I had caught, but there were more…lots more. I listened…to everything she said, while I jotted notes and tried to keep up with my own inadequacies. Halfway through, I was feeling like a total loser but hoping there was a silver lining to this very gray cloud. And there was. We spent the rest of the time discussing a variety of ideas, solutions and possible fixes for this…MESSS. At the end I thanked her, but my mind swirled with utter chaos. She had ripped my story apart and destroyed my comfort zone. Just a week before, I had a very different plan for my summer writing. Putting my latest WIP, Modified, on the back burner to REWRITE an already published book was NOT part of the plan. BUT everything had changed. My editor had made me think about Silver Slippers from a totally different perspective, and I couldn’t undue that.

At this point, I had to choices: wallow or rebuild. While pity parties have their time and place, they’re no place to live, or spend a precious summer, so #onward to rebuilding it was. With my big girl pants firmly in place, I’ve admitted defeat and failure. I’ve unpublished the novella and quite literally gone back to the drawing board.

Since then, I’ve spent my time creating an entire world…my vision of the Enchanted Realm of Oz. I have notes, character maps, notes, sub plots, drawings, notes, sketches, big plot twists, a brilliant AH-HA moment for the reader, and more notes. I’m 17,000 words into it and nowhere near the end, still building the world and creating character layers. It has completely consumed me. At certain times, I feel overwhelmed by the chaos in my head, but the more it churns the clearer it becomes. I’ve never written at this level. The growth throughout the entire process simply amazes me, both as a writer and a human being. The craziest part? My current WIP is titleless. For today, this massive reconstruction is known as Silver, If the Slippers Fit (book 1). Its definitive title will come…it’s all part of the process. Personally, I can’t wait to see where this Oz iceberg leads…over time…

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring and New Stuff

Spring 2016
What’s new?
Just to be clear, I am not a fan of daylight savings. I find it to be stupid and senseless, not mention rude. An hour stolen, ripped from our clutches. In the middle of the night. On a sacred weekend. I propose daylight savings time should be done at noon on the third Monday of March! Let common sense and non-rudeness prevail! Or we could just stop it all together, and let nature lighten and darken on its own. Seems like Mother Nature already had her own system.

On a completely different note (no pun intended), there has been a recent profound musical impact in my life. Music is almost a constant in my life and I have a several stations and playlists I enjoy regularly. But it is rare that a song, a rendition of another song…a classic…will stop me cold, right in the middle of an edit, sending shivers up my spin and a sudden lump into my throat, only to find myself biting my lip to keep the emotion at bay. The voice is haunting, tough, tired, hard, eerie, sad, soft, tormented…it’s so good…

The Sounds of Silence by Disturbed

Current Books
The RUBY HOOD BOOK BLITZES went VERY well! Thank you to all those who participated and supported! There’s still a $25 Amazon Gift card up for grabs. Check out a few of my favorite blogs for your chance to win.

What’s next for Ruby? There is a third one on the horizon, but it’s simmering on the back-burner while other, new stories are boiling on the front burner.

New Stuff
If the Sapphire Slippers Fit is coming along so nicely! I’ve been collaborating with my east coast counterpart, Jennifer Paquette, in NYC again. We’ve been having a world of fun creating this second story in the Precious Gems Series. Oz. Vegas. Sisters. Withes. Sapphire Slippers.

Excerpt: Prologue, If the Sapphire Slippers Fit
Pouring another round of shots, Giselle scanned the room of rowdy bachelors in front of her. She hoped this private party would pay off. She had a plethora of problems and a little extra cash would help solve one of them. Her latest marker was due, tomorrow. Since relocating to Vegas, she’d developed a fetish for the poker tables. This past round had gotten a little out of control, but she was close to her owe. Between these bachelors and her shift at the demon bar later, she should be able to pay off the sharks, with a little left over for take-out and a bottle of pinot grigio.
Lately, she’d also noticed some cop type hanging around. In the last three days, she’d seen him three times, and it could only be a coincidence for so long. She hoped he was just new to the area, but if he was here for her she knew it was because of her Lightning Power.
Then there was her biggest baddest problem, her curse, the Lightning Power. She’d been letting it get the best of her more and more lately. The pull of the power overwhelmed her, especially when she felt threatened. She’d lost it at a recent poker game when a demon accused her of cheating. Then he’d lunged at her, the power had taken control and within seconds he was fried crispy. It had felt so good to let go, to push the consequences from her mind, and give in to the power, but it had been a costly mistake. She’d given away her tell, and now her secret was out. Word spread like wild fire in the supernatural community; the Lightning Power was in Vegas.
Giselle shoved her hands into the ice, and took a deep breath. The supernatural world knowing about her power was terrible, but the daily struggle to control it was even worse. It was a constant struggle, and if she used the power regularly, or allowed it to use her, it would become a way of life. Then she’d never get back to Oz, to her family. She sighed, letting the coldness calm her prickling fingers. Things weren’t as easy in Vegas as she’d thought they’d be.
Gently biting the inside of her lip, she pushed the anxiety away as she turned to check her reflection in the mirror behind the bar. Straightening her ponytail, she forced a smile and put on her best bartender face. Right now, she just had to make enough money to pay her due to the sharks, then she’d to deal with this power. And hopefully between the two the cop problem would go away.
The red-faced sweaty men began pounding on the table, chanting, “SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS!” Fucking bachelor parties in Vegas. She resisted the urge to snort and roll her eyes. After all, she had a role to play and a service to provide. Plus, they had a huge tab and any extra gratuity was always welcomed. After she adjusted her top to make the most of her assets, she grabbed the tray and turned, making her way across a sea of people to serve up ten shots of Maker’s Mark to a table of rowdy men, already half in the bag.
She arrived at the table, served the guys and took a shot glass for herself, “To the lucky couple,” the waifish witch said, raising her own drink in front of the men. The table cheered at her words and toasted their glasses, patting each other on the back and polishing off their shots.
Running her fingers through her long brown curls, Giselle tilted her head back and let the rich full-bodied whiskey slide down her throat. It was one of the few perks to tending bar on a lively Saturday night. A fire ignited in her belly and she gave a small smile. She hoped tonight was a good night.
The French doors into the private room opened. Neon light and the thump of the bass from the DJ poured into the room as a man entered and walked to the back bar. Tall, dark and brooding were the first words to enter Giselle’s thoughts. He ordered a beer, then turned to scan the room. She gasped when she saw the demon hunter’s intense stare cut through the crowd until he found her own. A smirk danced in his eyes as he nodded in her direction, bringing the beer to his lips.
“Axim Walker,” she whispered as her voice caught in her throat and the shot glass slid from her hand, shattering to pieces on the marble floor. Her dark eyes blazed and the Lightning Power crackled at her fingertips. She knew he was here to kill her.

If the Sapphire Slippers FiT
Book #2 in the Precious Gems Series
Coming Soon

On the next blog?
There is always time for books, even if it’s the last 5 minutes my tired eyes see. Coming in the next edition of Latest Reads:

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich
More by T.M. Franklin
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson
Naked in Death J.D. Robb

After that?

I have no idea. Many plans, but they’re all tentative. Until next time. Peace.