Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I'm Confirmed...

For a two thrity flight to Chicago.

Ok, I'm not going to Chicago, but those words just sounded like what should come next.

Actually, I'm confirmed for something much better. Yup, it's official, I received my confirmation post card in the mail yesterday telling me that Toronto has received my submission.

And now? Now I am going to patiently wait while they review my work. I may even have some tea. Yeah right, that's not going to happen.

Now I am going to chew each of my nails until they look like ragged shark teeth. Now I am going to tug on my hair until balls of it come out of my head. Now I am going to go eat a gallon of chocolate to compensate for the anxiety I'm feeling.

You know, they need bumper stickers for cars that say "Warning: writer waiting to hear from publisher on board". This way the other drivers have some clue as to why I accidentally drive off the road when I call home to see if the mail has come yet. After all, I can't wait the 10 minutes it takes me to get home to see. Can I? And if I did wait, then it would explain why I'm weaving like a wacko in and out of traffic to get around them.

Hmmm... I may have to look in to getting some of those produced.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Working with My Hands...

At a recent Lowcountry RWA retreat, Susan Wiggs gave a presentation on story preparation. One tool she strongly suggested is making collages.

I've seen and heard a lot of authors doing this. So, our activity was to search for pictures that reflected something or someone in our stories. Susan suggested that we use pictures that speak to us, even if at that moment we don't understand why.

We didn't really have enough time to complete our projects and... I'll admit I'm too much of a talker when I'm in a big group, so I had a hard time concentrating, but at least I got other people's take on the subject. Anyway, long story short, I have completed a collage for my next story.

It took me a while because when I got back I was on information overload and then we had the episode with granny, so I've had other matters to deal with too. But I'm happy to have finally gotten this done. And what's even better, Susan was right, to boot. I learned so much about my characters! It was really revealing. A picture of it is at the side.

So, now I'm going to go and work on the other preliminary work for the story. My goal is to be writing by 12/15.


The Return...

I'm back from my turkey holiday. I did a lot of eating, but I got some exercise too, so I guess it wasn't too bad.

My hubby's grandmother had a stroke last week. She's recovered really well and she's doing great for 98. But everyone including sweet granny felt that it would be best if she gave up her apartment and moved to a nice nursing home. So, we spent part of the weekend moving her. She'll actually be a lot closer to the family, so that'll be nice. But giving up independence is never easy.

But I'm back and I'm in work mode, so I can't wait to get started on my next ms.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


What I need right now is some relaxation. To sit back and sip on some spiked egg nog and just enjoy watching the world go by. But, that's not really what happens on Thanksgiving. Darn it.

Tomorrow should be especially interesting since this is mine and my hubby's first Thanksgiving as a married couple. It helps that our parents live less than a block from each other.

So, with the thought of relaxation in mind, I saw this ad in a magazine and couldn't resist scanning it in. I've cut all the extras and though my name isn't Hayes, I wasn't willing to chop off his hand. It's a simple reminder that relaxation is ahead. Somewhere...

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and to those of you who don't celebrate Thanksgiving, enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Spreading Holiday Cheer...

Since the game this weekend turned out to be a real downer, I have decided to not look back and reflect on its disappointment.

Instead, I thought I'd share a little holiday cheer. Everyone has their own way of decorating for the holidays. Everyone has their own time schedule too.

A friend of mine from Hungary decorates on Dec. 1st, Santa brings a present for each person on Dec. 6th, then Baby Jesus brings the big Christmas presents on Dec. 25.

We traditionally decorate for Christmas, the weekend of Thanksgiving, so I've been giving some thought as to our decorations. I enjoy the holidays a lot. In fact, I get struck with the holiday bug around July most years. But I've managed to restrain myself enough to wait for the official beginning after Thanksgiving.

Since I'm a newly wed, this is the first year that my hubby and I will be decorating together. He shared a very interesting decorating scheme he found on the internet. I thought it was beyond words, so without further adieu, here it is: Wizards of Winter House. I hope you enjoy and find it very... inspirational!


Friday, November 18, 2005

Taking A Break & Bashing Some Heads...

This is THE weekend. THE weekend of THE game. In South Carolina, we love our college football. Some say that's funny because we are not notorious for having a really great football team. But we love them just the same.

There's a very heated in-state rivalry between the University of South Carolina Gamecocks (Yay!!!) and the Clemson Tigers (Booo!). The game between those two teams is this weekend.

I have to take a moment and toot the Gamecock horn. We've done well this season in my humble opinion. Despite a rocky start, our brand new coach, Steve Spurrier, has coached a young and inexperienced team to victories over both Tennessee and Florida. The last time we beat Florida was in 1939. So, you can see why we're excited.

Despite the usual genteel demeanor of South Carolinians, for this one weekend each year, it's brother against brother, friend against friend, and even wife against husband as these two teams come together for their annual battle. Last year, the contention was so high between the teams that a scuffle broke out and cost both programs their bowl game appearances.

Both teams are again bowl eligible. However, I don't anticipate any problems occurring to prevent their going this year. They want it too much.

So, I will be rushing home from my RWA chapter meeting on Saturday to meet with my friends (Carolina and Clemson fans alike) for a few hours of yelling at the tv, at refs, and at each other (there's bound to be heckling). I won't get a lot of writing done, but hopefully it'll be a great weekend just the same! Go Gamecocks!!

To all of you whose teams will be playing their rivals this weekend, I wish your team a successful weekend (unless you're a Clemson fan--sorry Sara).


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Off It Goes...

Like a proud mother, I watched as my query was sealed, stamped and sent off into the big wide world. (sniffle)

Of course, this was after I had finally obtained what I needed from my handy dandy, but not really brilliant postal worker. I marched right in and stepped up to the counter. Then I said, "I need 12 International Reply Coupons and postage for this package, please." The postal worker's eyes glazed and he murmured, "International Reply..." as he turned and headed into the back of the office.

Ten minutes later he returned with my IRCs and after another 10 minutes spent figuring out how to ring them up, I was sealing my envelope and popping my submission into the mail. Yay!

So, now I get to wait. Hmmm... I don't really like waiting. Guess I better get over that. Huh?

Well then, I guess it's back to my other wip. Which, by the way, got completely changed in my head while I worked on my revisions of the first one. So, now I guess I'm starting just about from scratch.

I'll start that tomorrow. I deserve a break for today. I think.


Going Postal...

Now I fully understand the syndrome that seemed to sweep the nation's post offices a few years ago. The one where people lost their minds and did wacky things at the post office. Not that I'm going to. Watch, that comment is going to land me on some FBI watch list. Guaranteed. But if it means I'll be able to mail a simple package to Canada, then that's fine with me.

I started off today with a buzz. I happily packaged up my query and set off for my local post office. You see, I didn't anticipate any problems. Maybe that was my first mistake. But I have mailed things to Canada before, you see. In fact to the very office that this package is to go to. So, why should I anticipate a problem this time? It's not like I'm mailing anything hazardous. Well... it is a romance manuscript and I did manage to move the "sizzle" closer to the front, but I wouldn't call it hazardous. Not in the sense the postal service means it.

My second mistake was not recognizing the big difference between this package and the one I sent before. The self addressed, postage-paid envelope. Yeah, a simple SASE got the postal workers' panties in a wad. Well, they were probably boxers or briefs, since it was a he, but you never know.

I digress... The problem here is that the return envelope will be mailed FROM Canada. So, the postal employee explained that I needed Canadian postage and he of course couldn't sell any to me, because he's part of the US postal service. I asked him what I had to do. He suggested that I find the Canadian post office online and order postage from them. But he couldn't tell me how much either. Then he explained that it would probably take 3-4 weeks to get the postage.

GREAT! Just what I want to do. Wait another 3-4 weeks to get this sucker outta here.

He said I could maybe find someone who lives there and send them a check and ask them to send me the correct postage. And I thought, "where do I find this person? My hubby would looooove that! And how are they going to get it to me any faster anyways?"

So, I came home and did what any intelligent person would do. I consulted the brilliant members of the writing community. Ok, I said a number of expletives first, but then I turned to my friends. And guess what... Postal boy doesn't know a thing about the postal service. Surprised? Me neither.

Apparently there are these neat little things called "International Reply Coupons" or to industry insiders (which apparently doesn't include actual postal workers) IRC's. They are these nifty little things you buy for $1.75 a piece and each one equals regular letter postage in just about any country.

So, what I really needed to do is figure out how many regular Canadian "stamps" I would need for the size and weight of my package and then purchase that many IRC's. Easy to find this on the Canadian Post website. Then I send them with my submission and... get this, the receiver just trades in the IRC's for stamps. Hah! Who would have guessed? Apparently not the USPS who, by the way sells the darn things.

So, tomorrow I'm making another trip to the post office. And if I have to, I'll search every square inch of the building to find my IRC's. Then I am putting this sucker in the mail once and for all.

Of course, then the wait begins. The wait in which I stalk my postal carrier. Funny, that old saying for men holds true for the USPS too. "Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em."


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Lovely Words...

I was recently discussing poetry with some friends. It was nice, because it had been some time since I had really thought much about it.

In school, I wrote a lot of poetry. I still have those journals. In a way they sometimes inspire the stories I write now. I'm just not as satisfied with the brevity of poetry any longer. Now I like longer stories that permit me to take a character somewhere.

I didn't share much of the poetry that I wrote. It was personal. Much like the majority of poetry written. There have been a few people in my life who've been permitted to glimpse my poetry. I'm certainly not the next Frost or Dickinson, but I didn't write them to be like those people. I wrote in order to purge myself of my emotions.

Anyway, while conversing recently, someone asked me who my favorite poet was and without any hesitation I stated, "Sarah Teasdale." My declaration was met with blank looks. Then I realized that although I've been a fan of Miss Teasdale since I was quite young, many people have never heard of her.

I was first exposed to Sarah Teasdale's There Will Come Soft Rains, probably her most famous work. It was used in a short story I read for literature class. A rather descriptive story set in the future in which you come to realize that something tramatic has happened. Life is going on as normal except for the fact that mankind has completely disappeared. It fit the poem and its sentiment well.

Since Sarah Teasdale died in 1933, which is more than 70 years ago, and since this poem was composed prior to 1923, it is now considered public domain. So, I am sharing There Will Come Soft Rains with you:

There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;
And frogs in the pool singing at night,
And wild plum trees in tremulous white;
Robins will wear their feathery fire,
Whistling their whims on a low fence-wire;
And not one will know of the war, not one
Will care at last when it is done.
Not one would mind, neither bird nor tree,
If mankind perished utterly;
And Spring herself when she woke at dawn
Would scarcely know that we were gone.

After my exposure to her in Mr. Bradbury's story, I started researching Sarah's poems. Not an easy task prior to the internet, because at the time at least, there was only one complete collection of her poems. Finding it wasn't easy. But I did.

It sits on my desk. Along with my complete Thesaurus and Dictionary. All other books are stored on my bookshelves. However, I've been known to often pick up Sarah's book while suffering from writer's block, so I keep it handy.

Since first reading There Will Come Soft Rains, I have discovered that many of her poems touch me in the same way. But I often fail to realize that not many other people have been exposed the Sarah Teasdale's work.

Despite her passing, her works are still here for everyone to read and enjoy. Here's a link to a website that has some of her poems. Sarah Teasdale Poems.

I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have.


Friday, November 11, 2005


That word brings many thoughts to mind.

One thought is the sound that used to rumble from the cars of the kids who went to the high school across the street from my old house.

Another thought is tone of my favorites. It invloves covering presents in festive paper.

I could go on and on... But the best thing it brings to mind is the shipping off of my manuscript. Oh yeah! I'm finally done with revisions on my ms and I'm working on getting everything put together and "wrapped" up to ship off!

It's so funny. I've done a bit of querying to agents, but I haven't sent anything to editors yet. Even after getting to meet and talk to an editor this weekend, I still find this intimidating. But I'm sucking it up and pushing through.

My plan is to have everything ready to put in the mail Monday. Wow. It sounds so final when I type it here. That's a good thing, I guess.

Wish me luck and keep me in your prayers because once this sucker is in the mail, the really hard part begins. The waiting.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Evil Synopsis...

I think I'm finally on the final revisions of my synopsis. Ahhhhhh... It has taken me nearly as long to revise my synopsis as it took me to revise my entire ms. I guess it's a good thing to do so much work on it. Especially since it is the first impression an editor will have of my writing. But it's just such a pain.

How do you summarize all of the emotional and dramatic elements of a 75,000 word manuscript in 500 words or less? It ain't easy, I know that much. Having a critique partner to help guide your way helps a lot though.

Since my weekend retreat, there are just so many cool ideas running around in my head. I want to start something new. However, that isn't going to happen until I get this sucker wrapped up.

So, I'm going to go and wrap it up.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Information Overload...

I'm back from my trip. What a trip it was! I got to meet some really amazing people while learning some great techniques and exercises to get me deeper into my story and my character's heads. Of course my husband says I'm out of my own too often as it is.

Sadly, I feel like all I learned is buzzing around in my little brain, trying to find a file drawer it can fit in to. Only all my drawers seem full and the little wings on the info are bumping into each other, so instead of nice, neat organizastion, my mind is a jumbled mess. At least I have a great excuse.

Well, now I'm going to take a "creative nap" at least that's what Diane Chamberlain told me they were. Doesn't that sound great? "No, dear... I am not being lazy. I'm taking a creative nap." They do work, so I can't fault her there!


Friday, November 04, 2005

Visual Research...

I've been doing some visual research. It's a bad habit I have. It's one of my many procrastination tools. It works really well. Then I thought, I wonder if everyone else knows about these resources!?! So, I thought I would dedicate this post to sharing some of the resources I've found for visual research.

My hubby is a graphic designer. He taught me early on that when I need a picture of something all I have to do is take a peek at some stock photography. Much of the photography you see on the web and in magazines is stock photography. I know. I thought they got that girl and guy to pose next to a bed for the Cosmo articles too. But alas, no they didn't.

Now some caveats come with this info. Stock photo companies allow you to download/save protoypes of their pictures. Some place a faded logo across the pictures. Some don't. Either way, you can save them for inspiration. However, you cannot post them anywhere unless you're willing to pay the price for the photos. The prices are always listed and usually range from $50 up. However, as long as you don't plan on using them on publishing them, you can peruse all the samples all you want. With that said, here are some of my favorite stock photo sites:

You can find just about anything on these sites. One secret is to be specific in your search criteria. In almost all instances, to save the sample you right click on it and click save as then save it where you want it.

I would share some of my own images with you that I've sampled however, that would be a total breach of everything I told you before, so I'll just keep them to myself.

However, I will give one more hint. The next time you're logging onto the internet and you see a picture you like, note if there is a credit of where it came from on it. For instance I found picturequest by seeing a picture on an AOL screen. If you like that picture, you may find that you like others they have.

Now I'm off to a writer's retreat weekend. So, I should have loads of useful information when I get back Monday. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!


Thursday, November 03, 2005

Pictures Finally...

Finally I can now take all of my pictures off of my digital camera. I lost the cord and the sweet girl at the store recommended I buy this neat little gadget that plugs into my computer. Then I slip the memory card from my camera into the appropriate drive on the gadget and viola... I have pictures. Plus I can use it with the camcorder card.

Now that I've been able to dowload the pictures I've come to realize that maybe they aren't of a very good quality and since I wasn't able to empty the card, there aren't many. But I'm still going to post a few here for your enjoyment.

Bunny playing mandolin while medusa snaps a pic

Lobster Boy!

Peeping Tom and a grave digger.

Lobster Boy with a Robert Palmer dancer... you know, from the 80's video. She put down her guitar for the pic

This was one of my favorite costumes. A mastercard ad. The front lists prices for her shirt, jeans and shoes.

The backside reads: Halloween costume that took minimal effort: priceless (the priceless is hard to read because it was studded and there was a flash.)

This is my sweet hubby. He took off his zombie costume. It was his b-day, hence the hat.

Hubby carving the birthday cake

An 80's chick and punk rocker... That's my wand the punk is holding. I wondered where that went!

Madame fairy-butterfly & Robert Palmer's girl. It was getting late at this point.

So there they are, my Halloween pics. If you're in one and you want it gone, just let me know.

I would like to say an extra special thank you to Cam, Daye, and Timmy for opening their home to us all and being so thoughtful as to host a surprise birthday party for my hubby. What wonderful friends we're Blessed with!


Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Maybe It Isn't The Bacteria...

So, I went to visit Super Keith yesterday. Only Super Keith wasn't there, so instead I got to see Captain Russell. He's a lot like SUper Keith except he wears a mask with his uniform.

Any who, Captain Russell decided that maybe it isn't the bacteria after all. Maybe I just have an inflamed respiratory system. So, now I'm on all sorts of medications. One makes me sleepy. One makes my really jumpy and the others help me to breath just a little. I feel like I'm Manic. Tired, wired, tired, wired, tired, wired...

On to bigger and better things. I'm working on wrapping up my revisions so I can get my ms in the mail! It'll happen. Soon.

However, I have to put the ms on hold starting Friday because I'm off to a writer's retreat. I'm so excited. It's my first. It's being held at a beach mansion and there's going to be a lot of amazing people there! I'm really excited. Or it could be the medicine. Who knows?