Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Fascinating World of Steampunk

Steamnocchio by Fabricio Moraes

Whilst enjoying my three day weekend, which I am so grieved is over--sniff, sniff--I stumbled upon a bit of interesting information: Apparently, my current WIP, the Historical YA featuring futuristic time travel elements, falls under the category of Steampunk.Who knew? Here I am, putting along, thinking to myself, "Wow, Alyssia. Not only are you unable to come up with a title for this project"--STILL! Grrr!--"but you don't even know what category to stick it in. Historical? Science Fiction? And if you don't know the category, how the heck is an editor supposed to know?" Sure, there are similar books out there on the market, but that just goes to prove how unfamiliar I am with this entire YA thing, not knowing the category in which I am attempting to write.

All right, so, anyways. Steampunk. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, permit me to enlighten you:

1) Yes, it is an entire genre in fiction. Though we are uncertain/debatable as to when it all actually began, Steampunk had a decent prominence during the 80's and early 90's. The style often reflects influences based on the works of great authors such as H.G. Wells (The Time Machine), Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea), and Mark Twain (The Adventures of Tom Sawyer).

Captain Nemo's Nautilus from Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

That's great, Alyssia. But what the heck is it?

2) Steampunk involves an era or fictional world in which steam power is still widely (sometimes predominantly) used--more often than not this is in Victorian England--and incorporates key elements of either science fiction or fantasy or both. Think: Victorian-style clothing, architecture, art, culture, language, etc. meets futuristic innovations, inventions, and overwhelmingly powerful engineering. To get an even better picture, think Van Helsing, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, and the newer Alice in Wonderland and Sherlock Holmes.

Cheshire Advice by Eric Claeys

So, what are the people like in such a world?

3) Primarily inventors, although you are certain to find either a heroine or hero (or both!) sucked into some kind of extraordinary adventure involving a most modern, yet well-known concept like, oh, I don't know... time travel! One blog author described it as, "a mechanical renaissance which emphasizes the contradiction in perfectly constructed machines and low human nature."

Grand Feeding of Fish by Elena Pigareva

And there you have it. In a nutshell, more or less. Really, there are so many aspects to this genre, so many nooks and crannies I've yet to explore, I could dedicate an entire blog solely to the ins and outs of Steampunk. Art, design, culture, history, music. The list goes on and on and on. But I am extremely excited about exploring new territory (for me, at least) and I promise, I'll let you in on some of the juicier details as I go along.

Cassandra by Alice Agostini

For now, I'd love to know what you think of the genre. Have you read many of the YA or other books currently on the Steampunk market? If so, which ones?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Take a Look, It's in a Book

Prolific science fiction author Isaac Asimov said that a writer will spend 90% of their time thinking and 10% typing. For a guy who typed 90 words per minute, wrote 10 hours a day, 363 days per year, and sold almost every word he composed, I'd say he was definitely on to something. Writers indeed spend an enormous amount of time doing all sorts of activities which don't exactly include adding word count to their manuscript. Be it researching, plotting, outlining, people watching, listening to music, analyzing films, or sitting in silence, meditating, we literally fill our lives with whatever it takes to create this one, hopefully good story. Our loved ones must learn to accept our obsessions, as 1) they can change at any given moment and 2) there's simply no living with us if we can't be our weird compulsive--I mean, artistic--selves.

Among these many writerly activities falls a very, very important, vital aspect: READING.

Encourage Your Kids to Read, Too

Yep, that's right. Several writers interested in bettering their writing skills have asked me, "What self-help books do you recommend for craft?"  While I 100% stand by Debra Dixon's masterpiece GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict--The Building Blocks of Good Fiction, I usually respond to this question with, "I wouldn't. I recommend reading what you write."

Why do I say this? Simple. How else are you supposed to know what's on the market, what authors are putting out there in YOUR genre, unless you read? Multi-published best selling author Stephen King has often confessed in numerous interviews that he reads everything. Just take a look at his summer reading list in this upcoming week's Entertainment Weekly. Novels ranging from thrillers like Buried Prey by John Sandford and to the historical paranormal suspense The Cypress House by Michael Koryta dot the page, each guaranteed not to disappoint. And I would venture to say we're all fairly impressed with Mr. King's writing and storytelling abilities, yes?

Caricature of Good Ol' Uncle Stevie

I thought so.

Here's the bottom line: You can enroll in all the writing classes you want (which, by the way, I do recommend taking at least a beginner and intermediate), book online courses and craft workshops, attend conferences (also highly recommended for networking purposes; plus, they're great fun) read self-help books until you're blue in the face...

But at the end of the day, you can't expect to sit at your computer and be brilliant, unless you are reading. And for the fiction writer, that means reading FICTION. Live it, breathe it. When you finish one book, start on another, and another and another. I've heard other authors confess that if they stop reading, they run out of words. This is so very true. If you're stumped in your manuscript, ask yourself: Did I read today? If not, make time. Even if it's just a page or two, you'll be amazed by how that small bit recharges the mind, bestows confidence, and even sparks ideas.

For a bit of fun, tell me what you're reading now. Is it something you'd normally choose? Or are you branching out, exploring new territory? Include your email address with your answer, and on Thursday, I'll randomly select one commenter to receive a copy of Laura Griffin's Unforgivable.

From the back of the book: 

At first, Mia Voss thinks it's just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking, but what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she's become the target of one. And the only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free.

Once, Mia trusted Detective Ric Santos, but that was before Ric let his turbulent past ruin his chances with Mia, the sexiest, most intriguing woman he's ever met. But he can tell when she's lying--and when she's scared. The key to catching a sadistic madman lies within a long-buried cold case that has haunted Mia for years. Only she can uncover the truth, but first, Ric will have to get her to entrust him with her secrets... and her life.

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Plotting! Plotting! Plotting!

Small World, Big Dreams

Well, I'm only a few days into my conversion from Pantser to Plotter, and I must say--and oh my goodness, I hope I don't jinx myself--it's working out peachy thus far. Currently writing CH. 4 of the Historical YA, a little over 1K words into the scene (I average 500 a morning during the week; more on weekends, if I'm lucky), and I keep looking up at the nifty little board I fashioned (thick white poster board, sectioned into 24 squares--big enough for Post-Its) to check my plot points for this chapter.

"Oh, yeah!" I think. "I gotta mention that before I get off on a tangent!"

And believe me, I am notorious for that very thing. One of the many drawbacks of Pantsing is that you can ramble on and on, and to you it sounds completely viable and poetic, but in the end you're really just... well, you know. Certain things become redundant--OK we GET he's gorgeous, all right?! *smile*--and soon you've got a 600+ page novel that needs SERIOUS surgery aka editing.

If ever you've been through edits, you know it can really feel this way.

In any event, I would like to encourage all you Pantsers out there to at least attempt to plot the next 3 chapters ahead. Where are your characters going? Where's the plot taking them? Are you scenes moving the story forward? Or are your people just sitting around, looking at each other? (My dad used to threaten this whenever I asked, "So, what are we doing today?") You don't have to do a serious outline, plot out every detail. Just get a Post-It, write 3-4 bullet points, and make it happen. Amazing how easily it keeps you on track, forces your focus ahead, and pushes your characters into action.

Happy Writing! Happy Thursday-before-Friday-before-a-three-day-weekend (woo hoo)! And, of course...

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Converting from Pantser to Plotter + a Birthday Shout Out!

Recently I received an email from a relatively large publishing company regarding the full manuscript I sent in March. The basic verdict?  The novel is too long and needs some fine-tuning.  But the good thing is that the editor, who is SUPER nice--seriously, I couldn't wish a better person in the industry on any author, and that's the truth--kindly pointed out the exact areas I need to work on, while professing that she really liked the story and characters.  She also offered for me to send the manuscript directly to her, once I've cut about 40,000 words and tightened a few of the historical aspects.

So, yes, I am very pleased with these results, all things considered.

However, it really got me to thinking: I didn't exactly plot out this book one iota. And, no, I'm not a Plotter. A proud Pantser, thank you very much, which means when I show up at the keyboard, there's no knowing what'll happen. Sure, I have a basic idea of where the story's headed (usually), but for the most part the characters tell me what they want, where they wanna go, what they wanna say, etc. etc.

J.K. Rowling working on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

And so I figured, for this YA Historical (which, by the way, remains nameless) I should try to actually plot a little. Figure out beforehand where I'm going, and what I intend to do once I arrive there. Problem is, I haven't the first clue how Plotters do their thing.

That's when I Googled "converting from Pantser to Plotter"--by the way, a Pantser is one who literally writes by the seat of their pants, while a Plotter outlines, storyboards, family trees, etc., before they actually start writing--but I was lucky enough to stumble upon paranormal romance author Kait Nolan's website/blog. There, I found the beginning of an incredible series of blog posts: From Pantser to Plotter: Why the Pantsers Fear Plotting. She's even got nifty links to the next blog post in the upper right hand corner, just above the current post.

Action-Packed Paranormal Romance Author Kait Nolan

Needless to say, this may have very well changed my life, the way I write, the fashion in which I prepare for the commitment it takes to write a novel. Yes, folks, it is a commitment. A marriage. You're either in for the long run, or you may play for a while then decide to go another route. Start another project. And I suppose that's fine in some instances (not in a marriage, of course--please take that seriously, all right?), but when a writer starts a project, he or she needs to make certain 1) there's a genuine story to be told and 2) she or he is in it for the long haul.

Easier said than done, I know. Believe me, I've started three or so projects, made it to the middle, and said, "Bleh. This isn't going very well." And so I put it aside and start yet another manuscript.

But since I didn't want to do that this time, not with this new approach into the Young Adult category, and especially since I'm tampering with not only historical but also science fiction/time travel, I decided the best route to take would be to plot (not with all the madness of a true Plotter, mind, but still...) at least 3-4 chapters ahead, create a notebook with timelines, family trees, and pictures, and hope for the best.

So, tell me: Are you a Pantser or a Plotter? What fits into your style of writing? Do you write in the morning hours, like me, or are you more of a night owl? When you show up to the keyboard, do you have a game plan? Or do you just type and pray it comes out brilliant?

Oh! The birthday wish! Happy, Happy Birthday to Queen Victoria! Alexandrina Victoria was born on May 24, 1819 and ruled the great country of England for 63 years and 7 months (the longest reign in British history as well as for any female monarch!), before she passed away on January 22, 1901. Her reign, also known as the Victorian Era, was a period of industrial, cultural, political, scientific, and military change within the UK. She and her husband, Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, had 9 children and 42 grandchildren. When he died at the young age of 42, Victoria went into a deep morning and, of course, never remarried.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Windsor 1841-45

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Sunday, May 22, 2011

This Day in History!

While visiting my good friends at SOS Aloha this morning, reading their weekly winners, et cetera, I learned a little tidbit about this day in history. Turns out, on May 22, 1945, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox joined the US Navy. Pretty interesting, huh? I thought so, too. And naturally that got my thinking: Since my current WIP takes place in the year 1843 in Darlington, County Durham, UK... I wonder if anything of significance happened on this day in that year in history?

As a matter of fact, something did!

The Oregon Trail by Albert Bierstadt

On May 22, 1843, an enormous wagon train, compiled of over 1,000 settlers + 1,000 head of cattle, took their first steps onto the Oregon Trail from Independence, Missouri, headed toward what is now Washington, California, Nevada, Utah, and (you guessed it) Oregon. This is known as the Great Emigration. Check out these directions: 40+ miles on the Sante Fe Trail--->turn northwest on the Platte River until you hit Fort Laramie, Wyoming---->take the South Pass through the Rocky Mountains until you hit the basin of the Colorado River---->SW to Fort Bridger---->NW to Fort Hall--->keep going 'til you hit Fort Boise---->take a break, get supplies, pass out, whatever---->cut through the Blue Mountains until you reach (thank goodness!) Oregon.

I'm thinking I couldn't cram all that on a Post-It. Or if so, I would've been the idiot in charge of the directions who lost the Post-It, and, therefore, caused us to wind up in, I don't know, Canada or something.

Needless to say, the 2,000 mile journey took over 5 months (they arrived in October; bet the weather was nice!). FIVE MONTHS on a TWO THOUSAND MILE wagon train! Just think about it: cattle, screaming babies, smelly humans (ew), dirt and grime, traveling through heat and extreme exhaustion. Sickness! Because you know people got sick, right? Wow. A 400 mile drive from my front door to Momma's--in an air conditioned car with a stereo, no less!--and I'm moaning and groaning like a big baby. Truly, I am humbled.

Within the next year, 4 more wagon trains made the journey, after which use of the trail declined, admitting the advent of the railroads.

So, there you have it, folks. Your brain crease for the day! Ta-da! (I hope you sang that, because I totally did.) Is there a particular time and/or event in history which really sparks your interest? If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Thursday, May 19, 2011

High Concept

Ever wondered what sells a book to a publishing company? I mean, yeah... We've all got a story--or, if you're like me, several stories--just dying to be heard. But have you ever wondered what really makes a concept stand out to that elite editor in New York (or maybe not NY, because there are great, professional editors everywhere)? When you send that query, what does it take? What do they want to read? What will make them go, "Omigosh! I've GOTTA have this book, like, NOW!"

Well, that's a difficult feat. You know it; I know it. Because a good query consists of those vital elements: a professional, yet captivating introduction, an eye-catching back-of-the-book-blurb, and of course your credentials, et cetera. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, Madam/Messieurs Author. Not always the easiest thing, when you so desperately want the editor and/or agent to love your novel as much as you do. You want to beg, you want to plead, but you must be professional and courteous.

You must also grab their attention from the get-go.

Why? Because they read so many queries a day, by the time they get to yours, they're thinking, "Dear God. Another one? What have you got for me that the others don't?" By then they're ready for dinner, Starbucks, or--better yet--a glass of wine and some major R&R.

I know. No pressure, right?

Enter the fabulous High Concept. Many, many writers have sold their respective novels and/or screenplays off this very small, yet highly effective tool. What is a high concept, you ask? Also known as The Theme, a high concept is sort of a "what if?" scenario that acts as a catalyst for a series of events. It also covers the who, what, when, where, why, how of the manuscript/screenplay.

Think of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. What if a major climatological devastation wracked the world, covered it in either ice or snow or both, and, therefore, sent millions of desperate survivors running South? The mayhem! The terror! Oh my goodness, where is Jake Gyllenhaal when you need him?!

You get the idea. An entire film produced on a single, high concept. Jurassic Park, Speed, the television show my husband was addicted to for years and years and--big dramatic sigh--yeeeaaaaarrrrs (or so it certainly seemed). Yes, I'm talking about Lost. All high concept projects. All incredibly successful.

OK, so, what if you did this for your current WIP? What would you say? What one to two sentence high concept would describe the book in its entirety? And vibrant and interesting enough to give an editor pause? I'll give you a minute...

Haven't thought of one yet? All right, take another minute. We'll look at a nice picture.

The Majestic Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

Anything? Not as easy as it sounds, is it? And if you thought of one immediately, way to go! A nice big shiny gold star for you. However, if you're still rummaging around in that brilliant brain of yours, take some time, give it some deep thought. Focus on the main idea of your book, series, screenplay, etc. Now, imagine how you can put this way-awesome idea (because your idea is way-awesome, right? Of course it is!) into a 1-2 sentence statement that'll really, really grab the reader. And I mean grab 'em and grab 'em hard.

Now, open your query letter and/or synopsis with this concept. Did you do it? Good. Be patient. Wait. Don't bite your nails, it's a terrible habit. Soon Madam Elite Editor will open your email query. And when she does... well, let me be the first to congratulate you for making the heck outta her boring, ho-hum day. In fact, she may be picking up the phone right now, or, in the very least, writing a post-it to call you first thing in the morning. Are you excited yet? Are ya? Yeah, me, too. :)

Here's my still-rough HC for the YA historical/sci-fi:

A headstrong 19th century girl sees her life plummeting straight for the virtual prison of genteel society's strict expectations--find a wealthy husband, start a family, live out the rest of her days in fashionable boredom--until a boy from futuristic North America sweeps her across the globe on a secret journey, beyond the boundaries of space and time, and into a world of unparalleled adventure.

If you've already created a high concept/theme for your current WIP, I'd love to hear it! Post and share!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Saturday, May 14, 2011

New Book, New Cast

A month or so ago I joined the Young Adult chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America), and I must say, I am so glad I did. The Yahoo! group members are so very supportive and informative, not to mention fun and endearingly quirky. Hey! Just like me! Seriously, I've read at least two books recommended in casual conversation, both of which were outstanding. We've had debates over Suzanne Collins's ever-popular bestseller The Hunger Games (Team Gale or Team Peeta???), and are learning everyday what's hot, what's not, and how to get our story to shine in this tough, cutthroat market.

My favorite part, however, comes every Friday, when the moderator throws a Weekend Hot Topic! out there for us to have a bit of fun, laugh, and (most importantly) get to know each other. This weekend's is entitled Starstruck! (in honor of the Cannes Film Festival this week), and the question posed is that if some hotshot producer came a-knocking and gave you first choice at casting for your current WIP, who would you pick?

"Why, I'm so glad you asked, Mr. Mega-Bucks Producer! Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea. Would you like a biscuit? Let's see here, where's that file I keep... Ah! Here it is. All righty, then. Ready? Here we go!"

Emily Browning as Hallelujah "Hallie" Farrington

Taylor Lautner as Adris Crane

Max Irons as Henry James Kinsey

Charity Wakefield as Lady Savannah Rochford

Eddie Redmayne as Philip Turner

And that's everyone. Well. Not everyone, everyone. The main cast, at least. The creme of the crop who will get the most face time throughout the course of the novel. Though nameless as of now (which is new, as I've almost always come up with the title of the book by at least the first few pages of CH. 1), the story is an historical/sci-fi time travel about a young girl in 19th century England who faces the normal, everyday teenage problems of that era. Namely, the need to find an agreeable, acceptable--preferably wealthy--husband as soon as possible.

After all, "it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife," right? Why, yes, Miss Austen. I do believe you are correct in that assumption.

I won't give away the ins and outs just yet, for I will doubtless be in need of a good blog topic soon. And since this is Small World, Big Dreams: An Aspiring Writer's Journey to Publication, I'll not only be dragging you along the dirt path of my struggle to avoid the slush pile, but will also include the juicy details owed to my current WIP, starting with a basic blurb, then historical findings, research on God-only-knows-what, and...

Wow. I think I may need another cup of coffee.

So, tell me: Do you select faces for your characters, keep 'em in a folder easily accessed? Or do they exist only in your head? If the former, who has the honor of appearing in your starting lineup?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints (and cheers! to a great weekend...),


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Treading Familiar Ground

Well, I've done the naughty. Started a project, managed to dive in a little over four chapters, and wham! Decided to start something altogether new and different. Why does this happen? Your guess is as good as mine. For me, the excitement had dwindled into a bit of a dull interest. Kind of like watching The Hangover for the dozenth time: It's funny, but not nearly as side-splitting, slap your knee, laugh-'til-you-cry-and-almost-wet-your-pants funny as it was when you sat in the front row on premiere night.

No, I'm not scrapping the YA paranormal, because I do love the story and the characters, just not as much as I should at this point in the creative process. Not to mention, the market's practically flooded with YA paranormals right now. And I'm determined to write something that I not only love, but is pleasantly and interestingly different than the big crazed norm being shoved down our throat every time we turn a corner in the Barnes & Noble.

So, I've gone back to my first love: The Regency-Inspired Historical.

Her First Love Letter by Marcus Stone

Why? For one, I adore the age when women wore diaphanous gowns with smart bonnets and beaded reticules. When the envied members of the ton flocked to Hyde Park during the fashionable hour, Almack's on Wednesdays was a religious practice, almost no one rose before noon, and referring to a man as "a bang-up cove" meant he was a Class-A, splendid fellow. Not to mention those men... well, most of them... were real--and I do mean real--gentlemen.

In Love by Marcus Stone

It is for all these reasons, as well as my love for writing in this particular time period, that I've decided to try my hand at a Young Adult historical with sci-fi elements (namely time travel). Sure, the time travel element has been done, and many, many times over if the good people on all the science fiction forums are to be believed. As I am certain they are, for if you can't trust a group of Trekkies who can successfully carry on a two week conversation based solely on why the Kobayashi Maru is, in theory, not a no-win scenario, who can you trust?? But I have to trust my instincts to produce an original story with elements that, while done in another way, are new to this type of plot line.

Anyways. Keep your fingers and toes crossed tightly for me, if you please, dear readers! For while I am treading familiar territory (the YA features the kids from my adult historical romance), the element of the unknown which always hangs over the beginning of any new story still exists. I can only hope Le Muse is ready to put on her driving gloves and plow through the first three at full throttle.

In the meantime, I'd love to know what all you writers out there are currently working on. A work in progress? Edits? Both? Have you got any tips for getting through those first few chapters?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Day 30! End of the Challenge!

Yes, I'm posting late today--heck, the day's almost over! Soon I'll turn into bed, pray for a good night's sleep, which in turn shall (hopefully) lead into an agreeable writing morning. Agreeable, that is, between myself and Le Muse; we haven't been seeing totally eye to eye here lately.

At any rate, I'd just like to extend a warm thanks to those of you who read the blog and have jumped on board for the long-run. Truly, your thoughts and comments mean a great deal to me, and I am immensely appreciative. While the challenge of blogging everyday has proved a lot of fun and kicked me into the habit of writing even when I didn't/don't particularly feel up to it, I must confess it took a toll on my thought process. Not that I have spectacular thoughts up there, mind, but at the beginning stages of a new book, I need all the help I can get.

But it is for that reason I've decided to blog faithfully on Tuesdays & Thursdays, possibly Saturdays, and then whenever the mood strikes me. Or, hey! Whenever it... tickles my fancy. Much better, don't you think? All the historical writers are bobbing their heads up and down. "Oh, for certain, Madam. You are most correct."

Yes, well. Moving on.

What I would like to know from you, dear reader, is why YOU personally decided to start blogging. Was it a suggestion made to you by a friend? A fellow blogger? Perhaps you figured, "Hey, I've got stuff to say, and I wanna make it public!" And if so, what subjects do you find yourself blogging the most about?

Again, many thanks for sticking with me through the challenge. So glad to have met you all! Happy Blogging!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Monday, May 9, 2011

Hopes, Dreams, & Plans for the Next 365 Days (Day 29)

When I was in high school, sophomore year, I had a fabulous US History teacher--Kevin Rooney--and he often used Mr. Rooney's K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle whenever he talked about writing essays and term papers. No use in droning on and on and boring a teacher to death, when, by actually knowing what you're talking about, you can write an interesting, educated, informative paper (or answer to an essay question) without all the extra, unneeded... well, BS, for lack of a better term.

So, I've basically applied Mr. Rooney's principle to my adult life. I never set goals I can't accomplish, though some of them definitely make me wanna bang my head against the wall. And on numerous occasions before I complete the task. However, when I accomplish what I set out to do, nothing else in the world can possibly compare to the feeling of absolute serenity and fulfillment which washes over me.

For this year, I've only a few, as I'm... you got it. Keeping It Simple, Stupid! *smile*

1.) To complete another entire novel, including but not limited to first edits.

2.) To see an email, form, or (even better!) hear that wonderful editor's voice over the phone, telling me, "We're ready to make you an offer to publish Enraptured." Or whatever they say. It's never happened to me, so I'm not exactly certain.

3.) To not lose my head and act like a complete ninny when I pick up author Janet Mullany from the airport in June (She's speaking at our Summer Workshop on June 11, and oh my gosh, I'm SUPER excited!!), and, in turn, behave like a normal person who is just a fellow writer and refrain from asking too many questions.

4.) To get pregnant. Yes, I know. Different from the other three, right? But it's something The Hubby and I want very much, and though I know it will happen at the right time, I do so hope we're blessed to see it come to fruition before the end of the year. If not, then in 2012, it'll be try, try again!

That just about sums it up! Tell me, what are YOUR plans for the rest of this year? Are you going anywhere special? Planning an event? Is there a specific goal you mean to accomplish before the clock strikes midnight on December 31?

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,


Sunday, May 8, 2011

This Month + This Year in Great Detail (Day 27 & 28)

This has been an exciting year for me, owing to the past, oh, two or three months, I'd say. The bad part is my memory leaves a lot to be desired; I can hardly remember two days ago, much less what I was doing on January 1. But I'll give you a few highlights...

In March, my BFF of almost 2 decades got married, and I'm so extremely happy for her. Her new hubby's a great guy, a genuinely patient person with a great sense of humor, a sweet smile that reaches his eyes (always an agreeable quality in a man), and, most of all, he's crazy in love with my beautiful best friend. Sees her, loves her for all the fabulous reasons I do. Heaven knows it took a long time to find the right guy, but hey, the best things in life are worth waiting for, right?

Taken with my Apple iPhone @ Ventana Grill Reception Hall

While I was soaking up the clean, crisp ocean air in San Luis Obispo, California, I got an email from the publisher to whom I sent a query earlier this year. After that initial query (January or thereabouts), an editor, who is very, very kind and professional--and that's such a relief after drawing a few not-so-nice ones--requested the first three chapters + a synopsis. That was in February-ish. Forward a little over a month to the second morning of my stay in Cali, and I open my email to find the same editor's request for the full manuscript.

So, yeah. You can imagine my excitement. I've never before had a chain events occur in... well, that particular chain. Query-->3 Chapters + Synopsis-->Can't wait to the read the rest, please send the full & I'll get back to you no later than mid-June. I do so hope she likes it and is willing to work with me in order to get it out there, in print & ebook. My FIRST sale, it would be! How exciting!!

Mock Cover I Made Using Paint Shop Pro 8

All right, so other than that... The Hubby and I are in mid-home improvement stage and coming along really well, I must say. We laid wood laminate floor (Swiftlock in Fireside Oak--SO pretty!!), re-tiled the foyer, and The Hubby is currently working on the finishing touches of our re-tiled shower in the master bedroom. That one, I must admit, has been a bit of a booger. While beautiful (shiny white and black tiles with black grout), the small area makes for a rather cramped workspace. Not to mention black grout, though beautiful and flattering to the color scheme, is absolute murder to work with. My bathroom is covered in an inch of what looks like black soot, and The Hubby always comes out the door looking like a coal miner.

A little dramatic, but you get the idea...

Oh! I did start a new project this year, the YA paranormal entitled Interim. Not going as easily as I'd anticipated, though I really don't know what I anticipated. Writing historicals is my thing, so when I step out of the box, it can get a little hairy. Frustrating. Like, "Screw this, I'm not writing anymore," kinda hairy.

But I digress.

I've had a good year thus far, a safe and pleasant one. I'm happy; I've got a roof over my head, and food (too much food, really) in my belly. My family is well and safe, as are my friends and the animals who greet me at the door every day with barks and licks and wagging tails.

So, how has YOUR year been so far? Anything exciting happened you wanna share? I'd love to hear about it!

Peace, Love, and Junior Mints,

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