Monday, December 12, 2011

Off The Shelf 2012

Starting January 1, 2012, I will be making the rounds and taking part in several blog challenges. The first one to promote is called Off The Shelf 2012.

This is more of a reading challenge because you agree to read a certain amount of books throughout 2012. They can be any genre and any format. The purpose is to get you to READ. Read the books that are collecting dust on your shelf or taking up space on your e-reader. Just read!

If you want you can post reviews or chats about the books you read. Give your opinions or keep them to yourself.

I have committed myself to reading 30 books next year which is in the "Making A Dint" category. But I may challenge myself more and jump up a group.

As writers, we know how important it is to read and be read. Click this link and sign up with me!
The Bookish Ardour

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Insecure Writer's Support Group - Time v. Sanity

I know I'm a day late on my post which is a perfect example of my latest insecurity. Time versus sanity. Things have been crazy in my life lately. Crazy good, but crazy.

First I need to explain my personality. I am a perfectionist. I am a stickler for commitment. And I am easily overwhelmed.

That brings us to my post today. I have set what may be an unrealistic writing goal. For several personality flawed reasons, I decided that I can finish my first draft, of my first novel, by March 2012. Of course that means a daily/weekly writing goal. All doable according to the perfectionist that lives inside of me.

And then reality gets in the way. Appointments, sick children, the holidays, a bit of writer's block, and my need to edit as I write.

I struggle with keeping the commitment to myself. My word is very important - even to myself - because right now, that's all I can give.

The questions I continue to ask myself are:
1. Should I change my timeframe or risk losing my sanity?
2. Should I stay up half the night to write and risk losing my sanity?
(Did I mention that I can be very cranky when I'm tired? Just ask my family.)

I know a lot of you did the writing month. How did you fulfill your goal? Do you struggle with the same expectations of yourself? Do you have the same time issues?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Getting With the Program

I've been following everyone doing NaNo with my jaw permanently in the drop open position. The daily word counts are amazing. And some have reported 70,000 + for the month (which isn't even over yet).

I knew I wasn't ready for it this year - terrified at the thought of not being able to write that many words - so I set my goal far below everyone else's. A measly 10,000 words for the month.

But I have been inspired by all the wonderful writers out there who not only met and passed their goal, but continued to work other jobs, take care of families, and blog on a regular basis.
So to all of you I say THANK YOU!

And in addition to completing my word count goal, this month I have fulfilled other a few others. Some I didn't realize I had:
-I officially made the transition from my previous 20 year career to my new one by telling people, without hesitation, that I am a writer.
-I spent a lot more time reading books in my genre (middle grade)
-I found a great new writing partner (see picture below)
-I joined several critique groups that have made a huge difference in my writing. These women are extremely direct. No sugar coating. Exactly what I need! (Thanks Cassie, Kavitha, Terry, and Carol).
-I deleted the word "that" from my vocabulary because it seems I use it way too much!
-I've learned to stay away from the chocolate ice cream (except for a small snack after lunch)

So in getting with the program, I have increased my monthly writing goal with the hope of being part of NaNo next year.
Murphy - my writing partner

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Blog Award!

I woke up this morning to find that E.D. Farkas (Not) Just Another Writer awarded me the Liebster Blog. Thank you very much!

I have been instructed to pass this on to five other people which I will happily do. Please be sure to check them out. They make me laugh and think on a daily basis.
1. Buffy Andrews at Buffy's Write Zone
2. Kimberly at Meetings With My Muse
3. Mood at Moody Writing
4. M.J. Fifield at My Pet Blog
5. William Kendall at Speak of the Devil

I will also take this time to wrap up the month of October - which started out with some big ups and downs.
- My husband is still enjoying his Who Wants to be a Millionaire fame, and is in the process of researching a new porch.
- Every night my reluctant reader son brings two pillows, one for him and one for me, into the hallway between our bedrooms where we lay down and read.
- My youngest son has grown in his reading as well, and last Friday became a black belt recommended in Taekwondo, making us a family of black belts.
- I see myself growing both as an author and as an instructor everyday, and I anxiously await new challenges.
- As for the discrimination, it was definitely an eye opening and learning experience, and I will do all I can to make sure others avoid it.

Most importantly, I want to thank my family and all my blogger friends for the support, wisdom, and laughter!
Watch out for Riley, he has a pretty mean side kick!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Good, the Bad, the Firsts

The Good:
I know all of you are wondering how my husband did on Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Here is the wrap up: he was on for two nights and did really well answering the first 10 questions. The ones that pay between $100 and $25,000. He finished that first round with about $58,000 and then started on the $100,000 question which he decided to skip (a life line option) because he didn't know it. He was then faced with the $250,000 question with no more life lines.

He read the question and discussed the possible answers out loud. He later told me that in his mind he had narrowed it down to one of two answers, so to him, he had a 50/50 chance. Well David is a "go big or go home" type of person so to him those were great odds. Especially because he had the chance of winning an additional $200,000.

What did he do? He guessed at the question. Unfortunately he guessed wrong, but still walked away with $25,000. A big win for us!!! Congratulations David (and me too)!!!

The Bad:
This week I dealt first hand with discrimination based on my medical condition. I have Tourette Syndrome, which can be difficult not only for me, but also for everyone around me. In the 34 years since I was diagnosed, I have never been denied anything because of it, or have been unable to do anything because of it. That has all changed.
I cannot go in to details at this time, but it has been weighing on my mind and I felt the need to scream from the top of my lungs. This is the closest I can get.
Sorry for the lack of information, but please remember that discrimination of any kind hurts.

The Firsts:
One of the first things I did when I found out I was going to have a baby was buy books. I bought Dr. Seuss books, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel, and Where the Wild Things Are. 
I was sure my child would love to read as much as I do. After all, he has my genes. And I was encouraged when my son's teachers told us that he was a great reader, way above his grade level. He is so good, I thought, he must love it. So I took him to bookstores and school book fairs offering to buy him whatever books he wanted. To my disappointment, he went right for the toys and said he doesn't like to read and doesn't want books.
WHAT?? My son? My flesh and blood? It took years, but I finally accepted the fact that he will read because he has to and not because he wants to.

And then this week we had the conversation I had been waiting years to have. It was very casual, the kind we have while lying in his bed right before bedtime. He started talking about the current book he is reading (Melonhead by Katy Kelly - which in one last desperate act I had autographed for him). Then he told me about books he wanted to buy at his school's book fair next week. And, knowing that I love reading middle grade books, he jumped out of bed and gave me a stack of books from his shelf that he enjoyed and thinks I will like too. I'm sure his interest will change again, but I will not forget that, even if for a short time, a few writers grabbed his attention.

Thanks for sharing my busy week with me. Despite the disappointment, I do feel richer!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

I usually stick to topics about writing on my blog, but this week, there are a million reasons to stray. Or should I say $1,000,000.00?

My husband is going to be on Who Wants to be a Millionaire this week!

It is an exciting event for us, not because he has a chance to win money, not because he will be on TV, but because the Millionaire show is my husband's white whale. David, or Captain Ahab as I now call him, has traveled all over the country for the past TEN YEARS taking tests and auditioning to be on the show. He has gotten very close, but always received the "thanks but no thanks" card in the mail. (I suspect the last rejection card was because of a minor misunderstanding of female fashion - sometimes blousey shirts are not maternity shirts.)

Well, this summer, after passing the test and the audition, Ahab received a YES card. He flew to New York in September and taped his shows. Yes I said shows! He was just notified that they are going to air next week. October 11 and 12 to be specific.

Anyone interested in watching can find the time and station for their area at this site:

So what will my Captain Ahab do now that he has captured his white whale? Only he knows, but I suspect there may be an amazing race in our future.

Me and David

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Will I be the Only One Left?

I visited a Borders bookstore during their last days and couldn't stop staring at the empty shelves. Normally empty bookshelves are something to celebrate, especially for writers, but as we all know, there was no celebration this time.

I stood in the almost empty store and thought about what it represented to me. I am a writer. I've always wanted to be a writer and part of my passion is the book. The pages, the binding, the illustrations and jacket. How it feels in my hands and how it looks on my shelves.

I wondered if this an indication of the future? Paper v. e-book. I may be naive, but I believe that there will always be a market for the actual hold in your hand book - whether it is a large chain bookstore or a smaller "mom and pop" store.

I walked around and took a closer look at the near empty shelves to see - with equal interest - what was there and what was gone. I was thrilled to see that the children's section had been emptied because that is the genre I write in. And I was not surprised that the mystery and general fiction sections were empty as well. What did surprise me were the shelves filled with romance and manga. I thought those were popular genres and expected them to have sold out quickly.

I was sure that is what the authors were hoping too. And of course that led me to the insecure feeling all writers have, and the question: Will I be the only one left?

Will my book be the only one left on the shelves of a store selling books at 90% off?

Of course my primary focus at the moment is finishing my manuscript and eventually getting it published. In the fantasy my mind has created, getting published is enough for me, for my personal satisfaction. However, in reality, I do want people to buy my book, read it, and LOVE it. To think any different is, as I said, fantasy.

Do you have this fear too?

Thanks to Alex Cavanaugh for starting this monthly writers therapy session! To visit more and find out details, please click on the link.