Tuesday, December 29, 2009

One Step At A Time...

'Put one foot in front of the other..." and so goes the song from the movie Santa Claus is Coming To Town.

That's the way I've approached my writing life.

At first it was all about the writing. I was thrilled when I realized I'd written two books in the fall of 2007 and two more in the first half of 2008. But now what? I'd been approached about a submission call; would one of my stories fit the criteria?

And so I screwed up my courage and sent them all out. One by one the rejections came. I had a snarky moment and sent one story out again. Lo and behold....it was accepted!

My goals for 2009 were simple: Get my contract, do my edits, promote it everywhere, and submit the second one, hopefully spacing the release dates several months apart. Didn't quite happen that way, but I did get another contract, in order to finish the year. I've also written two more books this past year, both sequels to the first published one. Again, didn't plan it that way, but I'm thrilled with the way everything came together.

So what's in store for 2010?
Besides filling out my cover art form and getting ready for edits again, I plan to finish a few more wips and submit more stories this year. Again, I'll be thrilled with two releases. I don't think I'm ready for the 'Book of the Month Club' yet.

As a reader, I hope the economy is better in the coming year, so I can offord to buy more books on my TBB list. And maybe buy an e-reader. I also want to attend more craft fairs in towns other than the ones I normally do, in order to reach a broader audience.

On the home front, Fall 2009 was non-stop nagfest. My oldest had several deadlines to meet, and I was constantly asking him:
-Are you signed up for the SAT's?
-Have you gotten your college application sent?
-Get cracking on your final Eagle Scout requirement!
-Send off your SAT scores!
-Turn in your BSA paperwork!
-Keep your appointment for your Senior Pictures!
-Turn in your National Honor Society paperwork!
-Any word from Purdue yet?
-Call the guidence offiice, concerning your chosen major!
-Humor your mother and go get fitted for a tuxedo if you intend to take your girlfriend to the dance.

This coming semester will be more of the same:
-Bring home the financial aid/scholorship papers so we can get them filled out and sent in.
-Send out the invitations to your Eagle ceremony, and pray we didn't pick a date that coincides with bad weather.
-Tell me who is on YOUR list for graduation announcements.
-You want to do what for Spring Break?

And for my daughter, she will be taking driver's ed next spring, which means taking her to get her permit and allowing her practice driving time. And if the youngest expresses interest in baseball, well there's another set of committments for us to juggle!

My hair might be completely gray by June.

Oh, and did I mention I'd like to attend RomantiCon next October?

To Sum Up:
Kenzie resolves to:
-get one child off to college
-get another one to be a safe and responsible driver
-attend signings and at least one convention!

The Sprin

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

PC Christmas??

Merry Christmas
Happy Holidays
Season's Greetings
Happy New Year

Which one do you prefer?

Several years ago, I got tired of saying Merry Christmas and thought I was being more creative by saying 'Happy Holidays' wherever I went. Imagine my shock when I discovered it was not 'Politically Correct' to wish those around me Merry Christmas, because I might 'offend' someone who practiced Hanukkah or Kwanza, or was even an atheist. And since I happen to be a devout Christian who is appalled at the ACLU's attempt to remove God from everything and thereby destroying humanity, I've returned to MERRY CHRISTMAS.

I'm a Christian and proud of it. And I think we've gotten so worried about offending everyone else, we're willing to set aside our beliefs? Give me a break! We're in the midst of a crisis. America is in danger of losing her moral compass. You're offended by public prayer? Fine; don't pray. You don't want to say 'Under God'? Skip that part. Don't agree with our National Anthem? Fine; don't sing. Just stand there respectfully. But don't take away my right to show a moment of silence for the fallen and let me honor my flag.

And for the record, I may not be Jewish, but I love Hanukkah. I've played the dreidle, eaten honey cake and potato latkes. And thanks to a lesson on the Passover, I discovered I love lamb. Several years ago, my neighbors were from Ethiopia and we were fortunate to share in some of their cultural traditions.

It's Christmas, people. Let this be a time of coming together to celebrate whatever your beliefs say about this time of year. Let's not slam each other's views and be an 'us against them' mentality. Instead, this is a time of celebration and family.

Merry Christmas Charlie Brown!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

This One's For Mia:)

Mia Watts tagged me for this writer's MeMe. Since Molly took some of my answers, I tried not to get too repetitive:)

1. What’s the last thing you wrote? What’s the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The last thing I wrote was Class Reunion. The first thing I ever wrote was Wild At Heart.

2. Write poetry?

Every once in a while. Some are better than others.

3. Angsty poetry?

Only one or two.

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Contemporary Romance

5. Most annoying character you’ve ever created?

Either Melanie from Teacher’s Pet or Paul from Class Reunion. They’re both annoying. Paul, because he whines, and Melanie, because she won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.

6. Best plot you’ve ever created?

Personally, I love my Reunion story!

7. Coolest plot twist you’ve ever created?

Male model/stripper meets and falls for Christian Inspirational author. I’m on chapter three.

8. How often do you get writer’s block?

Too often to count.

9. Write fan fiction?

The one and only story I ever wrote based on the characters from Star Wars showed me I was destined for the romance angle!

10. Do you type or write by hand?

Both. It depends on if the computer is available when I get the brainstorm.

11. Do you save everything you write?


12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you’ve abandoned it?


13. What’s your favorite thing you’ve ever written?

I still love Wild At Heart. Part of it takes place in Colorado and features my dad’s favorite restaurant!

14. What’s everyone else’s favorite story that you’ve written?

According to published reviews, they all love All She Ever Wanted. And my old crit partner LOVED Teacher’s Pet…at least what she read of it. She ended up getting published first and was too busy to critique the rest of it.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Molly’s Arbor U might be considered angsty; I’ve also got a YA story in the works. Don’t know when I’ll get around to finishing it.

16. What’s your favorite setting for your characters?

Small town Indiana, Florida, Colorado.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?

Two. I’m editing Teacher’s Pet and after the holidays I’ll probably get back to work on Model Behavior.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

Not an actual award, but All She Ever Wanted went to #3 on the Best Seller’s list! Does that count?

19. What are your five favorite words?

And, Then, Christ, God, Sure.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

All of my characters have a little bit of ‘me’ in them, ha ha!

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters?

Past experiences, Life.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?

Once in a while I’ll dream about my characters, and write about it the next day.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

I’ve written happy and sad endings, but I usually end up changing the sad ones to Happy For Now, in order to please the crit partners.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes. It drives me crazy to see those lines in the word document! I often reread what I’ve written the day before and will correct any obvious mistakes before continuing. Even during NaNo (hangs head in shame)

25. Does music help you write?

Yes. It helps the creativity, and I usually end up blocking everything out once the story is flowing.

26. Quote something you’ve written. Whatever pops into your head.

From Class Reunion:
“Here’s the thing: We’re both single, in our forties, and established in our jobs. Just because we’re attracted to each other doesn’t mean there has to be a romantic connection, does there?”
“Gee, Brian, you put it like that, why not just hire an escort for the evening?” Pushing her hurt feelings aside, she stared at him. “We’re both caught up in the moment, let’s just go fuck each other and see you again in five years? Sorry; I don’t operate like that.”

Hmmm...who's not been tagged yet? Carol P, James, and Travis.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Holiday Buffet

Mashed Potatoes
Deviled Eggs
Christmas Cookies

So many treats to choose from!

Some years I get sick of turkey and ham, and so does my family. We've been known to eat pork loin, steaks, Mexican (last year; mom's oven wouldn't work!), and Itallian.

When I was younger, Mom would fix me lamb chops. And I discovered I have a great love for potato latkes.

But my all time favorite food this time of year?

My birthday cake! And I get to eat it twice, since my oldest son shares my birth month:)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Santa....

The following items will help me further my writing career:
-AlphaSmart, so I can write wherever I happen to be, and don't have to decipher my own handwriting;
-E-Reader, so I can demonstrate to people the concept of an e-book, thus maybe encouraging others to buy one and therefore increasing my own sales;
-Printer, so I may print out my documents as to easily catch my typos and other mistakes;
-Ink for said printer, or at least a year's worth of toner, should you be sweet enough to provide a laser printer, rather than ink-jet;
-Gift cards from my favorite book stores, or simply money in general, so I may whittle down my TBB list to a more manageable level;
-Money for web hosting, so that all my readers can actually VIEW my website;
-Laptop, so I don't have to fight for computer time;
and finally, I need the gift of TIME, so I can get everything done?

Thank you so much for the huge box of paper two years ago, before the printer died. It is still safe and sound under my desk! And thank you for the new computer last year. It is still in good digital health. And also, thank you for the early present this year, the new contract for my next book.

And as always Santa, remember my birthday is in this month too?

Merry Christmas,

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cruel and Unusual Punishment??

You be the judge. Here's how the first week of December habitually goes at our house:

Weekend After Thanksgiving:
Boxes are hauled out of storage; the tree is put up. Lights and decorations follow. No one can sit anywhere until the tree skirt is unearthed and the tree placed in position. The couch might be accessable at this point.

Step #2 is the outside decorations. My SU (Spousal Unit) and oldest son go out to hang the lights, the garland, while I dig out the wreath hangers and decide which wreath to hang on which door. If the window stickers are desired, the kids decorate the front window with Santa, reindeer, and snowflakes. One year we even had fake snow.

Step #3 is the archway and my snow village. In past Christmases, putting up the snow village involved taking down the train set or mess on top of the train set; unrolling the glittery 'snow' blanket, and locating yet another extension cord so my church, southern mansion, and whatever other building I've acquired can be lit. (I've not seen my village in over three years; we have no room in the new house. HOWEVER...we've cleared a spot for the lighted buildings and nutcrackers. YAY!!)

Step #4 takes place beginning December 1st. I bake anywhere from 5 to ten dozen cookies per day, ranging from chocolate chip to sugar to oatmeal raisin to M&M and butterscotch chip. Here's where the 'punishment' comes in: No one is allowed to eat any of them, until they are counted and separated into categories: Teachers, friends, family, and other. Once the first three categories have their quota, the rest are up for grabs.

Can you hear the groans?

"Are you serious? But Mom...I'm your official Cookie Tester! You can't hand out defective cookies! That wouldn't be right!"

And then there's my SU's ploy: "Oops, this one has a bad spot. I'm honor-bound to eat it."

Yes, some of them get consumed without my knowledge. That's okay; it simply means I get to make more the next day:) And besides, I 'sample' enough raw cookie dough, so I'm guilty of playing with the final outcome:)

And my personal motto: I'm allowed to lie to the kids at Christmas and on Birthdays. So that book I carried in from Stephanie Meyers? No, it's not for you; it's for your cousin, who ALSO likes the series! That DVD you caught me smuggling into the cart? It's for Grandpa.

We also have two birthdays on top of all this madness. My son K's is first, so there will be a nice dinner party with the grandparents, and ice cream and cake at home with some of his friends. Last year he got Rock Band, so there was a rock concert in the living room. The adults hid in the kitchen and consumed wine and Tirumusu.

A week later, it's my turn. Last year, we had an Adult's Night Out and tried out a restaurant I'd wanted to go to ever since it opened. This year, my day falls on a Saturday, so I'll probably share my birthday dinner with K's, and either attend my family's Christmas party at my aunt's house or celebrate at home with the kids. And yes, I insist on my store-bought chocolate cake. Last year I had Indiana Jones on it. This year? Undecided. Wonder if there's a 'Team Jacob' cake? I'll take a warm, snuggly werewolf over an icy cold vampire! Unless it's one of Dakota's...but lately hers are gay.

I Received An Early Christmas/Birthday Gift!
Teacher's Pet has a contract! Woo hoo! Molly posted the blurb on her site, since I'm still not getting much traffic. Or at least, a lot of lurkers who refuse to say hi, lol:) Of course, it would help if I'd advertize a little more! I'll have to do that next year.

I also finished Class Reunion, the sequel to All She Ever Wanted. And since Austin from Off The Clock showed up, that series now has three books. Did NOT see that coming when I created Marc and Amber! Wonder what else the coming year has in store for me? Wait and see.

In the meantime, I'm off to go drag out my tree; I was busy writing this past weekend and tending to the MIL, who was released from the hospital on Sunday. I'm playing catch-up this week, and trying to stay warm.