Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reoccuring Nightmares---Oops, I Mean Themes

You Wanna Hear A Story?
Boy meets girl.

Boy and girl fall in love.
Boy loses girl.
Boy and girl defy the odds and get married/get back together
Happily ever after/for now.

In my case, it's more like this:
Boy meets girl
Social issue rears its ugly head
Boy loses girl
Love and patience help overcome the obstacles
Boy and girl declare their love and live happily ever after/for now.

I've said it before; my Social Work background tends to creep into my writing. In my latest book, Teacher's Pet (due to be released sometime this spring), my heroine was dealing with trust issues. She'd had a lousy marriage and was perfectly happy with her life until a stranger set her heart pounding. She agreed to go out with him, and then suddenly discovered he'd also dated a woman with a less-than-steller reputation. And when the woman confronted her with twisted facts, she broke off the relationship.

After some time, she let him back into her life, only to be confronted again by the ghost of her previous husband and the emotional abuse she suffered at his hands. Kevin patiently helps her overcome her inner demons.

I've also used alcoholism, past infidelity (which leads to the trust issues), and reunion stories. Whatever the muse decides will make for an interesting set of circumstances to weave around the romance.

Right now, I'm totally in love with three songs:
Lady Antebellum's 'Need You Now":
Picture perfect memories,
Scattered all around the floor.
Reaching for the phone cause, I can't fight it any more.
And I wonder if I ever cross your mind.
For me it happens all the time.

It's a quarter after one, I'm all alone and I need you now.
Said I wouldn't call but I lost all control and I need you now.
And I don't know how I can do without, I just need you now

Boy Likes Girls' 'Two Is Better Than One':
I remember what you wore on the first day
You came into my life

And I thought hey
You know this could be something

'Cause everything you do and words you say
You know that it all takes my breath away
And now I'm left with nothing

So maybe it's true, that I can't live without you
Well maybe two is better than one
There's so much time, to figure out the rest of my life
And you've already got me coming undone
And I'm thinking two, is better than one

And Shinedown's ' If You Only Knew':
If you only knew
How many times I counted all the words that went wrong
If you only knew
How I refuse to let you go even when you're gone

I don't regret any days I spent,
Nights we shared,
Or letters that I sent.

It's 4:03 and I can't sleep,
Without you next to me,
I toss and turn like the sea.
If I drown tonight bring me back to life.
Breathe your breath in me.
The only thing that I still believe in is you.

I predict these three songs will weave their way into the stories I'm currently working on. Who knows where this theme will take me?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Once Upon A Time....

Kenzie decided to write a story.

She worked hard on it for weeks, and when she was satisfied with what she'd written, she showed it to a friend...who promptly laughed at her.

"Why are you writing something you know nothing about? This passage is clearly a rip-off of Woman of Substance....and here you have a nineteen year old girl having her uterus removed? What kind of sick joke is THAT?"

(Hangs head in shame) "I stuck that meal description in because I didn't want to leave it blank. And I wanted her to enjoy sex without having to worry about birth control."

(Knocks on my head) "Hellooooo! Condoms or at least the Pill? You can do better than this."

That story is still in my file cabinet. I've cannibilized the characters' names and have relocated it from England to the USA. I keep it around as a reminder of my first effort to produce something other than a term paper or a short story.

To date, I have 26 books in various stages of development. Eight of those are completed and ready to be polished or submitted. (That number would have been ten, except I subbed two of them last week. Wish me luck!) My muse is playing with me; I've been getting inspired in 3 or 600 word doses. I really wish one set of characters or one particular storyline would grab me by the throat and not let go until I've written everything down. But one day it will, and my family will complain my attention is elsewhere.

In the meantime, I'm still waiting for my edits to arrive for Teacher's Pet. Our tax money will arrive next week, and I'm hoping to be able to pay for my web hosting, so everyone can see my fabulous website!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Get A Real Job!"

How many times have I heard that? As mentioned last year, my spouse defines a 'real job' which brings a paycheck. Okay; in 2008 my alter-ego received four or five royalty checks. I received my first one the other day. Not to mention the cash sales from the past couple of years, plus being #3 on the Best Seller List.

Royalty Check/Sales money= Paycheck.

Paycheck=Real Job.

Contrast that with my 'other' job. I put in sometimes as many as eighteen hours a day, and sometimes it extends into the wee hours of the morning if a child gets sick, or I have to wake up the spouse because he didn't hear the alarm. I am, in no particular order:
-Bus Driver
-Taxi Driver
-Bill Payer
-Social Calendar
-Nurse Practitioner

I also spend at least 4-6 hours a day wearing my writer's hat. This means I'm online, blogging, chatting, updating FaceBook, and promoting my work. I also shut off the internet and create documents which may or may not see publication one day. Once a week, I'm spending three hours with my crit group as we network, commiserate, and bounce ideas off one another. When I'm 'on tour', my weekends are tied up slightly for 2-6 hours a day as I meet potential readers and other writers.

Which one is more important? Both are equally important. But as my kids get older, the less I need to monitor their every move. Balance is the key, and admittedly, I've dropped the ball sometimes. But my kids know what I do for a living, even if they don't totally understand why I call my email accounts/blog 'The Office'. My SU, on the other hand, only understands when he sees results. I get a check, he's proud of me. I get a good review; he's proud of me. When I've had a good day at a festival, he's proud of me. When we're out in public and someone recognizes me, he's proud of me. But when he's not working and I don't pay attention to him for several hours while I'm online, he threatens to shut off the internet if I don't get off in a 'timely fashion'. If the kids are complaining about me needing to check my email, or arguing about whose turn it is to USE the computer, he threatens to toss it out the window.

Proof that a) we need a wireless router and b) I need my own laptop!

And I've been doing better about staying online for hours on end. I typically get offline when the teens come home, unless an important chat is taking place. And I try not to demand my 'after hours' time too much.

So yes, I have a Real Job!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Writing Conferences 101

The first time I attended one, it was a one-day thing. I sat near the back; attended the workshops; asked a few questions; just basically absorbed everything.

The following year, I felt a little braver and sat closer to the front. The final workshop of the day, I had left my bag in my seat, never dreaming I'd be included in a discussion at the workshop and would be late getting back to my seat.

Imagine my surprise when I reached said seat...and my briefcase was missing! Suddenly I hear the leader of the conference, agent J Andy Murphy calling my name! My name! I hurried up to her and reclaimed my briefcase. I was in the presence of author royalty, and I tried to sound professional as we discussed my alter ego's work.

Year three had been expanded to include a get-together on Friday night. Despite vehicle problems, I made it and enjoyed chatting with editors, other authors and writers, and to my surprise, J Andy Murphy remembered me! The following day, I ended up sitting in one of the front tables and had a great time. I met local author and TV personality Dick Wolfsie, whom I'd watched every morning for the past 16 years. I also encouraged the wanna-be writers to follow their dreams.

The past two years I've tried unsuccessfully to get to Lori Foster's event, as well as RomantiCon this past October. Hopefully 2010 will be the year I finally make both.

And since I'm outgoing online, I'll be the one with the smile plastered to her face, searching the crowd anxiously until I spot either a name or a face I recognize! Get me to the bar; it might loosen me up a little. But I promise not to make an ass out of myself, unless I'm in the company of friends or in the elevator!