So, for the first time since I started this blog… I have nothing to say. LOL! People who know me have just fainted. I am a woman who always has something to say! But today I’ve decided to just ramble. I have things I’ve been thinking about but nothing is gelling into a complete post… You’ve been warned.
This week I took Little Boy Blue to the doctors–again. The poor kid has had a cough since before Christmas. Even the doctor is shaking her head having no idea how to fix him, but knowing there is more to this cough than the common cold. 🙁 He’s now on his second round of antibiotics, but even with the inhalers it doesn’t seem to be the magic to fix him. As a mom I’d like to just make him better especially when he coughs so hard he brings up whatever’s in his stomach.
I believe that little trip to the doctor’s office made me sick. Yippy-Skippy. Having MS means that my immune system works overtime. I rarely get sick. Unfortunately when I do it hits me like a Mac truck. This common cold has worked its way into my muscles and makes me ache all over. My chest feels like an anvil is sitting on it and my head is so muddled I can barely think. Which is really bad when you’re in edits.
Yep, that’s right. I was assigned a new editor and after frantic emails to her over why certain words were being deleted from my manuscript she patiently explained she had deleted incorrect homonyms (like illicit and ellicit or dual and duel or shoot and chute) and replaced them with correct words not completely erased them. *DUH* Since it’s a new relationship I hope she doesn’t think I’m a complete idiot. I’m not member of Mensa… but I hate it when I make myself look stupid. Anyway, first round of edits are done. I expect the cover by the end of this month and hopefully Blind Love will be released next month. I love that aspect of electronic publishing.
Because of edits I wrote only 1261 words out of 7000 this week. That and I’m not sure I was ready to start a new story. At one point I threw my hands up in the air and opened my very first story. The reality is… I should trash the thing. But I love the hero and heroine in this story. It’s a sweet love story set in northern Maine. I think people will enjoy reading, but mining the story from the horrible writing may be more work than I can handle. It’s definitely more than I can handle with a cold. Needless to say, I closed that manuscript and tucked it in the back corner of my computer once again.
I signed off on my taxes this week. That’s a relief. My finance guy is awesome, but it took me several weeks of dragging my feet before I got him all the receipts and tax statements. But they’re done. Of course I still need to sit down with Baby Girl and Little Boy Blue and help them with theirs. Not a daunting task. Just annoying. The mail is hanging over my head as well. I hate going through it and recycling the envelopes and shredding the credit card apps. It’s a pain in the butt. I’ve decided I need a personal secretary.
I’m gearing up for the convention season. It’s not that I’m going to that many, but I would like to have promo materials go with other people. So that means thinking about the best marketing plan for my books. *sigh* I’d love to get my own publicist.
The convention I’m going to in Boston next month has this “fun” dressup night. Huh? Dressing up is never fun in my opinion. I won’t share with you why I have to be careful about clothing, suffice it to say, it’s a nuisance for someone with MS. Then there’s the whole shoe issue. *sigh* And forget having to go to the mall to find clothes. It takes me days to warm up to the thought of schlepping through stores and trying on clothes.
So today I’ve promised myself I’ll get through the mail and do the kid’s taxes. I hate having things hanging over my head. The clothes shopping will just have to wait until this cold has run its course and I’m at least feeling human.
And if you’re curious… we’ve reached the record for the second snowiest winter. But we need another foot and a half to break the all time record of 180″. With more snow coming in today we expect to creep closer to breaking that record.
I hope everything is going well in your corner of the world.
**Addendum: We ended up with 2 inches of ice and now snow coming down at a steady clip on top of that. Didn’t look bad until Little Boy Blue headed out for work and couldn’t get the wheels to do anything but spin in the driveway. He ended up taking the snowmobile to work… ah, the thrill of living in northern Maine. (Though upstate New York and Ohio looked like that got absolutely clobbered!)
Some people come into your life and quickly leave, others come into your life and leave footprints on your heart. Jen is one of those people. Our writing may be very different genres, but our journeys have been amazingly similiar. Jen is my critique partner, my support and the one I love to tease. (Don’t tell her any of this stuff… it’ll swell her head and she’s already having a hard time getting through the doors as her publishing date nears.)
I am so pleased she agreed to stop by for a visit. The cover of her debut novel, Madrigal (ISBN 978-0-9815573-3-5) is below. The credit for the concept goes to Hannah Phillips and the cover artist was Ken Altobello
Jen, Please tell us about any books you currently have under contract.
Murder, Maestro, Magician, Mastermind…
Those four words have been the heartbeat of my novel since I began writing it three years ago. Madrigal: A novel of Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera is forthcoming from Highland Press. First in a proposed three book series it expands Leroux’s story where his original novel left off. When strange packages force Erik from his faked death, he finds himself falsely accused of violent crimes against the woman he once swore to posses. Fighting the nobleman determined to lock him away Erik seeks retribution, while battling a heart beating for two opposite women: Christine, who he longs to love or Anna, the catalyst of a brutal manhunt to bring him to justice.
Can he be loved for himself or will madness keep him The Phantom of the Opera?
What made you decide to continue a classic piece of literature?
When a book raises more questions than answers, I tend to revisit it time and time again. Leroux’s work kept me pondering the small nuances that made his plot perplexing and made the novel transcended time. Curiosity led me to research how Leroux created Erik, which in turn led me to studying French history, opera, (I grew up in a family of opera lovers) the class system of Paris, and symbolism, themes and Freudian thought in his novel. From there I discovered several excellent writers who tackled continuing classic literature. Many of them expanded upon works like Pride and Prejudice, Little Women and The Scarlet Letter. At first, I was horrified. How could they be so bold? I never knew writers attempted to expand existing stories and did not know how much such tales were in demand. I was haunted by the questions Leroux’s novel raised. Who was Philippe de Chagny beyond the haughty aristocrat Leroux portrayed him as? Did Erik truly die? Why was Christine compelled to bend to Erik’s whim if she was so terrified of him? Why did she never directly answer the question asked by Raoul, her vicomte lover: ‘If Erik were handsome would you love me, Christine?’ The questions would not be answered until I opened my mind and imagination.
When I thought to tackle writing a novel of Leroux’s Phantom I felt a bit like I was leaping into fire. To do so would dicker with well-beloved characters and challenger readers to view them in new and compelling ways. Fans of Phantom of the Opera are faithful to the versions they love. Dare I continue such a respected story? I would do so only by adhering to Leroux’s vision as closely as I could. While many brilliant interpretations came from Leroux’s novel, my passion is for the story that started it all. Naturally certain aspects of the plot were adjusted to suit the limits of my imagination. I feel strongly that Erik was an ardent gentleman hindered by the cloak of madness, deformity and murder.
Black mask or white?
I really should smack you for that. Erik lived his life behind a full black mask. It was Andrew Lloyd Webber who crafted the popular half white mask, primarily because Michael Crawford could not sing in a full face mask.
(Ouch! *rubs arm*. I already knew the answer. I was asking for the benefit of your adoring fans.)
Do you think this sweater brings out the color of my eyes?
I can’t concentrate on your sweater because those pants make your butt look big.
(Thank you. I’ll be sure to pass that on to my sister who made them… the one with arthritis who’s going blind in one eye, who sewed them by hand after her 12 hour shift at the mill where she got the scrap material…)
Plotter or Pantzer?
Total pantzer. I look at my stories as skeletons (how appropriate considering Leroux described Erik as a walking corpse). I write my chapters as the bare bones of the story then go back and add the connective tissue. I have my goals, motivations and conflicts written out and all my plot twists, then I allow the characters to show me the direction of the story. If something doesn’t work, I rethink until I hone those GMC’s.
Tell us a little more about your writing process. Do you have favorite drinks or snack foods? Any favorite music you play while writing?
Most of my writing happens on Tuesdays when my daughter is in daycare. I have a 15 month old and writing and editing revolves around her. I do a great deal of it at night once she goes to bed. I don’t set writing goals like many authors do. I just make it a point to write every day, whether a sentence, a chapter or tightening an existing manuscript. Writing goes beyond the book and much of the process is devoted to writing articles, blogs and critiquing manuscripts that come my way.
I often write to music since music is a central theme in all my works. I love classical—Mozart, Liszt, Beethoven. I love German musicals, so very often stars of the German stage are heard crooning from my loft office.
I love snacking on salted nuts, but try not to when writing—I’d weigh a ton if I did. But I absolutely must have my Strawberry Quik. I am a pink rabbit junkie. When stressed I reach for a big cold glass of the bunny. Rumor has it there will be spiked Quik at my release party. Something about pink grasshoppers…
Who’s the most faithful supporter for your writing?
My husband was the one who insisted I write professionally. He always wanted to write the great American novel and when he saw my passion for writing—he became my biggest cheerleader. He built my office prior to the arrival of our daughter and has given me all the time I need to launch this career.
Then we have my critique partners. A good CP is more than a critic of your work. Your CP is your biggest fan, your partner in crime and your sidekick. They will cry with you, laugh with you and listen to you vent about the process until they want to name a character after you for the sole purpose of killing them off. I would be nothing without my CP.
And I am blessed to have my ‘posse’ of faceless internet friends who have followed my journey from idea to publisher for the last three years.
(ME, your CP. Period. Forget hubby, forget family… it’s all about me!)
Do you have any other novels in the works?
Madrigal is first in a proposed three book series, so I have book two and three of Erik’s story to tell my readers.
I am proud of my historical romance, Adelrune. Set in 1866 Austria after the Prussian War, it tells the story of an autistic heroine and the grand duke forced to set his title aside to win her heart. Adelrune see the world in music. Every emotion in a strain of Mozart, Strauss, or Bach in her mind…
This was a labor of love to write. I have a passion for the romance of Austria and the allure of the Habsburg monarchy. I wanted to write a book with a unique heroine. I never set out to create Adelrune as a woman with Aspergers, but when a reader saw a short story using her character she asked me why I created an autistic heroine. The more I studied her character and began to read about Aspergers the more connected I became to crafting Adelrune in this manner. (I merely thought I modeled her thought process after my own.) The research tumbled from there and I am blessed to have been able to interview women living with Aspergers and experts in the field of autism during the course of this book. It is currently under consideration for publication. I recently did an interview about the Habsburg monarchy and Adelrune. It can be found at Writer of Queens blog.
I also have a historical in progress that centers around the Ringstrasse Theater in Vienna. Each character is a victim of the devastating fire that destroyed that theater in 1881.
Beyond that, if my readers call for it, I do have a fourth book in The Madrigals mostly written and a ton of ideas floating around that have yet to find their way to paper.
Which would you choose… a personal masseuse or a housekeeper?
Housekeeper even though I love cleaning. The dust bunnies have grown fangs since I became a mother and a writer. Who need a masseuse when you have a husband?
(Have you learned nothing from critiquing my erotica? Masseuse… always choose the masseuse.)
Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
Many readers are also budding writers. Don’t let the industry intimidate you. Publishing traditionally can be a daunting task, but if you stand firm and conduct yourself as a professional the industry will notice.
Thank you so much Jen. I really appreciate you stopping by today and sharing your story with us. She’ll be here for a couple days. (You comfortable Jen?… The bindings aren’t too tight? She’s shaking her head. Should I remove the gag… nah.) Anyway, feel free to ask her questions about her book or just comment.
Okay, so I don’t know if you noticed this picture over in the right hand column:
But this guy is making me nervous. He’s supposed to. But still.
A couple of weeks ago I committed to writing 70,000 words in 70 days. Not editing (which has started for the Tilling Passions series… yay), but brand new words on the page. Big commitment. But then again I needed something to kick me out of obsessing over promoting my book and back into writing. I’ve got three stories rolling around in my head and I haven’t chosen one to put down on paper.
This is bad.
The challenge started on Saturday, March 1 and I have yet to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as the case may be). Which means I’m already 2,000 words behind. Well, that’s gotta stop. *cracks knuckles*.
Today, I plan to not only to meet today’s word count, but make up a portion of those missing words.
If I can figure out how to do it, I’m going to put a little word count meter under the picture so you can see how far I am with my goal.
For me “Sweating with Sven” is a good thing. I am highly competitive. There are probably around 100 other people who have committed to this same challenge (this is the third round of Sweating with Sven) and I would like to be one of those that can strut up on stage and collect my trophy for completing the challenge in 67 more days.
Okay, so there’s no stage and no trophy, but this visual works for me. I’m just saying…
What does 70,000 words translate into? 2 1/2 novellas; one novella and a full novel; or a longer novel. That’s a lot of words.
If you’re interested in finding out more about this challenge or would like to sign up click HERE. It’s not too late. There are no monitors with whips (a gal can dream), but there are lots of cheerleaders.
So, you may not be a writer, but when you know you have something you’ve got to do… is there something special that motivates you? Some special treat you allow yourself when your task is complete? Or are you the type to just plunge in and get it done?
So, with this odd, once in a four year day I thought I’d do something special. I’m launching my first ever contest! Yay for me! Yay for you!
I’m not giving away a certificate or a basket or a box of chocolates (though that sounds yummy).
I’m taking YOUR NAME!
Would you like to see your name in print? I’m offering one lucky reader just that opportunity. The winner, chosen at random from qualifying entries will have their name used in one of my upcoming “Nina Pierce” titles.
Below are five questions from my debut novel The Healer’s Garden. To be entered simply answer the questions and email them to me at ninaATninapierceDOTcom. Please do not post answers here on my blog. All such responses will be deleted and will not be entered into the contest.
The contest will run from Friday, February 29 to Saturday, May 31, 2008. The winner will be announced on Sunday, June 1st, 2008. The author reserves the right (along with my editor) to choose the character and book where the contest winner’s name will appear. The winner will receive a free download of the book where their name appears, when it becomes available.
Here are the questions:
1) Jahara has the power to heal, how does that power flow out of her?
2) What happened to the medical director of the Garden of Serenity, Gabriella Bresilee, that has made her so bitter toward men?
3) Why is Xylice Kilyl so important to Brenimyn?
4) What happened to Lukiam that made Jahara defy government policy?
5) What crime is Brenimyn accused of that could result in his death?
Thanks for participating.
Click HERE to purchase a copy of The Healer’s Garden from Liquid Silver Books.
And since I never had the opportunity to post the book trailer for The Healer’s Garden (yeah, yeah, yeah… it’s true, I couldn’t figure it out! LOL!) Anyway, here it is.
Okay, so it’s snowing again in Maine. UGH! The world around me is cancelled. Well, except for the university where Baby Girl goes to school. What, are college kids so smart they can maneuver safely through blizzards that most sane people wouldn’t navigate? Oy Vay!
With this snow fall we should reach 13+ feet (4 meters) of snow. At the beginning of January we were having the 8th snowiest winter since records were being kept. Now, I think we’re only a foot from the record. The residents of my town are laughing and saying “bring it on”. Little Boy Blue has missed so much school he’ll be going until the end of June. (And he starts school mid-August… another blog for another time.) Poor thing will have no summer to speak of.
Since we’re on the verge of beating our all-time snowfall record I thought I would take this cold, winter day to share some interesting records I found through google.
1) HIGHEST TIGHTROPE WALK: Frenchman Michael Menin walked a 3,150 metre-high tightrope in 1989. (I can’t walk a straight line from the computer to the coffee pot…)
2) LONGEST ATTACK OF HICCUPS: Charles Osborne of the USA – 1922 to 1990. (Excuse me?)
3) FASTEST TALKER: In 1995, Canadian Sean Shannon recited Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” soliloquy, 260 words, in 23.8secs. (I’m pretty sure I could give him a run for his money!)
4) MOST FEET SNIFFED: In a 15-year career, Madeline Albrecht sniffed 5,600 feet while working for footcare experts Dr Scholl in the USA. (That job stinks!)
5) MOST WATCHES EATEN: Kim Seung Do from Seoul, South Korea, ate five in 1hr 34mins in 1998. (Time to eat?)
6) LONGEST JOKE-TELLING MARATHON: In 1992, Mike Heeman of the USA cracked 12,682 in 24hrs. (That’s not even funny.)
7) MOST PEOPLE CRAMMED INTO A SMART CAR: 13 girls in Munich, Germany, in 1999. (Sneaking into the drive-in?)
8 LONGEST TIME WITH A NAIL IN THE HEAD: Robin Hanshaw of Stoke Poges, Bucks, had a one-inch rusty nail stuck between his ear and eye for 22 years. (Not tonight honey… I have a headache.)
9) MOST LIGHTNING STRIKES SURVIVED: Roy C Sullivan from Virginia, USA, was struck for the seventh time in 1977. (“Sent jolts of current to my fingers and toes” takes on new meaning.)
10) TALLEST LIVING WOMAN: Sandy Allen of the USA, at 7ft 7ins. (But even she would be buried under the snow in my back yard!)
So with those silly records and another being broken out my window… I’m off to do something productive with the rest of my day. Hope yours is peaceful and a happy one to put in the record books!
I’m very excited about my erotic series, Tilling Passions, contracted with Liquid Silver Books.
Here’s the blurb:
Three sisters. Three hot love stories. One family crisis.Julie, Deirdre, and Meghan Tilling are all lusting for love. Each one has a unique story to tell in this three novella erotic suspense series, Tilling Passions. Will their quests for happiness bring answers about their father’s mysterious illness or will they all loose their hearts and the one man they admire most in the world?
In Blind Love oldest sister and uptight CPA, Julie, is trying to break the stronghold her family has on her while solving the mysterious death of her best friend from high school. Her search for answers finds her flirting on the fringes of internet pornography. When she meets Demon Jones (aka Damon Corey), the infamous shock jock, he opens a new world of sexual pleasure and ignites a flame of passion within her. But will their personal secrets unravel the tenuous threads of their relationship? Can Damon expose his inner soul without pushing Julie away or will his enigmatic Demon Jones persona become Julie’s sexual undoing and reveal him as the missing piece that solves the puzzling questions surrounding her friend’s death?
In Love’s Bounty, youngest sister and landscaper Deirdre, unknowingly has a one-night fling with an undercover DEA agent and finds herself entangled in a sting operation. When the DEA comes to believe Deirdre is working for the drug czar, will they discover their error in time to save her? Love’s Bounty unravels the mystery of the torrid relationship between a cop bent on proving himself and a woman struggling with her sexuality and the subsequent discovery of drug running up the
Loving Arrangements finds middle sister and florist, Meghan, questioning her fiancé’s commitment to their engagement. Peter’s odd behavior and sudden interest in BDSM has Meghan digging for deeper motives. Is her sister right in assuming his out-of-town trips have more to do with extra-curricular activities rather than work commitments? When Meghan’s cat is found dead and several accidents threaten her life, could the strange woman claiming to be a classmate of her fiancé’s have something more sinister in mind than reconnecting with Peter?
The book trailer is below. It took me forever to figure out how to load it on to this blog! LOL! Hope you enjoy it.
Hope you enjoy it.
So, I’m not twiddling my thumbs, but kinda…
Yesterday I typed “the end” on Meghan’s story. I didn’t do my snoopy dancing or even feel a sense of relief.
I felt lost.
Granted, it’s only the first draft and still needs to go to my critique partners and be tightened before actually going to the publisher, but in all reality–I’m done. And not only done with Meghan’s story, but with the whole series.
You have to understand, these three women and their lovers have been occupying my thoughts for the better part of six months. Oh, I haven’t been writing their stories that long, but I’ve been living their lives that long. And now, they’re all happy… or as happy as couples can be when they’ve committed their lives… their happy-ever-after will have good days and bad days, joys and tears, but for the most part they’re walking off into the sunset and out of my life.
Oh, come on, I’m not that weird! You’ve experienced it too. Remember that book you read and you got to the last page, but closing the cover didn’t keep you from thinking about the characters. They had crawled under your skin and you actually cared what happened to them and wondered what their futures would hold.
Good writing does that for you. It doesn’t carry you along the plot, it rolls you up and brings you into the story. Please don’t misunderstand, I don’t think my writing has quite reached that level, but I’m aiming for it.
What I do know is that my writing process has done that. My characters are people to me who have feelings and reactions and speech patterns. If I didn’t crawl into their heads I couldn’t put their stories on the page. Of course I’m wrapped up in them while I’m at the computer, but I wake in the night wondering what trouble I can get them into, think about them while I’m cooking dinner or throwing in a load of laundry.. and don’t even get me started about showering. I have no idea what running water has to do with my creativity, but the most wonderful ideas come to me as I’m washing my hair. I have very clean hair. (TMI–sorry!) The point is, I haven’t figured out how to turn these people off. They invade all aspects of my life.
Now, I understand why writers have more than one project going. Then you always have another friend to turn to when someone gets their happy ending and doesn’t need you anymore.
So today I’m walking around kind of lost. I’m thinking about my next story… and doing the taxes. Ick! It’s funny when I come up out of my writing my real life is right there waiting for me!
So, tell me about the last time you got swept away.
As of yesterday we’ve had 9 feet of snow this winter. That’s 8 feet MORE than this time last year. Look up at your ceiling. Chances are it’s only 8 or 9 feet high. THAT’S how much snow we’ve had and another foot is expected today!!!
Granted, not all of it is on the ground. We did have a January thaw that melted a couple feet. But really… my driveway literally has a four foot wall of snow around it. The snowmobiles are covered under the foot we had the other day and I have to throw the snow UP to get it off my back steps.
Come on! I want to see this…
Is that really too much to ask? I just don’t think so.
Please don’t tell me to suck it up because it’s only February and there’s still lots of winter left… because another 2 months of this and we may just be buried until NEXT winter.
Oh, well, at least Peter and Meghan continue to scorch the pages of my manuscript. At least I have them to keep me warm!
So stop me if you’ve heard this one…
The sun glistened like diamonds on the new snow. Whisps of white filtered across the otherwise flawless canvas of the sky. And DH says, “You ready to go for a ride?”
What? You’ve heard this before?
LOL! Oh, no, sometimes I do stoopid things (okay I do a lot of stoopid things), but I’m not brain dead. I did not get on a snowmobile this weekend! The man and I went on a road trip in a very safe car to Little Boy Blue’s basketball tournament.
It was a fun day and the boys’ drive and determination to win each game made me think of my own journey to publication.
In this tournament you played until you lost, then you were out. What impressed me was how these young men, even when they were behind kept pushing for the win. The second game for Little Boy Blue’s team was nerve wracking. They had several hours to stew over how they were outmatched.
But from the opening whistle they came out playing hard. The game was separated by a point or two through three periods, each team sharing the lead at different times throughout. But our home team fell apart at the beginning of the fourth period. The opposition scored several unanswered baskets until the team was 8 points behind with two minutes to go.
But did they give up? Nope. The coach rearranged the players and they stepped up their game, pulled it together and brought the score within 5 with a minute to go. Another basket and now they’re a 3 point shot away from a tie. But the opposition has the ball. With everything they have, they press the offense and steal the ball with 2 seconds left on the clock. They manage to tip it to one of their shooters and he goes up for the 3 pointer. A beautiful arcing shot that hangs in the air as the final buzzer sounds. Breathless, the crowd comes to their feet as the ball bounces around the rim, but doesn’t go in.
They lost. A hard fought game, but a bummer none the less.
So why do I mention this?
Writing and especially publication is a difficult journey to take. The decision to sit down and write a novel is one that takes years for some people to complete. Others, like me, fall into it.
It can seem so daunting to take the nugget of an idea and turn it into a complete story with twists and turns and characters that keep the reader turning the pages, but you persevere. Then you enter several contests and the judges have less than stellar comments about your novel. The score isn’t in your favor.
Back to the drawing board. Shuffle the players and send them out there again. You final in a contest, but receive your fourth rejection in a month.
It is so easy to give up and let the “other” team win. After all, they’re ahead and you feel the time slipping away. It would be less painful to slide those manuscripts under the couch and let them collect dust.
But how bad do you want it? Because as long as there’s time on the clock… you have a chance to achieve your dream. Keep pressing, keep believing… keep writing.
I’m proof that determination and perseverance helps you reach your dreams. One book published, two more under contract, but is the game over? Nope. I still want to hold one of my babies in my hands. I still want to have a booksigning. I still want to have a best seller.
I’m still in the tournament, playing hard to win. How about you?