Writing

Words are powerful.

I know that’s a “DUR” statement from an avid reader and an author. But sometimes that statement just smucks you upside the head and leaves you stunned. I had one of those weeks re-learning this lesson.

There are times words can bring you to tears, tickle your funny bone or royally tick someone off. I experienced the latter this week and it was incredibly humbling and horrifying at the same time.

For a whole day I was reminded how something meant innocently can mushroom into a full blown out misunderstanding that affects more people than even the original audience.

Oh, it was sincere enough. I questioned something … quietly and professionally … or so I thought. A tiny snowflake fell somewhere in the universe. THEN I went and told someone about this interaction. My tiny snowflake found a friend or two and was now a cold, hard snowball hurtling through cyberspace. I didn’t think much of it as I went out into the internet to share my thoughts which spurned a discussion. My snowball started tumbling down a hill. From my perspective it was a very good discussion, lots of tossing around of ideas. Plenty of give and take. All positive. Again … from my perspective. By now a huge mound of snow is hurtling itself my way and I am totally oblivious of it’s arrival.

Fast forward several happy hours and a good night’s sleep.

The snowball I created rushes into me with a power I never anticipated. My few words of innocent inquiry had suddenly become a nuclear bomb exploding into a mushroom cloud that dropped debris for miles and miles. I was in trouble.

For a whole day I tried to discover exactly what I had done wrong and what specifically I had said that created such hurt and mistrust. At the writing of this, I still don’t know the specifics.

I may never know.

I just wanted to remind everyone that sometimes words go in a totally different direction than you intended. It is hard for humor especially to be understood over an email. I’m just happy things have worked out in this situation and I can move forward with only a little bruising.  

Okay, after two days and one very frustrated computer tech (from PCWebDoc.com — an awesome computer service that does their work over the internet!), I thought the horrible Trojan that had crawled into my computer and taken up residence was gone. Not only had it invaded everything (including safe mode) it opened the door, invited friends and had a big party at the expense of my hard drive. But alas, it still is twitching somewhere in the bowels of my hardware. Urr … damn little bugger.

Fortunately, (after hearing nightmare stories of books gone to gigabyte heaven) I backed up and backed up my backups. So at least I went into this with minimal wailing and gnashing of teeth. Dan, my knight in shining zipdrives scrubbed, cleaned and destroyed what we thought was all of the enemy. He released my computer back into the wild and around 4pm today I was finally able to reclaim my keyboard. I’ve dealt with 4 days of emails (1100 of them), moved some files around (as was suggested) and thought I would let my cyber friends know why I have been conspicuously absent from my blog.

*sigh*

Well, my computer won’t let me on to write a post. I’m currently balanced precariously on Little Boy Blue’s computer chair straining to see the monitor several inches out of my visual limits. (The child is 6’5″ … obviously my 5’4″ frame doesn’t fit his desk.) I’m hoping that one more call to the computer tech tomorrow will fix this new development. Though after two days on the phone, working things from my end while he worked magic on his end, I’m not sure I have any more anecdotes to share with the man. I already filled him in on the first 25 years of my marriage. Well, I guess it means dredging up my formative years and entertaining him with my total geek personna. while he figures out why my computer doesn’t like passwords.

Ah, well, I digress.

I had planned to simply tell you all I’m back and we would return to my regularly scheduled blogging. But that is not to be. I feel so lost without the ability to surf the internet. Waaaaaa! I’m trying not to panic. I’ve saved doing research for a presentation I’m scheduled for on Saturday. Who needs the internet? Somewhere in the basement is the old stack of encyclopedias.

Anyway, I realize I still need to choose a winner for the Valentine’s blog … I have NOT forgotten. But you’re going to have to wait until after the weekend. Unless by some miracle, the tech guy resusitates my internet, waves his magic hard drive and makes it all better, I don’t expect to post before Sunday.

Wish me luck … I’m going in!  

I spend hours upon hours on the internet. Checking on writer forums and blogs. I email constantly throughout the day. And still I get through weeks and realize there are places I had wanted to go and people I wanted to visit.

It amazes me how my world has opened up and brought some wonderful friends into my life. I’ve had critique partners, Caron and Angela who have helped me develop my writing, but whom I hardly speak to anymore. I miss them.

Then there are the blogs I used to find time to peruse. Mima, Catherine, and Scorpie. I love those blogs. Enjoy making the connections with the people. I think of them, but rarely squeak out a minute to run over and say hello.

Then of course there’s the Romance Divas forum. The ladies and gents over there are funny and supportive and I could spend all day posting on that forum and “talking” with the writers there. Sometimes the discussions are very intimate and heart wrenching. It’s such a supportive community. And then there’s the Liquid Silver family that I check in with and visit. Wouldn’t want to miss any of the crazy antics happening there.

And there are the people walking around my house who ask every once in awhile that I pull my head out of the internet and pay attention to them. Funny how that works.

I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be writing when I’m at the computer. But all these friends and family call to me. I’m a relationship person. When I meet someone I like to know who they are and what makes them tick. I care. That’s why all this is driving me insane. With this huge circle of people who have come into my life, I don’t have time to find out how everyone is doing. I don’t like it. If I had my druthers … I druther the writing happen on its own and let me spend happy hours surfing around visiting my friends and family and catching up on what’s going on in their lives. Celebrate their accomplishments, share their worries. It’s what I do best. Ask anyone who’s met me. I love to talk! (Stop laughing family.)

Anyway, I’d love to hear how everyone is doing. If you’re a lurker take a minute and drop me a comment and tell me how it’s going in your corner of the world. I’m dying to know what’s happening in you life. 

So, I’m sitting here feeling guilty because I’m playing on my blog rather than pounding words out on my latest stories. Since the rest of the week on my blog showcases some of my author friends and of course my 13 list … I thought over the weekend I’d let you know what’s running through the mind of a writer.

Well, for the first time in 3 years I’m working on two books at the same time. I’ve never done this before, but ya know, it’s kinda fun. The one that’s really plugging along is another shifter story. Who woulda thunk when I decided to jump into an antho with Celia Kyle and Tina Holland over at LSB that I’d fall in love with these furry heroes? Okay, well I did.

I love the whole magic of shifting to wolf or cougar. Can you even imagine? Besides being beamed up by aliens … this is second on my list of waaaaay cool fantasies! LOL! TMI, I’m sure. 😉

The other story involves firefighters. After doing all that research at the local fire department I just absolutely fell in love with this profession. (Of course Shadows of Fire, my vampire erotica will be released by Liquid Silver Books in May 2009. Which is the original reason I did the research.) But really, what’s not to love? Hunky guys coming to save you. Do you think they’d respond if I told them my candle was burning? No, probably not. Such a shame.

So anyway, it’s snowing here in northern Maine. And yes, I realize it’s the end of November, still, this is depressing. I’ve avoided pulling out the boots, mittens, and winter jacket. Which is really stooopeed since it’s freeeezing! Anyway, I can’t avoid it any longer.

*sigh* Anyway, in order to assuage my writing guilt I need to open my WIP(s) and get some work done. My muse is tapping her foot. (She’s really pretty patient while I answer emails and post blogs, but when I finish … she insists I get down to work.) So off I go into the world of naughty shifters. Wish me luck. (And with some hard work I may have some news for you after the holiday.) 😀

It’s Saturday. And I’m actually home! It’s wonderful and it’s sooooo overwhelming! I’m blogging because I’m trying to ignore the mess of clothes spilling out of my suitcase from all my traveling last month. And the boxes of winter clothes sitting on my floor full of long sleeve shirts and sweaters that I now need to wear instead of the cute t’s I’ve been hanging out in over the last few months need to be unpacked and repacked. 

Then of course there’s the dining table that’s full of mail I have yet to sort through and the checkbook that’s so messed up from neglect that it may take a foresic accountant to decipher the numbers. I don’t know if anything but starting over will pull it out of its disaster. 

You see, all this has happened because I’ve spent alot of time (not efficient … just a lot) writing. And well it’s all good for me to plunge into my fantasy worlds and create and torture my characters (as I’ve been known to do) it’s not so wonderful for the real life going on at a break neck speed around me.

It wasn’t always like this. I’m a total control freak. Ask my family. I want everything to pretty much be laid out and to know how it’s all going to unfold. But this writing venture has thrown a wrench into all that. I’ve been neglecting things until the very last minute when someone begged me to pull myself out of my fantasies and back into real life.

Well no more. Well, I hope … no more.

I’m trying to find a comfortable cadence for writing and living. A balance that is productive for stories and doesn’t leave the house around me in total chaos. That means less time futzing around on the computer and more time paying attention to the living people. It means writing with goals in mind and no more floating around on the internet playing.

I mean, I will continue to do that, but within limits. Marketing is necessary in an author’s world. Marketing means being out there and promoting my books. But I can’t market books I haven’t written. And there’s the quandry. Writing to make a living rather than living to write. Anyway, I’m seeking new balance in my life.

It’s been three years of making bad habits. I don’t expect to be able to fix this this month. But I’m going to work on it. And hopefully feel a little more in control rather than feeling like FEMA cleaning up after a disaster. (Oh, but that’s another whole blog right there. 😉 )

And I am curious how other authors manage. I don’t even have a full time job I’m juggling with this career. I don’t have babies or elderly parents I’m trying to take care of. I’m not teaching workshops or online classes. This shouldn’t be that hard. But if anyone has any suggestions … I’m all ears!

Today is a list of thirteen excuses of why I’m not sitting at the computer and finishing my latest novella.

1. My left pinkie finger has a hang nail and it hurts like holy ‘ole heck to type “Q” and “Z”. Ouch! … See?

2. My muse ran away with my pencil. Oh, and look at her now making obsene gestures with it. Okay, that one was funny.

3. My hero, Nick, and my heroine, Frankie, refuse to play nice and I’m just not sure I’m up for any more of their bickering today.

4. I’m up to my ears doing internet research trying to figure out what they call those wire thingies stretched between the pole dohingies on the grape arbors. See? Even you don’t know what I’m talking about.

5. I ran out of typing paper and Staples doesn’t seem to carry it. Excuse me? What do you mean my word processor doesn’t require paper? *hrmmmph* What do you know?

6. The 19 stickies tacked up around my desk, on my monitor, the computer tower and trailing down over my printer reminding me to do things sometime in the next month need to be read and reorganized.

7. Oh, my computer chimed … I’ve got mail!

8. I need to make a list of euphemisms for “erection”. Umm, let’s see … love wand, sword of desire, purple helmeted cyclops …

9. I have to call my parents. No really … I have to call my parents. BRB!

10. Okay, where was I? *cracks knuckles* Oh, right … excuses… my MySpace page needs a face lift. Maybe a picture or two. Hey did you friend me over there yet? It’s really easy. Want me to show you how? 

11. I need to pack. Yeppers, I’m travelling for the next three weekends in a row. All good things. Still it’s travelling. And I haven’t made the leap to get a laptop so there’s no writing while I’m travelling. That is so not good! 

12. Laundry? Who has time for laundry? Right side out, then inside out, then commando … underwear has a long life. Clean is a state of mind anyway.

13. I’m working on my Thursday Thirteen blog. What? Okay, so now it’s finished … still I’ve got the other 12 excuses working in my favor. 😀

HAPPY T13!

Okay, so I’m feeling a little testy. It’s my own fault which makes me even more short tempered. I need to sit down, strap in, and write.

My head understands this, but my heart just isn’t getting the message.

So why am I here blogging? I haven’t the foggiest idea. Well, I do. It’s something called avoidance. I’d rather turn on the morning news and watch people discuss the GOP convention. (And quite frankly … I don’t usually do politics.) It seems to me the dust has accumulated and perhaps a little tidying up would be in order. But then again, there are those two piles of laundry that need to be wrangled into submission.

See, there is just this whole list of things I could do to wile away the day. And I didn’t see writing a novella on any part of that list. 😀 

Oh, maybe I should just crawl back into bed, pull the covers over my head and pretend the day didn’t start yet. Better yet … pretend it’s not actually September. Because if my calendar is write, er, I mean right (which I suspect it is), then I’m in a whole heap of hot water. But shhhh … don’t tell my writing partners. Because I um … promised them a story in another ten days.

Oh, now that gasp of shock was not what I needed right now. A shoulder to cry on and a good whipping.  Wait, maybe I can use that in my next scene. hmmm….

When people interview me one of the questions that always seems to pop up is “why do you write in different genres?” The question surprised me. I thought, writing a story is writing a story. But then I started reading marketing advice for writers. Branding is a word that continued to be bantered around.

Did I have a brand if I was supposedly bouncing all over the spectrum of erotic writing? I panicked. Who was I?

Then I stepped back and looked closely at the stories I’ve written.

The Healer’s Garden – Takes place in a future earth where a man and a woman are trying to find their way in a world that doesn’t believe they should be together. But riding on that relationship is some mystery that carries through the story.

Blind Love – A contemporary romance about two people discovering who they are and falling in love with each other. But the heroine is working to unravel the mystery behind her friend’s death.

Love’s Bounty – Centers around drug running up the Maine coast, but in the thick of it, two people discover love.

Arranging Love – An engaged couple discovers love isn’t always enough and fights to hold their relationship together. But a stalker infiltrates their lives and threatens everything they’ve become together.

Blue Moon Rising – A woman with a battered heart isn’t looking for love, but she finds it with a man who claims to be a wolf shifter. When a slaughtered body is found on the property where she’s vacationing, he has to wonder if she’s somehow involved.

Huh.

I relaxed. Those aren’t different genres in my opinion. The thread tying them together is the mystery/suspense part of the plot. I’m all about the puzzle. Weaving the story in such a way that hopefully the reader falls in love with the book while the main characters fall in love with each other. But on the coattails of the romance is something that keeps the danger up, the questions running through the reader’s mind…the mystery if you will. And of course there’s the added heat of the sex. *g*

Erotic suspense.

Not different genres. The same genre with a change of characters. It doesn’t matter to me where the story is set. Future, present or past. (Nope, haven’t done an historical yet … but I’m thinking about it.) The occupation of the character changes, but I can’t see how it matters if my hero is a breeder, a modern day piano player, wolf-shifting cop, or my current … a vampire firefighter. Isn’t it all about the sexy guy falling for the kick-ass girl next door and the life and death situations I throw them into?

So, what do you think? Should an author brand themselves and stay within one genre … say paranormal? Or do you mind picking up books by the same author that have different flavors to them?

Cause now I’m curious.

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?

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