Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blogdentity

I think one of my biggest hurdles in blogging lately has been my lack of blogdentity.  When I started blogging I wrote musings about the writing process.  Sometimes my subjects were random (most of the time) but I always worked them back to writing.  Occasionally I shared samples from my w.i.p. for a blogfest, but I stayed consistent with myself. I liked to read blogs from other writers going through the same struggles I was, and I thought my blog would appeal to like minded people.

I did not notice at first, but bit by bit, my blog started getting taken over by blogfests. THis is when I started loosing my blogdentity. April's A-Z blogfest was the icing on the cake. I have been struggling  since then to get my head above water in the blogosphere.

In attempt to return to my roots I stepped away from all blogfests. This was a mistake. Blogfests held me accountable to a timeline and helped me pace myself. Solution, jump back into blogfests but in moderation. I will not participate in more than 3 blogfests in a month. Give or take 2. Or 3. We'll see. The point is, I think I can still be me and contribute to the greater blogging community.  The most important thing is that I stay true to myself. I learned this in regard to my writing projects, now I learn it as applies to my blog.

So, in being true to myself, here is a blog post about nothing in particular but linking vaguely back to the theme of how the writing process. Not really awe inspiring, I know. But I hope it gets me back on track.

What do you do to stay consistent with your blogdentity?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Writer's Block

No!

Say it isn't so!

But it is. I cannot, seriously CANNOT write this next freakin' scene. It's making me crazy. It's tainting everything I do.

So, I've eaten a lot of Cheetos, gone swimming with my kids, edited a friend's wip, did some laundry... still nothing. It's been going on for days. Part of the problem is that I am reworking some of my writing rituals. That has really thrown a wrench in the gears. I might actually explode. It's true, ask my kids.

What I have done (just now) is started on a piece of fan fiction I've been mulling over. It's not actually productive towards finishing my wip, but I am writing, which is a good thing.

What do you do when hit by writer's block?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Page 99

Awhile back there was a blogfest about page 99 of your manuscript. The premise was that authors frequently put a lot of effort into the first few chapters then relax, perhaps too much. If an agent is hooked by reading page 99, it bodes well for the entire book. If you have the time and interest, you can participate in an online critique forum at  Page 99 Test.

Below is page 99 from my w.i.p. Courtly Abandon. It is the very end of chapter 9. Reading it out of context, does it hook you? Would you turn the page?

“Dearest Jane, I took advantage.” Sir William went down on one knee before her, taking her hands in his. “I pray you, forgive me.”
Jane squared her shoulders, wishing herself calm. “There is naught to forgive my lord.”
“My lord? Have I so truly overstepped myself?’ He pressed her hands against his cheek.
She knew he was totally in her control. Lust was a powerful motivator. She smiled shyly, willing herself to look innocent. “Oh, not at all Sir William. I am just,” Jane struggled for the word, “overwrought.”
“Of course you are. I am a rogue to take advantage.”
“Sir William, please stand up.”
He stood, but still held a ridiculously guilty expression. “You are quite right. I shall leave you here to compose yourself. We should not return to the hall together.”
Jane almost laughed at the intensity of his little drama, but instead gave a simpering smile and said, “You are too good to me.”
“You are deserving of the best.” He leaned in one more time and pressed a quick kiss to her lips. Did he think they were lovers now? 
He gave a quick reverence, kissed his fingers to her, and scurried out of the garden.
Jane stood still for a moment before allowing herself to breathe, relax. She found a bench and sat down, leaning her face in her hands. “Good God in Heaven.” She wanted to want him, but all she could think of was Percy.
As if summoned, a voice pierced through the darkness. “Did you enjoy kissing my brother?”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

FUUUUUUUUUU..... DGE!

The other day I missed the last four steps and went straight for the tile. Our staircase turns at a 90 degree angle and 2 of the steps at that point are triangular and then there are 4 more before the ground floor. The shortest distance down the stairs involves cutting in at the narrowest point. I missed. Toe, ankle, knee, then caught myself and lay there for a moment, stunned. I also yelled, in slow motion, the big bad mamajamma of four letter words.

Now I do not swear a lot.  I am a teacher and insist on 'polite language' in my classroom (when students don't realize that bitch is not okay to use casually or that the term faggot is offensive and perpetuates bigotry and hatred, the fact that 'suck' is crude elludes them entirely). As a mother, my kids think 'stupid' is the "s-word." I have never dropped the F-bomb in their presence.  Until last week.

Luckily they were more in a panic by the yell and following groaning on the floor to pay attention to what I actually yelled.  Phew.

As a writer of historical fiction, I have to be aware of the vernacular of the era. In choosing not to include thee, thou, thy, etc... I made a point to give a sense of formality when appropriate and an old world flare by using terminology from the age. Including crass terms. The F-bomb was absolutely a verb for the same action as it describes today, however it had yet to evolve into an adjective (He's f-ing stupid) or noun (that F over there said....). Ass was actually a jackass = donkey. Arse was the word describing the modern day ass and used, mainly, for anatomical purposes verses name calling. When I do use cruder terms, I look up their etymology to make sure they were common place in my era and that I am using them correctly.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Brain is Too Busy

Dream 1: My school has found a new site and we've moved in. It's a beautiful brick, turn of the century, industrial building full of cast iron spiral staircases, but it's in a terrible neighborhood. On my way to my car after school, I get shot multiple times in the gut. I know I'm going to die. When I wake up, I have stomach cramps.
Dream 2: A group of my students (a family of 6) are still waiting to be picked up after school. It's 6pm, dark, and raining. I look outside to see a car pull up, but instead see a water buffalo snorting on the window. He crashes through the wall, the building topples like a card house. I jump from roof to roof while he chases me.
Dream 3: I miss a staff meeting because state testing went long. My boss is mad at me and all the other staff grumble that I think I'm too important to have to go to meetings. I wake up, not sure if it's a dream. In my dream, I call my co-worker who confirms that it really happened and I'm in big trouble.
Dream 4: My daughter's biological mother is getting out of prison and wants to challenge the adoption. It is a legal battle involving me clutching my five year old and sobbing.  When I wake up from this one, I have to go through my memories of pregnancy and child birth to confirm that she was not adopted and it was just a dream.
Dream 5: I'm in a car and I can't seem to step on the brakes (this dream happens frequently).

Needless to say, I did not sleep well. My mind needs to sort something out -- most of it to do w/school, apparently. Tonight I may take NyQuil (TM).

Now, I'm off to my own little dream world where Jane and Percy find each other in the wood beyond the Mayday bonfire.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Congratulation 2011 RITA and Golden Heart Winners

The information below was taken in full from the RWA website. I just added the hyperlinks (those I did not add were because I could not find one and/or I ran out of time).

2011 RITA® and Golden Heart® Award Winners

Romance Writers of America congratulates the following winners of the 2011 RITA and Golden Heart Awards.

2011 Golden Heart Winner for Regency Historical Romance

Anne Barton

The Proper Miss's Guide to Bad Behavior
by Anne Barton


2011 Golden Heart Winner for Historical Romance

Maire Shelley

The Dark Lady
by Maire Shelley



2011 Golden Heart Winner for Inspirational Romance

Ruth Kaufman

At His Command
by Ruth Kaufman



2011 Golden Heart Winner for Young Adult Romance

Suzanne Kaufman Kalb

Irresistible
by Suzanne Kaufman Kalb


2011 Golden Heart Winner for Contemporary Series Romance

Jo Anne Banker

Lost and Found
by Jo Anne Banker


2011 Golden Heart Winner for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure

Robin Lynn Perini

Stolen Lullaby
by Robin Lynn Perini



2011 Golden Heart Winner for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Jo Anne Banker

Nearly Departed in Deadwood
by Ann Charles


2011 Golden Heart Winner for Romantic Suspense

Diana Van Dyke

Spy in the Mirror
by Diana Van Dyke


2011 Golden Heart Winner for Paranormal Romance

Trisza Ray

The Blood Sworn King
by Trisza Ray



2011 Golden Heart Winner for Contemporary Single Title Romance

Lisa Connelly

The Sinners
by Lisa Connelly


2011 RITA Winner for Regency Historical Romance

The Mischief of the Mistletoe Lauren Willig

The Mischief of the Mistletoe
by Lauren Willig

Penguin Group USA, Dutton

Erika Imranyi, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Historical Romance

His at Night Sherry Thomas

His at Night
by Sherry Thomas

Random House, Bantam Books

Caitlin Alexander, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Inspirational Romance

Pieces of Sky Irene Hannon

In Harm's Way
by Irene Hannon

Baker Publishing, Revell

Jennifer Leep, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Young Adult Romance

The Iron King Julie Kagawa

The Iron King
by Julie Kagawa

Harlequin Teen

Natashya Wilson, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Contemporary Series Romance

Welcome Home, Cowboy Karen Templeton

Welcome Home, Cowboy
by Karen Templeton

Silhouette Special Edition

Gail Chasan, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure

The Moon That Night Helen Brenna

The Moon That Night
by Helen Brenna


Harlequin Superromance
Johanna Raisanen, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Novel with Strong Romantic Elements

Welcome to Harmony Jodi Thomas

Welcome to Harmony
by Jodi Thomas

Penguin Group USA, Berkley Trade

Wendy McCurdy, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Romance Novella

Burning Up Virginia Kantra

"Shifting Sea" 
by Virginia Kantra

in Burning Up

Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation

Cindy Hwang, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Romantic Suspense

Silent Scream Karen Rose

Silent Scream
by Karen Rose

Grand Central Publishing

Karen Kosztolnyik, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Paranormal Romance

Unchained: The Dark Forgotten Sharon Ashwood

Unchained: The Dark Forgotten
by Sharon Ashwood

Penguin Group USA, Signet Eclipse

Laura Cifelli, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Best First Book

Pieces of Sky Kaki Warner

Pieces of Sky
by Kaki Warner

Penguin Group USA, Berkley Sensation

Wendy McCurdy, editor


2011 RITA Winner for Contemporary Single Title Romance

Simply Irresistible Jill Shalvis

Simply Irresistible
by Jill Shalvis

Grand Central, Forever

Alex Logan, editor

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