Harry Truman – Whip Master and Yet More Snow!

I know I shouldn’t complain about the snow since it’s February. But c’mon already.

Anyway – today over at the Scribes I talk about being accountable – The Buck Stops Here. Need motivation when you’re slacking off or have tips to share, stop by! And don’t expect me to go easy on anyone. No one cracks the whip like me. And believe me, I have no problem chastising myself when I deserve (which has been quite a bit lately!).

For those of us in the storm’s path, I wish tomorrow looked like this:

Stonington Point, CT

And doesn’t end up like the horror show of October 2011.


Stay safe everyone!

Onward Ho!

Happy Friday!! Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes for – Care and Feeding of Your Doubt Monster.

Since last week, I’ve kicked into high gear. Finally, I’ve hit the halfway mark on my work in progress. And I’ve been slowing adding to Mystic Storm (Zephyr’s book) and Redemption (Galen’s Book). There must be something in the warm air because my daily word count has shot through the roof this week.

Last year, I averaged about 2,000 words a day on The Undead Space Initiative. This past week, I’ve done 3,000 words a day. Total word count to date  = 45,144.

I don’t know what has gotten into me, and quite frankly I don’t care. I just want to finish a book!

For the last few months, I’ve been dragging. I’ve had all three books plotted out, but for some reason, the words just weren’t flowing. And then I realized what I was doing. I was letting myself get stuck. My number one rule when writing is – onward ho!

Just like the settlers making their way out west, when I’m actively writing, my creedo is: don’t stop, don’t re-read, and don’t stare at the computer screen for too long.

So instead of trying to make myself write a scene that I wasn’t seeing or just not into at that moment, I moved onto the next scene repeating over and over –  I can fix it later.

Later. Not now. Later, when I’d finished the first draft.

When I’m done, it can be changed, improved, or deleted.

Really. It is that simple. I forgot. Silly me.

I know I’m not the only one who’s been in a bit of a slump. If you need motivation, I invite you to join us over at the CTRWA Facebook page where Jane Haertel is hosting writing sprints! If you’ve never tried one before, give it a try.

What’s been holding you back? What are your favorite tips for getting unstuck??

Guest Blogger:Donna Shields- Do You Remember the First Book You Ever Wrote?

Happy Friday everyone. Don’t forget to visit me at the Scribes today. We have a special guest – Australian Visual Artist, Glenise Clelland. Be sure to leave a comment. One lucky person will win a copy of her book – LOVE FALLS IN LOVE WITH LOVE.

I also have a special guest blogger today. My fellow Soul Mate sister – Donna Shields. Donna will also be visiting the Scribes on 2/17 to answer our interview questions.

Take it away Donna!


Do you remember the first book you had written? I don’t mean the first published. I’m talking about that first completed story. The one you shoved under your mattress or stuffed onto a shelf in your closet never wanting it to see daylight again. So afraid to show your masterpiece to the waiting world.

After a while, you get brave. Maybe join a critique group or sign up for a writing workshop. And little by little, eventually you make connections and show off your baby. And that’s just the beginning of the nail-biting experience.

Secrets of Jenkins Bridge is my baby, my first love of writing. And just like your first child, you have a very hard time letting your story go. And that’s me. Even though I already have one published novella, it’s just not the same as this one. I have taken my time with Secrets of Jenkins Bridge.

My experience from the beginning was a bit backwards. I began writing it in the fall of 2007. Within six months, I had finished, edited it, and sent off a query letter to Harlequin. Mind you, this story was vastly different back then. It had only taken them two weeks to reply back requesting the full manuscript. I was over the moon! I sent it in and waited. And waited. About a month later, I received a reply. A semi detailed rejection. And being the first, it hurt. A lot. I did the worst thing a writer could ever do. I tucked it away and didn’t write at all for almost two years. Please don’t do this. I’m still kicking myself in the bum for wasting all that time.

But, I eventually began to write again. I joined a critique group whom I wouldn’t give up for anything now. I revamped the story and passed it along to my critique partners. They really helped in so many ways. I also joined Savvy Authors and took some workshops. And finally finished Secrets of Jenkins Bridge November 2011. My editor loves it. She can’t wait to see it published.

My advice to new and unpublished authors? Don’t ever give up on your dreams of writing. Keep going. Join a critique group. Take a workshop. Polish that baby and learn that eventually you will have to let it go and rejection is part of the process. Before you find the perfect home for your special story, you will go through a few rejections. But, you can’t become published if you don’t write.

You can find me:

At my blog: http://donna-realworldwriting.blogspot.com

On facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/#!/shieldsdonna

On Twitter: @Donna_Shields

On SMP’s Author Blog: http://smpauthors.wordpress.com/

You can buy Secrets of Jenkins Bridge at: http://soulmatepublishing.com

Coming soon to Amazon and Barnes and Noble also.

Thanks Donna! 

How about you? Have you ever been tempted to give up your dream? Or even take a break for a while?

Hits and Misses

Happy Black Friday everyone! Please be sure to stop by the Scribes and check out – You’ve Got a Friend in Me.

I mentioned a few weeks back that I’m participating in NaNo. I hit the 50,000 word goal on Day 20. I plan on finishing the novel by 11/30. That will make two completed novels in 2011 – The Undead Space Initiative and Redemption (book 2 of my Aethera series).

Sadly, I did not get to finish plotting The Devil’s Advocate or Mystic Storm (sequel to Mystic Ink). But, hey, there are so many hours in a day. And I’ve learned a lot about my writer self this year.

  • I’m not Nora Roberts or Dean Wesley Smith, capable of pumping out high volume, superior quality manuscripts nearly out of the gate. Plotting and characterization takes time (for me anyway). I have to be totally on-board with the characters and plot, otherwise, I can’t finish the book.
  • I can write a novel in a month. I did it twice. See above – I have to know what is going to happen in my books. I don’t need to know the how or even the why. Those details can come out when I write. I don’t have my million words in yet. But I’m working on it.
  • If there is a zombie apocalypse, I won’t survive long-term. I like modern conveniences way too much.
  • I love Twitter. A lot.  See my post here – Twitterpated.
  • Oh, and the big one, I can sell a book!

    A new day is dawning

I won’t be kicking back anytime soon.  I have a busy 2012 coming up, including promo at other blogs, working on edits for Redemption, writing other books, and I’ll be CT RWA’s new Media Director.  Busy, busy.

How’s your 2011 going? What are you looking forward to in 2012?

Into The Groove

Happy Friday everyone! Please remember to join me at the Scribes today. Today’s topic – Let’s Hear it for the Doubt Monster. Yup, you read that right. I might just have something nice to say about the pest this time.

It’s taken all week, but I’ve finally gotten back into the groove.

Now that I’m convinced the power is staying on, I’ve been able to work on my NaNo novel (I hate it, the book is crap, but I’ll get over it). I’ve also been critiquing several of my fellow writers books (keep those pages coming, ladies). And I’m finally making edits to The Undead Space Initative.

One fringe benefit to no power last week, I actually read an entire book – Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth (highly recommend it – who could not love the President’s Vampire?). After I devoured that book, I read Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins (another home run – a great read – fantastic job Kristan!).

Overall, it’s been a fairly productive week. My only regret – I haven’t worked on plotting the sequel to Mystic Ink. So much to do, so little time…

So tell me, how was your week? Share please! I’d love to hear how you’re all doing.

Attack of the Lazies

Happy Friday everyone! Please be sure to visit me over at the Scribes.  Fantasy romance author, Kinley Baker is sharing her 7 Secrets to Surviving Publishing.

And, I’m also blogging today with my fellow Soul Mate Authors – for those who’ve missed it before – I’m The Author Goddess.

Gorgeous days are meant to be savored.

Lately, I’ve been suffering from extreme laziness. I blame some of it on grieving for my doggie (understandable) and some of it on the beautiful weather we had this past weekend in New England.

I’m a firm believer of carpe diem (seize the day). So on a gorgeous, sunny 80 degree October day, my youngest son and I visited one of our favorite places – Old Strubridge Village.

Since we’re members, we can enjoy our time. There is no rushing, no need to beat the crowds. Even though we’ve seen it all a million times, it doesn’t lessen our enjoyment.

How could you not stop and relax here?

We walked our favorite  trails and visited all the historic homes. We even watched the naughty pair of young oxen being trained. Last time we visited in June, the oxen “babies” broke out of their pasture pen and took a tour of the surrounding fields.

Overall, it was a memorable day. I was sad to see it end.

I enjoy spending time with my fifteen year old. I know, sooner or later, we won’t spend the same quality of time together, so I plan on savoring each moment we have for as long as I can.

Tell me, how do you like to spend your down time? What is your favorite place to visit?

Welcome to the Broken Hearted Club

Hey everyone. Please be sure to visit me over at the Scribes for my post on Chocolate Cupcakes of Doom (and our new recipe page) . And Saturday, be sure to read part two of Lynn Kurland’s interview.

So you may have noticed, I’m not my usual cheerful self.

Another beloved pet has left our family. It’s been  hard to lose three pets in less than a year. Granted, they were all in their elder years.  My cat Ollie was almost 19 (see here)! And there was Sparky (almost 14 years) back in October 2010 (more on him later).

This time we lost Oreo. Our beautiful dalmatian. Our girlie! The love muffin.

The spotted love girl
We adopted her the day before Thanksgiving in 2003. My husband and I decided many years earlier to adopt all our Dalmatians. They are a mischievous breed and not for everyone, so many of them are given up for adoption. She came from New Jersey and was a little freaked out to be left behind by her former owners (who wanted the best for her). I’m glad they decided we would be her new family.
She was six years old at the time. Super lovie and naughty, naughty. Like all Dals, she loved to steal food. She once ate an entire bowl of apples. Later, a brand new loaf of rye bread from Panera was consumed in one sitting. 
Ah, good times. I could tell you more stories, but we don’t have all day.
Eventually, she chilled out. But we were always vigilant. Dalmatians never forget food and will forever swipe anything you’re dumb enough to leave at nose length.
She loved all of us, but her most favorite person was my husband. And he loved her right back. Sometimes, I teased him that he loved her more than me.
Her number one human buddy
In 2005, we adopted Sparky from a shelter. He had been abandoned and was a little loony. He really wanted me to be the only person in his family (I was his number one girl). We made the painful decision to put him to sleep last October, when his body just crapped out on him.
Sparky boy - big dog crammed on little chair.
We faced the same dilemma with Oreo. No matter how sick or decrepit, it never makes the decision any easier. 
I still have two cats left – a brother/sister pair and I know when their time comes, it will hurt just as much. Here’s hoping, I won’t be writing that post anytime soon.
Come visit me next week when I hope to have much better news to share. 
Feel free to leave me a comment your furry loved ones, past and present.

All’s Quiet on the Writer Front

Happy Friday everyone. Please remember to visit the 7 Scribes today – I am the Author Goddess.

Here’s how I’ve been keeping busy while I wait for feedback on The Undead Space Intiative.

  • A few days ago I received some awesome news – I finished first place in another contest. While it’s excellent news to receive, winning contests hasn’t really brought any offers from the editor judges. But that’s okay. As I reported last week, I have actually submitted to more publishers and plan to continue to do so.
  • I have spent most of this week working on the synopsis for The Undead Space Initiative. And I use the term “working” loosely! For some reason, writing an entire novel is easier than a two page synopsis. I’m down to the basic information and now all I need to do is polish it up.
  • Completing the synopsis (and, drat, I need to do a query letter -groan!) frees my mind to work on Devil’s Advocate. I have the main characters but not a fully formed plot. The plot is stewing in the back of my mind this week.
  • And I am taking two classes with a third one starting next week.

None of the aforementioned activities includes my full time job, family (also a full time job) or time spent doing other things like reading, Scribes stuff, Twitter. etc.

And speaking of  the Scribes – we have been very busy booking guest bloggers including: Frankie Roberston, Sandra Orchard, Julia Rachel Barrett, Kinley Baker, Jennifer Fusco, and Kristan Higgins.

I hope to see you all next week. Until then – happy writing!

Do or Do Not. There is No Try.

Happy Friday. Please remember to visit me at the 7 Scribes for today’s topic – Story Overload.

My plan all along had been to wait until September 1 to submit. Except, this past weekend, we were hit with Hurricane Irene. The fear that we might not have power for a week was a great motivator.

Saturday night before I went to bed, I hit the send button and off they all went.

I’m happy to report that full manuscripts for Ascension and Mystic Ink have been requested by several editors. If any offers appear, I’ll be happy to share the good news.

So – the moral of the story – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Even if no sales result, at least I did it. And I will continue to send my books until someone buys one (either traditional or indie pubbed).