Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fruit Fly Invasion

I know. Anyone who studies the timeline for body decomposition shouldn't break into a sweat at the site of pesky tiny flies but I can't help it. These things drive me absolutely NUTS!

I like to have fruit in the house. Who doesn't? It's a quick healthy snack. When the kids want to reach for chips or chocolate I'm quick to point out healthier choices like the bowl of apples on the counter. Except a couple weeks ago I had to ban practically all fruit from the house until I got rid of the damn fruit flies.

I talked about it to my good friend and author Mary Forbes who, by the way, has a great new book out (Red Wolf's Return). Mary recommended I spray my house plants because apparently these little dudes will lay eggs in there. *shudder* Thanks Mary. For days I was convinced my African Violets had turned against me! However I took the time to spray all my household plants and investigate them all carefully. No bugs.

After declaring our house fruit fly free (say that 10 times fast) I took a risk and loaded up on apples, bananas and, yes, even berries at the market. And now THEY'RE BACK.

I'm open to suggestions.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Do you feel lucky?

Gotta love Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry. The exact movie line is:

"You've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?"

Yesterday I was talking to a friend who said, "Man, are you lucky!" She was referring to the fact that I get to do what I love and get paid for it. She's told me this many times and every time I just smile and say, "I really feel blessed." She's a good friend and I know she means well but I always feel a slight twinge of annoyance when someone says I'm lucky to be published. To me, luck is for lotteries and slot machines. I don't feel that it took much luck for me to get published. It did take me five years and five manuscripts to sell that first book though.

During those five years I wrote with four little children nipping at my ankles. I wrote while nursing, burping and rocking babies. I wrote during midnight feedings and through temper tantrums (sometimes my own). I also wrote on little scraps of paper during soccer games.

I'm not special. Lots of writers I know were just as lucky to work their asses off too LOL!

So do you believe in luck or do you think we make our own?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Book Cover!

I've got a new book cover for THE REMAINS OF THE DEAD. Yes, the skinny chick is dead. It's a good thing. Really.

You see, booksellers thought the old cover skewed young. Take away the girl and add a ghostly handprint and they LOVE it. And I LOVE it. So do you love it? I'll leave the old one up on the right for a few days so you can compare the two.

Those of you who already received bookmarks with my old cover, yes, I'll be doing up new ones. Anyone wanting a bookmark just needs to email me their address through my site by clicking here.

Change. It's a good thing :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Day You Were Born

There's a site that will tell you the #1 song on the day you were born. How cool is that? Author Susan Wiggs blogged about this the other day and I've had a lot of fun with it so I'm passing it along to you. Mine was “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby & the Romantics.

Click here then come back and share!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Who Moved My Cheese?

There are days and, yes, even weeks when I feel like a mouse running through a maze looking for that little piece of cheese. A lot of my life revolves around the reward system. My kids get their allowance if they do their chores. I allow myself junk food on Friday nights if I've been good all week.

Lately, since the kids went back to school, I've been finding it hard to glue my butt to the chair and write. Mostly because I'm doing those sucky second draft edits I blogged about the other day. I find I'm getting more and more creative in how to reward myself for my editing progress.

I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and sit down to edit. When the timer goes off after 15 minutes I reward myself with an equal 15 minutes of:

* Oprah. I watch 15 minutes of the show at a time. I never get a chance to watch it at its usual time slot 'cause that's when I'm beating my kids, er, I mean helping them with homework. I record the show and view it in intervals.

* Soaking in a hot bubble bath in the middle of the day. This is totally self-indulgent in my world of 3 minute quickie showers. Because I can't manage to get myself out of the tub in 15 minutes, I usually do a 30 minute editing trade off for this one.

* Chatting. I phone a friend of my choice just to chat. Even as I type this blog my phone rang 3 times. I didn't answer. Usually I really don't like talking on the phone but if it's the right person (a friend) and the right topic (juicy gossip) 15 minutes is a treat.

* Mani-Pedi. I paint my nails. This gets tricky 'cause it's hard to paint your nails and get them dry in 15 minutes so I can type. Once I only painted one finger on each hand at a time and then tried not to type with those fingers. It's almost impossible to type any sentence without using your pointer because invevitably you will need n, j, u, y, t r, f, or v ... trust me on this. I've begun just doing a pedicure instead.

* Playing Poppit on I don't know why I enjoy the inane mind-numbing idiosy of popping cyber balloons but I do. Don't knock it until you've tried it people.

Do you reward yourself with treats for getting the job done? Any suggestions for additional 15 minute rewards I can use?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Second Draft Suckiness

For me, there are many ways writing a second draft is painful:

* I know how it ends. This is huge because one of the reasons I push toward writing The End in the first draft is so I can figure out who did it and why. Now I know and I've got that contented cat feeling. I don't want to look at the story anymore, I just want to stretch out in a sunbeam.

* I'm reading it in the wrong room. As I read the first draft I become convinced it all needs to be recycled into toilet paper. It's awful. I thought I was making magic but it all reads like doodoo.

* What was I thinking? I need to get more details in order to finish writing a scene about either blood/tissue/decomp/police procedure etc and now need to do hours of research.

* Scene transitions. Yes, I realize it's not fun to read a book where the characters drop from one scene to the other without any transitioning but blech, blech, blech!

* That next book. Every time I'm in second draft there's a voice whispering in my head saying, "C'mon ... you know you really want to drop this sucky story and move on to the one about the two-headed dragon that takes over the planet." Just about any story sounds better at this point.

If you're a writer, do you get the second draft blues? If you're a reader, have you read any books lately that could've used at least one more draft?

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Name Game

It's that time.

Time to
pick a name
for a character.

I've read through my book of 1001 Baby Names (my 1st choice for 1st names).

I've perused the credits of a couple of movies (my 2nd choice for 1st names).

Usually a name comes to me but this time I'm drawing a blank so I'm coming to you, my dear blogging pals, for help.

Here's what I know:

Forty years old
Last name is Booth.

What are your suggestions?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Laughter Through Tears

This morning the kids went back to school.
While I am elated to have my uninterrupted writing time back, I still swallowed tears as my little ones bravely stepped into their new classrooms.

That mix of emotions. The smiles that cover the turmoil beneath. That is what I struggle to bring to the page. I just LOVE a story that brings me on an emotional roller coaster ride. I also feel gypped if I don't feel a range of emotions in my own scenes. I want, no, NEED that high and those lows as I journey with my characters.

Have you read a book lately that brought you to tears? That made you burst out laughing or gasp in fear? Give me a title 'cause there's always room for one more on my bedside table :)