• Blogging In 2012

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Dec. 11, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by! 

    A blog is like a garden that you need to tend. If you don’t water it, if you let the weeds grow up, if you just plant the seeds and then forget about it: nothing will grow there. Or if something does manage to grow, it won’t be what you expected.

    Here is my blog book for 2011. I ordered it a little early because there was a sale, so it goes from Jan. 1- Nov. 30, 2011. Next year’s book will start Dec. 1. It goes against my sense of organization and completion but totally agrees with my sense of a good deal being had.  I felt like I blogged a lot in 2011.

    I have been blogging since June of 2007. The first year I had only 49 posts. In 2008 I had 113 posts, 2009 115 posts and in 2010 I had 79 posts. 2010 was a long eventful but ultimately unbloggable year with all that was going on with Bryon’s job. This year has been awesome. If I hadn’t blogged so much in October though, I wouldn’t have had very many posts. For 2011 I’m at 87 posts so far. I’ll get a few more in before the time ticks down.

    This year I’m going to really concentrate on my blog. I know a few of you guys out there read it every time I post. I think that’s cool. It’s very personally satisfying to see those page views increase. Since the month of October when I blogged every day, my monthly page views have gone from 200-300 in a month to 800 in the past 30 days.

    That is AWESOME!

    I’m not saying I’m some robed sage to be followed. I’ll just be continuing on as usual, telling you stories about life in the Big Cedars, my family, preserving some of the stories about Bryon and my childhoods, our courtship, and our marriage for Grace and writing about the various and sundry other things that strike my fancy.

    Things like writing. I’m still working on my novel. I started it in August so I don’t feel like it’s too stale yet or has been worked on a ridiculously long time and should be shoved into a drawer and forgotten. I’m still interested in it and still excited about it. I just need many, many more hours in the day to be able to work on it. I can’t really accomplish much in fits and starts. I am looking forward to another Write-In day January 7 at the Creamery with the writing group (Ozark Romance Authors – ORA).

    Maybe I can squeeze in a few more hours/days/minutes before then. At this point at least I don’t have to reread the entire thing before I feel like I can sit down to work on it again. Those characters are like cousins I don’t see very much but still remember what they’ve done during holiday dinners past. I at least know their story now.

    Blogging is not as difficult as writing a novel but it still takes time in between cooking dinner, washing clothes, tending to kids, husband, animals, plants, sleep, reading … you know how it is. You are doing the same things. I’m not promising a post a day because that will suck the joy out of it if it becomes a chore. I am promising I’ll make an effort to post MORE.

    I’ve been collecting a list of topics in my notes app on my new iPhone. Siri has been helping me … when she isn’t on crack that is and spewing forth nonsense.

    Here’s what I have (in no particular order) coming up in the next few posts to pique your interest…

    A Walk In The Woods

    Gift Giving

    Coolest Apps in the Universe

    Needless: How to be not so needy

    Serial Killer: Why series books and shows turn me on

    Product Loyalty

    What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

    Picky Eater

    Amusement Parks & Memories of Vacations Past

    Getting Religion

    Old Timey Ways

    Resolutions for 2012 – 12 Months of Projects

    Oldies But Goodies

    I’ll keep working on more as they come to me.

    For now, thanks for reading. You’re swell.

    And if you haven’t subscribed by email, you should do it. Just fill in your email address at the top of the blog and you’ll get my posts emailed to you. They also update on my Facebook page. Friend me and you’ll never miss an episode. I can’t promise there won’t be any reruns though. I am my Mother’s daughter. I have to search my own blog sometimes to make sure I’m not repeating myself 🙂

    Life is Good in Big Cedars.


  • Write In – Write On

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 23, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be re-posting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    This is what a Write-In Looks like. I was set up beside the girl in the red sweatshirt against the wall. I’ve mentioned several times that November is NaNoWriMO which I did not participate in. These folks did. There was actually about a dozen people that came to the Brown Egg last Saturday to participate in a twelve hour write-in. The Brown Egg is a new place one block from MSU and it just opened last month. I hope it lasts. It was super cool. I was BY FAR the oldest one there … by a decade … or two.

    There was a very cute young man making and selling his zombie art while we worked. Who can resist zombie art? Not this girl. He’s working on the piece I bought in this picture. I just wish I could remember his name. Timothy something. I can’t read his writing where he signed my piece.

    Here is the piece I bought. I’m going to hang it in my office over my writing desk. Seems appropriate.

    We spent half the day at the Brown Egg and then the second half a few blocks away further downtown at Boca Mocha . It was fun. I was just working on my revision and trying to get the word count up which is easier than you would imagine now that I can tell you what the other characters are up to.

    I spent ten hours working on my novel and revised half the book and added seven thousand words for a current word count of 57, 627 words. I only need 22, 733 more to go. I have a couple of big fight scenes and the ending to finish so I’m feeling pretty confident.

    I just need about eight more days like last Saturday to get it done.


  • I Think I Can. I Think I Can.

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 11, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up.       Thanks for stopping by!

    I’m a little more jazzed about the rewrite now. This has been a crazy busy week with the university blood drive in Rolla occupying four days and driving 1,000 miles this week back and forth for work. Somehow, I have managed to start the rewrite.

    I’ve only made it through the first twenty two pages of 179 in Word after I formatted it to fit Harlequin submissions standards but the good news is I’ve already added 2,000 words. At this rate, reaching 80,000+ is looking much more hopeful. I feel like I have the bones of the story down pretty well and now, with the benefit of 3rd person point of view, I can flesh it out much better. See…

    LEMONS=LEMONADE.

    I’ve had no offers for the use of a lake house or a patron saint willing to pay for an extended hotel stay. You could still be a hero here… just sayin’ 🙂 Bryon, bless his heart, Googled around one night and discovered The Writer’s Colony in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

    I knew about it already but I thought it was pretty sweet that he was trying to find me a place to go to work on my story. He’s a good man. I think I’ll keep him another twenty one years and a half years. The Writer’s Colony seems like a pretty neat deal. They ask for donations ($45 a night) and you can stay for a week and up to three months. They feed you and they have WiFi and it sounds like a really creative atmosphere to really concentrate on your writing.

    You have to fill out a pretty extensive application complete with references to be considered for residency. I guess they don’t just want vacationers looking for cheap hotel digs. Unfortunately, the Writer’s Colony is only open until mid December and then opens back up in March.

    There’s just too much going on with the holidays to try to do it before mid December so I guess I’ll just keep pressing on in dribs and drabs. I really want this finished and ready for some serious editing by January. That is my goal.

    It’s good to have a goal.


  • Write & Wrong

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 8, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    So this month is National Novel Writing Month  in which I am not participating. Saturday was the Ozarks Romance Writers’ meeting and several of those members were participating, so I had some writing envy. I decided I needed to love the one I’m with and work on my own already in progress novel.

    I have waffled between rewriting it from third person or sticking with the first person point of view. Why I didn’t just do that from the beginning I can not explain. Honestly, I didn’t think it would really matter what point of view I used. I’ve read plenty of paranormal romances from both viewpoints.

    Harlequin is probably the most new writer friendly publisher. Probably because they publish so many romances each much. Lots of awesome writers have cut their teeth in serial romance. In fact, so writer and submission friendly is Harlequin that they are having a free online conference all this week specifically on the how to’s of writing romance. You can check it out at So You Think You Can Write if you are interested.

    Last night I was trying to check out all of the events and podcasts from the first day and the main editor that accepts submissions for Harlequin Nocturne (the paranormal romance editor) had a podcast. She seemed great and gave good advice but also dropped a couple of bombshells. First, the word count for Harlequin Nocturne just got raised from 70,000 to 80-85,000. Yeah, I have 51,858 now. I’ve got some work to do.

    Secondly, at the very end of the podcast she just happened to mention that submissions needed to be in third person point of view. Nowhere on the submission guidelines did it say that. Maybe it was supposed to assumed. Maybe I just didn’t know what I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Now I know.

    So my dilemma has been resolved for me. I have to rewrite it.

    I guess the hardest part is committing to a course of action. Once there’s a solid and clear plan, it’s usually easier to proceed, right? It’s good to have a plan.

    So after all that waffling and hoping to take the easy way out, now I know, as with most of the things in life, there is no easy way out.

    Bryon’s pretty sure I’m windy enough to make it all work out. He’s probably right. I just need someone to offer up their lake home to me for a long weekend so I can work on it without distraction. Either that or I’m going to have to check myself into a hotel.

    Either way … I got this.


  • The Write Stuff

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Nov. 1, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    This is my novel manuscript so far. Today at lunch I sat down to start to rewrite it from the third person perspective. I didn’t even make it through the first two pages and decided that was just nuts. I like it like it is. I like my character’s first person voice. I’m not rewriting it.

    Tonight I started editing it instead. Like riding a bicycle, marking with a red pen came right back to my inner English teacher self. It’s been a month since I really worked on it so now it’s like reading someone ELSE’s writing, which is pretty cool.

    That was one of Stephen King’s suggestions in On Writing. Let it sit, then read through as much as you can of your work in one sitting and with that distance from it, it will be like reading someone else’s work. He is totally right. Well of course he is, he’s Stephen King, duh.

    It’s easier to be critical of someone else’s work and let the red ink flow. Sort of like grading one giant paper. But a lot more fun. With no pesky teenagers to interfere.

    At the last ORA (Ozarks Romance Authors) meeting a published author showed us her editor’s change requests letters for two of her novels. One had only about twenty changes. The other had over a hundred and twenty. I decided to try that with my own novel so I’m making notes with page numbers and notations in a spiral notebook as I go so I can go back and fix/add in the big stuff when I get through the whole manuscript.

    Then when I have it as good as I can get it, I’ll let a couple of people read it. Probably my two paranormal romance loving friends Dawn and Carla. After that, if I have the 75,000 words I need, I’ll pitch it to Harlequin. I know, I know Harlequin sounds cheesy but if you haven’t read a Harlequin romance lately, you don’t know what you are missing.

    Mine won’t have a secret baby, or a Sheik so no worries there.

    They have a line called Nocturne specifically for paranormal romance and they have some very noteworthy and respected authors. Seriously, you should check it out. It’s not your mother’s serial romance anymore.

    I still think I can make it into a series if I can get away with doing the next book from one of the OTHER character’s perspective, first person or third, I still haven’t decided.That may be a big writing no no but I’ve made this bed and now I’m going to lie in it.

    Speaking of bed … time for some zzzzzzzzzzzzs.


  • Storytelling

    READER NOTE: This post was originally posted on my Life In The Big Cedars blog Oct. 29, 2011. Since I’ve decided to separate my writing posts and keep this site as my writing/author/blogging site and the other site as my online family journal, I’ll be reposting until I get caught up. Thanks for stopping by!

    I am not a good oral storyteller. I am a much better written storyteller. Relating a story to someone orally is a lot more difficult than writing it down for me. Bryon is a much better oral storyteller. He can take the slightest event and turn it into a twenty minute detailed narrative. He’s especially good at relaying hunting stories.

    He would have been an extremely valuable member of society back in the days before writing when oral tradition was the only way histories, laws, folk tales and literature were relayed. Think The Illiad or The Odyssey but much shorter. He’s such a Homer.

    He can spin a yarn or tell a story in a way that’s both engrossing and interesting. Of course, sometimes he uses his power for evil and not good and tricks me with elaborate fairy tales and when I finally ask, “Really??? You’re kidding!”

    He says, “Yeah, I’m kidding.”Aaaarrrrrgggg!

    He used to get me all the time that way.

    I’m still not immune to his ruses but I do still like to hear his stories. He fishes me in every time. And trust me, in the past 25 years, he’s had a LOT of stories.

    I’m a much better written storyteller. I have to see the words appear before me and then rearrange them like puzzle pieces until they are just right. When I TELL a story, I don’t have that luxury and under pressure, the story loses it’s cohesion and impact. Sometimes I hear myself talking when I’m trying to tell a story and think, what the hell am I even saying? This story makes no sense.

    It makes perfect sense in my brain. Somehow it between my brain and my mouth it loses it’s potency.

    The great thing about writing is that until the very last minute you can edit it, rearrange it and dress it up in different clothes until it’s just right. Then, if you still aren’t happy with it, there’s always the rewrite.

    I haven’t worked on my novel much this past few weeks because I know that is what the next step is: the rewrite. I have ideas for at least two more books so I can make it a trilogy. Trilogies are very hot right now. But I can’t do that in the first person, which is the point of view I’ve used for the first 50,000 words.

    The good news is that when I do finally sit down to rewrite, it should blow up as I am able to expand the vision of the characters and flesh them out more making it pretty easy to reach my 75,000 word target. The bad news is that it’s going to take some extensive time and uninterrupted concentration to do it.

    I had really considered trying to participate in NaNoWriMo in November where you write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days but I think I will be better served to concentrate on working on the one I already have in progress than starting another one. So I’m punting NaNoWriMo and hope to work on the rewrite instead.

    Maybe if I can spend the next 30 days working on the rewrite, I’ll have a brand spanking baby New Year book by 2012.

    Write on.


  • A Novel Effort

    Last summer I got hit with a hankering to write a novel. I have read more than a hundred paranormal romance novels in the past two years and each time I have thought, “I can do this!” So I finally decided to put my money where my mouth was and give it a try.

    As a former English teacher and a graduate of a very respectable state university with a BS in English Education, I figured, why not? This does not, however, mean that I have perfect grammar or always use the correct word. It means I have some good ideas and I need an editor … and spell check.

    I first tried to write a novel several years ago when I had what I thought was a great premise after my husband and I cleaned out his grandmother’s incredibly disgusting and packed apartment and moved her into a care facility. We found a lot of crazy and interesting items and papers during our efforts which led to all sorts of questions and potentially mind blowing secrets.

    When I got home, I started the novel. I made it about 24 pages and lost steam. I was approximately 276 pages short of a novel. I binder clipped the pages together along with my internet “research” and stuck it all into a folder, likely never to be seen or worked on again. It was dead to me.

    Writing a novel is something I think lots of people secretly aspire to achieve. Being a published author would be even better. I think people assume every published author has basically hit the J.K. Rowlings lottery jackpot or can at least quit their day job.

    I have been researching this assumption and it turns out it’s not exactly the case. Sure some authors hit the trifecta of published book, best seller, movie deal but most don’t. Some self-publish their literary children and others quietly stuff them into a drawer or the back of their closet under some mothballed sweaters.

    It’s not easy but it is exciting to consider the possibilities.

    It all starts with page one and ends 300 some pages later. Even if it’s a stinker, at least it’s an accomplishment that has a tangible result; a huge pile of paper with words you typed from your very own brain. No one else can do THAT for you.

    Then if you actually finish the damn thing and want to try to publish it, there are a whole new host of obstacles to overcome. Of course, if you never finish, you’ll never have to worry about any of that.

    As of today I’m on page 115 of my third novel attempt. I think this one might actually go the distance. It’s exhausting and exciting all at the same time. It’s also pretty all consuming. I’ve been working on it since August 5th of this month. I write in long hand at lunch time while I snarf down my Subway Buffalo Chicken sandwich in one of the five counties I cover for work. Later I slink off to my upstairs office until midnight most nights typing up and amending my copy from the day.

    When I finally make it to bed, I can’t fall asleep because things keep happening to my story in my head and those characters just won’t shut up. My brain keeps writing the next scene and finally I have to turn the light back on and write down some notes or it will be lost forever. That’s a good problem to have. I’m not complaining about that.

    Well, I’m off to write.

    Page 116, here I come.