Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Music For The Writer's Soul: Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu

I love Starbucks. Anyone who follows my blog or my Twitter/Facebook accounts will know I spend a lot of time writing in Starbucks. So much so that two stores in Little Rock know my drink. Sunday, the barista had my cinnamon dolche soy latte (no whip) ready when I walked in the door. She saw me drive up.

Starbucks gets me away from the distractions (cats/dogs) and temptations (nap/TV) of home. I put on my iPod and I can block out the world while I pound out the words. Plus there's coffee. And these little cards called "Pick of the Week". Starbucks and iTunes teamed up to introduce people to new musicians by giving away select music. I grab a new card each time I'm in a Sbux. A couple of weeks ago, I picked up one by Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. Or just Gurrumul. I've seen it both ways.

Okay, I have no idea how to pronounce his name past Geoffrey. I can't even understand his lyrics but his music is melodious and relaxing. Sometimes lyrics get in the way of the muse. I usually treat music like white noise, just something to drown out unwanted distractions. Gurrumul's song would seem to be perfect for that but the first time it played on my iPod, I had to stop and listen.

Music truly soothes the savage breast. Gurrumul's tender vocals and the slow melodious guitar accompaniment made me smile. But at the same time, my throat tightened as my eyes filled with a hint of tears. I didn't have a clue as to the meaning of the song. The emotion of his voice touched me. And that's what I call music for the writer's soul.

Next payday, my iPod will be enriched by more of his amazing music.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Report Card: EDJ-1; Shayla-0.

funny pictures-Weekend iz almost gone...  ...SIGH...

So the Evil Day Job won this week. I'm officially back at work full time. Yeah for the increased bank account. Boo for the decreased writing time. As I expected, I didn't get much done in the way of writing.

My day job involves a daily commute of 110 miles round trip. Take a nine to ten hour day at work, add two hours of commuting, and Shayla is one tired girl when she gets home. The plan was to write at lunch since the bestest boss in the world was also my lunch buddy. Monday was her last official day so of course, we lunched! *cackle* And Friday she came back to the office to finish up some stuff. Her new job works "four tens" (Monday-Thursday, ten hours a day). Lucky her, she has a three day weekend every week! But she agreed to be available to us on Fridays for transitional stuff for a little while. So we lunched on Friday!

Reality hit and I only managed to write at lunch on Wednesday and not much. Too many interruptions. There's a little coffee shop not far from the office. I might have to retreat there to get anything done.

Saturday was spent with Momma and Lil Sis. We did a shopping and sushi day. Haven't done that in a really long time. We had fun. I needed fun after the last week!

Today, I hit Starbucks to get some writing done. I'm 5k into a new TN cop story but I just couldn't concentrate on it. I haven't heard anything from Harlequin Medical Romance on my proposal so I didn't want to work on that one. I ended up starting a short freebie story for Ellora's Cave's Naughty Nooners. I decided to do an epilogue of sorts for Icing On The Cake. A lot of readers wanted a more concrete "happily ever after" than the original ending. Not that I could have had an HEA when the two characters only knew each other for three days. The short story will be set about three months later and show how the relationship has progressed. Or not. *cackle* I actually managed nearly 1200 words.

So it looks like weekends will be the bulk of my writing time until I get used to the long days of a full work week. But that's okay. I just need to be more disciplined on the weekends.

This week's goals:

1) Try not to make myself insane waiting to hear from Harlequin Medical Romance. They are supposed to respond by the end of the month, which is Tuesday. So what if everyone I know heard back in two or three days and I've been waiting over a week. Okay, I'll shut up now. *cackle* Patience isn't a virtue I've ever learned to embrace!

2) Write something. Force the bitchy little muse into the mood regardless of what she wants to do!

3) Snoopy dance on Friday with the release of SHROUDED ANGEL, book two in the Angel Moon Trilogy!

Available at Ellora's Cave, September 3, 2010

Terra offers sanctuary to both Angellum and Virkola. Unknown to the humans, a truce exists there. To Terrans, the two species exist as myths. One is a frail, winged creature from religious texts. The other, a demon of the night, living off blood. Both are far from the truth…

Because of the Angellum, Patrea, a Virkolan, has spent his life afraid of loss. When darkness descends on his ship in the form of a strange angel, Patrea feels he can’t stay on the Avere. But departing would mean leaving behind the only light in his life—his bunkmate Hadreal. He needs to find the courage to tell Hadreal how he feels.

Hadreal has always felt more than friendship for his younger bunkmate, but bitter past experience keeps him from acting on his feelings. When a new danger brings them closer, he decides it might be time to live again. But now his chance at happiness may end before he’s able to sample it.

Sometimes it takes a brush with death to make life worth living.

More info and an excerpt here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sunday Report Card: Mission Accomplished...

Kind of... I thought this week would be a complete non-writing one. Being sick really puts the muse in a bad mood. Not to mention the writer. But evidently the meds kicked in better than I expected. I actually made it to work most of the week. My only day off was Thursday and it was planned. Plus I used it to meet Cynthia D'Alba and Brandi Evans to write!

I pretty much gave up on the Harlequin Medical Fast Track Submission because I wasn't happy with the synopsis and I only had 800 words on the chapter. And I was sick. *insert whine* Enter my friend, Elle James. She scolded me in the worst way about not stepping up to the challenge. So I shrugged off the sickness blues and left the pity party behind.

Thursday afternoon and evening I firmed up the synopsis. Friday, I managed a few hundred words on the chapter after work. Saturday was my DSRA meeting which ended up lasting all day. I got home around five. Took a nap, then wrote until midnight. Knocked out about 1600 words. Getting the rest done was looking good because today was a designated writing day.

Since I was out of coffee creamer and the nearest store with my favorite kind is in Little Rock, I scooted out of the house this morning and hit the coffee shop. Nearly 1700 words later, I was more or less finished with my one chapter proposal. Well, except for self-edits. I ran to the grocery store--still needed creamer--then headed to the house.

I spent the evening running through self-edits and comments from Elle's emergency read. Hey, she nagged me into getting it done, she can at least read it! *cackle*

At 7:55PM, we had lift off. Or send off. I hit send on the query, synopsis and chapter. And immediately felt the usual nausea. LOL Seems I'm not the only one who experiences the "OMG I just submitted something" trauma. A few people on Tweeter confirmed it as a common ailment among writers.

So for better or worse, the Medical Romance submission is gone. The fast track deadline is Tuesday so I'm in well under the wire.

My goals this week will be low. Things are changing at the evil day job. The most bestest boss in the world has found a betterer job and is leaving us. *sob* She's not only my boss, she's my friend and one of the biggest supporters of my writing career. I will miss her terribly. I don't know what will happen long term, but I may end up back to work full-time for at least a little while. That leaves me very little time in the evening and weekends to write.

Not that I'm complaining. Full-time at the day job will bring a welcome increase in my regular take-home pay. Royalties are too unpredictable for a writer to count on a set amount. It's always nice to know the bills will get paid on time.

My goals for this week:

1) Get back to work on my next TN cop story. Shooting for 2k
2) Try not to get an ulcer waiting to hear from Medical Romance. We're supposed to hear something by the end of August if we made the deadline of the 24th! Some people have had answers in as little as two days. I won't be that lucky! *cackle*

Have a fabulous week, folks!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Blogging at The Rainbow Studio!

Talking about my upcoming release, SHROUDED ANGEL--book two in the Angel Moon trilogy!


Stop by and say hi!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Report Card--the Sickbed Edition...

funny pictures of cats with captions

Well, this week didn't go so good. I didn't feel well most of the week. I blamed it on a hectic schedule at the evil day job, helping Granny with grocery shopping and doc appointments and taking Momma to a doctor appointment. During the week, I might have managed a couple hundred words but I had high hopes for the weekend.

Then Thursday came along. The tiredness I'd been feeling became almost unbearable as I took Momma to the doctor Thursday afternoon. I tried to tell myself it was the high heat--yet another week of 100+ temperatures--and not much sleep. I tried to ignore the scratchy throat and slight cough.

Friday was miserable at the evil day job so Saturday I headed to my doctor's office for clinic walk-in hours. I really didn't need the doctor to tell me I had bronchitis. Ugh... I just needed him to supply the drugs. *cackle* And he did. The most expensive cough medicine ever. Half of the prescription was nearly $60! But what the hey, it's laden with hydrocodone and I slept like a baby Saturday night. And all day Sunday. Strong stuff. I'm scared to take it tonight. *cackle*

I feel a ton better. Just sleepy all the time. I plan to go to work tomorrow but we'll see if I last all day.

So needless to say, this week was a bust on the writing front. I don't have a lot of hope for this week either. Bronchitis tends to drag me down so progress on anything this week will be slow.

I still need to write a couple of blog posts. I'm guesting at Liquid Silver tomorrow and at the Rainbow Studio on Thursday. I'll post links here later.

Hope ya'll had a great week without illness or injury! Have a fab week!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Music for the Writer's Soul: Dean Martin

Yes, my musical taste are rather varied. *cackle* My momma loves Dean Martin. Always has. I remember his music streaming from the stereo from the time I was very young. And today, I have many of his songs in my collection.

Music can be such an inspiration for my stories. It doesn't have to be much. A mood, a phrase, a tempo...

A few weeks ago I was listening to one of my favorite songs by Dean Martin. Sway is the English version of the Spanish song ¿Quién será? written by Pablo Beltrán Ruiz. ¿Quién será? was originally written as a dance song and even if you can't dance--like me--it has you to swaying to the music. With Dino's melodious voice, he makes the lyrics about as sexy as airplay would allow in 1954.

And the rhythm sent a plot bunny running all over my brain. Gay dance club, hard bodies... You'll have to wait for more. The project is down the list of things to write but it's there.

Buy at Amazon

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Report Card...Ooo! Shiny!

funny pictures of cats with captions

A running joke between my mother and me is "shiny". We both distract easily. We aren't sure if it's a sign of age or if it's just part of our nature. We see something "shiny" and we forget what we started out to do and go off on a tangent.

Well, I did a "shiny" this week. I made progress but on a completely new project and in a different direction.

Harlequin Medical Romance is fast tracking new submissions. Senior Editor Sheila Hodgson had announced it on the Harlequin blog on July 26th. I heard about it early this past week. It seems their slush pile dried up and they need submissions and fast. They've set up a special email address and guidelines for fast tracking submissions from new authors.

The evil day job kept me busy all week, as normal for the first week of the month, but my weekend was devoted to writing! All things writing! Yay!

I met with Cynthia D'Alba on Saturday to brainstorm story ideas for the Medical Romance line. Since I hadn't read any from the line in a while, I bought a couple of ebooks off eHarlequin's website and read them Friday and Saturday night, just to see if they've changed since I read them. The answer is not much. I'll probably get several more over the next week.

Medical Romance is short--50-55k--so they don't take much time to read. Unfortunately, they aren't sold in stores in the US so it's ebook or wait for the mail. I love ebooks but I don't have an ereader. Since I've gone back to work, it's not easy to read them on my computer. I sit in front of a computer all day for work. Trying to do it in the evening as well doesn't work.

Cyndi and I spent a good part of Saturday brainstorming two stories then Heather, a book reviewer we know, stopped by to say hi. We had a great chat then all headed our separate ways.

I spent the evening expanding on the basic idea for my book. Today, I tightened up the storyline in a loose synopsis and started working on chapter one. Between the two days, I ended up with almost 1600 words. I probably wrote more like 3k but I delete and revise a lot when plotting a new story. But 1600 words is 600 more than my 1k goal! Yay! Progress!

I don't know if I'll make the fast track deadline of August 24. The guidelines request a synopsis and first chapter of a completed manuscript. Although Ms. Hodgson did make a comment later indicating the manuscript didn't have to be finished. But I don't know if she was speaking directly to the person she was answering. I'd rather go by the official guidelines. However, I can always send something to the slush pile after that date. Can't be any worse than sitting in Intrigue's slush pile! LOL

Oh, speaking of Intrigue... The proposal I submitted four months ago must have gone astray. A friend of mine put me in contact with her editor to inquire on the status. The editor was a doll and had me email her the proposal. So now I know it's in the system. More waiting time.

Unfortunately, some of my waiting time ended in a rejection from Carina Press. Although I didn't receive any editorial feedback, I want to read through it before I submit it elsewhere. It's been four months since I submitted it. A fresh look might reveal issues I need to correct. I'll probably leave it on the back burner until I finish with the Medical Romance idea.

So this week's goals?

1) Finish chapter one at least. I have a couple of people available to critique it. I'll be looking at theirs as well.
2) Read entries in a contest I'm judging.
3) Survive the heat... Although we're only supposed to kiss the 100 degree mark this week. Not run all over it like last week. One day we hit 107F. Absolutely nuts...

That's a lot of goals for the week considering my two days off this week are already scheduled with Momma and Granny stuff. Tomorrow is Granny stuff. Probably won't get home til late afternoon so I doubt I'll get much done. Thursday, Momma has a doc appointment in the afternoon so I should be able to get some writing done in the morning. But anything is progress! Just gotta keep pushin'!

Have a fab week and stay cool!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Music for the Writer's Soul: Meatloaf

Meatloaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, on first look doesn't seem the type to inspire romance. Heavyset, long scraggly hair are the first physical impressions. But then he sings. He doesn't have a perfect voice but the passion is unmistakable. And that's sexy as hell.

While working on Rocky Horror Picture Show, Meatloaf began collaborating with songwriter, Jim Steinman, on the album Bat Out of Hell. Jim Steinman's lyrics are amazing. I suffer from jealousy at his ability to craft a phrase every time I hear his songs. Add Meatloaf's intense vocals and no wonder Bat Out of Hell became a huge success.

It released in 1977. I was seventeen and fascinated by the music. Especially--like all teenagers at the time--with Paradise By The Dashboard Lights. *cackle* Who expected the twist at the end of the song?

The album wasn't an overnight success. Probably because the songs were so long. Unusual in a world where most songs were cut to 3-4 minutes of radio play. And in the dark ages before MTV, radio play meant success. But the album has stood the test of time, becoming one of the most sold albums in the world.

When I returned to the States from duty in Germany in 1982, MTV had been out maybe a year or two. In the beginning, MTV was all videos, all the time. No reality shows, no talk shows. Just videos. And I loved it! Any time I was home, MTV was on. And Meatloaf's videos hooked me even more. His videos weren't just watching a performance of a song. They were mini-movies with a fabulous sound track.

While Meatloaf's career had plenty of ups and downs--addiction, ill health, family problems--his music continues. His varied career includes movie and television credits as well.

One of my favorite videos--and songs--is Objects in the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer than They Are. The song is about loss of a friend, loss of youth and even loss of virginity. The story is haunting, the video is beautiful and Meatloaf's performance is sexy. Now that's romantic inspiration.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday Report Card...zzzzzzzzz


I'm running a little late posting my report card tonight. Mainly because I passed out earlier. Almost ready to pass out again now. Long, hot--very hot--day. And not hot in a good way!

The temperature around here has gone ballistic. Today's high was 104F with heat indexes as high as 121F. Not a day to spend in the heat. Or without air conditioning. But I'll get to that in a minute.

My week ended up devoted to all things NOT writing. My two days off during the week were spent on doctor appointments and Granny stuff. I knew that going into the week. The weekend was supposed to be devoted to all things writing!

Yesterday I did critiques for two different friends. In between, I took the time to watch A Single Man with Colin Firth. I admit. I have a thing for Colin Firth. Yes, like so many others, it started with A&E's version of Pride & Prejudice.

A Single Man was a bit slow moving in the beginning but it picked up and kept me watching. Although I guessed the ending about ten minutes in, I wanted to watch the rest of it just in case they pulled a twist on me. They didn't. But it was still an interesting movie. But depressing. And I didn't want to end my only DVD watching in months with depressing!

So I put on Mama Mia. I just love that movie. You can't feel depressed after all that insanity and fabulous music. Yes, I was an ABBA fan way back when. You wanna make something of it? *cackle*

So I finished my DVD watching for the next couple of months then did the second critique. Pretty much finished my Saturday. Except when I talked to Momma that evening, she mentioned Granny needed groceries. Since I was going to LR today to write, I volunteered to pick up groceries and drop them off. Oh, and since I was going to LR anyway, I volunteered to take the stuff my mother put together for Niece and her girlfriend for their new digs.

Car loaded, grocery list in hand, I headed to LR. I called Niece on the way to ask directions to the new place. She was at Burger King hanging out. Seems the air conditioner in the trailer wasn't working. The single little window unit in the bedroom wasn't working. They hadn't slept all night because of the heat. The 100+ degree heat...

Well, that ain't gonna work.

Her mother had agreed to buy an air conditioner but the trailer really needs two--one for the main part of the house and one for the bedroom. I got online and found the best buys in the area (Sears) and ordered a 12k BTU for the main part of the house and a 5k BTU for the bedroom. Sister paid for the big one and I for the small one.

Niece and I picked them up, then picked up her girlfriend at work. By the time we got back to the trailer, the temperature was over 100F. The heat index in central Arkansas ranged from 115-121F. The trailer was probably more like 130F. Ugh. Their poor dogs were so hot! And they have a passel of 3-4 week old puppies!

With the girls help, I installed the air conditioners. We had to do a little creative thinking because the bedroom window was non-standard but we managed with the help of a 2x4, strategically placed nails and a towel stuffed in the major crack left behind! LOL The big unit was much easier to install.

Last I heard from the girls, the dogs were all passed out in the nice cold air. And the girls weren't far behind. I told Niece she owed me big time. As in take-care-of-me-when-I'm-old,-feeble-and-need-my-diapers-changed owe me!

I came home, showered and passed out. So much for writing. I woke up a little while ago to check email and post this blog.

I might have managed a couple hundred words this week. I'm not even going to look it up. Not worth the trouble.

This week's goals:

1) Survive heat... (Tomorrow is supposed to hit 105F.)
2) Write something. I'll be happy with 1k words... The evil day job will be all week this week. End of month closing. Blah.

Hope your week was fabulously cool--in all the definitions of cool! I'm headed back to bed.