Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Saturday, December 29, 2007

My last book of the year!!!

Yea! Another book out!

Yep, I have a release. If Not For You came out on Thursday. This is my 'homage to Eric Clapton book' (not really, but Eric does figure in the plot). I came up with the idea for this book when I got a letter that had my address on it but someone else's name.

"Hmm," thought I. "What would happen if a woman got a letter addressed to someone else and it was a threatening letter?"

So I started to consider why -- and how? How would someone get a letter like this? Was it on purpose? If on puropse, then why?

And who did it?

That's when I came up with what I think is a doozy of a plot. When you first read it, you think, "Nah, that's a coincidence. That's too much of a coincidence."

Then you start to realize that it was all part of an overall scheme and it really wasn't a coincidence after all.

'Ooh. Interesting plot twist,' I can hear you say.

Or at least, I hope I hear you say that! {smile}

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy to be shoveling ...

Yep, it snowed again. Mostly slushy stuff, with a little layer of ice underneath, just to make it challenging to keep my balance.

I shoveled the driveway then dug out a path to the bird feeder to toss down grain for the critters. It's the Solstice, and I always celebrate the equinoxes, solstices, and cross-quarter days (Halloween, May Day, etc.) by giving the critters some chow.

Now I'm snugged down in my little abode and ready to write, watch Christmas DVDs (White Christmas probably) and I may even drink some cocoa in flagrant violation of my Atkins diet. After all, it's the holidays, isn't it?

I'll be offline for a while, so I hope those out there in Cyberland have a safe and relaxing holiday. Do something nice for yourself and above all, enjoy it. We only go around once (that we know of, that is; if you read my books, you'll know I'm not so sure about that), so try to have fun while you're here!

I may have to build a snowman today ....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thinking back ....

On my other blog with the Mavens, we're talking about 'regrets' this week. I specifically asked folks if they'd had a conversation, event, or email that they regretted sending.

I've been considering this. I think I view a 'regret' as 'something I wished I hadn't done'. That's probably not the dictionary definition, but it's how I think of it. Given that, there's little I regret that I can remember (I probably was worried at the time, but can't recall it now).

I guess I'm viewing this past year as a learning experience. When I look back ... whoa. {shake head} I've started blogging, I've got a MySpace page, my web site is whipped into shape, I've sold books, I've given talks ...



Or maybe one. Check my Mavens blog tomorrow to see what it was.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

And the loop-de-loop continues

Well, just when I was working myself into a good peeve about the copyright nonsense (see previous post) I got a release date for the Pig Book and an ISBN number, so I can finally start planning my promo.

Well, yea!

The book releases on 2/29 and will be in print on 8/29.

Well, yea!

And I heard from my other editor and she wants to buy the next book in the History Patrol series. This is my 'present day' book in which I set in motion some events that won't really wrap up until Book 7.

Well, yea!

Once again, I am glad I am a writer. {insert smilie face here}

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yes it is cursed

Nope, the publication date can't be changed.

This means I can't enter it in any contest where I had planned to enter it. I feel like this poor book is not being given any chance to succeed.

I need to think how to proceed with this. It just makes my life a bit more complicated ... no, a lot more complicated.

Oh well. Nothing I can do about it. I'll have to do what I can with what this publisher is giving me to work with (which ain't much). Others have succeeded in a similar boat, right?

But it still ticks me off.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The perils of publishing

If you get my newsletter, you'll see more details about this in a week or so (and if you don't get my newsletter, why not? sign up for it!)

I got my galley proofs back from my editor for The Pig Book and I noticed it had a 2007 copyright. I want a 2008 copyright since the book won't be available until 2008 and a 2008 copyright means I can enter it in 2008 contests.

So my editor checked and apparently there's some little loophole thing where they want a 2007 copyright on it. This has me seriously bummed out because it means I won't be able to enter the book into any contests. Now believe me, I know that a contest or two will not make or break the book, BUT ... I think this is one of my best books and I'd like to put it out there and maybe get some recognition. So


My editor is negotiating with my publisher and I'm hoping we can change the copyright date. This combined with other things that have happened (again -- check my newsletter) make me wonder if this poor book isn't cursed.

Stay tuned ....

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

... and another perfect day to write ...

Except today I had to go to work .... Oh well, I came home early and after shoveling a bit, I did some more work and NOW I can sit down and write.

It's a winter wonderland out there. Not much of a wonderland if you're driving, of course. And I saw a few kids who were let out at the bus stop and they were really trudging through the snow.

But all in all, it's shaping up to be Winter again. We haven't had Winter in Minnesota for a while, so I have to get my Winter Attitude back. Snow will happen and nothing to be done for it, but try to make the best of it ...

and write!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's a perfect day ....

... to stay inside and write.

Yep, the first big snow of the year. It started about 2 hours ago and it's blowing and whipping around. I'm going to go out soon and start shoveling, then I'll come inside and do some more writing.

I enjoy days like this, where I am forced to stay inside and get caught up. There's something about nice weather that makes me feel I need to be out and about. But bad weather -- heck, the police are ASKING us to stay home! And I'm happy to oblige, as long as it doesn't last for days on end.

So here's to snow ... as long as it falls conveniently on the weekend and not when I have to drive in it, I don't care ... let it snow!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

An interesting adventure ....

I spent the weekend pretending I wasn't a writer.

I did writing-related things: promo scheduling and cleaning up my files and organizing things. But I didn't write. I deliberately did NOT consider one of the projects I want to tackle next. I acted like just another regular person on vacation.

Boy, was it BORING! TV is such a wasteland, I read a bit and enjoyed that (but not enough to spend the whole day on it), and movies ... okay, briefly entertaining.

Nope. I NEED writing. I need that creative buzz to occupy my brain.

Good thing I tried this. Now the next time I get discouraged and think I'll quit writing, I'll come back and look at this blog and remind myself ... "Yep, there's a reason you do that".

Vacations... aren't they wonderful?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Free time ... ain't it grand?

I am feeling at loose ends because ... I'm caught up!

Well, not really, of course. There's always something to do, some task to undertake. But I've gotten so much done during this time off it's amazing. All those little chores I had on my 'To Do' list have vanished. I've started a new "to do" with things I'd been postponing because I didn't have time. Well, now I do!

I may even sit down and write a bit. And I do plan to do some reading, something I haven't done since I don't know when.

Ain't free time grand?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I"m taking a break ...

I've been busily setting up a MySpace page and I'm taking a break from it (and from work) to blog.

Here's my MySpace in case you want to 'friend' me:

Now compare that to my LiveSpace page:

It took me about 2 hours to set up the LiveSpace one and 6 hours to do the MySpace one (and I need to change it, really. I'd like a better background. I've come to the conclusion that MySpace is for those who love to hack code, LiveSpace is for those who like to drag&drop their content on the screen. I'm in the latter category.

But whatever ... I have a 'Myspace Presence" such as it is. Let the friending begin!

For those in the States, have a good holiday and I hope you travel safely if you hit the roads. Otherwise, relax, sit back, and enjoy the holiday, the parades, and the football on TV ... oh, and the shopping (if you're into that). I personally won't set foot in any stores until Saturday, but hey, that's just me.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Vacations I have known

On one of my other blogs, we were talking about vacations -- what would be the perfect vacation? I blogged on Wednesday about an all-expense paid trip around the world with someone else making all the travel arrangements and seeing to it that I got ferried from Point A to Point B as needed.

Well, next week is a different kind of vacation, and I'm looking forward to it just as much. I was trying to articulate why I enjoy 'at home vacations' so much and I came to this conclusion: when I have time at home I have ... time. I don't have to be focused, I don't have to be on a schedule, I don't have to accomplish X amount in Y time. I have the freedom to think and allow my mind to wander. Usually I have to be so focused in order to get all I do accomplished. But a Home Vacation means no worries for a few days.

I am SO needing that!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Time warp

I looked at the calendar and next week is Thanksgiving!

What is it about November and December -- they always seem to fly past and suddenly I'm looking around and it's February. Which might be a good thing, because January can be a dragging kind of month here in Minnesota.

I have a theory ... of course. Time flies when you're busy (well, duh, you say). And that explains why it feels like this year of publication has raced past. It seems like just yesterday I was signing my first contract and doing some research about promotion.

Here I am, a year later, and while I don't know EVERYTHING to know about publishing, I feel like I've learned one heck of a lot. I think I know what works for me, what doesn't, and what to focus on next year.

Next year. Almost time to turn the calendar. Yikes! Have I met my goals for this year? Let's see, where'd I put those goals ...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Where am I going ....

... and what am I doing in this handbasket?

I need to stop setting artificial milestones for myself. Lordie, isn't it enough that I'm published? Hell, I'm multi-published? I can't compare myself to other people, and I keep doing that and then wishing I was doing this, that or the other thing.

Damn it! Be happy!

Seriously, what is it about human nature that makes us strive for something more than what we have? By any measure, I've achieved some success but I keep thinking I should do more, should do better, should sell more or write more or achieve more. At some point, I've got to sit back and say, "Okay, you done good."

Not yet, though.

To that end, I have come up with A Plan. And I'm letting you in on the fun at the outset. Mark your calendars or whatever.

I've got 2 books that have a writer as the protagonist. One will be out next spring. That author, Bea Emerson, writes as Raphael Emerson (stay with me, this gets good). Rafael writes sexy mysteries. No, I'm not going to write as Raphael (not yet at least). But if I sell my paranormal series, that's going to be written by Bea Emerson. Bea has always had a hankering to branch out, so I'll put a mention in her book next year that she just sold her paranormal series and ...

Voila. New identity created.

Now the other book hasn't sold yet (but it will. I'm sure of it). That book has Jane Renard who has the pen name of Phire Fox because Jane is a college professor and she writes erotica.

Yep. I'm going to write some erotica under the name Phire Fox.

What a hoot! Can't wait to (1) get these books sold and (2) start my new, secret identity.

It might get really, really interesting. Especially if I throw Rafael Emerson into the mix and write some dark, sexy mysteries. Can I juggle four identities?

Stay tuned and find out.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Yep, a dollar short

Actually, $25 short.

But that's not bad given I gambled for three days.

I didn't really find that one perfect slot machine that I felt a good bond with, but I did find a couple that treated me okay. Take it from me, "Underground Money", "Reel 'Em In", and "Babooska" have potential.

The odd thing is, the penny slots are more fun than most of the other ones. They have bells and whistles and interactive games to play when you hit the big 'feature' screen. So I stuck with the penny slots and won and lost and won some more. And a good time was had by all.

I also got my next book plotted, but it has to wait until I finish the rewrite I'm embroiled in. This one is a lot of fun but it's challenging because I have scenes from 1974 intermixed with scenes from the current day. So it's testing my craft, so to speak.

But it's always good to have a challenge, isn't it?

Friday, November 02, 2007

A day early and probably a dollar short

I'm posting a day earlier because I am off to the casino for a weekend of brainstorming and gambling, in that order (hence the 'dollar short' in my title). My friends and I go to a nearby casino and hang out, plot books and hit the slots for relaxation. It is a BLAST.

This brings me to my topic for the day: the importance of finding like-minded individuals to hang out with. It doesn't matter if you're 18 or 80, it's great to have friends who share your interests and who understand your issues/needs. I've got several different groups of friends, some of which are involved in writing, some who aren't. I feel sometimes like a Venn diagram, in which parts of my life overlap with others (sort of like my illustration). Whenever I re-acquaint myself with different groups, I slip into that 'skin' that I use with that group.

It's almost like having a vacation from myself. And boy, I need a vacation!

Later ....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sneaking on the blog ...

I need to sneak in a blog post because my Internet access at home has been down lately.

It's surprising that a little inconvenience like that can be so annoying. I was scheduled to do some promotions last night on some loops but couldn't do it because I couldn't log on. Oh, I could but ... I had to use dial-up and it was so slow I almost fell asleep reading email. Not the sort of connection you need in a high-speed chat.

The good thing, of course, is that I got a lot of work done since I didn't have the net there to bother me. So much so that I am toying with the idea of going web-free one afternoon a week. I"m thinking I will take my laptop and go to a different room in the house and just FOCUS. Since I don't have WiFi, the Internet can't 'find' me.

Good plan. Let's see if I do it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Career thoughts

I am struggling with a somewhat hypothetical question:

Is it better to do well in e-publishing or should I try again to get the attention of a Big New York House? I think the question I'm asking is:

  • be large-ish fish in a little pond?
  • be tiny fish in a big pond?

In order to succeed in NYC, I'd need an agent. Most of the lines (publishers) I'd target require an agent. So I'd need to do an agent search in addition to doing a publisher search (I know -- the agent should do the search but I'd want to do one, too, to make sure the agent is doing what is needed. Yes. I do have trust issues around my career).

I know there's no pressing need to make a big decision about this, but I'm wondering if I'm doing the right thing by staying where I am. I feel like I need a plan of action, as it were.

So here's what I'm going to do: over Thanksgiving (the next time I have some free time), I'm going to make a list of publishers and agents I want to target next year. And I'm going to come up with a plan for submitting to them. I think my current books are in good hands (and are in the right marketplace: ebooks). But I think I may have a shot at another market, too. So I need to consider that.

Okay. I feel better now. I have a plan to make a plan.

Now back to writing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Blogging musings

Why do I blog?

I had an offer from a somewhat well-known site to add a link from their blog to mine. This is a Good Thing because it means traffic would find me. However, the 'rules' for the linking are that the site has to be about romance novels.

Well, gee. Basic honesty forces me to admit that this blog is mainly about me whining about life, publishing and writing. And since I write mysteries (which admittedly have some romance in them), does that count? Maybe I'm agonizing over this a bit too much, but I am hesitant to ask for a link ... although I may change my mind, who knows?

In other news, I SOLD ANOTHER BOOK. I haven't been advertising this one much because while I signed the contract, I haven't gotten my signed copy back from the publisher and it ain't real until I see the handwriting on the page. This is another third-person suspense book and is one of my personal favorites. I really like this characters a lot.

So let's see, where am I?

Publisher One: verbal acceptance of two more manuscripts in addition to the two already contracted or out considering a new paranormal series

Publisher Two: contract signed for another book and assurances that another book would be looked on with favor one book under consideration for History Patrol series and proposals in for six more

Publisher Three: considering yet a different book

So ... the nail biting continues, but not as ferociously, I guess ....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Update on my 'talk'

The talk with the Rotary Club went well. I had no idea what to expect, having had little to do with public service groups in my life. I imagine I looked a bit surprised when they opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. Luckily, I remembered the words.

This is obviously a group of people who know each other well and have a good rapport with each other. I could tell that by the various 'in' jokes and other jibs they gave each other. It actually reminded me a lot of the group of friends my parents used to have -- all people from the community who have known each other for a long time and get along well.

We had a bite of lunch then I was asked to 'present', which I did by just talking about my foray into publishing and the entire process. Everyone asked questions and before you know it, 25 minutes had passed. I handed out my little 'press booklet' that I'd prepared: summary of statistics, a sample of my book (first chapter), my promo recipe cards, and some other effluvia. All in all I think it went well. I had one qualm and that was when the Chief of Police was watching me as I described how I come up with my murder plots, but other than that, I felt they were all curious and interested in what I had to say. I even handed around my ebook readers and people were very curious about them.

So, my first 'public speaking' gig went well. Now back to the mundane business of writing ...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Some interesting statistics

I am preparing some information for a talk I'm giving later this week to the local Rotary Club. Actually, 'talk' is a misnomer. I'm just going to chat about my publishing experience. But to prepare for it, I decided to try to research some actual statistics about the whole publishing business.

This information comes from assorted blog posts by agents and editors. It can’t be taken as ‘gospel’ but it gives you a feeling for the publishing business.

  • Most editors receive 15-25 submissions a week. Many editors will not read anything unless it’s forwarded to them from an agent.

  • An editor will find 1 manuscript every 2-3 weeks that she thinks has promise. She has to get buy-in from other editors, so she’ll send it to colleagues.

    • If no one else likes it, it’s rejected.

    • If others like it but the editorial director doesn’t, it’s rejected

  • An editor will usually buy 1 book every 4-8 weeks out of the 160 or so that she reads.

  • Most books in the ‘slush’ pile (unsolicited manuscripts sent by authors with no agent) are never purchased or even read completely. Most editors read the first page at the most. If it catches their attention, they read on.

  • Most publishers receive between 7,000 and 20,000 submissions every year.

  • Most publishers publish around 180 books a year.

  • Most agents will agree to represent 1 in 500 submissions.

So there you have it -- the odds, as it were, of getting noticed. I thought I'd just post some of these statistics now and again so people realize that this is a tough business. Probably about as tough as the music business, or fine arts, or restauranting -- any endeavor where there's limited purchasers and lots of sellers.

Interesting, eh?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The nail biting continues

I heard from one editor about the full manuscript and the two-book proposal. She liked it, but felt I needed some edits. I can't whine about this because I did a two-week whirlwind rewrite on the book and didn't do my usual thorough check when finished. So I'll definitely consider her comments and possibly resubmit, if not to her then to someone else.

That leaves:

  • 1 book and proposals for 5 more on another desk
  • 2 finished manuscripts on an editor's desk
  • 2 finished manuscripts on another desk

In reality, it's 2 editors, 5 manuscripts, 7 proposals. I know, I know, I can hear you already: 'slow down, enough! There's not a fire, you can get these published eventually.'

I heard back from one publishing that while she liked the book, she felt I needed I'd like to get my promo things lined up for next year, I'd like to know if I need to research new publishers, I'd like to dust off my query letters if I have to. More than anything, I want to be SETTLED in one place and know that I've got some stability.

Ha! This is publishing! Fool....

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Shifting gears


It's hard to explain how I write a book. I tried to tell someone today that I was trying to get into the head of my characters and how reluctant I am to do that sometimes. You see, when you really get into a story, it sort of takes over your life. You live that story along with the characters. If you don't put yourself fully into it, the story suffers.

The story I'm doing now is a History Patrol one, and it's very complex. It has to be complex because it's time travel and reincarnation and true facts mixed in with things I'm making up. So when I go into that book, it's very consuming. I've had a hard time giving myself up to that story. I can always find something else to work on.

But today I reconnected with the characters and am starting to see the world through their eyes again. At the same time I'm working on another first-person mystery (a totally different type of writing), so that's my break from 1934 St. Paul.

Yep, it's a juggling act. As long as I can be in the right place at the right time for the right writing, it works.

Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

A bad day at the lake ...

You know what they say. A bad day at the lake is better than a good day at the office.

And how true it is. I wouldn't say that I had a bad day, but it didn't go as planned. And it really was my fault.

We were going to do a bit of sightseeing. You'd think after coming here for ten years, we'd have seen everything (I mean, there just isn't that much to see around here), but, {surprise} we hadn't been to Vermillion Dam.

I consulted the map and it looked straightforward. Find County 24 and proceed until it ended, about 10 miles from the Canadian border (of course, everything here is about 10 miles from the border so that's no surprise).

What I failed to note was that the little road labeled '24' had sections that were colored and sections that weren't. As it turns out, those little colored segments indicate gravel.

I don't mind a bit of gravel road, but 20 miles of twisting, hilly, narrow, rutted, gravel all to get to ...

this. "Dam" is not quite what I would call it (see picture at right). Oh, it was pretty -- don't get me wrong, but ...

Still and all, it was another marvelous week Up North. You can't beat the sunsets, that's for sure. And like they say ...

a bad day at the lake is better than ...

To see more pictures, go to my LiveSpace page at:

Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm testing something

You can safely ignore this blog post. I downloaded some nifty software which lets me post to any of the blogs where I post regularly, all from one interface -- yea! You see, I post on three different blog sites: LiveSpaces, Blogger, and WordPress. Which means I have to go to each spot in order to post anything.

Well, with this software, I don't have to do that. I think. We'll see if this posts okay. If it does, I may have a nifty new tool.

I've tried inserting a picture, but it won't let me do that. Bummer. I may need to RTFM.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

And the Pig Book has a cover!

How about this??!!! Boy, I just sign the contract and I get a cover!

I'm very pleased with this one. It's got all the right elements: the sticky note on the monitor, the candy on the desk, and my name on the newspaper page -- so cool, eh? I have to give kudos to Wild Rose Press' artist, Kim Mendoza, she is awesome. I LOVE this cover. I don't have a release date yet, but I"m assuming it'll be sometime early next year, so look for the Pig Book, in print, next summer (maybe: fingers crossed). I've submitted another book to my editor, haven't heard yet if she liked it, but if she did, there's 2 more follow-on books to that one, so ... I've also been toying with the idea of a follow-on book to the Pig Book, but that's just the germ of an idea...

I won't be blogging on Tuesday because I'll be busy but I'll check back in next weekend. It'll probably be later in the evening because I'm going to a workshop next Saturday. It's on creativity, and Eric Maisel, a reknowned creativity coach, will be in town giving an all-day workshop. While I haven't had trouble with overcoming writer's block (I don't know if I've ever had it), I'm looking forward to seeing what he has to say. Everyone who's seen him says he's exceptional. I'll post a report when I get a chance next week.

And if you have time, check out my LiveSpace page (this is like MySpace, but not quite as ... spacey):

It only took me an hour or so to set this up, and I think it's kinda cool, if I do say so myself. So check it out!

Gotta go and get creative! Later ...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Pig Book has found a home ...

... or has it?

Remember the Pig Book? I sold it to Triskelion who went bankrupt. I had my rights returned to me prior to the declaration of bankruptcy (a month or more before). I assumed I was free and clear.

Well, there's rumblings that all contracts Trisk held are going to be auctioned. I've never gotten anything 'official' about this: no letters from lawyers, no notices, etc. But an author friend said that ALL contracts, even those with rights returned, are being lumped into this pot.

I've checked what legal papers I can find, and I'm not listed, so I'm proceeding on the assumption that all is well. Who knows what'll happen? I signed a new contract on this book in good faith, and I've got the legal paper to prove it (that is, the letter returning my rights to me).

This wouldn't have been an issue if not for the bankruptcy. So ... I'm proceeding on the assumption that I'm Happy because the Pig has found a home.

Stay tuned. I'll let you know if that Happy turns to Sad.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hey, a few days early, but ...

I'm so excited I decided to post today (plus I'll be out on Saturday and may not get the chance). I'm so excited about my cover, I'll post it twice!!

Yep, it's release day. Here's the information about my book -- I worked hard on this one (not that I don't work hard on all of them) but this one was tricky to write.

Fingers crossed that readers find it intriguing ....


What would you do if you caused the death of the woman you loved?

In 1876, James Benteen caused the death of Penelope Albright. Choosing to serve penance, James is reincarnated in 2168 as Jim, a shapeshifting Companion to Penelope, a Guide with the History Patrol. Penelope doesn’t know about her past connection to Jim. He’s simply a soul she’s learned to love through dozens of trips through time.

They’re sent to 1876 America to observe history and assist in the capture of Franz Mueller, a 22nd-century murderer who escaped through God’s Portal. It’s here that Penelope meets James Benteen, a cowboy with a dark past. If history repeats itself, Penelope and James will fall in love before James betrays her, causing her death. But this time Jim is there. If he can save Penelope, he can attain forgiveness and his penance will be served.

Jim will have to battle his former self, the Jesse James gang and God to accomplish his purpose. But in the end, it’s Penelope who must intervene with a higher authority to find happiness with the man she’s come to love across time…

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's promo time again ...

Just when I was starting to relax, I get to start promo all over again for my paranormal release, coming out this Thursday.

The good news: I think I've got the hang of it now, and can pace myself.

The bad news: I have to investigate all new groups and web sites because this isn't a mystery book, it's a time travel book. So it's a different audience I'm targeting.

Where's a cloning program when you need one?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

New computer, new organization

I got a new laptop yesterday (this image is a bit misleading). So I had to spend some time fiddling with it.
It's got the newest Windows operating system, which will take some getting used to. I also bought some software to easily transfer files from Old Computer to New Computer. I hooked it all up and got a message: "This may take hours, please plug in your computer so it can remain fully charged."
Hours? No no no. I just needed a few files here and there transferred. Hemingway (the New Computer) will not be used for Internet use or pictures or any other stuff. It's just for Writing.
I went back to the tried & true method: SneakerNet. I copied things on a memory stick, then copied them over to Hemingway.
Sometimes the Old Ways are the Good Ways.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Juggling can be fun!

While swimming on Sunday (my normal exercise option for the weekend), I get a lot of thinking done. Last Sunday while paddling in the pool I mapped out my strategy for my upcoming submissions.

I have X number of books currently drafted, most in 3rd person format. But I prefer working in 1st person. So .. which can I re-task? Then I had a stroke of ... no, not genius but perhaps ephiphany (spelling? you get the idea).

One book that I wasn't sure what to do with (3rd person? 1st?) is really a prequel to another book that's already done and polished. That book is 1st person.

Voila (or walla, to give it the American spelling), that prequel book must be re-tasked to 1st person.

So I started nipping at it and ran into problems. Doubt, waver, question: should I re-task it?

Yes! I must. It's a match to another 1st person book.

Go back to work, grumbling, and LIGHT BULB GOES OFF. I know how to do it.

I just LOVE it when inspriation strikes.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Another rejection, another day

Got a rejection from the agent I submitted to (the one I pitched to at National Conference).

I'll tell you, it bothered me so much it took me 10 minutes to send a query out to someone else.

I'm getting jaded, I guess, but it just didn't faze me (or is that 'phase'?). I've been itching to send that manuscript to my editor at Wild Rose, and I was just waiting for the agent to give me the thumbs up or thumbs down.

Thumbs down = SEND THAT PUPPY OUT!

So now I'm waiting on the editor and her decision.

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Happy happy rewrite!

Yea! I finished it. And it's pretty darn good if I do say so myself (and I do).

It meant that I had to really think outside the box -- or, rather, outside the plot. I nuked the ending, eliminating 3 chapters (which I will use in the follow-on book), I introduced a new character who plays a major role at the end (and will play a role in the 2nd book), and I reworked the hero/heroine so they're more believable and consistent.

I hope.

See, that's the problem with writing -- you won't know if you succeeded until the agent or editor reads it.

I'm going to let it sit for a few days, go back and read it for egregious errors, then send that bad boy off.

Fingers crossed .... again.

In a rather sad note, tomorrow is the anniversary of my first contract offer ... with a publisher no longer in business. But on a happy note: I can still sell that book elsewhere!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

I fought the tree ....

and I won!

Okay, not me alone. We had planned to have a Tree Guy come out and take away the offending marauder, but they had to use a crane to lift it up and over the house at a rather $$$ price.

This tree is 10' in circumference. Go ahead. I'll wait while you get a tape measure and sketch it out.

Are you back? Okay. That's a BIGGGGGG tree.

So my husband goes over to talk to the neighbors (it's their tree, after all), and they volunteer to take away the big pieces. That left the more manegeable chunks for us.

So on Wednesday afternoon I got out there with my pruning saw and Jim got out there with our little chainsaw and we whacked away. Four hours later, we had done what we could.

On Thursday and Friday, the neighbors tussled with the rest. The result?

Big tree over the hillside (I live in the woods, thankfully) and LARGE piles of brush that need to be dragged down to the river.

AND NO TREE!!! Just crushed flowers and fence. And as I told a friend, crushed flowers=a chance to go to the nursery next year and re-do that part of the landscape.

Not exactly win-win, but better than lose-lose.

So on to the next challenge in my life: finishing this #*(@ rewrite (which is really going beautifully), update my web site and maybe relax a bit because I've already had MY Labor Day on Wednesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sometimes life shows you your priorities ....

big storm last night. I mean, *big*. Lots of lightning and crashing wind and then, BOOM, crashing tree! Right down into our back yard.

Damn. I nursed those hydrangeas all summer only to see them crushed by a damn tree. And let's not even talk about my spirea, my astilbe, and my mallow (which are tough as weeds and will probably grow back more profusely than ever).

We are safe, though. Our little black cat, Mia, thought it was all marvelous and jumped up on the couch to watch the show. Our big blond cat, Houdini, hid under the bed, wise boy that he is. Jim nearly slept through it all but the tree coming down woke him up.

So now I have to put my writing on hold, a bit, to deal with cleanup. The good thing is, I get a lot of thinking done when I'm toiling in the garden. And I'll have a lot of toil ahead of me.

Once we get that 60' tree out of my way.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I'm a guest blogger next week!

I'll be blogging all next week at Coffee Time Romance's blog. I'm a bit nervous about this because I've never been a guest blogger before. I share a blog with some other writers, but I've never had a 'moderator' throw out questions that I have to answer.

Of course, those of you who know me know that I'll be able to gab quite handily, but I need to gab for a whole week. Yikes.

So come on over and visit next week. At least drop by and see what I'm yattering about. I'll be at:

In other news, I spent the day today at the State Fair. PERFECT weather, not too crowded until about noon, and lots of yummy food and people-watching. And a great place to plot my next book. My friends and I came up with several ways to kill someone in plain sight, most of which I think would be plausible. So look for "Murder on a Stick", maybe next year sometime. I already have a "Murder at the State Fair" where someone is killed at the grandstand show in front of a thousand cheering ZZ Top fans. I haven't submitted that one to any publisher yet, but I'm getting ready to toss it out there and see if I can sell it.

'Murder on a Stick' might be close behind.

Anyway, we had a great time. My friends and I have gone to the Fair together every year for 15 years. I wore my pedometer today and we walked 5.75 miles.

Not enough to work off all the food and beer .... but still a lot of walking in 7 hours.

I'm happy to sit around tonight and relax and recover...

Writers beware

Just to let you know there was a problem out there.

There was a web site called, and they are listed in Preditor and Editor as being Not Good.

My publisher is or They are good good good.

So help me spread the word. If anyone indicates that they 'heard' my publisher was unscrupulous, etc., you can correct them -- it's the TRIPOD folks who are the bad guys.

It looks like the Tripod site has been taken down, but in case it springs back to life, you know.

And now back to our regularly scheduled writing ....

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I thought it would be easy ...

I decided to edit the manuscript that I 'owed' to an editor from my conference trip in July. Now that my latest WIP is done, I'd have time to glance through it, make a few minor corrections, then ship it off.

Wrong! The book just didn't seem right to me. I wasn't proud of it. Sentences were awkward, I have some POV problems, and it took too long to get the reader involved in the plot. I felt as though scales had dropped from my eyes and I was seeing it for the first time.

Damn. That means I have to rewrite. I thrashed around for a day or so then I decided to bite the bullet and really REWRITE. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it as best I can. The basic plot is strong and the characters are strong, but I need to cut cut cut.

Back to the drawing board ... again.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

It's all just a matter of attitude ...

and time.

There it is again ... time.

I finished a manuscript so I'm taking a breather from writing and focusing on other things: mainly promo, but some catch-up, too.

Normally I just hurry these kinds of things as fast as I can. I hate balancing my checkbook, noting things on my spreadsheet, updating my web site, etc. But now that I have time to do it, it's not so bad. Maybe I need to give myself a day off a week from my writing just to do this kind of busy work. The problem, of course, is that when I'm writing, I hate to take time away from the plot. I like to stay 'in the zone' and get through it all (see previous post about how I write quickly).

Perhaps it's all a matter of savoring the moment. I know, that sounds suspiciously Zen, doesn't it? But maybe I just need to keep reminding myself that it's all a part of the larger thing called Life and I need to try to enjoy whatever I'm doing when I'm doing it.

Hmm. On the path to enlightment? I'm not sure, but I have another book simmering in the back of my brain. So I'd better get done blogging and get back to catching up before I get 'in the zone' again.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Yea! Finished another ms!

I finished another manuscript. The working title is "Murder on the Beach" but I think I'll be calling it Surf, Sand, and Strangulation (to fit in with my other first-person books).

I discovered something during this book's progress: I HAVE to write fast. Otherwise I get bored with the book and will wander away. I started this one on June 1 or thereabouts, and finished it on August 12 or thereabouts. That's about as long as I want to work on a manuscript in one go. I don't mind going back and filling in the blanks or doing some rewrites, but in terms of a rough draft, 10-12 weeks is perfect for me. The characters and plot are still fresh, the ideas are tumbling out, and I feel energized by the whole process.

Now I need to get cracking on reviewing a ms I have due to an editor who requested it at National Conference. Then I want to pick up a time travel book that I set aside because it wasn't working for me (I think I'd hit the 8 week mark and I was stalled). Then I have another 3rd person mystery I want to write.

And then it's onward!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Are people really this foolish?

At my RWA writer's meeting today, we had an agent come in and talk. She mentioned how important it is to have a blog, web site, and other promo things. Then she said how some people have posted email from an agent or editor on the blog, or have mentioned things like "my book is sitting on X's desk and I haven't heard. This is the fourth editor who's considered it, yikes, I hope they love it".

This made me go back into my archives to see if I've committed such a faux pas. Whew. Nope.

I think people forget that blogs are PUBLIC property. You may only tell a few friends your blog listing, but words does get around. Agents and editors are reading these things.

This was one of those "DUH" moments for me. But it also made me go back and see what I've written, both here and on other blogs.

So I guess it was useful after all ...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And the Brownies are here !!!

Lo and behold, the book is available online, at B&N and Amazon. Check my web site for links (

And if you order it, read it, and love it ... write a review! Give me a glowing review online at one of those places to tell everyone how much you loved it. Or you can go into yourlocal B&N and say, "Hey, I know this author. You should stock this book. She's local, you know. IT should go on the Minnesota shelf".

Just a few suggestions ...

I got a glowing review for Grace, which I would love to share (go to this link). I'm thrilled by this review because I feel like the reviewer really got into my characters and the story, which is so gratifying.

All in all ... an excellent week so far!!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Brownies are almost upon us!

It's such a good cover, it's worth duplicating...
I got my print version of the Brownie book. Man, that's an odd experience, to hold the book in my hands. I'm pleased with the print quality, although I wish it was a 'regular' paperback (the smaller size). It's more of a trade-paper size and so came out a bit thinner than I wanted.
Hey ... maybe I just need to write more!
Anyway, check my web site next week. There'll be link there!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Whew ... I finished HP

I finished the Harry Potter book today, and boy, am I relieved.

The last 3 books have been like a marathon, trying to slog my way through a complicated plot. They really need Cliff Notes for those books. All of them really needed some editing and there were several saggy spots in this latest one that had me skimming and skimming.

Despite my negative comments, I'm glad that HP has done so well. It's gotten kids interested in books, and that's no mean feat in today's world where there's so much competition for entertainment dollars. And the whole theme of half-bloods, etc., will hopefully make people look at how racism and elitism can flourish even in the magical world.

I'm just sorry that it became such a huge phenomenom (did I spell that right?) I think good writing was sacrificed and I think there are better books out there (To Kill a Mockingbird comes to mind) that deal with similar topics. But perhaps we need a Harry Potter for this generation the same way we needed a Gone With the Wind, or Mockingbird, or other books for other generations.

I'm just glad the damn series is done with and we can all get on to the next big thing.

Hey ... maybe it'll be my next book! Who knows? {wink}

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Life has a way of happening ...

I had this really great idea yesterday for a blog post.

I was sitting at my computer, working on my WIP (which is going really great, thanks for asking), and I thought "{insert great thought here}".

Yep. I lost it. See, I was sitting at my computer but I was also doing laundry, playing with the cat, working on my WIP, and answering email. A typical day for me.

So I got up to put the clothes into the dryer. Then I stumbled over the scratching post and stubbed my toe. Stubbed? Nope. I think it's broken. I may go to the doctor tomorrow for confirmation, but man oh man, it hurts. I taped it up and am hobbling around today.

By the time I got back upstairs and was sitting at my computer, the Great Thought was gone, vanished, into the ether. So you're stuck with this post about the Great Post that might have been.

I was grumbling about it today, thinking, "Man, that was a great idea. I wish I could remember what it was. It was great. If only life hadn't gotten in the way of ..."

Then I realized. Life got in the way of ... life. It's one of those Zen things. You know -- "be one in the moment, enjoy the moment," etc.

It's all part of the big game of Life, even breaking my toe on the scratching post. Enjoy it. It's the only one we get (well, not really. Not if you write reincarnation stories like I do, which leads me to ....)

The next release. Coming soon to a publisher near you. My reincarnation time travel romance. "Forgiveness" releases in two months, and I'm already anticipating it. It's going to be a tough one to explain to people, but for those who discover it, it will be fun, I promise.

More on that later. For now, though ... prop up the foot and hope for the best.

And watch out for those scratching posts.....

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Yikes! Too busy to post?

No excuse, I know, but I've been swamped!

I got back from my conference last weekend, and haven't had a chance to sit down and think, much less think about blogging.
Everything went well at the conference, but it wasn't quite as rewarding as it has been in the past. Perhaps I'm getting jaded. Next year I'll be going to a whole different set of conferences, so I'm thinking that will pique my interests again (I really wanted to use the word 'pique'. I love that word).

And work has been busy, too. We're in the middle of a big effort, plus it's a whole new company (we was bought) so I'm still learning the ropes there. Annoying but hey, it pays the bills.

Plus I'm gearing up for a new promo op. This is a year-long gig at a web site that gets a lot of visitors. I get cover art in rotation on their site, I get some chats and blogs, and a bunch of other stuff. So I need to get that all arranged.

I do wish that stack in the in box would go down. I'd like to finish the book I'm writing!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Off for a week ...

I'm posting early, but that's because I'm off to Dallas for a conference. I leave tomorrow morning.

I know -- Dallas in the summertime. A little taste of hell, right? Probably. I'll stay inside in the air conditioning at the bar and hang out with some friends.

I'll be pitching some books to an agent and editor and will see friends, many whom I only see once a year at this conference. So it promises to be busy, busy, busy. I'll be back on Saturday and will update you all on how it went next week.

Stay cool!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I'm having a lot of fun writing my current book. This one is another 'light' mystery, set in Florida and it's got characters I really like. They were in another book I did and I thought they were so much fun I brought them back for another book. Here's hoping I get both books published someday!

I really write by the seat of my pants, and this book is no exception. As I was writing one scene, a new character popped in and all of a sudden I had a subplot -- a really good subplot! That's such a gas when that happens. I can now figure out the ending of the book, because I want to wrap up the plot and the subplot all at one point. I have a good sense now of where I can do that.


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy summer!

Here we are, in July with all the heat, bugs, and humidity ... nothing to do but sit back, sip a cold drink, and relax, right?

I'm going to try that for a few days. I've got the Fourth off, so I'm going to get some writing done, do a little napping, maybe do some gardening, followed by a pink drink (maybe a vodka lemonade?) I have to go to work on Thursday and Friday, but I have next week to look forward to. I'll be on vacation most of the week, and while it will be a hectic vacation it is vacation nonetheless.

So I think I'll haul out the suitcase and start thinking about packing (more on that later). In the meantime ... that pink drink might await me.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

I missed my blog day!

I did something yesterday I haven't done in a long, long time.

I read a book.

Yep. I sat down and read a book. I haven't done that since ... last year maybe? I've just been too busy writing and researching and chatting and ... well, you get the idea. Those of you who know me know that reading a book a day was nothing for me. In fact, it was a regular occurance.

I wish I could say it was time well spent but it wasn't. It was from one of my favorite authors, but her last 4 or 5 books have all been so different than her earlier ones (and there's about 18 books in the series). I get the feeling she's struggling with her writing any more. I still love to read about the characters but the plots feel weak and thin.

But I've come back to my writing energized and ready to go.

Once I read the 100 or so emails I have stacked up.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Running in place

Busy at work, busy at home, busy here at my computer.

I don't know how it happened, but I have deadlines everywhere ... well, except at home, of course. But what happened was, last weekend what was supposed to be a minor rearrangement of my office space turned into a two-day reorganization, complete with new furniture, new bookcases, etc.

I'm one of those people who can't pause until it's all put away the way I like. I LOVE it now, but I was offline for almost 2 days.

That means I had about 150 email messages waiting for me, excerpts to post on web sites, a newsletter to get out for my local chapter, and -- oh yeah -- I wrenched my back so I missed a day of work. And that meant I had to get there a bit early today (for me, that's REALLY early, as in 4:30 in the morning) to get caught up on what I missed. We're on deadlines there, too.

I also have to work on my pitches for a conference coming up (pitching my books [and me] to an agent and editor), think about what to pack, get promo materials ready to go, and ...

Oh, yeah. I'VE GOT A BOOK COMING OUT ON THURSDAY. I can't upload that image because I haven't had a chance to resize it yet. But that means I have to start the whole promo thing over again, update my web site (note to self), make lists ...

Juggle juggle juggle.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Is this the calm between the storms?

I've been trying to do a little bit of promo every day, just log on to various loops, chat with some folks, answer a couple of questions, and (if allowed) post an excerpt. I have about 5 excerpts for the book that I want to post, but I don't want to post it all in one swoop, so I'm trying to space them out on different loops.

Next week I'll add another book to the mix, which means I'm going to have to keep track of what I post where, who's reading what, etc.

I've also got contests running on a couple of web site, one for each book. In fact, in one contest, I'll have 2 books (I think. I'm still getting the second one set up). Then I have banner ads going on a couple of sites (I'd point you to them but the banners run randomly, so I'm never sure when I'll see it).

It's getting a bit confusing. I've resorted to yet more Master Lists of what is where and when.
Imagine what it would be like if I was a Big Time Author?

Hmm. Then I'd hire somebody to keep track of it for me. (wink)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

So what's changed?

Well, I'm a published author. Has anything changed?

Not really. It's sort of like any other momentous moment in your life: wedding, graduation, death of a loved one. You look around and you think, 'the world should look changed'. But it doesn't. It's still the same world.

I know it feels odd to visit assorted web sites and see my book cover there -- MY book cover. Wow. Imagine how the artist must feel, so that every time she turns around she sees her artwork. Wow.

I hope this is the start of many 'oh, look at that' moments.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


The Brownie book is out there. Yet another milestone, yet another learning experience. I am so relieved to finally have a book out on the market -- now I get to see what works and what doesn't for marketing, how my writing will be accepted, and all that jazz.

Big sigh of relief.