Scribbles and thoughts ...

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

Saturday, January 31, 2009

waxing philosophical ..

I'm still considering the cruise I took. I've come to the conclusion I'm not a Vacation Kind of person.

That's not to say I don't enjoy vacations. Au contraire, I love 'em. But my idea of a great vacation is a bit of relaxation, some writing, some quiet time, and some sightseeing.

The cruise had that, but it also had what I call an Unrelenting Sense of Fun -- that "Get Out There!" mentality that you see on the commercials. Go parasailing, go snorkeling, go scuba diving, go swimming ... run, do, jump, laugh -- HAVE FUN! It was almost over-the-top with the insistence on Doing and Going and Funning. The ship itself was a bit gaudy, there was a LOT of everything (food, entertainment, events), and I felt sometimes as though I was a slacker for not being busy-busy-busy.

I think I would definitely cruise again, but I think I'd probably go on one that focused on the destination, not the Experience leading to the destination. My massage therapist has cruised about 50 times (I know, who knew so many people cruised?) and she said she views the ship as just a means to the end (the destination). So I might take her advice and try a different cruise line next time and focus on the 'where' not the 'getting there'.

Anyway, it was a great experience, surprisingly inexpensive, and it gave me the plot for a great book. I'm about halfway done with the Oz book, so once it's done and a couple of others are out of the way, I'll settle down and write Death on the High Seas (or "How to kill a literary agent in one simple step"). I can't wait...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Back from the cruise!

Fun in the sun in Florida! Okay, it was a bit 'cool' (temps in the 60s) for the first day, but after that it was warm and sunny, just like you'd expect in the Bahamas. It was such a nice change of pace to get away from white snow, ice, and cold.

The cruise was nice, just the right amount of time. The ship was Gi-normous, 15 stories tall (and that's the part the guests saw -- there was an equal amount we didn't see). It has a casino, an ice skating rink, a climbing wall, two conference centers, four dining rooms -- you get the idea. HUGE. I had fun exploring, and came up with a great plot for a new book and found the perfect place on the ship to set it -- right near the life rafts, a very dark and deserted place.

It's good to be back, though, and back in the swing of things. I had no trouble (seasick-wise) but the stateroom was VERY small and a bit claustrophic, so it was good to get back on dry land. I would definitely cruise again, perhaps on a more extended trip. Or we may go back to Florida just to explore and hang out, walk on the beach, and relax. That was a very good part of the trip.

So now it's back to work -- I'm busily generating promotional materials for a conference I'll be attending next week and trying to get an article written for my local chapter's newsletter. Then there's the Oz book I'd love to work on ...

One thing at a time!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Keeping my fingers crossed ...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed on a variety of subjects, hoping for the best:
  • we'll have a President sworn in today without violence, threats, or problems (trust the Secret Service but don't underestimate the crazies out there)
  • the weather will cooperate to let me get out of town tomorrow (looks good so far)
  • my health continues to improve (slowly but surely, if I could just get rid of this headache)
  • my trip goes fine (how bad can it be? Florida in January?)
I really don't enjoy traveling any more. It's such an inconvenience, not to mention discomfort. If we were traveling by car -- no problem. But I really dislike air travel. I've got a January trip, a February trip, an April trip, and a June trip scheduled this year. I could do a March trip, too, but I'm starting to think, 'no thanks'. I also have a May trip, but it doesn't involve flying.

I'm starting to really evaluate conferences and their use to me. It's fine to go and hang out with friends, but is it the best use of my time and energy -- most especially energy? I'm thinking next year: two 'fly' conferences and one 'drive' one. I'm looking for a local conference where I feel involved and welcomed. The Wisconsin conference was like that last year. I can't go this year (schedule conflict) but I think I'll bump it up on my priority list for next year.

This January trip to Florida is a combination working trip (I'm on the cruise with the writers) and getaway for me and the spouse (while I hang out with writers, he's going to the Keys to soak up some sun). So it's a nice trip for us both and I have to admit, I'm looking forward to seeing green grass and feeling some warm breezes. It's been a long winter. Maybe I can bake the last of this illness out of me and get some energy back!

So I won't be posting on Saturday (unless I get busy and find a WiFi port). I'll report back in next Tuesday on how it was to cruise and schmooze. Should be interesting!!!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Almost back to normal

I had the flu on Wednesday night -- all night, on the bathroom floor, ugly -- flu. To add insult to injury, I'd also had 2 bursitis shots in my hips earlier in the day, so lying on the floor was amazingly painful. Oh, and I also had 2 hours of dental work done earlier in the day, so I had a headache and jaw ache that was unbelievable. Then I got the flu!

I was whipped on Thursday and pretty much vegged out in between steralizing my house: loads of laundry, wiping down surfaces, etc. On Friday I thought I was okay so I went to the office, but I got beat really fast so came home and stayed unmotivated all day, lounging in front of TV, a thing I NEVER do.

I'm feeling somewhat normal today, at least able to face the possibility of doing a few errands and resuming my life. The upside of all this has been I lost weight (8 pounds) and it's made me realize some things about my relationship to food. For example: I really don't need to eat that much food in one day. I got along on Thursday with a lot less than I thought I needed and managed okay. If I bump up my portion sizes just a tad, it would be right.

It also made me realize that I can afford to take a day off now and again. My 'schedule' is really flexible and I can decide if I want to participate in group chats, blogs, etc., or not. I can vanish for a few days and it's all okay.

I'm on vacation for 10 days now (wow. It's been a LONG time since I had that kind of vacation). I'm at home until Wednesday when we're off to Florida for a writing adventure (more about it on Tuesday). I'm so thankful to have the flu behind me and a vacation ahead of me. I'll do a few 'to do thing' today then I can veg out once again.

Not a bad end to a bad week ....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cold, snowy, cold

It got to -1 today.

Whooee! We almost got to zero! This is the kind of weather where newsmen solemnly warn people about getting frostbite if they're outside with exposed skin for longer than 12 minutes, and there's ALWAYS a story about some idiot who went out to shovel without gloves and then -- wow -- he gets frostbite.

I just don't have sympathy for idiocy. If you're a transplant from another place, believe 'em when they say it's dangerous. I'm still shaking my head over the news story. "I was shoveling and figured that would keep me warm." Um, hello? Your hands aren't going to stay warm no matter what.

I plan to tuck away ideas from this latest bad stretch of weather. Every other day it snows and when it doesn't snow, the temps drop. There's a story here. I know it. I've done one or two 'winter books' (one of which will release in April and has a dandy chase scene on a frozen lake) but I'm thinking there's a frostbite book in this latest spell. Heaven knows I need to find something positive in it!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Still slugging away ....

I'm doing a half-hour a day on the Evil Edits and making some progress. I find doing it that way doesn't interfere too much with my mood. If I do more than that, I get grumpy (and let's face it, I'm writing to have fun so Grumpy Ain't Good).

Due to a confluence of circumstance, I haven't had a chance to work on my WIP for a while and it's DRIVING ME CRAZY. I didn't realize how much I depend on creative time to keep my sanity. I hope to carve out some time on Sunday to sit down, re-read what I've done so far, and get that ship back on course.

But for tonight ... a few more chores to do then I need to sit down, finish final edits on a different book, and get it out the door before the next book comes in. That's the problem with being with 3 publishers -- there's always a book to edit!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Angst of Edits

I've been postponing the Edit From Hell, but now it is upon me. I got edits in for my paranormal book last November, and I've put them off and put them off. Now I have to tackle them. Anyone who knows me knows that I don't procrastinate, but I just haven't been able to face this. I think most of the edits, while probably useful, aren't necessary for understanding of the story. The editor is doing it to make it The Best Book It Can Be.

Not a bad thing, right? Well, look at it this way. This series has sold a grand total of about 12 copies of the 2 books (it's only available in download). I'd like to think I'll hit the jackpot with this book, but I doubt it. I've already decided I can't continue working on this series after this book. It's too time intensive, especially with the edits I'm being given. I'm spending 10 times the amount of time per book that I spend on my other books, and the other books are selling 20 times more than this series.

So it's hard to be motivated. Combine that with the fact I'm not sure this editor and I are ... simpatico, and it means I've put off this drudgery as long as I can. I'm going to do an hour a day on edits and HOPE I have it done in 10 days. That's 9 hours more editing than I've ever had to do with any other books of mine, but I hope it will be enough. Then I can get the book out there and be done with it and move on to something fun.

Sigh. Back to the grindstone.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The benefits of snow days

We're supposed to have icky weather here today. That means I'll have the morning free to run errands, but will be socked in for the afternoon and evening.

That means I get to tackle my To Do list. I know, I know -- 'be like a bird'. Well, I'm trying to, but there are quite a few things on the Priority List only because it's the first of the year. That means I need to renew memberships, order promotion, and do all those other things I pushed into this year's budget.

So that's how my day is shaping up ... go out, run a few errands (which can wait, really, if needed) then settle in and look at that damn To Do list. By tonight I hope to sit back, relax, and say 'Job well done. Now let's WRITE!'

Cross your fingers for me!