Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Magic Geranium

Have you ever read that old children's story where a woman's friend gives her a beautiful rose geranium and just setting it on the table makes her whole house look so shabby by comparison that she's compelled to clean and update everything? Well, now you don't have to read it. That's pretty much the whole story.

That also pretty much sums up what's happening to my office. I have a brand new color laser printer, still in the box. In order to even unpack the thing, I have to clean my entire office. I've been working on it for two days. I've also been working on getting to bed earlier and earlier until I'm almost back on an entirely daytime schedule. Hence, the earlier time frame of this blog post. I'm happy with the less cluttered office and the prospect of hooking up my new printer. I'm less happy with how tired the schedule transition is making me, but I'll adjust. I've been needing to get back into a more day-oriented schedule for some time now. It'll certainly make homeschooling easier if I can get it done in the morning rather than the afternoon. "If" being the operative word here. We're making great progress lately, so I'm hopeful.

I also made a tea drawer. One of my friends has this fantastic drawer in her kitchen that holds nothing but all sorts of different kinds of tea. It inspired me so much when I saw it that I just had to have a tea drawer, too. So I cleaned out one of my kitchen drawers to make into a tea drawer, and then when it was finished it was so neat and organized that I just had to clean and organize a few other drawers, too....oh, wait! It's the Magic Geranium all over again. But the effect was that after nearly two years in this house, I'm finally beginning to get some things arranged the way I want them. There's a long way to go, but I'm making progress.

The books, however, are not making such good progress. I need to fill another Pookatales order that needs to go into tomorrow's mail, and then maybe I can spend an hour or two writing before I have to hit the sack. Here's hoping I get more than a few paragraphs and can bring a decent number of words to the Moxie meeting this weekend.

In the meantime, my office is looking cleaner and cleaner, and under all that stuff on the desk I think I might just have room for a nice potted rose geranium.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I love writing. I adore it, and would never give it up even if I never get published. That said, I'm not immune to discouragement. In fact, I struggle with it every day.

I've been trying to be positive and upbeat regarding my long wait for publication. I'd like to be nothing but inspiring to other aspiring authors, but it's very, very hard. I've been writing one book or another of this particular series, the Oantran Triad, for seven years now. Hard to believe, but there it is. I showed the first incarnation of Aspects of Illusion to Jennifer Heddle clear back in 2000, revised it and signed with my agent in early 2003, and now here we are at 2006. I have the first two books of the trilogy finished and in what is deemed publishable shape, and I will shortly begin Chapter 7 of the third book. I've written and rewritten several times over, I've honed my craft, taken classes upon classes from some of the best writing teachers anywhere, I've chatted up various contacts at conferences on a yearly basis since 1998, taken classes and read books on how to manage live readings, public image, and wardrobe, and kept as much abreast of the current market news and trends as possible. I've worked my a** off for eight years gearing up for a career that has yet to materialize. The only feedback I've gotten is comments like, "I like the book, but I don't have a spot for it just now." If I should have an epitaph on a tombstone when I finally kick the bucket some day, will it read, "She missed it by that much"?

I'm tired of missing it by that much. I'm just plain tired of missing it. It's time, already. I've done my homework. My eyes are wide open. I know what I'm getting into. I've read so many blogs by phenominal writers who are discouraged by the fact that they've gotten the success they longed for and now they're having trouble remembering why they wanted it in the first place. I'm not talking just one author, here. There are several. And I feel for them. Really, I do. But here on the outside, I just keep meowing and scratching on the doors wanting to be let in. I'm sure that just like the cat, once I'm in, I'll probably want out again. In. Out. In. Out. In.

I know, I know, the grass is always greener, and all that jazz. But I've been out here for far longer than the abovementioned seven years. I wrote other books before Aspects, and I was writing books I intended for publication years before I went to that first writers' conference in 1998. I wrote my first novel at the age of sixteen, clear back during the 1980's. It's been a long, long wait at the bus stop. I want the darned bus to get here if for no other reason than I want a different view of the writer's life. By now, I feel as if I've counted and gotten on a first-name basis with every crack in every board of the shelter at the bus stop. I don't want my legacy to be that I spent a lifetime at the bus stop. I'd rather my legacy be that I went somewhere, that I got on the bus and it took me where I wanted to go. Would becoming a "successful" published author take away my joy in writing? I don't know. Call me perverse, but I'd like to find out. Not being published is not exactly netting me boatloads of joy, either. (Sheesh, all we need now are planes, trains and automobiles!)

I recently purchased a lovely goddess-type figurine. She's all in that white stone medium that many sculptors are using nowadays. She has no facial features, but she is completely draped in what looks like a long, flowing robe, and she evokes a strong, nurturing mother image. On the bottom is her name--Stand. Just that. So simple and yet so very difficult. Perhaps she'll remind me to keep on doing that, as I've been doing for so many years now. Perhaps I'll be able to just keep plugging away at the writing until something finally breaks loose and I get to take that big, longed-for step forward. In the meantime, I have to find a way to simply...


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Secrets Revealed

If you're interested in what happens after a publisher makes an offer for your book, check out the entry in Tambo's blog in which she answers some of the most vital questions. She's been down the road already. Her first book, Ghosts in the Snow, earned out its advance in only...what, Tam? Three months? She's got a second book out and will shortly have a third. In other words, she knows what she's talking about and I for one am extremely glad she's willing to share info. Lets me know what I've been missing out on and (please, God, please!) what I can expect in future.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Unintentional Marathon

Ten pages. That's the length of the section I wrote last night, which means that it must have been a long, freakin' night. I don't know. When I write, I don't really experience the passage of time in the same way as when I'm not writing. Most writers call this "being in flow". Well, it flowed. Not exactly a flood, not exactly a trickle. More like a steady river of words that resulted in a complete new section for the fairy book, which I'm calling Beyond the Pale. I've decided that my reward every time I finish a chapter of Shifts of Perception will be a section of Beyond the Pale. That might keep me from getting burnt out on either one as I'm writing them, because if I get really stuck on one, I can turn to the other for a while. I can probably afford to do this; I already have the first two books of my trilogy in submittable shape, I refuse to call my agent until Mercury gets out of retrograde, and even if I got a publishing contract tomorrow, it would still be quite some while until the deadline for Shifts would kick in. Even with a really agressive publishing schedule, like bringing the books out six months apart, I figure I have a little time to kill while writing Shifts.

And Beyond the Pale is so seductive right now. It's new, fresh, hot, and entirely too much fun to resist. Even if it doesn't sell or Bob tells me outright that it's garbage, I'll still be glad to have written it--my first urban fantasy. Damn, I love my job. Could use a pay raise, though!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


The Moxie have spoken; they liked the new book idea and the one section I've written for it. One said, "Ok, you have to finish this now." The other said, "The only thing wrong with this is that it isn't finished yet." So I guess I have to write the book.

Twist my arm, ladies! Who could resist inducement like that? I wasn't sure whether to venture into the realm of urban fantasy--I've never tried it before, other than the little screenplay I was writing several years ago which I never finished.

Now, here's a dumb move that no aspiring writer should try at home. About four or so years ago, I was writing this little screenplay about a changeling girl who was kicked back out of the sidhe years after she'd been captured. There was more to the premise that I won't go into here, but suffice it to say that I wasn't sure whether the idea would have any merit. I just happened to speak to a William Morris film agent at a conference, and asked him the above question. It was't really a pitch. Really. But he asked me to send him a treatment. Yikes! The William Morris agency! So what did I do? Blew the whole thing off, because I really didn't have a complete screenplay and I was in the middle of writing on my novels and didn't want to lose momentum there.

Who knows where that would have gone, had I pulled myself together and written up a treatment? I could have had a screenplay optioned by now. Or, more likely, I could have fallen on my butt completely and embarrassed myself with a lousy screenplay and a rejection by the William Morris agency. Now we'll never know.

I used to have a bad habit of throwing something together and then rushing to offer it up to agents on a platter, with the wild hope that since I had something new, it might finally be the one to get my foot in the door. I don't do that anymore. I haven't even mentioned this new book idea to my agent yet, mostly because I'm supposed to be finishing the third book of my trilogy (which I'm still faithfully working on, honest!) And also because I want to have several more sections of the new book written before I reveal that I'm contemplating such a radical departure from my other work. I mean, if the Moxie doesn't think it sucks, then I might have reason to suggest it to Bob.

So far, the Moxie doesn't think it sucks. In fact, just the opposite. Sh*t. I might actually have to write this one. No, I do have to write this one. The only question is, will I fall on my a** with it, or will I finally break into print at last? At this point, the game could go either way. But at least I have the Moxie to stop me before I fall on my a**. This is where it pays to have that crit group to watch your six.

Friday, March 03, 2006

And Lightning Strikes

Years ago, I went to a psychic fair and paid one to give me a mini-reading. She told me that the book I was working on at the time could be published eventually, but that it would have a limited amount of success. She said that the book I wrote about the fairies would be the one that really took off. Now, the fantasy novels that Bob is currently marketing for me aren't fairy books, and this trilogy is not the one that I was working on when I talked to the psychic, so I have no idea where it falls on the fate ladder. But the fairy book...that's something else again.

At the time of the psychic reading, I thought, "Fairy book? I'm not planning on writing a fairy book." But over this last two months, as I've been working on the third book of my trilogy and thinking about what I will write next, I've had an idea for a possible paranormal novel involving the Sidhe--in common terms, what most people think of as the fae, or fairy folk. Granted, the Sidhe are vastly different than your typical little people with wings, but nevertheless... I've already written a section of this new story, and if it carries on as it has begun, then who knows where it'll end up? It certainly can't hurt, and wouldn't it be something if the psychic's prediction comes true?

I didn't know I was going to write a "book about the fairies." But it seems that I am. Who knew? Oh. Right. Respectful nods to the nameless psychic.