Until then, I'd like to share one of my favorite musician's singing one of my favorite songs. Some dear people in my life are dealing with quite a bit right now, and this song has been on my mind the past couple of days. I can't get the words out of my head. The lyrics are poignant and so fitting, today and everyday. Enjoy.
You'll feel better right away
Don't take much to do
Sell you pride
They say in every life
They say the rain must fall
Just like pouring rain
Make it rain
Make it rain
Love, love, love is sunshine.
Make it rain
Love, love, love is sunshine
Yeah, all right
Shower the people you love with love.
~ Physically, I think I might actually be getting better ... for real this time. Please, keep your fingers crossed for my immune system.
~ I finished the second book of my latest series, STEPPING STONES.
It's a very good series, different, romantic ... and almost TOO realistic. Fingers crossed that the third book is as fun to write as the first two were.
~ My publisher says they should have on OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE for THE PROMISE by Friday. This Friday! Fingers crossed again, with fervor please. They will be offering a pre-order as well. I'll let you know when all this takes place.
Until then, happy reading.
My doc says I have Viral Pericarditis. Good times. And the clincher is that if it was Bacterial Pericarditis, I'd probably be similarly sick BUT I would've been able to take an antibiotic. More good times.
So for now, I'm still in recovery mode. I'm putting this blog on hold until I have the release date for THE PROMISE, which is being announced next week. Now that really is a good time!
The second book of my latest series, STEPPING STONES, is no different. It'd be so much easier, more fun, more enjoyable to keep my stories light and happy, but that's not fiction. That's not romance or fantasy. And like every novel I've written, at least once during the process I say to myself, "I wish they hadn't done that," or, "I wish it didn't have to be that way."
I know, it's my story. But at a point that changes and it becomes "their" story; Brynn, Cori, Meagan, Landrie, and Aniston's. Other authors will attest to this, to the story being so big--in and of itself (<-Idiom, er ... WORD OF THE WEEK)--that regardless of desire, they have to write it through to fruition for the mere sake of it.
With STEPPING STONES, I'm there and I'm already tired.
Ps. Some less-exhausting news - THE PROMISE is in the queue at the printing press. We're literally just a few short weeks away from release. YES!
"Friday, August 22, 2008my close friends and family know that i haven't read any of the four books from the Twilight series. BUT i will be going to the movie because of him:
his name in real life is Cam Gigandet. he's going to be in a ton of films in the next few years, so i am sure we'll start hearing his name more often. in the Twilight movie, he plays some guy named James. who is James?"
Update: I still have NOT read any of the Twilight books, but not because I haven't wanted to--I can't read other books while I'm writing, and I've got too many other books in my personal queue to read during my downtime before Twilight. Maybe someday I'll get around to reading them and when I do, I'll let you know what I think about James.
TOP 5 THINGS I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO:
#5 - Winter. Seriously, these "Dogs Days" (<- WORDs of the WEEK) of summer are for the dogs. And you know how I feel about dogs.
#4 - Ice Hockey and SEC Football. Okay, technically that's two, but I love them equally.
#3 - The holidays; Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Especially Christmas. Since I slacked off so badly last year with the release of my first novel, this year I'm going all out--on or before November 1st. Yes!
#2 - School to start. Its a matter of days now. This summer has been so busy and even with the agreeable weather, we need schedules, more sleep, lunch at noon, and structure.
#1 - THE PROMISE. I can't wait to open the first box of books, smell the fresh ink, rub the smooth pages, and hug the first copy I grab like a newborn. I made so many changes to this book. I'm very proud of it. And I love the changes made to Creed and Brynn's relationship. Its much better/juicier than the manuscript I initially sent to my editor. Now we're just cleaning up the copy edit, and we'll be ready to print and ship it!
Why am I posting this? Because my assistant told me that my Canadian fan base is growing by the day. Yes! I'm so excited about this, eh (<-WORD of the WEEK), and I can't wait to travel to Canada for book signings. I think I'll insist that Edmonton's my first stop.
My grandparents: Jarvis and Fernetta, 1936
Oh my. When I'm at this stage in the publishing process, you can't believe the amount of refined sugars, sodium, saturated fats, and non-vegetative items I put in my body. Just two days ago, I sent my husband to the store, after ten pm, for orange circle peanuts, Sixlets, and Whoppers. And tonight, I made these Monkey Muffins that were doused in sweet and condensed milk. I wanted to undress and swim in the milk with these tasty little bubbling bites of heaven. Okay, see? Who says that? This is a bad time for me right now, a very bad time.
On a more positive, less-sugary side note, I've had a lot of my readership ask me about the release date for THE PROMISE. I was expecting by now to have a date, but the final edit of this book has taken a little bit longer than I anticipated. Everything takes longer than I anticipate it will. Maybe by book number three I'll have figured this out, yes?
Another HUGE perk of publishing with a small firm - you can learn from past experiences and make changes to the process. The first book I published, I was rushed. I vowed I'd never do that again, and my publisher is all about progression. I love them for that! Having said that, I'm putting my heart and soul into the final copy-edit of THE PROMISE. I know it can't/won't be perfect, but I'm determined to make it so very close.
So to my dear fans, I promise that it won't be too much longer before THE PROMISE will be ready for your reading pleasure. The changes my editor and I have made are so good--good like ketchup chips good! I'm pretty sure the wait will be worth it.
Here's to a sweet (<-WORD of the WEEK) end of the month!
When privileged, beautiful, sixteen year old Aniston Tate is arrested for stabbing her prom date, the only life she knows is turned upside. Sentenced to eight years in prison for the crime, Aniston is thrown into a world of abuse, betrayal and pain. She relocates to Apex—an alternative prisoner program for first time youth offenders—and is tested both physically and intellectually on a daily basis.
She meets and falls hard for fellow convict Clayton Massey, and just when she seems to have a handle on life behind bars, she finds herself the object of twisted desire of the program’s director, Dr. Long. Over time, the real objective of the program comes out—a breakthrough medical venture that proves dangerous to all involved—and Aniston’s ethics are tried against her obligation to Dr. Long and his program. In the fight of her life, Aniston’s true test comes from finding the strength to keep her spirit and heart intact while working The Apex Objective.
Reverse WORD of the WEEK: "_______"
Happy weekend to all!
The top 5 THINGS I DISLIKE and LIKE ABOUT WRITING:
Pain in my wrists, mainly my right wrist, although I can't contribute my RSI to typing alone. Graphic Design, i.e. mouse overuse, is also to blame.
Reading with my daughter. She's read most everything I've written. The hours upon hours I've shared with her reading and discussing my books is time that I'll cherish for all of my life.
What was once a love of mine has turned into a chore, and that's naming characters. I'm just out of names. I wonder how she overcomes this?
Research. I love to do research! This is one of my most favorite parts to being a writer, especially when researching locations, history and other cultures.
Publishing a novel can be risky. Art, in general, can be risky because it's an industry built on subjectivity, and because most good artists put their heart and and soul into their work knowing that it might not be received well by some.
Hearing, "I love your book!" from my readers! Positive feedback has been such a monumental and cherished part of my journey as a writer.
The time writing sucks away from my average day. I'll sit down, start writing, look up and five hours are gone--just like that! (Insert *snap* here) I tend to get a little neglectful when I'm immersed in a novel. Just ask my sweet, supportive family and friends.
The escapism that comes with writing a story. I live a pretty simple life in a small, quiet town and I can't stand day-time soap operas or real-life drama. So, I create fictitious drama in my "alternate" worlds. Why? Because I can control it. I like being in control and I like being able to create perfect love, perfect men (Hey, Creed!), and perfect endings to journeys I wouldn't dream of taking in my real simple life.
The endings. It's hard on me when I close a story line. I get very attached to my characters, attached to the point where I feel that I know them. To say good-bye has been harder than I thought it would be.
The satisfaction I get when I complete a novel. I've had my fair share of this, 21 times of it. And as much as it hurts to end a novel, the satisfaction I feel when I do is like nothing else, not cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping ... (See #2 now).
Honorable mentions include: soda intake, music playlists, pagination, help from my son with technical/scientific issues, clowns (had to add this), and seeing my friends and family get excited for/with me about my writing.
Now, onto WORD of the WEEK, which is ..................
RISK. I went back on forth on this word. The definition comes across as negative, almost forewarning, but that's not the risk I'm referring to. I'm talking more about the "Nothing ventured, nothing gained" kind of risk. My friend Amy's recent success confirms this basic concept for me. If you don't put yourself out there, you might miss out on good things happening to you. You might run into problems, you might be told 'no', or you might get hurt. But you'll never know what might happen if you don't take a risk and go for it.
Some of my favorite quotes about "Risk":
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore." Andre Gide
"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." James Dean
"The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark." Michelangelo
"If you wait to do everything until you're sure it's right, you'll probably never do much of anything." Win Borden
Take a risk, jump, and enjoy the fall!
Ps. MEGA-POST was deliberate. With the release of THE PROMISE just around the corner, I'll be neglecting this blog for a couple of weeks. See you soon!
Some of the the fun things I've been working on:
~ Dust jacket
~ Front matter, back matter, and everything in between including end papers, title page, and one of the hardest things I've had to do the second time around, the dedication page.
~ Pagination. WORD of the WEEK. This one isn't my favorite, but I'm getting better at. Just kidding. Pray for me, please.
~ Blurbs for THE PROMISE
~ Media kits for The Trait series - THANK YOU AA for your help with this!
~ AND ... I'm 43,000 words into my newest novel, A ROOM WITHOUT WINDOWS, volume one of The Apex series.
I'm so grateful for the amazing people I work with and for my friends, family and colleagues that support me. The publishing process is very much like a roller-coaster ride. I edit and edit (the climb up that first hill), the book is released (the drop from the highest point), then comes the feedback, both good and bad, (the twists and turns), and finally I start working on the release of the next book (the slowdown and eventual stop).
One thing that I was determined to do differently with this book was to take my time with the final edit. I will never rush a copy-edit to meet a deadline again - I don't have to. In hindsight, I've decided that its better to push the release date back then to rush to print.
So, there you have it. My busy, fun, goodness at a glance.
Here's a video clip of my favorite roller-coaster. Enjoy.
The TOP 5 REASONS I LOVE MY HUSBAND:
#5 - He's my best friend. He listens to me as well as any girl friend I've ever had, spends lots of good quality time with me, and cares about my feelings. We'll be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary this year--19 years of good times, and because of our strong, genuine friendship, very few bad times.
#4 - He is supportive. No one boosts my spirits like he does. He encourages me to keep writing. In fact, the last three down periods in between novels, he said, "I think it's time for you to start your next book." He tells me he's proud of me everyday.
#3 - He's patient. He's SO UNBELIEVABLY patient. He's a good, involved, fun DAD to our kids, and he's patient with them, too. I've never been a competent or enthusiastic 'homemaker' (<- WORD of the WEEK), yet he doesn't complain. He's eaten many meals from a box with a smile on his face. He waits for me a lot, because I'm on "Warner-time" and late ... a lot. He teases that his lifelong theme song is, "Waiting on a Woman."
#2 - He's cute, both in personality and in looks. He has the spirit and intentions of a 12 year old, admittedly, and in some circumstances, he looks 12. He has a fantastic smile and bright blue eyes that match his light, fun personality. And he's aging well. VERY WELL. I scored in the looks and personality departments for sure.
#1 - He encourages me. What I do, what I've done ... it hasn't always been easy or fun. With my work load, I tend to feel overwhelmed and this journey has been downright scary at times. But he encourages me to look beyond a little discomfort or effort and focus on the big picture. Nothing in life worthwhile is easy or completely without discomfort. I've learned that from him. He encourages me to go after what I want and he's a big part of my success as a writer.
To all of you, I hope you have a cute, patient best friend that supports you and encourages you. And to my husband John, thank you. I love you.
Look at me - a happy tidbit and a blog activity in the same post.
See you soon.
(Pronounced correctly "EYE-bew-PROH-fan".)
Halfhearted fist bump inserted here.
This is a good one for me right now. I've taken enough Ibuprofen this week that McNeil should give me stock in the stuff. What for, you ask? For this. Or it could be this. Whatever it is, my right wrist is swollen, partially paralyzed and feels like it's on fire. Okay, maybe it's not that bad thanks to my over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory, relatively inexpensive medication. Plus, "In some studies, ibuprofen showed superior results compared to a placebo in the prophylaxis of Alzheimer's disease when given in low doses over a long time. Further studies are needed to confirm the results before ibuprofen can be recommended for this indication." So, along with the pain relief I receive from popping these little red-coated drops of happiness, I've got a little bit of Alzheimer's prevention going on as well.
I love you Ibuprofen. Really I do.
The WORD of the WEEK is ................. RANDOM.
I quite like this word. It's versatile and fun to call out. Try it - random! It's an adjective, noun and an adverb that pretty much means, "without definite aim, reason or pattern."
But interestingly enough, in our current culture the term random has somewhat evolved.
"The latest buzzword used amongst mindless teenagers as a way of showing just so utterly irreverent their predictable sense of humor is. Particularly dominant among English teens and University students, the word "random" or the act of being "random" is a desperate plea for others to recognize how totally against the grain of the norm you are and that you're really crazy and out there." Urban Dictionary
Yes, I hear the word random used by my kids ... every day, multiple times a day. I hear it so often that I'll spurt out the occasional random, just to feel young again. In THE PROMISE, which I just finished editing, I used random three times, but not in dialog. That's not Creed's style but I'm sure Brynn would use it regularly if she was my daughter's age.
And, last but by no means least, one of my favorite quotes of all time:
Practice random acts of kindness.
The electronic version of my novel THE TRAIT is going to be available for purchase next week. Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, Apple's iBookstore, and the Sony Reader will offer THE TRAIT in e-Pub form. Yes!
I'll be sharing more announcements soon including a big one about THE PROMISE (Can you guess?), so stay tuned.
Ps. To two women that inspire me to chase my dreams, Amy and Andrea ... congratulations on your big announcements.
I will have one announcement in the next few weeks that I'll post, but realistically, I won't be updating my blog until mid-May to June. Until then, I wish warm weather and a happy Spring for all.
#5 - This gross stuff. Ewe! And not for anything but a small flaw for one of my characters.
#4 - Tear gas. Also not good.
#3 - Names. <- My favorite website. I'm constantly looking for awesome names. (The name of the day today is Meztli. Huh?) Sadly, naming characters is a struggle at this point in my writing career. With 21 novels, 1.8 millions words and hundreds of characters notched on my writing stick, it was only a matter of time before naming a secondary character, let alone a hero or his leading lady, would become a serious struggle.
#2 - Fight strap. Yes, this one was a personal inquiry. I heard a sport's commentator talk about this and I had no idea it even existed.
#1 - Hacker. What initially comes to mind is computer hacking, right? Been there, done that. This is actually a pretty complex noun. It can refer to a hobbyist, an anti-authoritarian, a cracker, a person without skill, exploitation, or a name-brand beer, just to name a few. Can you guess which reference I'm playing with right now?
Sending a huge, resounding shout-out to the internet. Like the trials of the pioneers and what they went without, I think of writers who didn't have a keyboard or more importantly, the web. Ewe again! I don't think I could write realistic fantasy without being able to perform research. After all, research is one of my many emotional compensations for writing.
Here's a teaser. Enjoy!
They've asked me to do a couple of book signings during the show. I will let you know when and where soon.
Exciting! Hope to see you there.
Ps: I'll receive a few free entrance tickets to the expo. If you want one, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
my heart's joy,
yet stirring my soul.
but a real
Enters the melody,
within a morning mist –
and leaves behind,
and the gift of
that has traveled
beyond the trees,
in a fitted suit.
My heart is filled
with the echoes of clouds,
phenomenal sounds of you.
A few years ago, I entered the following essay in a blog contest (on a writer's blog that has since become obsolete or I would link to it). My essay was a featured entry and since I am working on THE PROMISE edit, this is all I can post for the moment. Enjoy!
"AM I LOSING MY MIND?
As I was driving down the interstate the other day, I was thinking about something I had recently read about writers and inspiration and the passion it takes to be an effective story teller. Before I could mentally finish the silent review of what I had read, my mind had taken me back to my most recent affair. I’ve had many affairs, ten of them in fact, yet my affairs aren’t the traditional betrayals you hear about in a celebrity magazine or the local day spa. My affairs go a little something like this; I live somewhere else, somewhere I’ve seen featured on a calendar or postcard, somewhere with no smog, no inversion, no rain clouds, no dirty, left-over snow, or pungent smoke from nearby mountain fires. I am the heroine. I am smart and sexy, and the object of desire for every man within a hundred miles of me. I am desperately in love with the hero and wouldn’t you know it? He’s desperately in love with me, too. My life is complicated but not a “normal complicated”. It’s complicated in ways I don’t know if I, me, the real person could withstand, but the “other me” does and most often times with perseverance, class, and style. In my affair, there are no mundane issues to deal with. Running out of milk or locking my keys in the car doesn’t happen in my other life. Oh, no. The travesties in my alternative life might include infidelity, rape, drug addiction, emotional abuse, adoption, assault, infertility, secrets, fires, lies, kidnapping, fraud, exploitation, and death, just to name a few. And as I deal with each fictitious trial in my bonus life, I am taken away from the “normal complicated” issues I should be dealing with but don’t have the mental energy nor the desire to.
You see, I start an affair, an alternate life, and it literally consumes me. My mind, my responsibilities, my behavior, my desires are all controlled by the story. Two great kids, a wonderful husband, and a friendly little dog can’t keep me from thinking about anything else. I wake up in my story, and even with a full day’s schedule, my time is spent thinking and/or writing about my most recent affair. I lay in bed at night speaking dialog to the voices in my head that are the characters in the story. I sometimes dream in my affairs, only to wake the next morning and start the vicious cycle all over again. This process lasts for days, weeks, months--as long as it takes, until I type the final word of the novel and put an end to the affair, whether or not I or my heroic lover want to end it.
Back to the drive down the interstate. I was lost in thought of where the characters in my most recent story needed to go when a loud, resounding question entered my head.
Am I losing my mind?
I don’t know who asked the question. It could be the male protagonist in my previous novel, a muscular, educated man that wasn’t too happy that I had to end our affair. It could be my poor husband of sixteen years, wondering when my latest novel is going to be completed so that I will clean up the house a bit, or maybe cook a warm meal that doesn’t require a can opener. Maybe it came from me, my own sanity calling for me to get back on track with my life, focus on my own trials, the real ones--grocery shopping, homework with the kids, my relationship with my real-life lover. Honestly, I don’t know who asked the question, and sadly enough, I didn’t have an immediate answer.
I know I can’t be the only writer who literally looses themselves in a story. I can’t be the only writer who eats, sleeps and breathes their affairs. I can’t believe that I am the only writer, amongst the hundreds of thousands of writers on the planet that is obsessed with my alternate life—at least I don’t want to believe I am the only one. If I am, I think I’ve got my answer to the question . . . undeniably. "
I need to get out of this funk I'm in. I'm doing well professionally. Amazing things are happening with the book. I am getting fantastic feedback. I know exactly where I want to go with THE TRAIT series and who I want to work with, but it doesn't seem to help my frostbitten psyche.
Maybe a top 5 will help?
TOP 5 ACTIVITIES I WILL TRY TO DO TO REVIVE MY SPIRIT.
#5 - Soak in hot bath while watching a chick flick. My daughter says it's a heavenly waste of time that I should indulge in.
#4 - Drink more soda. Yes, I actually have room to increase my soda intake because as of late, I have substantially cut back.
#3 - Scrapbook.
#2 - Finish Hive Mind.
#1 - Bake some sort of bread, cake-ish bread, not yeast bread.
I'll let you know if hot water, carbonation, my paper trimmer, my keyboard or the cake works.
Except for one small part of it ... I am out of names.
Recently on my Facebook page, I asked my friends to help me out by offering up some of their favorite male and female names. They listed some great ones, but there's so much more to picking a name than just saying, "Oh, I like that."
1. Where does the name come from?
2. What does the name mean?
3. What/who do I think of when I hear it?
4. Does it phonetically go with the character, the characters family and his/her surname?
5. Are there psychological, social, philosophical or historical facts that go with the name?
Let's look at Chandler Tyler. Those of you who have read my book know who Chandler is. He's Brynn's ex-boyfriend and like her, he changes a great deal from what he was like at the beginning of the story to the end of it. When I created his character, I struggled to find the right name for him. He's big, quiet, ruggedly handsome, kind, and at times, selfish. I looked over my many lists of potential names and scoured my favorite name site until I saw Chandler.
1. The origin of the name is English. Perfect for Chandler - there's not much cultural diversity to him, much like a good, sturdy English name.
2. The meaning of the name is Candle Maker. Again, perfect - considering what Chandler ends up doing for a living.
3. When I first considered the name I thought big, dumb athlete - just like Brynn initially sees him. But I also thought cute, nice and pleasant.
4. Yes, it sounds like his parents saw him as Chandler when he was born.
5. I wasn't about to name him Angus or Lennie. And to quote myself, "I haven't watched any episodes of Friends, so no. I didn't get his name from that Chandler."
I have to say, Chandler is one of my favorite regular characters in THE TRAIT SERIES. He truly loves Brynn and for that, I can't help but to love him in return. I think his name fits him well.
So, as I begin another series, so begins the search for the perfect names for my main characters. I've used so many names, on the average between 50 - 80 per three books series, my lists grown thin. Naming the main characters, and some of the recurring secondary characters like Chandler, is sadly becoming a struggle rather than an enjoyment.
Kristin ("Christian", German origin)