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Showing posts from 2009
HAPPY 2010, all!

2010 is the Year of the Tiger....

...and I was born in a Tiger year...so watch out world!

(if you go by the skewed version of the Chinese calendar that the Japanese use. Our New Year starts Jan 1. The Chinese New Year starts later. So I'm not sure the Chinese would say I'm a tiger.)
So here's the problem with a prolonged writing project: it can take a while.

I'm not quite up to the two-year process I've heard from authors like Ian McEwan and Phillippa Gregory, but over the course of a few months, life happens. And when life happens and brings changes, it affects the writing. Not just the quality of it, but the sense of inspiration and the pattern of work that carries a writer through the process of writing an entire book. The longer the book goes, the longer it takes to write, the more chances that that kind of thing happens.

And I'm afraid that I'm losing it. I've lost it before--many, many times--and usually, in the past, I just stopped. I quit the story, making it unable to work or unable to get totally enamored and obsessed with it again, and moved on.

I don't want to do that with this one. I think this one is special and when the draft is done, the revision could really polish it up. The concept still excites me, but I can no longe…

Adventures in Retail: Working Overnight

1) It's boring. There are no customers in the store after about 1 am. Maybe today there will be. Procrastinating shoppers.

2) Thank God for that $5 Starbucks card.

3) The lights on the display under the mannequins make this weird mooing noise. And it's really, really funny at 4 in the morning.

4) I put the clothes on the rod from the fitting room away all night and made new tickets for the items that didn't have tickets. Oh, yeah, I did all the stuff that associates want to do during shifts, but don't 'cause they have actual customers.

Snowstorm

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This is Queens Boulevard at Union Turnpike, right by the Q46 stop. Lots of snow--there's a good 6 inches on the ground in Queens.

Music Tuesday

First of all, David Cook sang this on the Carrie Underwood Holiday Special Monday night:


Umm, RCA--I don't know whose in charge of releasing his singles and all, but y'all are out of touch. Release "Lie"!

On another note, there was a blog recently at Word Wenches about music

that I thought I'd play off of. The majority of comments there suggested that when writing, professional authors tend to listen to songs with no lyrics while writing to keep them in the mood but to not distract them.

Sometimes I listen to music when I write, sometimes I don't, but I listen to music off of my iTunes list, which all contain lyrics. I played classical and instrumental music when I played (read:was forced to) the violin as a preteen and while melodies and harmonies are intricate and beautiful in their own right, it just doesn't do it for me. I'm a word girl, so I like lyrics.

I had a song that kept me going while writing the Regency romance novel--it's a post-grun…
I don't think it's a well-kept secret that I am a naturally anxious person. I worry--about nearly everything--and get nervous easily. It's not really anything I understood about myself until I was 14 or 15 and in therapy, that yes, what I thought was shyness and a general disdain for other people was actually anxiety.

I can't ever remember being anxious about writing something down. Which is quite funny because I've read quotes in the past of people who say things like," writing is audacious". It's a little bit egotistical (totally true). It's "brave" (I think of that as one of those general artsy-fartsy terms). I think writing is egotistical ( I mean, seriously, who do you think is going to read your shit? And who's going to care about it?) and I personally believe that the pen can be mightier than the sword and expressing yourself in any clear, sharp way that may make people squirm can be considered "audacious." But I…

40,000 words and counting

I have hit 40,000 words of the book--15 chapters, 152 pages--and I'm sort of proud to say that I don't think one part of this story is mere filler. I keep thinking, "Oh, this is an important part," then I realize I say that about all the parts. Which is good, right?

Anyways, I survived Black Friday. It was busy for a while during my shift, but then it quieted down and we had to clean, i.e.,pick up clothes off the floor and sort them out. Also, this woman tried to buy three cashmere sweaters that had the wrong tags on them--those tags listed those sweaters as $20 each. Had to call security, find the items on the 3rd floor, note down the prices and go down to the security office. Guess what? Those three sweaters are actually worth something like $300 total.

So, basically, I saved the store a lot of money.

It was pretty busy on Sunday. A steady stream of customers. I hit 192% of my sales goal (yay!) and had a HUGE $113 Pre Sale.
And someone agreed to sign up for the c…

Adventures in Retail

So far I've learned that...

Standing for five hours is not foot-friendly.

Sensor removal machines are evil. And temperamental.

Always read the tags before you scan them.

People need to learn to put the shit back where they got it from.

People really do buy more if you say "Hello" to them when you see them.

No one wants a friggin' store department card. Shit, I wouldn't get one, so I can't really blame them. The interest is too high, it's another credit card, and 15% off on your first two days is not terribly enticing when there's a sale coming up.

Clearance racks are the devil. And no, that shirt is full price. I know it was on the clearance rack, but it scans up full price. Someone must have left it there and not put it back where it belongs.

Ahhh...not working till next week's sale. I'll let you know if I survive.
Just bringing this over from another blog, Risky Regencies...

href="http://riskyregencies.blogspot.com/2009/11/characters-take-over.html">Characters Take Over

See? I'm not the only one who argues with her characters. Or has elaborate conversations with them as I'm about to fall asleep. Or has arguments with them, once in a while. Out loud. It might be an only child thing, this talking to myself thing.

And I am definitely not the only one who yells at Mark Teixeira when he grounds out to first when Johnny Damon is on base, there are two outs, and A-Rod is up next. Despite this, I want Damon and Teixeira T-shirts for Christmas.

Yankees in 6! *crosses fingers and toes*


Quote from above blog: "As the creator of the tale, I can make the characters do what I want--in theory. In fact, if they don't like where I am taking them they often make the story stall. It won't move forward no matter what I try. They're like stubborn toddlers who sit down in the middle …
I'm pretty sure that I've repeated the phrase, "Where were all these ideas when I needed them in college?" several times over the last few days. I just noticed that I posted the summary on October 10th, which means I finished the outline around that time or soon after. Which means I've written 8 chapters and 80 pages in less than a month.

Excuse me while I let out a lot of expletives...in disbelief, mostly.

Here's what I remember about college writing classes: none of the stuff I wrote for those classes was anything I was going to continue working on afterwards. We all wrote different types of fiction, if it was a fiction class. Emerson was a pretentious school. I say that lovingly. That extended to workshopping. It was more critical than constructive. I got the word "saccharine"(someone's word of the day) thrown around about stuff I'd written more than once. Oh, yeah, then there was "fluff."

I had one writing teacher for Fiction II,…
Happy Halloween, Everyone!
Or as we say in my house, Happy Celtic New Year.



I've been on a writing spree since Thursday. I have 8 completed chapters, 80 pages, and 21,206 words. I am thrilled. I had something like 14,000 words on Friday morning. My, how time flies...

I finished some really important plot points, such as the first time Eva meets Brixton:

I noticed him in French class, the next period, when Brixton Davis was placed in front me, according to the rules of alphabetical order. The teacher, Ms. Quinn, went through the alphabet in French and then gave us an assignment.
“I am going to split you up into pairs. I want you to interview each other and then we’ll come together as a class and we will begin to learn some basic phrases, ok?” Ms. Quinn proceeded to split everyone up. Brix and I ended up together.
He turned in his seat, smiled and said, “Hi. I’m Brixton.” His hair was long, flopping over his forehead in bangs, his eyes were hidden behind black-framed glasses, and I’m s…

10,000 words

I hit the 10,000 word mark today. Yay! So in honor of that and the Yankees going to the World Series *hopefully*, you're being subjected to more snippets, Chapters 2, 3 and 4.

As I walk through the square to Olivia’s, I hear the street musicians play, strumming beat-up acoustic guitars, and I notice impassioned activists passing out fliers on Ending War Now! or Everyone Deserves Equality! Get Rid of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell or Darfur is our problem, too.


“So what if they did it?” I say aloud. “Right there, on that bed? Brix can’t live without sex for more than five days at a pinch. You know that already.” I straighten my shoulders. “C’mon, Eva. It’s only a room.”
I take a step.
“I’m fixing to change my clothes here,” I say to my reluctant self. “Just…think about Brix sitting on the bed, watching you with that dopey smile that he thinks is sexy.”
After three more steps, which bring me to the bedroom door, I admit, “It is pretty sexy.”


Much of what I think remember about this time in …

Boston

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I'm writing the "Boston portion" of my story--the bulk of it takes place there. I'm also putting together my story playlist on iTunes.I had one for Book the First that I listened to on the subway and such and it helped keep me in the mood or remember motivations as I was going along.

There's a lot less research for this story than the last one. It alternates between the '90s-2006 and 2009. I've actually lived in (and frozen my ass off in) Boston, so there's that. The present tense keeps it interesting for me (and for those of you who read it when it's done, please check my verb tenses) and the outline lets me know what's up next.

Unfortunately, my characters are Red Sox fans. And unlike what a friend said to me today ("You can change that. You're God!"), I really can't change that. It's all right though. They have redeeming qualities, I swear. And it's not even an important plot point. It's background flavor.

This…

Update

It's 5:04 in the am and I've been awake for an hour, after being woken from a sound sleep. Insomnia is alive and well. This of course means that I've already checked my email, logged on to Facebook, checked on my various games, listened to David Cook sing "Lie" and stalked Chris Pine, who seems to my latest in a long line of unattainable boyfriends (I like 'em that way) via Google.

Before I go back to bed and start either chanting like a Buddhist in my head or conjugating French verbs or, God forbid, do mental math, here's a quick update:

Yes, I'm still writing.

It's going pretty well. I have 22 pages (double spaced), I'm in the beginning of chapter three, and so far, the present tense is going all right.

Here are a few lines, randomly chosen:

He sidled up to me, expectation all over his aging face. Expecting what, exactly? A welcome? After all these years, after all of the disagreements and disapproval between us, he wants me to jump up, hug him…

Look, an actual summary!

Hey guys,

Remember that soul-swapping story I may have teased some of you with? Well, I basically finished the outline, so I can actually write it now and I am very excited. But here's the cool part: there's an actual summary!

One September night in Boston, two women are involved in a car accident. Jade Preston comes to unable to move, unable to speak, but able to hear and understand everything around her. Eva Fontaine wakes up to discover that she doesn’t look at all like herself. She looks like Jade Preston.
Eva was hit by a car, running from her estranged father at her brother’s wedding rehearsal and now lies in a coma. Except that Eva’s interior wakes up inside of someone else’s exterior—as she sleeps beside Eva’s childhood friend, Brixton Davis.
Brixton and Eva have a long, complicated history. They went to high school and nearby colleges together. They each had a parent commit suicide. Eva has stood by and watched Brixton fall into debauchery and depression after his father…

The Emily Contest

All right, y'all. It's entered. If I kept it until the due date, I'd lose my nerve because I'd be tinkering with it still.

The Emily is run by the West Houston chapter of the Romance Writers of America. They only want up to the first 35 pages of the manuscript, with no synopsis required.

Here's the timeline:
October 7, 2009 – Deadline for all submissions/fee payments to be received.
December 31, 2009 – Finalists notified by telephone and/or email.
January, 2010 – Non-Finalist entries/score sheets returned.
February 13, 2010 – Winners announced at the West Houston Emily Awards Luncheon.
February, 2010 – Finalist entries/score sheets returned.
February 27, 2010 – Finalists submit entries for the Best of the Best judging.
April, 2010 – Announcement of the Best of the Best winner!

I entered The Keegan Inheritance under the Historical category, with a sub category of Regency. So we'll what happens. In the meantime, I have a modern fantasy story to outline and the Keegan Inh…

Past, Present, & Pecs

I'm handwriting the delicate beginnings of a new idea down in a notebook. It came out in present tense. I tried to correct it to past tense, but it didn't seem right somehow, so I'm letting it go as I'm writing and scouring the Internet for a decent epigraph on reincarnation or at least, souls jumping from one body to another.

Relax. That's the only sci-fi-like bit of the story. I promise.

I recently finished reading The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (she wrote The Other Boleyn Girl--good book, terrible movie--and a slew of other Tudor-era related novels. I've read most of them, except for The Other Queen, which is about Mary Queen of Scots. I am fascinated by this period in history--and by Charles Brandon's pecs on The Tudors on Showtime--but if you walk down the fiction section at a B&N, you'll see four million novels based around this period.

Tudors fatigue, my friends. At least until the next season of The Tudors premieres, when another wif…

Leapin'

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I stole that from Andy Skib's twitter. Someone on a message board commented that while Kyle and Andy (left and center) look like leaping rock stars, David (right) kind of looks like a cheerleader. :D

I was at my aunt and uncle's house on Long Island a few days ago for my cousin John's birthday dinner, when I was asked, "What are you doing?" I said, "Babysitting. Oh, yeah, and I wrote a book."

I was then asked, naturally enough, "What kind of book?"

"Fiction." I haven't found a sound elevator pitch to describe this story (I mean, hellooo....have you seen the awful, dragging synopsis?), so I thought I'd leave it at that. I'm not one to spill the guts of my stories to people at random. There's a time and a place for that...it's called this blog.

"What's it about? It's about us, isn't it?" My cousin Elizabeth demanded. I'm not sure why Liz thinks every story I write is somehow derived from our f…

Synopsizing

Hey everyone! Um, so, I finished a draft of the synopsis. Apparently, this is the purpose of them: Art of the Synoop
The Synopsis
I don't know who invented these damn things, but they're annoying. Prepare to be majorly spoiled.
On the other hand, I have a new idea floating around after finishing Time Traveler's Wife. Not time travel, but soul-swapping. As in, what would happen if what makes you you--personality, mental/ emotional patterns, intellect, etc.--was pushed out of your body into someone else's?

Synopsis: The Keegan Inheritance

When Madeline Keegan’s father, a wealthy shipping merchant and scion of one of England’s aristocratic families, dies, he leaves a business, an estate and his fortune to his widow and his daughters—especially his two eldest, with whom Miles had a special relationship. Alexandra and Madeline are eight months apart in age, with different mothers and are different colo…

Everyone's a Critic

I've taken a step back from the book to write the blurb, synopsis and gain some perspective on the story itself before taking comments and diving back in with a flurry of writing. But I was thinking about something Sonal said--not to put you on the spot, my dear--about this one class she had, full of business majors. It was a writing class and the prof was attempting to get the students to talk about their work, analyze it--you know, critique and then revise. According to Sonal, it didn't really work out.

Which kind of made me feel bad for just throwing y'all into the deep end with this book. I know not everyone took writing classes--specifically fiction classes. Nor does everyone read fiction and a whole book in your lap is a weighty thing. Not to mention that it's been my dream since I was a little girl to have a book published...

My first workshop was the Columbia University high school writing program. I think I was going into junior year. I didn't really know …

Blurb

I'm at this point--which I come to once in a while--of getting ahead of myself. By that, I mean that I have 4 million story ideas in my head and yet, let's remember that I haven't finished this one yet, officially. So I'm trying that whole writing down and doing some light research thing, just to get the ideas down and let them ferment for a while. I was thinking in my insomnia last night that I should blog about where the ideas come from, but truthfully, I don't know. I don't think the story ideas are anything particularly original; story ideas can be similar, but it's execution that counts and there are parts of this story that I can't judge the execution of yet. Still too close to parts of it. A writing teacher I had at Columbia's summer program told me, "Ideas are wonderful, but they don't get published." Heh.

But in the meantime, I'm writing a synopsis. I've discovered that I dislike them. I've already deleted one and …

My Five

I was doing one of those "Pick Your Five Favorite" lists on Facebook a few days ago. So I thought I'd give it a try. Plus, in case you are reading (in which case many thanks and you'll get your present roundabout holiday season), but are going "I don't know if it's actually good or not" because you're not a historical romance junkie,there are short excerpts included. They're mostly first chapters, alas and alack, but since most book contests want a partial manuscript (basically the first three chapters or so), that opening is pretty crucial.
My top five romance novels (with linked excerpts):

1. Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas (2009, Bantam). Setting: Northwest Frontier of India (now Pakistan), 1897.
Short excerpts

2. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase (1995) Setting: Paris & England, 1828. 384 pages. Google Books Excerpt

3. To Rescue a Rogue by Jo Beverley (2006). Setting: London, 1817. Excerpt

4. Shattered Rainbows by Mary Jo Pu…

Titles

I am shit at coming up with titles. Always have been, always will be. It's hard to come with that one essential slogan that encompasses your entire story and it was even harder when I didn't have an entire book to name.

I was calling the book The Barbadian Bride for a minute because Madeline, the heroine, is from Barbados and a lot of her inner conflict stems from her childhood there (more free, but also with her mother dying and plantations full of slaves) and her life since living in England. And, at the end, she becomes a bride. It's a play on Mary Jo Putney's The Bartered Bride.

But I'm not sure that it really fits the story as it is now.

I could call it something generic like Smashing the Rules (Mady is, as you will note, very into social rules), but is that particularly romantic? Or Love in a Spy's Arms. The Tide of Love. The Keegan Inheritance might work, since that's where a great chunk of conflict comes form. Plus, if I ever do get around to writin…

What's the sound of one hand clapping?

Not to get all Zen Buddhist on y'all, but...um...*taps blog*...I finished it. Yeah, that's right. 5:06 am on August 16, 2009--the first romance has officially been tracked changed, which basically makes it a second draft.

254 pages at 1.5 spacing. 90,214 words (minus all the Chapter titles, dates, and occasional city identifiers)....meaning that the actual story itself is 90,214 words.

Good. Lord. I didn't I was so stinkin' verbose.

So, my pretties, I'm uploading to MegaUpload the book itself. It's all tracked changed in red for your delight, just waiting to be read and ripped apart. I have it set to by author, so apparently, if you are so inclined, you, too, can crayon-via-Microsoft Word all over it and it'll show up in a different color up to eight people.

However, it is 254 pages long.

I'm also uploading my revision letter to myself on Google Docs. Try not to laugh, because it's so fiction class 101. What can I say? I learn at my own pace. This re…

Because it's my blog and I can...

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Regency/Romancelandia Glossary

Largely from Candice Hern's website here, just a list of a few terms I used in my story.

Almack's : Assembly rooms in London, where balls were held every Wednesday during the Season. Patronesses of Almack's determined who could come in and who could not. Anyone in trade, even aristocrats associated with trade, were not admitted.

Bath: A city in the southwest of England, located 13 miles southeast of Bristol, Bath is known for its natural hot springs. Very fashionable in the Regency era (Jane Austen lived there for a time).

bluestocking: A woman with unfashionably intellectual and literary tastes.

Bow Street Runner: Established in the 18th century, the Runners worked under the magistrate of Bow Street in London and were the first London police force. The Runners were detectives who pursued felons and cases across the country.

Bristol: A city in the Southwest of England, built on the Avon River, Bristol was one of the country's largest ports. In the 18th century, Bristol&…