Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year, New Goals

As we start a brand new year, I'm ready to start on a new set of writing goals. First, and most important, now that I've finally finished the revised draft of my time travel Civil War romance, Erin's Rebel, I plan to send a partial, including the first three chapters, to my target publisher. While waiting to hear back from them, I'll begin to revise the remaining chapters. Erin's Rebel is the story of a journalist who finds herself back in the time of the Civil War. There she meets the love of her life, a Confederate army captain.
I also plan to revise the outline of another Civil War romance that I'm calling Katie Rose. This is the story of an Irish immigrant who is widowed early in the war. She disguises herself as a man to fight Yankees, and meets and becomes involved with a Southerner, who unknown to her, is a Yankee spy. After revising the outline of this book, I plan to start writing the first draft and finish the draft by the end of the year.
I also plan to contribute to my group research blog, Slip Into Something Victorian, at least twice a month and to this blog twice a week.
My final project is to start preliminary work on a futuristic romance and to start worldbuilding for this project.
I also want to work in a few online workshops along the way, as well as keep up with my growing to-be-read pile of current novels in the genres I'm now writing in or plan to write in in the future.
Each month, I'll map out my goals for that month and post them here. I'll also let you know how well I did in accomplishing the goals listed for the previous month.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Year 2006 Goals - How Did I Do?

Before I list my writing related goals for the coming year, I thought I'd review my goals for the year 2006 and see how I did.
I entered a total of 9 contests for Erin's Rebel, extending my goal to enter at least 6 contests over a twelve month period. I placed fourth in one contest in the paranormal category in The Valley Forge Romance Writers, SHEILA. I received valuable feedback from the other contests and three I entered haven't yet been judged.
A goal that I was unable to meet was to complete the rewrite of Erin's Rebel in time for the Golden Heart. When I realized that I wouldn't make that dealine, I decided to try to get the draft finished by late January. Although I wasn't able to enter the contest, I did finish my draft before Christmas. I still have to do revisions, though.
Another goal was to review and revise the outline for my second Civil War romance, Katie Rose, by the end of this year, so I could start the first draft after the new year. But I put Katie Rose aside for now, so that I could finish Erin's Rebel.
I got my website up and running early in 2006, so that I could feature my published young adult novel, Under the Guns, as well as the two romances I'm working on. I've started two blogs, gotten involved in a research related blog, Slip Into Something Victorian, and taken six workshops, as well as presented one on Victorian era clothing. And I joined a critique group called the Scandalous Proofers that I'm very happy to be a part of.
All in all, it was a very productive year for my writing career. I'm definitely moving in the right direction and have a very good feeling about 2007.
Next blog, I'll post the goals I've drafted for the coming year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Christmas Card

I'd like to wish everyone who visits my blog and celebrates the day, a very merry and blessed Christmas.

For those who don't, I wish for you happy holidays, whichever you celebrate.
And for everyone, I wish you peace and happiness in the coming year.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Taking the Time to Slow Down

Thanks to all of my cutting back and scheduling this year, all my holiday plans are completely under control. I only have a few minor things left to do and then I can just enjoy.
My writing schedule has remained fairly intact, without me worrying over some holiday thing that I forgot. With my husband's help, we even have our Christmas tree up and decorated. And since I'm not hosting the holiday dinner this year, there isn't a lot I have to do.
I'm relaxed and enjoying the lights and scented candles. And I'm still keeping up (at least so far) with my work schedule.
Have you made any changes to make your life less hectic at this time of year?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Fit in Body and Mind

As a writer, and in my second job as a manuscript typist, I do a lot of sitting.
I have to balance this out, not only to keep my weight under control, but more importantly, for health reasons. Diabetes runs in my family and I also have a history of cardio problems myself. Exercise is an essential part of my day.
I've also been delighted to find that my early morning workout, consisting of riding a stationary bike, stretching and lifting hand weights, totaling about an hour, helps to clear out the cobwebs in my head, stimulating my creativity.
My morning workout leaves me feeling energized in both body and mind and ready to face whatever is on my schedule for that day.
A lot of writers like to spend their early morning hours writing. I just can't get myself in gear to do that so early in the day. My most productive writing hours are in the early afternoon. That's the time I reserve for working on my current novel in progress. I work in everything else I have to do; blogging, marketing, revising, critiquing other's work and general things like housework, errands, personal correspondence and paying bills, before and after my block of writing time.
This is what works for me. But the morning workout is the most essential writing ritual of all. Without it, I don't think I'd make it through my busy day.
What do you do to boost creativity?

Monday, December 11, 2006

What I'm Reading

I recently finished Dawn Thompson's newest release The Falcon's Bride. I had become a fan of Dawn Thompson several years back when I took one of her writing technique workshops. At the time, her newest book, The Ravencliff Bride, hadn't yet been released.
As soon as it came out, I devoured that book, then her next release, The Waterlord.
After those two, I've been eagerly awaiting her next release, The Falcon's Bride, and I was not disappointed. This book was even better than her first two.
While her first two books were set in nineteenth century England, The Falcon's Bride is set in nineteenth century Ireland. Unlike the other two, this book is a time travel. The heroine travels through a corridor during the winter solstice that takes her to the seventh century, where she meets the hero.
The twist here is that after she meets and falls for the hero, the two of them travel again through the corridor to the heroine's time period. The hero's mother, who's part gypsy, knows how to travel back and forth at will, as well as the hero's pet falcon.
If you like time travels like I do, this book is excellent. The twists and turns of the plot make for a fantastic read, as well as an Irish hero to die for.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Joining a Critique Group

I had always heard that every fiction writer needs a critique partner. But I hesitated for years to get involved in that, because I just wasn't sure if it was for me.
For one thing, I was fairly new at being a writer and was still feeling my way along. Who was I to give another writer a critique? What possible help could I be?
Well, recently I fell, by lucky chance, into a blog group and some of the members suggested a critique group. You see, we all set our stories in the Victorian era, so we each should know enough about the time period to know the historical accuracies or inaccuracies. We could be more helpful than a critiquer who knows nothing about the period.
I decided to give it a try. What did I have to lose? If I decided it wasn't for me, I had the option of dropping out.
Well, since joining, I've been pleasantly surprised. My fellow critiquers point out things that I should have seen in my manuscript, but obviously didn't, so I can make corrections before a contest judge or editor sees it. They also tell me when something seems missing.
You see, I know my characters so well, that I don't always explain things to a reader's satisfaction. The same with the background. I, as the writer, of course know the setting my characters are in, but I often neglect to describe it so that the reader can see it.
All in all, this has been a great experience for me. For one thing, it keeps me writing. I need new chapters to put up for critique. But also, I learn from the critiques I have to do. I catch mistakes in their writing that I've made in my own. It makes me more conscious of those things in my own work.
But those mistakes always seem to fall through your own radar. That's why I've decided, at least with the particular group I've found myself in, that critique groups can and do work.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My First Blog Entry

Although I belong to a group blog and have a blog on, this is the official start of a blog on my own website. I thought I'd start by talking about the influences that caused me to pursue writing as a career choice.
As a child, I loved to read. I don't think I was ever without a book. I considered the characters friends I loved to visit again and again.
My love of reading started the urge to want to write. In the third grade, I still recall the pride I felt at getting an A on my first composition. In high school, I took classes in journalism and creative writing and got an A++ on my very first short story.
This started my journey. Although I dabbled in writing in college, it wasn't until years later, when my youngest started Kindergarten, that I decided to pursue writing as a career.
I started with a correspondence course in writing fiction for children and young adults. This started me on the road that ultimately led me to Romance Writers of America.
Now, I have one published novel with more in the works. I'm currently focusing on historical romance set during the Civil War. My first nearly finished romance is also a time travel.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts, as well as my triumphs in the publishing business. I'll also share the bumps along the way.
Hope you enjoy and come along for the ride.