Monday, December 31, 2007

Those December Goals

I already announced my goals for the coming year, but how did I do on those year end goals?

1) I decided to hold out on sending my partials until January because I wanted to incorporate some great suggestions given by contest judges into the first two chapters. I did send one of my partials out today, though.

2) I applied for PRO membership in Romance Writers of America and got my acceptance email today.

3) On the contests for Katie Rose, I decided to skip the first one because it had a January 3rd deadline. With all the other things I had to do, I didn't want to add more stress around the holidays, but I do plan to enter the second contest. It has a deadline of January 31st. Much more doable, and I've already started to get that entry ready.

4) I looked over and made some notes on my sci-fi romance outline, but had to put it aside again to revise my short story. I plan to get back to the sci-fi romance after the New Year holiday.

So, although I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to do, I got a great deal done in a very busy month.

Now, I'm ready for the New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Happy New Year!

I want to start the new year off right by announcing my writing goals for 2008.

I ended 2007 on a happy note by selling my vampire romance short story, Eternity Waits, to The Wild Rose Press. It's been quite a while since I've sold anything, so I hope to continue my good fortune into the new year.

1) My biggest goal of 2008 is to write more.
I've joined HHRW's Historical Hearts Writing Challenge loop and plan to set both weekly and monthly writing goals and try my best to accomplish them.

2) Make more time to read both in and outside of my chosen genre.

3) Mail out partials to my first choice publishers for my new Civil War romance.

4) Do some cutting on my time travel romance and try to find a publisher willing to look at it.

5) Step up my promotion efforts in advance of my short story's release by The Wild Rose Press.

6) Enter my Civil War romance in as many contests as I can afford.

7) Complete the outline for my sci-fi romance and finish the first draft by the end of 2008.

So, those are my goals for the new year.

Next, I'll post my goals for January.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Hop on over to my group blog for a chance to win a Twelve Days of Christmas gift basket.

I also have a new blog up on Christmas during the Civil War. Leave a comment and you'll have a chance to win.

Details at:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I didn't get any writing done today and I'm winding down for the coming holidays. I spent today, after my workout, cleaning the house, baking and making my Christmas fudge. And now I'm exhausted.

We still have to put up our tree. We'll do that Sunday, then all that's left is Christmas dinner. I've got the presents under control, already packed in their gift bags. I stopped doing wrapping paper two years ago.

I hope everyone has a joyous and peace filled Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rethinking Contests

I just received my latest contest entry in the mail today. I already knew I hadn't finalled, but am always curious to see how the judges scored my work and what they had to say.

And the results were typical. One judge gave me high scores, although she did find a few things to nitpick about. The other judge gave me a lot of low scores and had written all over the entry.

So, I decided to look over the high scoring entry first. She really liked the characters and story--as least what she could see of it from the first two chapters. And the few things she had problems with, I could agree with. I decided I would make a few changes before sending it out again.

Then I decided I had to look at the low scoring entry to see what she had to say.

To my surprise, although she'd given me some very low scores, she also gave me some very high ones. She also liked the characters and story, and made some very valid comments that I decided I also wanted to use.

The result was a very positive contest experience. This was the first contest I'd entered this story in and, although my critique partners loved it, I didn't know what kind of remarks I'd get from others.

I've decided to hold off sending the partials of this story out for another month, so I can take my time and go over those first two chapters again. I think this will give me a much better chance of getting requests for the full.

I'll also hold off on entering this in any other contests until I've made the changes. And these are changes I think are necessary to improve the mechanics of this story.

When I send this out again, I want it in the best shape it can possibly be. And after this experience, I really do want to enter this in future contests.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Blog on Religion and the Civil War

Just did a new history blog on Slip Into Something Victorian.

Click the link and check it out.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Fantastic News!!!

I got the email last night! The Wild Rose Press sent a contract for my short vampire story, Etenity Waits, set during the American Civil War.

This story had been sitting in a drawer for four years. I'd written it for the vampire magazine, Dreams of Decadence. But they sent it back unread because they were overstocked.

I tried a few other magazines, but they rejected it also, saying it wasn't right for their publication. So, I stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it.

I only pulled it out again because I was taking a workshop on paranmoral romance. The instructor wanted us to send in examples of paranormal creatures. I immediately thought of my vampire and sent two scenes from the story as part of my assignment.

The instructor liked the characters and encouraged me to send it somewhere. So, I revised it and sent it to my critique group, then to The Wild Rose Press, because they publish short stories.

Now, I'm a Wild Rose author and couldn't be more proud.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ready To Start On Something New

I've got the partials of Katie Rose printed out. Just have to put dates on my query/cover letters, reprint them and send the packages out.

I've grown tired of doing edits and proofreading stories I've already written. I'd like to take some time away from those projects and start working on something new.

I have my sci-fi romance that I've been stalling on. It's still in the very early outline stage. I may take what's left of this month between holiday activties to work on that.

If I can finish the outline, I can start writing brand new pages in the new year.

Friday, November 30, 2007

December Goals

It's November 31st, so I'm listing my goals for the month of December.

Because of the holidays, I don't want to get too ambitious this month and set myself up for failure.

So, this is what I want to accomplish before the New Year.

1) I want to prepare and send out partials of my historical romance, Katie Rose.
I have two publishers I've already researched and am already working on the query letters. I've also edited and printed out the synopsis and first three chapters. I just have to edit the letters, then do a final proofread of the whole submission package and send them out.

2) Since I've entered my time travel romance in the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart contest, I want to apply for PRO membership.

3) I've picked two contests with January deadlines and want to start preparing my entries. This is also for Katie Rose.

4) If time permits, I want to review the notes I've made for my futuristic romance and start working on an outline for that. If I can finish this, I'll have a brand new novel to write new pages for in the new year. But if I don't get this far, this will be one of my New Year's goals.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Revisiting November Goals

As we near the end of another month, I'm happy to say I've accomplished the goals I'd listed for November.

My GH entry was sent out the Monday before Thanksgiving.

I've found two long shot publishers I want to send partials of Katie Rose to.

And I've earmarked two contests with January deadlines that I want to enter Katie Rose in.

Next post I'll list my December goals.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Holiday Is Over

Thanksgiving's over. The turkey, except for a couple of wings, is history. Same with the pumkin pie. My family are all back into doing their own thing, whatever that my be.

I did some Christmas decorating yesterday, I'll do a little more next weekend, and completed most of my shopping online this morning. Now, I'm itching for something to do. I've gotten used to working most weekends, either on stuff for my home business or my own writing projects, but I had decided to take the weekend off and spend some time on holiday and family things.

I do have a big box of to-be-read books I've been meaning to get around to. Maybe I'll go and read.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Anticipating Failure

When talking with my writer friends about entering contests, one said you should look at it as if you were buying a chance, because if you are lucky enough to get two or three judges who like your story, you may very well final or win, but if you get at least one who hates it, you won't. It's not that your story or writing stinks, it's just that that particular judge didn't care for it.

After taking a break from contests because of mixed results, I've decided to dip my toe into the water and give them another try. But I'm going to anticipate that I won't be a finalist or winner. Then if I'm lucky enough to get judges who like my story and writing, I'll have a pleasant surprise.

It works when I buy chances. I always assume I won't win and on those occasions when I do, I'm ecstatic. No matter how small the prize, I won something I never expected to win.

This is my new approach and I'm sticking with it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Taking Another Workshop

I'm taking an online workshop given by my Hearts Through History chapter called "Persistance."

It's not easy to live the life of a freelance writer and now I'm learning I haven't been getting my projects out there enough. I should have at least 15 to 25 submissions out on a regular basis, including requests, queries, partials, contest entries or scheduled pitches to editors.

Seems I've really dropped the ball on this one.

Right now I've got one requested short story being looked at, one contest entry out and another I'm preparing to send, but that's it. Just three submissions.

I am planning to send at least two partials of my historical romance out next month and am looking into a couple of contests for January.

But, I think I have to work on getting my projects out there more.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

November Goals

As promised here's what I want to accomplish writing-wise for November.

1) This is the biggie. I have to finish polishing and proofreading Erin's Rebel for the Golden Heart contest. The full manuscript plus partial copies have to be in by December 3rd, so this is a goal with a real deadline. So far, I have the partials ready to send, I just have to polish the last quarter of the full manuscript.

2) I want to start researching possible publishers for Katie Rose. I've finished the first draft and had the opening chapters critiqued and have revised them, so if I come up with a list of publishers, I can start sending out partials to see if any of them are interested in this story.

3) Research contests for Katie Rose. I want to find a few contests where I can enter the synopsis or opening chapters to see if I can gain editor interest.

So, these are the areas I want to focus on for the month of November. I'll let you all know how I did at the end of the month.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Revisiting Goals

I just realized we're coming to the end of October--Halloween's just around the corner--so I thought I should revisit my goals for this month.

My big goal was to work at getting my time travel romance manuscript polished up for the Golden Heart contest.

As of this date, I have my synopsis and first five chapters that will be judged in the preliminary round, polished and proofed and have printed up the six copies that I have to send.

As for the full, I'm about two-thirds of the way through with the polishing--I'm also proofreading as I complete each chapter--and I still have a month to go. I'm sending the full on floppy disk and have already converted my file to Word.

As for the futuristic that's still in outline stage, I've looked it over, but haven't really worked on it. I thought for now I'd just put that aside, until I can come back and give it my full attention.

My next post will be my goals for the month of November, as soon as I figure out what they are.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Coming Out Of the Closet

I've been writing since I was in grade school, but had always been embarrassed to admit that I wrote and would never dare to call myself a writer. I had notebooks full of stories stuffed away in drawers that never saw the light of day.

Years later, after my boys started school and I started writing and submitting stories, I wouldn't tell my relatives for fear that they'd discourage or--even worse--laugh at me.

After I had a few short pieces published, I told my close relatives and proudly showed off my work. Then I finally had my first novel published. I think my family thought that was my big break, but the book didn't turn out to be a bestseller and I'm still trying to get my first romance novel published, but so far, no takers.

But, I'm no longer ashamed or afraid to tell people that I write. I even told my dentist that I write romance novels. He was actually impressed. In fact, most of the people I've told have reacted that way.

I realized that even though I only make a minimum amount of money off my writing, the fact that I spend at least eight solid hours a week--often more--in writing related projects, makes me a writer.

And that's something to be proud of.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Post on Victorian Children's Clothing

I just posted a new blog on clothing styles for Victorian children on my group site: Slip Into Something Victorian.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part

As a freelance writer, my life is full of waiting. I wait for editors and agents to get back to me on submissions. I wait for the results from contests I've entered and for that ever elusive royalty check.

It doesn't help that my day job--typing manuscripts for other writers--involves waiting for payment to come in after a job is completed.

My strategy is to continue working on other projects and keep the things I'm waiting for in the back of my mind, but they always seem to surface and interrupt my creative flow.

How do all of you deal with the endless waiting?

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Latest Goal

Haven't posted my goals for awhile, but now I've got a big one. I just entered Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Contest for my time travel romance, Erin's Rebel.

So, my primary writing goal for the next two months is to get this manuscript polished, reprinted and proofread to meet the December 3 mailing deadline.

Besides this, I'm also going to continue to send chapters of this manuscript to my critique group and revise as many chapters as I can before the deadline.

Time permitting, I also want to get back to working on the outline for my futuristic. I had started on that project, but it's been languishing for awhile as I was trying to finish the first draft of my historical romance. But, since that work is completed and I want that story to sit and cool for awhile, I should have time to focus on these two tasks.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Interview

I've just been interviewed for the second time, this time by Shirley Kiger Connelly on her author site.

Here's the link:

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What's the Deal With Word Counts?

As I shop my time travel romance around to publishers, I have to wonder why they can't all get togther and come up with a uniform word count for romance novels.

Case in point: When I completed the first draft of my time travel, I found it was too short to submit to the first publisher I wanted to target. So, during revision I added words and whole scenes, even chapters to get up to the minimum word count accepted.

I queried first, then got a request for a partial, but the partial was rejected. So, on to the second publisher on my list.

But this publisher didn't go by estimated word count based on number of pages. They wanted an exact computer word count. And, I came up short again. Now, I had to add more words, scenes and chapters to make the minimum number of words.

I submited the partial, got the request for the full. But, the manuscript was rejected.

Now, I'm moving on to the next publisher on my list and finding that the novel is too long.

Meaning, if I want to query them, I have to do some serious cutting. And I mean serious cutting.

Well, what's a writer to do? It would just make things a whole lot easier for us, if the publishers could get together.

Don't you all agree?

Monday, September 03, 2007

Goals Revisited

I've just gone over my goal sheets and realized I've really slacked off over the summer. Part of it is the extra work coming in from my home business. I can't keep the clients waiting, but I also realized that I have to keep my own writing at the forefront, even if I can't accomplish as much as I want.

So, I've revised my goal sheets and here's what I hope to accomplish this month.

1) I've just joined the Historical Hearts Writers Challenge and have posted my goal of writing at least 15 new pages on my Civil War romance, Katie Rose. I'm at about the halfway point of the first draft.

2) I want to enter the first chapter of Katie in an upcoming contest.

3) I want to edit at least the first half of my time travel romance that has just been rejected. I want to give it at least one going over before approaching another publisher, but I do already have one in mind.

4) I'm signed up for an online workshop on writing romance for teenagers that starts on the 6th. I plan to keep up with the work and participate as much as I can.

So, I think I can keep up with these goals. I'll let you know how I do at the end of the month.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Acck! My Family Is Driving Me Crazy

Just had to stop work and post this blog.

I'm currently writing one novel, have revisions to do on the newly rejected one, and belong to a critique group, so have critiques to do as well.

I also type for other writers, and currently have two large jobs I'm working on simultaneously, plus have another client I have to make print-outs for.

Although I love working at home--it gives me more time to devote to my writing--here's my complaint.

Because I'm home, I'm expected to take care of all household things. This includes cleaning, laundry, dishes--no we don't have a dishwasher--keep the cupboard and fridge stocked and provide meals at dinner time, as well as paying bills, doing the banking and--it seems--everything else for everybody.

Currently, I have a husband and three adult sons living at home. The youngest is starting college in September, but will be staying home and commuting. The other two are in their early twenties. They both have jobs, but can't afford to move out just yet.

Because I'm home during the day and they're not, I wake up to notes like--Mom, Can you call my doctor so he can call in my prescription refill? I then get a frantic call from my husband--My filling fell out, find the dentist's phone number.

My youngest son, who was supposed to RSVP about a college orientation on Wednesday, told me to call the number again because he forgot to give them the date on which day he was going. When I told him to just call again, I got--My ride's picking me up. I got to go.

I can't count how many times I have to stop what I'm doing to help these men I live with.

Makes me wonder what they'd do without me.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rejected Again

Just got the manuscript of my time travel romance, Erin's Rebel, back in the mail. The worst part, after a five month wait, was getting the standard rejection letter. "This project is not right for us at this time." Oh, well.

After giving myself time to get over the disappointment, my plan is to go over the manuscript again, make a few changes, send a few chapters to my critique group, then find another publisher and try again.

After looking over my submission sheet, I realized this manuscript has been making the rounds for the past four years. After the last rejection, I did an extensive revision, then started sending chapters to my new critique group. I stopped sending those chapters when I got a request for the full. But I'll resume where I left off, while I research other publishers where my book can find a home.

It helps having a critique group who thinks your story is great. And it also helps that I just got a request from another publisher for a short story I recently revised. Having more than one project out there, makes it so much easier when rejection rears its ugly head.

No matter what you do, never give up.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

What To Blog About

So, while trying to make regular contributions for this blog, I've run into the problem of what to blog about when you feel there's nothing to blog about.

Freelance writing entails a whole lot of waiting around. I have to wait to hear back from editors on a book I submitted. I have to wait for my critique partners to go over my short story, so I can revise and submit the query for that.

I'm trying to move forward on my historical romance, but I'm in the middle and sometimes I just don't feel like writing that next scene. It just seems so overwhelming when you've still got nearly 200 pages left to write.

So, I guess this will be my complaint blog. Maybe what I need right now is permission to give myself a break.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Re-thinking Contests

Although I've given up on contests for my time travel Civil War romance, Erin's Rebel, I'm thinking of entering my new Civil War romance, Katie Rose, into a few contests.

I'm still writing the first draft, but since getting a request for the full of Erin's Rebel, I'd withdrawn that story from my critique group chapter submissions and substituted the opening chapters of Katie Rose.

Since those opening chapters are now all polished up, I thought a contest or two for first chapter or first 25 or 30 pages would work well. I even have a synopsis already written for this story if one is required.

Maybe this book, a straight historical, will do better than the time travel. Although I won a few contests with it, I found that as time went on, I was almost winning, almost a finalist. But I can't put 'almost' on my website or use that as publicity, so once the full manuscript was requested by a publisher, I stopped entering it in contests.

With this new story, I may fare better because it is a straight historical. The problem with the time travel was, if I entered it in the historical category, I always got one judge who had an issue with the modern day opening and the time travel element. If I entered it as a paranormal, I'd get at least one judge who hated the Civil War period for a romance setting.

So, as a straight historical, I might not run into these issues. Of course, I can always get a judge who just hates my story. But, I think I'll give it a try for at least one contest and see how it does.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Writing As Therapy

My husband and I recently had a medical scare concerning the health of our 22 year-old son. While waiting to hear back from the doctor, the last thing I felt like doing was working on my book.

I decided to type the last few pages I'd written the day before into my file. That got me back into the story and I sat down and wrote three new pages, my daily quota.

Afterward, I felt much better and optimistic, like a weight had lifted off me.

Turns out, the medical scare wasn't as bad as we'd thought. Although he does have a health problem, it isn't all that bad.

Relieved, I again didn't feel like writing. So, what did I do?

I wrote anyway and felt wonderful afterward. Seems writing is the best therapy in the world.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Getting Back Into Katie Rose

I finally wrote 2 new pages for my Civil War romance Katie Rose.

I didn't stop because I was stuck in the middle, it was because I just had too many others constraints on my time to work on it, although I have been revising earlier chapters for my critique group.

But these were the first brand new pages I'd written for this book in about a month's time. The main reason it took so long was because I was away from the story for awhile and had forgotten where I'd left off. I needed to go back over the earlier chapters to get my enthusiasm for the characters back.

I started by revising chapter 6, the last chapter my critique partners had gone over. Then I revised chapters 7 & 8 to get them ready for critiquing. I won't subject my critique partners to first draft material.

I then went through the remaining chapters, two per day, revising as I went. Yesterday, I finally made it to the last chapter I'd been writing. After revising those last pages, I wrote two brand new ones.

Now, I'm ready to forge ahead. It feels really good.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Expanding My Writing Horizons

While I'm still actively working on my newest Civil War romance, Katie Rose, I've decided to try revising a short story I wrote about four years ago and stuck in a drawer.

This was a vampire tale set during the Civil War that I originally wrote for Dreams of Decadence magazine. The magazine accepts all types of vampire fiction. The only thing they ask for is originality. What could be more original than a vampire in a Civil War camp?

So, I wrote the story, polished it up, sent it to them and got it back unread. Seemed the magazine was overstocked and they weren't reading any more material. Since I'd geared the story for that particular magazine, I wasn't sure what to do with it. I decided to try a few more magazines, but none of them were interested in vampire fiction. So, into the drawer it went.

I actually forgot about it, until I recently took an online workshop with Dawn Thompson, one of my favorite romance authors. The workshop was on writing paranormal romance. I took the course because I was polishing up my time travel romance and wanted to see if Dawn thought it was on track. I had just recently read her latest, which was a time travel and it was great.

The beginning of the workshop focused on paranormal creatures, though. And there weren't any of those in my time travel. I love to participate in homework assignments, but what could I send for that portion of the workshop?

I immediately remembered my vampire story and fished it out. It needed a lot of revision. After all, it had been four years since I'd written it. I revised a couple of scenes and sent them in as homework. Dawn loved my characters and encouraged me to submit the story somewhere.

I wasn't sure where to send it, though. Maybe when I finished Katie Rose, I could expand it into a novel.

In the meantime, I put it back in the drawer.

But I've been investigating the Wild Rose Press. They accept short stories and have a line called Black Rose for vampire romances. So, now I'm revising the short story and maybe I'll submit it to them. Who knows, it's worth a shot.

Better than having my story languish in my drawer.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Easing My Way Back In

I finally got caught up with my outside work and had time to work on my own book. I started by revising the last chapter my critique group went over, then self-revised the next two chapters and got them ready for my critique group to read.

I'm going to try to spend at least an hour each day on my book to get me back into the story, so I can start to move forward on it again.

I've been away from the story so long, I forget what happens in the succeeding first draft chapters. My plan for this month is to reaquaint myself with my story and characters and write as many new pages as I can.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Getting Back Into the Swing

The big holiday is over, I'm nearly caught up with my manuscript typing obligations--just some proofreading to do--and I plan to dive back into my writing.

It won't be easy getting back into the swing of things. Habit has a lot to do with my writing and blogging schedule. I first have to evaluate what I did accomplish with my writing last month and what I still have left to do.

I want to start by revising the latest chapter my critique group went over. We're taking this month off from critiquing, so this will give me more time to work on my own manuscript.

Progress report upcoming.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Getting Sidetracked

I've been neglecting my blogging as well as my writing lately.

It started with my youngest son's high school graduation. I had a lot of extra meetings, chauffeuring and party preparations to attend to.

After that, work piled up for my day job. I type manuscripts, as well as other documents and correspondence for other writers from my home computer. Work comes in in spurts and it really spurted this month. But I need the money, since I haven't yet heard from the publisher about my time travel romance, and income from the manuscript typing funds my writing expenses, so that work has to come first.

I also belong to a critique group and every two weeks, I have at least four or more chapters to critique.

I have managed to squeeze in a little work on my own books in between other obligations, but I know I'm falling short of my June goals.

Oh well, I'll look forward to catching up in July. I'm starting to miss the characters in my Civil War romance, as well as the new ones I'm creating for my futuristic romance.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

June Goals

I'm a little late posting my June goals. Sometimes life just gets in the way.

Anyway, here they are:

1) Continue draft of my Civil War romance, Katie Rose. I hope to write at least another 60 pages this month, which will take me up to 260 completed pages.

2) Complete outline for my first futurisic romance.

There you have it. These are both big projects, so I'm hoping I can complete them by the close of June. I'll let you know how I did.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May Goals - Revisited

Well, it's the end of May.

How did I do on those May goals?

1) Continue first draft of Katie Rose. I'd hoped to complete at least the first 200 pages.

I just made it. I'm exactly at page 200 in the first draft. I got a little sidetracked on this because I've been revising the early chapters for my critique group, so I've been going back and forth. But I'm where I wanted to be.

2) Start basic synopsis outline for my first sci-fi romance, Moons of Cynara.

I actually did start this, but again, got sidetracked. But my goal was to start, so I did accomplish that.

Guess I did all right.

I'll be back later with my goals for the month of June.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Trials of Historical Research

While I love reading about history and always find interesting tidbits that help to make my historical characters more real, I also find that looking for a particular historical fact that's important to my story can be frustrating.

In my Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel, the hero is seriously injured while in the trenches surrounding Petersburg, Virginia. The trench collapses on him and he breaks his leg. He's taken to the home of a Petersburg citizen where his friend, a Confederate surgeon, has set up a hospital.

My dilemma was, what did they do for broken bones at the time of the Civil War?

I looked in my Civil War medicine books and searched a few websites, but could find nothing about the care of broken bones. But I did find tons of info on amputations.

Should I just put my hero in a splint, or did they have casts back then?

I did a search on Plaster of Paris and found it was in existence since 1852, nine years before the Civil War. They also had an earlier type of plaster cast that they used during the Crimean War.

If they had casts in that war, why not the Civil War?

Since my character was being treated by his friend, I decided to give him a cast. It made moving around a lot easier for him as he recovered.

But later, I wondered about shortages during the war. Could his friend have gotten the materials to make the Plaster of Paris mix?

Oh well, the manuscript's already at the publishing house, so I won't make any changes for now, but this points out the problems of historical research.

Sometimes, you just can't find out what you need to know. But what if you guess wrong and somebody calls you out on it?

Friday, May 18, 2007

Trying to Slow Myself Down

I've gotten into the habit of taking on too many projects at once. While I wait to hear back from the publisher on my first romance novel, I'm writing the first draft of the second one, while having my critique partners go over the early chapters. I'm also critiquing their chapters.

I'm trying to keep up with two blogs, this and my group blog, Slip Into Something Victorian. I want to post something new every few days on my blog and at do at least two per month for the group.

I've also started outlining my first futuristic romance. And, since I type manuscripts for other writers, I've got two clients whose projects I'm working on.

All work and no play. You know the drill.

My main diversion is baseball. I love to read, but that ties in with my work, so it's not really a pure leisure activity for me.

Watching baseball is one activity that totally takes my mind off writing. I can get caught up in the game and forget everything else.

Since I work from my home, there's no such thing as leaving work at the office.

So, now it's the weekend . . . bring on a baseball game.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Last Parent-Teacher Conference

Thursday night I attended my last ever parent-teacher conference. It feels like a right of passage.

I have three boys, young men now, and my youngest is a high school senior. When the boys were young they took up a lot of my time, but lately I've been able to devote more and more of my day to my own projects.

No more school volunteer work, scouts, little league baseball or other activities such as field trips, family vacations, children's birthday parties and other varied activities.

Will I miss any of this? Hell, no!

I've done my time to help my children become the young men they are.

Now it's time for me.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Memory Problems

In my former life, BK (before kids), I used to be a bookkeeper. I was very detail oriented, was skilled at crunching numbers and could even balance my checkbook to the penny.

After the boys came along, I became a stay-at-home mom. After the two oldest started school, I became the family record keeper, keeping track of school projects, and other important school functions, doctor and dentist appointments, little league and cub scout activities. I always knew what was coming up, how long I had to get ready for it and I never forgot a birthday or anniversary.

Now, my sons are grown. The youngest is now a senior in high school and I've immersed myself in my writing projects. I'm at the point where I can remember every detail of my plots and characters, but often don't know what day of the week it is.

My husband says I'm living in my own little world. I guess I am. I love my stories and characters. With no young children to care for anymore, it's my time to do what I want. And I've never been happier.

So what if I can't get that darned checkbook to balance?

I'm living my dream.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Goals

My May writing goals are for two big projects.

1) Continue the first draft of Katie Rose.
I hope to write at least 60 more pages. This means I should have at least 200 pages done by the end of the month.

2) Start basic synopsis outline for my first sci-fi romance. I'm calling this first book Moons of Cynara.
After getting the character and setting sketches completed, plus a plot synopsis, I hope to start on my detailed outline by the end of the month.

That's it for this month.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

How'd I Do On Those April Goals?

It's the end of April. Time to reasess my April goals.

Well, I only had two for this month. Let's see how I did.

1) Complete world-building for my futurisitc romance series.
Well, I fell down a bit on this one. I did read the book on world religions, but haven't yet completed the Native American book. But I did take a workshop on building the beginning of a novel, and wrote a blurb for the first book, that you can check out on the Current Projects page of my website, I also developed the two main characters, as well as two supporting characters who will be the main characters in the second book, and I wrote the opening of the first book as an exercise for the workshop.

2) Start the first draft of my Civil War romance Katie Rose. I wanted to get at least 60 pages written.
I'm happy to say, I've surpassed this goal. I have the first 154 pages written and with the help of my critique group, have polished up the first two chapters.

All in all it wasn't such a disappointing month.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Trying To Keep Up My Momentum

I'm writing the first draft of my Civil War romance, Katie Rose and feel like I'm on a roll.

I did get stuck at one point, but fixed the problem by working in a few extra scenes and viewpoint characters.

Now, life intervenes to halt my momentum. I've been idle in my day job, typing manuscripts and other documents for writers. My regular clients send me things in spurts and I haven't had any regular work for awhile. More time to work on my own projects.

But now, the work is coming in and, frankly, I need some extra cash. I don't want to lose momentum on this new book, though.

So, what do I do?

I split my time between working on their projects and mine.

So far, it's working out, although I have fallen down on my blogging.

Oh well, something's got to give. Hopefully, things will get back to their regular pace soon, and I'll have some extra cash to spend on writing expenses.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Writing Another Love Scene -- Oh My!

I've gotten to the point in my new Civil War romance, Katie Rose, where I have to write the love scene.

I always feel nervous writing such scenes and have a hard time getting the mechanics and emotions in place, so that they blend together in a beautiful, romantic scene.

The love scene I wrote for Erin's Rebel needed help. My critique partners insisted it wasn't as bad as I thought, just needed more emotion. Their suggestions greatly improved that scene.

Now, I have to do it again. I won't even look at the Erin's Rebel scene until after I've written this new one. I'm afraid of repeating myself and don't want to do that. These new characters have different personalities and I want the love scene to evolve from their unique backgrounds.

The good thing is, before I'm ready to submit this new book to a publisher, I'll have ample time to have my critique partners look at it.

For now, I'll just do the best I can. After all, it's only the first draft.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Stuck In the Mucky Middle

I was moving along great on my Civil War romance, Katie Rose, until I came to what I call the mucky middle.

All of a sudden I felt like I was moving too fast toward the first big love scene. Something just didn't feel right and I had to stop.

I reread the manuscript from the beginning and realized what was wrong. I didn't include enough essential scenes to build up to that point. Part of the story was missing.

So, I went back to the drawing board, my outline, to see where I needed to insert scenes as well as different points of view.

After doing that, I went through the manuscript and wrote the scenes. Now, I just have to type them into the file.

Now, hopefully, I should have no more trouble writing the rest of the story.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Working On Katie's Story

Now that I've got my first romance, Erin's Rebel, in an editor's hands, I'm trying to get as far ahead on my new story as I can while I wait to hear back from Medallion Press.

Katie's story that I'm calling Katie Rose is my woman soldier romance tale. So far, I've got about one quarter of the book written, and I've sent the first chapter to my critique group.

I got a little stuck on Friday, but realized that I'd forgotten to insert a few vital scenes, so I did that today, and now I'm unstuck and moving ahead.

I've been wanting to start on this story for awhile, but had to get Erin's Rebel edited and proofread for Medallion. Now, it feels good to get this far ahead on my new story.

Monday, April 02, 2007

April Goals

As promised, here are my writing goals for the month of April.

1) Complete world-building for my futuristic romance series.
As part of this goal, I plan to read two books; one on world religions, the other on Native Americans.

2) Start the first draft of my Civil War romance Katie Rose.
I want to get at least the first 60 pages written.

Since both of these are big projects, that's all I have on tap this month. I'll let you know by May 1st how I did.

Friday, March 30, 2007

March Update

Well, it's the end of March. Time for an update on how many March goals I've achieved.

1) Enter Erin's Rebel in Hearts Through History's Romance Through the Ages Contest.
I actually had already accomplished this one by the time I posted my goals. But I won't hear any results on this until about mid to late April.

2) Finish final edit of Erin's Rebel.

3) Print out a copy of Erin's Rebel and proofread.

4) Send complete manuscript of Erin's Rebel to Medallion Press by March 30th.
I got ahead and sent out the full on March 20th by priority mail. They should have it in their hands right now.

5) Continue World-Building for futuristic.
I'm moving ahead with this project. I've named the planet where the story will take place. Came up with a title that may or may not change. But I like to have a title in mind before I start serious work on a new project.

I also named the hero and heroine, and two of the supporting characters, who will be the hero and heroine of the second book. Now, I'm working on the characters themselves.

I wanted to get started on character development now, because I'm taking an online workshop next week on characters and can use the ones I'm working on here for examples in my homework postings. I may even learn more about them by the end of this workshop.

So, it looks like I got everything done for March and even got a little ahead.

Next up, I'll post the goals I want to accomplish for April.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Thinking Baseball

It hit 82 degrees yesterday in Philadelphia. And it's almost April. It's started me thinking about baseball.

I've already caught a few of the minor league games on tv played in Clearwater, Florida by the Philadelphia Phillies.

They've become my team.

I say become, because in the past I had never been interested in baseball or any other sport. This baseball obsession started with T-ball.

You see, I have three boys. When they were small, I looked for things for them to do that would burn off some of that small boy energy. T-ball was the first organized sport I exposed them to.

Then came little league. Since my husband couldn't always accompany them to games, the job fell to me. I spent many a Saturday afternoon perched on the bleachers with a book, so I wouldn't get bored.

Then my middle son, who's now 22, got onto a team that was very good and very competitive. They won the championship that year. Suddenly, I started watching the games, even when my kid was on the bench. I learned the rules and started to get excited. I'd cheer and yell when something good happened and groan when games went downhill.

As my boys got older the games got even better.

Then they grew up and stopped playing. What was I to do now? I was going through withdrawal.

My solution was to watch and root for our local team, the Phillies. So far, they've been more a disappointment than anything else. But I still like to watch. And cheer. And groan.

For better or worse, I've become a baseball fan.

Batter up!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Work Out the Body & the Mind

As a writer, I do a lot of sitting. This doesn't sit well with a middle-aged body. So, the most important part of my day is my workout.

I do this religiously every morning. I start off with a twenty minute ride on my stationary bike, followed by a five minute cool-down. Afterward I do about five to ten minutes of stretching.

Then I vary the routine by alternating between two workout video tapes. One is lifting light weights, for both upper and lower body, followed by an abdominal and back workout.

The other video concentrates more on abdominals, with a few leg and back exercises included.

During the warm weather months, I also add in outdoor walks for variety.

After the workout, I pour myself a glass of orange juice and check my email.

My workout wakes me up, makes me look and feel great and stimulates my mind for whatever writing projects I have to work on that day.

So, if you're in a slump, try working out. It really gets the creative juices flowing.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Taking A Break From Contests

In the past I've entered numerous contests for my Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel. First it was for the feedback, then to get an editor or agent's attention.

And while I've won a few contests, I usually get one judge who just loves it and two or more who like it, but think it's just so-so or outright hate it.

Before getting the request from Medallion Press, I had entered three more contests that I hadn't gotten the results of.

I just got one back and, as I said, one judge loved it, the other thought it was so-so. And some of the comments I got were baffling. One said I had relied too much on spell and grammar check. Huh?

It's time to take a break from contests. For one thing, I'm now a member of an excellent critique group. They give me all the feedback I need. And I've gotten the attention of editors at Medallion Press with my partial.

So, I'll save my time and energy for writing my next book.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My Baby's In the Mail

I finished and sent out the full manuscript of Erin's Rebel to Medallion Press this morning.

Now, I've got that nervous butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. While the manuscript was here, I could still go back and change things. Now, the book has to sink or swim.

Time for me to get back to my other Civil War romance, Katie Rose. I have about five chapters done and had put it aside when Medallion requested the full of my Civil War time travel.

I'm also world-building for my futuristic series, so I've got a lot of work I can do while I wait.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What I'm Reading Now

I just finished In Sunshine Or In Shadow by Cynthia Owens. The publisher is Highland Press.

Cynthia is a member of my group blog, Slip Into Something Victorian. We talked about starting a critique group among our blog members and did a trial session a while back. I read the beginning of this book before it was published and looked forward to reading the entire thing.

The book is set in Ireland in 1850 just after the potato blight. I love Ireland and stories of the Irish and I fell in love with this story.

The heroine, Soibhan, has lost her husband and younger brother after they were hanged by her landlord. She's also lost other family members to the famine. She would do anything to keep her young daughter and grandmother from starving.

The hero, Rory, has come from America to take over as new landlord after the old one dies. He's lost his wife and has a young daughter. He also has a secret.

As these two come together, danger and secrets surround them. This story is a good old-fashioned historical romance.

For a great read, I highly recommend it.

For more information on Cynthia's book, IN SUNSHINE OR IN SHADOW, click on the link below.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Trying to Get That Love Scene Right

As I prepare my romance manuscript to send out to the publisher, I worried about my first major love scene that comes just before the middle of the book.

Is is sensuous enough? Will the editors thinks it's lame?

My solution was to put out an SOS to my critique group. And am I glad I did.

I got so many great suggestions to make my chapter shine. Now, I can send the book off with confidence to the publisher.

Thanks to my critique group, the Scandalous Proofers.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Happily Working On Two Novels at Once

I just got the good news that Medallion Press is interested in seeing the full of my Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel.

So, I'm working through final edits and have promised to get the full manuscript to them by the 30th.

I've also started on the opening chapters of my new Civil War romance, Katie Rose. I was afraid that working on two different books would confuse me, but the characters and stories are so different, even thought they're set in the same general area in the same time period, that I'm having no problem switching between them at all.

I'm glad it's working out, because if Medallion likes the book, I'll have to work through more edits and revisions with them, but also want to keep moving ahead on my new book, while also continuing world-building on my planet for the futuristic series.

I'm as busy as I've ever been, but loving every minute of it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

March Writing Goals

It's March 1st and I'm ready to list my March goals.

1) Enter Erin's Rebel in Hearts Through History's Romance Through the Ages Contest.
I'm actually ahead on this one and sent the entry out today.

2) Finish final edit of Erin's Rebel.

3) Print out and proofread Erin's Rebel.

4) Send complete manuscript of Erin's Rebel to Medallion Press by the 30th.

5) Continue World-building for Futuristic Romance.

Well, there they are. I'll let you know how I did at the end of the month.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

End of February - How Did I Do?

It's February 28th. Time to see how I did with my monthly goals.

1) Enter Grand Beginnings Contest.
I'd already gotten a start with this one and entered in January. I have to wait until April, though, to see how I did.

2) Finish Erin's Rebel revisions.
I completed this one and got a request for a full from Medallion Press after they'd looked over my partial.

3) Start first draft of Katie Rose.
I'd just started writing the opening chapters, when I got the request for Erin's Rebel. I had to stop working on Katie Rose to get final edits done for Erin's Rebel, but I will come back to Katie once the other manuscript has been sent out.

4) Begin World-Building for Futuristic.
I've gotten a good start on this beginning with naming my planet. I chose a Greek name, Cynara. It's a myth name, but there's no meaning. I thought it sounded perfect for my fictitious far-away planet. Now, I'm reading World-Building books and designing what Cynara will look like and what kind of aliens will live there.

Well, there it is. I think I did well on my February goals.

Next, I'll post my goals for March.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Building A Planet

I decided to take a break from working on my two Civil War romances and start some preliminary work on a futuristic romance I plan to write.

Since this book will be set on a far off planet 300 years in the future, my first step is to build a planet.

I first came up with a name for the planet that I'll use in the book's title, as well as in the two other books I plan for this trilogy.

Once the name was settled, I started to build my planet with the help of Writer's Digest books, Worldbuilding by Stephen L. Gillett. It's kind of fun building your own planet.

Next, I'll be researching the types of aliens who'll live there.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What I'm Reading

I just finished a great historical romance. Although the book has a 2003 copyright date, I just got to it. I have a very large to-be-read pile, but I get to all of them eventually.

YOURS UNTIL DAWN, by Teresa Medeiros is the story of a nurse, Samantha Wickerham, who arrives at the country estate of Gabriel Fairchild. He's a Naval war hero who's been scarred and blinded while serving aboard a British ship. Unable to control his whims since he's been blinded, his family banishes him to their country estate with a staff of servants. They've been unable to find a proper nurse for him, who can deal with his tantrums.

Samantha is determined to persevere, and as the two battle wits, they begin to first, respect one another, and then fall in love.

There's a surprise twist at the end that I won't reveal, but if you love historical romance, this is an entertaining read.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Revisions Done!

I just completed my self-revisions on Erin's Rebel. Of course, I still have to send chapters to my critique group. I only send one chapter every two weeks, so that will take awhile.

Still, it feels good to finally have this book in order.

I also finished revisions on the outline of Katie Rose. I want to start writing the first draft by the start of March.

And I plan to enter Erin's Rebel in my Hearts Through History chapter's Romance Through the Ages Contest.

I feel like my goal sheets are really keeping me focused. Every thing's starting to come together in my writing life.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Contest Woes

I just got the results of the final contest I entered last November. I didn't win or final in the first two and the scores were mixed. With this final one, I came one point from winning. One point! It was the GOTCHA Contest that was for the first 15 pages of a manuscript, no synopsis.

One of the judges gave me a perfect score. This was a first for me. And the fact that she was a published romance author made it even sweeter.

While she thought the entry was perfect, the other three all found something to nitpick about. Although, I did get fairly high scores from all of them. That's how I almost won.

Even though it would have been nice to win, I can't complain too much. It's the chance you take every time you enter a contest. Some judges will just love your work, while others may out-and-out hate it.

And, I've already entered two more contests for the new year with the revised chapters my critique group helped me with. They are great! They tell me, not only, what I need to revise, but what they like about the story and characters. And they all seem to like this story, so this gives me the confidence to keep plugging away at it.

I've entered two more contests for the new year with the revised chapters, so maybe I'll do better in the next contest. After all, I was only one point off.

And not winning won't stop me from submitting my work to publishers. You never know which editor will fall in love with your work.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

My February Goals

It's February 1st and I have a list of plans that I want to accomplish this month.

1) Enter the Grand Beginnings Contest. This contest is for the first five pages of a romance novel. Five pages happens to be the entire first chapter of Erin's Rebel.
I got a little ahead and have already mailed the entry out.

2) Finish my revision of Erin's Rebel. As of today, I've got about 14 chapters left to revise. I should be able to finish up before the month ends.

3) Start first draft of Katie Rose.
I'm a little behind on this one. I still have to make revisions to the outline. I want to get that done before I start the first draft to avoid having to go back and do another major revision like I did with Erin's Rebel. I think my goal for this month will be to finish revising the outline.

4) Begin world-building for Futuristic trilogy.
I'm hoping to at least get a start on this, but it will depend on how the outline revision of Katie Rose goes.

Well, these are my plans for this month. I'll let you know how I did.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

January 2007 Goals: How Did I Do?

So, as promised, here's how I did on my listed January 2007 goals.

I'm moving forward with the revisions of Erin's Rebel. I started with chapter 9 and am now revising chapter 31. The total number of chapters is 49, so I'm past the half-way point.

My second listed goal was to revise the outline of Katie Rose. I did start on that, but got distracted with the Erin's Rebel revisions. I did revise my synopsis, but still have to revise the outline.

I also wanted to start my "Women In the Ranks" series of blogs. I already posted the Intro blog this month. You can see it at:

I wrote two more blogs in the series. I'll be posting the first one on Sarah Emma Edmonds by the end of this week. The other one will appear in about two weeks.

Although I got a bit behind with the revisions on the Katie Rose outline, I feel like I'm making progress on both books. Since I've sent a partial of Erin's Rebel to my target publisher, I'm more focused on getting the revisions of that book done first, in case I get a request.

All in all, I'm happy with the progress I've made this month. Stay turned for my February goals that I'll list later this week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Still Revising

I'm zipping along with the revisions on Erin's Rebel. But the history blogs I'm writing on women Civil War soldiers is making me want to continue the plotting out of my new Civil War romance.

But, got to keep focused. My critique group is a big help here, because I have to post a new chapter of Erin's Rebel, every other week. Then, I have to revise the chapter again after their suggestions. And they've all been a big help to me.

Of course, in my self-revisions I'm far ahead of the chapters I'm sending to the group. But it is the same book, so the critique group keeps me focused.

"Gotta get this done," I chant to myself.

But moving back and forth in the chapters like I've been doing, sometimes gives me brain fog.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Did I Write That?

As I'm rereading the chapters of Erin's Rebel, I'm sometimes amazed that I actually wrote this thing. I'm going back through the entire novel revising chapters as I go.

After writing the ending of a book, I sometimes forget what I wrote in the earlier chapters. Although I've revised the beginning again and again for contests, the middle chapters I've only seen once. In an earlier revision to expand the book, I actually rewrote a scene in a chapter that I'd already written, but had forgotten about!

Getting a breather from a book you're writing is a good thing. It gives you the perspective of a reader as you're revising. You can look at it with fresh eyes.

And, by the time you reach the end of a novel, you can forget what happened in the beginning.

It's kind of fun rereading something you wrote and thinking, did I write that?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Working On My New History Blog

This morning I thought I'd play catch-up by working on the new blog for my history research-based group blog, Slip Into Something Victorian Blog , on the life of Sarah Emma Edmonds.

Sarah, born in 1841, disguised herself as a man to obtain a better living than she could as a woman during the nineteenth century. When the Civil War broke out, she joined up under the name of Franklin Thompson.

The things I'm learning about her and other female Civil War soldiers is so interesting, I could spend all my time doing research.

I'm using a lot of these facts in my new Civil War romance, Katie Rose. I've posted the intro and invite all of you to take a look at

Monday, January 08, 2007

Moving Along

I'm moving along with my January writing goals. With my partial of Erin's Rebel on its way to the publisher, I can now concentrate on revising chapters beyond the first three. I've just completed the revision on chapter 11.
I'm also researching a series of blogs for my group blog Slip Into Something Victorian , on women Civil War soldiers. I've written the intro blog, though I haven't yet posted it. I plan to have that up by the end of the week.
I'm also reviewing the outline for Katie Rose. I want to make some plot changes and get the plot in order before I start the actual writing.
Having all these different projects is giving me renewed energy. And if I get stuck on one thing, I can always turn to one of my other projects.
Life is good.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

January 2007 Goals

As promised, I'm posting my goals for the month.
Two goals I've already accomplished were to send out the partial submission of my Civil War time travel romance, Erin's Rebel, to Medallion Press. I did that today. I also wanted to enter a contest for the same novel and did that, too.
My remaining goals are to start the revisions of Erin's Rebel, starting with chapter 9. I've already revised the first 8 chapters and had some of them looked over by my critique group. My goal is to revise one chapter per day.
I also want to revise the outline of my Civil War romance, Katie Rose. Katie's a widowed Irish immigrant, turned Rebel soldier. I took a workshop on plotting and have my notes for changes in the work-in-progress folder. I want to look these over and revise the outline before I start the first draft of this novel.
And finally, I want to research women soldiers during the Civil War and post a series of blogs on my group blog, Slip Into Something Victorian. I want to post the introductory blog for this series in the next few weeks.
Stay tuned for how I do this month and my February 2007 goals.