Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Writerly Wednesday - Inspiration

I had my post all set, ready to write up then I visited one of my favorite author sites and scrapped my original idea.

Today Lauren Dane put up a video that I found inspiring & just what I needed. And I thought I'd share.

It's so easy to wonder if it's all worth it. The time spent at our computers writing and revising, the time at Chapter meetings, the time we spend researching, the time we spend dreaming. Is everything we give to the pursuit of becoming published really worth it?

There may be moments when the answer is "no". But luckily for most of us most of the time the answer is "yes". So, when you feel a "no" coming on play this video. It'll snap you right back to "yes".

Lauren's new book Inside Out comes out on November 2nd.

Thanks Lauren for a dose of inspiration.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Miss Bramble And The Leviathan

Kristen Painter has a new release today about my current obsession: STEAMPUNK

Miss Bramble And The Leviathan s available now from Samhain Publishing.

The last thing she planned to steal was his heart.

The Company. Military institution, protector of Praeton and the nation of Grand Isle. Dirty rotten thief.

When Pandora Bramble steps aboard the Company’s premiere airship Daedalus it’s not for the exclusive VIP tour. It’s to secure proof that the Company stole the regulator valve her father designed—even if it means tearing the engine apart. Foiled by the unexpected appearance of a handsome crew member, she despairs of ever getting another chance—until he kisses her.

Captain Theolonius Hatch, sentenced to engine room duty for refusing to take part in the Company’s fleet week activities, never dreamed a woman like Pandora existed. Her brains match her beauty, a combination that adds up to more trouble than he ever expected.

As Pandora allows Theolonius to sweep her into a whirlwind courtship, her wildest dreams come true. As do her greatest fears, leaving her to decide what matters most. Loyalty…or love.

The clock is ticking.

Warning: This book contains airships, mechanical owls, women who are good with tools, men in and out of uniform, steam generated by engines and people, and some hot carriage scenes.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Look, New Recipes & Book Mapping

It's starting to look like fall around here. Pumpkins, mums and the changing of leaves. This is my favorite season. I love the cool weather, the sweaters, the aroma of pumpkin bread baking. Autumn is like a fave blanket, it just envelopes you.

When grocery shopping this morning (I bought my first butternut squash today to make soup - can't wait to taste it) I saw the new issue of Cooking Light and grabbed it.

Yum! I've only had a few minutes to flip through the pages but I already know I'll be cooking and baking a lot from this issue. I promise to share the results.

You'll notice there's a new look on my blog. The pink was too bright for me. I guess I like things a little toned down. And with a new season on the doorstep I figured it was a good time to change a few things.

Today I wrote a draft of a new scene for my WIP. I'll spend tonight and tomorrow fleshing it out. That's my plan for the weekend.

While surfing the web earlier I came across a blog and the writer talked about book mapping for the panster. Hmm. I'm going to give it a try as I go through this revision. If it works, I'll share the details of it and where I got it from. If not, I'll probably end up forgetting about it so I won't update you. :)

I should get back to work.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Is it really Thursday?

I just inhaled a deep breath. It's Thursday already. Wow. Where has this week gone? I didn't get a chance to blog last night and I really think I'd be able to sit down long enough tonight to write this. But here I am.

I'm behind on my class assignments but all our laundry is done. I haven't written since Monday but all the dishes are clean and put away. Sensing a theme?

I'm not the kind of person who can let laundry and dishes and dirt pile up. I can't focus. The good news is that when I sign-off here, I'll be going to my WIP to do some writing. And tomorrow evening I'll be able to spend time on it also.

In the past I'd beat myself up for not writing at all (like what happened the past two nights) but I've learned doing that stuff doesn't make me more productive, it just makes me feel bad about myself.

Lesson of the week: don't beat yourself up, be kind to yourself.

Gotta go and write.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tuesday Update


I wrote this post yesterday in keeping with my blogging every day this week. I just forgot to post it last night. Oops.

In my Conflict Grid class the long holiday weekend is over. Today we got Lesson 3 and two assignments. The two types of conflicts focused on in this lesson are the Conflict of Circumstance and the Conflict of Relationship. Hmm. In the first conflict, it's about how the world sees the heroine and hero and their should be a significant difference, which would create conflict. When I started thinking about my two characters, I realized that this is a perception people have and not really who my characters are. Essentially, they've been labeled.

Labeling is easier for us. It short-cuts us building a relationship with someone. Rather than find out who the person really is, what she stands for, what she values, slap a label on her and move on to "lets get together for lunch". We've all labeled someone at some time and at some time we've been labeled. I know I have. Once people hear that I'm an only child, well it takes them less than 30 seconds to write out that name badge with "I'm spoiled".

That's what labeling is like - slapping one of those sticky things on your chest (which by the way, I hate those things). Why bother developing a personality when all that matters is appearance?

But sometimes being labeled hides a truth, a past that we don't want anyone to know. That's the deal with my heroine. Her label, people's perception of her masks the truth she doesn't want revealed. It also keeps quiet her greatest fear.

I better get to my assignments.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! It's a beautiful day here in Connecticut. In fact, the entire weekend has been great. For many, this holiday weekend is the unofficial end of summer and the fact that I saw pumpkins for sale at my local grocery store on Saturday confirms it. Since I love autumn, I'm not sad to say good-bye to summer. I'm ready to put away the flip-flops and cropped pants and pull out my boots and sweaters. I'm ready to put out my fall decorations and to make soup. I'm ready to change out the light cotton bed linens for flannel. I'm ready to hunker down and write as the days get shorter.

This morning, like yesterday, was cool. It felt so good. This is truly my season (okay, I know it's still officially summer).

I'm finally starting to feel like my old self again. A writer.

Maybe it's the new idea I got yesterday and can't stop thinking about it.

Maybe it's the classes I'm taking.

Who knows. All I know is that I'm embracing it.

I said I would blog about my classes and I want to do that. I want to share the ups and downs of the classes. I had signed up for three classes this month. Unfortunately one of the classes got canceled. I was really looking forward to the novella class. Hopefully it will be rescheduled at a later date.

That still leaves my Conflict Grid class and "Yes, You Can Quit Your Day Job" with Kara Lennox. This class is just starting with the invites and the official welcome email being sent. But the Conflict Grid class is in full swing. I've already had two homework assignments.

For the first assignment we had to choose Archetypes for our heroine & hero. I've never done the Archetype thing formally. I've heard about them, I know writers use them, but I never applied them to my characters. For this class I've chosen to use two characters from a book I'd like to write, which means I know very little about them. And the assignment was eye opening.

My heroine is a Crusader/Nuturer. My hero is a Chief/Lost Soul.

Just by identifying their Archetype I was able to immediately get a grasp on who they were and how they would clash with each other. Even though both are chasing the same external goal of finding the murderer, they will do it differently and that will cause conflict. And that's what I'm going for. Conflict.

The next assignment was to set their short-term and long-term goals. The short-term goals were simple. Within minutes I had them written down. The long-term goals? That took longer. They were harder. Though by the next day I had them. I turned in my assignment (which turned out to be difficult for most of the class) and got a "well-done" by the instructor, Lyn Cote.
Yay! My goals rocked. LOL.

Going into the second week of the class, I'm seeing there might be something to this pre-writing thing. Who knows, I might just become a member of the plotter's society.

Today is also the Murder, She Wrote marathon! I love that show. It's like visiting an old friend and there is a group of episodes back-to-back that are set in Cabot Cove. I can't wait! This morning's first episode was about a dog who inherited a family fortune and was framed for murder. Luv it!

I will have to catch episodes sporadically throughout the day. We have a trip to the home center to buy new garbage cans. Exciting, huh? And I have some things to do around the house and I have a new scene to write. I also want to take the dogs for a long walk some time today.

My goal for the week is to post each day this week. That's seven posts. Hmm. I think it's a good idea to give you a heads-up that I have no idea of what the content will be. I'll be winging it. :)

I hope you had a great holiday weekend!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What I'm Reading Now & Music

I just finished The Widow by Carla Neggers and that sent me to one of my TBR baskets (that's right plural). My baskets are separated by category - contemporary romance, romantic suspense, women's fiction/chicklit, suspense & mystery.

The book I pulled out to read next is Damaged by Pamela Callow. The heroine of this story is Kate Lange who works for a high-powered law firm. A teen is brutally murdered and Kate wonders if her legal advice led to the girl's death. Kate pursues the case and unearths some chilling facts that lead her directly into the surgically skilled hands of the Body Butcher.

For more info on the book you can visit Pamela's website,

I'm looking forward to reading it. The book came with a sticker on the cover that said it was a "need to read". I'd love to have a label like that on my book someday, wouldn't you?

I've registered for the three classes happening in September. Yay! I've printed out a new scene I began working on a few days ago. It needs a lot of help. The two scenes that follow it are new scenes I have to write. I'm finding with this revision that I'm adding scenes, I guess I'm realizing opportunities for the story that I didn't see first time around. But I guess that's why it's called a first draft.

I downloaded Katy Perry's Teenage Dream just a few minutes ago. I heard the song a few days ago and I love it. I've read on some author blogs that they create play lists for their manuscript. Hmm. That sounds like a good idea but I worry I'd spend too much time searching out the perfect songs for my manuscript. Another distraction that I don't need. But I have to admit that I heard a song months ago, Meet Me Halfway by the Black Eyed Peas, that summed up the heroine and hero for my second RS. How about you? Do you create play lists for your manuscripts? Do you listen to music while you write (I find it too distracting to listen to any music while writing). Does having a play list help your creative process? Does it help focus you while you're writing or is it just something nice to do for your manuscript? I'm just curious.

Happy writing!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New School Year

A new school year is just around the corner for kids and for this writer. Well, sort of. It's been a few weeks since I've posted last because I haven't been getting up early to write and my writing in the evening has been minimal. I've kind of been going with the flow and not worrying too much about it (see what denial can accomplish?). Then the other day reality hit hard.

We're in the middle of a huge project at work and this past Thursday my manager asked if I could work a couple of hours at home. I agreed. I got an hour done that night and I dragged my butt out of bed the next morning to finish the second hour.

Hmm. I was able to get up and out of bed a little earlier to work that hour for my employer but for myself I haven't been able to to do that. Makes a girl stop and think.

After thinking I realized a few things:

A. This was the first time I brought work home with me and I didn't like it.
B. If I'm going to be tied to a computer at home it's going to be for something I like. Something I love.
C. If I can get out of bed for the "job" I can get out of bed to write.

So I got some insight. Now I need to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak. I've decided to help jump start my motivation I will enroll in a class for September (which is just a couple of weeks away). I scanned the list over at RWA's site and ended up enrolling in three classes.

I'm so excited! Three classes will be a heavy course load in one month in addition to revising my manuscript, work and life. But it's going to be so worth it. I started to get the itch to take a class when I was walking down the seasonal aisle of my local grocery store. There were school supplies and what writer doesn't get a little weak in the knees at the sight of colored markers and brand new notebooks? I did cave and bought a pink notebook. :)

The one thing I am concerned with is managing all the email that these three classes will generate. This time around with the classes I will be dumping the class lectures and assignments right into OneNote. This is a new program to me and I love it. But sorting through all the emails will be daunting. I think that takes up most of the time.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Okay, now I'll share with you the classes I signed up for.

The Conflict Grid, Tool for Success

Sponsor: Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Chapter
Fee: $15.00 for FFnP members, $25.00 for non-members
Date: August 30–September 26, 2010
Presenter: Lyn Cote with permission of Kathy Jacobson. FMI Click here

If you don’t have conflict, you don’t have a story. With Kathy Jacobson’s CONFLICT GRID,* you will learn to uncover every possible conflict inherent that keep your hero and heroine apart. No more sagging middle. No more trouble crafting a true black ...

Yes, You Can Quit Your Day Job

Sponsor: Red River Romance Writers
Fee: $15 RRRW members; $20 non-members
Date: September 6–19, 2010
Presenter: Kara Lennox (AKA Karen Leabo). FMI Click here

Do you dream of working at home every day, sitting at your computer in your sweats communing with your muse? It's not an impossible dream no matter what your situation. With some careful planning and a lot of self-discipline, you, too, can look forward to Monday morning as a stay-at-home writer--even if you haven't yet sold your first book. In this workshop, we'll discuss making the transition to self-employment while addressing all financial obligations and family/societal expectations.

Writing Novellas—Making a long story short

Sponsor: Southern Tier Authors of Romance (STAR)
Fee: $20 (RWA); $25 non-members
Date: September 1–28, 2010
Presenter: Nina Pierce. FMI Click here

Nina Pierce, award winning author of six novellas, will share some tricks she’s learned to help tell a complete romance story in 30 thousand words or less. Topics will include plot points, character development and point of view, time tables and cutting out unnecessary words and scenes. Instructor will provide examples from her novellas and offer students opportunities to share writing samples to help clarify concepts of lessons

The Conflict Grid class was the first one I came across and I still need to work on this area. Conflict is everything in romance. Kara Lennox's class is just plain interesting. I'd love to write full-time and get paid a decent salary, who among us wouldn't? And the novella class is like a little gift from heaven for me. My current manuscript is just under 40,000 words and so is the other manuscript I have completed in first draft. These classes are just what I need right now. I can't wait.

Well, I have a few things that I need to do today before I settle down with my laptop to write.

Have a great Monday!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Writer Friends

Go to any writing site and you can find a list of very important writing tools. A good computer, a thesaurus, a way to back-up your files, etc. But I don't think you'll find one of the most important, invaluable tools for a writer's life. That would be writer friends.

Today a writer friend of mine commented on this blog. We haven't been in touch lately, we live quite a distance away, we're both busy with our lives and we've lost daily, weekly and even monthly touch. I guess life happens. But writer friends are so important for us.

We have coffee with them. We travel to conferences with them. We spend practically a whole day with them at a Chapter meeting. They're the only people who really get us. They understand our excitement over a new project, they understand when that excitement turns into dread as the project takes shape with a saggy middle, they understand our frustration when we get back crits, they understand the heartache when we get rejections, they understand the voices we hear and most importantly they understand that all of this is normal.

Good writer friends are not a dime a dozen, they are rare and should be treated like the treasures they are. There might be a little pettiness, a little jealousy, a little disagreement of what the opening scene should be. But that stuff is unimportant and needs to disappear as quickly as it came.

I've learned over the years there are only a handful of friends I can trust with my story ideas, with my dreams and with my heart. If you've lost touch with a writer friend now would be a good time to send an email, post on her blog or give her a call.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

3 Pages, Writing & Surfing the Web

All I really want to do today is write. It's been a long time since I've felt that way. But there are things I need to do before I can indulge. Ideas are swimming around in my head, I hear snippets of dialogue. It feels good to be back.

This morning I did my three pages and I changed my mind about the explosion. It just doesn't work. But I was able to come up with something else that works equally as well for the story, if not better. So I'm a happy camper right now.

There is a breeze coming in through my windows. It actually feels nice today, not as humid as the weatherman said it was going to be. In fact, the forecast is for 82 on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Wow. I'm having a hard time remembering what 82 degrees feels like.

I finally finished up the things I needed to do and was able to sit and do some writing. I got three pages written, that scene was something I worked through my Morning Pages a few days ago. Those Morning Pages (MPs) helped me get into the head a the secondary character my heroine was dealing with, to understand why he was doing what he was doing. The MPs helped with his characterization, I know him better and understand his relationship with my Heroine better.

I did take some breaks the day to check email & surf the web. I visited Stephanie Bond's website and read her blog. She's just announced her new deal with Mira for a romance trilogy. So she's writing about what goes on when you pitch, brainstorm, plot and write a trilogy. Check it out when you have a chance.

Have a great rest of your weekend!


Friday, July 16, 2010

3 Pages, 2 Shih-Tzus and 1 Revision

3 Pages:

This morning I got up and wrote my three pages. During the process I found out my heroine's biggest mistake of her life and it turns out it almost cost her her life not just her career and marriage like I thought. Maybe this process does work? I think I'm going to stay with it for awhile. I mean, I've been looking for this secret for months. Months and months. I knew it was there. I just didn't realize I'd have to dig for it at 5:30 in the morning. Oye!

2 Shih-Tzus:

I'd like to introduce you to my two best little buddies. They are loving, sweet, sometimes naughty, and always enjoyable. Susie is six and Billy is five.


Three words to describe her: Princess, Adventurous, Sweet


Three words to describe him: Loyal, Protective, Playful

You'll be seeing a lo of them. They are my little writing companions. Though it's mostly Billy with me at 5:30 when I writing my morning pages. Susie prefers to sleep in until about 6:30 or 7:00 (Princess, remember?).

1 Revision:

The manuscript I'm revising is a Romantic Suspense set in a small New England town. That's all the specifics I'm going to share about it. I've learned to keep my stories and story ideas close to the vest. Revising is daunting. There are scenes to add, scenes to tighten, scenes to lengthen, scenes to cut completely. How do you handle manuscript revisions? Any little tricks to keep track of what needs to be added, to be cut? I'm dealing with a lot of crits from my critique group. I'm trying to work in there suggestions where I believe they work. The next scene I have to write is a brand spanking new one that ends with an explosion. Hmm. I have to learn how to build a crude bomb over the weekend. Ah, a writer's life.


I have a confession to make. Here goes. Hi, my name is Debra and I am obsessed with exercise DVDs. There's no need right now to air my dirty laundry (how many I own). Lets just say it's a lot. I love to exercise. My friends think it's an illness. But I've found another group of equally obsessed people who think I'm very normal. I like them. :)

Anyway, my workout today was Leslie Sansone's Walk Slim Fast Firming.

27 minutes of one-on-one with Leslie Sansone and a resistance band. It's a quick workout but the resistance band packs a punch and I'll feel it tomorrow. Today's weather is so horrible I didn't feel it was safe to do a longer workout. I think this did the trick by giving me a short, efficient workout fix.

I think I'm going to wrap this up and feed Susie & Billy, who are curled up with me in the study. Spoke too soon. They both just dashed out to the living room. I better go see what's going on.

Have a great night,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time there was a writer who had a story to tell but she did everything she could think of not to tell, or revise, the story. She needed to do something different, something to revive her revision. But what?

She already has a lot of shoes. No, what she needs a revised manuscript. So that means she needs another idea. Hmm.

Fast forward a few days when...

This writer decided to shake things up a bit since for the past few months I've done pretty much nothing in terms of writing. Sure, I've thought about a lot of things - need a plot, a concept, a germ of an idea? And I have two first drafts completed. I need to get them from first draft to final draft, aka ready to be submitted to an editor. Hmm. I realized something needed to change.

But what would the change be?

I'd like to say "the work". Hahahaha. But really the answer is: Duh! Me. I am the work.

With that clarified I needed to decide what I would be changing.

I considered doing something I tried a few years ago and I actually liked it but of course it fell to the wayside. But trying once and not succeeding doesn't mean I can't try again. So here it goes. Morning pages.

Not familiar with them? Let me recap.

First, lets give credit to Julia Cameron (author of several books including the Right to Write, the book I have).

She instructs writers to write first thing in the morning and the writer needs to write three pages by longhand everyday. These pages aren't meant to be perfect prose. These pages may not make sense, probably won't be related to your current WIP, the grammar will be horrible, your spelling may suck and you may not be able to read your writing (remember, this is first thing in the morning).Your pages will probably read like you've just dumped
a clump of information that doesn't connect to anything and that's okay.

The reason for doing these three pages in morning before anything else is to allow your creativity to flow without any barriers, internal editors or interruptions. You'll be surprised what you'll find after you repeatedly write Morning Pages.

So, here I go. Morning Pages it is.

Since this is brand new to me, I have no idea what you'll find here. Snippets of my life (the good, the bad and the WTF moments), my journey to becoming published, a favorite recipe or two, an interview with a fellow writer, writerly wisdom (I've been told I'm insightful...seriously). What I do know you'll find here are pictures of my dogs - Susie & Billy. I love those little mops, I mean Shih-Tzus.

My focus these days is revising my manuscript, so my new home on the blogosphere may look a little sparse. I'll spruce up the joint as time goes by and make it look more like a real blog. So pardon the appearance as I settle in.

Okay, I think it's time to wrap this post up.