Friday, September 26, 2008

Stop and Smell the Chicken Fried Rice

A few days ago I had the pleasure of going out for an evening with some beloved family members and their spouses. My husband and I always enjoy those rare outings but we seldom find the time and opportunity to indulge ourselves. Between all our children's athletic endeavors, my writing and our mutual exhaustion on weekends, we are as likely to stay home on rare nights off than go out. So even though tired, we commited to dinner at a local Japanese restaurant where the chef cooks on the grill right at your table. The talented young man was quite the entertainer and the food was delicious, especially the rice. Best of all was the company. We caught up on family happenings, had a chance to see pictures of someone's newly constructed home, shared laughs and warm memories. It was completely relaxing. I had a writing goal for that night. I didn't write a single word but the next day I approached my writing refreshed from a day off.
I know many writers try to write every day even if only a little. I know others who only write during the week like a 9-5 job. Others insist on at least one day off. But all those writers break their own rules for a deadline or if the story is really flowing and they can't type fast enough to keep up with their creative flow. For many like me with full time jobs during the week and full time parenting to do, every minute is crucial. I seldom take a day completely off. But after the enjoyment of this wondeful dinner, I've decided I'm going to take some mini vacations of 24 to 48 hours every now and then. I'm going to tackle some of those household projects. I'm going to try some of those receipes I've saved from magazines and newspapers. I'm going to read something from my TBR pile and I'm not going to feel guilty. I'm going to fight that self imposed pressure to work every free minute. I'm going to stop and smell that chicken fried rice.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Ruthless Good: December Release

I received the wonderful news recently that my third installment in THE SOLONIAN CHRONICLES is due to be released by New Concepts Publishing in December. A RUTHLESS GOOD continues the series with the same mixture of humor, dangerous action and bittersweet loss. Of course it ends happily ever after but not for everyone. Yes a character from the first two books, THE GREATER GOOD and THE LESSER EVIL does loss his/her life in this third book.
The evil the hero and heroine encounters is so vile and repugnant for many reasons but one of the core issues is the belief by this merciless person that he is doing good. I'll explain that further at a later date.
For now I hope all those wonderful readers from my first two books head over to my website and check out the very first excerpt I've posted from this latest book. THE GREATER GOOD and THE LESSER EVIL sold so well with online ebook retailers I'm hoping to see a lot of sales to the faithful. I'm busy updating my readers list and thinking of running a contest in October for all those fans. Keep you eye here for soon to come details on A RUTHLESS GOOD and the contests I'm running to celebrate its birth.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Importance of Goal Setting

As a teacher, I often speak to my students of the importance of setting goals. I believe having a target is important no matter your career or your age. I've heard writers speak of writing only a line per day or their writing plans being set aside for other issues.
Granted we all have emergencies that interfer with our writing time, but how often do we as writers make the effort to squeeze that time out of another chunk of our lives. My local chapter of RWA started the monthly and annual goal setting thing a few years ago. At first I gave it little attention. I thought myself too busy to hold myself to some plan when I never knew what the next day would bring. Well, one of those next days fortunately brought me a book contract. Suddenly I had many demands on my time not the least of which was to get that next book completed. All those promotional ideas I'd stuffed in a folder to deal with later were now due. Past due!
For a few weeks I felt completely overwhelmed. Then one day I sat down and made a list of exactly what I needed to do. And one by one, I did the things on that list and then crossed them off. I set deadlines for such things as updating my website, getting promotional material ordered, finishing a synopsis and the multitude of other things I had to get done. I set goals. I wrote them down.
I read a thriller a few years ago and a line from that book comes back to remind me when I don't take the time to write down what I've done and what I yet need to tackle. "If it isn't written down, it never happened." I like to add if I don't write it down it may never happen. So write those goals down. Share them with a fellow writer, a critique partner or even your spouse. Hold yourself accountable and make it happen.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

In the Fall, I Write

When my third son was in first grade he became my first child to have his writing deemed worthy to be published in the school media magazine that comes out twice per school year. He wrote a very simple free verse titled, The Leaves Fall in the Fall. It was very good and we all loved it. (I have no less than six copies in the treasury chest.)
For the first time this fall, I'm not a football mom. My oldest son has graduated from college and finished his football career. Watching him play occupied most of my fall weekends for the last four years. I miss it. I'll miss seeing the colors of fall in different parts of the country and the noise and excitement of college football. It was a great thrill. But every fall, my writing production slows down. Between coaching field hockey and watching my children play, I had very little weekend time or evening hours to spend at the computer. This year I gave up coaching field hockey and as I mentioned, no longer have a reason to attend college football games. So I'm writing.
No excuses this year. I have four different series I'm working on to either sell the first book or sell a third or fourth book in a series. It's so much sometimes I wonder how I ever did anything in previous years. And it's exciting to have so much going on with my life. I love watching my kids play and witnessing their accomplishments, but the writing is about my goals and my achievements. So this fall and right into the winter, I'm going to try and take my career to the next level. Stay with me for updates and wish me luck.