Friday, November 28, 2008

Gift Giving

I hope few of you were swept up in the mob of shoppers today. I refrained as I have for many years. I do have my shopping lists compiled and they're much smaller than many other years. And I've picked up a few small items over the course of the last few weeks. But I'm not feeling the pressure yet. I have two sons in their early twenties, one working, one in college, and they claim money would be the best gift. What fun is that on Christmas morning?
I love Christmas when I can find the perfect gift for everyone. Price has nothing to do with it. A perfect gift proves intimate knowledge of the receiver by the giver. I can remember the times I found those wonderful perfect gifts and the times I received them. And none of them were expensive or even rare items. So though my lists are mostly complete with things my children and spouse have intimated they would like to have, I'm still searching for those 'perfect' gifts from my heart to them.
What gifts have you given or received that were perfect? Do you have any planned for this year?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Updating my Website

I’ve spent the morning updating my website. What a chore for a novice like me. I long for the day I can hire a professional to do that job. I have friends who employ others to create and maintain their sites. I envy them their gadgets, clever designs and gimmicks. But I am learning little by little how to make my site more user friendly and easy to navigate. Each time I spend a few hours on it, I figure out how one more thing works. I’ve also learned a few things about drawing people to me site. One of the things I did today was to put links to some of my friends on the front page. Hopefully, that will help create those invisible lines that also bring more people to my website.
Check out:
I’ve also divided my website into my two identities, Susan Gourley and Susan Kelley. By clicking on either name, you can visit the romance author or the fantasy author. It will be even more effective if I ever get my cover for The Keepers of Sulbreth from Medallion Press.
I have further plans for my website but I must get back to my WIP, the fourth book in The Chronicles of Solonia. Visit my website to learn more about the first three.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Taking a Break

Recently I finished edits for two different books and sent them off into the wilds where hopefully someone will love them as much as I do. I have numerous projects waiting my attention. My website needs updated first and foremost. I have the third book in a series plotted and waiting for the prose to flow and create a novel from my chaotic outline. I have another book half done that I had to put aside for other projects and I left my poor hero and heroine in grave danger. The decision of which project to dive into first haunted me for the first day after I sent off that last manuscript. What to do?
I decided to take a break and ponder my dilemma. I baked, cleaned and read three books from that endless pile I purchased in vain hopes of leisure moments. The raspberries I froze after picking them from my backyard this summer made delicious muffins. I moved those shelves in the pantry and snared those wild dust bunnies making homes and babies in their formerly safe den. I laughed, shivered and even grew a bit warm while reading the creative works of my talented fellow writers. I pulled out my precious Jane Austen leather bound collected works and indulged in reading again about poor Mr. Darcy. I almost picked up the cross-stitch masterpiece that sits in half-finished misery in a corner of my office, but I resisted. I stretched my daily exercise routine to an hour instead of thirty minutes.
What has this to do with being a writer? Everyone needs a break from their work so they might approach it again with eagerness and renewal of creativity. Though I didn’t sit at the keyboard during my mini vacation, my thoughts often turned to my waiting projects. Reading the clever story telling of writers more famous, more experienced and more successful than myself, I considered how I might improve my own craft. One can do lots of thinking while jogging, baking and hefting furniture. I would rather have spent my break on a distance, tropical beach, but a vacation from writing doesn’t have to be going away somewhere. I’m confident I can now go to one of my other projects and have my characters speak in voices not identical to the ones I just sent on their way. Plots have thickened while I chopped sausage for in a casserole. Tragedies have come to light while I cleaned the last of the screens. I figured out what’s around the river bend for my poor heroine. I have one more day on my break before I sit down at the keyboard and strap in for another visit to one of my fantasy worlds. This was not a time of procrastination, but rather of recharging. I’m eager, refreshed and in possession of various skeletons of ideas. I know where I’m going to start. Just as soon as I rearrange my office.
How do you take your breaks?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wish Me Luck

I finished those edits. Finally. This was the third time the editor asked me to make changes. She's taught me so much and even if she doesn't offer the contract this time, I know my writing is the better for my contact with her. I cut nearly 4, 000 words from the manuscript and one entire scene as well as parts of others. I killed off a character at her request and that added a depth of emotion the novel didn't quite reach in its original form.
So, I'm quite excited to send it out and dare I say, very hopeful. I really want to write for this publisher and work more with this editor.
On another issue, I'm expecting my cover for my December release from New Concepts any day now. A Ruthless Good, is the third installment in my Chronicles of Solonia series. One more book in that series is in the works and I think it will be the last. I have another series in mind I hope to sell to NCP also.
Keep me in mind when you're looking for something to read in December. Heart break, adventure and love is what I promise to deliver.