SURPRISES IN FRUMPY PACKAGES

Last week, I received Susan Boyle’s first professional CD.  You remember her; she’s the frumpy lady from Scotland that sang so beautifully in the British version of AMERICAN IDOL.  When she first came on stage, the entire audience, including the judges, started chuckling.  She looked like a wannabe of all wannabes.  But the moment she started singing, mouths dropped open and eyes widened all over the auditorium.

As is common today, her entire performance ended up on YouTube and made one million hits in less than a week.  Everywhere, Susan Boyle was on everyone’s lips, in everyone’s email, on everyone’s TV show.  By the end of two weeks, she was as well known as what’s-his-name who became the first African-American President of the USA.

Strangely enough, she didn’t win the contest.  A bunch of dancers beat her out.  Does anyone remember the group’s name?  Does anyone remember what kind of dance they did?  Are they bringing out any kind of DVD?  And if so, is it being anticipated as much as Susan’s CD was?  I understand, her disk pre-sold over one million units.  Wow!

I have a theory about that; I think when the kids were announced as a dance group, they looked like a professional dance group and no one doubted that they would do a great job.  But Susan came out, her graying hair disheveled, and looking like a middle-aged housewife.  When Simon questioned her, she sounded like someone’s mother…not a semi-trained musician.  But when that voiced poured out like gold…man!

I’ve read books like Susan Boyle.  Crappy covers, so-so back blurbs, or maybe having a doubtful premise, but because I was judging it for a contest, I HAD to read it, no matter what.  Then I get into it, and whoosh!  I can’t put the book down.  It’s the kind of story that can keep me from doing my housework (not always that hard, I will admit).  Or maybe I stay up all night, unable to sleep until I know what happens next.

That’s the frumpy book that reads like an angel.  I haven’t written one yet.  I’ve written good books and I’ll write better ones as my skills become stronger.  But I can’t wait to write my “Susan Boyle” book, the one that may look frumpy, but will blow the reader away.

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Breaking The Routine

I must confess: I’m a shopaholic. Shameless sale hussy. Clearance Queen. Bargain Babe.

And for the first time in 1o years, I didn’t get up at 4 am…but I did shop the Black Friday Sales at 8:30–in Dallas.  For me! I’ll try to get a picture on The Twisted Sisters blog later.

But that’s not my topic. I broke a routine, and for me that’s a big deal. Bigger than scooping an awesome bargain!!  This year has been my time to deviate from my carefully normal ordered  life.  I discovered that I can write almost anywhere, not just my office, or when it is quiet, or only in the morning. I don’t even have to ‘have’ a lap top. There are notes on several napkins, paper towels, and the backs of envelopes.

During the next few months, I will be driving my husband to work (in Dallas) as he recovers from double shoulder separation/tendon repair back to back surgeries. As much as I LOVE to shop, and I do know where the bargains are, I will be writing, or doing research either camped out in his office building. Or if the weather is nice, across the street at the Frisbee park. 

Are you going to break a routine that may be holding you back?

What I’m Thankful for…

I’m thankful that my 12 shift is over and it was fairly quiet.

I’m thankful that I got my admits IV in one stick.

I’m thankful that Swanson’s makes an awesome turkey dinner which is in the toaster oven now.  Yum!

I’m thankful that Chik A’Fil (?) donated chicken sandwich lunches for the families and nurses today, with brownies!  And I got two!  Double yum.

I’m thankful that all my family and friends live a free country and have the peace they needed for a blessed Thanksgiving.

Now, excuse me while I have my Thanksgiving dinner.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today is one of my favorite holidays–Thanksgiving!!

We’re hoping all the SLUTS check in today to say what we’re thankful for.

I’m thrilled that despite Don’s injuries, all of us are healthy. We will be childless–none of the 5 will be here, but I’m sure we will be remembered.

From Slut Nancy, I’ve posted for her:     I  am thankful just to be here. Last year I was still in treatment for the cancer and did not know if I would ever see another Thanksgiving…and now, here I am, six months in remission and going strong! And so, of all the blessings in my life that I am thankful for, just being here is enough for now.   Nancy

Nancy, we’re glad you’re here too, and a part of RWI !!!!

Rejections R Us

Aspiring author sends off her latest manuscript, which makes a quick turnaround and arrives back at her house. Her teenage son tears open the envelope, and that yucky grayish padding stuff falls out. “Wow, Mom,” he says, impressed. “They hated this one so much, they burned it and sent you the ashes.”

To Rudyard Kipling: “I’m sorry, Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.”

From an editor reviewing The Bridge Over the River Kwai: “A very bad book.”

From an editor who turned down The War of the Worlds: “Oh, don’t read that horrid book.”

To William Faulkner: “Good God, I can’t publish this!”

There. Don’t you feel better now?

Calling All Newbies…and not so Newbies

Last weekend I met two “new” writers, two women who share common interests and goals with the rest of our chapter members. These ladies don’t just want to read romance, they want to write it. I didn’t get the chance to visit with each one as much as I would like. But one of the aspiring writers made the comment that she had so much to learn, and that stuck with me throughout the week. I wanted to tell her that’s true for all of us. No matter how long we’ve been writing, there’s still something to be learned about our craft.

For the new and not so new writer out there, I’d like to recommend a book I’ve found to be invaluable: Elements of Fiction Writing: Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card. It’s published by Writer’s Digest Books, and I picked it up at Barnes and Nobles. It’s a short book, only about 172 pages, but it’s packed with useful information and terms that every fiction writer, regardless of genre, must understand in order to write well. For example, Chapter Fifteen covers “showing vs. telling” and gives some great examples to illustrate the difference. Chapter Seven describes techniques used to draw an emotional response from the reader. I especially like Chapter Two, which discusses the three questions readers ask:

“So What?”
“Oh, Yeah?”
And “Huh?”

Writers write because we believe we have something to say, a story to share that says something about the world we live in and about the human condition. As Card states, “If your fictional vision was a good and truthful one, your characters will help your readers understand their families, their friends, their enemies, and the countless mysterious and dangerous strangers who will touch their lives, powerfully and irresistibly.”

I’m sure some of you have other resources you can recommend. Care to share?

Roller Coaster Ride

Last Saturday morning. I spent 3 1/2 hours, writing without stop.  The words just flowed from me.  It was all fresh, wonderful, awesome!  I wrote a total of 16 pages which finished Chapter 8 of my MIP, TEARS OF THE SUN, a chapter I’d been working on for over a year.  Okay, I know once I re-read what I’ve written, it won’t be as fresh, wonderful, or awesome as when I finished it.  In fact, when I go over it again, I’ll probably think it’s no more than okay.

That’s the trouble with this business…it rides you, up and down, just like a roller coaster.  Right now, I’m still up because I haven’t had time to re-write what I wrote.  But in the next few days, I’ll be getting the judges’ comments on the first chapter of TEARS that I submitted to the WHERE THE MAGIC BEGINS contest.  Part of the downward cycle has already started because I already know how many total points I got compared to the other entrants.

Understand, I didn’t actually want to final.  Heck, my book is no where ready to submit.  But a small part of me, shared a disappointment with the entrants that I didn’t final.  Again, a downward move on the coaster.  And when the comments come in…Yep, you guessed it.  I’ll hit rock bottom.  I’ll mope around, feeling like I should keep my day job.   (Oh, wait, my mortgage company thinks I should keep my day job!)

Then I’ll get very pissed.  How dare these sluts tell me what’s wrong with my story?  Growl, grumble, snort.  And a few other words I can’t say because this is a family blog…sort of.   My anger will fire my will to “show” them they don’t know what they’re talking about. 

Finally, I’ll look at the comments and get all these great ideas of where I can either incorporate the suggestions or get a path to use based on the comments.  I’ll get all excited and write, hopefully with the same kind of flow I had last Saturday.  And maybe this time as I make that upward swoop on the roller coaster, this time I’ll fly right off the tracks and straight into a sale.

God, I love this ride!