Poor Baby

What do these two words mean to you? As a”’mature’ woman of the South (although true Southern women would wag their momma finger at me because Texas isn’t considered ‘in the South!’), this is a phrase I grew up with, use on occasion, and get mixed reactions!  My grown son hates it when I tell him this, but I like it. Conveys a lot — sympathy, compassion, or if said quickly, disbelief, disdain.

Colloquialisms, regional sayings and dual purpose words don’t always work in our manuscripts. When I was a personal assistant for a published author, I reviewed her rewrites and some of the notes from the copy editor were strange, and laughable.  If you have to explain a word or phrase, then it has lost something in translation. And so has some of the wonderful color and flavor of that region. Poor baby! Bless her heart, she just doesn’t understand.

Should we as writers continue to use them, explaining the meaning in the following paragraphs, or not? I want to know, so chime in. Ya hear?

What’d They Get for Christmas?

If you’re like me finding the time and the inspiration to work on your current WIP has been tough over the Holidays. I’ve struggled to carve out the time to write since Thanksgiving. If it wasn’t for critique partners, I might not have written anything. Not only was time short, but so was my muse. It was almost as if my characters, knowing I had other things on my mind like shopping, cooking, cleaning, and wrapping presents, took a vacation. Now that the hustle and bustle is past, I’ve got the time to write. But my characters are still off playing somewhere else.

So to call them back I tried a little writing exercise sort of like the one Jackie Kramer gave us at our recent retreat. I pictured the hero and the heroine from my current WIP at midnight on Christmas Eve and asked myself, “What did they give each other?”

Mike, a musician, gave Car two gifts. The first, a heart-shaped box inscribed with a verse from one of his songs. Most importantly, he cleaned out his closet and chest of drawers to make room for Car in his life, literally and figuratively. You see Mike believed that in dream he’d seen his own death. Until he met Car, he was afraid to plan, let alone hope for, a bright future. Because of Car, he’s able to see beyond what might be to what can be.

When Car met Mike she believed in very little. The world was black and white. She thought the here and now was all there was. She had no faith and no hope for life or love everlasting. But the miracle of loving Mike is now all the proof she needs there is indeed a God. This Christmas, she gave Mike a cross inscribed with the words, “Because I believe.”

Think about your current WIP or about the book you just wrote (Remember, these are your characters not ones from a book you read) and tell us, what did your hero and heroine give each other for Christmas?

Week Out Of Time

It’s over.  All the hustle and bustle of getting ready for Christmas.  The baking is finished.   The gifts are unwrapped and gift cards spent.  Hopping from one holiday party and/or family gathering is completed and we come to what I call the “week out of time”.  It’s the last week of the year, one where we all wait for the new year to dawn.  To me, it’s a time to reflect on the past year and wonder about what’s coming.

I have admit…I think last year was good.  Not spectacular, but good.  For the past few years, since my mom’s death, I’ve been kind of wandering around in a haze.  Sure played the devil with my writing.  But after getting my grieving under control and my health issues settled (as well as getting on a happy pill), my life settled down this year.  Enough so, I’m actually writing again.  Not a lot down, but I’ve regained my enthusiasm for my story and worked on some stories. 

As for the future year, I made some New Year’s resolutions already.  First, I WILL finish TEARS this year, even if it’s such a rough draft I’ll have to spend half of next year re-writing.  I also want to submit at least three short stories for sale.  I’d love to say I’ll sell three, but since I don’t have control over that, I’ll settle for submitting.  And I’m going to read and study at least one writing how-to book a month.  God knows, I’ve bought enough; most of them I’ve only skimmed.  Now, I’m really going to go in-depth.

So, how about you?  Any resolutions you would like to share?

Merry Day after Christmas

The tree is empty of presents, bits of wrapping paper litter the floor, the kids are busy with their toys, and the refrigerator is full of leftovers. It is the day after Christmas, so whatcha gonna do?

For those avid die-hard shoppers, are you going back out for the sales, or battle the lines to return those not quite right presents? As the self-proclaimed queen of shopping, I’m staying home. NO returns for me to make, and I’m not buying anything for a while. I had a wonderful Christmas with a perfect day. 

That hasn’t always been my luck. I can remember how hard I would work to make things “perfect” only to burst into tears by the time I washed the dinner dishes. No matter how hard I would try to make everyone happy, I just could NOT do it. (I have a BIG phobia about not selecting the ‘right’ present for anyone–sometimes I can calm things down, but I’m always sure that whatever I get is wrong or not good enough–you can put in whatever string of words that fit.) Except for this year.
With Don’s accident, I’ve let go of  “perfect.” I did what I could, scaled down what I had to do–like Christmas dinner and decorating the house–and counted my blessings.

My writing has changed from the first of the year. I’m no longer than same person who greeted 2009–and I like this one better. It took a major upheaval in my comfort zone for me to change. I’ve let go of “perfect.” I am not going to write my first draft without errors. I’m not going to think about writing a tome,  just a story. If the first round is a little bare, I’ll add a bit more.

And I will count my blessings that I am back to writing.

And not standing in line somewhere.   🙂

December jinx?

Hi guys. I’m late posting. Again. But with good reason.

Mom had surgery three days ago and I’ve been helping to take care of her. She had a 90% blocked artery in her neck (caroted? is that right?), and had to have it repaired. The Doc said she was an anurism (sp?)  just waiting to happen. Thankfully, she is doing fine and would be recovering nicely if we could just get her to take it slow. Yesterday she was up and about (against doctor’s orders) baking Christmas cookies, of all things! She hurt herself while bending over to lift them out of the oven, so we’ve been taking shifts, trying to keep her in bed. (she is a spirted little thing, you know) I’m heading over there with the log chain, later, to try and strap her down. And for those of you that think I’m kidding, you have not yet met my mom. Or me. 🙂

So, in light of all the chaos that has  been happening lately, I’d like to ask if anyone else is having a more difficult (than usual) December? So far, my brother-in-law lost his job, my mom had her surgery, my sister had her hours cut at work, my ex was laid off (no more child support for me for awhile), my daughters truck broke down (hundreds of dollars in repairs that I can’t afford) and the other daughter’s Peace Corp invite got put on hold…and so on. I know we are supposed to be cheerful this time of year, but mostly I’m standing around wondering WTF? waiting for the next blow to fall.

Is anyone else in on the Holiday hum-drums, or is it all peppermint candy and mistletoe for you? I really hope that it is, and that I’m the only one suffering from the Christmas blues this year….

Still the One

I’m a Scorpio and proud of it.

One of the odd things about Scorpio females is that we often recognize our future mate upon our first meeting. That was true of my DH and me. I knew the minute I saw that guy, the one with the black, curly hair, bronzed skin, and brown eyes, standing across the room, that he was the one.

Even so, I waited a full two weeks before I spoke to him. I walked up to him at a party and said, “I’ve been deserted. Will you talk to me?” That was thirty years ago and we’ve been together ever since. During those thirty years, I’ve lived enough romance to keep me writing for the next thirty years.

I set the tone for our marriage as we were walking out of the church on our wedding day. I turned to him, announcing, “Just so ya know, divorce is not an option. But homicide is always on the table.”

The key to keeping our relationship alive for us has always been our ability to laugh together. Through financial success and near bankruptcy, through sickness and in health, we’ve always been able to yuk it up.

My DH has an irreverent sense of humor and I often find myself playing the straight man. While I was in labor with our first child, my DH read to me from Truly Tasteless Jokes. The nurses were appalled but that’s because they didn’t understand…the man was scared sh*tless. It’s one the most endearing things about him, he uses humor to cover those moments when the guy is supposed to be brave, but he’s really scared out of his mind.

I’m fortunate that my DH supports my writing. He lovingly calls me his “smut monger” and daily asks me how much “smut” I’ve written. He regularly jokes that the best part of being married to a romance writer is that he never knows which character he’ll be sleeping with. J

I doubt he’d like knowing he’s been the inspiration for many of my heroes. Again and again, lifetime after lifetime, he’s still the one.

Christmas and Writing

I’ve heard authors moan about how Christmas preparations cuts into their writing time.  Oh, really?  It’s just a matter of–

Crap!  Was that the time on my oven?  Hang on until I get my cookies out.

Now, what was I saying?  Oh, yeah.  Writing during the holiday season just takes—

What did she say?  Did Katie Couric just say tomorrow is the last day the Post Office can guarantee a before Christmas delay?  It can’t be!  I don’t have all my cards addressed yet!  Hang on…hang on…

Okay, okay, I’m back.  I’ve heard some authors say…  Oh, wait. I’ve already written that, haven’t I?  What I mean is that it just takes an adjustment to the author’s schedule.  For instance–

You just didn’t clog up, did you, kitchen sink?  When I have all these bowls and cookie sheets to wash?  Do you think I can afford the time to get you cleared?   *#&%**!

Excuse my little tantrum.  Now as I was saying, writing during the holidays can be challenging.  I find it handy to make a schedule and…

Party?  What party?  You mean, the party where I volunteered to bring the Party Mix?  The Party Mix I haven’t even started yet for the party that starts in 40 minutes?  Acccch!

Oooom.   Ooooom.  Excuse me; just a little yoga to get my blood pressure under control.  Back to the subject.   When writing at this time of the year, make sure you have–

Wouldn’t you know it?  I don’t see the Millers all year long and they pick NOW to drop by for their annual hours-long visit.  Can’t I get a break here?

 Absolutely nothing else is going to interrupt me from finishing this blog!  I swear by all I hold holy that–

Oh.

Okay, that’s it for now.  My beautiful daughter-in-law just came.  We’re going shopping for toys.  After all, Grams (that’s me!) has a reputation for giving her great-grands nothing but the coolest gifts.

So much for writing.

Hope you all have a happy holiday and I’ll catch you on the flip side!