#&*$%@$ Day Job!

I know, I know . . .  potty mouth.

But, lately I’ve been very frustrated with the amount of time my day job is taking away from my writing life.  Now, I love my job and it is very fulfilling – I’m an attorney for U.S. Navy and you couldn’t have a better group of clients.  And, this working thing isn’t new. I am not independently wealthy and while my husband is a few years older than I am – he’s no Sugar Daddy. (Although I hear that “the Hef” is now available and apparently has room at the mansion and rockin’ party already planned and paid for)

So, when I began down the path of publication and took this compulsion to write seriously, I always had to work it around the day job.  I write in the evenings after the kids have gone to bed and I can usually get in a good 2-3 hours before my comfortable bed beckons from across the room. And, sometimes I can squeeze…
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Be a Money Honey

The last few weeks have been crazy. Everything has centered around my debut novel, Up a Dry Creek, coming out today. Yep, today. If I wasn’t so freaked out I’d be having the time of my life.

However, reality yanked me out of my debut novel euphoria on Friday. There I was typing away when my computer made a sound I hear multiple times a day – a sweet little bing accompanied by a calendar reminder box. June 15: Pay Estimate 2011 Taxes. Ugh. Talk about a buzz kill.

So let’s talk money. More specifically taxes.

First off, know that none of this is meant as professional advice. I am not now nor have I ever been an accountant – trust me, one glance at my checkbook and you’d realize how true that is. However, I’ve learned a few things the hard way that may make paying the piper a little easier for you.

Writing is your passion, your…
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Love, Comma, Yours Truly

“Know the rules, so you know how to break them properly.” –Dalai Lama

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Depending on the time of day and the amount of alcohol involved, writers can go on for hours debating the differences between “voice” and “style.” As a part time copyeditor, it is my job to recognize an author’s style…and then not mess with it (unless it conflicts with house style–just like in poker, the house always wins).

One of the elements unique to each writer’s style is the comma.

Commas are used for lots of reasons. They can be used in lists of one thing, two things, and a third thing. They are used when addressing someone. They are used when interjecting a thought into a middle of a sentence. Most commonly, however, they are used to designate a pause in the rhythm of the text.

Most commas are legal. I feel confident in saying that because…
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Resumes and Synopsis . . . So Much Alike!

I will have to say I haven’t had time to get on-line as much as I would like to lately.  Recent situations in my ‘real’ life have interrupted much of my normal routine.  Having had a rough 2010 with my hubby laid-off (he has a solid job again and I thank God every day) and the economy the way it is, we’ve had to accept the fact I can no longer be a stay at home Mom in which we’d both agreed to eighteen years ago when my oldest was an infant.  When my second daughter came along 3 years and eight days after the first, it didn’t make sense to work just to pay for daycare.

Now that the oldest is in college and the youngest is two years away from high school graduation, it’s time for me to beat the streets of the job market.  Years of volunteering and various jobs from home (everything from in home party sales to helping my father-in-law with his insurance company) I’m now…
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Acronym Soup

It always blew my mind when my husband would come home and say something like…

“After retiring from the USMC four years ago, I went to work for the DoD as a PM with a PMP cert and have managed elements of the MTVR, HMMWV, MRAP and MATV programs, all ranging from ACAT III up to ACAT ID according to the DoD 5000 and DAWIA standards.  We work to counter IEDs, EFPs, RKG-3s with BFTs, Armor, RWS as well as the TAK-4 suspension from OTC and have expended billions in IR&D, PMC and O&M funding over the past 9 FYDB.”

Anyone understand what I just said? I didn’t either for the longest time. I had to learn to speak acronym.

Many people use acronyms, and some of them are so imbedded in our everyday lives that we don’t even realize we are using them. Things like TV, PJs, NASA, NATO, OMG,…
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Calling All Underdogs!

 

Doesn’t everyone want to be inspired?  Let’s face it.  We all have that hunger to be the one-in-a-million shot.   And if we can’t be it, we at least want to root for that underdog.    

The first movie that had me sitting on the edge of my seat was Rocky.  With my heart pounding with excitement, I watched as he beat the odds.  I remember being so disappointed and even dumbfounded that Rocky didn’t win that fight with Apollo Creed.  I’m not sure I even knew that he didn’t win until years later.  I couldn’t imagine it.  Where’s the happy ending?  Between Adrian’s red beret falling off and her running, running madly for the man she loved and Rocky not caring a fig that the announcer was declaring the winner and him shouting, shouting soulfully for the woman he loved, it sure felt like he won. 

But then, I got it.  It was about GETTING THERE.  Getting the shot and not being afraid to take it. 

Everyone assumed Rocky…
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Artist Date and Bento Box

When I was four years old, I made a caterpillar in preschool. I glued together cut-up egg-cartons to form the segmented body and stuck pipe-cleaners on the “head” to form antenna. When I finished, the teacher instructed me to put the caterpillar into my cubby hole, and the class went outside for recess. When we returned, the caterpillar was gone. In its place was a beautiful butterfly.

I remember staring at this butterfly, in delight and astonishment and wonder. Its wings stretched out in an array of color, and glitter dusted its body. Life was all about discovery and exploration, and anything was possible in this world. Absolutely anything.

Of course, then I grew up, and school was no longer about art projects and magical transformations. It revolved, instead, around analytical…
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If Voice Found, Please Return to Rightful Owner

Here, voicey  voicey.  Come out, come out wherever you are.  Dang blast it.  I’ve lost it again.  My dratted voice.  Not the one I use to issue dictates to errant children, ultimatums to disobedient husbands or false sincerity to overbearing bosses.  Definitely not that one.  The voice I lost, or maybe never had at all, is that mellifluous fingerprint-like identification of that quality only the best writers can convey.  It’s like a lineup or a taste test.  If I had a slew of books, covers, bios and dedications ripped away, with only my eyes as the guideposts, I can tell you which writer wrote which book.  You know exactly what I’m talking about.  It’s that voice, takes you by the lapels and yanks you into whatever or wherever it wishes you to go.  That’s the voice I’m looking for.. and the one I still can’t find.

That’s not to say I don’t hear voices.  Oh, believe me, I do.  My voice hearing ability can rival all the faces of…
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Rewriting: the Love/Hate relationship of writing and how we manage it

I have a draft open on my laptop right now:  “Lucky Numbers v12 100p June4”.  Tomorrow, the version 12 will be version13.  One hundred pages will have been re-read and minute changes made, for the thirteenth time.  If I can finish those hundred pages tomorrow it will be submitted, along with the synopsis (currently version 14) to an editor who requested it at the WRW retreat in May.

But my secret is, I didn’t write all of it.  I’m putting the final rewrite on a manuscript I’ve been writing with a collaborator for two years.  This is the most recent version of the tale, and it’s been a long and complex production.

How do you handle rewrites?  Is putting the story down a breeze, and the rewriting a slog?  Do you plot as you go, and then have to go back and patch up all the holes you left behind?  Or is it all carefully planned, with minor time needed for…
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The Muse…To Tell or Not To Tell?

Today I happened to be innocently surfing the web, in search of…well, a kick start for a character, yes…a muse.  I came upon the official website of a talented and handsome actor and decided to check it out.  The website was under construction but there was one active tab I could click on.  So I did.  And it was a link to contact the actor through email. 

That is a dangerous thing in the hands of a writer on the search for that little something to give her some oomph behind a character.  My first reaction was to click on the link, type something cheesy about how talented and handsome he is and to be clever, add a little thank you for being my inspiration today. 

Thank goodness my secret sense kicked in just in time before I made a fool of myself!!

And it got me thinking…as a writer, which aspects of your personal process do you feel should be kept secret and which ones do you think are safe…
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