What Are You Doing This Weekend? – Baltimore Book Festival!

imgresThe next four weeks are going to be CRAZY busy — just the way I like it.

The past two months have been insane. I’ve been buried in the writer’s cave with the occasional ‘break’ to attend events like the Writers’ Police Academy, and this weekend the Baltimore Book Festival, and week after that, PhauxCon (visit website for details:), and then the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference (RWA Chapter) — but in between the travel I am writing, plotting, researching — but it’s what I want to do (and love to do:).

But this weekend you should join me.

I’m a special events kind of gal. I like when people gather to talk about a common interest, to share what they know and care about with people who know and care about similar things, to me that is the heart of a conference – a gathering of people who want to learn, share, and meet! Well, if you’re into…
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Is it Christmas yet?

SusanMermaidFriends, I have a confession to make today.  And a story to tell.

Confession: After a summer of industrious writing almost every single day, my writing urge came to a screeching halt.  Sometime in August, I believe. Definitely about a month ago.  Maybe more. I didn’t panic, because I was sure the root cause would be discovered eventually, and we’d get our little writing choo-choo back on track.  And, with the school year started, I’m not exactly eager to strain my back getting pages out. I have Freshmen to train, and Seniors to tame, and a library to run – that is the priority now, until next May. If the writing waits, it waits. I’ll live.

At least, after the CTRWA Cherry Adair workshop last weekend, I do know more about why my story is stalled. Gang, it’s not pretty. Ms. Adair diagnosed my story as “thin”. She had ideas, and my chapter mates backed me up with suggestions for an…
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Beyond Talks with Imaginary People: Ten Reasons the Rest of the World Thinks Writers Are Crazy*

Pintip Mermaid1. At the table of a crowded restaurant, we debate the pros and cons of killing by poisonous gas or a slit to the throat.

2. Most of our texts to our friends read something like: “1236 words! You?”

3. We return to our manuscripts and add an adjective (only to take it out later in revisions) just so we can say we hit out daily word count.

4. We call our friends to share life events – “Brynn just got into college!” or “Brynn has a baby!” – and accept the ensuing congratulations like a proud mama, even though Brynn is not our daughter. Or niece. Or even a person, really.

5. One year later, we completely blank on Brynn’s name.

6. We convince our husbands to help us out with a sticky detail by contorting our bodies into complicated sexual positions. And when we figure out just the right angle, we pop up and rush out of the…
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Best Lines Ever… Go!

Sometimes an author writes a line that sticks with you.  Here are a few of my favorites, including one of my own (yes, I know, presumptuous).   What are your favorite lines from other authors, but especially yourself?

For Sale:  Baby Shoes.  Never Worn.  Earnest Hemingway (a six line story competition)

“Sometimes a woman needs a man for company, no matter how useless he is.”  Lisa Kleypas, Sugar Daddy

“I have sex,” Grace shrugged. “I meant with a man,” Claudia said dryly. “Now why would I ruin something so good by inviting a man along?”  Sarah Mayberry,  All Over You

“You signed me up for an orgy?  My own mother signed me up for an orgy?”  Masha Levinson, Cruising for Love

 

Priorities

I’m in a funk.

I know! Not the way you wanted me to start my Month 9 Sparkle Plan post. But since I promised to be honest during the Sparkle Plan, I have to talk about my funk.

(What in the hell is the Sparkle Plan? It’s all about my weight loss and getting healthy journey. Check out the inaugural post here.) Kerri Carpenter

While pondering my funk this past week, I realized three things. 1. I do not make myself a priority. 2. When trying to get healthy (losing weight, being more active, whatever), you have to make yourself a priority. 3. I’m kinda mean…to myself!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to go for a run or attend a Zumba class but have gotten waylaid. My dog needs my attention or a friend calls. The laundry won’t do itself and I NEED socks. I’m on a writing deadline. I have a blog post due. The…
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September: The Other New Year

Denny (PortRoyale)Okay, this blog post is going to break the rules. I’ve got three topics here and am giving each one it’s own spotlight. So let’s go!

I know a lot of folks, most of us, look at January 1 as the beginning of the new year and the perfect opportunity to make a fresh start. We have resolutions, new diets, we throw things out of the closet we don’t need or no longer want to indulge in, all of which makes sense. The beginning of a brand new year and getting started on the right foot is soothing and invigorating–and critical to the human condition. We aspire to change even if we don’t always succeed. But as much as I love the first day of a new year, I am a huge fan of September.

It is my favorite month (but the other 11 are  high up there on my list of good, too:), but September is the beginning of my ‘new year’. Of course, it stems…
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I will remember you…

Mermaid CarleneLast month, I forgot to post here in the pond. I didn’t think about it a couple days beforehand and then forgot. I didn’t have something I was working on but then became overwhelmed with real-life things and ran out of time. I completely blanked. My monthly slot was nowhere on my radar and that’s saying something because Kerri Mermaid sends us weekly reminders when it’s our turn. That’s a weird feeling to not have a conscious thought about something you normally do as routine and put a lot of thought into. Since then, I can’t stop thinking about my fishy sisters and this pond and you, our friends. Maybe I’ve got a serious case of absence making the heart grow fonder now that I’m over here on the opposite coast, but I thought I’d share this today.

“It’s funny how we feel so much but cannot say a word.”~Sarah McLachlan

But I can, so here…
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Iron Underpants and Sagging Middles

SusanMermaidOn Tuesday, our little family celebrated my beloved’s birthday. And, while it was a happy celebration, for me, it was bittersweet, too. You see, his birthday is two weeks before the start of school – and, for me, the signal that summer is nearly over. I need to get ready for school: my job, my real job, is in a school.

And that means my writing life, at least the life I’ve been living for the last three months, is almost over. No more planning my day around the hours of writing, no sketching out a scene on paper before hitting Scrivener. No more gleeful Facebook word count posts. No more staying up late.

I started the summer telling myself I would pump out 60,000 words before school started again. At this writing, I’ve gotten 36,000 done. I haven’t finished my story, I’ve made it to the middle. That’s it.

It’s SO tempting to throw up my hands and say, “Well,…
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Lessons in Rejection

My heart has been breaking all summer. Over problems no parent can solve. About my inability to protect my children — from hurt feelings, from being excluded, frompintip the agony of rejection.

“I’d rather get a hundred rejections than have my child go through this,” I thought.

The sacrifice of a mother? Sure. But being a seasoned veteran of rejection, I also felt I was better equipped to deal with the pain.

After all, I’ve had LOTS of experience with rejection as a writer. And I’ve learned a ton. For example:

1. I learned to temper my expectations. Seven-figure deals, international book tours, movie adaptations — I’ve dreamed them all. But they didn’t happen, and they didn’t happen quickly. And so, my dreams are different now. Simpler. And they motivate me just as much. A career as a writer. My book on a shelf. Spending my days doing what I love most.

2. I learned that rejection gets easier over time….
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Guilty Pleasures

Ever feel guilty about something that gave you great pleasure?

There are so many days in which we give to others that when we take time to do something we want to do, we feel guilty–or at least I do. A perfect example was last week:

My mom recently moved back into the home she was raised in up in Northern Michigan and I went up to see her for a week along with my youngest daughter. We drove twelve hours from Western Maryland to Northern Michigan and had a great time, just the two of us. It was our first ‘mother/daughter’ trip.

Now originally we were going up to help my mother paint and unpack but it ended up becoming a vacation of sorts. My sister who lives up there, near my mom, came over for the week. We spent days traveling to the towns I’d lived in when I was younger, out to my grandparents property, and up to see the sights at Mackinaw Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes…
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