"...I'm a fool in so many ways. But to lose all my senses,
that is just so typically me. Oh baby, baby." - Britney Spears
Last November my precious flash drive tragically died, through no fault of mine. On it was stored my entire manuscript, related research, every scrap of my notes and the preliminary work-ups of 5 more wips - none of it backed up (yeah, that part was totally my fault). Luckily, I was able to find some Ninjas who were able to retrieve it all (yeah, my heroes!). Then I vowed that I would never put myself in that situation every again. Well, apparently I didn't learn my lesson. Sigh...
Oh, I started backing up my files but in an admittedly very half-assed manner. At 4 a.m., after writing on for 6 hours, battling blurry eyes and an exhausted mind and body - backing up my night's work was a spotty sometimes thing indeed. But in feeble defense, I did print my edits and new work immediately. Yesterday while changing loads I found my flash drive in the bottom of the washing machine. I had washed it - twice! I so didn't want to pay another $200 to my Ninjas without first trying to fix my fuck up myself - to the internets! I Googled my problem and found an unusual solution: immerse the wet flash drive in rice for 24 hours. I was desperate enough to try it - and it WORKED! Yay!! To answer your unspoken question: YESI've totally learned my lesson this time. I've thrice backed up every file - on my Mac, on a flash drive and on cd. In the meantime, I hope this unusual fix comes in handy for you if you need it.
Sorry I have not posted in such a long while. Mamma-hood and my fledgling career have been occupying almost all of my time. Still, I write every night and have recently joined forces with a mentor/ critique partner to help me finish this baby. The kids go back to school in two weeks, then I'll have a lot more breathing room - hallelulah!
"Bad boys ain't no good. Good boys ain't no fun...
Me and Mr. Wrong get along so good.
Even though he breaks my heart so bad,
I love my Mr. Wrong."
- Mary J. Blige
Love love love SCANDAL. Intrigue, secrets, espionage, murder, mayhem, betrayal, convoluted machinations, good guys, bad guys, 21st century Gladiators, sexual tension you cannot cut with the sharpest serrated edge. And sex. Lots of hot nasty sex - or at least as much hot and nasty sex as the FCC will allow (this show SO needs to go to cable - these people seriously need to get as sweaty and naked as they obviously wanna be). If you're not watching this show, you need to. Naughty inspiration abounds. I just found a fan created Scandal montage/homage set to a song by the musical queen of all things drama - Mary J. Blige, "Mr. Wrong." Perfect. Absolutely perfect.
"Outside a dog, a book is probably man's best friend,
and inside a dog, it's too dark to read."
- Groucho Marx
As you know I'm a Night Owl writer. My family safe is warm, snuggly and sleeping in their beds. I can focus 100% on my writing. But I have one companion who never leaves my side - my adorable Tiny Toy Poodle Coco. Every night when I sit down at my desk and open my laptop, that's Coco's cue to curl up on her princess pillow beneath my desk and commence snoozing and snoring; keeping company. She never complains or is impatient. She knows that just after the sun rises - a few hours before our home explodes with the activities and sounds of my fine ass man and our three amazing children getting ready for work and school - we'll take a walk along quiet tree lined streets before curling up in my bed. Our routine is always the same, except for tonight...
For the past few days I've been on a writer-bender. I'm so close to finishing my first wip, my muse has decided to go into overdrive (and I'm SO not complaining). But I've been putting in longer hours than usual, writing all day on top of my Night Owl gig. And when I do come up for air Mamma-hood takes precedence. Well tonight Coco decided enough was enough. She sat at my feet and cried until I picked her up. Of course I can't type or take notes with a poodle in my lap. But every time I put her down - crying. I finally grabbed a tiny blanket and made a nest for her on one corner of my desk. Coco was happy and I settled down to work. Every once in awhile I'll scratch her little furry head and she'll wuff a plot idea to me. I swear that she understands every word I say. Yeah, she's the best. Okay back to work. I've got a sunrise date with a poodle in a few hours ;-}
Hey! I know that I have not posted in about a month but I'm still here ;-} I've been wrestling my wip. Until now, I've been happily flying by the seat of my pants - 30,000 words' worth (yay). Then... crickets. Enrolled in a few RWA online workshops, a few lightbulbs and a bit of inspiration garnered another 4,000 then those damned crickets returned (Grrr). Plan B: return to my bread and butter - research. Deborah Dixon (G.M.C.) Angela Knight (Passionate Ink), Buckham & Love (Break Into Fiction). The ladies helped quite a bit, but they also filled my head with a cacophony (grimace). After yet another night, when squeezing out a sentence felt like passing a gallstone, I 'stepped' back and ruminated on the/my process. Let me tell you, it was not a pretty sight.
There I was, on the raggedy edge...
Solely 'pantsing' was obviously not working; but writing out intricate diagrams and charts for my nearly dozen characters (major, minor and walk-ons) SO did not work for my flow either. I thought that I had to be either a pantseror a plotter. I chose one and stubbornly clung to it. But, as this journey continued, and I struggled to fit my metaphorical red tipped feet into too small stilettos (ouch!), I realized that I became caught up in semantics. What if I'm not one or the other but a little bit of both - defined by my own particular spicy flow? Isn't that what a writer does: take the bits and pieces that fit and file away the rest for possible future use? Time to mix it up a little.
I grabbed my trusty notebook. I wrote major character templates before I wrote a single wip sentence. But they were never complete. Now I realize that's because I'm discovering new things about my characters as the plot develops and new conflicts get thrown into the mix. Cool, I can work with this. But I've started a 2nd notebook - all plotting to keep it clear. One short paragraph for the overall chapter's theme, one sentence for each scene within that chapter, then I get my pantser on and keep adding layers in no particular order. I'm finding that my 'Temple outline' keeps me focused and gives me clear direction (even if I make changes in the interim). Before I knew it I had pantser-plotted my way to the end - hallelujah!
I've given myself a tentative completed draft deadline - 1 June. And for the first time I think that I just might actually make it. Alright back to work. Send me some positive vibes. Allons-y!
The good news is that 'The Good Professor' is 32,000 words strong. That's encouraging because my tentative end word count is 50,000. The bad news is that I've hit another wall (grimace). Not writer's block - I know where I want to go and where I want to end up. It's that I'm still fumbling my way in the dark, no idea how to actually get to where I want to go (sigh). For a day or two I was completely freaking out - I've got a deadline! Then it hit me: one of the perks of being a professor is knowing well the advantages of being a student - potential and opportunity abound. Thus, I've enrolled in two R.W.A. chapter online writer's workshops - the teacher becomes the student: lectures, research, homework... And I'm SO glad that I did. Inspiration abounds; lightbulbs flashing all over the place.
So please excuse my paltry posting. My posts will be sporadic at least while I work my way to the end of 'The Good Professor.' My sistah-mentor assures me that the first book takes the longest amount of time to complete; my subsequent wip/ms will go faster - or so I hope and pray. In the meantime, I'm holding my breath...swimming under water, and I love it ;-}
I love the whooshing sound they make as they go by."
- Douglas Adams
Had to come up for air. Looks like another night writing 'til the sun rises and I'm debating whether or not to put on a pot of java. My deadline is a self imposed one - perhaps the worst kind of them all. How can I simultaneously love writing and the creative process and yet hate their fucking guts at the same time? Don't answer that.
I've been working on a nasty little sex scene between my heroine and hero and decided that I needed to do a 'net photo crawl for a bit of inspiration. I have a clear picture of my heroine in my mind. As for my hero, he's my uninhibited mental compilation of everything I love about the male spirit, mind and body. You know the man who'd you'd only kick out of your bed so you could fuck him on the floor. Still, I needed a visual inspiration for my alpha male - the better for quality writing, of course. Joe/Alcide is Ridge Copeland personified...sigh. Oh how I suffer for my art ;-} Okay, back to work.
I've been diligently plugging away on my keyboard - working on the seemingly never ending journey of finishing my first wip. But of late my plugging has sputtered down to a spotty ineffectual tap-tap-tap. Nearly two weeks ago I admitted the biter reality - I've hit a mental, creative wall. And that wall is solid, massive and a stone cold fucker! Trying to force my muse made my distressing situation even worse, even more frustrating. Arghhhhh!
Though I tried, as best as I could to best that wall, I couldn't go over, under, around or through it. After another long fruitless brain racking night, I gave up (again) and crawled under the covers. Several hours later, my dreams woke me. But I wasn't dreaming about my wip. No, there was a whole other crop people (characters) crowding my mind. A series I think. Time, place, people, sights, sounds, smells - all in technicolor surround sound. They woke me up, encouraged me to pull out my notebook and pen and write, and write and write. And somehow in the process I found my latest heroine.
I didn't know it at the time, but I had made a breakthrough. I'm not a one-trick-pony. And I can't say strongly enough how relieved I am to discover that there's plenty of imagination and creative mojo hiding in the depths of my little grey cells. I think that I've also found a way, in part at least, to deal with that stone cold mental-wall fucker - diversify ;-}
Now all that's left for me to do is finish The Good Professor - sigh...
"My pride, my ego, my needs and my selfish ways..."
Bruno Mars, When I Was Your Man (2013)
It's ironic. When I began writing my ms I was most worried about the plot. While of course I want my novel to be chock full of hott steamy squirm in your seat sex. I want all of that lovin' to be intertwined with an interesting engrossing plot - and for the sex and plot to be the backdrop for the heart - a good old fashioned, honest to goodness love story. Don't get me wrong, I love smut. There's something pure, honest and simply enjoyable about raw lust and fucking. Yeah. But I came of age in the 'Bodice-ripping' era, i.e. Kathleen Woodiwiss, Thea Devine and J.D. Robb; and cut my teeth on the illustrious likes of Jaid Black and Lora Leigh. Those are my favorite books. The ones that have always stuck with me. The ones I love to read. The ones I want to write.
The ironic part? My fertile imagination may be challenged with connecting the dots, but the actual plot? I'm there. And I've been pleasantly surprised to discover that allowing my naughty thoughts full rein has not been a problem - although it's a job of work to find a variety of ways to describe a cock (ha!). But my greatest challenge has been writing a full and nuanced Heroine and Hero - and I don't mean conveying realistic idiosyncracies, hang-ups and assorted baggage. No, what I've been struggling with is writing the tender voyage of discovery part(s). My Hero is a yummy Alpha and my Heroine is an ambitious, self-sufficient ball-buster. My conundrum? How to write about, how to fully communicate the very real human emotions involved in revealing oneself to another, to being a safe loving place for that another (and vice versa), to get to a vulnerable place of trust, to write it - not easy between an Alpha and a ball buster. What to do?
I've researched, read and watched a few of my favorite erotic films - always helpful. But in the end for the best inspiration I returned, as I always do, to...music. I think that songwriters, especially lyricists have it the hardest. They have to tell a complete and hopefully nuanced story in the smallest 'space' possible: an introduction, a few verses and a refrain. But the best ones, the ones that stay with you always, do it beautifully. Over the years I've compiled quite a collection of such songs - that do what the best romance novels do in the smallest space possible. The other day Mr. Gorgeous gave me a new song to add to my collection - perfect for my Night Owl Music playlist: When I Was Your Man (Bruno Mars).
Leave it to my man to introduce me to a song that encapsulates the passionate turbulent drama(s) of the earliest part(s) of our 30 year long love affair. Mr. Gorgeous told me he's the guy in the unwritten verse - the man who managed to get his shit together in time to get his woman in the end. Otherwise known as the perfect writer's fodder. Alright, back to writing. In the meantime, enjoy this gorgeous song.
with a lot of writing paper, and a dog, and a fireplace..."
- Lieutenant Richard Van De Geer
It's been nearly a month since my last post. While my holidays are always consumed with the intricacies of motherhood, family and hearth; this year's holidays have been especially challenging for me - I've been wrestling with finishing this ms; valiantly waging battle with my insecurities and performance anxieties. In a nutshell - who the hell am I to think that I have what it takes to be an author?! Luckily, blessedly, I have a few mentors and fellow authors to figuratively slap me up-side-the-head, literally set me straight - thanks Ladies, I needed that. Of course my ace in the hole is that I'm a stubborn thing. My determination to succeed is infinately stronger and bitchier than my insecurities. And I'm making progress - yay! The finish line is in sight. Yeah, I can do this. I'm not going anywhere. Ha!
It's soooo cold! But the falling snow is truly lovely. Coco (my faithful canine always companion) curled up at my feet, a little red wine, a crackling fire to keep the bone chilling cold at bay. Sade crooning - taking turns with Holly, Ella and Billie - moody inspiration. Another night writing until the sun rises.
It's the 7th day of the New Year and I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store. I'm looking forward to discovering the something wonderful that awaits beyond the each new sunrise. And that's what I wish for you. That each new sunrise brings to you something wonderful.