Friday, May 04, 2007

McPhail Center for Music

As I've posted here before, Mason is very into classic music right now. He got interested in it kind of by accident. He also went through a TV phase (sadly, he seems completely out of that one -- and, okay, it's only sad because we can't easily distract him by suggesting he watch TV anymore.)

Anyway, during his TV phase, I introduced him to Fantasia (the original) which we had a VCR tape of. He's been fascinated ever since. My "teaching" style as a parent tends to be very opportunistic. Mason is into music right now, so I find music related things for us to do. MomCulture had a day at the opera program that we went to, and Mason loved that. They had jazz duo performance at the McPhail center, and we went to that. I signed us up to be on the mailing list and got a notice in the mail earlier this week about the Bakken Trio (a violinist, cellist and pianist) who will be doing an informal show at the McPhail today over lunch. We're going. It's Mason's first "grown up" concert.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Seven Deadly Sins and Writing: Sloth

There are several things that a nascent writer hears over and over: write what you know; show don’t tell; and write every day. I think we can argue about the validity of the first two, but I’ve found that the last one actually stuck with me… even now, several published books later.

Stephen King in his book On Writing talks about how if you sit down at the same time every day, your Muse knows where to look for you. I think he’s right. The habit of writing, though often hard to establish, is worth the effort.

When I wrote my first novel (still unpublished) I set myself a goal, very arbitrarily, of 425 words a day. Some days, with a full time job, a family, and whatnot – it was hard to make that paragraph. Still, if I did it, I was that much closer to THE END. And, more often than not, if I started 425, I’d end up with 600 or 1,000.

Unlike some, I didn’t tell myself WHEN I needed to write those words each day, just that I needed to write them. For me, I found that if I could be flexible, I would find the time to write. I would write during lunch, during downtime on the job, after dinner, late at night, early in the morning, or scribble notes on a napkin while out somewhere. As long as I wrote 425 words at some point during the day, I considered myself meeting my goal.

I have always found – and continue to find – that the more I wrote, the easier it was to write the next day. If something interrupted me, say, like life, the next time I picked up the proverbial pen, it was a lot harder to start.

Even so, I have always taken the weekends off. This is a strange personal quirk of mine, but for me, treating writing like a job was what I needed to commit to the career. So, I take weekends off (except during crunch time.) But, what that means for me is that Monday writing is always the hardest.

If I take time off after having finished a big project (say, like a novel,) which I often do… starting up again is a pain. It’s like I’ve forgotten basic sentence structure. Or my writing muscles have atrophied. So, even after all this time, I try to write at least something on my fiction projects every day.

Do you?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

First Night of Freedom… Squandered!

Having just finished the latest Garnet book (#3), I had my first official night off from writing last night. What did I do? I did everything a newly “freed” writer should do: I watched some network TV (can I confess something? I’m a total “House” junkie,) and then read another chapter or two in a good book (currently: John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War.)

I also wrote.

I know. I'm so ashamed. It's like an addiction. It was the strangest thing. I totally didn’t intend to, but, you see, there’s been this very oddball paranormal romance short story (novel?) bubbling up inside me wanting to come out. The problem is, of course, it’s not a Garnet story. Not only is it not a Garnet story, it’s probably completely un-sellable. Why, you ask? Well, because it’s the story of a chick-litty type heroine who is told by a very hunky angel of God that she is the next messiah. It’s so _wrong_ on so many levels. Of course, I’m enjoying it. Nothing may ever come from it, but that’s okay. I think sometimes it’s good for the soul to have a writing project that’s completely doomed – something you do for the love of it, rather than thinking too hard about whether or not it will ever sell.

Certainly, that’s how alternate me sold her first novel. I wrote something just for myself. Something that turned ME on, and, though I wrote it with a professional eye, I was fairly convinced it was far too controversial and at the same time too frivolous, (see my description of current project for example) to every catch the interest of an editor or an agent. As it turned out, it did both. Who’d’a thunk it?

Tonight, however, I’m determined NOT to write. I really want to read and sleep – both things I desperately need to catch up on.

I’m sure I can go one night without writing.

Yeah, watch me not write.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dead Sexy Debut

So, today is the big day for Dead Sexy... it hits the streets today. I just happened to be at the Mall of America today and noticed that they had my latest on the shelves. Whoot! The best part of being a writer, IMHO, is moments like these... when you walk into a bookstore and there is YOUR very own name on the spine of a book. The thrill, for me at least, never deminishes.

Even though I'm sick as a dog. I woke up yesterday morning with a sticky throat. Mason caught a cold a couple of days ago, and usually these things pass on to Shawn. But, I think because I'd been staying up well past midnight for the last several days putting polishing touches on Garnet Lacey Book 3 (which was due today at the publisher, and I'm happy to say I got it in one WHOLE day early. A new record for me, I think), I was more susceptible. Last night I hardly slept for draining. And today Mason and I had to take Shawn to the airport. She's off on a work conference in Arizona for four days... so I get to experience life as a "single" parent for nearly a week (while sick). Bleah.

Oh, and Mason wants to report that he saw another new license plate: BRITISH COLUMBIA. Still no West Virginia, though.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Quickie: Five Questions

Check out this five question/answer interview with me over at