Saturday, May 30, 2009

Writing in a Monastery

I'm on a writing retreat with the Sask Rom Writers in a monastary in Muenster, SK.

Days are spent in our rooms, writing. We walk about a hundred feet to the main building where we're fed 3 really good meals a day. And we socialize for a few hours in the evening.

I'm working on revisions to Marry Me Ma'am.

I wouldn't know I was in a monastery except for the monks walking by in their long black tunics.
Have I mentioned the food is really good?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Prairie Chick Goes on Retreat

Outside my window, the trees bow and bob as if trying to shoot out the new green leaves like bullets from a Gatling gun. The air whistles as it’s forced through a crack beside the door. No matter where I go in the house, I hear the dull roar from outside, advancing and retreating in waves. When the kids opened the door to leave for school, the air filled with an earthy vegetative smell reminiscent of a forest. The normally blue sky is obscured by a mantle of clouds.

Yet, I’m snug inside our little house on the prairie. :) Since Jessie has a music lesson and dental appt in the city today, I’m making an executive decision to stay in my jammies until I have to leave to pick her up from school. I can get more writing done that way, you see and read my Prairie Chick post tomorrow to see what I'm talking about.

Jessie also has her final grad dress fitting today. A princess dress, bought by a father who dotes on her. In my wildest dreams I’ve never imagined such a dress on anyone other than Cinderella. And I can’t wait to see Jessie wear it.

In the wee hours of tonight, Muse Management Part 2 goes online with the Prairie Chicks. This is the post where I try to pass on Allie Pleiter's wisdom for writing when it's convenient to you instead of when your muse demands.

And tomorrow morning (hopefully), I’ll make the 5 hr drive north to Muenster, SK to participate in the Sask Rom Writers (SRW) spring retreat.

I’ll check in with the Chicks where I can enroute, but I probably won’t get a chance to comment until the afternoon when I’m safe at St Peter’s Abbey.

With all the plans for Jessie’s grad encroaching on my writing time, I need this retreat to complete revisions of Marry Me Ma’am. And if I finish MMM before Sunday, there’s a new romantic suspense plot striving to transfer from my imagination to the virtual reality of my laptop.

Is there a market for romantic suspense these days? I hope so…

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Wishing all my friends south of the border a good, safe, Memorial Day.

Praying for God to bless those who serve where they are needed.

Thanking God for giving men and women the courage to fight for their country.

Praising God for allowing me to live in a peaceful country where I am free to attend the church of my choice, read the books I choose to read, and say whatever's on my mind as long as I don't spread hate toward my fellow man.

(Why do I have the urge to say, 'Live long and prosper' at the end of that?)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bad News, Good News

First the bad news - I didn't final in the Touched by Love contest which means I won't be heading to the RWA conference in DC this year. I am sending out a huge congratulations to all the finalists and the judges who volunteered their time to judge the entries. From the comments on my score sheets, their service is invaluable.

Now the good news - Have you been over to eHarlequin lately? They have taken technology to another level and it's wonderful!

I'm not talking books. I'm talking people!

If you go to the main eHarl community page at http://community.eharlequin.com/ you'll see a google map. And if you click on the blue HERE beside the map, it'll take you to the eharl community map where you can see where the Harlequin authors and readers live. Of course, since this is voluntary, everyone won't be there. But there are lots of little blue balloons to show where everybody lives. Click on a balloon to see who it belongs to.

If you're a mbr and want to add your own balloon, zoom in close to where you live to set your balloon otherwise you're likely to drop it in a lake or river. I know the blue balloon sitting in the Caribbean belongs to one of the eharlequin hosts who happens to live on an island, but I don't think the other one is valid. Unless it's on a cruise ship? :)

I was just over there - again - and I'm still the only one representing the Canadian prairies. Hopefully that will change as more authors and readers hear about it.

Have you gone to look yet?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Blogging at Prairie Chicks

I'm blogging today at Prairie Chicks Write Romance about managing your muse. This is not my concept but rather notes I've gleamed from listening to Allie Pleiter's workshop, Getting it Done, at the ACFW conference last fall.

I'm so glad I was blessed with the insight to buy the audio recordings of the conference. Not only do I learn about the workshops I missed, I get to re-listen to those I attended. There just isn't enough time to absorb even half of what is going on at the conference. A very intense 3 days.

So, over at the Chicks, I'm talking about how you write - whether you're a big chunky person or a little chunky person, and how you can use the knowledge to write a book.

On the contest front:

- no news YET on the Touched by Love contest

- I've rec'd my scores sheets back from the Genesis. Both Charley's Saint and An Outlaw for the Lady scored in the top 25% of the contest. So, although I'm not a finalist, I really don't have anything to complain about.

I'd also like to thank those unknown people who took the time to judge my entries and write out detailed comments for me. They're very much appreciated.

Now, head over to Prairie Chicks and see what kind of writer you are...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Nerve Wracking!

This is starting to be a refrain, but I'm still waiting for results of the Touched by Love Contest.

Yes, they were supposed to have been posted by the 16th, but this isn't a perfect world, eh.

By the time I get the results, it's going to be so anti-climatic - especially if I'm not a finalist.

But I still have lots to do while I wait. I must:

- write Thursday's Prairie Chick blog post

- work on MMM revisions

- write a blog post for Cheryl St John :)

- critique chapter 10 for my CP

I think I'm missing something...

How's your memory... do you know that a banana a day will help your memory?...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Victoria Day in Canada

It's Victorica Day here in Canada, the traditional day to plant your warm season crops like beans and corn and put your bedding plants out. We're not. The temp out there is 6C/43F. Nelson corralled the kids into helping him clean up the yard. I knew it wasn't going to be pretty when he told them to put parkas on first. heh

They just came in for lunch, but had to stand at the door and do tick checks first. The boys were clear but Jess found one on her pant leg. I wouldn't have known except for the screech. Nelson laughed and when I asked him why he always laughs when someone faces adversity (trips, etc) he said it's a boy thing. sigh

I despise ticks. They came out the 3rd week of April and will stick around until the end of July. Our yard is surrounded by trees. Our garden is surrounded by trees. Our house is surrounded by trees. Have I said how much I despise ticks? We used to have a flock of guinea hens that would roam the yard and eat their body weight in ticks a day. 'Used to have' being the operative phrase in this case.

Instead of being a tick magnet, I'm staying in the house and researching agents and editors for my ACFW conference registration. Last year I had a clear picture of who I wanted to see. My direction hasn't changed. Just my idea of how I want to get there. Only thing is, the publishing house I most want to talk to won't have a representative there. So, I need to pray about this and see who He wants me to see as opposed to who I want to see.

Do you ever get the feeling there's a tick creeping up your leg when you haven't even been outside?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Congrats to Genesis Finalists

First round judging of the ACFW's Genesis contest is over and the finalists have been announced.

I'm not one of them.

However, I want to send out major congratulations to those on the list. With over 450 entries, finaling in this contest is a huge accomplishment and I wish you all the best.

I'm still waiting on one contest result, although hope is flagging something fierce.

It's a cold, gloomy day outside. I'm not letting it drag me down, though. Chap 4 to Marry Me, Ma'am will be heading out to my CP's after one more proof read and I'm hoping to have a productive weekend of revisions.

So, what are your plans for this weekend? Hitting a book? Or the beach? hehe

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blogging with the Chicks

I'm blogging over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance today about submissions and results. In particular, the emotions I'm feeling right now as I await the results of 2 contests with 2 entries each and one partial submission.

Usually the results don't all come in the same time period. And they still may not, but it's possible they'll all come today. Or tomorrow . . .

Are you waiting for an answer to a submission right now? How many do you have out? What do you have out? Who has it? How long has it been there? Are you frustrated that it’s taking so long? Do you wonder if it even got there?

Come on, talk to me about your submissions. I have lots of time to talk today. After all, I’m only sitting here watching my inbox . . .

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I'm Waiting...

I'm trying to critique a chapter for one of my crit partners, but I'm having a hard time concentrating. Because I'm waiting. Seems every time I get a notice I've rec'd an email, I have to go check it out. Because I'm waiting. There's no guarantee I'll even get an answer today but it doesn't change anything. Because I'm waiting.

What I'm waiting for:

- the first round results of the Genesis contest are to be announced between May 1st-15th. (And it's the 12th today, eh) I have 2 entries in this contest.

- the first round results of the Touched by Love contest are to be announced on May 16th. I have 2 entries in this contest as well.

- the partial I subbed to TWRP has been passed from the Sweetheart line to Yellow Rose. She liked it, but will they?

So, I'm waiting on 3 major career defining moments. Oh, the pressure...

Are you waiting for something? Big or small? Is it self-induced or involuntary?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Book Review: Reflections of God's Holy Land

Reflections of God’s Holy Land by Eva Marie Everson and Miriam Feinberg Vamosh – Thomas Nelson 2008

Blessings come in various forms from a prayer answered to a subtle awareness. Reflections of God’s Holy Land would be in the latter category. A glossy, pictorial essay suitable to display on the finest coffee table, I thought I would read it in a couple weeks, review it, and donate it to my church. Yet 5 months later, I still hold it in my hands, unwilling to pass it on.

You see, I didn’t take the subtitle, A Personal Journey Through Israel, seriously. I assumed it was just another travel book with lots of beautiful photos of Israel and directions how to get there. Was I wrong.

I started reading Reflections of God's Holy Land the same way I read any other book; a couple hrs set aside to entertain myself as a reward for other tasks accomplished. Yet after the first dozen pages, I realized this is not a book to be rushed in one sitting if you want to travel the journey with the authors.

The concept is simple. Quote a biblical reference. Match it with a photo. Show a two-page spread of historical and architectural details including what it looks like today. And finally, read Eva’s thoughts as she walks the path, touches the stones, and feels the same sun at the same place where it touched Jesus 2,000 years before. Her journey is spiritual. Her words are thought-provoking.

I realized then, the best way to view this book is to take each small journey and then rest and reflect. Jesus actually walked this earth, over there, in the Holy Land. And the Bible tells us what and where things happened. But to actually see these places, many of them unchanged over time, is to look at the Bible with ‘new eyes’. To experience a spiritual awakening to the truths and hardships of this holiest of lands.
This is the blessing I received from this book.

My Rating: Excellent

Value for the money: Excellent

More info on Reflections of God's Holy Land can be found here.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Do you Chat?

I'm giving a Chat Room Primer over at Prairie Chicks Write Romance blog today.

It's about my experiences in chat rooms and how they can help you as a writer or entertain you as a reader.

Please join the discussion:

- Do you participate in Chat Rooms?

- Do you have a favorite Chat Room you’d like to share with us?

See you there...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

MMM Sent to CP's

Finished my revisions to Marry Me Ma'am yesterday and emailed the partial to my critique partners last night.

While I'm waiting for my CP's to tell me what they really think, I must keep revising. My goal for the Sask Rom Writers May blitz is to revise 5 pages per day. I'm on still on track. Since I need to have MMM ready in case the editor likes it and wants to see the full manuscript, I'll continue on with those revisions.

I also have a blogpost to write for tomorrow's Pairie Chicks Write Romance blog.

And, I need to update the News from the Pews blog and see if anyone commented on the new layout. Probably not since I haven't received an email. Funny how they're so quiet on blog unlike in church... :)

Since I've had to reload my laptop, I haven't been able to convince it to accept photos from my camera. Not sure what that's about but I can't find the place on HP Essentials where you tell your laptop which digital camera you're using. I probably have to check the info pkg I rec'd with the camera in case there's a CD to reload but too much writing to do right now. The photos will have to wait. Doesn't mean I haven't stopped taking them, though. :)

What about you - are you sailing along, or is technology throwing a crimp in your creativity?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Writing in my Cave

Sorry folks, no photos or info . . . I'm in my cave working on revisions to my contemporary western, Marry Me, Ma'am.

If you're looking for things to do, check out Brenda Novak's auction to raise money for Juvenile Diabetes at http://www.brendanovak.com/.

Or, you can check my group writing blog at http://prairiechickswriteromance.blogspot.com/.

I have lots to say, just no time today.

But you can tell me what you've got planned...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

April is Over. Bring on May

With all the hoopla over Brenda Novak's visit with the Prairie Chicks I haven't had much time to blog. But, here's what happened in April:

- Our basement and land flooded around Easter. Check out my previous blogs for the story in photos.

- I took a jaunt down to North Dakota for mail and to recce my Prairie Junction site in spring, and I headed up to Davidson to meet with my writing group.

- Due to being on self-imposed internet restrictions while I worked on the taxes, I only commented on a couple blogs. I was very surprised when I learned I'd won a free book on each of them!

- Instead of reading 10-12 books a month, I think I read 2 in April. (gasp) And, I still haven't reveiwed the 3 or so I read in March. Yikes!

Writing-wise:

- I came 5th in the Inspirational category of the Linda Howard Award of Excellence contest. Yes, I cried because although I was still a finalist, there were only 5 finalists and that put me last. I found out Sat while checking my email at the Husky gas station in the city. I'd dropped off the other 2 mbrs of our writing group and then held it together as I drove home. It finally hit me around 2 pm the next day and I was bawling when Facebook asked 'What's on your mind?' So, I told all my 100 or so friends. And do you know what? Their quick responses contained (((hugs))) and congrats and reassurances about my writing. Within hours, I was back to normal and eager to write some more. So, thank you to the creators of Facebook and all my friends who are part of it.

- On the 30th, Brenda Novak joined us on the Prairie Chick blog and we actually received a total of 83 comments. Brenda is a gifted novelist, author of some of my favourite books, and her on-line auction benefits Diabetes Research. Go check out the hundreds of items at www.brendanovak.com. There is something for everyone and this week she's starting a new $1 Buy it Now items. She said, 'I'll randomly post these throughout the auction month, in no particular category. If you're the first to find this special item, you get to buy it for a buck. Some of these will be really valuable, too--including some reads from editors and agents. So keep your eye out and visit the auction often. You never know what you might find!' Dontcha just love a good treasure hunt. :)

- I did something stupid to my laptop and had to do a complete system recovery. I'd saved all of my documents which included my writing on flash drives, so I've been on my knees thanking God that I have those, and I had most of my photos on SD cards so they're safe. But all my email files and contacts (excluding my Hotmail acct) and internet bookmarks are gone. A lot of those were for sites to do with the technical stuff of blogging and researching and it will take time to gather them again. But yes, my writing is safe. Good thing too because I've just been asked for a partial on Marry Me, Ma'am? which I'm ecstatic about and now busy tweaking before submitting Monday morning.

-I bought a new HP mini (netbook) to travel around with me. Yes, I have a laptop, but it weighs over 7 lbs and it's big. My new mini fits in the bag I carry everywhere anyway and I'll be able to write on the spot whenever I find myself with time to spare while waiting for the kids. I don't mind being their chauffeur as long as I can write while I'm waiting. The new mini includes Word 7 and OneNote7. The Word 7 is a learning curve which will take time but I'm loving the changes that make it easier on a writer such as the current word count in the bottom left corner. That will save time.

My goals for May:

- I'm participating in a writing blitz with other witers of the Sask Rom Writers in preparation for the Spring Retreat. So, those goals are my goals for the month:

REVISIONS. Need I say more?

Okay, that's it for me. Try to get over to Brenda Novak's auction. It's run just like eBay so it's real easy and all the proceeds go to a very worthy cause.

Now it's your turn - tell me what you've been up to . . .