Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Well, Christmas day is almost over. And we all survived. :)

I hate to admit it, but Christmas has become quite a production. I guess it always has been. But as the kids get older, it seems to be more so. Not only do I have to find the toys they ask for, but now that they understand what's going on, I also have to make sure everything is even. Heaven forbid one pile of loot be bigger than another!

It's not that one of the kids would complain. But I think they do notice. And feelings could get hurt. Thus, Friday was my yearly day of climbing to the attic, pulling everything out of bags, and comparing the piles. And this year, my daughter's pile was lacking--especially when I took into account the dollars spent. So Saturday was spent running around town, deciding what else she needed that I could buy to even everything. Thank goodness for CVS drugstore and their supply of gift certificates to every store imaginable! And thank goodness for Wal-Mart.

I also had a huge relief on Saturday. Two of the items I had ordered finally arrived in the mail! One from E-bay. I had thought for sure I'd been ripped off, and nearly cried when the package arrived. It was one of my oldest son's main gifts. The US mail also came through for me on my younger son's gift. I had ordered it Thursday and paid an arm and a leg for shipping. I was so glad to see it!

After all the last-minute stress, everything turned out great. The only thing that went wrong today was that a new computer monitor turned out to be different from what I had thought I bought. So Tuesday will be a day of exchanging. But one item out of the many isn't too bad for this mom who had been a shopping maniac over the past week. Over all, I'd have to say all went well. Everyone was happy with their gifts (my husband and I included).

More than that, today was a great day for family time. We ate three meals together (how often does that happen?!), watched two episodes of Everyone Loves Raymond, and played Family Feud. Also, the kids played nicely together (for the most part, without fighting!).

I'm thankful for all God has given us. Our family has been blessed. And I'm thankful for all my friends--those of you who may be reading this. Most of all, I'm thankful for God coming to us through a little baby. And it's Jesus that we celebrate today.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Over 40, and Can't "Hang Out"!

I'm officially old. I'm not hip. At all.

My son just looked at my blog for the first time and after reading my heading (Come hang out with me...), he informed me that I'm over 40 so can't use phrases like that.

Excuse me?? I must not have heard him right, because, after all, I am ancient.

What's funny is that I would have felt the same way if I had (shudder) ever heard my mom say "groovy", or even "cool". I would have died of mortification had my friends heard her say anything so ridiculous.

So I'm torn. I can either look like an old fogey who's totally out of touch with recent lingo. Or I can look like a fool by trying to stay halfway up-to-date.

Hmmm. I wonder which would embarass him most in front of his friends? Isn't it a mother's duty to choose the most embarrassing path for her child? :)

Nah. I'll be nice. I'll leave my heading as it is. And maybe if his friends visit my blog, they'll brag to him how cool, how groovy his mom is.

Come visit again soon!
P.S. Visit Lindi's blog (link on my main page) and see her posing for a photo with David Crowder at a book signing! I love, love, LOVE his music!!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Computer Woes and The Art of Being Organized

Organization. The first thing I think of when I hear that word is my husband. And we are a good example of "opposites attract".

So guess where that leaves me.

He's a filer. I'm a piler. His hangers are all lined up and color coded (well, that's an exaggeration, but they are evenly spaced). My clothes are lucky to see hangers. (Isn't that what the backs of chairs are made for?) His toothpaste tube, razor, bottles of aftershave lotion and can of shaving cream have precise spots where they always reside. My cosmetics and toothpaste tube end up, well, wherever they end up. He eats the same thing for breakfast every morning and follows the exact same routine. I eat whatever strikes my fancy each morning and my schedule changes hourly.

So I guess you get the picture. :)

However, I'm much more organized with my writing, although you wouldn't know it by looking at my desk/area on the couch where I keep my laptop. I have nice files for everything on my computer. I have a folder for every manuscript, and a folder within those folders for every submission I send. I have an Excel spreadsheet tracking my number of words written daily or hours spent revising or judging or critiquing. I have another document that tracks each manucript for contests and submissions. I have a place for everything and everything in its place.

Except for the synopsis that I needed today as I was getting ready to print my revision to send off to the editor. NOT ONE COPY OF THAT SYNOPSIS THAT I COULD ACCESS!

The problem was that my old computer crashed every time I tried to open a Word document. I could click on "My Documents", then on that particular manuscript's folder. I could see that whole list of synopses I'd written over the months I had worked, and revised, and sent to contests, and revised again. Yet I could not get to them.

So then I had to go into piler mode. I dug through old piles of contest entries--all those dusty Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes. I found several for that manuscript and was thrilled! But then I started reading them. They were all an older version--a version I barely remembered. (Did the niece really have an appendectomy in that version? Did the heroine really propose to him halfway through the book?!)

At least I had something to go on. But it took me literally all day to write that synopsis. It's a draining activity, and I had to take a break to read email. Yes, I'm good at procrastinating, too. (And you guessed it, my husband has never procrastinated in his life. Of course.)

I learned a lesson today. No matter how oraganized we might be, files can still get lost or become inaccessible. I'm truly thinking about using one of those online backup services. Just think how much easier it would have been today if I had.

Any recommendations out there? Do you use one of those services?


Monday, October 30, 2006

Quick update

I can't believe I haven't posted in almost 2 months! Yikes. Well, I've been working like crazy. A couple of weeks ago, I got a revision letter from an editor!! I'm thrilled! But it came at about the same time I started a new teaching job at a local technical college, so I haven't had nearly the time I need for the writing. I've pretty much had only weekends. And of course, one of those we had a fall break trip with the family, and another of those I had my sister, hubby, and her hubby's father as company. They were two wonderful weekends, but not much writing time!

I did get through the revision--finally!! I cut the manuscript down to 60k words just like the editor asked. And it had to be a God thing, because I didn't worry about the count. I just made the changes she asked for, and when I was done, it was almost exactly 60k!! Now I'm reading through it for continuity and typos. All the cutting and moving things is a bit risky. I've got to make sure the new version is clean. Then I'll send it off!!

I'm really excited about this opportunity. All prayers would be appreciated!!

By the way, the teaching job is going great! I'm really enjoying it. It's just very time consuming this first time around. Next quarter will be much easier, I'm sure. I'm learing as I go, too. :)


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Rejected, Double Rejected, then Rejected Again

From that title, can you tell how my writing life has been going over the last couple of weeks? :)

I got a form rejection from an editorial assistant which came in a package with my proposal. Then a week or so later, I got another rejection letter from the man on the same proposal! It was even more "form" than the first form letter, believe it or not. My friend, Mary, told me I better lock my doors. The guy might come and slap me in the face to make sure I got the message!! (Which made me laugh so hard I knew I was already over the disappointment.)

The worst part was that that the manuscript had been revised for another editor who ended up moving before I could revise and re-send. And I didn't delay. I revised pretty quickly. It's just the nature of the business. Editors move. Often.

Then I had another rejection this past week. An agent this time. It was such a nice letter, and came in a timely manner (less than a month). It was hard to be disappointed over that one. Of course, I was getting immune to the pain by that time. :)

Well, I'm marching ahead. I'm getting ready to send out the same proposal to an agent and an editor who requested it at RWA National. There's always hope! And I really liked these two ladies when I met with them. So keep your fingers crossed and say a little prayer that if God wants this book to sell, that He'll help me find the right home for it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Princess for a Night, Then Back to Reality

Well, the Golden Heart and RITA awards night was all that I had hoped it would be. I got to wear my new dress, new shoes (both great bargains) and new jewelry (on sale, but still cost more than the dress!). My local RWA chapter (Georgia Romance Writers) sent me a wrist corsage, and my husband made the trip to attend with me. I was able to sit with my buds Myra and Janet and their husbands, and was within feet of Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips--two legends in the world of romance writing. On the other side of my husband was the nicest editor and her Rita-nominated author! And not far behind me was the winner of our category, Leigh Bale. She was so sweet, and gave the best speech. (And Janet and I finally relaxed once we knew we didn't have to get on that stage in front of 2000 people!) All in all, I pretty much felt like a princess for the night.

Of course, even princesses have to eat! I had been too nervous to eat beforehand, so Lindi and I skipped dinner and held out for the dessert reception. Fruit and cake dipped in chocolate fountains served as an appetizer for the cold pizza Camy and Colleen had left for us in our room. :)

It was a great conference week. Of course, then I had to return from Marriott luxury to my home that needed cleaning. School began later that week, so we had hair to cut, shoes to buy and school supplies to hunt down (Yes, our Wal-mart ALWAYS sells out of the exact things we need.) After a last fling sleep over (we had 4 extra kids for a total of 7!), we settled into the school routine.

And speaking of routine.... I've set up my schedule for the next couple of months. Of course, today was thrown off my having to take my daughter for an X-ray of her foot. No broken bones, thank goodness! But I ended up grocery shopping late tonight instead of in the afternoon. (As a total aside, it was still 90 degrees at 10 pm when I left the grocery store!)

Okay, I'm off to see what I wrote today. I'm playing with a new book idea! And this is the best part of writing for me. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Moral of the Story (and other ramblings)

Well, I got on here to post about a rejection I got yesterday for a manucript proposal I sent out around April. But I just this moment decided I didn't want to rehash something that I've already bemoaned with friends through email and on the phone. :)

I will post my main point: the moral of the story is that you should always have at least two submissions out there. I'm sooo glad I sent something else last week, because now I still have hope.

So if I'm not going to talk about my rejection, what should I talk about? Hmmm. How about that I went to play tennis with my 11-year-old son at noon today in 97 degree Georgia-humid heat? (Let me also add that I haven't played tennis in about 3 years and haven't exercised regularly either.) So have you got a visual on that scenario? Oh, and he asked me to play right after I had showered, dried my hair, put on makeup and gotten dressed in capris and a tee shirt. :) I did change into the tennis outfit I bought 3 years ago to try to inspire me to keep playing. (Ha!) Man, I looked good out there--for about 30 seconds. Needless to say, I wasn't quite so fresh afterward. But we had a nice lunch together driving through Burger King with the a/c blasting as high as it would go. (Are you kidding? I wouldn't even think about going in Subway, his first choice, in my tennis clothes!!)

I also had printer problems today. Previously, I would have volunteered to do a commercial for free for HP. But now I'm not so sure. Anyway, I worked for over an hour replacing one cartriage, aligning, then trying to print, then cleaning the cartriages, then trying to print again, then doing an "Intermediate" cleaning, then printing again.

I was trying to print editor and agent letters and envelopes to mail to attendees of a writers conference I'm in charge of. I wanted it to look nice, so by golly, I would get the dang printer working. It is an HP afterall. Well, after an hour, with piles of mis-printed envelopes and paper littering the floor (and with me snapping at the kids the whole time because they kept begging me to get online and transfer money from my daughter's savings account to my son's savings account because she is buying his old Playstation 2 so he can buy a PSP.... blah, blah, blah), I finally gave up. I signed the letters that looked the best and hand wrote the envelopes. I was beyond embarrassment. I was at the point of not caring. Tomorrow, I may feel differently, but I will not let myself spend any more time on them.

So now I have a printer that's spazzing, and I still need to print all the nametags, programs, and table tents for the conference that's next week.

Oh, joy.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Finding My Groove

Well, time has flown by again. Before I knew it, nearly a month passed since I last wrote. I just haven't found my groove in the blogging world, I guess. When I started, I pictured writing every few days, like I might in a journal. But I've found that I'm too tired at the end of the day, or I'm afraid I don't have anything to say that's worth posting. (Can you tell I'm a perfectionist?)

I've visited so many great blogs: Mir's, Camy's, Brandilyn's, Robin Hatcher's and others. And I love to check in on Lindi's since she talks about our visits over coffee and all the profound things we say. :) But I'm not a regular blogger or reader of blogs. The trouble is, I could spend HOURS reading them. I love to visit, to explore the archives, to chat when I have a moment. Then I feel guilty that I'm not at my own site. So I don't indulge often.

Okay, I'm determined. I'm going to try to find my groove. Will it be having interviews here? Or just journaling? Or focusing more on my writing life? We'll see. I'll be thinking on it.

In the meantime, I'll talk about cleaning my house since that's what I did today. (How scintillating, you're thinking!) LOL Of course, I also watched two episodes of Clean Sweep first, which inspired me to get off the couch and do something around my chaotic house. I have a few rooms around here that look like some of the rooms on the show. In fact, I often feel better about myself after watching the show! :) And I wonder how totally humiliated I would be to be appear on the show myself. I guess the payoff makes it worth it to them.

Anyway, I got my kids to go to work in their own rooms. Then I set out to dust, vacuum and mop. And what a nice feeling a few hours later to sit back on the couch without having to look at visible tufts of dog hair everywhere!

There's nothing like enjoying the fruits of your own labor. And speaking of... I e-mailed a submission to an agent this past week. Wouldn't it be nice if I were to get to enjoy the fruits of that labor! And then maybe the fruits of her labor if she were to decide to represent me. :)

Whatever happens, it felt good to accomplish my goal of submitting. It has been a long time coming. I got the request in September. The book was complete, but I spent forever revising it. Then I finally sent it to my critique group, then took forever going over their comments and making more changes. Of course, I had to do two or three more read-throughs after that (the perfectionism again). And wouldn't you know that when I was cutting and pasting the document to send it out this week, I found a typo on the last page! Horrors! I'm so thankful I caught it! LOL

Looking back at my blog title, Finding My Groove, I'm reminded also that it's time to find my groove once again in starting a new story. I have one I started in 2005 that I may go back to. But we'll see. I've had several other ideas that have gone into my idea file.

It's time to open that file and play once again!!

Let me know what you're up to. Have you been having to find your own groove in some area of your life?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Links--I'm going in...

Okay, I'm diving right in. In amongst the blog code. I'm going to try to add links to my friends' blogs. Camy gave me instructions. If I don't resurface soon, send rescuers.


Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ahhh.... the scents of summer... and knowing when to let go.

Summer weather is here to stay. And one of my favorite scents is filling my home. My gardenia bush is bursting with gorgeous white, fragrant blooms, fuller than it's been since we moved here six years ago. I love to cut the blooms with their waxy, dark greenery, and float them in a bowl of water. And right now, as I write, I get an occasional waft of the rich, sometimes overpowering fragrance. Ahhhh.....

I haven't posted in ages. But that's a good thing! I've been revising. I've finished my first two "pass-throughs" and am just about finished with my third. Then I'll have to go through to type in all the changes. The problem is, I find it hard to ever say it's done! I'm a perfectionist. And every time I read through the manucript, I find something else to change. I've learned, though, that once I'm merely changing little words here and there that it's time to let it go.

Time to send that baby out into the world--namely to the agents who have requested it. In the meantime, I'm hoping to hear from one editor who has a partial. If all goes well, she'll be requesting this full about the time I'm ready to let it go into the world. Keep your fingers crossed with me!! (And send up prayers if you feel led.) :)


Saturday, May 06, 2006

Moving Mountains

Well, it's shameful to admit, but when I logged in my revision work yesterday, I found I hadn't worked on my manuscript since March 9. Yikes! I deserve a good swift kick in the seat of my pants.

I have to say, though, that it feels SO good to be back in the process. I've missed my writing. And I've missed my characters. Contrary to the way it is in real life, in my writing, I can take lives and bend them the way I want them to go. :) Now, that's real power.

A week or so ago, I read a familiar Bible passage in The Message. And it really spoke to me as I read it in such a different version. (I love, LOVE, The Message.) Here's what I read in Matthew 21:21-22:

But Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Yes--and if you embrace this kingdom life and don't doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you'll tell, 'Go jump in the lake,' and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God."

Now, that's REAL power. God's power. And it's power I'm claiming over my writing ministry. But for me to look for God to work in my writing, I have to show up to do my part. Skipping the month of April (no matter what other stuff I had going on writing-wise) is not the way to honor His calling.

So, I'm going to do better. And I started yesterday. Now, I've got to run. My characters are calling my name....


Friday, April 21, 2006

Dropping in for a moment...

I can't believe it's been so long since I posted! And since this blog is about life with me, I guess it's okay to let time slip by like that.

Life has been crazy. Holy Week at church included lunch-time services each day Monday-Friday and choir practices or performances every night Tuesday-Saturday. Plus, I got my first substitute teaching job for two days that week! Easter Sunday was glorious, but the choir sang at both services. So it was a long day.

This week has brought a sigh of relief. But I still didn't get any writing done. My son's tennis team has been involved in a regional tournament. And I'm judging a contest (published) and still have two more books to read. Okay, so maybe I spent too much time reading email, and could have worked on my manuscript. But I was still recovering from the previous week! And one of my good online friends just got a contract for three books (way to go, Julie!!), and the emails have been flying.

One good thing is that soccer (x2) and tennis will be over soon, so my evenings will be a little freer. I WILL get back to my work in progress. Revisions are calling my name....

Saturday, March 25, 2006

What a Day!

Wow. I had the most amazing day Friday. As Tina shared, I'm a finalist in the Golden Heart!! I still can't believe it!

Okay, I just pinched myself, and it hurt, so it must be real.

Some notes to self on the big phone call (the one I've agonized over for so many years):

*Don't let your husband get on the phone on GH day unless he knows how to work the call waiting button.
*Better yet, don't let him get on the phone at all.
*Don't start muttering OHMIGOSH until after the person finishes her sentence or you might miss the good part.
*Write everything down!

Now, more thoughts on my post from Thursday regarding hope...

Once burned, it's hard to hope again. But, somehow, most of us have that little seed inside of us just waiting, waiting for the perfect moment to bloom again. And I think, at least for Christians, it's because we know that, ultimately, God can do anything. And that maybe this time is going to be in God's perfect timing.

I have to admit, though, that any hope I had the morning before the GH call was very guarded. I told myself over and over again not to count on anything. (Even as the phone rang, causing my heart to pound a gazillion miles per second, and it was my mom.) But still, there was this little voice in my head that kept saying, hey, wouldn't it be cool if God's timing was so perfect that it happened this year while in Atlanta? And how cool if that was followed by a sale?

It's enough to make me wonder if this is going to be My Year. But , I know so many who've finaled, even won the GH, and still not sold. So I'm going to be realistic.

But wouldn't it be really, really cool?

Yes, it would. There's always hope!

Missy :)
2006 Golden Heart Finalist!!!!!!! Ohmigosh, ohmigosh, ohmigosh!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Hope that creeps up on you...

Well, it's been ages since I've posted (or even checked in). Life has been crazy. Add Strep throat into the mix (yes, me included) and it's even crazier.

I do believe all my children will make it back to school tomorrow. So I may get some writing done for a change! Oh, and it's also the day of ... (insert reverb here) ... Golden Heart finalist phone calls.

I know from writers groups that I'm in that it's a day of tension for everyone who entered-- stomach aches, endless hours waiting for the phone to ring. And for most of us, crushing disappointment.

A couple of years ago, I had a manuscript that had done well in many contests. I was SO hopeful for a GH final as well. I thought, "This is my year!" Then I began to get calls from critique partners who had gotten The Call. But still, my phone didn't ring. Even late in the day, I hoped maybe my caller had just had trouble getting through. Of course everyone and their brother had gotten through to share THEIR good news. (Yes, I clung to hope. And I realize now that I was delusional. )

When night came, I can't describe the despair I felt. Crushing is a good attempt, though, because it felt so heavy on my chest and in my gut.

And I learned my lesson. I would NEVER hope for a GH final again. I might enter, but I would never consider it a possiblity. I would never let myself get excited about it again.

Now tomorrow is the big day. And RWA National is in Atlanta this year. Close enough that my husband could come to the awards ceremony were I to final...

Oh, no. Here I go again. Hope. Somehow, I've let that little bugger creep up on me.

But isn't that better than giving up and never trying?

I don't know. Ask me again tomorrow.

(Let me know what you think. Did you enter? Did you dare hope? Did you final?)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring is here!

It's spring in Georgia! Today hit 78 degrees. Flowers are blooming (so my eye's been twitching, and my nose has been itching). Our Japanese magnolia is magnificent, and luckily didn't get hit with frost this year. It seems as if one day a tree is bare and the next it's full of flowers. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm not attentive enough.

Our schedule has been crazy lately. Flag football was extended by rain delays, so it's run into soccer. Two of my children are playing soccer, and the other is playing tennis. Add in tennis lessons and piano lessons, and it's a recipe for weeknights at the drive-thru window with eating in the car.

Today is Saturday, and we had a great day for soccer. My son the goalie made tons of saves so it was really exciting. Now we're home, and I think I'll actually cook a real meal!

A night at home. Ahhhh.....

Let me hear about your weekend.

Monday, March 06, 2006

New to blogging...

Well, I'm brand new at this, so it'll take a few days to get set up. I hope you'll come back soon!