29 December 2009

Thoughts and prayers

I found out today (as I was getting caught up with all things Facebook) my favorite college professor and former academic advisor was recently diagnosed with cancer.

Fortunately, it's very treatable, and he plans to be teaching his spring classes after the first three weeks off.  He's currently taking chemotherapy and radiation.

Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  He is the life-force of the English Department at MacMurray College.

23 December 2009

My Writing Time

Christi Corbett has a guest post up at Pimp My Novel about writing time/space.  I admit, I also had her romanticized vision of a writer's space/time before I became a full time writer.  Now things are very different.

I will admit that I usually get anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half of uninterrupted writing time in the afternoons (during the week, at least) while Bean naps, but in the evenings and on weekends when Hubby is there to help so I have extra writing time, I actually get less done.

I'm going to do what Christi did and keep track of my writing time interruptions to share with you next week.

Do you get uninterrupted writing time?  If so, how much?

Working at home for the holidays

When you have a traditional 9-to-5 job, usually you leave at the end of the day on Dec. 23 or Dec. 24 and you don't have to think about work until you go back after Christmas.  If you're a writer working from home, or if you moonlight as a writer, though, things may be a little different.  So how can you work from home during the holidays and still enjoy time with friends and family?

(Continue reading)

22 December 2009

10 on Tuesday: coffee-stained Christmas traditions

Hubby and I are working on creating traditions for our family now that Bean is here.  There are things his family does and things my family does, and we're blending some of those and creating our own traditions.  Here are some of the traditions from our families:

  1. Reading 'Twas the Night Before Christmas as a family on Christmas Eve (Hubby)
  2. Pizza for supper on Christmas Eve, saving a couple of pieces for Santa (NP)
  3. "Stocking gifts," which consist of a paper grocery bag full of gifts all $1 or under (Hubby)
  4. Including at least one enormous candy bar in the bottom of each stocking (NP)
  5. When recording the festivities with the camcorder, including the year and location, which comes from moving so often (Hubby)
  6. Opening gifts from the family on Christmas Eve, leaving the Santa gifts for Christmas Day (NP)
  7. Opening all gifts on Christmas Day (Hubby)
  8. A more recent tradition: steak rolls for Christmas dinner at my mom's house (NP)
  9. Watching Christmas until Christmas Day beginning the day after Thanksgiving (Hubby)
  10. A more recent tradition: finger-foods all day for Christmas Day at my paternal grandmother's house (NP)

Pimp My Novel says...

There's a great (guest) post over at Pimp My Novel today.  Definitely worth a read.  I'll wait while you go check it out.

No, really.  Go read it.

This is a bit of advice I've gotten many times before.  Whenever I read it, I take it in appreciatively, remember it when I sit down with a "new" story idea, and don't fully get it.

Until my coffee house book, that is.

Now that I've really figured out how I want to write my coffee house book, I'm really excited about it!  When I'm not working on it, I'm thinking about it.  When I'm not thinking about it, I'm talking about it.  I haven't been this excited about a project in a long time, and it's even led me to my next project which I'm equally excited about.  I think this is what Lydia Sharp is getting at in her advice.

We write because it's fun!  It's a way to be creative and share stories and all that.  But if you're not true to yourself in your projects, it won't be fun.  Don't worry so much about the getting published part of writing and focus on the creating worlds and sharing stories fun part of writing.

So don't just scribble.  Enjoy scribbling!

Happy scribbling!

21 December 2009


My little elf!

This Week's Task List

Hooray for the week of Christmas!  I'm really excited to be celebrating Bean's first Christmas!

Thankfully, I don't have much to do in the way of work, so I can concentrate on getting ready for the end of the week.


  • Finish up content for the website renovation
  • Do some coffee house book background work
  • Write article for Examiner.com


  • Finish up content for the website renovation
  • Do some coffee house book background work
  • Write article for Examiner.com


  • Finish up content for the website renovation
  • Do some coffee house background work
  • Write article for Examiner.com



Setting writing goals

As December draws to a close, people are looking ahead to 2010, and thinking about what they want to accomplish in the new year.  This leads to creating resolutions or setting goals for the year, and writers are no different.

19 December 2009

Reading Challenges

Looking for a reading challenge for 2010?  Jen Rose of Divinest Sense pointed me in the direction of a blog, which has quite a long list to choose from for all your reading challenge needs!

I will be working on increasing my reading for 2010 by trying to read at least two books each month (bedtime stories don't count), but I'm not quite ready to commit to a challenge.

Here's the post about reading challenges.  Let me know if you choose one!

18 December 2009

Industry news: Agents and Editors' Blogs

Getting information from people in the industry is a good way to keep up with publishing information.  That's why blogs by agents and editors can be an excellent resource for writers.

(Continue reading)

15 December 2009

10 on Tuesday: things to remember during the holidays

  1. It's a good time of year to make amends.
  2. It's a good time of year to be nice.
  3. If you're in cold weather, it might be a good idea to make yourself a hot cup of coffee, wrap up in your Snuggie, and scribble.
  4. Time off from your day gig is a great opportunity to scribble.
  5. Writing can be an excuse to slip away from the chaos of family.
  6. Don't forget all the end-of-the-year tasks you've been putting off!
  7. Christmas songs can be writing inspiration.
  8. There are only nine shopping days left for those celebrating Christmas!
  9. It's not the only time of year to make amends.
  10. It's not the only time of year to be nice.

14 December 2009

Avoiding home office distractions

When people with traditional jobs hear that you work from home, they usually only think of the glamorous aspects of a home office.  After all, you can make your own hours, work in your pajamas, and even watch your favorite soaps while you work!  How could it be anything but great, right?  Unfortunately, what a lot of people don't see is the many distractions that come with a home office.

(Continue reading)

This Week's Task List

Lots of my time this week will be spent on my personal task list, but I do have a few office-related things to do before Christmas.

  • Write website content
  • Finish up end-of-the-year stuff that's been lingering on my desk
  • Finish December prep for the coffee house book

13 December 2009

The 10 Best Books of 2009

The New York Times Book Review printed the 10 best books of 2009 today, Dec. 13.  According to their website, creating the list was not easy, but it provides a good starting point for 2010 reading lists.

(Continue reading)

11 December 2009

Children's Book Recall

A children's book published by Simon & Schuster has been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

(Continue reading)

Industry news: Publishers Weekly

The Internet age has made it much easier to keep up with industry news.  Between blogs and websites, email updates and newsletters, you can get up-to-the-minute publishing industry information.  As a writer, it's important to utilize those resources so you can learn as much about the business of writing as you do about the craft of writing.

(Continue reading)

08 December 2009

10 on Tuesday: coffee house book characters

In the coffee house book, characters are often known by their favorite drinks (particularly customers).  So in addition to giving you the names of ten of my characters, I will share a little insider info with you by sharing their drinks of choice, as well.  Enjoy!

  1. Piper, espresso macchiato
  2. Sandra, skinny vanilla latte
  3. Michael, espresso
  4. Devon, chocolate raspberry latte
  5. Jeffrey, "the Jeffrey" (barista's choice)
  6. Vivienne, mineral water
  7. Willow, soy cappuccino (iced in the summer)
  8. Jonathon, double-shot hazelnut cappuccino
  9. Martha, chai latte
  10. Lucas, black coffee
More secret coffee house book information to come!

07 December 2009

This Week's Task List

  • Content articles for a client (several topics)
  • Content writing for my new and improved website (to be revealed Jan. 2010)
  • Work on schedule for coffee house book (and other big projects for 2010)
  • Work on character biographies for coffee house book
  • Work on outline for coffee house book

06 December 2009

100 Notable Books of 2009

The New York Times Book Review selected its list of 100 Notable Books of 2009, based on books that were reviewed from December 7, 2009, when last year's list was published.

(Continue reading)

05 December 2009

For your publishing news needs...

As always, Nathan Bransford has given some great reading links from the publishing world this week.  After reading his post I have so many tabs open in Google Chrome that all I see is little icons!

Be sure to check out this week's post!

04 December 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009 Results

The numbers have been tallied, and the results are in!  Orlando was NaNoWriMo 2009's 48th wordiest city!  That's right, ladies and gentlemen: Orlando made the top 50!  Congratulations!

(Continue reading)

Industry news

When you read about writing, a lot of emphasis is put on the craft of writing.  That is, sentence construction, voice, style, genre, etc.  And it's true that this is an important aspect of a writing career.  But anyone who wants to be published should also remember that the publishing industry is a business, and needs to be treated as a business.

(Continue reading)

03 December 2009

My writing plans: December 2009 and on

As I mentioned before, I'm refocusing my writing career.  I'm still working out details and scheduling, but I thought I would share with you the aspects I've already worked out.

Obviously, my focus is going to be on fiction.  Specifically, I'm turning my full attention back to the coffee house book which has been sorely neglected for far too long.  (I have good reason, though.)  I have some new ideas for it, though, so I'll be taking some time to go back through the material I have, then reworking it for what I want to do.  Once I go through the material, I'm going to create a timeline for writing the story, as well as rereading, editing, and rewriting.

Along with my fiction pursuits will be quite a bit more industry research.  I know a very, very little bit about the publishing industry, and I'm finding the more I find out, the more interesting it is to me.  So I'm finding industry blogs and podcasts to add to my life that will help me learn more about the business of publishing.  I will definitely have a lot of podcasts to listen to, as well as blogs and articles to read!

I'm also going to work on changing my website.  I already have the ideas of how to change the content, so I'll be doing some content writing this month and making changes, so in January, the site will be all new and shiny.  And you may even be able to get involved in the new website, so watch for requests from me here on the blog!

I'm really excited about getting back into fiction, of course.  As much as I enjoy my life as a freelance writer, fiction is where my heart is.  And, of course, I already have ideas for a couple more projects I want to work on after the coffee house book is finished.  In the meantime, though, I plan to jot down those ideas so I don't forget them down the road.  And perhaps once I've finished writing the first draft of the coffee house book, I can start working on one of those other pieces.

2010 is going to be a great year!

02 December 2009

NaNoWriMo: now what?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has officially come to an end for another year.  You may have hit (and surpassed) that magic number of 50,000 words, and you may not have.  Regardless of how many words you wrote in November, though, you may find yourself a little unsure of what to do now that the wild, crazy adventure is over until next year.

(Continue reading)

01 December 2009

10 on Tuesday: what to do with your newfound free time

  1. sit for a moment and revel in the fact that you do, in fact, have free time again.
  2. sleep. (Remember that?)
  3. reconnect with your friends and family.
  4. go outside.
  5. alternate heat and ice on your hands and wrists.
  6. read for pleasure.
  7. think about something other than how you can turn a phrase into more words than it needs to be.
  8. give your poor eyes a break!
  9. don't start a new project yet.
  10. hold on to the motivation you had in November!

December 1

NaNo is over.
Exhaustion is catching up.
Time for me to slleeeepzzzzzzzzz....

You Did It!

Even if you didn't hit 50,000, you made it to the finish line.  Good enough, innit?  Come over here and have a well-deserved drink!

Salud, NaNos!