Friday, November 30, 2007

Ready to Write

Since I switched gears about a month ago and decided to put aside the Italian Duet novel, I've been plotting my next book. I have so many ideas that it's been hard to pin down what I want to write exactly and what ideas need to show up as future books.

So I've been a plotting gal for the last month. And I'm heartily sick of it.

I want to write, darn it. But I fear that if I start writing now, when I don't know a few key elements of my plot, I'll end up stuck. And I really don't want that to happen. Plus I have research to do! Sure, I'm involved in the writing process, but I really want to just sit down in front of the blank screen (yes, I really do!) and start creating.

With this weekend's weather forecast, I may have the opportunity. We're supposed to get a doozy of a storm that may turn into a lot of snow. Perfect weather for creating!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Snowmen and Santa and Reindeer, Oh My!





My daughter was sick yesterday, so I decided to tackle one of my painting projects. I'd already completed the snowman with the Christmas tree above a few weeks ago, but Monday night my daughter and I went to Hobby Lobby and picked out a few more decorations to paint. She wanted to do Santa with his reindeer and I picked out the door hanging with the snowmen, penguin, reindeer, and Santa.
After sleeping from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., (yup, she definitely didn't feel good!) she woke up, said she felt a little better, and asked me if she could paint. I thought it would be a nice, relaxing activity for her, one that wouldn't involve any running or jumping as she is wont to do after she's slept for so long!
I think they turned out pretty darn cute.
Do you have any Christmas crafts you're planning to do this year?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Blog Tour: A Shadow of Treason



Tricia Goyer continues her Chronicles of the Spanish Civil War series with A Shadow of Treason. Set in Spain during the 1930s, this moving novel explores a little known facet of history - American involvement against the Nazis during the Spanish Civil War.

A Shadow of Treason continues the story of Sophie Grace from A Valley of Betrayal and her journey to help the Spanish in their desperate fight against the Fascists. But this time, Sophie must confront a betrayal of the past that may in turn threaten her future.

A wonderful novel full of suspense, love, and forgiveness. Read the exciting first chapter here!

Sign up now for Tricia's newsletter and be entered to win A Shadow of Treason and A Valley of Betrayal!

About Tricia Goyer: Tricia Goyer was named Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference "Writer of the Year" in 2003. Tricia was a finalist for the Gold Medallion Book Award and she also won ACFW's "Book of the Year" for Long Historical Romance in 2005 AND in 2006. She has written hundreds of articles, Bible Study notes, and both fiction and non-fiction books. She's married to John, and they have three great kids whom she homeschools: Cory (17), Leslie (14), and Nathan (12). They make their home in Northwest Montana with their dogs, Lilly and Jake.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Counting My Blessings

Going home always makes me realize just how very blessed I am. I have a wonderful family and we never fail to have a great time together.

Thanksgiving this year was all that it could be. We didn't get to go to the movies, but we did enjoy a lot of great conversation, laughter, and food. Oh my, the food! I had a bit too much of everything, but hey, that's ok, right? ;-)

My family stayed with my grandmother (That's one thing about going home - we never have to stay in a motel!) and I thoroughly enjoyed talking classic movies and music with her. It's pretty darn cool that I can mention classic movie stars and my grandmother knows exactly who I'm talking about. I also made some copies of my World War II-era music CD's for her which she really enjoyed.

At my in-laws, we played Mad Gab. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time! It's a really fun word game. Amazon.com describes it best: "Teams work to decipher groups of unrelated words into real phrases before time runs out. Dew Wino Hue becomes, for example, Do I know you?" Highly recommended.

AND...I also managed to get a bit of work done on the novel. I cracked open the AlphaSmart a few times, but mostly on the drive home. When you have miles and miles of straight, open road ahead of you (and your husband is driving!), it's the perfect time to mull over your characters or difficult plot points.

We got home around 6 p.m. last night and thankfully, the kitties had been pretty good. The only major destruction we found was that they'd climbed on the kitchen counter and unraveled the paper towel roll. Now I just have to figure out how to keep them from destroying the Christmas tree! Any pointers would be appreciated. :-)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


How to Cook a Turkey
by Chef Marsh (a.k.a. my 7-year-old daughter)
First, you buy a turkey.
Then drive home.
Next, you cook the turkey for 200 minutes.
Last, take the turkey out and enjoy and that is how to cook a turkey.
Happy Thanksgiving and blessings to you all!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Anticipation!


Every year, my family has a tradition. We always go to the movies over Thanksgiving vacation. This year, I'm hoping we go see this one: National Treasure: Book of Secrets.
I absolutely loved the first National Treasure movie, and this one looks like it will meet or beat my expectations.
You can watch the trailer here.
Any holiday-release movies you're looking forward to?


Monday, November 19, 2007

Short Work Week!


Wow. Saturday was, in a word, awesome. I got so much done and was in such a good mood that I didn't want the day to end. I got caught up on the all the laundry (a feat in itself!), cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom, played catch and dodgeball with my daughter, and ate too much dark chocolate. Perfect day!

Sunday was less so as I slept in rather late - you know it's bad when in your dreams you're telling yourself to wake up. It's a darn good thing I have an alarm clock to rouse me from sleep on the days I have to be somewhere at a certain time.

It's a short work week this week because of Thanksgiving - we're planning to head back home and see the family. Can't wait!

And over my lunch break today, I'm hammering out my rough synopsis on my AlphaSmart. I am loving this thing!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Networking

I am a frequent visitor of Agent Query.com, so when I went there today and saw that they have just unveiled a new networking tool, I jumped at the chance to see what it was all about. And I wasn't disappointed! This isn't like your ordinary message board - it's much more sophisticated than that. It's called Agent Query Connect.

After answering a few simple questions, you can find people with the same interests as you - writing interests, that is. And it's not just a place for writers, but for agents, editors, publicists - anyone in the publishing industry. This promises to be the place for writers to network - both published and wannabe published.

I've already signed up. What are you waiting for? :-)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Random Thoughts

Nothing of importance today, so here are a few random thoughts from my scattered brain.

--Mama Kitty has four kitties in all - she did the exact opposite of last time and had three kitties then waited 24 hours to have the fourth one. Odd. Two black and two calico. They're all in the bottom of my closet, thus I have a pile of clothes sitting on my dresser. Sigh...

--My mother had an Alphasmart sitting around. Yes, you read that right. Sitting around. She had a friend give it to her months and months ago and when we moved her to her new apartment last week, she showed it to me and said, "I don't know what to do with this." I think my eyes widened a few inches when I saw it! Since Stephanie Bond had shown us her own Alphasmart at the writing conference in October and raved about it, I'd been thinking of buying one of the little gems. And here my mom had one just sitting around!

I've been playing with it and I love how easy it is - turn it on and you're ready to go. No waiting for programs to load, no worrying about batteries or power cords. It's easy to type on, lightweight, and a breeze to use.

--I'm wondering if they're something to the whole feng shui issue. When my house is a mess, I can't stand to be around it. I feel unfocused and generally growly. But when everything is in its place, the carpet is vacuumed, dishes done, tables cleared of clutter, I feel so much better about, well, everything.

--Have you stopped to take notice of the autumn colors in your part of the world? Tell me about them in the comments section if you'd like! Here in Nebraska, it's been just gorgeous. Lots of golds, oranges, reds, yellows...and I love that crunchy sound when you walk in piles of leaves. Autumn is definitely here!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Are You Writing What You Love?



Two reasons for the cute kitty picture today.

1) Mama Kitty a.k.a. Katie had her litter of kittens this morning. Yes, yes, I am a bad pet owner, considering she just had a littler seven months ago. Unfortunately, by the time she'd weaned the kittens and was able to get fixed, my hubby landed in the hospital. And we all know how that ended up! Since we had no extra money for getting Katie fixed, we just tried to keep her in the house. She snuck out a few times, though, and we couldn't catch her. The result? More kitties. Sigh...

(Rant: why do vets charge so much for spaying and neutering? They want to control the pet population, but it is so darn expensive to get the animals fixed that a lot of people can't afford it, which equals unwanted animals! I just got Slick (the male cat from the last litter) fixed and it cost a little over $100. That's not chump change!)

Well, we're taking care of the problem as soon as these new kittens are weaned (even if I have to borrow the money!). We woke up this morning at 5:40 a.m. to their little mews and so far she has had three. Last time she went a whole 24 hours after giving birth to one, so I was surprised that we had three already. I had to go to work, so I'm hopeful she'll have had them all by the time I get home. I've already got a home for one of them, and will make sure the others have good homes, too. Then it is off to the vet for Miss Katie!

2) Ok, second reason for the cute kitty picture. This little guy looks like he is really into what he's writing. Are you?

If you're a writer, are you writing what you love? If you'll recall a few days ago, I posted about my determination to write what I love and make a living writing what I love.

I haven't changed my stance. And strangely enough, the ideas for my new novel have been coming fast and furious. I get ideas on the treadmill and doing the dishes and trying to fall asleep at night. Strange, considering the last novel (the Italian novel) was like pulling teeth to get everything figured out. Make of that what you will, but I believe it was God's little way of telling me, "Write this one later. You're not ready for it yet." So it's been put to the back burner.

Now, your turn. Are you writing what you love? Are you excited to sit down and get to work, or are you trying to tailor your novel to what's selling? And here's another question. If you're not writing what you love, is it difficult for you to write or can you even notice the difference?




Sunday, November 11, 2007

Friday, November 09, 2007

What's Up?


The blog-o-sphere has been rather quiet lately.
On my part, I've been busy researching and plotting the next novel.
What about you?
Do tell!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Believing!

Yesterday's little "open letter" after receiving my rejection was very, very good for me. After I wrote it, I felt so much better - ready to tackle this business again. I just sometimes wish this business wasn't so darn tough. But hey, I could choose to do something else. No one is forcing me to write a novel and try and sell it.

But, I am a writer. It's what I do and what I'll continue to do.

Last night I hunkered down with my WW2 research books and loved every second of it. (I know, I'm a big ol' nerd!) Here's the funny thing. When I write contract stuff for encylopedias or any other piece that requires research for someone else, I don't enjoy it nearly as much, even if the article is on a topic I love. But once I start researching for my project, it's a whole 'nother story.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

An Open Letter

After another rejection, I had to write this.

Animals in Fiction


I'm a sucker for novels that feature animals as one of the characters. Heck, they don't even have to play a main part, but just the fact that the main character has a dog or a cat or whatever can reveal a lot about that person. Children's books abound with animal characters and I gotta say, I'm a sucker for a lot of them - particularly the Bear Snores On and other books in the same series by Karma Wilson who, incidentally, kindly responded to my gushing email about how much I loved the Bear books.
One of the best books I ever read featured a Golden Retreiver as one of the main characters - Dean Koontz's Watchers. It remains one of my favorite books to this day.
My next book will have a character who has a pet - and it will undoubtedly be a dog. But I'm a dog lover and thus, it's a natural thing for me to want to include dogs in my novels.
How do you feel about pets in fiction? Like or dislike? And are there any great books you've read - adult or children's - that have prominently featured animals as the main character?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Watch This

This is quite ingenious - and very entertaining. I can't imagine the work involved in making this - the animator said it took him five months.
Amazing!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Reasons to Love the Weekend



What a great discussion we had from Wednesday's post. Loved it! And I answered each and every one of you in the comments section. Would love to keep the discussion going!

(Had to share a pic of the kitties - brother and sister curled up next to each other. Awwww...)

Alrighty. Weekend activities. Here goes.

Picked up Slick (the black cat in the photo above) from the vet. He got neutered. Poor guy wasn't too happy when I brought him home, but it's in his best interest, y' know. ;-)

Deep cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom. Vacuumed. Did laundry. Did dishes. Bought this dress (in red) for my company Christmas party. Cannot wait! It has a vintage feel to it that I just adore. In fact, I plan on doing my hair circa WW2-style - or maybe a good Veronica Lake style. And then I have to get the perfect shoes, of course! I'm thinking of these.

Spent a little too much time surfing this wonderful hang-out and finding all sorts of cool info.

Tried to work out details for my new WW2 book, and even had my husband writing down ideas. And of course, I came up with a ton of stuff - now it's narrowing it down to what I really want to work on.

Slept in Sunday morning - and was very grateful that we had to turn back the clocks and hadn't done it the night before, so when I woke up, I realized I had an extra hour! It made for a nice, long day.

Went and got groceries, worked on housecleaning a bit more, then hopped on the treadmill and my ab machine for a good, hard workout. I'm blogging about my weight loss with a few gals from across the pond (Hi, Diane and Kate!) and it helps so much to have others on the journey with you. I stepped on a scale last week and my worst fears were confirmed - I did gain 10 pounds back. AAAARRRGHHH. Ah well. I'm back on the wagon again. I have healthy meals for my lunches this week and have started walking and working out again.

Writing plans for this week include typing up a synopsis of my WW2 book and ironing out the details. I also have to write a speech on the origins of Veteran's Day - I'm speaking at a senior citizens' center. I spoke there before and thoroughly enjoyed it.

(Gotta throw this in there...If anyone is interested in starting a blog devoted to writing WW2-era stuff, email me at melissaamateis at earthlink dot net)

How was your weekend?