Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo Encouragement: Part 1

Hey, out there,

Maybe you're considering participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November?

Maybe you think it doesn't help your path as a writer? You'd be wrong. It's a great exercise in discipline. After all, you don't know IF you can write a novel until you DO.

So here, have a little encouragement from my own writing in the trenches.

(includes novels, short stories and screenplays)

The Mists of Glencoe (1st screenplay. Set in Scotland and based on a true story. Very bad. Very, very bad)
Going Native (1st novel - college professor used lines from this piece to illustrate what NOT to do. Ouch! Also, this was about the time in my writing "career" when people were asking about "my little hobby." Annoying people.)
The Fuhrer's Barber (1st short story submission to a major journal)
Remnants (Honorable Mention; Hemingway Short Story Contest. Hey, a little progress!)
Last Free Exit (My fave failed, overly ambitious screenplay that calls me to write in prose form. Didn't have the skills to do it back then. Maybe now?)
Corporate Casualty
The Corporate Line
Corporella (Here, we conclude a trio of scripts about the hilarity of being a corporate speechwriter. Guess I REALLY believed in this idea. Corporella, my fave of the 3, is a corporate Cinderella tale. Who doesn't like that? Oh, wait, look at these rejection letters. I guess the answer is: many)
The Burgermeister's Daughter (what a mess)
Dysfunction Junction (hilarity at a funeral/laughter through tears. I loved writing this script! My hair stylist at the time inspired a lot of this.)
Telemarketer (screenplay that came very close to acceptance, then dropped. Fun fact: I wanted Colin Farrell for the role.)
No Teddy Bears (1st NaNoWriMo novel - I really liked this story. It was inspired by an investigative news report about the foster care system from journalist Brian Ross. Thanks, Mr. Ross. My daughter wants me to finish it.)
Prodigal Son (This is the story I still think is solid no matter what others say. So there.)
Fidelity for Beginners (a fantastic experiment in co-writing a novel with another writer just to see if we could do it and dream about being interviewed by Oprah. Hey, delusions of grandeur are a necessary writer trait.)
Mrs. Boyd (3rd NaNoWriMo novel - waiting to rewrite this one. Want to do it now!!)
There's A Dog In The Doorway
Princess Rufflecuffs (written for my tiny daughter, the original Princess Rufflecuffs)
Me Without You
60 Miles To Empty
Fool The Eye
Note To Self
Not Walter McShane (Man, this rejection stung! Learned a lot, though. Also, I wanted Colin Farrell to be main character. Does that jinx the work? Nope. It's the work itself. Darn!)

I have rejection notices for most of the above 22 works. Now let's see how many I've published.



Sure Signs of Crazy (2nd NaNoWriMo novel; received FOUR STARRED REVIEWS) 

Courage For Beginners (2014)
(first review received from my daughter)

Her: Mom, I don't want to hurt your feelings.
Me: (cringing because you never completely get over your insecurities, published or not)
Oh, it's okay, honey, I want to know what you think. Tell me.
Her: Well, um.....I think it's better than your first novel.
Me: Wait. What? (dancing on the inside)
Her: Yeah. It has a little mystery.
Me: You're very observant.
Her: I know.

25 works written and submitted. 3 published.

What have I learned from the millions of words I've written? Well, I love to write. That much is clear. This is no hobby for me. It's a passion.

But the most important thing is that all of it matters. Every word counts. Everything on the first list helped me get to the second list. If not for those first efforts, I wouldn't be where I am today.

May you go forth and create your own lists!

Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Texas Book Festival Highlights

Back from the marvelous Texas Book Festival in Austin! Had a great time meeting so many authors I admire and making new friends. Here are my top 5 festival highlights:

1/ Attending the announcement of the 2014 Texas Bluebonnet Award list and cheering on friend and author Polly Holyoke, Author - whose book THE NEPTUNE PROJECT is on the list!

2/ Meeting readers of my book! There is something deeply satisfying about knowing words you've written in your quietest moments have resonated with a friend you've never met. I've always said that reading a book is an interactive experience between writer and reader so it's wonderful when that experience comes full circle for a brief moment.

3/ Meeting a special reviewer. (I hope you read this Alyson!)

4/ Meeting Lemony Snicket, which in turn, gave me a little cool cred with my kids. (Thank you for signing their book, Mr. Snicket!)

5/ Hearing my exhausted daughter say, "No offense, I just don't want to be with my family right now." (This was about the point where that "cool cred" wore off and I was just a mom who drags her kid around to large open spaces with tents and books. Nothing a blue raspberry Snow Cone and a hug couldn't temporarily fix.)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Inspiration

Author Jeff Goins recently posted an article titled, "How to be a Champ like Michael Phelps." It really inspired me.

I've always thought that the preparations for athletes and writers have a LOT in common. So check out Goins' list on the activities one needs to cultivate to be a champ.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Literary Fashion Accessories: The BookPurse

Hello out there!

I hope the fall season is going great for you. Since my book launched in late August, I've been busy with book events.

Recently, I attended the Southern Independent Booksellers Association annual conference. Of course, I needed a new accessory for the event. I asked my wonder-hubby to help me make a new book purse. 

You have to be willing to disassemble a copy of your book. I'm going to use these
pages for another craft project.

These are the tools you need. Purse handles. An Exacto knife. And a
shopping bag or other fabric to line the purse. I found an orange and
black Halloween bag that had the perfect colors to compliment
my book cover. 

Here, we're measuring the amount of fabric needed to line the

We cut away the shopping bag's orange handles and used them
to connect the purse handles. Then, they are glued to the hardcover.
Apply glue to outside cover. 

Let glue dry for a full day. 

Voila! New purse for the SIBA event and for the fall season!

Reviews of the bookpurse are now in: "Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down." - The Book Purse Report

Then you model the purse with the Duck Dynasty cut outs at SIBA, which may also be a
sure sign of crazy...FUN!

For an actual review of the inside of SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY, check out 
Booking Mama's review, who says that "SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY would make an outstanding mother/daughter book club selection."