9 Years Ago…

Nine years ago, I made the easiest decision (and most important) of my life.Wedding003

I said “I do” to Bryan.

Well, actually I made the decision to marry him long before then, but it was official on Sept 17th.

WeddingKissThis is yet another time for me to brag, folks. Fair warning.

It really was an easy decision. I knew Bryan was the only one for me. The best choice I could ever make. The best father I could ever ask for for our children.

Nine years later, it’s incredible everything we’ve gone through, and the love between us is infinitely stronger than on our wedding day. Didn’t think that was possible on that hot day in September all those years ago, but it’s true.

I can honestly say we’ve never had a major fight. Not one. Disagreements, sure. Tested each other’s patience, of course. But never a fight.

Respect is the foundation of our relationship, which is why I think we’ve never really fought. I value his opinion. He values mine. He tells me he’s proud of me, and I remind him every day how much I love him. He supports me even when I’m crazy, and tells me I’m beautiful even when I’m sick. He’s the one I go to when I don’t know what to do.

HappyPlace

My Happy Place… with Bryan

He’s my happy place.

Here’s to my love. My inspiration. My boo:

Where does the time go? You’ve made my life so rich with love, so warm, and more than I could have ever hoped for.

I love you, Bryan. Happy Anniversary.

Waiting for Rain

And not just because I live in Texas where there’s a permanent state of drought and lawns look like deserts for 10 months of the year. I’m waiting for the much more precious form of rain: inspiration. The touch of literary angels, letting the storms and floods come to my parched imagination.

I’m revising my second manuscript (half way through it), and these have been the most painful revisions of my life, to date. I can’t see the ending of a new thread I created, and it’s driving me crazy.

In addition, I have ideas for two more separate novels, and I’ve scratched them down with the little bits stuck in my mind like thorns. But once again, inspiration has run dry in my household. Maybe because I’m letting the revisions of this other manuscript drag me down. Very plausible.

Last October and November, the story of my third manuscript literally spilled out of my fingers, like the Hoover Dam overflow. I’m grateful it’s now out to several Beta Readers whom I trust, and know there will be more to revise when it comes back.

But this other story plagues my house (thanks, Shakespeare) like an abandoned yacht in a dried lakebed.

As a Texan, we’re used to droughts. But I pull from the inner part of my soul, born in the tropics, that craves the rain.

Plotting Frenzy Over the Week

I’ve finished plotting my third manuscript over the week. I couldn’t get enough- my brain was flourishing with ideas, even over the hard parts of plotting (like overcoming the climax and how to resolve all the conflicts in the end). It feels fabulous to have these ideas come to a temporary close. I’m sure I looked something like this:

I say temporary close because there could always be tweaks and turns from my outline as I start writing the rough draft. There always are.

No, that's not me. But I write in a notebook like this.

But the best part, my friends:

It’s all on paper!!!

It’s in ink on a physical white sheet, as well as a digital file on my trusty Macbook. I can see it. Touch it. Absorb it on my skin and leave ink marks all over the place. Or maybe not, my husband would be mad with black fingerprints all over the furniture. But it’s not in my head, swirling in a massive cloud, much like the pensieve in the Harry Potter books.

But the characters are alive in my brain, each whispering their dreams, pet peeves, sense of humor, and even what turns them on. (Hey, it’s a romance. I gotta know the juicy details better than anyone).

And it took about a week to put the whole thing down. So cool!

Although don’t get me wrong folks- I’ve had this idea for the third novel in my head for over a year. I have just been more focused on the second novel and finishing the first draft and sending it out for revisions.

But I love being this productive. It’s hard to go to sleep at night because I have so many ideas churning and bursting to get out. I love this part of writing!

Yes, folks, this is how I feel right now!

Refreshed for More Writing

My vacation this past week was the typical summer family vacation: exciting, entertaining, full of laughter and joy, a breath of fresh air and out of the ordinary… and exhausting.

The typical need-a-vacation-from-your-vacation kind of feeling when you get home. I LOVED the break from the daily grind in Hilton Head and plan to go back. But I have to add it’s a great feeling to be back home and sleep in your own bed and get back to your normal routine (as a parent to a toddler, routines are essential).

I had hoped for a few brief periods of writing time on my vacation (while my son napped or was busy playing with his cousin), but that didn’t happen. Nap times seemed to disappear while on vacation, or were significantly shorter. And I can understand that; when I was a kid I wanted to spend every moment ‘on vacation,’ and napping just seemed like a waste of precious time. And when my son napped, we spent the time cleaning up the condo or planning for the rest of the day or doing laundry. Kinda like at home.

But now since we’re home and getting back into routine, I’d like to say I’m refreshed and re-inspired to continue with my WIP. And in a way I am. I thought about my story and characters, and scenes I’d already written, and the scenes yet to come and unfortunately I’m backtracking. Again.

New ideas sprang to mind throughout last week and I’m struggling to find a way to incorporate them into my work without a complete re-write. Complete re-writes scare the crap out of me. Makes me feel like the time I spent on the first version was a waste (even though my logical brain knows it’s not a waste) but it feels like one.

Changes to my character’s emotional growth, and even major plot changes.

So to combat this feeling, I move forward in my WIP with the new ideas and know I’ll have to go back and fix previous scenes during my revisions (and make note of it in my trusty “Revision” file.)

So, am I refreshed from my vacation to continue writing and actually get the first draft completed? YES I AM. I just hope my son will let me focus on it, instead of pulling on my arm to go back to the beach. Or pulling on my own arm for the sand between my toes.

Returning the Favor

Since I’ve been under a random version of writer’s block for the last few weeks, I’ve been practicing my critiquing skills for others. I figured it was a good way to pull myself out of my void of creativity by helping others with their WIP’s. Returning the favor.

Get away to write

My local writer’s group has a few chapters posted from members here and there, so I go there first to give my advice (as a reader) on ways to improve what they have. If you’re local to the Dallas/Ft Worth area, please come join us! Greater Ft Worth Writers

But recently over the last 2 weeks, I’ve become addicted to two different sites as well that was created specifically for that purpose. To get feedback on your work and help others with theirs.

BookCountry.com

Scribophile.com

BookCountry.com I was actually a betafish for the launch of the site and helping them fix bugs, create new features, and of course participate in the community (created by Penguin publishers). It’s recently been opened to the public and I highly suggest checking it out if you’re interested. It’s specifically for adult genre writing (i.e. no children’s books, Young Adult or Middle Grade). But they have romance, thriller, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, all that good stuff. You can follow individual writers, their works, or just follow certain discussion threads on a whole slew of topics. The really cool thing is that not only writers and authors are perusing the site, but also agents and editors too. It’s a great way to get visibility.

Scribophile.com is a whole other enticement. I found Scribophile from another author blog I followed who raved about the advice and support she received from Scribophile and the readers who critiqued her work. So I gave it a shot. LOVE IT!!

Scribophile works off Karma points. You have to earn 5 Karma points in order to post a chapter of your work, and you earn those points by critiquing others’ work. The longer your critique, the more Karma points you earn. But they do it in a very creative way to help you earn even more. Some writers offer higher critique points if you post a review over a 200 words from their own Karma bank. So if you wanted, you could search for the options with additional Karma points. Also, if you only wanted to critique Fiction Thrillers, you could search through just those. Just interested in short stories or poetry? You can peruse those as well. They make it very easy to access other people’s work in any filter you want. They also have writer’s circles and forums. If you wanted to connect with other Romance Writers, or Thriller Writers from New York, they have circles for that. If you wanted to post your work and have it only visible to that circle, you can do that. If you wanted feedback on your work, but only on certain aspects (i.e. plot, voice, characterization) you can specify that.

It’s an excellent site to get the kind of feedback you’re looking for. I’ve learned quite a bit so far, and I’ve only been actively perusing it for a few weeks. I HIGHLY suggest looking at that site if you’re writing, or want to write. But you have to be willing to review other writers’ works to get something out of it. And you learn a lot that way, by seeing other people write: their strengths, their weaknesses, and even get ideas for your own.

I’m hoping this gets me out of my writer’s block, or funk, or whatever the heck this is.

Even Muses need to read for Inspiration

I’ve been enjoying it and wanted to spread the love. Have a great week, my friends, and keep writing forward!

Inspiration for Writers

Stonehenge, Wiltshire county, England

Image via Wikipedia

This is also about the story behind my new header for my blog page.

Writers search for inspiration wherever they can.  Anything to get the creative mojo flying in their brain, to see their characters as clearly as looking through cellophane, and to let the dialogue flow like a waterfall in Kauai.  Most of the time I’m able to write the best when I have certain music playing on iTunes.  Specific songs, for whatever reason, make me see my stories and my characters more clearly.

But also moments of peace and humility clear my mind of troubled thoughts and confusing noise.  Moments like our trip to Stonehenge back in 2007.  But we were also exhausted.  My husband and I had been up for almost 48 hours by the time we reached Stonehenge.  This was a brief interlude where my husband had to lay down and rest his back.  He looked so relieved and the imagery was too poetic for me to not capture on camera.  Every time I look at the photo, I ask “Who lays down on a bench at Stonehenge?”  Yep, that would be my husband.

But this always reminds me to clear my head when I need to.  I need to find inspiration from time to time, and little random shots like this always help.

So, writers, what makes you feel more creative?  What gives you inspiration for your creative mojo?  I’d suggest laying down whenever you need to.  Wherever you are.