Sunday, November 29, 2009

Call Me Crazy, But I Miss Work

As I write this it is 10:50 pm on Sunday. In 10 minutes I will be going to bed, my stay-cation at an end. It was a blast. Something I definitely must plan on for next Thanksgiving.

In review, I didn't get a lot of the things done around the house that I wanted to do, such as shampooing the carpet and cleaning out my big closet. But I did do a lot of things I wanted to do, such as see several friends, write a lot, and clean my apartment top to bottom. I also went to Olvera Street, something I hadn't done in years, and did some research for both the next Granny Apples book and the next Odelia Grey book. On top of that, I read through 2/3 of the proofs for Corpse on the Cob, which goes to print on December 11th. Oh yeah, and I slept a lot.

So I'm heading to bed in a couple of minutes satisfied with what I've accomplished in the last 9 days.* And I'm heading to bed ready to resume work at the law firm. I know it must sound crazy with everything else on my plate, but I was actually starting to miss my work as a paralegal. That tells me it's time to go back.

I also watched several movies this week. Some were sentimental favorites like Love Actually and Sleepless in Seattle. But one movie really stood out. Yesterday I watched Changeling, the movie starring Angelina Jolie and directed by Clint Eastwood. It was both fabulous and terrifying and I spent a great deal of today thinking about it. If you haven't seen Changeling, check it out.

*Although I did a lot of writing this week, tonight I came to the conclusion that I'm not happy with what I've done on Odelia #6, which was considerable. Happy with what I accomplished. Not happy with the results. But that's okay, because somewhere between watching Dexter and The Amazing Race tonight, I had a brainstorm about Odelia #6 and know exactly how to fix it. Of course, it will require a major overhaul. But that's all part of the writing game.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Stay-Cation in Progress

Today is day 7 of my stay-cation. Just a couple more days and I'll be back to the good ole day job. I gotta say, stay-cations ROCK! I am loving my time off. It's the first time I can remember taking a whole week off work without being sick or travelling. Or being laid off.

At the beginning, I made a list of things to get done while off work this week, and while I still have a couple of days left, some items have already fallen by the wayside. See what I mean below:

Clean and organize closet – still has possibilities, maybe later today or tomorrow

Read a book – in progress

Lunch with friends – So far I've met up with two of them. Bonus was former boyfriend calling and taking me to dinner on Tuesday night.

Visit the Getty Museum – This isn't going to happen, but is being substituted with trip to Olvera Street today with friend Susan. This is actually a research trip for possible use in Granny Apples #3 book.

Shampoo carpet – I'm telling you right up front, this ain't happening. I'm having way too much fun to move furniture and deal with disturbed pets. But I did scour the apt. from top to bottom.

Attend Drag Queen Bingo - check. Went with friend Patti. Though the trip was for background to use in book, not sure it will go into book now, but we did have a great time. BTW, this is a very fun thing to do when in Los Angeles. All proceeds go to a chosen charity for the night and there are no cash prizes, but the prizes were fabulous - tickets to the theatre, dinners at wonderful restaurants, wine, etc. We went to the 7 pm show and arrived by 6 so we could have dinner first. Pal Ashley advised to eat first because the bingo games move fast. She was so right. Food at Hamburger Mary's was very good. Drink menu is extensive.

Write until my fingers are bleeding stumps – in progress

Other items since added to list:

Read proofs of Corpse on the Cob which is going to print on December 11th - in progress

Put up Christmas decorations - tomorrow

Catch up on e-mails and update website - this weekend.

See, absolutely NO time to shampoo carpet.

This week also began the negotiations for my new vampire series. Nothing is a done deal yet, but my agent and publisher were working hard earlier this week and should button things up next week. If all goes well, you can expect to see my first vampire novel in the fall of 2011! Wooooooooo Hooooooooooooo!

Photos: Left - Bridget of Madison County calling bingo along with Bingo Boy; right - This is how your dinner bill arrives.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Do You Stay-Cation?

Friday night starts my stay-cation. See what I have planned by visiting the Inkspot.

And stay tuned to Babble 'n Blog for reports on my activities while vacationing at home.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Do I Look Like Betty Crocker?

The ladies over at the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen invited me to guest blog today.

Following in their culinary footsteps, I talked about food and provided a recipe. Check it out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Last Call For 2009

I have one final book event on my calendar for 2009 and it's this coming Saturday. After that I will bury my nose in my writing like a burrowing hedgehog. So come on out this Saturday and say hello.

November 14, 2009 - 1:00-3:00 p.m.

"Death Takes a Holiday" featuring Hannah Dennison, Amnon Kabatchnick and Sue Ann Jaffarian, moderated by A.H. Ream.

Lloyd Taber Marina del Rey Library
4533 Admiralty Way
Marina del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 821-3415

Friday, November 06, 2009

Never Say Never

I have officially thrown my hat into the vampire-rage ring. Last year I got an idea for a vampire book and let it sit in my brain, giving it time to ferment into something solid and interesting. Then a few months ago, it knocked on my skull and said it was ready to come out.

Next, I honed and developed the idea until I had several solid chapters and a synopsis for a vampire mystery series. A series I hoped would be very different from anything out there to date. Yesterday, my agent informed me my vampire proposal was ready to be sent to various publishers. Yikes, the submission process all over again!

But the business of publishing isn't at issue here. What's bothering me is where in the hell did this idea come from? I mean, get real. Me? Write a vampire series? You've got to be kidding! At least that's what I would have said had anyone asked about it a year ago. Yet, here I am, gleefully composing paragraphs using words such as fangs and undead.

Then again, if anyone had asked me a few years ago if I had any plans to write a ghost series, I would have laughed. But look at me now. Ghost a la Mode was recently released and the second book in the Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery Series has been delivered to my publisher.

Never say never...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Writer, Writer, Pants On Fire

Today, November 1st, officially kicks off National Novel Writing Month, and the start of the annual NaNoWriMo program.

What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? In it's own words:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

This is a grueling pace. I know, because it's similar to the one I keep month after month, year after year, in order to produce two novels a year. And my novels are not 50,000 words, but generally fall between 77,000 and 85,000 words each. They must also be honed and polished when they hit my editor's desk. Of course, I take a bit longer than a month to do this. And during the year I must also do editorial edits and galley corrections on other books and book promotion.

I think NANOWRIMO is a great jump start for those budding authors who have never thrown commitment into their writing. NANOWRIMO isn't about whether someone has the talent to write a novel, but whether or not he or she has the cajones to stick it out. No matter what.

Several people I know have signed up to participate this year and I wish them all the best.

TIP: put your heiny in the chair, your fingers on the keyboard, and type like your pants are on fire and only getting to your word count will put out the blaze.

It works for me.

Since my 6th Odelia Grey novel is due to my publisher in exactly 75 days, I will be conducting my own unofficial and personal NANOWRIMO program this month. See you on the other side of November, scorched panties and all.

For a fun look at the potential aftermath of NANOWRIMO, check out Alan Orloff's blog about it. He's looking ahead to December 1st. Be afraid. Be very afraid.