Nutcrackers, Mooses, and Bears Deck the Halls

Nutcrackers, Mooses, and Bears Deck the Halls

It’s A Crazy Time…that’s why we have nutcrackers, trees, mooses, and bears in wreaths on our mantel.

the holiday mantel

The holidays are upon us. The year is rushing to an end, and our thoughts are on the right present for the right person, yummy food (overeating at parties), dieting (next year), exercise (please God let there be time AND no injuries), and all those projects we didn’t get to this year, along with the guilt for not getting them done.

And then there’s the writing schedule, as well. I’ve been looking at my year, and trying to plan my writing/publishing schedule. I mean, down to the word count per day. I’m ambitious, I admit it; but for the first time, I’m convinced that I can do this writing gig. I just took a class by Delilah Devlin and Elle James titled Writing 50 Books A Year (yeah, it’s a tongue in cheek title) and they gave me SO MANY DETAILED spreadsheets, I’m in geek heaven.

Those spreadsheets have given me permission to plan. Permission to plunk down big chunks of time (conferences, vacations) and littler chunks of time (see Dad) and all the projects I want to complete next year, and figure out just how I’m going to do it all.

I’ve decided I’m not going to share my desires for next year’s publishing schedule; I know people who publish a heck of a lot more than I do, and some who don’t publish as much as I do, so there’s really no point in sharing those details until next New Year’s Eve Retrospective on the year.

For the first time, I’ll be planning – really planning – my writing year. With months up on the wall, and inputting my daily word count, and everything. Life is exciting, and my dreams are within my grasp. It’s just a matter of pushing aside fear, that little voice that says “you’re going for too much,” and forging on anyway.

In other news, I’m over at Linda Carroll-Bradd’s blog, where she interviewed me. Go on and take a look – I’m still popping in every now and then, though the blog was last week. (My friend Mary Beth Bass wrote the most awesomest comment ever!)

I’ll try to get some wine picks in for you for the holidays, and a garden post. I know I’m behind on those here, but I was on a deadline, you see.  Right now, I’m deadline free (but that doesn’t mean I’m not writing!), and I’ll be back on deadline at the first of the year, so I’ll try to stockpile some blog posts.

One last thought to leave you with…even though it’s the holidays, and even though there are a million and one things to do and things that can (and do) go wrong, and even though there’s never enough time or money or energy to go around, do yourself a big, huge favor. Let go of the guilt, whatever kind you’re carrying.  Live in the moment. Grab hold of and hug those you love. Express that love whenever possible, because you never know when it’s all just gonna go wrong.

Sending love and big, tight, shoulder-to-knee, rocking side-to-side hugs. And here’s our tree…

The Tree, 2014

The Tree, 2014 And yes, there’s a bear on that tree. Do you see the snowflake fairy? Tom and I got her in Seattle in 1980…so long ago!


Have you read Christmas Star yet? If not, grab it…”A modern day, sweet as hot chocolate fairy tale…” And if you have, would you please leave me a review? Thanks! And my thanks to those who already have reviewed…you know who you are! xo

Discovery Year, March 2010-2011

Do you like the new header? Su Kopil at Earthly Charms did it for me, based upon the bookmarks she designed for me. I love it!

Last year, March 5th marked my last day at my Regular Day Job (as opposed to my Part Time Day Job). Since that time, I’ve taken more online classes (some concurrently) than I have in the previous five years. And I’ve learned a lot.

The classes that stood out for me were the following:

Deep Story Technique by Carol Hughes – she gave me a comprehensive road map to follow – it’s got everything in it from the Hero’s Journey to the Five Emotional Turning Points. It helps me plot (which I hate doing), it helps me with the synopsis, and it helped me reshape the book that ultimately netted my first sale.

The Tiny Art of Elevator Pitches by Carrie Lofty She helped me whittle down further and further my one sentence pitch until I understood it was the kernel of the story that belonged in the pitch – not the detail. Now if only I could keep her on retainer to help me with ALL my book pitches.

The Logline, Premise, Query and Synopsis by Elle James and Delilah Devlin This, in conjunction with the other two (all of which overlapped) solidified how important the ancillary writing is  that surrounds the actual novel. Truly a revelation and an excellent class by excellent instructors. They gave thoughtful and genuine critiques to everyone who participated.

Writing the Query Letter by Julie Rowe Are you seeing a theme here? I knew my query letters sucked as I was getting form rejections from my queries. Julie’s class helped me build on knowledge previously gained. (I think I need another class, though. My query letters still suck.)

A Cop’s Life by Kathy Bennett This was my first breather class – tons of information, and I’ve saved it all. I’ve got a cop coming up in a novel, so I wanted to be prepared. Luckily, Kathy is in my local RWA Chapter so I can ask her questions when I need to.

Book Factory by Kerri Nelson I, too want to write and sell as much as Kerri does. Now if only I can discipline myself to use her techniques! (Hint: it’s all in the way you manage your time.)

Writing Love Scenes by Shayla Black Great info, bad timing on my part as just days after the class ended I went in for surgery. But I saved all the lessons and you can be sure the next time I write a love scene, I’ll be re-reading them.

Holly Lisle – I’m going to stop there. Holly Lisle is awesome. Any class of hers that you choose is terrific.

Warrior Writer by Bob Mayer I took this class again in 2010 after taking it in 2009 because my local chapter gave it as an all-day workshop. Even though I have the book, even though I’ve done the work from the book, I still learned something about me as a writer. In 2009, I wrote a review about the class that basically said I felt stalled as a writer and I knew something had to change. What I hadn’t been aware of was that I needed to change.

I’m currently getting ready for the Henry Miller Writer’s Workshop, focusing on children’s, middle grade, and YA books and presented by the Andrea Brown Agency. It starts tomorrow – I’ll be there, with my YA book in my sweaty palms, ready to find out why it’s not generating the interest I know it should be.

I’ll post about more classes that I took during the past 12 months, plus how the workshop goes, when I return next week. Till then, write well!