Monday, February 26, 2007


No massive amounts of new writing to report, but I did manage to get a batch of queries sent out today. I'm very glad to be finished with them -- they really are quite draining. I sometimes wonder if agents realize how much we sweat these things. LOL.

Some good news -- I received a partial request already today. YAY. I'm very excited, so here's hoping he asks for the full thing. That would be lovely. At any rate, I'm happy to be actively pursuing an agent again. It seemed like I was really slacking there for quite a while.

With this batch out, I can now concentrate on writing without the constant feeling that I should be doing more nagging at me. A good day.

Friday, February 23, 2007


I had a bit of a reading-fest yesterday. I find sometimes stepping away and cramming in some good books will give my own writing the extra added punch it needs. I often find myself inspired to _do better_. That's what happened with LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER by Diana Gabaldon.

Brief synopsis: Lord John is pulled into the investigation of a murder of a fellow soldier as well as a more personal matter relating to his family. He juggles the two lines of inquiry, which in turn, pull him into some of the seedier parts of London -- forcing him to rehash events from his past as he closes in on the truth. (Hey, at least I didn't throw beloved in there.)

Okay, let me begin by saying I'm a HUGE fan of Diana's OUTLANDER series. So much so, I sort of hesitated to read this book. To put it simply, if Jamie and Claire weren't in it, I didn't want to read it. (G) I love those two characters that much. However, over the last year I've read several snips of LJ and he really began to grow on me. You could say Diana did a fine job of wooing me to see the error of my ways.

This book only solidifies my liking of the character. He has a certain ability to carry himself well despite the ludicrous/horrifying situations he was called upon to suffer in this book. He's smooth -- that's all I can say. (g) He presents such an unruffled exterior that when he does have certain moments of awkwardness, I found myself laughing uncontrollably by how he manages to pull it all off with a sense of grace. When he has moments of weakness, I felt the loss of control and the sorrow it created within him. When he recalled lost lovers/loves, it was heartwrenching. He made me laugh and cry.

Once again, the writing in this book is excellent. It flowed, went at a great pace, and ended well. Diana dropped enough clues along the way that when the final AHA moment came, I didn't feel like she pulled an ending out of nowhere. The imagery was wonderful and I felt like I was _there_. There's one particular scene where LJ was rather uncomfortable, sweating profusely, etc... I felt the misery of it all. LOL. I found myself wanting to urge him to get the heck out of the cramped building because _I_ couldn't handle it anymore! Now that's writing.

Her other characters are painted marvelously -- I especially enjoyed his mother who seems to have a bit of wild streak despite her position in society (g), and von Namtzen, the plumed maniac. I'm really looking forward to the next book.

Buy or Rent? Buy. (Run!)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

First Official Book Review

I keep meaning to post my thoughts/comments about the various books I've read, but it seems like I can never complete one. Well, my day has finally come. I went to B&N yesterday looking for THE BRONZE HORSEMAN, but they didn't have it in stock. Anyway, who the heck can leave B&N empty handed? (Okay, so I've done it before -- but my world is never right afterward.) I snooped around and finally purchased LORD JOHN AND THE PRIVATE MATTER by Diana Gabaldon and PLUM LOVIN' by Janet Evanovich.

Any guesses as to which one I guzzled in less than two hours (and that's with several emails written)? Yup -- PLUM LOVIN'. It's _164_ pages, and trust me, that ain't small type they put it in. Price? $16.95 with a 30% discount. They should be ashamed of themselves (and that goes for me for purchasing the dang thing). LOL.

Okay, so my thoughts...

I'm a huge fan of the Stephanie Plum series -- HUGE. I love the humor, the snappy dialogue....the hot men. (g) I told myself I would wait for this particular book until it came out in paperback, but see above. I had to buy _something_ and it yelled at me as I walked by. Honest. Apparently, there's another book before this, because I don't ever recall the character Diesel being introduced in the Plum series. No idea what it might be, but it seems to have centered around a disastrous Plum Christmas. (g) Gotta love the idea of Grandma Mazur setting the Christmas tree on fire or something.

Brief synopsis: Stephanie agrees to play matchmaker for a "relationship expert" (according to Lula, that sounds like being a 'ho) in order to get the said matchmaker to turn herself in so Steph can collect her bond. I bet right about now you're thinking...Steph Plum -- a relationship expert?? Yeah, same thought here so I figured it would be chock full o' good times.

Anyway, I was a tad disappointed that Morelli and Ranger only made brief appearances...and I mean _brief_... and that this Diesel fella is somewhat vying for dear Stephanie's affections. NO NO NO. And just what the heck is Diesel anyway? Seems like he's supposed to be a superhero of sorts. Now, I never thought the Plum series was _grounded_ in reality, but just when did they shoot her off into space? (g)

Other than that, it was a fun, light read. Not alotta meat on the bones here, though. All my favorite characters made brief appearances, but was so quick that they really just zoomed by and it never had any of those _really_ great moments that you get in the regular series. To top it off, it seemed like she tried to tie up all the loose ends a little too neatly and crammed a good chunk of story into the last chapter or two. Way too rushed.

As for Diesel -- seems like a good solid, sexy character. For me, it seems like she combined the best of Ranger and Morelli into this guy. He's big like Morelli and hard as nails, with a quick wit. Definitely crunchable. (g) Some girls really do get all the guys (maybe a little too often).

Buy or rent? Rent.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

What To Do?

The new wip, working title THE BRAEDEN, is coming along very quickly. I just topped 10,500 five days. Yeah, you could say I'm slightly obsessed with working on this book. The problem is that I also want to finish the first book of BTPM by the end of March. Granted, I know any writing is good, but I don't want to focus on so many wips that none of them really near completion. I've seen far too many writers fall into the neverending cycle of starting a new wip when one drys up or stops speaking to them for a short time. Oh, the dilemma!

Heh -- yeah, even I realize there are far worse things that can happen to a writer than having numerous wips fighting for his/her attention. Take me a couple of weeks ago, just for one instance. (g) I'll take too many voices opposed to none.

I've always found that I'm never able to _really_ work on two projects simultaneously. I tend to get going with one and my full attention is consumed by it. Hence the reason COTM has sat on the back burner for a good 9 months now. I've been too tied up with NARC and now these new projects.

Anyone dealing with this problem? If so, do you find you can manage to work on both in the same day...alternate days...weeks maybe? Or do you just go with the flow with whichever is barking the loudest? I've never been one to try and force a schedule upon myself, but like anything, I have to try and reign in my tangents so I get something accomplished.

Jump in if you have any advice. (g)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

So Much For...Sleep

This new wip is rolling right along -- and no, I don't have a name for it yet. I'm _loving_ it. I managed to get another 3K today, and have spent the early morning hours telling myself I needed to stop writing and go to bed. But I couldn't. I _needed_ to know what happened next.

Whether or not it's true, I really feel like this is some of my best writing to date. The descriptions are far more developed than they are in any of my other books (other than parts of COTM) and I can visualize so much of what is happening. Parts are almost frighteningly real.

The scene that ensnared me tonight was the bit in my original dream. I'm not quite finished with it, but unfortunately, my energy is waning and I need SLEEP. (g) I can't wait to wake up and work on it some more.

Today, a friend mentioned I _didn't_ need to stop work on a current wip in order to focus on every new idea. I agree. (s) But sometimes, when the wellspring of inspiration is speaking, you have to go along for the ride. Had I ignored the urge to tell this story, I'd be missing out on 6K of some pretty good stuff -- not to mention the basic skeleton of what I really believe will be a wonderful book. My point being -- sometimes you have to listen. I'm so glad I did.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

So Much For My Resolve

I chucked out all the things I said to myself earlier, and worked on this new idea. I managed 3K today. Goodness. Let me just say for the record, I've never read fantasy. I know nothing about fantasy. I know even less about writing fantasy. Yet, I'm doing it. Yeah.

ALL of that aside, I find this wip very fascinating. I've never had to build a world before -- not in the literal sense, anyway. It's a strange and rather exciting thing to do. After all, I'm in control and there are no rules. Why the heck didn't I try this genre sooner? (g) I can't say _exactly_ what this world is, but it seems to have a Celtic origin. I suppose it's my work on COTM bleeding over into it, and that's okay. The world itself is fairly primitive, with some leeway with the language. I'm trying not to go too over the top with specified lingo, just so readers won't have a hard time following along...and to, you know...keep from bumbling it in my own head.

The MC, Maelyn (Yup, you know I had to stay true to my M pattern) is a lot different from any of my other MC's... she's a bit docile..LOL. I bet you never expected that out of me. She does have a bit of a rebellious streak in her, but for once, she's not a modern character. So, I find she's coming across a lot more....grounded and less likely to (a) have internal rants (b) talk to the reader (c) tell the men in her life to step off, or any of the other weird things my MC's have been known to do. She's not really funny either -- at least not yet. She definitely has a lot of heavy issues to deal with and there are seriously a lot of trials in her future.

My male MC, Keir (I think that's his name), hasn't shown up yet -- well, not in full. So, I don't know a lot about him yet... but I'm looking forward to the moment the two of them "meet" meet. You'll see what I mean someday. The plot line is a tad confusing, and I hope it's something I can pull off well. We will see. It's from a dream, so it may be a bit "out there." (g) As with Shadow Walker, it may be something that's been done a million times -- I don't know for sure because I don't read the genre. Yes, I truly write what I hear -- whether I have the available tools and/or knowledge to do it. As one of my friends put it, sometimes it's probably easier to go forward without knowing the rules. I feel like I did when I wrote Narc 1...the unflagging freedom of going forward completely clueless. I really hope that feeling sticks.

I don't have a name for this book yet -- I'll be thinking on it, hardcore. I still have to come up with the name of the different groups of people...where they live, etc. I found a lot of great names for the characters by using a Celtic I'm sure the names of all these other things will find their origin somewhere in there.

I really feel good about this wip. Heavens -- which to work on first.

Oh Man

Another wip has bubbled up. This one is from a dream I had _years_ ago, and for some reason, demanded my attention this morning. I've scribbled it all down in my journal, and hopefully I'll get to it some day. What's up with this? You wouldn't believe the genre, either... LOL. I think you'd probably term this either Sci-Fi or Fantasy. I _never_ thought either of those terms would ever be connected with my name. Just goes to show -- Never say never.

This all reminds me of how I've heard a lot of new writers ask established ones what to write. Give me a story idea, and I'll write it! Goodness. Ideas are never at a shortage -- at least not for this girl.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

We Have Twins!

This isn't one hundred precent for certain, but I think BTPM is going to turn into a two-parter. *sigh* Just call me Jen, the girl who never does anything the easy way. (g)

I've finally gotten back into a quasi-writing routine. I've managed about 3K in the past 3-4 days. It's not a lot, but I figure it's much better than the zero words I was producing before. Anyway, I've focused on BTPM, and figured out a lot of things that are taking the story in a whole other direction. Not in a bad way -- it's all GOOD for the book. It's just funny because I thought a YA would be quick and simple, when it's in actuality turning into the toughest challenge I've faced so far. How ironic.

IF this happens, I've still made it my goal to finish the first book by the end of March. I'm about 33-38K away from my projected word count... but it _could_ go down if this is split into two books. I'll have to check to see what the acceptable minimum is for YA. All I know is that 100K+ is much too big for one book (well, there are always exceptions).

I'm feeling much better after my little slump. I wish I could adequately explain the feeling to non-writers, but I never seem able. When magic happens, it is truly the most amazing thing. And that's what's happened the past couple of days. All sorts of scenes are popping up... and then miraculously tying into previously written deeper meaning to this bit of dialogue, or that incident. It's like my sub-conscious knew the master plan for this book, and has chosen to reveal it to me in bits and pieces. I LOVE writing. I can't say that enough.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Reinventing The Wheel

I'll never forget the amount of accomplishment, the overwhelming emotions, and pure excitement of finishing my first book. To date, I can't think of a single thing that compares to that moment. As I said before -- I pulled a complete "Joan Wilder." After finishing, all I could think about was starting the next project and how this was validation I could actually complete it.

So, why all the trouble with the second book? LOL.

When I finished Narc 1, I almost immediately started dabbling around with book 2. I got a ways in, then had a moment of pure panic after I began getting a few rejections. What IF I couldn't sell book 1? Would it make sense to have book 2...3...4.. completed without having sold someone on the first one? Would it be more logical to start a completely different book/series instead? So, that's what I did. I decided to return to an old YA idea I had when I was younger (of course, it seemed SO cheesy when I rehashed it -- so I let it "mutate" somewhat) and work on that instead. That one came linearly for me, which was completely weird. So, I get about a third of the way through that and then my "linear" method dried up on me and I returned to chunks.

Meanwhile, I'm getting some requests for partials, I turn my attention back to Narc 1. Then another YA pops up out of nowhere. I have all of these balls up in the air, and nothing is getting finished.

Quite frankly, I'm beginning to wonder if lightning can strike twice for this girl. (Oh, I forgot to mention my historical! LOL.)

So -- to any of you who have written multiple books -- is this normal? Is it something you had to deal with? And how did you manage it?

I feel like I know my characters from the Narc series very well -- yet, at the same time I feel they're holding out on me on some levels. Perhaps I'm nervous to discover what their secrets are...perhaps I'm scared people will grow tired of them and find the next book uninventive and indistinguishable from the first. Perhaps I'm nervous the subject matter I'm attempting to tackle is too much for the overall tone I hoped to achieve with the books. Or perhaps I fear the first book was just a fluke.

I'm trying to work my way through these insecurities, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think they were at the root of my lack of progress -- or why so many WIP's are materializing all of a sudden. After all, it's always a good excuse to never _really_ move forward with one wip.

Anyway, just some thoughts -- feel free to jump in.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Trying to Get Back in the Saddle

With the relief of finally getting the full into the mail, I think my brain went bye-bye. At least my motivation did. It's been a long week with very little writing accomplished. I suppose it's all a matter of my needing a break after such stress-packed weeks of revisions, school, etc. But good grief!

I'm determined to get moving again. Goodness, I now have four wip's. I used to always get a giggle out of people who had so many projects going at once -- now I'm finding myself in the same situation. Go figure on that one. Now it's a matter of trying to decide which to work on...while I suppress other ideas attempting to bubble up. I simply can't handle all of these projects at once. From now on -- any new inspirations go in my journal until I've finished _at least_ two of my current projects. Of course, if I finish Narc 2, I'll only want to move on to the third. I've been struggling to not work on that one as is -- with a firm admonishment from my mother, who said I can't work on 3 until I finish 2. Heh.

Anyway -- just wanted to give a little update on how I'm doing (or rather what I'm NOT doing -- i.e. writing. LOL. I'm getting caught up on some reading/movies/TV, though. HEH.) I'm in the middle of THE HISTORIAN -- really enjoying it. I'll give a mini-review when I finish it.

P.S. Oh...check out my novel window for my latest addition. (g) It's a working title for now. And scroll down on the right to read the opening lines... first yanno, it's tender. (g)