Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Okay...first manuscript, first submission...first rejection. At least I got a detailed letter. Yes, I had the dream of being one of those incredible writers who could brag about getting published on the first try. Why? Don't know. Nothing has ever come easy to me so I'm not sure what made me think getting published would be any different. But I'm brilliant...ha! Whatever. Hubby even got a giggle on that one.

I got my return ms package back yesterday and knew it had been rejected. After reading the letter I went to the bathroom for privacy...hey ~ it has a lock on the door. In a house full of guys...it's my retreat. Anyhoo...I was disappointed and needed to think about what was next.

Well...my first reaction was to share. I talked with everyone close to me...including my crit partners. My hubby said with a sweet smile..."But what the editor said is a good thing." Which got me thinking. The letter was very detailed and she suggested several things. My first thoughts were to move on to another story and give this one a break. I needed space. But after reading the letter again I started thinking about changes. I am trying to be positive...she wouldn't suggest details if it totally sucked and had no hope...right?

Basically ~ my sub-plot was too strong and she said that both stories fit with the line...but separately. Then she suggested several ways to start the story. It will take a little time to rewrite the sub-plot out...but I really want to believe she'll reconsider if I make the changes she suggested. I read online at the eHQ chat boards where the pubbed authors collaborate with their editors and make suggested changes all the time.

The suggestions were very detailed and constructive. They didn't take away from the story, just tond it down and will make it seem or try to change the structure or outline in any way. It didn't suggest that I change the tone...or my voice. She said I should start in a different place. Which was something several of my crit partners had said...okay. I get the hint.

Last night I thought out several different scenes and even got a good one down in a file. The story will focus more on the family relationship and problems and leave out the dramatic police investigation. Which will make it easier to rewrite...right? Not. But at least there is still hope for this one.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Fraud Alert

Hey guys! Hope everyone is gearing up for a great weekend...whatever it is you enjoy doing! A friend sent me a fraud alert about stolen identity or personal information. The holidays are rapidly approaching...which is prime picking time for purse snatchers.

Just be careful and alert when shopping. If you're in a store using a basket with a child safety seatbelt...strap in your purse. But NEVER leave it unattended! Or laying open with the contents showing. Be alert as you walk to your vehicle in parking lots. It's common for us to be struggling with packages and getting into the car...just be very aware of your surroundings.

I'm posting a copy of an email which has vital information in case the loss can't be avoided...


Read this and make a copy for your files in case you need to refer to it someday. Maybe we should all take some of his advice! A corporate Attorney sent the following out to the employees in his company.

1.. Do not sign the back of your credit cards. Instead, put "PHOTO ID REQUIRED."

2.. When you are writing checks to pay on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the "For" line. Instead, just put the last four numbers. The credit card company knows the rest of the number, and anyone who might be handling your check as it passes through all the check processing channels won't have access to it.

3.. Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If you have a PO Box use that instead of your home address. If you do not have a PO Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks. (DUH!) You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have it printed, anyone can get it.

4.. Place the contents of your wallet on a photocopy machine. Do both sides of each license, credit card, etc. You will know what you had in your wallet and all of the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here or abroad. We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed on us in stealing a name, address, Social Security number, credit cards.

Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the thieve(s) ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:

5.. We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately. But the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.

6.. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc., were stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and this is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one).

But here's what is perhaps most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)

7.. Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.

By the time I was advised to do this, almost two weeks after the theft, all the damage had been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their tracks.

Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about your wallet, etc., has been stolen:

1.) Equifax: 800-525-6285
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union : 800-680-7289
4.) Social Security Administration (fraud line): 800-269-0271

We pass along jokes on the internet; we pass along just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it could really help someone that you care about.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I didn't want to watch. I thought it was stupid. But my teen loves to watch My Name is Earl. He made me do it. One night I was working on the laptop and the boys wanted to watch tv with me. So my 13 yo turned it to NBC. I was shaking my head but couldn't keep my eyes averted. Ya know...when you pass a bad wreck and you want to have enough respect for the victims to not stare, but you can't help yourself. Scary movie...hear the music and see stupid person running through the dark woods. They keep looking at a certain spot with the camera and you know something's gonna happen, but you can't look away. Now I look forward to it. It has depth and life lessons. ;) ROFL. Yes I actually thought that without a smile. But it's like in my reality ~ crap happens. It's all about how you roll with the punches. Irony on crack. Keep an open mind. Try something different. I watched several shows tonight I don't usually watch...maybe we should call it what it is...uh, procrastination. But I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. I've been stuck on a chapter...my writing brain was broken. I have a million things to do. And I wanted to get lost. No thinking. Just reaction. Grey's Anatomy's rocked for me as always. I laughed. I cried. Izzy is a traitor-bitch. You don't steal from another woman. Come on...McNasty-girl.

But My Name is Earl ~ tonight's show...creative writing on crack. Seriously...lessons in POVs...personality perspectives...highlighting a writer's voice.

Spoiler Ahead ~ Don't read if you'd rather watch.

Earl is in prison...He has to take a creative writing class. But he doesn't have a clue. He's looking at a blank piece of paper and doesn't know where to start. I felt like that this past month trying to reconstruct one stupid chapter. His imagination was a huge empty room with bright white walls. And something mentioned by a fellow prisoner gets stuck in Earl's head. An empty room. Then there is a male gymnast with a black eye.

He was told to think about writing as if he were driving on crack. When he explains to Randy about his class and problem with knowing how to begin...Randy tries it and so begins the domino effect with each character. But the show keeps coming back to Earl because he has writers block. So he decides to quit trying. And started writing just what was in his head. Nothing big...regular stuff. Stuff that makes him happy. He talks about how we sometimes may feel trapped in everyday life but that the grass isn't always greener. You don't know how much you miss something..until its gone.

What was so funny is that each character wrote with different personality perspectives. Their personal POV. Each with their own happily-ever-after. I could detail everyone's screwed up story, but you really have to watch the show to understand the individual personalities.

Bravo. Very well done. For a couple of hours I actually relaxed and smiled. I even laughed out loud. Back to life. Don't take me wrong, I'm extremely happy with my life. Just a little tired and really enjoyed the distraction.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tag...I'm it.

I know...I've been neglecting my blog. But I really am working. Still struggling with reconstructing my chapters I lost and helping a friend with crits while she gets ready for submission. Plus...anything to keep my mind off of the news. Hubby is scheduled to process out of Baghdad on Tuesday and tensions are really high. Turkey is invading Northern Iraq and Russia has become butt buddies with Iran. Don't get me going on my soapbox...

But a writer buddy has tagged me so I thought I'd take a much needed moment. Ok...Patricia W. I think it works like this ~ 10/20/30. We talk about what we were doing 10 years ago...20 years... and 30 years. I have a hard time remembering yesterday, but here goes!

10 years ago ~ 1997 Ummm...my oldest was 3 so I was divorced and had gone back to college. It was just two years after the Oklahoma City Murrah Building bombing and everyone was still emotionally raw and recovering. My life was boring because between my baby, working 2 jobs and school I was a little busy to have a social life.

20 years ago ~ 1987 Easier. In memory...definitely not in terms of my life, but I had just graduated high school (1986) and was a little lost. My mom had moved to Colorado and I was living with my dad. Bad decision but I didn't really care at that moment. Now that I'm where I'm at...would my life be different if I hadn't had to go through all of the crap I did? I don't want it to be. I love my life now...even when it's chaotic. But...I was working full-time and had a full social calendar. Young and thin...independent. Dating a much older man who owned his own business and was a big rodeo star...wrestling steers.

30 years ago ~ 1977 Life was easy. Now that I know what my mom was going through as a single mom...maybe it wasn't but she put on a great front! We were heavily involved with karate and traveled to competitions as a big family. I had a blast and life looked so easy.

I'm not going to tag anyone though because I think Ms. Patricia tagged Jennifer. She's my go-to girl! But play along if you have time...let me know cause I'd love to hear your answers!

Back to work before the storms hit today...we had a pretty tame summer so it'd only be fitting to have tornadoes when it's supposed to be cool and time for the leaves to change.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Marketing: Trailers

Several of my crit partners and I have discussed the importance of self marketing, especially for a new author and building your reader base. And we've talked about the various types of marketing, trying to figure out the most effective compared to cost. I've won books and goodies from my favorite authors and love to look through and get ideas from what they send me. From website promotions and contests to bookmarks and business cards. Kay Stockham sent me a gorgeous brochure type item of her latest release with a storyline blurb. One of the talented authors in the Harlequin SuperRomance line, Amy Knupp has a very talented web master...her husband, Stonecreek Media. I've been so tempted to have them design a website for me but can't justify spending money until I've actually sold my manuscript...which I should be working on right now!!

But a trend toward video trailers has really started to catch my eye...not because of the effectiveness, but alot of authors are beginning to use this outlet of reaching readers with a visual of their storylines...with a hook. One major drawback though seems to be people with dial-up services aren't able to view because of slow file load and inability to feed fast enough to view the video. I hadn't really paid much attention until the other day when Kay Stockham mentioned hers and being a fan, I relented and went to check it out. I literally got chills. No, it's not a thrilling crime novel...it's a Christmas story. Check it out and let me or Kay know what you think.

But I can see (feel) the effectiveness and I'm hooked.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Genre Biased?

Okay...something popped into my brain that has me thinking. Yeah...scary, I know. A fellow writer and crit partner, Patricia Woodside has a wonderful interview on her blog with author Francis Ray. She began her career published in writing confession stories and transitioned into series romance. She's also had a romantic suspense selected as a made-for-T.V. movie on BET. BUT that's not all...mainstreamwomen's single title, novellas, historicals and Christian fiction.

Wow! I know that maybe, or I should say WHEN I am published and I've grown tremendously in my abilities...I wouldn't mind being a multi-genre published author. My question is though...

If you had a favorite author like Ms Ray, would you snap up everything she has ever written? Regardless of the genre? My opinion is...yes ma'm. Why not? I have such eclectic tastes and if I enjoyed an author's voice, I would love to read anything they wrote. I've got a couple of favorites like that...ya know...La Nora. Linda Lael Miller is another. She's not nearly as multi-faceted as some because her stories mostly have Western themes...and I love my cowboys. It's just that some of them are historicals, others may be contemporary and may occasionally have a hint of paranormal features.

If you didn't care for a particular genre...would you read it because you enjoyed a certain author?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Mental Day

Things have been so chaotic around here lately that I've felt loopy...or lost. Ya know, when you have so many things to do but you don't know where to start...so ya don't. I get frustrated and sit back and procrastinate. Okay...too many big words in such a short space. Anyhoo ~ a friend knows what I'm dealing with and sent me an appropriate email. LOL! Enjoy...

Hello and thank you for calling The State Mental Hospital. Please select from the following options menu:

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be forwarded to the Mother Ship.

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, nothing will make you happy anyway.

If you are dyslexic, press 9696969696969696.

If you are bipolar, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss , press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. Our operators are too busy to talk with you.

If you are menopausal, put the gun down, hang up, turn on the fan, lie down and cry. You won't be crazy forever.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Research Day

What a wonderful and interesting day I've had. A good family friend came by for lunch and helped me work through some detail/research issues on my ms Harlequin Senior Editor Wanda Ottewell has (a partial) on her desk. We've known Richard for several years and he's a complete cutie-patootie. He's also our local District Attorney for two counties and full of interesting details. My secondary character in Kiss Me Cowboy is Nick Mallet and based loosely on our friend. Here's a pic so my crit partners can place a face to the character. Yes...I have to redeem his naughty behavior in my current WIP. Richard insists.

He has a little more grey now, but I can understand with the type of cases he's had the last couple of years. The dimples are to die for. It also helps that my hubby likes him. But Richard was a HUGE help today and helped me resolve some issues I faced in reconstructing my ch6 & 7 that I lost in the infamous laptop crash. It also means I'll have to make some changes down the line but...WOW. He also wants to take me out on a real drug raid so I can see and feel the adrenaline rush. I was kinda scared at first as we talked about it, but he'll be with me and said they'll put me in a bullet-proof jacket and keep me in the van while storming the residence until it's secured. He was telling me about the first raid he went on and how heavy the jacket was...kept him in his seat while the agents stormed the house. LOL.

I can't pass up the opportunity...but I'm a "what if" kind of person. I have two kids and a hubby in Iraq. Well hell. If hubby can go to Iraq and work in a war zone...

What would you do for research?