Journal Entry for November 17, 2015

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Oh my ears and whiskers.

*takes out watch and looks at it*

I do feel somewhat like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland: busy, late, more than a little anxious.

You may have noticed that I’ve been “away.” Not away, away. But away from journal writing. In the flurry of these last few months, I neglected it terribly.

This has long been a problem with me and diaries. More pressing matters tend to push journaling into the background until it resembles the underside of my bed, all cobwebby and dusty and forgotten.

Update: I’ve finished the projects I was working on earlier this year.

Also, I have finished the first book in what I hope will be a new series for children. It is in the editor’s queue right now. Keep your fingers crossed!

I’m writing a new book for yet another line of mysteries for Annie’s Fiction. Confidentiality dictates that I can’t tell you too much about that yet, but I’ll share more when I can.

Then, there’s the new book I’m working on. It is not under contract nor have I even approached any editor with the premise, but I really like it. A serious story set in rural 1930s Georgia about the bastard child of a poor white man and beautiful black woman. Stepping a little out of my familiar zone on this one, but I want to be stretched as a writer. This book will stretch me.

So, as you see, I’ve not been lazy. Just away.

Until next time ….

April 29, 2015

Wednesday, April 29

This week has been dedicated to cleaning and organizing my office. When we moved into this older, cottage style house nearly three years ago, the room I chose to be my office had a teeny, tiny closet. (How in the world was it EVER used for clothes storage?) I had deadlines to meet during that move, and after, so I shoved things into the closet until such time I had the nerve to tackle it.  At this moment, my neat little office isn’t so neat.

I’ve found so much old stuff. Old ideas jotted in old notebooks or on old scraps of paper, old short stories (some completed, some left undone for a good reason). A file folder bulging with carbon copies (yes, carbon copies) of query letters. Oh, my, I wish someone would have taught me how to write one back then. They are truly awful, but I’ll keep them to show new writers I made the same mistakes they make now. Maybe they’ll derive some comfort and hope. I have also unearthed enough writing tips to fill a book, discovered several packages of manilla envelopes, new and used file folders, and plenty of dust.

Then there are all those early book manuscripts. The ones where I was just beginning to crawl as a writer. The ones where I was finally able to walk as a writer were marginally better. By books five and six, I more or less knew what I was doing but still needed a lot of work and practice before I could even consider of entering any marathons.

I’m not finished with this cleaning/organizing task, but I know one thing for sure. Never, ever throw away book or story manuscripts. They might be old and dusty, yellowed with age, but they hold a lot of gold. Some of it can be mined. The first April Grace book, In Front of God and Everybody, proves that. It was an old book, chucked away for years.

I have a book coming out soon that was written nearly twenty years ago. It’s been polished and revised, brought up to date, but still, it’s a story salvaged from my desk drawer. Dare I say, it’s really good. I think so, anyway. I hope so.

April 21, 2015

Tuesday, April 21st.

This past week has been a busy one. I enjoy teaching the writing class. It’s a small group of fascinating women, each in various stages of writing development. Since I primarily teach fiction writing, those who expect a course in poetry or how to write for magazines will be disappointed.

I have short-term memory problems (is that age or is it just me??), so I wait until the day of the class before preparing the evening’s agenda. Putting things off makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I like to get busy and accomplish what I set out to do. In this instance, though, I believe waiting until the eleventh hour is best for all concerned.

Progress continues on Upside Down and Whopperjawed. If I had nothing else to do and devoted most of my time to this story, I could finish in about six weeks. Maybe less. April Grace Reilly often seems to sit on the corner of my desk, telling me about her day and the crazy people in her life. Recording her tale in her sassy, witty voice ensures that the story basically tells itself.

Not every novel I write is this easy or this much fun. But that’s another topic for another time.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

I had to step away from this journal for a few days. I wanted to make sure my readers could subscribe and receive each day’s update, if they wanted to. Add to that, we had a long-anticipated guest come to visit, and I preferred to use my time with him rather than with my computer.

For several weeks, I’ve been wrangling with the first book in The Cassidys Series. Although I have eagerly anticipated launching this new series, I just could not lay hold of it in my mind. I’ve learned if you have to fight with a story, forcing your way through it is far from the best way to go.

My publisher gave me the nod to put that series on hold for a while, as long as I can give him something else by the deadline. One thing I have plenty of is ideas. They practically ooze from my pores and puddle around my feet. I mentioned a couple of book ideas, and he chose one that I had started years ago.

I dug it out, blew off the virtual dust, and began familiarizing myself with the story again. Uh oh. This book needs work.

Thank God for editors who are willing to look at old, rough drafts and brainstorm to help you get restarted. So I sent those 100+ pages to my editor today. While I wait for her to get to it, I might as well get started on the fifth April Grace story.

Or finish outlining Honey Dipped Secrets for Annie’s Publishing.

 

March 25, 2015

Wednesday, March 25

I woke up at 4am, or shortly thereafter. I might have drifted back to sleep in my warm, comfy bed if I hadn’t had a hair appointment this morning. Now, this might not have been such a big deal, except my last appointment was postponed a week because of bad weather, then I completely forgot and missed the new appointment. I certainly did not want that to happen again today. Yes, I have an alarm clock. Yes, it is undependable. No, I don’t have a smart phone that will wake me up. No, I don’t trust my hubs to wake me. So I got out of bed and drank two cups of coffee before 4:30.

Once the writing machine was warmed up and purring, I went through the final round of edits for April Grace. (They came back from my editor last night.) (Gosh, she’s a whiz.) Then I wrote the dedication page (yay! I love doing that) and the acknowledgments page (always a good idea to let folks know you appreciate them). Everything is now back in the editor’s lap, and soon will be in the publisher’s lap.

Photo shoot for the cover is coming up. I’ve never been present for that, so I’m looking forward to it.

Oh, and I “got my hair did.” Finally.

Ah, the excitement of a writer’s life is almost more than I can bear. (Ahem.)