Thursday, October 28, 2010

Random List of Things that Made Me Happy in the Last Week

1. Coming in from outside on a cold day and the house is warm!
2. Puppy licks.
3. Husband made banana splits and bratwursts (not at the same time).
4. Went to Red River, NM, for a Writers' Retreat.
5. Saw Jodi Thomas.
6. Daughter was home (but then she went back to school which made me not so happy).
7. Reading my first pass page proofs for AS YOU WISH (April 2011).
8. Teaching Latin (Yes, I subject my students to Latin).
9. Having high tea at the St. James Tea Room. (Oh. My. God. The food is richer than any I've ever had. Sooo good.)
10. Receiving author copies of FILLED WITH GLEE, which contains my essay titled "At the Heart of Sue Sylvester."

Books I'm reading now:
Wizard Squared by KE Mills
The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medieros

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Fear

I finished my book contract last month. All three books in the Time of Transition trilogy are done and turned in (heck, The Wish List is available right now at a book store near you). The dedicated author (That would be I) now needs to start on the next project. The idea has been brewing for a while. But along with the excitement and thrill of starting a new book comes the fear.

We writers are a neurotic group (I don't mean to speak for everyone, so consider that corrected to "I am neurotic"). The fear arises from so many different areas. Is the new idea at all good? What if it's stupid? Can I even finish another book again (the idea of writing 400 manuscript pages is daunting)? And if I finish it, can I even sell it? And if I sell on proposal, can I finish it in time? And if I sell it and finish it, what if no one likes it?

It's not like having books on the shelves is any easier. The first book of the trilogy is out and received mostly good reviews, but... "Will anyone like AS YOU WISH(the second book)? Will it have a good cover? Will it have good distribution? What if no one likes it? And the third book--I just turned it in and am still too close to it to make any judgments. What if it sucks? What if none of the book sell well enough for my publisher to want anything else from me? What if this is the death of my career?

Yeah, I can't concentrate on the good stuff--like the five heart review from The Romance Reader, like the positive review in PW, like the many readers I've heard from who loved the book. Nope, I focus on the negative possibilities--not even the realities.

The craziest thing of all? I can't think of anything I'd rather be doing than writing.

Books I'm reading now:
Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran
Wizard Squared by KE Mills

Friday, October 8, 2010

One step forward...

I'm up at an ungodly hour on my day off because the puppy seems to have taken a step back in her training. She's had accidents for the two out of the past three nights, and I was determined we wouldn't have another one today. So far, so good. But my problem with being up so early is that my brain won't stop dwelling on problems or frustrations, and then I make the mistake of reading news on line. Politics has me depressed anyway (I don't care which side you're on--it's all depressing), and reading about the latest round of muckraking, stupidity, and selfishness only makes my mood worse. Politics aside, other topics haven't been much better.

But the story that thoroughly floored me was the one about the four suicides after bullying in Ohio. You think that couldn't happen at your school, in your neighborhood? What has happened to kids these days? How are they being raised? What makes them believe they have the right to pick on someone who is different or espouses different viewpoints? What happened to live and let live?

Yes, I am at a school where bullying takes place. As a teacher, I can tell you, it's hard to catch it in the act. I never have. Then again, I have a small number of students and don't know most of the student body. I'm isolated at school and I've always been a rather naive person. I can stand in the hallway during passing period, but most of the time, I have students who need or want my attention during those four minutes. But it makes me sick to realize that out there is a child who is afraid to go to school because of other children (monsters--the real kind). And then to see the parents who think their child can't do anything wrong... What have we turned into?

When I was in sixth grade, I was bullied. The child of immigrants, too tall and skinny for her age (Snort, skinny--not a problem these days), and one of the nerds, I was the target for a couple of kids in my class. We did square dancing every Friday. Since I wasn't popular, when squares were formed, I'd invariably never be picked for a square and be stuck with my bullies. As we'd promenade around the square, the ones left "at home" would kick me as I walked around. I reported it to the teacher, but she did nothing.

It ended the day they made fun of my Hungarian background. (Oh, Hungary? Hungry? Are you a hungry Hungarian?--trivial, right?) I whirled on them and told never to say anything that stupid again. They had no idea what my parents had gone through to get to this country. They didn't know what hunger was. My parents did. I told these sixth graders they were ignorant and spoiled and completely clueless about life.

I don't know why that particular taunt made me defend myself. Maybe because they were attacking two people I loved rather than me. They stopped bullying me after that and other kids in the class came up to me and told me how much they respected me after the incident. I'm glad I stood up for myself, but not everyone can. Especially if the abuse is physical and the victim isn't big enough/strong enough. And I also don't believe a physical response is necessarily the answer(But I'm not ruling it out).

Sometimes when I think about the major and minor problems in this world, I wonder why I bother with writing romance. It's frivolous and light. There are more important topics to tackle. And then I realize that my books talk about doing the right thing. About having to leave your comfort zone to stand up for good. And of course that love is the most important quality in life. I may not hit readers over the head with those topics, but they're there.

So go out and do the right thing. Spread some love. Let's do our little bit to make this world better. I don't think we can fix politics.

Books I'm reading now:
The Phoenix Transformed by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

It's time. I haven't posted a new blog in weeks, but I was finishing up book three in the Time of Transition series. The book is now complete, turned in, and in the production process for publication in Mar 2012. Meanwhile, I also did the copy edits for AS YOU WISH (April 2011), and school is in full swing (and I would so ding my students for using a cliche like that last one.)

But now that book three is done, I'm feeling lost. Oh, I had a list of things to do when I finished (read some books, play a game, clean my office--which really needs to be done--spend some time with husband and family, catch up on correcting homework, etc), and I'm getting to them, but I miss the frantic writing, the being in my own world, a world of my creating. I'm feeling bereft.

So I guess that means I won't be idle long. I'm already mulling over the next project. I have two ideas. And there's an idea in the back of my head that intrigues me, but it's not ready to be written yet. It's still gelling, but knowing the character whom the story is about, he'd be the first to say that's right and proper.

In store for the next couple of weeks, Balloon Fiesta (my favorite part of living in Albuquerque), my daughter comes home for a visit from college, and our annual non-conference writers' retreat in Red River NM, a great chance to talk shop with other writers. And I'll have a chance to read a little bit more.

I feel downright lazy.

Books I'm reading now:
Between the Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath
In Bed with the Devil by Lorraine Heath
The Phoenix Transformed by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory