Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Holy Week for Many Faiths

Tonight is Wednesday, tomorrow night is Maudy Thursday. Maudy Thursday celebrates the passover meal Jesus and his disciples enjoyed in the upper room before the arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. From that arrest, events began to unfold in a rather rapid succession - The First Trial before Pilate, the Trial before Herod, the Second Trial before Pilate, including the 39 lashes and refusal of the crowds to pardon a seemingly innocent man.

Whether you are one of the faithful who believe in Christ's death and resurrection, or if you are one you thinks the Messiah hasn't arrived yet, this week is still a Holy Week of celebration. Those of the Hebrew faith are celebrating Passover, which commemorates the passing over of the Hebrew children by the angel of Death in Egypt. How marvelous these two events are when considered as bookends of faith.

One bookend is Passover, the remembrance and celebration of pure oil and the rushing sound of the Angel of Death passing over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and sparing their first born sons.

The other bookend is the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. This event born to all nations of the world a united view of the Bible. "Love each other as I have loved you", this is the mission which God set before us.

As I walk through this Holy Week, I cannot help but remember a line from my favorite Easter song. "Death, where are your shackles? Sin, where is your stain? They've all been defeated, the Grave could not hold the King,"

Hallelujah for a Risen Living God, who loves us and want to live in cooperation. May the spirit of love that always surrounds us at this time, keep showing itself in and through us. May we be, unashamed of the Gospels.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Another Month Slides Into the Dust

Well, two more days and March 2010 will be history. Let's look at what has happened around the globe this month. The Democrats ramrodded a health care reform bill through Congress even though 85% of Americans don't want it, the weather went wacky all over the country dumping record amounts in the NE, and I have still not heard from any reputable publishers about CATALYST.

The first item is one of the three areas I choose not to discuss in public. The other two are religion and the Great Pumpkin. But, if the general population has not figured out we are rapidly sliding down the hill toward becoming a Socialist nation then they deserve what they get. I highly recommend reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged to anyone with a mind still capable of making independent decisions. It will give your life a direction and affirmation.

As for the weather, Mother Nature has obviously hit menopause. I would assume we are heading toward global climate change on a magnitude not seem in humanities lifetime. Does that mean we are the cause of this change? Not completely. I think these cycles of the earth are normal. God set into motion a living system, complete with chaos theory. Free will is not confined to people.

I am working on a new book. Nothing related to science fiction or fantasy, this book is in honor of my daughter and our two horses, Bella and Penny; and all the other horses who find themselves in rescue centers. If you love horses, then join the movement for responsible breeding of horses, especially Thoroughbreds. The reckless search for the next great racehorse unfortunately leads to many wonderful not so great horses have to find homes. I will never let I horse I own or care about be sent to the kill pens.

My closest friends came for dinner Sunday to catch up and provide support for my son's godmother and her daughter. Stacey lost her husband last year to ALS, and there are still some sore spots, but it was wonderful for them to come up and enjoy some fellowship with old friends. I pray for her everyday.

My husband has to have tests done tomorrow first thing for his heart. I ask everyone to pray for his protection and that nothing extreme is wrong. Updates to follow as I get them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Have you ever had one of "THOSE" days?

I'm having one of THOSE days. It started when I woke up three minutes before the alarm was to go off. What can you do with three minutes except wish you had them to sleep through! Then, the television alarm doesn't go off on time and the children blame you for them not getting finished the homework they should have done the night before but didn't because they knew you would get them up earlier enough the next morning.

Somehow I missed time to take a shower, which meant my hair had to get put up. Then I get dressed and can't find any socks. I pick up my keys and the dog it at the door ready to go. And the sunrise was red...

It never really rained today, just enough of a dreary drizzle to make my day complete. Which cancelled riding lessons which made my daughter walk around saying, "I'm Bored!"

My son and my husband are sniping at each other again. I get really tired of the male testosterone overflowing in my living room. I love my son, and I love my husband - but I cannot wait until Chris ships out to boot camp/A school. Two Reece men is too much at one time and in one place.

And my husband has to have another heart cath. The blockage/dead spot they saw in 2006 has moved/changed and they want to check it out. And out warehouse manager has more cancerous tumors in his leg. And I'm broke until business picks up next month.

I really need to sell my book, but I also want to hold out for the 'right' publisher. What is the right publisher? Preferably one who isn't a scam. One who believes in me and my story. One that doesn't want me to pay half the costs. Not to brag on myself, but - CATALYST is a great story and it's going to make someone (and me) a lot of money and bring enjoyment to a wide audience.

Family time this weekend - my bestest friend and her daughter are coming up for a few days from FLA. She lost her husband last year to a horrible, horrible illness - Lou Gehrig's Disease. It wastes away the body, but leaves the mind untouched. He was one of the most genuine people I ever met and I will miss his laugh and smile forever. But, I'm glad he was a part of her life because he made her life complete for the years they were together.

My son has a report date for the Navy. AMEN!! He wants to go Special Forces and he would be awesome there. But whatever he chooses he will excel at - he's just that kind of kid.

So my head and my heart aren't moving together right now. Which means Janis Joplin is calling to me.

"Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose...."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I don't have time to be sick!

Nothing slows down my progress like being sick. My brain ceases to function properly and words seem to get bogged down in a haze. If I could zap this ache out of my muscles I might feel better, but I doubt it.

OK, I took the big plunge this week and sent my book to a MAJOR publisher. If they accept it I will dance naked in the living room, well maybe in the shower! But my editor thinks it good enough, so I'm taking JD's advice and going straight to one of the top publishers in SciFi/Fantasy. I still have several other queries and proposal packages out there, I'm sure someone will bite. I just hope it's a reputable company.

Did a little work this week on another book, completely different from CATALYST. I need to step back from that story until Book One sells. Book Two is almost completely sketched out, just the ending to flesh out. Vivi knows where she wants this book to end and Book Three to begin, but I've lived with her for over a year now and, honestly, I need a break from her. For a fictional character living in my head she sure can be bossy!

The new book is the fulfillment of a promise to my daughter. This book is about horses and girls and the fulfillment of first love. About as far from a post apocalyptic earth trilogy as a person can move, but she wanted a story she could relate to. Since she's an almost teenager, who loves horses, it seems a good fit.

I need to put my life in some sort of order. Laundry, taxes, paperwork, regular work, dishes - right now everything seems to be piling up in big heaps. Some day I might actually win the Mega Millions or Power ball and then I can devote my days to writing and riding. But now, everything has to take it place. Another thing being sick won't help me figure out.

But I would rather just write. I can occupy me for hours, putting me into a world of my own creation. I get excited when I see where the story is moving. Some times it's my direction but mostly I let the characters tell their story. Why? It's more important to see where they want to move events to. These really are their stories, I am just the external typist recording everything for posterity.

But I hope Evie and Vivienne and the others don't catch my cold. Too many people whining in my head makes for one hell of a migraine!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another Saturday Well Spent

I like my Saturday's. I like spending time with the solitude and the comfort of the horses. I like working around the barn and, yes, I even like cleaning stalls. I don't like toting water buckets. But the power will be in soon and so will the pump for the well. It is amazing how much we take running water for granted until you have filled and carried 25 - 5 gallon water buckets.

Water shapes everything on this earth. It wears away stone. It moves trees. It has to be carried over by a gator with you don't have it in pipes in your barn.

But I'm thankful for what we do have. Large stalls, skylights, open spaces - it is an awesome place. It helps me think. It helps me write. A lot of my best ideas have actually come while cleaning stalls. Plug in the earphones, turn up the iPod and I can enter a zone unlike any other place.

Today I worked on trimming Penny's mane and tail. My mare has the most gorgeous and natural tail. People pay thousands of dollars for what she grows without effort. With all the rain and the cold, and the surgery and moving, I haven't trimmed her up since November. And then I worked on the compost pile.

And - walked the property to see what changes the latest flood had brought to us. All and all, it isn't that bad. A little more debris washed down, a water bucket floated across the street and half way across the paddock on the other side of the street and all the channels that were dug to help channel the water away are overflowing.

But our barn is high and dry. The horses are fine. Ready to go out and play and stetch their legs, but dry. No leaks in the ceilings. No buckets in the hall to catch the rain. The water can flow, but it can't stop progress. It just makes a path around.

Yep. I like my Saturdays.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Another Week Down and What Have I Accomplished?

Well, another week is about to be history and what have I done for the betterment of my family? We have large contracts at work in negotiation, I've done laundry and been to the grocery store. What have I done for my writing? Not enough!

Sure, I'm in a quandary over unscrupulous publishers but that doesn't result in forward momentum. What I really need to do is go back to my lists and start the process with another round of query letters. I knew when I started writing it would be a long and sometimes painful journey. But nothing worth having ever comes easy.

Without quite realizing what was happening I have allowed the end to overshadow the vehicle. Vivienne's story is compelling and she deserves it to be told. While I have taken a moment to step into another story, one which has existed in short story form a long time, I am never far from her attention. Book Two still waits for its ending and Book Three is always percolating.

Getting published is one thing. Being proud of what is published is quite different. I have certainly read some books and thought at the time, "well, that was a waste of paper and time". But then there are some books that stir the soul, fire the imagination and inspire one to greatness. I want to be proud, when the time comes, of the final edition when it is printed.

One of my favorite authors is Robert Heinlein. While many of his books changed and enriched my world, one which I find myself referring to over and over again is "Time Enough for Love". The concept of eternal man and genetic compatibility is most interesting to me. If they could take my brain and transfer all my knowledge into an exact, young and limber body with no lasting side effects or pain I would say "Sign me up!" Life is to be experienced.

One of my favorite saying in TEFL is found the first notebook of Lazarus Long. "Never underestimate the power of human stupidity." My all time favorite saying from the same book is:

"Do not confuse “duty” with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect. But there is no reward at all for doing what other people expect of you, and to do so is not merely difficult, but impossible. It is easier to deal with a foot pad than it is with the leech who wants “just a few minutes of your time, please--this won’t take long.” Time is your total capital, and the minutes of your life are painfully few. If you allow yourself to fall into the vice of agreeing to such requests, they quickly snowball to the point where these parasites will use up 100 percent of your time--and squawk for more! So learn to say No--and to be rude about it when necessary. Otherwise you will not have time to carry out your duty, or to do your own work, and certainly no time for love and happiness. The termites will nibble away your life and leave none of it for you. (This rule does not mean that you must not do a favor for a friend, or even a stranger. But let the choice be yours. Don’t do it because it is “expected” of you.)" Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough to Love.

And that - is that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Working from Home

Why, when you tell people you are working from home, is their first response to ask if you are playing hooky? Is it because that is what they would do? I really do work from my home. That's why I have a laptop computer. Everything I need to do my job, with the exception of my physical office can be found on or forwarded to my laptop.

Now, I do take longer breaks than I would at the office, to change out the laundry or start dinner or ferry children around. But that happens around checking my emails, updating contracts, updating my blogs, and working on getting published. In truth I work harder at home than the office, just at my own speed not anyone elses.

Today, for example, I am in a quandary. Do I agree to sell my book to a company with a questionable reputation, or to keep pushing letters and samples of the book to major publishing houses? Honestly, I think I am good enough to see the book directly without any financial output on my part. Am I that naive?

While I work on my next book I am going to be prayerful of this situation. I may also consult someone wiser than myself. But I will not let it stop my writing. Someone out there is going to get it. And I'll be ready when they do.

And when it gets published, I will throw such a party for everyone who has believed in my and this project, as to shame other parties.

With lots of good tunes and good food.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I'm frustrated. Why do I never seem to have enough hours in a day to get anything accomplished? I am not just talking about time to write. Some days it seems I don't have time to turn around. When I was younger time management never was important. I could work all day, party half the night and sleep a few hours and do it all over again. Ah, the lost talent of youth!

I'm also stretched a lot more than when I was young. I want to streamline my life, discard things from my memory banks to make room for new information. But how does one decide what stays and what goes? What if I make the wrong decisions?

I have an idea for a new story, way different from CATALYST. This week my goal is to finish sketching out the characters and make a rough outline for the story. Book Two of the Trilogy is stuck at 75% complete. Again - I know where I want to go, I'm just having an argument with my characters about how to get there. I am winning, but they have some smart ideas.

That begs the question - how many writing projects can I juggle at one time and NOT get them totally confused? The new story is far and removed from the world of CATALYST, which should help my thinking remain linear. I would not be amused if the characters began story jumping.

Still waiting to hear from several query letters I have sent out to publishers. It boggles my mind how many publishers don't even acknowledge they received anything from you. Today I got back my query letter in my SASE from a publisher. No note, no "we aren't interested", nothing that indicated these people did anything more than take my letter, open it, put in my SASE and stick it back in the mail. Certainly an easy job - wonder if they are hiring.

And then there are the publishers who think you are "fabulous" and if you will buy a thousand copies to sell yourself they will be glad to publisher me. Call me old fashioned, but I thought I was selling my book to a publisher so that they have the privilege of benefiting from my writing. Why should I pay to get into print? Personally, I think I write better than the average novice author and should be paid - not have to pay.

I need a good ride on horseback through the countryside to clear my head. Of course, we have going into another rain cycle, so I guess watching old movies I already know the ending to will have to substitute. At least for now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oh Spring!

Today was an almost perfect spring day in the South. Sunshine, blue skies, warm and holding the teasing promise that winter has finally headed somewhere else. Alas - it was only a tease. Starting tomorrow, the return limited run of rain. But, the temperature will not be quite as stark in its previous engagements. Yah!

I love spring. It is simply the best time of the year. The rebirth and rejuvenation Mother Nature brings with the return of warmer temperatures and longer days has always excited within me the desire to create something new and fabulous. Planting flowers, pruning the bushes, cleaning out the cob webs in my house in celebration of another winter gone.

But I also try to clean out the cob webs in my mind. Too often I find myself dwelling on things in the past which need to stay in the past. My doubts and insecurities rise up and attempt to ensnare me in their clutches. With a firm hand I can send those feelings out with the wind, refusing the comfort of the old familiar.

Spring inspires within me a new desire for writing, a renewed passion for expressing myself on paper (or computer screen if you will). I have a new book idea, totally different from CATALYST. I have Book Two of CATALYST to complete the rough draft, and I have the CATALYST blog to push forward. And the continued process to find a publisher. If I get everything accomplished, this will indeed be a Spring renewal.

So, my Spring Resolutions:
1 - Write at least two hours every day. It doesn't have to be all at one sitting, but don't push it off. Too soon I would find myself finding more reasons not to write than to actually just write.

2 - Be diligent in finding a publisher. Somewhere out there is the perfect book house to me. We just have to find each other.

3 - Follow through and follow up. These seems to be the two issues I have the most problems with.

4 - Always take the time to stop and look around at the wonders of our physical world. God's world deserves our amazement and honor.

5 - Slow down! Far too often we race through our days and run right over those who need us most, our families and friends.

Yet the number one most important thing Springs brings is Baseball!!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday - Another Week Calling for Rain

For most of the past five years we have been in a drought. Water conservation was championed twenty-four hours a day for months. Lakes were at all time lows and the drought made headlines all around the country.

Boy, what a difference a year can make!

This state has had more water in the past year than in three previous years put together and then doubled. Last September we had major floods across the wide Metro Atlanta area. The experts have said we had a 500 year flood. Who the heck plans for a 500 year flood? Far as I know, there wasn't anyone around here five hundred years ago except the Cherokee Indians and they didn't write anything down about a flood!

Rain, to me, is like writing. Some days it comes in a fine mist, covering everything but not leaving any concrete imprint. Other days, it comes in a flood, flowing faster than man can contain and control. While every writer hopes to live in a flood, far too often the floods are few and the mist is prevalent. Which is better?

I find when I have a flood of words flowing, the page count increases, but upon review the story sometimes has taken a bend I did not see coming. On those days it feels the inmates are running the asylum inside my head.

Ah, but in the mist I get so much more accomplished! That is where the polishing and refining seems to spring from. In the mist I can see the characters and their demands to be heard, but I can slow down the input, making better use of my time. A flood is always going to come. Whether it is a 500 year flood or a 10 year flood depends on how much I have cleaned out during the mist.

A writer always has to write, it is a part of our souls. But a smart writer knows the drought can be just around the corner. What happens to a writer who has lost his ability to see the stories in their head? How long can you reside in the drought waiting for a new flood to appear?

If you love writing, the droughts come. But how you respond can be a very individual thing. The important thing is to remember, no matter how long the drought lasts, no matter how low the lake level gets - a new flood is always around the corner. We just have to be patient and trust God.

THAT is the hard part!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Ah Saturday!

Most people spend their Saturday hours either at full speed or at neutral. My Saturdays are usually a good mixture of both. The hours I spend at the barn can be long hours of full speed work or quiet rest. I love it either way. Still trying to get everything moved in and smoothed out and making the property our own.

They began digging the well today, which was awesome. Now if we can get electricity soon to run the pump and heat water, we will be jumping for joy. Still, the quiet out there in the mornings is pure food for my heart and soul. I enjoy my mornings with the horses. They are my mental health.

Tomorrow is another day, and I need to write and decide which publishers to submit to on the next round. But if the weather is going to be as nice as today, there is no way I will get any writing down. We have had too many rainy weekends and freezing temperatures this winter to not take advantage of a day full of sunshine.

So, if I'm writing in my head but putting nothing on paper or disk, am I not devoted to my craft? With all the stories competing for attention in my head, I could write mentally for years and never get every story down. Some are winners. Some are not winners. But I think each one through to the end they desire. Then I take the ones I think are richest and put them on real paper first.

I like writing outlines and notes on real paper. I think more clearly when I see the words before my eyes. Names become faces become people before my eyes and that gives the stories the cement they need to become books. I write straight to the computer, but always last. The paper comes first.

I love trees. I love all types of trees, and I try to buy recycled paper. Because, if I am going to indulge in my passion of writing, the least I can do is spare Mother Nature's oxygen generators a break.

And I may take a break tomorrow and write in my head while I ride on the back of my hubby's motorcycle. Because I am always writing, just not always on a visual media!

Friday, March 5, 2010

What do you mean it's March?!?!?

Just yesterday I was watching the countdown to the New Year. Today I realized it was the end of the first week of March. What happened to January? Did I sleep through it? And February - did I blink and it disappeared? Ever since I was little people told me time flies as you get older but passing at the speed of light is ridiculous.

When I am writing, time seems to move in slow motion. There is never enough time for me to get everything accomplished I have laid out. But I push forward. If I am not writing other things get attention but I always feel "I should be writing". Is there a correct balance when you are a wife and a mother and a friend and all those other hats that women tend to heap upon themselves?

When women do things which enrich themselves and not their family, are we being selfish? I learned a lot time ago I cannot be responsible for any one's happiness except my own. However, as a corollary to that statement, if I am not happy I do not have the right to inflict my misery on others. So I write. It makes me happy, which in turn makes me a happier person for my husband and my children. So - am I selfish or am I doing my best to make a better family life?

I propose I am making my home happier. Because - if Momma ain't happy...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I'm Confused, but That's Normal

Tuesday we received 4 inches of snow. By Sunday it is supposed to be almost 70 degrees. What the frack?! I know the weather in Georgia is unpredictable but enough is enough. The hubby thinks this might have been the last round of snow, and I certainly hope so. Snow makes my real job a little more difficult for sure.

I sent out a few more queries on the book. How can someone have your query letter for less than three minutes and decide it isn't what they want? Even I can't make a decision that fast. If they aren't willing to take a jump with me, an unknown, then tell me that. Don't just hit the pre-typed turn down without even opening the attachment. Blind rejection really steams me, in case you hadn't noticed.

Oh well, going to spend some time with the horses over the next four days, that should help my blood pressure. Unconditional love and acceptance make me smile. Perhaps something wonderful will come in over the weekend. Still have at least three outstanding queries I have not heard back from. Maybe one of them will request the full book to read. Once they read it I know they will be willing to take a chance on this middle age mom from Atlanta. If the situations were reversed I'm sure I would read what they wrote. Oh yeah - most of them have written NOTHING. They just like to crush other people's dreams.

I'm not bitter at all, can't you tell?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How Did it Become March Already?

I have come to the conclusion I am having problems keeping track of how fast these days are speeding by. Soon the boy will be on his way to Boot camp and the girl will be spending all her time and effort on her horses. The hubby and I will throw ourselved into the opening party season here in Atlanta and I will still be looking for Valentine Cards!

So far my publishing efforts have three publishers looking at the manuscript, one of whom I think is a scam company. A legit publish was looking at the book, but took a pass because I didn't know how many author copies I wanted to purchase. Is there some standard accepted number of copies an author should purchase? I was honest to them in my reply, but obviously they found my reply a downer.

But that was only Round One. I still have query letters out to three publishers, and have a second round ready and waiting for dispatch orders. As the old song from the
70's reminds us, "I will survive, I will Survive.