funny pictures of cats with captions

Um, yeah, absolutely! Except my beverage of choice is red wine. πŸ˜‰

Okay, going list style today, because the thoughts are random:

1. Finished the corrections and sent them to editor.

2. Yay!

3. No lights up on the house yet. Knew it!

4. Wow, where'd that wind come from? At least it's not freezing or snowing!

5. RWA chapter Christmas party on Saturday.

6. What a difference a year makes!

7. Last year, I trotted off to the party having only squeaked my GH entry in under the deadline.

8. This year, I was ineligible to enter. Not upset about that!

9. Emote, people! I need forward motion *yesterday* on the WIP.

10. Need to watch my favorite holiday movies. Christmas Vacation is a must every year. Need me some Grinch and Rudolph too.

11. Remember when you were a kid and could only watch Rudolph once a year?

12. Eat, Santa, eat!

13. Watched The Polar Express in 3-D on Hubby's movie screen. Wow. I mean WOW.

14. Sometimes it's pretty cool to have a techno geek husband. πŸ™‚

15. What are your favorite must-watch holiday movies?

Black and White and Read All Over

My official contract came yesterday. And I realized that I'd never actually seen a book contract before. It's not what I expected. I sort of expected this thing that looked like a mortgage contract — legal size and unreadable.

But no, it's not legal size. It's regular size. It's not as fat as I thought it would be. And it's readable, if a bit boring. Lots of it is regular contract language stuff. And then there's the specific stuff that applies to me and my books. That was more interesting.

It's kind of strange to see it in black and white — someone is really, truly, honest to goodness going to PAY me for my work. ME. It still makes me giggle. My words are worth that much? Too cool.

It's hard sometimes when you dream of being published to hear that money flows TO the writer, not the other direction. It's hard because you want to see your story between the covers of a book. You want to hold it and show it to your friends and family. And there are certain presses out there that know that.

But try to hold out, okay? Money flows TO the writer, not the other way around. I have it in black and white. If someone wants to publish your book, but wants you to pay them to do so, be patient and keep trying. You may have to write another book, or another few books, but you can get there with persistence and an open mind to what you need to do to grow as a writer. It didn't happen for me overnight. And it wouldn't have happened at all had I not kept trying. (If you've already paid someone to publish your book, enjoy the product — but write another book and don't give up on having someone pay you for your work. It can happen.)

I was looking forward to this contract, and now it's here and I'm reading it with awe and determination. What have you been looking forward to lately? Have you gotten something that wasn't quite what you expected? Was that good or bad for you?

A little diversion

more cat pictures

So I'm working on revisions again. *sigh* Thank GOD for the Presents and Modern Heat authors at conference who told me this is normal and not to feel like a big dummy! The encouragement I found in those ladies has really made a difference in my confidence this time around.

But that's not the diversion. The diversion is my very first newspaper interview. Today, a reporter and photographer came to my house. I was terrified — until I met them. The interview took two hours, and we laughed and talked and had a good time. I have every confidence this interview will put a positive face on romance writing. I don't know when it will be available but as soon as it is, I will post the link.

It's interesting to talk about novel writing with people who don't write novels. And yet, the reporter is a writer because she's a journalist. A different type of writing, but still writing. So we were able to understand one another very well. For instance, we both cringe when someone reads our work while we're in the same room. Don't know why, but I'd rather be in another room if you want to read my story. I guess I don't want to see puzzlement on your face. πŸ™‚ Or worse, disappointment. She felt the same way about her stories. I found that comforting.

The photographer had a trunk full of equipment he brought inside and set up, complete with this huge umbrella thing that helped with lighting. I felt like a movie star! Thankfully, I'd changed out of the writer's uniform of pajamas and into something more attractive. I even took a shower and put on makeup. Definitely not the way I usually write. In fact, she asked me what my routine was. Here it is: wake up around 6:30, kiss husband goodbye around 7:15, pour coffee, go to office and write. In pajamas. With hair scraped back in a bun. Shower around 2 or so — sooner if stuck in a scene. I always shower so the hubby doesn't think I sat around all day in my pajamas — even though I do. πŸ™‚ I figure if the man goes to work and lets me stay home and indulge myself this way, the least I can do is appear presentable when he gets home.

Unless I'm on deadline and then all bets are off. πŸ˜‰

If you've ever been interviewed, how did it go? Were you scared? Did you think of something later that you should have said? So far, I haven't, but who knows how I'll feel tomorrow.

It’s like changing your hair!

Some women change their hair when they're in a new mood. Me? I change my website. πŸ™‚ No, it's not changed yet, so clicking over will produce the same pages as always. But, I can't ever settle down with a look. (Notice my blog changes from time to time — like today.) I visit other sites and I want to change mine.

Lately, I've been worried about how strongly my site is geared to my romantic suspenses. I have a dual writing personality now! I need to reflect the classic romance/Harlequin Presents side of me, and so I've been working on something that combines the two in a plain (for now) way.

I plan to pay someone to develop a site (or sites), but I can't do it yet. There's the issue of name, for one thing. What name will I write under? I am very flexible about this. I am open to the idea my name may not be the best for selling books, but it's a bridge I plan to cross when I reach it.

Bottom line for me is that this is a career and I plan to do everything necessary to succeed at it. If separate names are the ticket, I'm there. If a completely different name from my own is best, I'm there. If I need to pay a web designer, I'm there. (Hubby, if you're reading, quick, look over there! Is that a naked woman/iPhone/new TV — or something equally interesting to you I see? Quick, better click over!)

So, what are the best writer sites for you? Is there a site you like, either for the colors or the ease of use or the graphics? If you have a website, did you pay someone? Do you plan to pay someone eventually? What do you think about homemade sites with popular site builders? Does flash bug you (it does me)? What about music (ditto)? Anything I missed? Give me your thoughts! πŸ™‚

Embarrassing tales from the submission files

Hubby went fishing this weekend, so I decided to write a query letter to an agent who takes e-queries. I spent hours composing the perfect letter. I read it so many times I could recite it. I looked at every nuance, every word, searching for perfection. I revised it a few times. I opened with why I was querying said agent, launched into my book, and closed with awards, requests, etc.

Finally, when I was completely and totally convinced I'd written the most wonderful, most fabulous, most amazing query in the history of querying, I hit the send button. And then I was so happy I reread my letter a couple more times, imagining what the agent would think when she received it. How could she not like it? I hit all the right notes, read her guidelines carefully, and tailored my letter specifically. Yay me!

Natually, I went to bed happy and proud that I'd sent out my first agent query. This morning, still awash in happiness, I decided to reread my letter again.

And there it was — a typo. A dropped ‘r' within the first two lines. A ‘you' that should have been a ‘your'. And I felt like Charles I of England — for want of a nail the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost, for want of a horse the crown was lost, etc. ARGH!!!

Oh yes, I am an idiot. In spite of my diligence, careful composure, and obsessive proof-reading, I have managed to commit the cardinal sin of sending a letter to an agent in which she will think I am careless and inattentive to detail. After about an hour of grumbling, I decided to get over it. What am I going to do? Send her another query in which I explain I had a minor typo so I'm resending? Send a brief note telling her I know I have a typo and I'm sorry?

No, none of the above. I'm going to wait, cringing with embarrassment each time I open my email, and see what happens. If she rejects me, I'll get over it. If she requests more in spite of the glitch, I'll happily comply. The bottom line is, stuff happens. It's embarrassing because it's so stupid. It could have been avoided if I'd begged a friend to read the letter for me. But I didn't because the book pitch portion has been vetted and I was satisfied with it. I was merely composing a letter around the pitch, right?

DUH. I do believe my stylist bleached my brain on Thursday when he did my highlights.

Do you have any embarrassing tales from the submission files? Any glitches that worked out anyway? Do share! Join me in my hall of shame. πŸ™‚

Weekend fun

OMG, it was so fun! This was my first Heart of Dixie luncheon, though it was actually the 11th annual occurrence of it. Our guest speaker was the fabulous and dynamic (and truly one of my favorite authors) Roxanne St. Claire. Not only is she gorgeous, but she's nice, funny, and just a great person to be around. After two dinners, two parties, and lots of chatting with Rocki, I know she's the kind of person I really admire and enjoy hanging out with.

But she wasn't the only fabulous person at the HOD luncheon! In fact, I couldn't name them all without having a post a mile long, but I sat with the amazing Debra Webb during lunch. Deb's table was full of readers and we had a great time talking about romance. I learned so much from these ladies this weekend, and came away inspired to write my tail off (oh, if only it were that easy — talk about killing two birds with one stone!).

The one funny thing that happened to me this weekend, however, was on Friday when I hauled my luggage up to the 9th floor and to the opposite end of the hotel from the elevators to join my roomies. I knocked. No one answered. I knocked again. The girl next door (and I do mean girl) answered her door. I called one of my roomies (who, it turns out, left her phone in her car). I didn't have everyone's cell numbers, so I called the only other person whose number I had — she was at the restaurant with Rocki, waiting for the rest of us to arrive. Somehow, I managed to make it to the room of yet another person I knew (on the 4th floor) who hadn't left yet and who let me stow my luggage. Whew! Then it was off to dinner, and back for the party.

I didn't get home until midnight Saturday. Yes, midnight. And then I couldn't sleep right away, so had to check email and flip through a magazine. At 1:30, I woke up my sick and therefore grouchy husband for his NyQuil dose, then went to bed and ended up sleeping until 9:30 Sunday. Ahhhh.

How was your weekend? Any writing inspiration? Any fun or embarrassing hotel stories in your past? (At least I didn't get locked out in my underwear…)