Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 30, 2012
First off, let me explain why I am so late with this post. I am madly racing for the deadline of book 3 and was up until the wee hours last night, and I totally forgot about this. Bad me. That's why this is an encore blog dressed up. Here goes.
Mother, Do You Have To Talk To Everyone?
To this day, my kids still ask me that. I love to talk to people and usually do, which brings me to the first part of my topic, networking at conferences.
There is no better place to connect with people who “get” you than at a writers’ conference. Even if you are an introvert, someone like me is going to come up to you and ask what you write. Before you know it, you will be talking to a perfect stranger (me) and wondering exactly how many lattes I had that morning. (Remember Kramer on that one Seinfeld episode when he had too many? That’s me.)
And you wanna know something? Nine times out of ten, your answer will surprise the bejesus out of me. While I pictured you writing sweet romances, you floor me with plots of steamy erotica or vampire-hunting, shape-shifting werewolves. I love conferences for this reason. Even the smaller ones are great for networking. Matter of fact, sometimes they are more intimate and allow for better access to one-on-one time with the editors and agents in attendance.
That said, I LOVE RWA Nationals, one of the biggest ones out there. I adore the crowds, the goody room, the bars at night where everyone in there is talking writing and just about everything else, including the great workshops where you can’t help learning new stuff.Unfortunately, I'm not going this year for two reasons. I can't afford it, and I no longer consider myself a romance author. I decided this year would be all about mysteries.
I leave on Thursday to go to Love is Murder conference in Chicago. It's a small conference, and I'm looking forward to connecting with mystery writers as well as fans. Then in April I'm heading to Bethesda Maryland for the Malice Domestic conference. That's not only a mystery conference, but it's one specifically for cozy authors and readers. Kari, my CP Joni, and our friend Rochelle are going, along with a gazillion cozy names I recognize. If nothing else, it will be a blast. I am on panels at both these conferences, so I need to have a drink or two before since that isn't my strongest suit.
Anyway, I digress. At all the conferences I attend, I like to collect business cards. Because I am of the age where memory doesn’t always serve, I write a little something on the back to help me put a face to the name. Last week, I was going through my stack and decided to share some with you. Most of them simply say stuff like - Canadian at breakfast, Dallas 2007, bookseller at lunch in DC 2009, etc. Some are more specific and a few are downright interesting. Those are the ones I’m gonna list. I’ll leave out the names to protect the innocent – and to keep from getting harassing emails.
A police homicide commander from Atlanta who said to call him anytime. NEVER HEARD FROM HIM.
A woman who won the Librarian of the Year award in 2006. NO CONTACT
Two women I met at the Harlequin party we crashed last year. Both belong to online book clubs and said to let them know when I sell, and they’ll get the word out to buy my book. Yippee!! THIS IS THE WONDERFUL BECKE DAVIS OF B & N WHO HAS BECOME A GREAT CYBER FRIEND.
A Wild Rose Press editor who acquires dark paranormal. Since I don’t write that, I just partied with her. THIS IS JOELLE WALKER WHO NO LONGER EDITS FOR WRP. (SHE STILL EDITS BUT I'M NOT SURE WHERE.) ANYWAY, SHE HAS SINCE JOINED MY LOCAL CHAPTER AND HAS ALSO BECOME MY FRIEND.
A young guy from my chapter who asked if I’d look at some of his work. Not being able to say no - another thing I am famous for – I said yes and he whipped out seven chapters. Fortunately for me, his seven chapters were only 20 pages total!! NEVER SEEN OR HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN AFTER I SENT THE CRITIQUE. SHEESH! AM I THAT BAD?
And last but not least, in Reno, I sat with an older guy who was a chiropractor. He said he was shopping his book – are you sitting down? – a 650 page story involving the colon. THANK GOODNESS THIS BOOK NEVER CAME OUT. HAVEN'T EVER SEEN HIM AT ANY OTHER CONFERENCES.
You can’t make up stuff like this!!
And you must be wondering what the cartoon has to do with anything, Absolutely nothing. I just couldn't resist. This one makes me laugh out loud every time I look at it. Kind of like some of the times when I make my killer too obvious.
Got any good stories about meeting other writers?
Friday, January 27, 2012
**cue screeching brakes**
Then...someone or something throws the dreaded monkey wrench, causing chaos, inevitable panic, and no time for a calming glass of wine to regroup. You're schedule is jam-packed yet you still have goals. Goals that can still be kept if you adjust accordingly.
I've never been a "true" schedule person. I like order, and I'm a definite list maker. I'm a planner and I need to know what is coming down the road so I can be ready for it, but I don't need to know exactly what time it's coming. Monkey wrenches get thrown at me alot - especially when it comes to my writing. Just when I believe I have a "plan" (ha, okay, call it a schedule) on what I'm working on and when I perceive "the end" if I stick to it.....I end up switching gears, and for good reason.
My only problem is I have so many lists, updated lists, re-updates lists...my desk is a clutter house for my To-Do's! You'd think I would simplify and condense my lists. Nope, I can't. Each list has notes about the things on it, usually too much to re-write onto a revised list. It's crazy, but it's what I call my orderly chaos. Don't move my lists or throw them away. I know exactly what's on them and where they are (well, usually) when I need to refer to them. I do this for everything: housework, kids sports, my school work, the day job, and my writing. Now, some things coincide with my calendar (I keep 2 of these) and usually my day job list gets re-written, but I just can't do this with my personal lists.
I write this post today because I'm realizing more and more the importance of being flexible in my writing life, yet still managing myself so I stay on track. It's very easy to get off track and that seems to be my biggest hangup. My time is divided into so many different areas, I often think if I could just let one of them go it would make my life a lot easier. But unfortunately for me, letting go of something isn't an option. So...I have to dig deep and make it all work the best I can while keeping everyone happy (or close to it).
I've recently thought of a schedule that I'm going to try to put into place (especially when the hubby is home and not traveling). It's a tough balance, but I think if I can stick to it it will work. I have to make it work because my writing goals have changed a bit and I have to be more aggressive with this if I'm going to be a success.
So continuous lists is how I stay on track. What tricks do you have to manage your time? How do you handle the monkey wrenches?
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Anita's post yesterday was great, and one I am in desperate need of. I need to start following that process on a daily basis, instead of just when I'm under deadline and writing like a mad woman! I always do this to myself, and now, once again, my life is nuts.
I seriously need to go away with just my laptop for a week!
There are not enough hours in the day. Good thing I love what I do. But I really do have to learn to say no to my hubby, my kids, volunteering, etc. I am so bad at that. One simple little word ... no! Why is that so hard? Why do I feel so guilty when I do say no, which isn't often? Why do I end up changing my mind and saying yes anyway?
That's another goal I'm working toward. Staying on track and just saying no!
So, in the meantime, don't worry, I'm not dead or missing or lost! I will be burined alive in my Kave, ignoring everything else, staying on track (hopefully), and just saying no :-)
Come on, writing gods ... swallow me up!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Anita's Attic: Reprint of Rachel Aaron's Blog - How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day
Side 1: Knowledge, or Know What You're Writing Before You Write It
Wow. Thanks so much, Rachel. This is amazing stuff. I'm more than ever encouraged to keep up with the goals I've set , but I think I can reach even higher. Rachel will drop by Mysteries and Margaritas soon to talk more about her writing and her methods.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Please help me give a rousing M & M welcome to fellow mystery author, Dale Phillips. Dale was at the Crime Bake in November with Pete Morin, one of the Book Cents Babes (and yes, we call him that to his face!) and he hung out with us the entire time. By the end of the weekend we were ready to declare him one of us. Anyway, he has several books out, so I'll let him tell you all about them. He's giving away a free download of A FALL FROM GRACE and one copy of his newest mystery collection CROOKED PATHS. So take it away, Dale.
Hello All-- am happy to be guesting here, among so many talented writers. As a fan of good mysteries, good margaritas, and good writer blogs, this is the place to be!
I met Liz, Kari, and Barbie Jo at the Crime Bake conference, where their camaraderie and fun-loving mischief was infectious. Let's just say that if you go out with them, bring bail money, extra ammo, a getaway car, and two escape routes… Don't worry, gang, what happens at Crime Bake stays at Crime Bake. Besides, they'll never find those bodies…
These ladies show the best of the writing world today-- cooperation and collaboration, instead of competition and exclusion. They help each other, and other writers. This makes things better (and a lot more fun) for all.
So I was asked about my Zack Taylor mystery series, set in Maine. The first book, A MEMORY OF GRIEF, came out last year, and the second, A FALL FROM GRACE, is being released now, with the official launch on Saturday, Jan 21st. Not bad, since I went with a startup publisher, and A MEMORY OF GRIEF was the first book they released. This series has something different, a tough guy protagonist who hates guns, but who faces people that use them. Too much of the time, I read a mystery where the protagonist gets into trouble, and instantly gets saved by whipping out a gun. Not very realistic, at least from my experience. And not very fun to write, where the weapon is a perpetual deus ex machina, an instant solution to all danger. Where's the tension, if we know the hero or heroine can always even the odds in such a simple fashion? I'd rather make it more interesting by having the protagonist at a distinct disadvantage right out of the gate. How's Zack going to get out of this one?
Zack also has a lot to learn. He's had a rough time, and guilt from a past tragedy has made him drift through life, forming few attachments. He finds purpose in seeking the truth about the death of a friend, and discovers much about himself in the process. Stained by hanging out with the wrong crowd in places like Vegas and Miami, he finds the laid-back lifestyle of Maine to be quite healing, despite the fact that he keeps finding trouble along with it. He's an underdog, and this makes him gravitate toward helping others who are at the mercy of predators. For example, in "A Fall From Grace," Zack must help a single mother accused of murder, and defend her against an entire town that thinks she's guilty.
All his time alone has made Zack a thinker and a reader, and the title of each book reflects the theme of the novel, with references taken from literary works. So there are layers, and more to offer the careful reader than just another action yarn. This series will especially appeal to those who like John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee, and Robert B. Parker's Spenser.
Reader response for the series has been terrific, including a great recommendation from NY Times Best-Seller mystery writer Debbi Mack, author of Least Wanted, Identity Crisis, and the soon-to-be released Riptide. I've also joined mystery book clubs, and it's so great to connect with readers and find out what they enjoyed in the books.
I've been writing for years, and even had Stephen King as my writing teacher back in college. While he depicts Maine primarily through the lens of horror, I want to showcase the state in a different light. And though excellent mystery writers like Kate Flora and Gerry Boyle write great Maine-based crime tales, their books are filled with so much unrelenting darkness, I hardly recognize the place where I spent so much time. The setting is more than just backdrop for me, it's about a place I love and still think of as home, though I now live in Massachusetts, a two-hour car ride away.
Apart from the novels, I've published poetry, a non-fiction career help book, and over 20 stories, including mystery/crime tales in such places as: Crime & Suspense, Big Pulp, Short.Story-Me!, and Over My Dead Body. My first mystery story collection, Crooked Paths is now out: www.smashwords.com/books/view/113991
I'd like to invite the readers here to sample my novels and other works-- via Amazon's "Look Inside" feature and the sampling capability on the ebook site Smashwords, as well as on my website.
Thanks for inviting me to drop by. Keep up the good reading
Dale lives with his family outside Boston where he's worked over twenty years as a professional technical writer making computer software programs understandable and usable. He's had a variety of other jobs from holiday Santa to wine steward, and he's a tournament chess player and a fencer. He's published over twenty short stories, has appeared on stage, television and in Throg, an independent film available on Netflix, Jeopardy, and Think Twice. After writing three novels, he co wrote and acted in a short political satire film, available here.
Friday, January 20, 2012
This week I've started on a new adventure. I'm going back to school. Yup, as if I don't have enough crazy in my life I am going to throw in reading/studying/writing. I have an Associates in Accounting and that's been interesting, especially for a girl who still for the life of her can't do percentages in her head. It hurts just thinking about it now. Hey, I go to a store and 35% off is a decent deal. It's not 50%, but it sure beats 15%. I'm good with that. I don't need to know the exact cost of the sweater I'm holding. If I want it bad enough, I will round up. My oldest son is like me in this regard. Poor kid, he didn't inherit his father's mathematical genes. I'm sorry.
Now, I didn't just come upon this idea willy-nilly. I gave it alot of thought. Through my search for a more challenging job this summer, I realized even though I had 8 years job experience at the university, and had 5 or 6 (ugh, I've lost track) interviews in a 2 month period, my Associates Degree was holding me back. At this point in my writing career, I was still in my "death spiral" as I like to call it from my loss of contract and I honestly didn't know what more I could do. My husband had taken a huge cut in salary and it was starting to effect us financially. I felt like I had to do something and getting a full-time (vs. my part-time) job was of the essence. So I applied and was accepted in the Writing Program and SU. And I am going to be working toward my Bachelor's Degree, while I continue to write, schlep kids, clean the house, walk the dog, blog, be the team mom, FB, Tweet, and oh yeah.....and probably drink heavy! LOL.
I'm all good with it. This old dog needs to re-activate her brain cells. I'm ready for the challenge and knowing the polly-perfect that I am, I WILL make it all work and it's going to be great. Of course, I say this as I'm breaking into self-publishing my work, I have some fantastic ideas for romances and cozy mysteries, and I'm taking 2 classes! Of course, it was just in the cards that the writing would take off just as I accept something just a huge. It's like getting a puppy and then finding out you're pregnant with twins, and your in-laws are moving in for a year. Yup, story of my life.
So I'm putting my best foot forward. I'm sure the first couple weeks will be adjustment, but I've already semi-planned a nightly schedule in my head which includes writing and classwork. A Philosophy Class and Sociology of Sport. I'm looking forward to this journey. I know it's going to help my writing and critical thinking/analysis. And who knows...I just might be able to get a story idea out of it all. Eventually once I can take classes in my major, it will help me complete some of my open-ended projects. Oh yes, I'm thinking ahead to use some of them as classwork! It's all good in the land of Barbie Jo!
And who knows....I just might add something wild and crazy to my list for next year!
So what kinds of things have you wanted to do, but haven't yet? What's holding you back? Better yet, what crazy things HAVE you done that you never thought you would? And who/what made you finally do them!
Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy some football!! I'm hoping for a Ravens/Giants Super Bowl!!! (I'm NOT a New England Fan, but if it has to be, then I will take the Giants/Pats re-match!)
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
With the first two books in my series, I started out knowing who the victim was going to be and who the killer would be. I am not a plotter or a pantser, I am both.
I usually know the basics: killer, victim and main suspect. Then I write the opening. After that, I plot out a few chapters at a time. I usually figure out my suspects and red herrings, etc. and weave them in. I write some more, and then plot a few more chapters.
Many times things will occur to me as I am writing, and I come up with the best twits and turns in the middle of the book, then go back and add them in.
This time with book three, my story literally took over.
My victim said, "You want to do what to me? Um, no, I am having way too much fun. Besides, you've made me too likable and your readers would be very upset if you suddenly killed me off."
Darnit, I thought. My victime was right! So I chose another victim that made much more sense and wouldn't upset my readers.
Only.....once I changed my victim, my killer suddenly seemed so obvious. In book one, the killer is hard to figure out, but still, some people figured it out right at the end. In book two, the killer is even harder to figure out, and I have even more twists you won't see coming.
Talk about pressure.
Book one was a national bestseller and nominted by RT for Best Amateur Sleuth of 2011. So, the pressure to make book two even better was on. I actually think it IS better, and so does my editor. What does that mean?
Basically, that book three has to rock! EEEEEEKKK!!!!
Talk about pressure. So when my killer seems obvious, and I don't have that many twists yet, I started to freak out. I think that's why my story took over. It knew I was having a meltdown, so it decided to help me out.
And man, I think I've come up with a great new killer and some twists even I didn't see coming. I really hope this one is the best book yet. Time will tell....in the meantime.....back to writing!
So tell me, has this ever happened to you? Inquiring minds want to know.
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I mentioned last week that Dana and I were helping each other keep track of our goals. My goal was to write 20 pages per week. One thing I’ve discovered is that it’s difficult to track totals. With my goal setting, I didn’t really take into account that some days might be spent on editing, not new writing. And the new writing might be in older scenes where I’ve revised the plot and have to change a scene completely or add new paragraphs, which helps the story but doesn’t necessarily advance the number of pages.
Although I didn’t meet my goal in some ways, (I only wrote about 10 pages) I feel very good about my progress. For one thing, I’m excited about the story. That’s huge. I’ve made some great revisions, found missed opportunities, changed some scenes, edited some pages, and added a ton of ideas to my story IDEAS file, where I keep my brainstorming notes.
As Liz mentioned in her post, life will always interrupt. Your editor will ask for edits when you least expect it, or a kid will be home from school. Like today, our schools were closed but I didn’t realize it until last night. But I’m making progress, and I’m totally excited about my story. I think setting goals is going to help me get things done. (photo credit: winnond)
Monday, January 16, 2012
As you all know I have really been stressing out about my deadline for the 3rd book in my Clueless Cook series. Originally, it was January 1, but I asked for and received an extension. The six-week blog tour I did for Liver Let Die, plus getting Mortal Deception up, and the fact that I had a really hard time with Halibut just kicked my butt. It wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to write. I just couldn’t figure out how to make this book right.
Enter the self doubt that took over where the other things left off and royally kicked my arse. At one point, I almost said the hell with it. I just can’t do it. Why can’t I just sell the books I’ve already penned and not have to write new ones?
Hello breakthrough. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but suddenly one day, I got an idea that got me really exacted and I was ready to burn the computer keys with the story.
Meet the copy edits for BSO. Just when I was itching to sit down and write Halibut, I get the copy edits that are due on January 24th. Mind you, they weren’t bad, but they still required TIME, especially the recipes in the back. These are my own recipes and I rarely measure things. Guess what? Berkley seems to think that’s important.
Hello, editor?? “And Liz, I need a synopsis for Halibut and some ideas for a cover since I’m going to the cover copy meeting next week.” Here’s where I freaked out. I had no clue where the story was going with the exception of the tiny breakthrough I had the week before. So, I stopped everything else and wrote a 9 page synopsis and sent a couple of ideas to Berkley. The good news is that it forced me to finish the book in my mind. Now all I have to do is finish it for real. My goal is 10 pages a day for 8 days. Don’t expect to see me much on the loops or Facebook, as I am committed to getting it done.
Oh, did I mention Dan and I babysat our granddaughters for 6 days while the kids lounged on the beach in the Bahamas drinking fruity concoctions with umbrellas?? And did I tell you the girls are two and a half and nine months old?? Guess how much writing I got done?
Enough whining. Let’s get to the good stuff. Somewhere in that time frame, my editor sent me the cover for BSO, and I absolutely love it. The illustrator managed to capture the ice sculptured longhorn steer perfectly. That made my week.
UNTIL I got a call from my agent on Wednesday. Seems my editor called her and wanted to buy Book 4, CHICKEN CACCIA-KILLER. This was totally unexpected since Christine had already said Berkley would wait until they got a look at the numbers for presales on book 2 before any offer would be forthcoming. Since that won’t happen until sometime in May, this offer came totally out of the blue.
Seems my editor knows how slow I write and didn’t want to get the books off schedule while they waited.
Moral of the story: Sometimes it pays to write pathetically slow and to ask for deadlines.
Secondary moral of the story: Sometimes when you write pathetically slow and ask for deadlines, you have to give up everything fun for a few weeks. Crap!
Okay, let’s make this – MY GOOD NEWS day. Tell me something fun that happened to you
Friday, January 13, 2012
Needless to say, I have friends who like each of the teams playing. And we are having some "friendly fire". I love it! Quite Honestly, I think we need to host a Super Bowl party regardless of who wins just because we are a house of football.
I love all of the good news happening with all of my writing friends. People are self-pubbing left and right, finishing new stories for submission and proposals to further their contracts. All of this news is very motivating. I think friendly competition with your peers is a good way to keep yourself on track with your own work.
I have had a very slow and distracting week during my writing chapters Write Your ____ Off month. I've disappointed myself by not making my self-imposed page count 3 days this week. I may be down, but I'm not out! I plan on working the rest of today to make up those pages. A good 15-20 page day would put me right back on track. So I'm going for it! I have made my list of projects to finish once this story is completed AND I've come up with a couple new ideas. I've added them to the order of things so I need to stay on target for January.
Do any of you use competition as a motivator?
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
That's me lately.
It's the Final Countdown! keeps playing over and over and over....
We always take a family vacation to Florida in February to visit my parents. I love going, and so do the kids. We stay with my parents and eat like kings and queens. My mother is an amazing cook :-) We swim, play golf, ride all over in the golf cart, play botchi ball, shuffle board, tennis, etc. And we always go to at least one theme park (this year animal kingdom again :-) and of course the flee market! I think I want to go to the ocean for a day as well.
Usually, my hubby drives the whole way and I get soooooo much writing done. Here's why...when the kids were babies (remember, I have 4!!!) they would cry and fuss and demand so much attention. I spent most of the trip feeling car sick as I turned around and tended to them. Once I even shook a rattle for 4 hours straight just to keep the peace. I kept saying, "Honey, you want me to drive?" to which he would ALWAYS reply, "Nope. I'm good, but thanks for asking."
Fast forward to today. The kids are glued to the movie screen, their iPods, cell phones, game systems, etc. They are self-sufficient and require NO care now. So when hubby says, "Honey, you want to drive?" I just smile as I respond, "Nope. I'm good, but thanks for asking."
Karma baby :-)
So hubby listens to his music while I bring my laptop and write all day long for both days down (20 hours). And then I write all day long for both days back (20 hours). That's 4 full days total (40 hours total). I always get sooooo much done.
And if he's really good (and I'm stuck), once in a while I do give him a break and drive for maybe 2 hours in which he sleeps and I think :-) I get a lot of mental plotting done that way.
Well, this year will be different. Ugh.
Hubby's previous job he had 8 weeks vacation. So when he lost his job and then landed an even better job, we were relieved and thrilled. The only downfall was that he would only get 2 weeks vacation. What we didn't realize is that he doesn't get those days up front. He has to acrue those days over the course of the first year. That means he will only have like 3 days vacation earned by our trip.
Remember karma? Oh yeah. Now it's my turn to get payed back.
I am driving down alone with the kids, and he is flying to join us mid-week and then driving back with us. Now I have to drive the whole way alone. Well, my oldest has his license so I might let him drive a couple hours in the middle to give me a break, but pretty much, it will be all me.
I am still really excited to go, and my brain will need a break by then anyway. Book three TROUBLE IN THE TAROT is due March 1st, so my plan is to finish the book in the next 5 weeks, then give it to my CP (our very own Barbie Jo) to read while I'm on vacation. Then I will have 1 week to polish it when I get home and turn that puppy in.
Meanwhile, hopefully, I'll plot book four while I drive. Note to self: remember to bring mini cassette recorder with me :-)
So.....let the countdown begin and wish me luck. I'm on page 66 and must get to around 320 in 5 weeks. That means writing 3 chapters a week or 50 pages a week (which is only 10 pages a day with weekends off...so doable!). Then it's fun in the sun a big ole bottle of wine :-)
So tell me, what kind of countdown are you on these days ?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
So we started this week. I decided my goal is to write 20 pages per week. I didn't think about setting alternate goals for the days I'm just editing or revising, but Dana set those goals as well, and I'm going to incorporate them.
Today I revised 19 pages. Now these weren't hard revisions, just tweaking, but I was very pleased. And I wrote half a page in a scene than needed help. All these were things that needed to be done and I feel great. I'm feeling the POWER! You know that feeling when you know you're on the right track and meeting those deadlines actually seem possible. I'm thinking, I AM a writer. I'm not a one series wonder. I can do this.
I know it won't happen overnight, but I'm working on creating a new me. I've been trying to focus on writing, not emails and promotion. Although there is a time and place for that. I did do an interview with a local TV station last week. Very small station. http://blip.tv/virginia-living-television/its-all-local-with-anita-sherman-and-india-rose-5865950.
Warning: this host site just shows the interviews online. They also host some other shows, some not so desirable. Unfortunately, that's the only way I could see it since the station doesn't air in my town.
I know we've probably talked about this before, but do you guys have daily goals? I remember Liz saying she was committing to 25 pages a week (I think). I'm open to any suggestions.
Monday, January 9, 2012
National Clean Off Your Desk Day
by Lois Winston
I want to thank Liz Lipperman for inviting me back to Mysteries & Margaritas today as part of my month-long blog tour in celebration of the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in my Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries.
Did you know that today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day? Really! Would I kid about something as serious as that?
When I learned this, I looked around at my own desk, and began to wonder if maybe my husband wasn’t responsible for creating National Clean Off Your Desk Day. You see, when I’m writing, I become a clutterbug. Piles of loose papers, notepads of varying sizes and shapes, and stacks of books cover every square inch of my desk. Multiple sticky notes are adhered to each sheet of paper and dozens of pages in each book. More sticky notes line the perimeter of my computer monitor and the sides of my keyboard. My notes have notes!
I spread out on all available surfaces, creating more surface space when needed. I’ve even used the open top drawer of my file cabinet as an extension of my desktop. One time, I couldn’t find a specific note I’d written. I searched through every piece of paper in every pile to no avail. I even dumped the recycling bag onto the floor and scoured through all the scraps of junk mail, thinking I might have inadvertently tossed the note. I spent hours searching for that piece of paper before finally giving up.
Two years later, I pulled a file from the filing cabinet, and there was the note I’d been looking for. It had slipped down into the file cabinet. I still use the open file drawer as an additional work surface, but I’ve learned my lesson. I now first cover the top with a large piece of cardboard.
Did I mention my husband is an engineer? They don’t do clutter. At least mine doesn’t. He’s a minimalist. He also has the maddening habit of cleaning up after himself at the end of the day, whether he’s finished his project or not. That’s why I think he might be responsible for National Clean Off Your Desk Day.
Me? I just continue to accumulate all the miscellany involved in writing a manuscript for however long it takes to finish the manuscript. You can imagine what my desk looks like, given that it takes me about eight months to write a book! And even after I’ve finished a manuscript, I hold onto all those notes. I toss them into a folder and file them. Just in case.
Are you a clutterbug like me? Or are you a minimalist like my husband? Let’s hear from you. Post a comment, and you could win one of 5 signed copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll I’m giving away as part of my blog tour this month.
The full tour schedule can be found at my website, and the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog, In addition, I’m giving away 3 copies of Death By Killer Mop Doll on Goodreads.
Also, for anyone attending The American Library Association’s Mid-Winter conference January 20-24 in Dallas, Midnight Ink will be raffling off the hand-crafted mop doll shown in the photo during the opening reception Friday evening. Register for the drawing at the Midnight Ink booth #1459.
Lois Winston is the author of the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries published by Midnight Ink. Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun, the first book in the series, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The new year brings with it the release of Death By Killer Mop Doll, the second book in the series. Read an excerpt here. Visit Lois at her website and Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers blog. You can also follow Lois and Anastasia on Twitter @anasleuth.
Death By Killer Mop Doll blurb: Overdue bills and constant mother vs. mother-in-law battles at home are bad enough. But crafts editor Anastasia Pollack's stress level is maxed out when she and her fellow American Woman editors get roped into unpaid gigs for a revamped morning TV show. Before the glue is dry on Anastasia's mop dolls, morning TV turns crime drama when the studio is trashed and the producer is murdered. Former co-hosts Vince and Monica—sleazy D-list celebrities—stand out among a lengthy lineup of suspects, all furious over the show's new format. And Anastasia has no clue her snooping has landed her directly in the killer's unforgiving spotlight.
Friday, January 6, 2012
I am pleased to say, Sun-Thurs I have written every day for a total of 20 pages thus far! That may not seem like a lot for some people but it's a lot for me! I've toyed around with having my personal page goal to be 3 pages per day, so it's nice to see that I can reasonably stick to that in the future if I apply myself.
So far I'm finding this challenge very refreshing. I don't feel "forced" to write at all. I've basically told myself it's something that I have to do - like taking my vitamin or exercising. I have to do it. It doesn't matter what time of day, either. I can get the pages in during the morning or evening or both! And I check in when I know I'm done for the day - which is making me accountable, and I like that. I thought I'd feel more pressure but surprisingly I don't.
The last couple of days have proved challenging, but I persevered and wrote so I'm feeling quite accomplished. *insert huge smiley face* I kept thinking because hubby was out of town and the children were at ski club, I'd be able to kick some page-booty but that didn't happen. Other non-writing things needed my attention for a couple hours. But like I said, I got the pages in and there's no pressure. I just need constant productivity on the page.
So how did everyone else do, who wanted to join the challenge with me? Were you able to write each day so far this week? Did you run into any obstacles?
I still have pages to work on today and of course this weekend. I'm hoping I won't have to call in a mulligan this soon! I've got plans for at least one of them! Let's keep pushing on and clicking those keys!! I'll take new comers if anyone wants to join in!
There's still time to WYAO!! (if only 20 pages were 20 pounds.....)