Sunday, November 21, 2010

How a Simple Conversation Can Change Your Perspective

Back in August I submitted a chapter for Harlequin’s Medical Romance Fast-Track. It was a lovely little chapter brimming with a surprise pregnancy, a confirmed bachelor, a natural disaster and five kids fresh from the pediatric burn center.

Intrigued? One of the editors was, and asked me for a revision on the first chapter and a partial. Thrilled right down to my chipped toenail polish, I sat down to pen chapters 2 - 3 and STALLED. Big time. Several agonizing months later, I’ve only slugged through part of chapter 2. A conversation I had yesterday with my precocious 4 year old flipped on the little light switch in my head as to why I’m having problems moving forward.

We were sitting in a restaurant and it went something like this…

“I want chicken.” DD announces and returns her focus to the three toy dinosaurs she refused to leave in the car.

“Okay. Do you want french fries with them?”

“No.” DD doesn’t even look up.

“Okay… Oh look, they have bananas. Do you want a cut up banana?”

“Monkeys eat bananas and live in trees.”

“Yes, sweetie that’s right.”

“Where do monkeys live at?”

“In the jungle. So, do you want a banana or not. The lady is coming to take our order.”

“No.” Resumes playing with dinosaurs, at which point I sigh as the frustration mounts.

“Okay…They have mash potatoes, corn, what do you want?”

No response. Dinosaurs are now eating each other.

“Baby, tell me what you want with your chicken. Do you want cut up fruit?”

DD now gazes at me with her big baby blues. Her voice is laced with irritation, “I told you I just want chicken.”

Do you see? This is a realistic conversation with a child. I have 5 who are going to be in my book. I’m scared of them. Terrified in fact that my heroine and hero are going to give their own child up for adoption after dealing with the 5 in very close quarters for 10 whole chapters.

They can’t all be little angels, can they? At what point would I be beyond the suspension of belief? How can my heroine and hero connect if they are juggling medical conditions, feeding times, arguments, etc.? My entire manuscript could be filled with conversations like the one I demonstrated above. And, am I actually blaming my writer’s block on children?

Solution? I don’t have one yet. But the first step is admitting there’s a problem.

I’d love to hear what you guys think. Do kids and romance mix? Do you often buy romance novels if there are children pictured on the front?

Staring at a blank page,

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Why I'm Thankful for Heroes from Three Letter Agencies

The wonderful ladies of CBC Romantics presents our first blogfest on heroes. Why we love the ones we love, are thankful for them and enjoy writing them. Thank you for stopping by my blog to check out my take on heroes from three letter agencies, and for more fun reading on heroes, please scroll to the bottom of this entry and click the link beneath the names of some truly talented authors to be directed to their blogs.

Three Letter Agencies. Yes, I heard that term on Castle a few episodes ago and I’m blatantly stealing it, although I doubt the show's writers coined the term. Three letter agencies refer to intelligence agencies. The two most popular in the intelligence community are the CIA and FBI, whose secret spies and domestic policing have inspired popular fictional characters such as Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and the show Criminal Minds. We may also think of our UK counterparts MI5 and MI6 (yes, I realize 5 and 6 aren’t letters) from which we’ve seen the likes of Matthew MacFayden’s role as Tom Quinn and the ever-popular and revered James Bond.

Some lesser known, yet just as important agencies are the NSA, DIA, DEA, NRO, and DHS.

Why am I thankful for these types of heroes? I’m so glad you asked. When I picture a hero from an intelligence agency, I think of a man that has been through rigorous training, speaks several languages and is an expert with both firearms and martial arts, not to mention able to whip out a sexy, smoldering gaze on command.

He puts his country above all else. Shoots first and asks questions later. And most important, takes time out of his busy and most times secretive schedule to woo the woman he loves. *sigh*

Whether he is scouring the country for serial killers or stopping terrorist attacks, this hero feels the weight of the world on his shoulders, and by the end of the book or movie, I’m wishing I could be the one to massage out the kinks!

So tell me, are there any Three Letter Agency heroes that you love to watch or read? I’d love to hear your thoughts, and remember for more exciting posts on heroes, stop by each of the blogs listed below.

CBC Romantics

L.C. Chase

Ella Dane

Calisa Lewis

Allyson Carter

Christine Bell

Donna Shields

Kristina Knight

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You Don't Have to Say Thank You

I'm taking a break from my regularly scheduled NaNo whining, to tell you a little about what being a veteran means to me:

A common misconception is that only those who have served in combat or those who have retired from active duty can be called military veterans (

I was 17 when I signed a contract to serve 5 years in the United States Army as a Military Police Officer. Two weeks after my 18th birthday I hugged my momma and daddy good-bye and was shipped off to basic training at Ft. McClellan, Alabama. I was young, naive and wanted nothing more than to serve, protect and kick the crap out of bad guys.

The reality of military life is 12 hour shifts, working 7 days straight then finally getting one day off, no holidays (well, hell someone had to work them!), missing my grandparents funerals while overseas, not having enough funds to fix broken military vehicles and weapons, being paid below poverty level and riding a bike because I couldn't afford a car. Heartache over watching soldiers take their own lives or physically abuse their spouses blaming the military for their stress. Wondering some days if it was all worth it.

And in all my five years I only got to kick the crap out of one bad guy.

Would I do it all again? Was it all worth it? Damn skippy. Being a soldier isn't easy, but that's not the point. Being a soldier isn't about getting a thank you one day out of the year. Being a soldier is about the greater good. It's about protecting the innocent during times of peace and conflict. Making sure the generations that come after us have freedom and a country worth fighting for.

I'm proud to be a veteran and to have served my country. I think most veterans would agree, you don't have to say thank you to us. We've served our time. The thanks should go out to those men and women who continue to serve day in and day out, putting on their uniforms and risking their lives. For us.

Thank you, soldiers and to my fellow veterans, Happy Veterans Day.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What I'm Missing For You

Dear Nano Diary,

Day Two and I am suffering from drastic television withdrawals. Not only did I miss Castle last night (horror!), but tonight I'm missing Sons of Anarchy. How will my life go on if I don't know if Jax will be any closer to saving his son Abel. My commitment to writing instead of watching t.v. this month may be the ultimate test of wills.

Thank the NaNo Powers That Be for TiVo.

Word count so far: 1267 - far behind the 1600 I'm supposed to be producing each day. Shhh... don't tell my team members.

Happy writing,

Monday, November 1, 2010

When Day One of NaNo Sucks - You are in for a bad month

Dear NaNo Diary:

I set my alarm to get up at 5 a.m. This is the only time of day when it is quiet enough for some serious writing. I got up and moved to the couch. Fell back asleep. Woke back up at 7 a.m. when hubby and daughter woke up.

Word count so far for first day: 0

Me <-------------- Failed first morning!

Hopefully the day will get better and I will find some time to write.

I've noticed all the blog posts with fabulous advice on how to make it through NaNo. I wanted to share some important advice as well.

There are many items that will be put aside during this highly anticipated month of writing abandon such as dishes, laundry, day-job work, eating, Thanksgiving and sleeping. However, below are 2 items you should not neglect:

1. Please continue to shower. Yes, it is perfectly acceptable to not wash your hair in order to shave off precious minutes better used for writing, but it will become distracting when you lift your arms to type and the smell of sweat-stained armpits assaults your senses.

2. Continue to feed your children/animals. While you may forgo the time consuming rituals of breakfast, lunch and dinner, please do not neglect your children and/or pets. Child Protective Services and the Humane Society do not care about NaNo, and even worse, you can’t take your laptop to jail.

Happy Writing!