Tuesday, July 31, 2007

outline finished

I finally finished the outline for the rest of Magnolia Tree. I even picked out the first place I plan to submit the story when it's finished and (heavily) edited. It's a smaller press, a regional one that likes southern stories. I think this story would be perfect for them. Plus, they don't require an agent. I should probably start thinking about the agent issue, especially with the Deadlines series. I have a feeling I'll need one for that one as well as the Draha series. Writer's Market book, here I come!

Rehearsal was great last night. There are some cast members who are just so compelling, so commanding on the stage that everyone in the room stops everything and watches. I was near tears a couple of times! There are some relationships in this play that are so believable, you would think they are real. It's pretty interesting to watch the characters emerge. I spent a little time in the light booth during rehearsal, watching the scenes from that perspective. I wanted to make sure I could see and hear everything. I could, so that's great.

Work was quiet today. I finally finished the newsletter, so it's printing now. I'm always happy when that particular project is finished. I got a call this afternoon to set up a phone interview with one of the organizations I really hoped would call back. I set up the interview, it's early next week, which is great because it gives me time to research the company and write some questions down.

I haven't talked about my personal life much lately, and that's mainly because I haven't had one lately! There was a guy I thought might be interesting, but I'm pretty sure he's interested in someone else. Sad, but that's the way it goes.

Monday, July 30, 2007

actively searching

I was told today that I'm actively searching for a job. This was after I told a friend that I had six resumes out right now. He laughed at me and said that meant I was actively searching. I did not disagree. The two I sent today are both very interesting and I know I would enjoy either of them. One may be kind of a long shot, but it never hurts to try, right? There is another one that I'm going to do tonight and send tomorrow. It has an online application that you fill out and then print to send, so I didn't do it today. I will not do any job search-related activities on company time. I refuse to do that.

Last night I updated my Web site a little. I really want to redesign the whole thing. It serves a different purpose now, so I need to make it look the part. I was worried about hurting my friend's feelings, because she designed the site, but you know what... she hasn't spoken to me in about six months, so I doubt we are really friends anymore anyway. Why should I care what she thinks? I've made some modifications anyway, so a redesign is just the next step. On my way home today I bought some books about using php and I'm going to teach myself how to code it so I can do the design myself. Anyway, the updates were to the fiction page. I added some poetry and reclassified two of my stories as "flash fiction" rather than short stories. They are really much shorter than the average short story, so they shouldn't have been in that category in the first place. I know that poetry doesn't really belong in fiction, but it was the only place I could think of to put it. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be okay there.

Rehearsal tonight... they are running the entire show, so I want to be there to see how the lighting cues are going to look. I'll be getting a script with the cues written in, but I want to really feel the way the lighting fits into the show rather than just sliding the levers when they tell me to do it. I am resisting the temptation to buy a shirt that says, "be nice to me or you will be taking your bow in the dark." Not because nobody is nice to me, but because I think it's so funny. Actually, the cast is great - you couldn't ask to meet nicer people.

More later.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

magnolia tree

I read back through Magnolia Tree yesterday and today, and I know where I need to go from here. I'm going to outline the rest of the story this afternoon so I can get a lot done in August. I can't wait to finish this story and start working out the details for Deadly Council. And then After the Storm. And then... and then...

Draha consumes my mind. I'm not sure I can wait until the beginning of the year to start writing. I know I need to live with the idea for awhile and really work on the world, but I'm so excited about the idea and I really want to start! I posted the map on my wall next to my computer, so anytime I start working I see it. I'm waiting, though, because I want to start after the preparation is finished rather than just going without any direction.

I sent out another resume, and I'm going to send out a few more tomorrow. I really want to move on to another job with more responsibility and more focus on what I really want to do. I truly believe I'm ready for a director position, and I'm going to keep trying until I get one!

I've been feeling a little lost lately, a little unfocused and blue. I feel like my spiritual life is lacking and I really want to do something about that. I need to pay attention to certain areas of my life. I used to have a list of methods for spiritual, emotional, mental and physical renewal. I think I need to revisit this list and see where the problem is and what I can do to fix it. I'm fairly certain I need to do some things from each list. I'll report on the progress later.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


After taking care of some family business, I spent the rest of the evening organizing things. I have mapped out the rest of the year as far as writing goes. I want to finish some of these works in progress that have been hanging around. I hope I can get most of them finished by the end of the year. I really want to hit this fantasy series hard in 2008, and I can't do that if I have a million other projects waiting to be finished. I'll spend the rest of the year outlining and working on background for the fantasy while I work on finishing the other pieces, and then I can start the actual writing at the beginning of the year. There's something very symbolic about starting a series at the beginning of a year. It just seems right to me. Progress on this series continues. I drew a detailed map of the world last night, and did some research on creatures tonight. I also worked on the world building questions some more. There are 43 pages of questions, and I've finished about half of them. They really make you think about the world you're creating. I wrote the legend tonight, which will probably pop up somewhere in the story, but that's not why I wrote it. I needed it for background. I also did something else tonight... I showed the map to my nephew and told him a little about the story. He's 11 years old, so he would be about the right age, and he loves fantasy novels (big fan of Harry Potter) so I wanted his input on what I'm working on to see if kids like him would like to read it. He sounded very interested. He also had no trouble pronouncing the names of the islands, which was a concern I had, considering the fact that they are all Czech words. I chose ones without accent marks so that they would be easier to read and pronounce correctly. At least, I think I'm pronouncing them correctly!

Anyway, if I can stick to the plan I made tonight (and it's pretty reasonable) I should be finished with most of my current unfinished novels by the end of the year. I've had a lot of success with my inspirational romances during NaNoWriMo, and they are the perfect length for the challenge, that I'm going to write the second in my Faithgirls series then. That just leaves Under the Magnolia Tree (which is going to be longer than I thought, but I only have 30,000 words left to write) and Deadly Council (which will also be longer than I planned.) I updated my wordcount meters to reflect the new goals, and am going to spend some time revising the outlines for the three books I want to finish this year. So that's the plan. I'm going to do everything I can to stick with it. If everything works the way I hope it will, I will have one finished novel (submitted to 2 publishers now, and more by then) and 3 first drafts. In addition to those, I should have enough notes and outlines to start the first Draha book in January.

I'm going to rehearsal tomorrow night, but I'm taking my notebook with me in case I get some ideas. They told me I don't really need to attend rehearsals until tech week, but I'm going to go at least once a week until then so I can be familiar with everything. I'm nervous about this... it'll be my first time running lights.

Web site fun!

I've been meaning to mention this and I keep forgetting. I did some work on my Web site a few days ago and I'm really happy with the changes I made. My designer did most of it using a language I had never used and was sure I wouldn't understand, and there were some changes I needed, so I contacted her and asked her to send me directions. I never heard from her after that, so I just started playing around with everything and made the changes myself!

I took off the application on the home page that basically works as a blog because I never really liked it and I wanted to be able to completely change the text on the home page anytime I wanted. I took that off and just added a welcome message. I left my Zazzle panel on for now, but that space is reserved for links to buy books if I ever get one published. Other changes include adding a "freelance services" page (in the "about" section) to describe the types of freelance writing I can offer, and I added a "newsletters" page to my nonfiction section to show that I have written and edited quite a few newsletters. I'm going to add a "press releases" page, but I haven't quite decided how I want to do that yet. I probably need to make pdf files of my best press releases and put them up that way.

Anyway, those are the changes I have made this week. I'm sure I'll add more to the site, especially if I start having things published. Overall, I think it's a good first site and a way to share my work with people who might be interested in seeing more of it! Hopefully...

genres, genres everywhere!

The question of the ages... does a writer stick to one genre or can he or she hop from one to another? I know the arguments for both, but am still struggling. I just asked a question on a writer's forum about crossing genres and they said I should stick to one because it takes at least 5 books to create a readership, and readers like to know what they can expect from an author. While I agree that it's comforting to know that if you pick up a Stephen King book, you are going to get a certain kind of story, I also think it isn't right to put authors into these little boxes. If someone wants to stretch their writing muscles, they should be able to do it. I guess that's why people use pen names. It's a perfect solution, really... a writer can use different voices and write in different genres without alienating any readers.

So how does one go about choosing a pen name? Do you just think of something that seems right for the genre and then google it to make sure it's not too common, or taken by someone else? For instance, I had a nice idea for a pen name for the inspirational romances, but when I googled it, I found that it is the real name of a production coordinator for some fairly prominent television shows. She even has a page on imdb! Does that mean I shouldn't use it? When do you use your real name? Or do you ever use it? I'll admit I want to use my real name at some point. How many is too many? Obviously, I have some research to do. I'm not ready to give up on ideas just because they are not all the same genre. I have ideas with potential in far too many. These are just the ones I've started...

Juvenile Fantasy (series)
Inspirational Romance (series)
Chick Lit Mystery (series)
Young Adult Fiction (2-3 that will stand alone)
Children's Christian Fiction (series)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

world building

Wow, world building is complicated! I have been doing research, pretty much all day now! Here's the funny thing... I've never had so much fun in front of the computer. It's funny how things work. I had decided my direction before and had written several pages of notes, but I really didn't have a cohesive idea. Well, today I chucked all those notes and started over, and I feel like I'm really getting somewhere! So today, I established a name for the world and names for the different regions. My villain has a name now (based on something my nephew said the night of the Harry Potter party) and I have a pretty good idea of what should happen in each of the 5 planned books. Not exactly what should happen, but the big picture of it.

I'm going to draw a map in a few minutes, just so I'll have something to reference when I start writing. I still need to name the two kids, a boy and a girl. I had thought about using two sisters first, then I thought three kids, then I reconsidered that since it's too similar to the trio in Harry Potter. I named the world Draha, which means "pathway" in Czech (my ancestry) it also means "life history," which I thought was appropriate. So now I'm faced with a name for the series. Draha Adventures? Draha Chronicles? I'm not sure. Writing juvenile fiction is very new to me, and fantasy is completely uncharted territory. I'm thinking each book is going to be in the 100,000 - 150,000 word range. I might be over estimating here, but I think it might require that much. Basically, that means when the series is finished, I will have written over 500,000 words, even if I write the lower end of that range. I'm getting a much better sense of the story now. I think I've finally landed on an overall theme and several other themes to weave throughout the story. Okay, back to the planning. So much fun!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

last few days have been a blur

I'm not even sure why, but the last few days have been a blur. I spent several days this past week not feeling well and am still feeling very tired. Trying to get over it, because next week is going to be busy and I need all my energy for it! I took Noah to a Harry Potter release party last night and he had a great time. Who am I kidding... I had a great time too! I read for a few hours last night, but had to sleep before finishing. I did finish Deathly Hallows at about 5 p.m. today. I'm still processing the story, so I'm not going to talk about it yet. Soon, I'm sure.

I will say this... after I finished the book, I looked over my notes for my own fantasy children's series and decided I'm a hack, lol. I can't even imagine having the ability to dream up this kind of richly detailed world. I'm not abandoning the idea and I'm certainly not going to stop writing, but I had the moment that you always hear writers talk about. The moment when I thought I must be crazy to think I could be a writer. I had never really had that moment before, I've always been convinced that I would be a writer one day. Today, for a moment, I doubted I had the talent. I didn't like that moment, and I will fight to keep it from coming back.

Photo Hunters Theme: Tiny

Although this is a closeup, these flowers are actually very tiny! I think they are beautiful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

no news

Absolutely nothing new to report. I wasn't feeling well tonight so I begged off rehearsal in favor of resting and relaxing. Luckily, being assistant stage manager, it's okay if I miss a few rehearsals at this stage. Closer to show opening, I would never miss, but I'm mostly going to ever rehearsal just because it's fun to watch right now. So tonight I did a little laundry, talked with fellow Harry Potter fans at The Leaky Cauldron, and made a few pages of notes on the fantasy series. I have the basic concept and an idea of the major characters, but I need to decide on an overall direction. I know what I want to say, I just need to figure out how I'm going to say it. I also went back to Under the Magnolia Tree and read through everything. I'm going to outline the rest of the story and really work toward finishing it in the next few months. After that, I want to get back to the Deadlines stories, because I think they could be really good.

Thanks for the advice, Devon. I've only submitted something to publishers twice, so I haven't really established an adequate organization system for it. I'm going to use your comment to build a spreadsheet that I can use to track my submissions. I'm also going to get my work out there more. If I ever want to be a fulltime writer, I need to forget about the fear of rejection and just put it out there. I spent some time looking at my Writer's Market tonight and started marking publishers to put on the list. It's actually quite fun!

Monday, July 16, 2007

some actual writing news

I won at least one of my recent bids, so I'll be working on a grant very soon! I'm looking forward to diving into the project. It's something I really believe in, and I think I'll enjoy writing it. Other than that, I've been working on some of my writing projects not listed on the sidebar here. I've been doing a little more world building for my fantasy series. I think the whole frenzy surrounding the release of the last Harry Potter book has made me really want to work on that story. Not that it will be anything like Harry Potter, but it's a children's fantasy like the HP books and it should be a series when I'm finished. I'm really excited about the concept. I hope I can flesh out the world(s) so that it will make sense and work for the story.

Rehearsal went well tonight. We had a couple of people drop out and the replacements were there tonight. That went well. Very well, actually! I think the show is really starting to take shape. I'm learning so much about so many different aspects of the theatre experience. I'm really happy I had this opportunity.

I never got that phone call. It is possible they will call this week, but I'm not getting my hopes up. There are at least four possible phone calls in the future, so I guess I'm okay.

I'm still waiting for something (call, letter, email, smoke signal) from the publisher who currently has the first three chapters of my first book. I'm working on some research to see who else I can send it to when I hear back from them. This particular one doesn't like simultaneous submissions, so I'm waiting. I wonder if getting an agent would help me at this point. I'm not sure.

On a more personal and shallow note, my hair is getting on my nerves. It's starting to get long. I usually cut it before now, but I wanted to see how long I could grow it before I get really sick of it and chop it off. It looks nice, so I hate to cut it now, but I really want to do it! I'm resisting the temptation, though. One thing is certain, it's time to touch up the color. I hate being able to see my roots! (told you it was shallow)

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I haven't done a quote in awhile and this one really struck me.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things youdidn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream." - Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

too darn hot

There's a Cole Porter song that says "it's too darn hot." I feel that way right now. It was over 80 at 8 this morning when I was pulling into the parking lot at work, and by the time I was ready to go home, it was in the high 90s. I had a burning desire (pun intended) to jump in the pool before going to rehearsal, but a friend called and I ended up talking to him for awhile. No big deal, though.

Rehearsals are still going well. I still don't know what I'll be doing, but that's okay. We had our selection committee meeting last night and three of the plays I voted for made the season roster. I hope the board passes them, because they are wonderful plays. I am especially excited about "Quilters." It's so different from anything we've ever done, and it's a beautiful, meaningful story. I will absolutly be trying out for that one... they need seven women who can sing and act. I'm not sure they will find too many women who can do both, so I have an advantage! I'm also going to volunteer to make one of the blocks. I've never quilted before, but I think I can learn. They will be made before rehearsals even start, so it won't interfere with learning lines, songs, blocking, etc. It'll be later in the year, so I'll have plenty of time to do it. Maybe I can convince my mother to do one too. It would be nice to make that kind of contribution.

Work is interesting right now. Take the word interesting any way you want... I truly feel ready to move on. Now if only the phone would ring...

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Love my theatre people!

We had an early cast party last night and it was great... just a bunch of people sitting around, having great conversations. I think it's important for a cast and crew to get to know each other as people while they are getting to know each other in their roles in the production. The experience can be so much more rewarding if you make good friends along the way. Obviously this director feels the same way since he threw this very early cast party. We've really only been in rehearsal for a few weeks. Despite that, it seems like the cast is quickly becoming like a family. Rehearsals are going well too, which is good. I've been filling in for cast members who are on vacation, so I've played several characters since I started attending rehearsal. At the last one, I was Claudius in one scene and then Rosencrantz in the next. It was fun.

I put in a few more bids on freelance projects. One in particular is very promising, because they want someone local and I can't imagine there are too many local grant writers with my success rate. It's a great project, too. I think it would be very interesting to write.

I had a job interview not too long ago. They were kind enough to do it later in the day so that I wouldn't have to miss work. The job sounds wonderful and I hope it works out. I should find out this week or early next week. *crosses fingers*

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Photo Hunters Theme: Fake

I know I didn't actually take this picture, but it was taken with my camera. I hope that counts! This was taken at DragonCon last year. We were walking from one session to another and there he was! Totally fake, of course, but still pretty fun! We took each other's pictures and laughed about it. Everyone who passed did the same thing. It's a great memory from the convention.

Friday, July 06, 2007

interesting day!

Whew! It's been quite a day! I only worked half the day because I had something else I needed to do, something I don't really want to talk about yet but that may be good. Very good. At work, I did about 40% of a new grant. It's due the 15th so there's a little time. Next week I'll be working on the newsletter, which is always fun. I love the writing and the design that goes into it. I enjoy choosing just the right picture for the stories and making sure everything looks great and is just the way I want it before we go to print. It's creative, and I love that! I prefer to do creative tasks at work because that's where my strength lies.

My sister and her kids are staying with me for a few days. It's fun but a little loud sometimes! Three children can certainly liven things up!

We're having an early cast party for Hamlet tomorrow and I'm going to go. I'm looking forward to that. No rehearsals this weekend because they are going to start working on the set. I'd help with that, but I'm absolutely useless with a paintbrush or a nail gun! So anyway, the cast party is sort of a belated 4th of July theme, so I'm going to be extremely cheesy and bake an apple pie. Somebody has to, right? My only problem is, I want to bring some wine, but they're having barbeque chicken, which really seems more like a "beer" food, right? I really dislike beer, so I'm out of luck there, lol. Oh well, I'll think of something.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Being sick is no fun

So I totally missed the 4th of July because I was still not feeling well. I didn't leave my house from Monday night to this morning. I watched a lot of Gilmore Girls episodes during that time, which was fun but not the way I would have chosen to spend that much time. I also read some, but I had trouble concentrating on anything because I was feeling so awful. Better today, although I still feel a little weak and don't really want to eat anything for awhile. Maybe I'll lose some weight, lol.

Back at work today and trying to catch up on what I missed on Tuesday. It's not so bad, though. Everything is okay and it's fairly quiet today so I'm getting a lot done. That's always good!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

sick today

Not a lot of news today because I'm sick. Yuck. I'll post again tomorrow, but for now I'm going to go back to bed.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I just got back from rehearsal and the regular trip to the local Irish pub. It was my first rehearsal, and I'm still not sure if I'm going to be backstage or up in the light booth, but one thing is certain, it's going to be an interesting show! I really enjoyed watching the process. It's a bit different watching the action knowing that you won't be going onstage soon. I like it... not as much as actually being onstage, but I do like it a lot. The director is wonderful and the cast is great. I know I'm going to enjoy being involved in the play.

Today was nice.. relaxing. I wish weekends were longer, but at least I only work four days this week. I'm off for the 4th of July... yay! That will be a nice break in the middle of the week. I'll just focus on that.