Happy Halloween!

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My feet aren't speaking to me, unless you count that dull throb as communication. I left home at 6:30 AM yesterday and got home at 7:30. Unless you count the drive to work and 2 trips to the bathroom, no breaks. I ate lunch and dinner on my feet.

Things I hate worse than field trips and carnivals:

1) My old boss
2) worrying about my son
3) people who hurt children

Things I like better than field trips and carnivals:

1) root canals
2) back pain
3) throwing up
4) EVERYTHING ELSE

I will say, the highlight of the day was the ballet. I would totally read a YA set in the ballet world.

Today the plan is to get the house in order, and perhaps read. I'm finally reading the second CJ Lyons book and the print is so tiny. Maybe if I read during daylight, I can read more. I might go to Wal-Mart (EARLY, as soon as it's light) and see about getting frames for my two books cover posters that I just got.

Then tomorrow:

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Antsy

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So I have time to write this morning but now I don't want to invest in the bodyguard book if I just have this AM and tomorrow to work on it before NaNo starts. I'm afraid to diffuse the excitement I have for the NaNo book. But I haven't written in 3 days. Three. Days.

I got everything done yesterday but had no down-time. Was really counting on down-time. Today is a day from hell. In 14 hours I hope to be on my couch watching Trick 'R Treat, which I got from Amazon downloads, since Netflix did not want to send it. I also have Away We Go, which Netflix did want to send, since, you know, it's been out for months. I'm really REALLY peeved with them.

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Stressing, and Preparing

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I've been up since 4 working on progress reports. The website crashed about 10 minutes ago, as I was writing in missing assignments to explain the low grades. This is after staying an hour late yesterday to catch up on grading (but ended up having 2 parent conferences.) When I get to school, I need to get the kids' Halloween treats together, do my newsletter and write the district assessment grades on the progress reports. Today is like our Friday because we are going on a field trip tomorrow, then coming back for the carnival. Joy.

I did take time to work on my collage for this book last night. I got a couple of ideas for scenes while listening to my soundtrack yesterday, and here's what I came up with:

Yes, I used Jared and Adrianne last year as my models, but that was historical. This one is contemp.

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It's a road trip, and it's snowy, and heading to Seattle, so that's why the HWY 90 sign. He's a greenie, so that's why the recycle sign. But he had to borrow his brother's cool car. Thanksgiving may or may not play a part (my last best friends story was also set at Thanksgiving. Hmmm.) He's dogsitting, so that's why the puppy (a chug, isn't it cute?) I'm thinking about having them enter a poker game to get money, and the radiator is going to be an issue throughout--all the motels will have either too much heat or not enough.

Meanwhile, I haven't written in 2 days. I feel ready to pop.

Okay, going to see if the website is back up....

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Soundtrack


It's bad that I keep thinking today is Thursday. Part of the reason is that Friday is a field trip and the carnival, so everything I need to get done at school this week needs to get done by tomorrow. That includes progress reports and lesson plans. We have a meeting during planning time today, so gah.

I realized last night that three of my four NaNo books all have the same model for a hero. What does this say, I'm not willing to give him more than a month?

I started making my soundtrack for the NaNo book, which is a road trip book. Here's some of the songs I chose. I tried not to be too on the nose with the road trip theme but there are some I just couldn't resist.

Running Down a Dream—Tom Petty

Beautiful Day—U2

Born to Run—Springsteen

Drove All Night—Roy Orbison

Roam—B-52s

Dead or Alive—Bon Jovi

Life is a Highway—Tom Cochrane

Need You Tonight--INXS

Tempted—Squeeze

Go Your Own Way—Fleetwood Mac

Keep the Car Running—Arcade Fire

Wake Up—Arcade Fire

Under the Milky Way Tonight--Sia

I threw in a couple of Adam Ant songs on there, too, since I had them ;)

AND of course you know that now I know how to fix my bodyguard book. Which--yay. But WHEN?

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Now It Can Be Revealed


My new cover! GORGEOUS, isn't it?



Meanness


There is a lot of meanness around lately. Everyone seems to have a short fuse, eager to jump to conclusions, twist words, insulting each other and talk before they think. WTH? Most of the evidence I've seen is on the internet where people seem actually anxious to misconstrue words as an insult. I am afraid to post anything on certain blogs, certain that I'll end up being a target as so many have been this weekend.

The news is an angry place, the internet is an angry place. Who needs it? I unfollowed a bunch of people this weekend. Who needs that aggravation?

My happy place is the Facebook page for my elementary school. And I have fun mail to look forward to this week--Vistaprint stuff with my new cover, and a new NaNo shirt.


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Goals for the Week of Halloween



My booksigning was less eventful than I'd hoped, though I did see a lot of friends and talked to a lot of people.

Yesterday I found a group on Facebook from my elementary school. Most of the people in the group are from my time. So much fun going down memory lane!

For the next 3 weeks, there will be at least one rough day. This week we have a field trip and carnival the same day. Next week when we have another field trip on the same day as Open House and begin practicing for our program, and the following week, where we have the program.

1) Field trip Friday

2) Carnival also Friday (whimper)

3) Work on short story

4) Play with storyboard of NaNo story

5) Get music for program.

6) Blog at Supernatural Sisters and the Samhellion

7) Mail Rita books

8) Go to library with overdue DVD.

9) Get house in shape for NaNo.

10) Get gifties for students

11) Exercise

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More Dreams, Fictionwise and Submitting

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Why my subconscious is taunting me, I don't know. Last night I dreamed I'd written a series. I saw the covers and everything. They were GORGEOUS. One was a deep apple green with a cowboy leaning against the wall, his head lowered so all you saw was his body and the top of his hat. Another was red with a cowboy hat in the bottom corner. They were contemporary westerns, about a gentleman rancher, and from what I could tell, they were more women's fiction than romance. The scenes were all from the heroine's POV--going out with her husband when her baby was an infant, waking up in a crummy apartment with her 6 year old child next to her, waking up to go to work and hearing her husband in the shower. There was a scene with her mother-in-law, too. It felt like all the stories were about her, like a saga, I guess.

Oh, and the hero was Will from GLEE. :-)

As I drifted back to sleep (this dream was pretty gloomy, actually), I wondered if I couldn't make it a secret baby book, but how I could pull off two women keeping a secret like this from the hero worries me.

I had another dream about an alien spaceship, too. Not as inspirational, but 2 step-cousins I haven't seen in years were in it.

Fictionwise is having a big sale. If you join their Buywise club for $30 for a year, you get the $30 back in rebates to apply to other books, an additional 15% off each book and a free book. I have to do it, right, especially since so many books I want are coming out the next few months?

And I finally have something winging its way to Harlequin again. I sent the whittled version of STTA to Harlequin American. I got it from 87,000 words to 61,000! I cut 3 subplots.

So now I have a week and a half until NaNo. I can play with the bodyguard story--other than the ending, I decided that one of my threats early on doesn't fit with the other threats. I need to change it somehow.

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Dreams

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Last weekend I dreamed that another teacher and I didn't go back to work after lunch and we didn't bother to call. Night before last, I had a dream with a plot--a guy who ran a drug distribution plant (or whatever. It was the middle of the jungle) decided to go on the straight and narrow, only his boss wouldn't let him and I rescued him from being blown up in a car bomb. After that I dreamed I didn't sell one book at my booksigning.

This morning (after the dog woke me at 2:30 to go out. Bad dog!) I dreamed that we were working on my MIL's house before work and I lost track of time. I tried to call in but my phone was like one of those puzzle games where you have to shake the little silver ball to put it in a hole, only each hole was a number. (In my dream, I wondered how I would ever dial 911 if I needed to.) I finally borrowed someone's phone to call in, then tried to leave but was caught by a neighbor. And then my clothes got ruined in a rainstorm, and I finally got to school at 10. Whew!

I wish my dreams weren't so mean to me. I did sleep until the alarm but don't feel rested at all.

Have you had any weird dreams lately?

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Goals for Week of my Booksigning


1) Booksigning Saturday at an event held by my district. I hope this isn’t a big mistake.

2) Mail Rita books

3) Finish cutting down STTA, submit

4) Work on short story

5) Edits on other short story

6) Blog at Wet Noodle Posse

7) Play with ideas for NaNo

8) District Assessment

9) Faculty Meeting

10) Keep up house (been doing good with this!)

11) Exercise (not so much)


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NaNo Thinking

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I'm thinking about what I'm going to write for NaNo. I thought I knew. I'm considering writing a pregnant heroine. I've never written one of those before. I don't even read many. The best one I ever read was Emily McKay's first book, Baby, Be Mine. Have you read any you'd recommend?

I have an idea for a series (another first) but the idea is out there, and I actually only have the mystery for the third book in mind. Definitely needs more planning.

I also have two story ideas, but I have only one character in mind. In one, I have a hero who has been taking care of his ne'er-do-well brother and disabled sister for years. The story starts with the father coming home from prison, where he'd served time from killing the mother. I just don't now who the heroine would be.

The other one is a woman who lived through something tragic in her past, something that has made her famous. She changed her name and buried her past, but something has to drag her back into the public eye or make her face her past. I don't know who her hero would be. Not sure if I want to make that an RS or a straight contemporary, either.

I actually have a solid idea, but all the ideas are so shiny right now....

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That Whole 8 Hours of Sleep Thing?

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Last night I had the house to myself, the TV, the computer. I decided to go to bed early and read.

I made it about 20 minutes and sacked out before nine and slept until the alarm! Over 8 hours of sleep. I can't even remember when I've done that in a row. I woke up feeling pretty good, survived the field trip (a concert by the War Hawks from the Air Force Band of the West), came home, made brownies, cleaned the kitchen pretty thoroughly, excised a couple of thousand words from STTA and made dinner. I'm still feeling pretty good, not too tired, and wonder if I can do it again.

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Goals for Week of Columbus Day


Poor dh spent more than half of his vacation SICK. I think he finally got off the couch Wednesday. So while I didn't have to cook, I didn't get as much help as I hoped. I spent yesterday VERY productive--I've sewed up all my fabric now, one less thing hanging over my head.

So I'm fired up for another week.

1) Enter HOT SHOT in the Rita!!

2) revisions on short story

3) blog at SPN, The Romance Studio and the 007 blog—all on Wednesday

4) cut cut cut on STTA. If I get down to 70000 words, submit to Harl American (I know they need to be 60000 words, but if I can get down to 70000, I can get down to 60000. It’s currently 85000.)

5) district assessments

6) field trip

7) trip to grocery store. We skipped this last week because the dh was sick and ate dinner out every night but Friday. Eep!

8) Finish Halloween tote bag and Halloween skirt so I can put my sewing machine away.

9) Clean house

10) Exercise


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Stepping Back

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I'm setting aside the bodyguard book. I've rewritten the last quarter a half dozen times, gone back to the beginning, but can't make the strings tie together. My brain hurts trying to twist everything around, and it's just not working. So I'm putting it aside until December. I'll spend the rest of October on a short story (straight romance, so no blasted suspense elements) and planning my Nano book, also a straight romance. Then once that's done, maybe the right way to end it will come to me.

It breaks my heart because I love these characters. They're smart and fun and have great chemistry. I just need a stronger vehicle for them. And it makes me antsy that I don't have anything contemporary out on submission, but this book isn't going to be strong enough if I push through the way it is.

I hope I can come back to it with some perspective.

I'm still keeping Helo, though, as the hero in the short story.

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Title Help


I need title help. Of course I thought of a title I liked when I was coming home from work but I've forgotten it now. Yesterday I listed different words and made different combinations, but nothing stood out.

The words: Bodyguard, Protector, Heart, Love, Romance, Devotion, Passion, Yearning, Threat, Risk, Chance, Jeopardy, Peril, Endangered, Menace, Hazard (NO, Not The Bodyguard of Hazard, just in case you're thinking it!), Legislator, Campaign, Politician, Protect, Harbor, Safeguard, Sentinel, Secure

Of course, the list is just what I came up with....if you have another thought, have at it! I've only had to change one of my titles, so this is a challenge for me.

Here's the blurb.

Texas Congresswoman McKenna Jones finds her life is in danger when her father’s old enemy surfaces. She’s the target of revenge and narrowly escapes a kidnapping attempt by relying on her wits.

Her father insists she step out of the public eye until the threat has passed. She can’t. She’s fighting for an important bill and won’t abandon it. Grudgingly, her father assigns the most trusted man in his security firm, Ethan Riggins, to keep her safe. McKenna weighs her need for privacy versus the necessity of the bill and sacrifices privacy.

If only it was a sacrifice. Ethan is no hardship on the eyes, and is easy to work with—not what she expected from a friend of her father’s. Her attraction is troublesome. She doesn’t want to get involved with someone like her father, whose job has always been more important than family. She wants a better life for her children than she had.

But constant contact and danger push them together, break down her defenses, and his. Ethan has held himself distant because she’s his assignment and his friend’s daughter. But he’s never known a woman as smart and driven and sexy as she is. She makes him want to loosen the reins he holds on his emotions since his wife left.

When the threat escalates, Ethan and McKenna have to take charge of the investigation, to end the threat so they can discover if a happily-ever-after is in store for them.


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TOO Goal Oriented

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Last night I stressed out while reading a book.

This is not good.

See, I started thinking, "Well, I need to finish this book so I can read the next one because I have a couple hundred paperback novels and now a couple dozen e-books and how will I ever finish them all?"

And this is on top of the I've-gotta-do-this-paperwork-and-finish-smoothing-out-the-bodyguard-story-and-come-up-with-a-title-so-I-can-write-a-query-letter-and-have-something-else-out-there-and-get-it-all-done-before-Nano (not to mention I want to write a short story and do a major overhaul on STTA.

Even TV is I've-got-to-watch-this-so-I-can-delete-to-make-room-for-this. (And do we choose Jim and Pam's wedding over Grey's Anatomy this week? I think we do.)

I break the goals down into smaller bits but am already behind for the week. I don't know why yesterday's inservice wore me out. Stress of passing the test at the end, I guess.

I know my fear with the writing is to take advantage of opportunities NOW. I'm scared to lose momentum and I don't have another book under contract and it makes me nervous. There's going to be quite a gap if I don't get something else sent in and contracted. But I also don't want to send in garbage, and I'm having trouble bringing all the strings together in the bodyguard story.

What do you do to relieve the stress? Walking away from the computer makes me more anxious because I should be working.

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Good Workshop

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Am so excited--I got Covet by JR Ward on Fictionwise for $6.79 and got a $3 rebate to use on another book. I hesitated getting the print book because the font is so small. On my iPhone, I can adjust the font and have it backlit. Love!

I was listening to my conference CDs. I've listened to about a dozen, but the one I listened to today is the best so far. It's called "Get Your Acts Together" by Blythe Gifford. She is a pantser but talks about the four act structure (splitting the second act in half after the midpoint). That part wasn't what struck a chord with me, though. She talks about how the character has this life vision and makes all his/her decisions with that vision. It's not until that vision can change, until the character can make a choice using the lesson they've learned in the course of the book, that the character arc is complete. It made so much sense. There was more, too, like the "wobble" in the character that the person himself doesn't see, but that the other person in the relationship sees as the dealbreaker.

I need to listen to it again, and when I'm not driving because it's one of those where you need to make notes so you can understand it better. Let's just say she has me wanting to see "Pretty Woman" (which she used as her example) and I LOATHE that movie.

So, I highly recommend.

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Goals for Week of DH's Vacation (yes, again)


I finished my final line edits and the edits from hell yesterday. All new writing this week--woot!

1) Query and synopsis on bodyguard story. I can finish the book while I’m waiting, right?

2) Work on bodyguard (close to end)

3) Day and a half of inservices

4) Blog at Samhain

5) Find out about entering Surface in the Rita

6) Color hair

7) Halloween tote and Halloween skirt

8) Decorate house for Halloween

9) House/exercise

Man, and I thought this week would be easy? At least I don’t have to cook.


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The Trouble with Series

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I'm still debating over what to buy with my Fictionwise money, and here's part of the dilemma...some of the books I want are parts of a series but I haven't read the first book yet, though I own it. I don't see buying the second if I've not read the first.

Or maybe I get to read the first book in the series, but never get to the next. This has happened with Larissa Ione's books, Colleen Gleason's, Rachel Vincent's, the second set of Virgin River books. I have all the others, they're just languishing in the TBR, along with Cindy Gerard's series. And then I want the Stephanie Tyler books, but I'm afraid to start a new series I won't have time to finish reading!

We won't talk about the JD Robbs, where I don't even know where I left off.

And yet this AM I wake up with an idea for my own (possibly undoable) series. I've never written a series before. I'm kinda excited.

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Best Laid Plans

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So I took today off because I need to wrap up the edits on DLB and catch up on the bodyguard book, and then yesterday I got my final line edits for BD. I woke up early because that's what I do, and guess what?

I'm sick. Sore throat, aches, bleh. I don't WANT to be sick. I don't have TIME to be sick! Also, I have no medicine. I guess I need some Theraflu? Maybe I'll send the boy for it when he gets home from school.

I enjoyed SPN more last night, maybe because I was writing up the review for Supernatural Sisters and had to pay better attention. And I'm looking forward to Dollhouse now (besides getting to see Tahmoh) because I saw Epitaph One on the DVD and REALLY liked it.

Okay, off to edit, then to sleep, then to edit....sounds like a plan, right?

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Book Buying Frenzy

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So I'm now addicted to Fictionwise. The cool is that they offer rebates for most books you buy. The other cool is that they send you coupons. So I've bought...5 books, I think, and gotten 4 free, and I still have over $8 in credit. I love reading on my iPhone. It's back-lit and I can make the font huge. So even though I want the new Michelle Rowen books and Covet by JR Ward, I want them in e-book so I can read them on my phone. I have a 30% off coupon at Border, though....so I may indulge.

I got my final line edits on BD this AM, and still have 80 pages to go on the edits on DLB. So tomorrow, I'm taking the day, opening the windows to the cool front, and working on writing. I want to WRITE, though, hopefully, too. The ideas are piling up.


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Goodreads

M.J. Fredrick's books on Goodreads
Breaking DaylightBreaking Daylight
ratings: 11 (avg rating 3.33)

Beneath the SurfaceBeneath the Surface
ratings: 11 (avg rating 4.00)

Hot ShotHot Shot (Samhain)
reviews: 2
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.00)

Where There's SmokeWhere There's Smoke
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.00)

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MJFredrick
I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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