I Love How He Loves Her

I watched the first Rocky this week. Like I said earlier, I was never a big fan, but after seeing Rocky Balboa, seeing how much Rocky mourned Adrian, I wanted to see the story from the beginning. His single minded pursuit of the plain, shy pet store employee was so endearing. He saw something in her that no one else did, and his love for her made her blossom.

And there’s Luke and Lorelei, though this scene is more how she loves him than how he loves her. But he did anything she asked of him. Even after she broke his heart and married and divorced Chris, he took her car shopping when her Jeep broke down, ended up finding her the same year Jeep when she couldn’t decide, so she could take the engine and put it in her old Jeep.

There’s Darcy and Elizabeth, where he really falls in love with her against his better judgment. Even after she rejects him, he does everything in his power to save her family’s reputation.

My favorite – Denny and Izzie. I think so many women were so invested in this story because of the way Denny loved her. Yeah, he could be saucy, but mostly he was just humbled by her.

What are some love stories you can think of, where the hero’s love for the heroine makes you swoon?

Movies I'm Looking Forward To

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The boy got home at 4:45, we left to his band practice at 5:10, got there at 5:37. I stopped for dinner on the way back, got home at 6:20. The dh and I ate, looked at new phones online and the boy called at 7:05 for us to come get him. We got home at 7:50. Yeesh! And now I need gas. But I’m mostly finished with Austenland, plan to listen to some Supernatural podcasts today.

I was FINALLY reading the Entertainment Weekly with all the fall movies and they all looked pretty bleak. So I went to Apple.com trailers and looked around and found some fun ones – and some bleak ones, too, I guess.

Movies I’m looking forward to:

Horton Hears a Who

This looks amazing.

Michael Clayton.

Hello, Doug Ross!

The Last Legion.

Colin Firth. Seriously.

Elizabeth, The Golden Age.

Oh. Yeah.

http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/elizabeththegoldenage/large.html (VERY clear pictures)

The Kingdom

Because of what I write, and I love Jennifer Garner

National Treasure – Book of Secrets

LOVED the first one. But what’s up with Nick’s face? And, hello, do we NEED to see the movie after the trailer?

I couldn’t find any clips of P.S. I Love You, the Gerard Butler/Hilary Swank/Jeffrey Dean Morgan movie, or The Accidental Husband, the Colin Firth/Uma Thurman/Jeffrey Dean Morgan movie ☹
But here’s a picture from P.S. I Love You.

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What I've Learned About Writing - and What I Need to Learn


Things I’ve learned in writing

1) Don’t start sentences with “It was” or “There were.”
2) Don’t use “she thought” or “she wondered” in deep POV.
3) 5 senses
4) give a sense of place and time at the beginning of a scene
5) show instead of tell, especially with emotion
6) POV (though I’ve become less of a purist – bad Mary)
7) Action tags ground you in a scene.
8) Don't use qualifiers, like kind of or almost - they weaken the emotional punch.

What I need to learn:

1) deeper emotion in each scene
2) how to plot
3) conflict in every scene
4) how to use dashes – why does that elude me? And does it stop me from using them? NOOOOO.

What have you learned? What do you need to learn?

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I've written more this week than I did the first week of summer vacation. Getting up at 4 - well, 3 today - may have something to do with it.

22 kids - 12 girls, 10 boys, full house. They talk a LOT. One doesn't get picked up till 3:30! I'm off at 3:20. Got to go, keep 'em busy!

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What's Out There


I watched BOUNCE this weekend, a straight romance with Gwyneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck. I loved it when I first saw it and loved it again this weekend. He’s less than heroic, true, but he falls so hard for her. And she’s just a terrific heroine. Have you seen it? Did you like it?

I’m almost caught up on my revisions on my self-imposed calendar. I told Trish I’m afraid of Spy Girl. It was such a blast to write – do I want to ruin that experience by trying to make it publishable, or do I want to leave it as a story for me?

I got my electric bill this weekend – not as bad as I thought. I was afraid it might be near $400, the AC ran so much, but it was less than $300. This month should be even less.

Here’s what I have submitted:


Susan Litman for Don’t Look Back (2 months – have mercy, Susan!)
Jenny Rappaport for Surface


Pamela Ahearn for Surface
Paige Wheeler for DLB
Kerry Donovan for DLB through From the Heart


Wild Rose Press for Where There’s Smoke
Kate Duffy with Kensington
Cori Deyoe with Surface

Outstanding contest entries:

Ghost of a Doubt – Indiana Golden Opportunity
Gateway to the Best
Contest Junkies
Hot Shot – Contest Junkies
Cleveland Rocks
Queen of the Night – Gateway to the Best

Contests I’m readying to enter:

Golden Palms – everything ST I have, I think, except Surface, since I plan to rework it, so Hot Shot, BD and DLB
The Emily – both paranormals, Hot Shot, BD
The Suzannah – no idea – may be low on cash at that point ;)
Linda Howard – BD and Hot Shot
Superromance – no idea – Hot Shot and Surface have been R’d, I want Susan to have DLB and BD – any thoughts?

Okay, off to my first day of school! Wish me luck!

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Man, I fell down on those goals last week, especially the writing and housekeeping ones. Getting back into a schedule Kicked My Butt.

1) revise 30 pages of BD
2) revise 15 pages of Spy Girl and send to critique - 11 so far!
3) finish reading Trish’s revised ms - DONE
4) son to band practice TWICE (20 minutes there and 20 back, but lots of time to listen to iPod)
5) get my class going – shouldn’t be TOO bad. The worst is the construction throwing everything off
6) keep up house
7) judge one Golden Pen entry - DONE
8) enter Ghost Hunters in a contest


This is before JDM and MLP broke up. Maybe two people with three names shouldn’t date…

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Online Workshop

Online workshops give me fits, but if I was going to take one, this would be it. Robin Perini is an awesome speaker.

Discovering Story Magic is back for the month-long workshop in September, 2007. Now is your chance to attend an enlightening workshop and get feedback from the instructors if you so choose. You not only get tons of extra material on this acclaimed 3-step method, but you also get to see it applied to dozens of working manuscripts as Laura and Robin comment on the process of those participants willing to share. It's a workshop for plotters and pantsters no matter what your level of writing-and all for only $25.00.

Read below for further details and you can go to www.discoveringstorymagic.com for even more information on the workshop.


WritersOnlineClasses.com is proud to present a special four-week online class for the month of September, 2007:

September 1-30, 2007

DISCOVERING STORY MAGIC Returns (with a new movie!)

INSTRUCTORS: Laura Baker and Robin Perini

Cut-off date to receive registration and payment: August 28, 2007

For more information or to register, go to www.WritersOnlineClasses.com OR email info@WritersOnlineClasses.com

Writer's doldrums hitting summer lows? Need motivation? Inspiration? Simplification? More tangible methods leading to publication? Discovering Story Magic will bring you writing instruction packed with magical inspiration and concrete information to produce salable fiction. Learn how to weave together character, conflict, plot, realization, and turning points
from the beginning of the writing process through revision and even the synopsis.

Playing to standing-room-only at numerous events and conferences across the country, Laura Baker and Robin Perini teach a practical, three-step technique applicable to all genres and all levels of writers. As always, Baker and Perini add new techniques and insights, including analyzing a different movie for this presentation. Then students can apply the technique to their own stories-with input from the two experienced instructors. It's like having Laura and Robin brainstorm with you over the course of one month.

So join us for a workshop about which New York Times bestselling author Cathy Maxwell has said, "The techniques and grids of Discovering Story Magic are revolutionary. They can help every writer understand the arc and plot development of unforgettable character. In fact, the format grid has become an important part of my pre-writing. Laura and Robin have tapped into 'magic' and created a concept that is a must in every writer's tool kit."

Award-winning author Laura Baker writes romantic suspense novels set in the Southwest. From the first release, Laura's books have garnered critical acclaim and awards, including the Aspen Gold and the Daphne du Maurier (and its precursor, the Kiss of Death). The list of national award nominations include the National Reader's Choice, the RITA, and twice for Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards. Her last three books were all selected as RT Top Picks.

Laura's nonfiction articles on writing have been published in the Writer's Digest, the RWR, and newsletters across the country, and she presents fiction-writing classes at universities and conferences across the country. Twice she has coordinated the annual conference for Novelists' Inc, a national organization of authors published in popular fiction. One award she especially treasures is the RWA Service Award.

Laura and her husband own an Indian arts gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and have been in the Indian business for thirty years. Her decades of experience as an Indian trader are the source for many of the off-beat characters and Indian legends in her stories.

Published in short, non-fiction, Robin Perini is a sought-after speaker on writing topics and time management. She is a four-time Finalist of the prestigious RWA Golden Heart Contest. She is a founding member of the Land of Enchantment Romance Authors and was on the committee that wrote, edited, designed and produced the LERA Writer's Guide, an instructional book for writers, which was the only self-published book, named as a resource in Writer's Digest's Romance Writers Sourcebook.

Robin writes contemporary and paranormal romance. She resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is currently a software systems developer specializing in internet architecture, but she also uses her skills as a graphic artist and web site designer in her own business, Web Magic & More. In addition, Robin is pursuing an MBA at the University of New Mexico.

WritersOnlineClasses.com accepts personal checks or money orders (US FUNDS ONLY!).

Please make checks payable to:

Mary O'Gara -and mail to-
5010 Cutler Ave NE Ste D-2 #185
Albuquerque, NM 87110-4099

COST: $25 Discovering Story Magic Returns

Electronic Payments accepted via Paypal at www.paypal.com After logging on to paypal, Email electronic payments to: Paypal@WritersOnlineClasses.com or if you don't have a Paypal account, WritersOnlineClasses can send an invoice and you can pay via credit card.

For more information or to register, go to www.WritersOnlineClasses.com OR email info@WritersOnlineClasses.com

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Go vote!

Writing Entries

My other Contest Junkies entry is up. Again, I can't tell you the name, but the title should be familiar ;) Please go vote!

Audio Book


I got my iPod to listen to audio books. Yesterday I set up my stereo at school so I could use my iTrip with the iPod and listen. I listened to most of Meg Cabot's Size 14 Is Not Fat Either, which is a mystery. It was really well done. Then I started listening to Austenland, which is about a woman obsessed with the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice and goes on a vacation where she pretends to live in that time period.

On my iPod are the following audiobooks - should last me awhile.

Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner
Bait by Karen Robards
Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice
Prior Bad Acts by Tami Hoag
Red Lily by Nora
The Ruins by Scott Smith
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
The Historian

I also have my RWA CDs!

Okay, off to the grocery store, post office and bank :( Then home to critique and write!

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The Italian Stallion


When I had lunch with Healing Brother the other day, he told me about Rocky Balboa. HB was always a Rocky fan. He said he used to read the movie novelizations in math class and get in trouble. I took him to see Rocky 4 for his birthday and he's never forgotten that (I have.) I always remember the Rocky movies as kinda hokey.

But after that conversation, Rocky 3 came on TV and I watched it. And it was good. REALLY emotional, what with Mickey dying and Rocky losing and afraid to fight Mr. T because the guy was just STRONG.

Last night I watched Rocky Balboa. I scoffed when it came out - Sylvester Stallone is my DAD'S age. But you know what? It was a great movie, really harkened back to the first movie (which I now want to see again, and show my son.) Rocky's alone again except for Pauly. The love of his life, Adrian, has passed away, his son feels like a failure around his dad and so doesn't want anything to do with him. So he decides to go back into boxing. I cried a ton, mostly nostalgia, I think, because apparently I remember these movies better than I thought.

Rocky's just a really good guy who wants to be happy, and he'll do whatever it takes.

Are you a Rocky fan? I'm putting Rocky 1 and 2 into my queue.

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Okay, off to my workday. No AC, because, you know, apparently summer isn't LONG enough for them to put a new AC unit in our building - they had to wait till TODAY. We also don't have a sidewalk on either of the two school entrances (they're putting in covered walkways, but, um, hello, school starts MONDAY) and if we park in back to unload our cars, we run the risk of flat tires (Cindi had one, the principal had 2, a kinder teacher had 2) because the construction folks just left nails and screws on the ground.

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Judy Blume


I went to bed at 9:40 last night. Would have been earlier, but I went to Dawn’s blog and saw her cool jukebox and I wanted one. Played with that for 45 minutes, and after that could barely keep my eyes open to read! I miss sleep already.

I read Everything I Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume this week. It was a collection of essays from women writers about the role Judy Blume played in their growing up.

Some mentioned FOREVER as being the first book they read that talked about sex. REALLY talked about it, with all the terms and everything. I VAGUELY remember reading it, I think when I was fifteen. My cousin in New Jersey had it, I think. The first book I ever read with sex in it was the novelization of the Robby Benson movie ONE ON ONE. My same cousin had the novelization of ENDLESS LOVE, which had a scene in it too, about a ten on the ick factor, lemme tell ya.

Other writers mentioned reading DEENIE, which was about a beautiful girl who ended up wearing a back brace. I never read that one.

Others wrote about IT’S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD, a novel about divorce. I think I did read that one, but since my own parents were going through a divorce, and I wasn’t exactly traumatized by it, it didn’t stick.

Some wrote about STARRING SALLY J. FREEDMAN AS HERSELF. I went to Paperback Swap and ordered this one because it’s about a girl during WW2, and she makes up a lot of stories. Sounds right up my alley.

I remember reading THEN AGAIN, MAYBE I WON’T, which was from a boy’s POV, and talked about the issues boys have growing up and learning their bodies. I remember being SO confused reading it. WHY was he holding the math book in front of him???

MY Judy Blume book was ARE YOU THERE, GOD? IT’S ME, MARGARET. That book was the fifth grade girl bible at my school. I remember being so anxious about starting my period (WHY??) and growing breasts, and I remember when the first of my friends got her period and we were all so jealous. The requisite movie about your changing body filled us with more anticipation, because we understood because we already knew what to expect, thanks to Judy Blume.

I reread the book not too long ago, and you know what? The period stuff wasn’t the main story. The main story was Margaret choosing a religion. Remember, her mom was one and her dad was another, so they raised her without (maybe my mind couldn’t wrap around this concept, considering I grew up going to Mass every day.) Her story was about her search for where she belonged. She WANTED to be spiritual, she just didn’t know where.

I read my class TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING and the sequels. Last year I read them OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SHEILA THE GREAT, but we didn’t enjoy that one as well – no Fudge.

What was your Judy Blume book?

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Luke and Lorelei and Jack and Marin

Crossin bridge to holy grail, BRB!

So I had this really great dream about Men in Trees the other night. If you haven't seen Men in Trees, it's about a relationship coach named Marin whose relationship goes south and she ends up moving to Alaska, where she meets man's man Jack. They start out as friends but they're attracted. They give into the attraction and then they're friends again. ANYWAY, I haven't seen all the episodes, been catching up this summer, but it's a straight romance.

Then last night (after a day which included no AC in my classroom STILL, an incontinent kitty and stepping in dog poo) I watched a 7th season episode of Gilmore Girls, where Lorelei asks her ex, Luke, to help her shop for a new car. Luke agrees in the name of politeness, but her pickiness gets to him and he just explodes. No more politeness. In the middle of his diatribe, she starts grinning, because everything's back to normal. He's not pussyfooting around anymore.

It was great.

So now....I want to write a straight romance. It's been YEARS since I've done such a thing, and I know I'll need good plot/conflict (weaknesses #1 and #2) but I think THAT might be my Nano book. I'll play with the idea today during inservice.

BUT I still need to revise BD and Spy Girl (I'm 9 pages behind schedule on Spy Girl, just need to type in the changes on BD that I made last night -- I'm doing 5 pages a day.) Then after that is Ghost Hunters.

And...I want to write Vamp Hunters.

AND...I want to revise this year's GH finalist to a paranormal. You see my dilemma. Why is this ambition hitting me now?

I just found out last night Gerard Butler's new movie, which was called Butterfly on a Wheel, has been retitled SHATTERED and will be on TNT Labor Day weekend. (YAY for Tivo!)

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Leslie Wainger - Book Doctor

Leslie Wainger - Book Doctor

Huh. I'm almost tempted.

First Day of School, and TAGGED


First day of school wasn’t so bad. I was sitting there thinking, okay, back to my life. I fear our new principal will be a bit more strict, and it looks like we’ll have meetings at least twice a month (Mr. Allen had them once a semester!) My room is a mess and there are two huge ladders in there, so no moving stuff around for a bit.

My home phone isn’t ringing, so the phone guy is coming out TOMORROW! Good thing for cell phones, but the boy doesn’t have one. I have to schedule when I call him!

I finalled in the Golden Gateway yesterday with Don’t Look Back! (Good thing, because Ghost Hunters did not impress two of my judges!)

I didn’t write at all yesterday, which is why I’m up so early today (sans alarm, oddly, but I did have a lovely Jack/Marin dream from MEN IN TREES!)

Tonitagged me!

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Entertainment (as in, love to be….also, Entertainment Weekly)
Net Surfer!

I tag:

Trish, Natalie, Sarah, Paula and Mary Beth. (Watch out, it was harder than it looked!)

I’m blogging about negativity on Wet Noodle Posse!

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Back to School goals


I read 20 books this summer. Seemed like more… I didn't really like the last two Lori Handelands as much, but we're back in New Orleans with this book and it's GREAT. Again with the meeting of the expectations - you're in Louisiana, you gotta have a bayou, a gator, a haunted plantation house...all in the first 50 pages!

Even though school is starting…I’m doing goals. Maybe it’s more important now, huh?

1) revise 50 pages of BD
2) write 25 pages of Spy Girl
3) enter GH and VH in two contests
4) get accustomed to waking up/going to bed at normal times (dude, I was going to bed at TWO!)
5) get classroom ready/lesson plans ready
6) keep up house
7) driving practice/driver’s test
8) Target or Lowe’s to get something to keep my beverages cool! (Got those refreezable inserts for an ice chest - see how that works. Couldn't find a BIG insulated mug. Spent $57 ANYWAY!)
9) Library
10) Judge a Golden Pen entry

Good for the first week.

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Things I'll Miss About Summer Vacation


I told my mom I was making two lists about things I’ll miss about summer vacation and things I’m looking forward to about the year. She asked which was longer. Well, duh, but I am trying to have a positive attitude here.

Things I’ll miss about summer vacation:

1. Naps
2. Staying up late to read/write/watch movies
3. Hearing the church bells at noon
4. Dropping everything and going someplace instead of having to plan ahead (especially lunch!)
5. Staying in my pjs all day
6. Driving lessons
7. Sitting in the morning sunshine at the computer, which is next to the east window – seeing the morning sunshine reflecting in the house
8. Hearing the sounds of the washer and dryer and dishwasher – makes me feel homey
9. Watering my plants in the early morning light
10. Getting my mail as soon as it arrives
11. Letting my kitties out in the morning and in for their afternoon naps – I don’t let them out when I’m not here.
12. Diet Coke in icy mugs (when the boy hadn’t used them all!)

Things I’m looking forward to about going back:

1. Dressing up
2. Seeing friends
3. Listening to audiobooks to and from school
4. Stopping at Starbucks
5. Lower electric bill since we won’t be home all day
6. A raise (woo and hoo - $60 a paycheck BEFORE taxes – glad I don’t have the district’s insurance – those folks have had a pay cut 2 years running because the increase is more than our raises.) We won’t talk about Brand New teachers making only $800 less than 11 year veterans.
7. Cooler weather on the way
8. A fresh start with new kids

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Mish Mash


Places I didn’t go all summer (That I usually do):

The flower nursery (oddly, I went at least twice a week before school was out)
Le Peep restaurant
La Madeline restaurant
Target (and yet now I’m strangely compelled)
Dairy Queen (though this should be resolved today)

I got up early and made a color-coded calendar till Christmas - different color for each story, and when I'll be working on it. I also finished my storyboard yesterday.

I broke down and bought The Boy an iPod alarm clock. It's also an iPod dock. Best money I ever spent - he spent the afternoon in his room and CLEANED it. EVEN THE DRAWERS. He had three big bags of trash, too.

One of my stories got kicked back from the Romance Junkies contest for being too violent. Hm. I can revise and resend, but…I don’t know, it’s hard to tone down, I guess, when I don’t see it. Maybe it’s the terrorism aspect – I know Miss Snark kicked it back for that.

We can’t have refrigerators in our classrooms anymore ☹ I have no idea what I’m going to do – I always have a Diet Coke in the AM and a bottle of water in the PM. Our Coke machine wasn’t working at the end of the year…and I DON’T want to leave anything in the communal refrigerator. Maybe an ice chest…which means I need to go to Target. Bleh. OR---maybe Lowe’s.

We finally saw Apocalypto last night, and it was pretty good, story-telling-wise. You had the ticking clock, you had the hero’s reversal.

You had two big Deus Ex Machinas. Yeesh.

Some terrible things happened to good people this week. I can’t bear to think about it, but keep them in your prayers.

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Movie Day

I Duz Yoga Ta Relax

I wrote 9 pages on Vamp Hunters last night to send to critique, but only one other person is participating :( Trish, be expecting pages next week!

The storm, Erin, was BAD, but the sun is out today. I ran some errands during a lull - HEB, Blockbuster, post office (no line), UPS, dry cleaners and the library. Between the dry cleaners and library, the weather got REALLY bad and I was drenched when I got into the library. The guy was making fun of me for being out in the weather, but I got Everything I Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume. Saving that for Reading Day.

I saw DISTURBIA last night, too. It was GREAT!!!

Part of my incentive for finishing BD early, besides Stacy buying me a beer, was to have a Movie Day and a Reading Day.

Today is Movie Day. I was GOING to start with Pride and Prejudice, which I've only seen the once, but my mom has it. Then I was going to watch Mr. and Mrs. Smith, but one of the SARAs has it (I don't remember who!) So I have:

Casino Royale
Bourne Identity
first four Harry Potters
first 2 Pirates
Rocky Balboa

So as SOON as I get back from HEB (forgot milk and deodorant yesterday, and they had no chocolate PopTarts) let the movies begin!

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Commas in Quotation Marks

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Commas appear to be the bane of my existence these days, at least when judging contests. People do not use commas correctly.

Most of the mistakes I see are in dialogue.

If your character is addressing someone, that should be separated by a comma.

“Mal, I don’t think you should open that door.”

“I don’t know what to think, Bella!”

When using a tag with quotation marks, and the sentence is a statement (not a question or an exclamation), you punctuate with a comma.

“I’m tired of this. I’m going home,” Maddy said.

“So sorry I couldn’t be of more help,” Ben muttered.

When using the tag before the quotation marks, you separate with a comma.

Rolling his eyes at her, he added, “And then we can go home.”

These are the main boo-boos I see in judging contests. Most people know how to separate items in a list, but may insert a comma where it's not needed.

For example:

The dark, blue dress clung to her figure. No comma needed here because A) dark describes blue and B) you only need a comma with more than two adjectives. Can I think of an example at 1:30 AM? No, I cannot.

Also, there should be a comma between an introductory word (like also, or no ;) ) and the rest of the sentence.

Well, it's time for me to go to bed.

No, I won't be staying up this late anymore :(

What are some other comma abuses you see?

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Only Four More Alarm Clock-less Days


I read the rest of HUNTERS MOON (VERY dark) and started DARK MOON. The one quibble I have is that the characters SEEM one way in their own book than they appear in other books. See, each book is in first person, from one character's POV. In their POV, they sound very different from the other characters' views of them in the other books. For example, this is Elise's book. She seems very cold and methodical in the other books, but in this one she sounds....needy. I don't know. Maybe just me.

I'm also listening to Janet Evanovich's HOW I WRITE, which is pretty much an advertisement for the Plum books to this point.

Revised goals:


Clean guest room, bedroom, bathrooms.

Critique a couple of chapters for a chaptermate.

Write 7-8 pages on Vamp Hunters.


Start storyboarding BD for revisions.

Return movies to Blockbuster!

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DONE. 328 pages. Needs revisions. Needs layering. Needs cutting.

But not today.

Wow...I want this contract


This is what Skippy’s been doing – he found 2 toy mice and he’s in heaven.

14 pages on Alex yesterday. Almost done....may write 2 different endings, see which one works.

Busy day today, running the boy around. Sigh.

I saw this on Lori Perkins’s blog, from the New York magazine.

What do you think?

“Ballantine Pays $3.75 Million for a Literary Novelist's Vampire Trilogy?

Justin Cronin, a.k.a. Jordan Ainsley
Courtesy of Random House
Last week, we hear, agent Ellen Levine at Trident Media closed a deal for a postapocalyptic vampire trilogy with editor Mark Tavani at Ballantine.

Now, if we reported on every postapocalyptic vampire trilogy out there, we'd never have time to write anything else. But this postapocalyptic vampire trilogy sold, we hear, for a whopping $3.75 million for North American rights. Impressively, the deal was made off a 400-page partial manuscript.”

This should be it for Alex….I’m on the last scene. At least….till revisions ;)

And what in blue blazes is this???

WAHHH!!! My Last Week of Summer Vacation!!!

Hungry Hungry LOLcats

12 pages on BD yesterday. LOTS of telling, but I know where I’m going, and that was my problem. I added more to my goal to 330 pages, because I don’t think I can finish in 14 pages, but maybe I can. My heroine is on the drug lord’s plane and I’m not sure how to get her off, and she and Alex still have all the mushy stuff to deal with after he reunites her with her son. I’m WAY over for SRS (65,000 words right now), so we’ll see what happens when I read over it. maybe I’ll have to cut my Everglades stuff ☹

Yesterday we did the school supply thing. The boy is weird – he doesn’t want a new backpack, though his is 2 years old, and he doesn’t want a new binder. He bought paper, pencils, pens and highlighters. That’s it! I found some Very Cool Neon notebook paper that I bought for my classroom – to get the kids to revise! They can only use the new paper for revisions. Think it will work? It would work for me!

My last free week – WAH! And so much to do!

1) finish BD, start revisions
2) get GH and VH ready for contests
4) Dinner with MIL
5) The boy to band practice, to registration at school, back to band practice and to gig – all in one day!
6) Judging for the Golden Pen
7) Driving/boy to take test for permit (unlikely – he does not study!)
8) Critique
9) Color hair/do eyebrows/nails
10) Spend time with Mom (didn’t do last week, either)
11) Lunch at Dairy Queen – never made it there all summer!
12) Keep up house

I also have my overall goals until December.

1) finish BD revisions by end of September
2) finish Spy Girl (I’m using the same story structure but am actually going to rewrite) and Ghost Hunter revisions by end of October
3) have Queen of the Night (Vampire Hunters) ready to write in Nano
4) Think about changing Surface to paranormal - have them discover something paranormal in the shipwreck

I’m thinking of taking December off. At the very least, I’ll revise that month. No new writing.

What Makes You Stop?


16 pages yesterday…the light at the end of the tunnel looms!

Earlier this week I was IMing with one of my friends and she confessed she’d stopped writing after conference last year when one of her friends told her the book she was working on wouldn’t sell. Her friend didn’t mean to hurt her, but it completely froze my pal up and she hasn’t written since.

A well-placed comment like that has stopped me cold on stories before, and lately, I don’t send stories out till they are mostly done, or at least firmly in my head.

I’ve stopped because I was backlogged with work (what’s the hurry? These haven’t sold yet, why write anything new?) and because I’ve faced negativity (though I wrote when I taught at the School from Hell and when my grandmother was dying).

Have you encountered something that’s stopped your writing cold? What gets you going again?

(Just a few more Justin pics…sooooo close to the end!)

Margaret Moore's Take on Guy of Gisborne

Margaret Moore: Where they're going wrong with Sir Guy

I think she's dead on!

Great Expectations

i iz blogginz / leef IÂ alonze

Part of what’s paralyzing me with this book is that I’m wondering if it meets expectations – mine, most of all, of course, but my cps, contest judges, editors…does this book fulfill the promise of a mother falling in love with a business-only Ranger while frantic to find her son?

Because again and again, the comments I get on Surface is that it didn’t meet expectations ☹

You’ve seen it happen, a book that started out so great and peters out. A movie that you expect to be one thing but is another.

I know PROOF OF LIFE is Michele’s movie. A Knight’s Tale and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days are mine.

What are some books and movies that didn’t meet your expectations? Do you ever worry about this happening to your books?

Chapter Hooks


BD still kicking my butt.

I’ve judged a lot of contest recently, and even the most professional entries have been lacking chapter and scene hooks. That seems to be something I learned fairly early to do, and heaven knows, published authors know how to do it or I wouldn’t be up all hours reading.

My downfall are the chapter breaks in the middle of a scene. You stop the scene at an intriguing part, then continue it in the next chapter. That gets me every time.

Or when a character makes a decision, usually one you’ve been wanting them to make throughout the rest of the book. OR one of the characters does something that FORCES the other to make that decision.

So I went to my bookshelf and pulled a variety of books, because it doesn’t matter what you write, you want to keep the reader reading. You know what? I had trouble finding strong examples, even in a Nora!

But Lori Handeland is still the devil. I told you about her chapter hooks, right? Here are a few, just to show you.

“I went in after the wolf.”

“I didn’t recognize him at first. But then, he was wearing clothes.”

“I’d learned long ago not to ignore the steady hum in my head that said something was rotten in Miniwa.”

“’Because we may have a bigger problem in your fair town than one mad wolf.’”

“In my experience, whenever someone said that, it hurt.”

“I hated being afraid. Fear smelled of weakness, and the weak did not survive.”

And that’s just in the first 10 chapters!

From Diane Gaston’s historical, The Mysterious Miss M:

“Unhand my wife and leave.”

“I must marry.”

Ned turned to come face to face with a tiny child, no more than a baby, rubbing her eyes and yawning.
The very image of his brother.

And felt the point of a sword sharp in the small of his back.

“You must teach me how to seduce my husband.”

From Delores Fossen’s Intrigue, Santa Assignment:

She spun toward the hall just off the back of the kitchen and saw her bedroom door.
And the thick black smoke oozing from beneath it.

To save his son, he’d have to ask Ashley to put herself in danger.

“I’ll have your baby, Braden.”

Ashley would be his. All his. Until he killed her, that is.

Cherry Adair’s romantic suspense Kiss and Tell:

Who had given the order to off him? The bad guys? Or, as he was starting to expect, his own team?

It would beat going back and smelling his soap on her skin.

He looked up. Just in time to hear the explosion and see the fireball in the sky as the chopper exploded in a burst of flames and blew to smithereens.

Instinct warned her danger still lurked nearby. Closer than that gunshot.

Norah Wilson’s paranormal, Lauren’s Eyes:

“Marlena! She won’t wake up! I think she’s dead!”

Harvey was riding out to the ridge to commit murder, and Cal had sent Lauren right into it, alone.

With a small cry of triumph, she turned back toward the fight only to see both men disappear over the cliff’s edge.

So you can bet I’m going back through my books and making sure I have page-turning chapter endings.

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RWA Test


It’s HERE!!!

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I’ve loaded one episode of Grey’s, 6 audio books, my Supernatural podcasts and all my purchased music, my Evanescence, my Grey’s soundtracks…so exciting!!!

So last weekend I kept having dreams about conference. I dreamed that we didn’t get rooms, that we had to sleep on beds in a hallway. I dreamed that my mother went with me and hung out in the bar (SO not my mother!).

And I dreamed we had to take a test to belong to RWA, to show what we’d learned by being members. (We could use our notes, though, and of course I couldn’t find mine.)

When I woke up, I wondered what kind of questions would be on an RWA test?

Manuscript formatting, perhaps.

The steps of the hero’s journey.

How to prepare a contest entry.

Some kind of police procedure.

Historical time periods.

How to set goals.

How to make spreadsheets ;)

This could be fun…any other thoughts???

Don’t forget questions for the SEAL and the CIA agent --- or if you’re in the vicinity, come to the meeting next Wednesday!

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Paranormal Romance

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I finished Ghost Hunters with a nice, solid ending yesterday. I had really been sketchy the first round, a 2 pages climax. Now I have people hanging on rails, over the edge of the lighthouse, holy water not working.....much excitement. AND emotion. It needs revisions, but I'm happy with it. Still, setting it aside for Alex.

I watched Pathfinder last night, the Karl Urban Viking movie. OMG - it was awful. AWFUL. I have seen awful and this was it. Yeesh.

Lori Handeland is the devil. She SUCKS you in with free books at National, makes you keep reading with those damned chapter ending hooks, taunts you with short chapters. (I'll just read ONE more chapter....and the next thing you know, it's 3 AM, you're finished with the book, and the next one isn't here yet, and EVEN THOUGH you have 200 books in your TBR....)

Speaking of paranormal.....Ghost Hunters is a light paranormal, I guess. No brooding heroes that are really vampires or werewolves or such. My friend Trish J is also writing a light paranormal about angels. I know Michelle Rowen's are funny, though she does have the brooding vampire. Who else writes light paranormals? Who BUYS them?

Don't forget, if you're in the area, SARA will be AWESOME next week with a SEAL and a CIA agent husband and wife!! If you're NOT in the area and you have questions, send them on!

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Read This


Stef%u2019s (Almost) Daily Dish � The Secret To Getting Published - One Year Later


kitteh jar

What is wrong with me? I have the house to myself all morning, perfectly silent, and I can’t get any writing done! I get on after dinner, TV on (sometimes 2!), guitars plinking, and I write. Weird.

I did sit outside after lathering bug spray on, and read Entertainment Weekly ;) It was gorgeous yesterday morning. Still, about 10 mosquitoes hovered over me at all times.

I thought I finished Ghost Hunters last night, but realized the emotional payoff was missing. So I need to fix that today, as well as go to the grocery store. Then I can give BD all my attention.

SARA is having a special meeting this month - if you're in the area, come on down!

Next SARA Meeting

Wednesday August 15 6:00 PM

Joe’s Crab shack I 10 and De Zavala


Capt. Robert “Pete” Peterson, U.S. Navy, Ret. And a former SEAL will speak about the SEAL selection process, training, mind set, etc.

Joining him will be his wife, a former CIA operative in three different countries while he worked as an embassy attaché

SEAL and CIA Can’t beat that!

Please come with questions for both of them. This promises to be a very exciting meeting

Elizabeth tagged me with a Pop Culture meme! Here are the rules:

1. Go to this link at Pop Culture Madness (scroll down - see the list of years on the left?)

2. Pick the year you turned 18

3. Pick five songs from that year

4. Wax nostalgic about each song and why it’s special

5. Pass it on to 5 more friends

1) Rebel Yell – I snuck out to see this concert. We had first row, and Billy Idol was so stoned he couldn’t stand up. We also only had like 6 tickets, but 7 people, so had to do some creative, er, sitting.

2) Hm, the website lists I Will Follow and Pride in the Name of Love both as hits that year. I Will Follow was from Boy in 1980 and Pride in the Name of Love was from Unforgettable Fire, which I thought was a 1985 release. Anyway, I Will Follow was the song U2 performed on the Tom Snyder show and made the dh go crazy for them. Which in turn made me go crazy for them. Obsessed? ME???

3) Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – yes, I had a Go-Go t-shirt in dayglo orange.

4) Purple Rain/Let’s Go Crazy/When Doves Cry – LOVED the movie. Saw it a few times at the theater and many MANY times since.

5) Like a Virgin/Holiday/Lucky Star – I remember listening to them on the way to college every day my freshman year. On cassette tape.

I tag Trish, Colleen, Michele, Marianne and Natalie.

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Barely any writing yesterday, finished reading Gods in Alabama and started Rising Moon. Also had my stepdad’s bday party (and he came over here looking to see if I spilled what his gift was, the rat!) and watched 3 episodes of FALLEN. Anyone see it? What did you think?

This is my last easy week ☹

1) Finish typing Ghost Hunters (hey, I did 10 pages a day on BD almost every day last week – I did pretty good!)
2) Major push on BD
3) Debate entering Golden Pen – Esi Sogah of Avon is the ST editor – I don’t know if she’d like my RS/Adventure
4) Get Dad and Aunt bday gifts
5) Driving with the boy – see what we need to get him a permit
6) Program stuff onto iPod ;)
7) Spend time with Mom – did not do last week
8) Keep up house

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Generous Writers

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The boy wants an iPod dock that doubles as an alarm clock. Anyone have any experience with one they’d recommend? I bought my iTrip, waiting for it and my iPod next week!!!

10 pages yesterday, most after 10 PM. My old writing habits are returning, just as school is getting ready to start!

If you’ve gotten your RWR, read the letter to the editor from Allison Aldridge-Saur. I want to find this woman and hug her. She’s talking about her excitement in writing, in being a part of RWR, and it struck the feeling in me, recently reawakened.

We are fortunate, in this business, to have so many who give so much back. We have big names like Jennifer Crusie, who has a weekly online workshop about writing and publishing. We have Suzanne Brockmann who has her publisher print up booklets for free for fellow writers.

We have writers who give their time, like Trish, to plan great programs for the aspiring writers, like the PRO Retreat and the bootcamps.

In my chapter there are a group of writers who give their time generously. One, Layla Chase, runs a critique group every week – 2 times online and 2 times in person. She also works with Delilah Devlin to run an in-person plotting bootcamp, where they help other writers plot out their novels, free for our chapter members. Delilah and her sister Elle James also run a free workshop from their website, www.rosescoloredglasses.com, of how to increase your productivity.

Who is someone I’m missing here? Who are the generous writers you know?

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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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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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