It’s a Good Thing I Enjoy This Writing Thing So Much

August 18, 2014 § 6 Comments

August 18, 2014

Last year I pitched to an agent at RWA and she told me that my word count was too high—like, “heart attack too high”—so I spent last fall and winter splitting the book into two.

That agent rejected my submission.

This year I pitched to another agent at RWA and he likes my premise but does not like the fact that it is split into two—like, “everything was great until you said it was split into two”—and he wants to see a definite ending.

I agree. My love my original ending. My original ending is the reason I wrote the book.

So now I’m back to my original version, the one that is not split in two, and that means I have to cut a hell of a lot of words.

Panic attack has happened, is happening, and will continue to happen.

I’m getting through it with a little advice from my friends and other sources.

Stephen King, from On Writing, advice from his newspaper editor:
“When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

On Writing

These words are keeping my head on straight and guiding me through the darkness.

Ryan Winfield, author of Jane’s Melody, when I told him my woes:
“Don’t cut just to cut, but getting the word count down will hopefully make it crisper and make for better writing.”

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

Ryan Winfield and me at Bookworks signing August 9, 2014.

So far, so good. I’ve cut 600 words from the first three scenes and they read much better. Only thing is, 600 doesn’t sound like very many words right now. I will not despair.

Louise Bergin, fellow LERA member and author of historical romance:
“Cut, but keep what you’ve cut off to the side and use it later as extras for promotion.”

Love my LERA gang!

Love my LERA gang!

Great idea. I’ve seen other authors do this, like Cora Carmack at the end of her book Finding It. I’ll probably end up with a year’s worth of blog posts of deleted scenes and original versions.

Dia of the invaluable Hot Tub Readers:
“Whatever you do, don’t cut any of the sex scenes.”

Duly noted.

End of 2013: End of Challenge, End of Round One, End of Series

December 30, 2013 § Leave a comment

December 30, 2013

Check it out. All the books I’ve read toward my 2013 Goodreads challenge. It looks pretty impressive, even though I was shy of my goal by two books. I’m not going to make it this year. In my defense, I re-read one book, Bared to You, at the beginning of 2013 and apparently that doesn’t count towards the challenge. I also branched out a little more, trying new things, and that turned into six books that I started and did not finish.

Fallen Too Far (Too Far, #1; Rosemary Beach, #1) Losing It (Losing It, #1)
Someday, Someday, Maybe Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)
Reflected in You (Crossfire, #2) Entwined with You (Crossfire, #3)

I am still on hiatus, but I did renew my Writer’s Market subscription in preparation for the new querying process that I am still putting off. No need to rush into the second round of rejections, right? I’ll wait until next year on that one.

Also, a friend of mine shared this link with me from “Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments of Writing & Daily Creative Routine.” I liked it so much I put it in a Word document with a snazzy dragon border and taped it to my office wall. I find Miller’s no. 3 particularly inspiring:

“Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.”

When I was in the first grade my teacher held some kind of drawing were the winner got a record or tickets to the circus or something. I don’t remember exactly what the prize was, because I didn’t win. What I do remember is that the girl who did win started crying when her name was called. As she stood in front of us to collect her prize, just blubbering away, the rest of us, sitting cross-legged on the floor, were all looking around at each other like “WTF?” (Okay, technically this was way before WTF was a thing, but you get the picture.) “Why is she crying?” someone finally asked out loud. “Because she’s happy,” the teacher said. As if this were perfectly natural. None of the rest of us thought it was perfectly natural. I thought it was just plain nuts.

Until this last Friday, when I finished watching the final episode of Nikita.

Then I got it.

If you’ve been following this blog you might have picked up by now that I LOVE the criminally underrated televsion series Nikita starring Maggie Q, Lyndsy Fonseca, and Shane West. Here’s what I wrote about it in one of my posts from my old blog, when I was so excited that it had been picked up for a second season:

Nikita—CW, Season Premiere Friday, September 23, 8/7c
Michael: “Someone has to undo what’s been done.”
Nikita: “What we’ve done.”


Reformed political assassin Nikita has joined forces and is on the run with her lover and former adversary, Michael. Her student and partner on the inside, Alex, has turned against her and is now her greatest enemy. The secret killing organization Division is now being headed by the very scary interrogator Amanda. Season 2 is about to get interesting.
Why I’m Hooked
: Tight, thrilling plots about redemption and moral duality executed by forces to be reckoned with. Then there is Nikita herself, whose combination of empathy and single-minded drive to right her past wrongs are in stark contrast to the tough, ruthless killer that made her so valuable to Division to begin with.
Amanda: “It’s too late to save yourself. But there may be time to save others.”
Nikita: “Right now, I’d be wondering about who’s going to save you.”

Friday, December 27, 2013 marked the end of the fourth and final season of this fantastic modern day hero’s journey. The fourth season was only six episodes that aired over the – hello, nobody’s home! – Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but the fans and critics figured we were fortunate to at least get that. You know, as opposed to no season 4 at all.

And at the end, when the final scene faded to black and I hugged myself and cried because all of my beloved characters completed their journeys so magnificently, I figured I was fortunate and happy.


Besides, I own seasons 1–3 on Blu-Ray, so even though the series has concluded I can still lift weights to Nikita on Sunday mornings. As long as I feel like. Which could be forever.

How was everyone else’s 2013?

On the Road Back Again

October 23, 2013 § 1 Comment

Yes, I’m talking about the Hero’s Journey. What else is new?
And jotting down story notes in my planner again. All is right with the world.

October 23, 2013


I am back to the rewrites and they’re going well. Thanks to

  • The middle of the night heart pounding thing happened, like I knew it would. I managed to skip the Vodka shot this time.
  • I went to my monthly LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors) meeting and the guest speaker was UNM screenwriting instructor Matt McDuffie. He. Was. Fabulous.

McDuffie does not believe in plot. (My hero.) He believes in a story about a character who wants something.

What do I want? To get this book published. That means BICHOK, baby. (Butt In Chair, Hands on Keyboard. A little tidbit I learned at the RWA13 conference.)

Towards the end of his talk about breaking down the structure of a story, McDuffie touched on Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and my heart pit-a-patted a little faster than it already had been.

12 Steps of a Hero's Journey. LERA meeting with guest speaker Matt McDuffie 10-12-13.

12 Steps of a Hero’s Journey. LERA meeting with guest speaker
Matt McDuffie 10-12-13.

12 Steps of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey (aka My Lifeline to Story Plotting)

  1. Ordinary World
  2. Call to Adventure
  3. Refusal of the Call
  4. Meeting with the Mentor
  5. Crossing of the Threshold
  6. Tests, Allies, Enemies
  7. Approach to the Innermost Cave
  8. The Ordeal
  9. The Boon or the Reward
  10. The Road Back
  11. The Resurrection
  12. Return with the Elixir

I could not wait to get back to my novel. I plowed through the ordeal and made it to the end of the shorter road back. Now I am at the new resurrection, a brand new scene that I am excited to have found a use for and am having a lot of fun writing.

“I read something because I want to know what it’s like to be alive.” —Matt McDuffie.

Read, Write, Bliss Highlights of 2012

January 7, 2013 § 2 Comments

It’s Good to Have Goals

I didn’t finish the novel in 2012. But enough of that. I’m going to focus on the positive— the accomplishments and highlights of 2012.

Made serious progress on the novel

Writers Journey

  • Finished draft 2.
  • Finished the detailed timeline.
  • Finished the in depth character bios.
  • Finshed the Save the Cat Beat Sheet.
  • Revamped the mythic outline after reading The Writer’s Journey
  • Started draft 3 which includes a lot of total rewrites and scrapping of old scenes and creating new scenes thanks to the whole timeline and character bio and save the cat thing. Oh, well. It’s gotta be done.

Finished my 2012 Goodreads Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge

I haven’t read 25 books in a year since I was in college!

Joined LERA


This group really knows the writing and publishing industry, all of the members are very interactive and supportive, and I look forward to the meetings because they are super fun.

Met a whole bunch of authors in person

Alisa Valdes—The Dirty Girls Social Club, The Temptation, The Feminist and the Cowboy

Author Alisa Valdes and her YA novel The Temptaion. At Bookworks bookstore in Albuquerque.

Author Alisa Valdes and her YA novel The Temptaion. At Bookworks bookstore in Albuquerque.

I love Alisa’s openness and honesty about everything. She proves that vulnerability is strength.

Alyson Noël — Fated, Faking 19, The Immortals series, Fly Me to the Moon


Alyson’s Soul Seekers series is set in New Mexico. She also turned me on to Save the Cat, and my “Save the Cat” moment in my book makes it much better.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips— The Great Escape, Natural Born Charmer, It Had to be You

Susan Elizabeth Phillips and me at her book signing in Albuquerque, NM

Susan Elizabeth Phillips and me at her book signing in Albuquerque, NM

SEP gave me the idea to nix the prologue in my book, and it’s better for it.

Darynda Jones —Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Third Grave Dead Ahead

Shannon with Author Darynda Jones

Me with Author Darynda Jones at Page One Books

I love, love, love Darynda’s Charley Davidson series.

Katie Lane— Going Cowboy Crazy, Make Mine a Bad Boy


Katie’s books may just make me check out the country and western dance hall here in town. I’ve heard there are a lot of pretty cowboys there!

Met Judy Blume!!!

Judy Blume and me! Gwen Goldsmith, a Minister who played the Rabbi in the movie, took this photo for me. Talk about divine intervention.

Judy Blume and me!

I’ll always remember how just about every twelve year old girl was reading Forever, on the bus and on the playground. We were so relieved that somebody was speaking to us frankly and genuinely about love, sex, and girlhood. And, yes, this is still my Facebook cover page photo.


Got a comic book signed by Len Wein.

Plus, my blog post was posted to the ACE Facebook page and to their blog on the SuperCon2K site.

The celebrity sightings!

Met Daniel Gillies at ABQ Comic Con


He’s even hotter in person, really easy to talk to (once I actually got up the nerve to walk over to him), and pegged me for several years younger than I am. Score!

Met Alexis Bledel at President Obama’s Birthday Celebration

Alexis Bledel and Me!

Alexis Bledel and Me!

I love Gilmore Girls, own every season on DVD, so this was a real treat.

Met the co-producer of Ken Burns’ The Dust Bowl


Julie Dunfey’s advice to aspiring creators: If you have enthusiasm and passion for your project and communicate that, you can sell it.

Wrote for and assisted with production of the Cheza Jouer Films Sandals Worn Backwards trailer.

It was a total blast, and the trailer is fantastic. Check it out.

On to a fabulous and productive 2013!

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