Formerly Blogless

True confessions of a girl who writes dirty books--and loves it!

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Margaritas!


I love margaritas! I do. I love every ingredient. I love limes, and tequila, and especially salt. Salt is essential. I even tried to read that book about salt, you know the one--but it was less engrossing than I expected. So margaritas are wonderful, a big favorite of mine. But for some reason, I only order them in Mexican restaurants. Why is that? You can totally order them at a bar, but I never do. At bars, I order gin and tonic with lime. (Lime, again! It's a theme.) Well, at skeevy bars, anyway. Because G&T's are foolproof. Especially with Tanqueray. At nice bars, I order champagne. That's my absolute favorite. Sometimes I think I could live on champagne. Specifically Schramsberg.

So I'm sitting here, listening to The Killers, and wondering what all your favorite cocktails are. Feel free to share recipes--I'm always up for something new!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Decoding Disappointment: Ha ha!

Sorry this is so late in the afternoon. It's been a crazy one, though! My husband's boss is in town unexpectedly, and is coming by the house tonight--all of which I was casually informed of around noon today. I've been running around like an insane person tidying up (actual cleaning being beyond the scope of available time) and I haven't had a chance to translate the letter I intended to post today. But I can't leave you with nothing to think about for a whole week! So instead I'm posting the following rejection notice sent in by an alert reader, who generously shares with us so that we can all have a much-needed giggle. It should be noted, this rejection was sent not by a publishing house or literary agent, but by a reputable poetry magazine--however, I think the inherent humor in this piece speaks to all of us, no translation required.

Enjoy.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Done!



I'm finished with the revisions! Well, this round at least. I'm sure there will be more. But I'm not thinking about that now! All I'm thinking about is how good it feels to have a second draft done, and in the hands of my lovely, talented critique partners. Let THEM worry about it for a while. Ha!

In the meantime, I plan to indulge in a loooong reading session. See, until I was done with my revisions, I couldn't allow myself to read any novels, because they're just so distracting. And now with all the books that have piled up beside my bed, begging to be opened and enjoyed, I figure it'll take me at least three days of straight reading to get through them all. Maybe more. I can't wait! The slideshow up there (isn't Photobucket neat?) shows what's up first. (Don't worry, I know it's ambitious, but honestly, I read really fast.)

So is there anything I should add? Any book, old or new, that you think should be on everybody's reading list? I'm taking suggestions, so please chime in...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Never Say Never


I have never been interested in fanfic. I made a lot of assumptions about it (poorly done imitations of the real thing, weirdly sexual versions of the real thing, etc.). But recently, when more than one person came up to me independently and said I should check it out, I decided to give it a shot. After all, I thought I'd never write a blog, and look at me now!

So I started with Harry Potter fanfic, because (and I kind of blush to admit this) I thought it was the most likely to confirm what I already believed. I'd heard about the nutso pairings of Hermione/Snape, Harry/Snape, Harry/Draco, and so on, and that most of the stories were basically pornographic. Perfect! This won't change my mind or open my eyes at all! Right?

Wrong.

I got recommendations from an online friend who happens to be a Draco/Hermione shipper. So that's where I started. And let me say up front, my assumptions were totally correct--some of the time. As with any other genre of writing, fanfic isn't universally good, and it's not universally bad. There are, in fact, some very talented writers out there who simply enjoy playing with someone else's characters and inhabiting someone else's world. I read some fantastic stories, hard to put down, full of tension and characterization and yes, lots of sex. Geez. And I thought I wrote dirty books! See, most fanfic authors are not delusional--they don't actually believe there's a chance that J.K. Rowling is going to wake up one day and realize that Draco Malfoy is actually the hero of the Harry Potter books. But it's a tribute to the scope of her imagination, and her ability to draw her readers into what she creates, that so many people have been inspired to add their thoughts to hers.

And now I'm hooked. I have favorite online authors! I check their websites periodically to see if they've updated their stories with new chapters! And I haven't even made it out of the Draco/Hermione archives yet.

Can't wait to see how I get when I move on to Buffy/Spike stories. You may never hear from me again.


[D/Hr Fanart by FranCE]

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Decoding Disappointment: Accepting Rejection

Rejection sucks. Everyone knows this. It's hard to hear a 'no'. And when that 'no' is in response to a creative effort we've slaved over for months and months, at the expense of time with our families, exercising, Boston Legal, etc., it's particularly hard to hear. We tend to take it personally. Which is why I was so impressed with the selfless courage of the author who sent in this rejection letter from a literary agent. It actually needs no decoding--if every agent and editor were this transparent, there'd be no need for this little weekly series of mine. However, as you will see, there's a difference between being direct and to the point, and being rude.

The below letter is an example to all you junior agents/editors out there of what NOT to do. I'm going to let Unknown Agent (U.A.) here speak for him/herself. Well, sort of. I'm going to interject. And p.s., I double checked--the letter has been reproduced exactly as it was sent out by U.A.

Dear XXXXXX,

Thank you so much for sending the me initial materials of your manuscript, XXXXXX.
[This is not a strong opening. Life is full of mistakes, but letters don't have to be. All it takes is a quick onceover before you hit print.] Although I thought that the premise was great and from the synopsis and your query, the characters sounded intriguing, I just felt that the voice of the story didn't fit. Needless to say, I am going to pass on this manuscript. [Needless to say? Really?]

When you described this story with a "chick-lit" tone to it, I was expecting something full of light and energetic dialogue and narration. Although the characters seem to be going through experiences that would normally be found in this style of writing, I felt that the voice was just too dry and sterile. In fact, as I read the story, the best analogy I could come up with was DRAGNET. [I'm not sure why U.A. feels the need to share the clever DRAGNET analogy with the author, in that I don't see what the author is supposed to take away from that. It's confusing because U.A. seems to be saying that the author's voice is "dry and sterile" rather than fun--but wasn't DRAGNET a comedy? In my opinion, comparisons are always tricky, and should be avoided by authors when pitching ("I'm the next Nora Roberts!") and by agents and editors when rejecting ("This reads like Robert Ludlum crossed with porn.")]

Lilly seemed to talk about everything like she was writing a catalogue or instructional manual. All of her descriptions of everything that went on around her just did not seem natural. [This is redundant. In place of this sentence, I might have tried to give the author a hint on how she could improve. By going to a restaurant and writing down the conversations of people at other tables, to get a feel for realistic dialogue, for example.] She describes her gun with the full description, her card down to the year and make? Just too much. [At last, a couple of specific examples of what U.A. is talking about. But this is also problematic, at least for me. Not being much of a gun person, I could be mistaken, but does U.A. perhaps mean that the author describes her car's make and model, rather than her card? Two typos in a letter this short speak of carelessness.]

I wish I had better news but the voice just got you!

Best of luck with your writing though!

Sincerely,
XXXXXXX
["The voice just got you." Got her what? A snide, condescending rejection from an agent she's now regretting querying at all?]

The author realized immediately upon reading this letter that she was better off without U.A.'s representation. A good agent or editor understands that all of this creative stuff is subjective. It's in the eye of the reader. There are no absolutes, and no agent is such a big deal that his/her opinion is unassailable. The agent is, of course, perfectly within his/her rights to dislike a submission. It happens all the time. But the author has a right to expect to a modicum of professional courtesy. I suppose one could argue that at least U.A. sent a personalized rejection. However, I believe U.A. may have misunderstood, because this letter feels more personal than personalized. The generalizations in the third paragraph are almost gleeful, as U.A. expounds on the problems with the manuscript. Generalizations are ineviteble in anything but a ten page revision letter; again, it's the tone that gives U.A. away. Our intrepid author knew she'd had a lucky escape. The letter is so poorly written, so unprofessional in tone, she can feel free to ignore it. Why on earth would she care about U.A.'s opinion? In a way, U.A.'s writing style did her a favor, because it spared her any disappointment she might otherwise have felt.

Bottom line: when you query an agent, you're not begging for scraps. You are essentially interviewing someone who will one day be working for you. You, the author, deserve respect. Anyone who writes a letter this dismissive and mean isn't worth your time.

Tune In Tomorrow...

...for the next installment of Decoding Disappointment: Learning to Read Between the Lines of Rejection. I've got my first ever actual rejection letter, sent in by a brave aspiring author, and tomorrow I'll be ripping it apart at the seams, exposing hidden meaning and commenting on the rejector's writing style.

Trust me, this one is going to be fun. And informative!

Experimenting

I am participating in a blogging experiment hosted at dearauthor.com. To enter the contest, put up this blurb, image, and trackback and you are entered to win the following prize package.


  • $200 Amazon gift certificate

  • Signed copy of Slave to Sensation

  • New Zealand goodies chosen by Singh

  • ARC of Christine Feehan's October 31 release: Conspiracy Game



You can read about the experiment here and you can download the code that you need to participate here.



SLAVE TO SENSATION

Nalini Singh

Berkley / September 2006


Slave to Sensation



Welcome to a future where emotion is a crime and powers of the mind clash brutally against those of the heart.



Sascha Duncan is one of the Psy, a psychic race that has cut off its emotions in an effort to prevent murderous insanity. Those who feel are punished by having their brains wiped clean, their personalities and memories destroyed.



Lucas Hunter is a Changeling, a shapeshifter who craves sensation, lives for touch. When their separate worlds collide in the serial murders of Changeling women, Lucas and Sascha must remain bound to their identitiesÂ…or sacrifice everything for a taste of darkest temptation.



Excerpt

Monday, August 21, 2006

Geek Chic


Justin Long is the hottest geek ever. Seriously, I heart this kid. He's the Mac in those cute commercials, and he's currently starring in the hilarious college movie, Accepted. Go see it, it hits all those great Animal House/Van Wilder/PCU buttons.

But my crush on him started way before that. I loved him as the geeky kid in Galaxy Quest, the geeky kid in Dodgeball, and the kooky coworker in The Breakup. He is always good. And he's always got a faint whiff of total loser dorkdom that just gets me right between the eyes.

Dork on, Justin. It works for you.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Desperate Times

I'm taking suggestions of names for Miss Plot Point (see below if this sounds like lunatic raving to you) over on my group blog,
  • Mean Bitches

  • Please feel free to sign on and put in your two cents. Isn't it great how I want you all to do my work for me?

    Love and kisses,
    Louisa

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    And Right Back Out Again

    Fickle bitch. Fate, I mean, not you. Yesterday she was my girl, and today, she's smacking me in the face with sour custard pies.

    Ok, maybe that's a little dramatic. But I need another character name, and I guess what it comes down to is that I'm just not creative enough to come up with two great names in one week. Yet another ongoing character, although this one doesn't even appear in the first book--she's just mentioned. But she's kind of a plot point, or at least, she will be later on. And she needs a name!

    A kickass name that I won't be annoyed with myself for next month. I've been haunting www.behindthename.com all morning (thanks Jo Beverly!) and I have some possibilities, but none of them are giving me that *click*, if you know what I mean.

    But does it always have to click? Can I be satisfied with a name or a plot twist or a setting that I just decide on, instead of always wanting celestial guidance and approval? Dunno. But I'm not out of faith yet. Little Miss Plot Point is getting a place holder name for now--I'll give fate a short break, but then I expect her back on the job! No slacking!

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    Fate Steps In


    Ok. I know I'm supposed to be revising my first manuscript, and I am, but in between times, the second book keeps popping into my head. First of all, I cut off my own supply of novels for the duration of the revisions process (my big reward for finishing will be Suzanne Brockmann's latest, Into the Storm--super incentive!) because it's too tempting to read someone else's fascinating, entertaining, and totally polished work rather than toiling away over mine. But from longstanding habit, I really can't get to sleep at night without reading something, so I'm working through a bunch of nonfiction (mostly combat training manuals--yay, research) and that laugh-riot of an ancient Greek historian, Herodotus. Both much less boring than they sound (although I can't tell you how much more I'd rather be reading about FBI Agent Jules Cassidy). In fact, as fate would have it, Herodotus kindly provided the name of my next hero. Very timely, too, because the character appears in book one as a secondary, non-POV player, and it'll save confusion if his name is the same in both books, don't you think? Me too.

    The name? Cyrus Brandon.

    I had him down in the first draft as Marcus Brandon. Now, Marcus is a name I happen to love, but I always knew it was just a placeholder for this character. It's a little too all-American stand-up guy, when the character has a definite, slightly brutal edge. Cyrus, to me, has an almost sinister quality that I find wickedly appealing. Plus, the name comes from a Persian king who ruled about 550 BC. He was a great leader, and conquered half the known world with his armies. Reputed to be both wise and just, he was nevertheless described as "insatiably bloodthirsty" by the warrior queen, Tomyris--who eventually defeated him in battle. She was pissed, because Cyrus had captured her son, and the son (who clearly didn't inherit Mom's force of will) actually killed himself rather than remain a prisoner. Tomyris got her revenge, though. When Cyrus was dead, she took his head, and stored it in a jar of blood--so he could finally get his fill. Gross, right? But kind of poetic.

    So how could I resist? My vampire hero is named for a bloodthirsty fighter who met his match in a woman. Much as I love Suzanne Brockmann, I don't think I would have gotten such a great start on this character out of her! (I don't think it's giving too much away to assure you now that Cyrus won't be beheaded, or pickled in blood, or anything like that in my book.)

    Freaky fate thing #2: Nick is out of town at a classic car show in Monterey this weekend, so I took the opportunity to rent a bunch of very girlie movies. I'm entirely too embarrassed to run down each of the titles--bad enough to share just the one. But here goes. Chasing Liberty. Do you even remember this movie? It was out for about five minutes, and it's one of that weird rash of President's daughter teen movies. This is the one with Mandy Moore (for whom I have a perhaps unreasonable affection) and centers around a trip to Europe where she falls for a hot guy, not realizing he's actually a secret service agent assigned to protect her. Not to give it away, or anything, if you were planning to see the film. Ha ha. Anyway, I want to set book 2 someplace in Europe, and I originally thought London, because I was there recently on my honeymoon, and it was cool. But I'm also going to Europe this fall with a friend, and we're going to Paris and Prague. PRAGUE! Eureka. Ok, it's interesting, and different, and I'll get to see it firsthand while I'm actually writing, and get all my impressions down in the moment. So I pop in Chasing Liberty and start googling Prague pictures to get a sense of what I'm dealing with, and just as I'm thinking, "Maybe I should google Prague movies, and see if I can find any recent things that were shot there..." the movie gets to the Europe trip part, and...they're going to Prague!

    Not to be too Celestine Prophecy about it or anything, but have you ever noticed that sometimes things just come together and feel totally right? I love that.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Decoding Disappointment

    Ok, I guess I should have expected this. When I offered to use whatever insight I gained as an editor to read between the lines of rejection letters, I should have known that it would be a little tough to get the ball rolling. No one wants to be the first! And no one sent me a letter to translate. So I'm starting with the most common rejection letter I sent out. I know, it's cheating. Cracking my own code! Easy for me, but maybe not as easy for you. I hope this is helpful.

    So, why didn't I just say what I meant? As an editor, you are aware of the power you have. You know that every word in a rejection or revision letter is going to be analyzed and picked over for any scrap of information it can impart. And you don't want to be unnecessarily cruel or rude. So you end up with a stilted, polite set of phrases that convey a 'no', and very little else. The first rule of rejection writing is not to give any false hope. Not to give any hope at all, because that stack of slush is so high it's about to topple off your desk, and there's more coming in every day. You can't ever keep ahead of it, but if you see the same manuscript with slight changes over and over...well, that's more than most people can bear.

    When the senior editors finally let me start reading slush, I was very excited. They didn't throw me into it right away--contrary to popular opinion, editors don't allow any old monkey who wanders into the office to read their submissions. Once I proved that I could be trusted to give an editorial opinion, however, I became fair game. And the manuscripts started pouring in, and the rejection letters started pouring out. My first draft ran something like this:

    Dear Author,
    Thank you for sending your historical romance, Title, to us. After careful consideration, we have come to the unfortunate conclusion that Title is not right for our list at this time. Best of luck with your writing, and thank you for submitting.
    Best, Louisa Edwards


    Do you see what I did wrong there? My boss spotted it immediately. I said that the manuscript wasn't right for us at this time. Big no-no. I was told to delete that bit, or I'd be seeing this same submission again in two months. Once that part was edited out, what remains of the letter above is a fairly standard example of a non-personalized rejection letter. This was what you got if you had no agent, and no cover letter stating you'd met the editor in question at a conference, but if you'd still managed to direct your submission to an actual editor. The scores of mansucripts that were directed to Submissions Editor, or Acquisitions Editor, or To Whom it May Concern--those received an even less personal rejection.

    The first lesson is an obvious one--target your manuscript. You have a better chance of getting someone to read it who might actually like it (lots of those To Whom it May Concerns that I read in the slush were sci-fi, or thrillers, and I tried to give them a fair shot, but I'm just not the right audience at all). It seems like a no brainer, but I mention it, because I got about twenty submissions a week that weren't aimed at any particular editor.

    The second lesson is that editors are trained in the art of crushing hope. They are aware of what their letter to you represents, and they aren't (or shouldn't be) careless of the feelings involved. When they send a letter that offers no hope, it's meant, yes, to keep them from having to see the same manuscript more than once, but it's also meant to keep you from the heartache of a second rejection. And in turn, what this lesson points out is that any letter you get from an editor that encourages you to make changes and resubmit is to be taken very seriously. I've heard a lot of people on romance boards wondering if they should follow up on a letter like that, if the editor was just being nice, or polite, and let me tell you--editors can't afford to be that nice. They do not have time. That invitation in a revision letter is calculated and heartfelt, and as an author, you should take it as strong praise. It means that although your manuscript isn't publishable in its current form, the editor saw something in your writing that made her want to see more. If an editor asks you to call her to talk about the manuscript, CALL! Don't be coy! We are not dating. She wouldn't say it if she didn't mean it.

    So here ends the lesson for this week. Hopefully by next week I will have gotten a few actual rejection/revision letters from writers, so I can stop talking about myself...although this is my blog, so don't hold your breath.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    I'm Back!


    Home again, at least two pounds heavier from all the delicious food and deliberate laziness. The Pocono's turned out to be the mountains in question. Gorgeous. We went to World's End State Park and took a dip in a swimming hole (Hunter had his first swim, ever!) and barbecued ribs in the backyard, in between bouts of fireworks and playing bridge. There was a lot of wine, and a firepit, and, of course...Frogmore Stew (pictured above). Essentially, it's an enormous pot wherein are boiled together corn, andouille sausage, shrimp, and clams. The broth is all drained away, so it comes to the table more as a big mess of shellfish and stuff than as a stew, and it's eaten with melted butter and cocktail sauce. Very yum. Our hostess is a transplant to Pennsylvania, and the recipe is famous where she grew up, in South Carolina.

    We drove home last night, and immediately (and very virtuously) set out for a run. We all needed the exercise, believe me. Unfortunately, my left ankle, clearly vengeful over not being allowed to do anything more interesting than sit propped up on the back porch railing all weekend, turned on a patch of gravel and dumped me on my ass. I won't bore you with the subsequent medical odyssey of x-rays and aircasts (sighs of relief all around), except to say that I'm gimpy for a couple of weeks, and milking it for all it's worth. Nick is being a doll, offering to run to the store for fresh bags of frozen peas at all hours of the night. I'm getting lots of practice on my poor-me face.

    To distract myself from the ugly swelling and the way the Ace bandage cuts off circulation to my toes, I plan to implement my first ever rejection letter translation session. If you've ever received a rejection or revision letter, and puzzled over the wording, email it to me, and I'll do my best to decode. This will be a regular feature on my blog, every Wednesday. I'm thinking of calling it Disappointment Decoded. Or Accepting Rejection. Reading Rejection! Well, whatever it's called, I need a rejection or revision letter to get started, so don't be shy. Email the letter to me at mledwards@mac.com, and be sure to let me know if you'd prefer to remain anonymous. Tune in Wednesday to hear what that editor was really trying to tell you!

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Mini-Vacation!


    I'm off! To the Blahdy Blah Mountains in Pennsylvania! Ok, so I don't know exactly where we're going. Some tiny little PA town to visit friends of ours who are coming there from San Francisco. But it's fine! I don't need to know where we're going. I have GPS in my car. I swear, I couldn't find the grocery store without that damn thing.

    Anyway, it's going to be a long, blissful weekend of friends, wine, and something called Frogmore Stew (?) which, I am assured, contains no frogs. Not that I'd really mind. I like frogs' legs. I eat all kinds of crazy stuff. Ask me about it sometime.

    I'm taking the revisions with me, in the form of my handy dandy iBook, but I'm not deluding myself that tons of work is getting done before Sunday. Still, every page counts, and I'm usually an earlier riser than most of my friends, so maybe it'll happen. Either way, I'm not worrying about it. I've written a whole new scene, and edited about 4 chapters, so I'm on my way, and feeling pretty up about it.

    I'll let you know how the frogs are...

    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    An Act of Will

    We all do things in our daily lives that we consider annoying chores. Washing dishes, ironing clohtes, going to the post office, feeding the crazy, diabetic cat who lives in our backyard--that kind of thing. We do them because we have to, because there's no one else to do it (because God knows my husband never touches the cat if he can help it, the coward) and because those chores keep our lives running smoothly.

    But what if the thing we love more than anything else, our personal indulgence, our favorite activity suddenly takes on the dimensions of a chore? I love writing. I think about it all the time; I get caught up in the details of my books, and I can linger there for hours, working out backstory and building a world. But sometimes, it's a chore. Sometimes all I want to do is watch General Hospital and play with my puppy. It's hard to admit, because it sounds so immature and lame, but occasionally, I have to force myself to do the thing I love to do.

    Worse than that, though, is when writing becomes the monster in the closet. There are days when I'm not burnt out, or busy, or any of that stuff--I'm just flat out afraid of my computer. Fear is way more paralyzing than laziness. Yesterday, I was all set to start my revisions. I had a place to dive in, a specifc goal to accomplish--and I totally froze. For about six hours. I went through the rest of my day feeling like a failure. What am I afraid of? That all along, I managed to convince myself to write forward by telling myself, "It doesn't have to be good now, you'll fix it later." Well, later is here. And part of me is terrified that I'm going to screw up the story, or the characters, by missing (or creating) some huge plot hole. Mostly, I'm scared for this book to be finished. Because then I have to start all over again with a new one.

    Fear is a trap. I know that. So last night, at about 9:30, I finally got my butt into the chair, and I edited the first seven pages. I didn't get to anything major, just a few word changes here and there, but I broke the seal. And now my goal is just to do better today than I did yesterday.

    We'll see how it goes.

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Perfection is Attainable


    Right? Or not. As my current heroine, Anna (pictured left) very pragmatically points out, if perfection is unattainable, why do people keep striving for it? It must be possible to achieve, or else there's no use in trying for it.

    So that's my working hypothesis (thanks, Anna!), as I begin revising my first ever completed manuscript. I read through the whole thing over the last two days, and let me just say, it's definitely NOT perfect yet. I have seven pages (single-spaced) of revision suggestions for myself. I'm approaching it like one of the manuscripts I used to edit, when I worked at Berkley. I printed out a hard copy, and read through it fast, making no marks on the pages, but writing down every idea that came into my head as I read, along with the page number the idea came from. For instance:

    p.123--Anna has to think of Jack sooner. Kissing after danger is all well and good, but her brother is still in trouble.

    p.129--Nix the Yoda talk.

    And bigger things:

    p.263--This setup isn't great. Everyone leaves the kitchen, just so Anna and Cal can go at it on the table. Think about inserting a new scene to round out Eli's character, and to discuss his background with Evangeline. It should be a bridge between the war council scene and the hot demon sex scene.

    Now my plan is to go through the ms on the computer, and attend to all of these suggestions, along with the millions of small word changes and clarifications that jumped out at me while I was reading, but which I didn't write down because I assumed they'd bother me a second time through. And I will done with all of these revisions by August 24, so my lovely, generous readers can see draft #2 and make comments on it, in time for me to incorporate their brilliant ideas before sending the ms out to agents at the beginning of September.

    That's my timeline, and I'm sticking to it. I have to, now that I've made it public. See? Another great reason for blogging. Why did I fight this for so long?

    Friday, August 04, 2006

    The Dog Blog


    So, I'm going to try not to gush about my puppy too much on this blog. This is not a dog blog, in general, and I'm not really that big an animal person. I don't throw kittens against the wall for fun, or anything, but I'm a pretty unabashed carnivore, and I don't think of animals as, like, little people who need their own wardrobes and stuff.

    BUT. That said, my dog, Hunter, is the cutest dog in the whole world. And he definitely thinks he's people. Or maybe he thinks that Nick and I are just big dogs--I can't decide. Anyway, I love him to pieces, and I wanted to post a pic, because I think his furry face would brighten the day of anyone who saw it. Seriously, they should send him in talk to that Nasrallah guy. Hearts and flowers in seconds, guaranteed. Not to trivialize war, or anything.

    [This blog is dedicated to the lovely and talented Jenna Mayson, who led by example, and encouraged me to spoon with my dog. Under the covers. It was fantastic.]

    Wednesday, August 02, 2006

    So excited

    I got home from RWA (that's Romance Writers of America, for the uninitiated) Sunday night, and I'm still feeling all revved up from it. The combined creativity and drive of that many women (about 2400 of us) in one hotel (a huge Marriott in Atlanta) was enough to fuel me for at least a week. Of course, that's not all I have going at the moment. See, I have the most fantastic critique partners in the world, and they have basically, in the last two days, done all my work for me on the next manuscript I'm about to write. It's awesome. Maria is our resident plotter, and Mel is our dialogue guru. I don't know what I contribute, exactly. You'd have to ask them.

    So anyway, I'm pumped. Now all I have to do is sit down and write the thing. Easy, right? Well, it's not like I want to be playing outside or something. Mercy. Stepping out the door is like being transported to the Sahara, if the Sahara were really a lot like a swamp. Maybe Florida is the image I want. Anyway, not good. Cold house, much better. My husband, Nick, and I are on a health binge, and we dragged ourselves on a run (!!!) the last couple of days, and I thought I'd die. I mean, not to trivialize death or anything, but really. It was atrocious. So today I put my foot down, and we went and swam laps instead. I was (the slowest person) on the swim team in high school! I like to swim. I know all the tricks, the not-breathing-on-every-stroke thing, the turning-underwater thing. Well, ok, I know those two tricks, and they're enough to get by with. And now I'm adding a swimmer's high to my ongoing conference buzz and writer's thrill. Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to get to sleep tonight.

    Oh right. The big glass of red wine in front of me as I write this. Mmmm. Merryvale, you sexy bitch...let's take this upstairs...