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Showing posts from 2006

A Writer's Resolutions

About a week and a half ago, my good friend and fellow writer, Joni Rodgers, asked me if I did an annual business plan for my writing and what my resolutions were for the coming year. Immediately, the usual, lame annual resolutions popped into mind (overcome my aversion to exercise, reverse aging process, lose the pounds that crept on over the holidays), but I don't really think that's what she had in mind.

After listening to her excellent business resolutions for the year, I've given a bit of thought to my own, which includes the following:

1. Continue writing Texas-set romantic suspense featuring realistic, relatable characters in deep trouble, plenty of tension, and family elements. Give readers a reliable reading experience while working diligently to improve my craft with each book.
2. Actively promote my July release, HEAD ON, and work with my agent to sell a pair of new proposals with the goal of getting two books out in 2008. Brainstorm and develop additional proposa…

Santa Has Been Berry, Berry Good to Me

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A few days ago I wrote about what every writer wants for Christmas: respect and support from family and friends. This year, my husband came through big-time on that score.

It's been a challenging year budget-wise. The kiddo is now driving, raising our insurance rates to somewhere between astronomical and the national debt, stuff at the hacienda always needs fixing/replacing, etc., etc. As I was looking out on the writing horizon, I could see that this year's RWA conference is in Dallas and RT is in Houston, both of which are close enough that is makes sense to try to go. But the conference I most enjoy, sponsored by RWA's PASIC (Published Author's Special Interest Chapter) is in NYC in March. It's a great opportunity to schmooze with other pubs in a smaller venue, meet with my editor on her home turf, and do fun stuff in the Big Apple. But budget-wise, it wasn't happening...

Until I unwrapped a Christmas card from my main man that contained a "Take a Trip to…

What Every Writer Wants Under the Tree

Looking for the perfect gift for the writer in your family? Here's a humble suggestion, and it won't cost you a dime.

Support throughout the year.

Support means respecting the effort, along with the writer's willingness to risk ego, time, and perhaps financial solvency in a quest to achieve a dream. A supportive family member celebrates each step of the journey and does what can be done to smooth the pathway ahead. The writer's trajectory is not compared to that of others, nor is success determined by extrinsic measures, such as reviews, awards, or large checks appearing in the mailbox (although, should those things happen, they call for celebration).

Support means respecting the time the writer puts into the work. Sometimes this involves sacrifice, but guilt-inducing martyrdom is not part of the package any more than eye-rolling or sarcasm.

Support means listening (even when you're long past the point of boredom) as the writer talks through plot knots and the frustrat…

On Leaps of Faith

"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot on earth. So what the hell, leap." - Cynthia Heimel

This quote has so much truth in it. If you're afraid of looking foolish, scared that writing (or whatever creative endeavor) will have you rushing off the edge of a cliff, you risk sinking into the quagmire of bland, insipid mediocrity.

If you want to making a lasting impression, your reach much sometimes exceed your grasp. If you're moving in the right direction, some people will hate your work with a passion; others will love it. But either way, they'll talk about it, which beats the heck out of a shrug.

How to Finish the Damned Book

Beginning a novel is like embarking on a new romance. There's the rush of discovery, the hope that this one story will soar to uncharted heights.

Then comes the hard work, the digging in, and the frustration that takes place when our efforts are not instantly rewards with a finished product. Too often, we abandon the work in progress for the thrill of a new love, a new opening.

Do you have a drawer full of unfinished novels or short stories? If you allow yourself to do this, to get out of the tough work, you'll never experience the mind-blowing satisfaction of having finished. Worse yet, you're training yourself to be a quitter.

Here are a few tips I've found helpful to "finish the damned book."

Know what you're writing. Take time to study the market and figure out where your completed book would be shelved. Read widely and consider joining genre organizations (if applicable) to understand the current market segment. Learn the reader expectations for this a…

Come to mama

Epiphany of the day:

"Writing a book is like rearing children—willpower has very little to do with it. If you have a little baby crying in the middle of the night, and if you depend only on willpower to get you out of bed to feed the baby, the baby will starve. You do it out of love. Willpower is a weak idea; love is strong. You don’t have to scourge yourself with a cat-o’-nine tails to go to the baby. You go to the baby out of love for that particular baby. That’s the same way you go to your desk."

Annie Dillard in her essay "To Fashion a Text" from the book Inventing the Truth

Welcome to Boxing the Octopus: Your Guide to the World of Commercial Fiction

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We're glad you stopped by and hope you'll pop by often as Boxing the Octopus takes on your questions about the world of spinning lies -- we mean fiction -- for fun and profit. In the coming weeks, we'll be introducing ourselves, organizing helpful material, and giving you our take on staying sane and solvent as a novelist.