Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reaffirming the writing

What I'm reading: Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy AND Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.

What I'm working on: A scene in the middle of Slayer, and I’m beginning to stress about a finding a dark, paranormal junkie who’s willing to be a beta reader. Are you out there? (Still checking since I haven’t found you yet.)

New words today: 1131

I’m taking a little break from my Voice Theory series. Tune in tomorrow or Friday for installment #3.

I thought that I’d just share couple of profound quotes today. I don’t have time for much more. I must write and plot and write and plot.

Maybe these will reaffirm your writing goals and dreams, too.

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer." --- Barbara Kingsolver

"There's one thing your writing must have to be any good at all. It must have you. Your soul, your self, your heart, your guts, your voice -- you must be on that page. In the end, you can't make the magic happen for your reader. You can only allow the miracle of 'being one with' to take place. So dare to be yourself. Dare to reveal yourself. Be honest, be open, be true...If you are, everything else will fall into place." --- Elizabeth Ayres

Okay, go write.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Voice theory – Emotion. Part 2

What I'm reading: Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy AND Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.

What I'm working on: A scene in the middle of Slayer, and I’m beginning to stress about a finding a dark, paranormal junkie who’s willing to be a beta reader. Are you out there?

New words today: 0 (Big F&$#ing 0. Did I mention that I worked from 8 to 9:30 today? That's 8am to 9:30pm. My head just bounced off the keyboard.)

Continuing with the emotion theme…..

It’s much easier for me to come up with swept away books than it is movies. I read more books than I watch movies or TV, so by default I just find it easier.

However, I can’t decide whether it’s easier to be swept away in a book or movie. Really, it probably depends on the writing in both.

I’ve already said that I need raw-edged, real, heart-dropping, soul-soaring emotion in order to be swept away.

I got all that and more in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth book in J.K. Rowling’s mind-blowing series.

I fell in love with Harry and his friends when I read the first book. I wanted to be a wizard, not a muggle, and I became fully involved in a willing suspension of disbelief as I read the first three books.

However, it was the fourth one that I added to my swept away list. Those before and after were good, no, GREAT. But the fourth wove into my soul.

The fourth book is a demarcation between the innocence of childhood and the reality of adulthood. Don’t get me wrong, the monsters, evil and problems faced in the first three were real and terrible. I won’t deny that. But Rowling kicked it up with Goblet.

Not only is Harry thrust into a contest for which he is technically far too young, he’s also thrust fully into a world where the darkest threats of nightmares become real.

I think one of those demarcations of truly reaching adulthood – regardless of the age at which you do it – is coming to terms with the fragility of life. In Goblet, Harry witnesses Cedric’s cold-blooded death at the hands of Voldemort.

When I read the passage, the space around me became a vacuum and all the breathable air was suddenly gone. I remember lying on my bed one moment and springing to my knees the next with the book clutched tightly in my hands. I re-read. Surely, I had something wrong. You can’t just kill off the innocent.

But Rowling did. And that moment sealed the book as a swept away book for me. I’ve read that chapter again and again and each time the blow to my chest is just as hard.

Emotion. Rawness. Grief.

After the initial shock, I rocked myself on the bed as I cried. Not Cedric. Not evil like that – the real kind. The kind you can’t come back from.

It’s no secret that in addition to Rowling, I’m also a huge fan of J.R. Ward. (Yep, completely different genre.)

I liked her first books enough to eagerly purchase the sequels. But I liked the first ones from an intellectual standpoint – like I liked Ender’s Game. Great, unique premise. Masterful execution. Extraordinary imagination.

My favorite of Ward’s books, however, is Lover Awakened. It’s Bella and Zsadist’s story. In my opinion, Zsadist is the most tortured of her heroes. (That is compelling to me, too, on an emotional level. The dark, tortured hero will be my 4th or 5th installment of this series.)

While I loved Zsadist’s story (and it is Z’s story), the emotional grip for me had little to do with Zsadist and Bella. It was all about Wellsie. Such tragic, brutal loss. I won’t ruin it for you if you haven’t read, but I will say I re-read the scene about which I’m commenting four or five times. Surely, it would change on one of the passes. This really wasn’t what was happening.

But Ward’s stories, like Rowling’s, don’t shy away from the painful emotions of life. They throw the horrors our way as well as they throw the happily-ever-afters.

Emotion. Rawness. Grief.

I want to write stories like that.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Voice theory – Emotion. Part 1

What I'm reading: Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy AND Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.

What I'm working on: A scene in the middle of Slayer.

New words today: 409

Awhile back, Alyson posted a list of “swept away” movies. I’ve been trying to think about my swept away movies. I’m not sure I can come up with a list like Alyson’s (click here and here and here), at least nothing so lofty and artistic and intellectual and important as hers.

I’m not a “thinky” movie sort of girl. Technically, I’m not a “thinky” book sort of girl, either; although, I did love Ender’s Game for the sheer cleverness of it. It embodied extraordinary concept with flawless execution. I remember thinking I needed an OSC alter so I could bow down. However, it was the end I read and re-read. Ender’s empathy for the Buggers was the emotional thread that catapulted the book over the top for me.

And there is the key to the books and movies that captivate me: Emotion.

I want a ride. I want to laugh, red-faced, as I feel a character’s embarrassment. I want to smile and giggle at the sheer joy of a character’s triumph. I want to cry – uncontrollably – with tragedy and loss.

I want to feel. Deeply.

Several years ago, the students at my favorite middle school embarked on a cross-curricular study of the Olympics. They studied the early games in Latin. They competed in Olympic events and measured distances in math. The looked at controversies in history that surrounded the games. They….well, you get the idea.

As a culminating activity, 200 seventh graders took a mid-morning field trip to a private showing of Miracle, the movie story of the 1980’s Gold Medal hockey team, a team consisting of unknown college players who felled the big dragon -- the ultimate professional team from the U.S.S.R.

It’s the story of a coach that bucked the system and a group of rival twenty-something, high-testosterone males. It’s the story of the underdog, good guys verses the fire-breathing, evil communists.

When the US hockey team scored the winning goal against the Russians, the entire packed-to-the-brim theater erupted into cheers and a standing ovation. I’d already seen the movie once, but I erupted with them, tears streaming down my face.

Pure, raw, elation. A truly emotional story.

I want to feel a gamut of human emotion. I think almost all of my swept away movies are brimming over with emotionally charged scenes.

Other movies that made me feel deeply:
Bridges of Madison County
The Notebook
The X-Men trilogy
(Don’t laugh. I’ll explain)
The Bucket List

I’m sure there are others, but we’ll leave those for part dos.

Tune in for part 2 tomorrow, where I’ll explain why Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (the book) falls under the category of swept away emotional reads.

Part 3 will be the emotional draw of the love triangle (at least its draw for me.)

Part 4, well, I’ll get to that later. (And, yes, yes, I’ll explain Saturday’s vampire thing, too – maybe as a part 4 or 5.)

For now, I’m too tired to continue. Tune in tomorrow. I promise – this really is going somewhere.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

15K in 30 days: Challenge Details

What I'm reading: Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy.

What I'm working on: A scene in the middle of Slayer.

New words today: 350

Challenge – the basics

Several people were interested in my challenge, so here it is.

15k in 30 days.

The official start date is Thursday, January 31st. (Yes, I know it’s an unusual day to pick.)
If we all write 500 words a day for 30 days, we’ll have 15k by February 1st. (I am, however, aiming for at least 500 words a day between now and then, too.)

Let me know if you’re in and I’ll add your name to a list in the side bar. I’ll ask every Sunday for a progress report thus far so that you’re held accountable.

If you get behind one day, write more the next. If you get ahead, try to get more than 15k.

For those of you in CFRWA, as I understand it, we’ll be doing a 100 words a day for 100 days. I’m doing this IN ADDITION to my 15k in 30 days goal.

I’m glad you’re all in. I’ll be cheering for you here!


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Voice theory -- a vague intro

What I'm reading: Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy; and Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy by Sara Orwig.

What I'm working on: A scene in the middle of Slayer.

New words 1/24: 0 (worked until nearly 10 pm)
New words 1/25: 0 (Is being exhausted a good excuse?)
New words today: 1013

I browsed through the young adult section of B&N tonight. I read the back of alot of books. Funny how that simple process triggered a couple of theories about my writing voice. (I just love those little discoveries.)

I'll post my theories next week sometime. I have two. One about emotion and one about the tortured hero/heroine.

In a loosely related way, the following quiz is interesting. (Looooosely related......)
There are alot of vampire books out there in YA and romance. I am really only drawn to a handful. Funny, but I think I figured out why. Again, that's a next week post.

In the meantime, could you be a vampire?

You Could Not Be a Vampire

Sorry, but you're not just cut out for flesh eating, turning into a bat, and living forever.But that's okay. The sight of blood turns your stomach... without even thinking of drinking it.And while you definitely would never be a vampire, you're exactly the type of frail prey Dracula wannabe's crave.Maybe it's time to arm yourself with a cross and some nasty garlic breath!What you would like best about being a vampire: The raw power (though you wouldn't admit it to anyone)What you would like least about being a vampire: The whole killing thing.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer; Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy; and Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy by Sara Orwig.

What I'm working on: The same fight scene as yesterday, but after fermenting it all overnight, I came up with something GREAT and it requires me to go back and add some to the middle, but I think it makes the middle way better, too. This is good. It means that at least for a few days, I know what I need to write.

New words today: 445

I attended a gaming conference and workshop to day with 60+ students from my favorite local high school. These weren’t computer nerd types. These were normal kids taking web design or programming for their graduation requirement of a ½ credit in computer science.

I brought along a book to read. I expected to be bored. I was a little. But I was also fascinated. I attended an hour long hands-on workshop with fifteen of the kids. (Okay, so I walked around and watched them but I was there.) They were building video games. Each student had a laptop and learned how to use the software provided to build several rooms with doors and passageways. Then, collectively, the class chose the zombie mode. They created zombies of varying strengths and powers with different kinds of weapons and strategically placed them in the rooms they built.

When they were finished they played their own games and switched with friends to play the games others built.

Inevitably, many went back to the drawing board to improve their zombies and add better weapons. They gave the players more weapons, too, eager to watch the different ways zombies could splat in the video world.

It struck me that this world building within the video game is not unlike writing – particularly the revising process.

… the zombie didn’t work right the first time…..

The students went back and edited and gave the zombie new powers or weapons or put them in different places. The shell was right. The placement and details needed tweaking.

I’m not sure it will help me to think of my book as a video game, but it’s comforting to know the process gamers use isn’t so different from mine.

Finally, as an aside.....
I’m still looking for more people to accept my writing challenge. If you know anyone else who would want to participate, direct them here. I’ll set some parameters by the weekend and we’ll write like maniacs!! (See my last 2 posts if you're completely confused.)

Happy writing.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Challenge, cont.

What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer; Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy; and Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy by Sara Orwig.

What I'm working on: I'm trying to get up to the actual fight scene between my heroine and the demon (villian) that once imprisoned her.

New words today: 1065

I've got a couple of interested challengers. The more I think about it, the more I like the 15k in 30 days. That boils down to 500 words (roughly 2 pages a day). Of course, I also like 5k per week. Hmm.....

I'm waiting to see if anyone is up for the challenge with me. (See previous post.)

I do have another challenge from my brainstorm/crit partner that lives in the big apple: Exchange completed manuscripts by March 15th. Eegads.

We're not talking perfect books here, but we are talking polished rough drafts. That means I'm still bound to my goal of completing the manuscript by Feb. 28th. I HOPE to have a first round of edits by March 15th so that while not perfect, my friend is getting 'not crap'. The front end is edited to a point, so hopefully.......

Ramble, ramble......

Monday, January 21, 2008

Random Things

What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer; Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy; and Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy by Sara Orwig.

What I'm working on: The scene where my heroine confronts my villian after she thinks she's lost the hero. It's taking awhile. That much emotion can be challenging to write.

New words today: 436

Maybe Mondays should be "Random Things Day" here at Random Ravings. At least it will be this Monday.

Random thing #1: I can not do just one thing at a time. I've tried. I need multiple attention getters. Hence, the three books I'm reading at once. I seldom ever read just one book at a time.

Random thing #2: I wrote tonight, which is more than I can say for any night last week. Last week I despaired that my novel sucked and really considered just reading romance instead of writing it. Tonight, however, I am well on my way to my weekly goal of 5K. I'm going to finish Slayer -- even if it sucks. Then while it ferments, I'm going to write some of those short stories in my head, then I'm going to re-read all of Slayer's fermented suckiness and start editing that bad boy. The story is great and unlike anything out there. I just doubt the writer's ability.

Random thing #3: I NEED deadlines. NANO worked great for me. I'm considering throwing out a challenge -- nothing as overwhelming as NANO, but I need an externally imposed goal. If I throw out a challenge and my writer friends accept, then I'll be bound by my highly competitive spirit and deadline oriented personality to get my butt in the chair and meet my challenge goals.

Hmmm... I'm liking random thing #3. Who's up for a challenge? What do you think is realistic. Anyone up for 15K in 15 days? Or 15K in 30 days? Or even weekly challenges of 5K a week?

What seems reasonable? Anyone interested?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

What be your nerd type?

What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer; Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy.
What I'm working on: Character interviews for The Slayer's Circle.

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.
It's okay. I understand.

Science/Math Nerd
Social Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Anime Nerd
Drama Nerd
What be your nerd type?

Nothing shocking here, eh?

Friday, January 18, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer; Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy
What I'm working on: A character grid for The Slayer's Circle and some conflict and plot points and finishing the damn story even if it sucks.

I got just a little excited thinking about this weekend. I don’t have any major plans or any exciting engagements. I just have those little guilty pleasures to look forward to.

Those little guilty pleasures renew you and give you energy to keep going.

Here are five guilty pleasures I’m looking forward to this weekend.

1) Watching a couple of DVD’s. From my Netflix cue, I have The Illusionist and from Blockbuster, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The first, I’ll probably get to watch alone as everyone in my family seems less than interested. However, it seems right up my alley. It's described as casting "an exquisitely bewitching spell with its dreamy atmosphere and persuasive sense of suspense." The second movie is certainly a whole family movie – maybe for Saturday night.

2) Visiting my favorite independent, used and new bookstore. It has narrow, crowded isles. The owner's little dogs hang out underfoot. And some real gems can be found.

3) Kicking around in my favorite jeans on a cloudy, cool day. The forecast is perfect: cloudy, foggy, cool on Saturday and cold (at least for Florida) on Sunday.

4) Reading. I’m starting a new book. It's the community read for my favorite high school for the coming summer. Chapter one was so powerful, I had to put the book down. I have high hopes for a great read. Join me if you want. It’s called Lay That Trumpet in our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy. Plus, I think I’ll delve into a quick and easy Desire novel, and I’m still savoring Eclipse.

5) Writing. I have new determination to type anything – even complete crap – just to write the words “the end” on the current MIP. Then I can start something new – maybe some short stories for The Wild Rose Press. Some of my friends are having great success there. I’m thinking it couldn’t hurt to submit something.

What are this weekend’s guilty pleasures for you?


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thirteen Questions to Ponder

What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer.
What I'm working on: A character grid for The Slayer's Circle and some conflict and plot points.

Thirteen Questions to Ponder
(I found this list of questions as I searched for a Thursday Thirteen topic. At least it gets me away from my normal book and writing whining.)

1) If you could time-travel, and go back to any particular time/place in history, what would it be?
This is tough. I like now. I like indoor toilets and grocery stores. I like feminism – being able to vote and get paid the same as a man and do whatever job I want. I don’t have any inclination to return to a time when a woman’s greatest aspirations were a good husband and a regular bath. However, since I have to choose, I’d say sometime during the second or third century in Rome.

2) If you could go back and relive any time in your life, what would it be?
Probably the two years I spent in grad school. There wasn’t any freer time. It was amazing.

3) If you could change one thing about your body, what would it be?
I’d probably have more slender legs. Those skinny jeans are just out of the question.

4) If you could do anything in the world for a living, what would it be?
I’d write. Fiction. Best-sellers.

5) If you could only read one book over and over again in your life, what one book would that be?
This is an impossible and unfair question, but since I picked this damn set of questions, I guess I have to answer. It certainly depends on my mood. I guess right this moment it would be the Chronicles of Narnia – not just one of them, but the whole big bound set. Later, I might pick Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. And tomorrow, it's just as likely to be Twilight or Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer.

6) If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
In one of the mountainous areas of the Pacific Northwest.

7) If you could only wear one outfit for the rest of your days, what outfit would that be?
My comfy curvy jeans and a warm fleece pullover with rugged, yet comfortable low-top hiking boots.

8) If you could have dinner with any one person (dead or alive) -- anyone -- who would it be?
My great, great grandfather, Admiral Birdy Cator of the British Royal Navy.

9) If you could ask for any talent or skill and instantly receive it, what talent would that be?
To effortlessly write riveting fiction without the need to edit – in other words the ability to write perfect first drafts.

10) If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?
I’d like to not have to depend on a regular day job.

11) If you could name your biggest regret, what would that be?
Taking so long to learn to listen to myself over listening to everyone else.

12) If you could have exactly one million dollars right now in your hands, what would you do with it?
Pay off my debts. Donate to the prevention and cure of AIDS in Africa.

13) If you could fix one major world problem on this Earth, what would you fix?

What about you?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Busy, busy

What I'm reading: Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer.
What I'm working on: Umm -- see below.


Once again, life is taking its toll on my writing. I do fine as long as I can come home from work and write, but alas......

Last week, I was swamped with a kid function one night after work, a work function one night, a local RWA thingy one night (which was great, btw), and an all day Saturday Discovering Story Magic workshop (again, fabulous). Tonight, I had a church thingy. Wednesday, I have a work thingy.

However, I refuse to get frustrated. Last year, these life things would have set me back in my writing. This year, life happens. I get it. I'll just put my butt in the chair on the nights I have and do my darnedest to catch up.

Does this ever happen to you -- this "life gets in the way of writing" thing? How do you deal with it?


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Your Political Profile

I'm having a hard time deciding who to vote for.

Your Political Profile:

Overall: 55% Conservative, 45% Liberal
Social Issues: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal


You Are a Moderate Mama

You're not overly political, and your views fall more with the American mainstream.In fact, it may be difficult for you to decide who to vote for at times!Your approach to politics is reasoned and well though out.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Back-of-the-book blurb

What I'm reading: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas & Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz.
What I'm working on: Continuing a new scene for The Slayer's Circle and some plot points.

A couple of days ago, I blogged about goals at Affairs of the Pen.

Here's part of what I wrote:

A good writing buddy (Lara) sent me an exercise she was asked to do as part of a writing workshop. It said to write what you wanted your back cover blurb to say about you in five or ten years. This is a great exercise, and one I admit I haven’t done. (But I will.) This is in line with what so many goal setting gurus say: The first thing you have to do is decide what you want to achieve in your lifetime (or the next 5 or 10 years). Since I’m a writer, a back cover blurb about me is a great start.

So, I wrote one. I decided to post it here before I posted my goals for the year or another goal update. This is my 10-year-back-of-the-book blurb.

Rita-award winning MACY O’NEAL is the prolific author of the Circle of Twelve Series. She is praised for creating a world and characters so real we wonder if they might actually exist. In addition to her highly emotional paranormal romances, she also writes passionate women’s fiction. Her novels depicting the epic turmoil of real life consistently land on the New York Times Best-Seller list. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she continues to regale readers with sexually charged Harlequin Desires.

Macy spends her free time daydreaming up new stories in her mountain home in Montana. On Saturdays in the fall, you can find her in the stands on the fifty yard line, cheering loudly for her real-life hero’s football team. Visit her on the web at (Not yet a working website, but one can dream.)

Feel free to post yours.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Jane Austen Heroines Quiz

What I'm reading: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas & Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz.
What I'm working on: A new scene for The Slayer's Circle and some plot points.

In the interest of meeting my word goal today and getting one of those books above fininshed -- eventually -- I opted for an easy post today.

What Jane Austen heroine are you?

You are Elizabeth Bennet of Pride & Prejudice! You are intelligent, witty, and tremendously attractive. You have a good head on your shoulders, and oftentimes find yourself the lone beacon of reason in a sea of silliness. You take great pleasure in many things. You are proficient in nearly all of them, though you will never own it. Lest you seem too perfect, you have a tendency toward prejudgement that serves you very ill indeed.

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!

(What does it mean to be both Elizabeth Bennet AND Snape?)


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Sum-up

What I'm reading: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas & Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz.
What I'm working on: A new scene for The Slayer's Circle and getting the next chapter ready for some crits.

* I posted some goal info and ideas at the Affairs of the Pen blog earlier today. Check it out. *

Since I’ll be posting my goals here shortly, I’d also like to commit to summing up my weekly progress every Sunday. I think it will help keep me on track.

This week’s goals:

Goal #1:
Write 5000 new words. [Almost made it! I managed to write 4000 (3000 on The Slayer’s Circle and 1000 on a new idea). I didn’t break down which story I wanted to write on for this week, but next week I will.]

Goal #2:
Get at least 2.5 K edited and sent off to crit partner. [Accomplished!]

Goal #3:
Work on plot at least 30 minutes. [Accomplished! But barely.]

Goal #4:
Read to understand craft elements. [I almost always accomplish this one.]

Next week’s goals:

Goal #1: Write 5000 new words for The Slayer’s Circle and 500 new words for the new book.

Goal #2:
Get between 2.5 and 5 K edited and sent off to crit partner. Crit my partner’s submission.

Goal #3:
Work on plot for at least one hour this week.

Goal #4: Finish Dreaming of You to be ready for book club.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

888 Challenge

What I'm reading: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas & Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz.
What I'm working on: Plot points for The Slayer's Circle and getting the next chapter ready for some crits.

Tomorrow, I'll be posting over at Affairs of the Pen. Alyson put up a great post today and I'll be piggy-backing it tomorrow with some goal comments and other ideas. Tomorrow, I'll also be posting my writing goals here for the world to see.

One of the topics covered in Alyson's post is about challenges. She posts some great blogs/websites for lots of challenges -- most of them reading challenges, but not all. I decided to take on one of them: The 888 Challenge.

The goal is to read 8 books each in 8 different categories in 2008. You're allowed 8 overlaps in categories so that the total number of books read is a minimum of 56. You get to pick the categories. Look at some other people's lists. You'll see a wide variety.

I'm posting mine below. I've cheated with the last category and I know it, so deal with it. Also, one of my categories is for short stories & novellas by CFRWA writers. (Go CFRWA!!)

Anyway, check it out. Join me if you want. If you join me, post your list and come back and leave me a comment so I can check out your list.



888 Challenge
*8 books/8 categories* (allowed 8 overlaps) for a total of 56 books
(Overlaps in color)

I. Silhouette Desire books (Okay, so, yeah, I've been thinking of writing some of these. It's by far my favorite category line. And Rocki's book -- #1 on the list -- got me hooked on a little mini-series.)
1. The CEO’s Scandalous Affair (The Garrison’s) by Roxanne St. Claire [Finished 1/4/08]
2. Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy (The Garrison’s) by Sara Orwig (Silhouette Desire series – The Garrison’s)
3. Millionaire’s Wedding Revenge (The Garrison’s) by Anna Depalo
4. Stranded with a Tempting Stranger (The Garrison’s) by Brenda Jackson
5. Secrets of the Tycoon’s Bride (The Garrison’s) by Emilie Rose
6. The Executive’s Surprise Baby (The Garrison’s) by Catherine Mann
7. Married or Not? By Annette Broadrick
8. TBA

II. Continue 8 series I’ve already started
1. Blood Fever by Karen Marie Moning (2nd in Moning’s Fever series)
2. The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (Final installment of G&TB series)
3. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyers (3rd in the Twilight series)
4. Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas (follow-up to Sugar Daddy)
5. Evil Star by Anthony Horowitz (2nd in Power of Five series)
6. Seduced by the Wealthy Playboy (The Garrison’s) by Sara Orwig (Silhouette Desire series – The Garrison’s)
7. Unsung Hero by Suzanne Brockman (Trouble Shooters series) (Yep, it's the first, but I'm not reading in order.)
8. It Had to Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Chicago Stars series) (Yep, it's the first, but I'm not reading in order.)

III. Young Adult
1. Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz
2. Point Blanc by Anthony Horowitz
3. Green Angel by Alice Hoffman
4. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
5. Eclipse by Stephanie Meyers (3rd in the Twilight series)
6. Over Sea, Under Stone: Book 1 of the Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper
7. TBA
8. TBA

IV. Book Club books (TBA – of course – as we select them). The rest of the list is subject to alteration if there are overlaps here.
1. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (Discussion on January 14th)
2. TBA
3. TBA
4. TBA
5. TBA
6. TBA
7. TBA
8. TBA

V. Published Novellas/Short Stories by CFRWA Friends
1. ‘Tis the Silly Season by Roxanne St. Claire (novella in A Nascar Holiday)
2. The Fortune Teller’s Lay (coming soon from the Wilder Rose Press) by Lara Dien
3. Hurricane Breeze (coming soon from the Wild Rose Press) by Terry Odell
4. Becoming My Mother, and Other Things I Learned from Jane Austin by Nancy Robards Thompson (in the Like Mother, Like Daughter anthology)
5. In Time for Christmas by Cheryl Alldredge (from Coffee Time Romance) [Finished 1/5/08]
6. Christmas at Home by Leanne L. Burroughs (in the Christmas Wishes Anthology) [Finished 1/5/08]

7. Poor Me by Dara Edmondson & Raina Edmondson (Wild Rose Press)
8. Eyes of the Dead by Aleka Nakis (Resplendence Publishing)

VI. Books by Authors I Haven’t Yet Read
1. Lay that Trumpet in Our Hands by Susan Carol McCarthy
2. Moongazer by Marianne Mancusi
3. Sunshine by Robin McKinley
4. The Kommandant’s Girl by Pam Jenoff
5. Private Arrangements by Sherry Thomas
6. TBA
7. TBA
8. TBA

VII. Audio Books
1. The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
2. Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
3. Blood Fever by Karen Marie Moning (2nd in Moning’s Fever series)
4. TBA
5. TBA
6. TBA
7. TBA
8. TBA

VIII. The “I’m Fickle and I Know I’ll Want to Add/Change Along the Way and this Category Lets Me and I Don’t Care if it is Cheating” Category.
All of this category is TBA & I’ll list them as I go.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Are you a feminist?

What I'm reading: The CEO’s Scandalous Affair by Roxanne St. Claire
What I'm working on: Not a damn thing. Crappy day.
I posted this in light of the discussion we've been having on our Affairs of the Pen loop.

What's your percentage?


You are 81% Feminist

You are a total feminist. This doesn't mean you're a man hater (in fact, you may be a man).You just think that men and women should be treated equally. It's a simple idea but somehow complicated for the world to put into action.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It's beginning to feel alot like.....winter!


What I'm reading: Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas & Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz.
What I'm working on: Nothing writing-wise. I cleaned my closet instead.

I received this weather alert via email and text today. (You sign up for
this sort of thing when you spent 22 years in tornado alley.)

The following Watches, Warnings and Advisories have been issued for Orange County by the National Weather Service:

WIND CHILL WARNING – in effect from 7:00 pm Wednesday to 9:00 am Thursday.
Wind Chill Warning: Sub-freezing temperatures combined with forecast winds of 10 to 15 mph will produce wind chills in Orange County of 20 degrees or lower overnight, reaching as low as 15 degrees before sunrise Thursday. Extra precautions should be taken to reduce exposure.

I can't tell you how excited this makes me!!!!
I've been complaining about the 75 to 80 degree weather that plagues our winters for awhile now. As of this moment -- 5:41 pm Eastern time -- it's only 43 degrees. Woohoo.

I'm putting on my new Curvy jeans from the Gap (made for girls with butts! Yeah!) and my favorite green turtle-neck sweater from Old Navy and my cozy brown boots and I'm heading to the library to pick up a reserved audio book.

And then, mostly for the coffee (yeah, right....) I'm heading to the local Books-a-Million so I can find a cozy fireside book -- completely different from a sweltering-its-always-summer-here book.

Happy, happy, happy!!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Welcoming 2008 & Reviewing 2007 -- part one

Happy 2008!

What I'm reading: Dreaming of you by Lisa Kleypas & Raven's Gate by Anthony Horowitz.
What I'm working on: Revisions to the beginning of The Slayer's Circle and adding new scenes where needed.

I'll be posting this year's writing and life goals later in the week -- once they're finalized and I'm done tweaking them. I'll probably also post a "best of" for 2007 -- the "best of" being a list of the most memorable things I've done or accomplished in 2007 -- kind of a year in review.

For now, I'm transferring my Read in 2007 list into a blog so I can start my Read in 2008 list in the sidebar. These are the books I finished reading this year. It's a fairly sizable list. In wondering how I compared to others as far as number of books read, I checked out some online info about how much American adults read. I found a very interesting article from the Washington Post: One in Four Read No Books Last Year. Check it out. The title itself is depressing for a writer. The article said the "average" person read FOUR books last year. FOUR. I read ten times that many. (I wonder how many TV reruns people watched last year. Pathetic.) For a writer, the message is clear. If people are only going to read 4 books a year, you'd better write a damn good one and promote the hell out of it.

Anyway, let's get past this depressing news and on to my list -- many of which were outstanding. Let me know if you read any of them and what you thought.


Books read in 2007

• New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
• Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy
• Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
• Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer
• All Night Long by Jayne Ann Krentz
• Stormbreaker (Alex Rider series) by Anthony Horowitz
• The Devil and Miss Prym by Paolo Coehlo
• The Rules of Survival by Nancy Werlin
• A Hunger Like No Other by Kresley Cole
• MacKenzie’s Pleasure by Linda Howard
• Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas
• Incantation by Alice Hoffman
• The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
• Dark Fever by Karen Marie Moning
• Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
• What Great Teachers Do Differently: Fourteen Things That Matter Most by Todd Whitaker
• A Piece of Heaven by Barbara Samuel
• Raintree: Haunted by Linda Winstead Jones
• Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
• This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
• A Man in a Million by Jessica Bird
• A Perfect Match by Emilie Rose
• When Good Things Happen to Bad Boys (Anthology) by Lori Foster, Erin McCarthy, & HelenKay Dimon
• Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
• Rebel Angels by Libba Bray
• Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward
• Ladies Man by Suzanne Brockman
• Second Sight by Amanda Quick
• Under the Microscope by Jessica Andersen
• Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
• Closer by Jo Leigh
• The Trudeau Vector by Juris Jurjevics
• GMC: Goal, Motivation & Conflict by Debra Dixon
• You Can't Hide by Karen Rose
• Long Time Coming by Sandra Brown
• A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
• The Pocket Muse Endless Inspiration: New Ideas for Writing by Monica Wood
• Investigating 101 by Debra Webb
• Parlor Games (anthology) by Jess Michaels, Leda Swann, & Julia Templeton
• Flashpoint by Suzanne Brockman
• Valley of Silence by Nora Roberts
• Dance of the Gods by Nora Roberts
• Morrigan's Cross by Nora Roberts