Friday, December 31, 2010

Tell me your story-NYE Style

Okay, so it isn't Tuesday, but I wanted to do a Tell Me Your Story post anyway.

New Year's Eve style.

I having been trying to conjure up my best memory of New Year's Eve. Difficult, because most of them blend together in an alcohol-induced haze. The overarching themes from my younger years involve  friends, a karaoke machine and lots of drinking in the back bedroom. Unfortunately, a good portion of it is preserved on video.

Must destroy all copies before my children are old enough to see...

One NYE that will always make me smile centers around sneaking a friend's underage brother  into a bar in New Mexico. He didn't drink, just hung with us.That same night,  I vaguely remember running the table on a friend's overly-confident (read : cocky jerk)  fiance while everyone thought I was too toasted to stand up, much less focus on the cue ball.

At midnight, everyone else kiss their future husbands, I kissed three gay men. 

The New Year's Eve Kiss-at-Midnight thing as never worked out well for me.

Case in point, at the time of one of the aforementioned parties, I was seeing two different guys (one for fun, one for keeps- I thought) and heavily flirting with a third ( because this was college and he was just hot!).

All three made an appearance at the party.

Fun Guy~ stopped by long enough to try to persuade me to leave with him. Stayed less than fifteen minutes. Wasn't there at midnight, but called at 2 am because he hadn't found anyone better to bring in the New Year with. Yeah, he was a winner.

For Keeps Guy~ Came by for a while. Had been drinking since noon. Drank more with me and inexplicably left at about 11:45.

Hot Guy~ Asked me to go outside with him when For Keeps Guy left so we could "talk some place private" *Promising* Made me sit in the front seat of his freezing truck while he confessed his undying love for my roommate and asked me to help set it up so he could kiss her at midnight.

Yet, another year I kissed three gay men.

So, tell me your story. What is your best New Year's Eve? What is your worst? 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It is what it is...

Thinking about Thursday

Like everyone else today, I am thinking about 2011. As I mentioned in my previous post 2010 was "less than stellar". Honestly, I am  uneasy about 2011. It is already not going to be the year I hoped for and it hasn't even started yet.

One of my mother's more annoying phrases is "It is what it is." This is her frustrating non-response to anything unpleasant. Recently, I saw an addition to this phrase that changed it completely for me.

It is what it is but it will be what you make it.

So, the question for today is:
What am I going to make it?

I have three basic goals for this year.

1. Find a critique group/ partner.
    I have to let someone with objectivity read my work. It is just time.

2. Attend a writing conference.
    I am aiming for DFWCON in February. 

3. Query.
    Even if it is just one email. Just to prove I can.

Hold me to these, please. I am a people-pleaser. I don't mind letting myself down, but if someone else is holding me accountable, I almost never let them down.

So, what you about you? What are you going to make 2011? 

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010


2010 just wasn't my year...for anything. If you want an example of the sordid details, you can read my review of the summer here. But, basically, it was an unsatisfying year. --> I had the word "crappy", but put it into for a more civilized  word.

Unsatisfying is a perfect description.

Unsatisfying because I expected  more. Much, much more.

I knew the changes to my job would be challenging. I didn't expect them to be overwhelming to the point of (metaphoric) suffocation. 

I wanted to focus on my writing, but life, kids,my mother and other randomness pushed it aside.

And as I wrote earlier this month, I am still right here.


Before you call me a therapist or click unfollow because "Wow, she is depressing."

I am confident it is going to get better.

I look at the possibilities before me for 2011 and I am beyond excited.

I have two manuscripts ready for the Great Expectations contest.
I am going to the DFW Writer's Workshop Conference.
and I may just quit my day job after reading this post by JM Tohline.

So, 2010 wasn't it for me. Not at all. But 2011 will be here in a few days. Bring it on!

Next Thursday, I will be listing my goals for 2011. Please drop by so you can hold me accountable later!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thinking about ... Thursday

 Today, I am thinking about...
Where to begin?
I am pondering a complete rewrite of the opening scene in my entry for the Great Expectations Contest. Based on feedback from the last contest, I may have started at the wrong place. I love some of the lines in the scene as it is. I hate to lose the character interaction, but it is mostly back story presented through a cast (no, really, they are doing a theater production) of characters.

A judge suggested starting at the next scene and including the information from the first by using introspection. I am not real clear how to do that. 

I am also not sure I will have enough to time to completely rewrite it the way I think it should go. After all, it is the holidays!

So, that is what I am thinking about today. What about you? Have you ever moved your starting point and it worked out for the best? Can you give some suggestions on using introspection without it becoming a "telling, not showing" problem? What is on your mind about your writing?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

I want to hear your story!

As my blog title and URL state, I am a "writer in waiting" who is still "chasing someday".

I plan to venture into the world of querying and rejection this year.

That is where you come in. I love to read about other people's journey to publication.
Would you be interested in sharing your story with me?

If you are an already published author who would like to share your story and, of course, advertise your upcoming release or if you are a pre-published author walking through this journey with me, I would love put your story on "Tell Me Your Story Tuesday."

Please email me at the address in my profile.

I plan to start posting stories on Tuesdays in January 2011.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Changes and a look back

    Last January, when I wrote this post I hoped to be celebrating the changes brought on during 2010. Now, as 2011 creeps closer, I realize I got the changes. Just not the celebration.

     Back when no one read this but me, I wrote about my career. Even as  I toyed with the idea of chasing my dream to be an author, I worried it wasn't what I was meant to do.  I was snuggled into my comfort zone. Teaching wasn't as challenging and fulfilling as it had once been, but it was safe. I knew I could do it. I wasn't going to fail.

    I linked the previous post because I am still right there. All of those thoughts are with me daily. This year was not what I expected at all. Changes have been smacking me in the face.

     My position is being relocated. If I stay with teaching then next year I will be starting over on a new campus with new people... again. My comfort zone is being unraveled.

    This would be the time to make a solid, clean break.  Teaching will always be there. I can always go back. But, for the first time ever, the opportunity to write full time is a viable option. I don't know if I will always have the courage to try. I am not sure I have the courage now.

      I feel like I have climbed to the top of the high dive. I already know how to swim, but staring down at the water. I am too terrified to jump in.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What I like about you...

Or should I say, what they like about me.

I am new to the process of letting others read my work. For years ( and I mean YEARS) I was a closet writer. I used to tell my parents I was writing a letter to a friend or working on a school assignment when I was really filling spiral notebook after notebook with stories.

One of my goals for  this year was to enter a contest and receive feedback. I picked one at random from the RWA contest loop.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I wasn't prepared for the feedback. Even though it was administer in the most professional way possible. It still stung.

I am over the shock now. This weekend I went the through the judges' comments and made myself a word document with all the positive statements.

Here is what they liked about me:
    • This has the potential to be a very interesting and exciting read.
    • You did a lovely job with description .
    • First let me start out by saying that your premise is inspired.
    • I think you have a great premise, and with tweaking and getting it all together, you have a terrific shot at getting in front of an agent and/or editor and achieving your dreams. 
    These are what I am holding onto as I revise and rewrite for the Great Expectations Contest

    I am reminding myself this is a process and  if I am going to be successful, I must be willing to learn.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    10,000 words

    I changed my story for NaNoWriMo three times this year.  I couldn't get past a few hundred words. I couldn't name any of the characters. I had no direction for the plot.Nothing was working for me.

    Then, I received the contest critiques.  I considered not writing at all last weekend. I was busy pouting and consuming chocolate. Fortunately, for my NaNo and for my pant size, that only last about an hour. Then, an old story, one  I have toyed with for years, tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hey, you could write about me."

    I put aside everything else in my mind and just wrote. I wrote like I did before I started thinking about publication. I didn't think about who was going to read it or if I used too many "ly" words or the word "he" twelve times in a ten sentence paragraph. I just focused on putting the story playing in my mind into words.

    In five days, my little smidge of an idea became over 10,000 words.
    The really exciting part is I have plenty of more words floating around head if I could just find some time to put it on paper.

    So, for today, I am doing the happy dance in celebration of me!

    Feel free to join the conga line!

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Well, that was brutal...

    I received my first critiques from a writing contest today. Really, my first critiques ever.

    Wow, evidently I suck at this and no has bothered to tell me.

    First, let me say Thank You to the judges who took the time to leave specific comments and feedback. I appreciate it and I am sure when I am done wallowing in self-pity, I will put those comments to good use.

    I understand constructive criticism and all of the comments, even the negative ones, were delivered as professionally and gently as possible. I am still pouting.

    This has been a rough week. I felt terrible most of the week. I can't get past the first 1000 words of my NaNo and my husband is gone until Sunday. So, I don't have anyone to point out "They said you had a good premise." or "This one said you had a nice voice."

    There were positive comments.

    But what I see is  I don't know how to use punctuation. I have a weak hook and don't write natural dialogue.
    If my manuscript would have been an English assignment and the score sheet a rubric, I would have received a 59 at worst or 74 at best. Being a teacher, that says something to me.

    I am not giving up. I will use the comments, make the changes and submit to the Great Expectations Contest. But for tonight, I am going to cry and drown my disappointment in chocolate ice cream.

    and possibly admit NaNoWriMo defeat.

    Sunday, October 31, 2010

    Time to lock up Boris!

    Tomorrow is November!

    I feel like this is New Year's Eve. I am beyond excited about NaNoWriMo.
    Last year, I only told my husband I was participating and that was after I was a few weeks in. I didn't use my real name on the NaNo site. I did not know any  other writers.

    What a difference a year makes!

    I have two blogs now.
    I am using my professional name on the NaNo site.
    My husband has known for weeks exactly how many days until I would be unavailable to do anything but mutter to myself on the couch.:)
    I have a support group of fellow writer counting down the minutes with me. 
    I have even downloaded novel writing software to test out.

    I feel infinitely more confident than I did last year.

    Until I don't...

    I don't have any idea what I am going to write.
    I don't know if I am going to have the time to write.

    I don't want to fail.

    Which is why I kept the same signature I used before:

    "You only fail if you stop writing." ~ Ray Bradbury

    So, it is time to lock up Boris. My ugly troll-like internal editor. He likes to shake his head at me and say things like, "They are all just talking heads! Make them do something!" or "Really? That was the best you could do?"  He resembles Thimbletack from the Spiderwick Chronicles.
    He starts off looking like this.
    Then he gets angry and frustrated with my progress. He starts to howl and wail. Then he turns to this.
    He prefers honey, but I supplement with extra sticky peanut butter, especially during NaNo.

    Sorry, Boris, time to get in your cage. It's only 30 days. I am sure you understand. See you December 1st! 


    Friday, October 22, 2010

    A different kind of waiting...

    I am counting down the days until November!  Not just because of NaNoWriMo, even though that would be enough because it is completely AWESOME! 

    But ,also because I entered two manuscripts to the Mid-America Romance Writers Fiction from the Heartland Contest. I have no intentions of winning. I am just happy I managed to let someone else read my work and  comment on it and after the Secret Agent contest, I am excited to see the feedback.

    I will admit some of the feedback from the SA contest made me cringe. For example, Someone very kindly pointed out there is a  glaring mistake in the second sentence.  THE SECOND SENTENCE!   

    The rest of it was refreshing.I plan to combine the SA feedback with what I receive from the MARWA and use it to make both manuscripts absolutely polished in time for THE GREAT EXPECTATIONS contest.

    and as long as I am in a linking mood today. This is what I want for Christmas! ( Hint, Hint, Hint). I heart Sandra Brown :)

    That is all the random thoughts from me today!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    I survived...and I am a total dork!

    Overall, I would consider my experience with the Secret Agent Contest on very positive. An AGENT actually read my work! ( at least the first 250 words.) and didn't say it was horrible! In fact, he/she ( the agent hasn't been reveal yet)  said it had POTENTIAL!!! P-O-T-E-N-T-I-AL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *squeal!*

    Also, another reader took the time to email me a detailed critique. I greatly appreciated that.

    Now, for my total dorkiness! It is ALMOST NOVEMBER !  I haven't started plotting for NaNoWriMo yet, but I am beyond excited!  Last year such a fun experience and I completed one of my favorite manuscripts. It has been through multiple revisions since then and barely resembles the original, but I LOVE IT!

    Can't wait to try it again!

    Monday, October 11, 2010

    I GOT IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I can't believe it! I hit the send button at exactly 11:00 and immediately got an acceptance email!


    Now someone who completely doesn't know me is not only going to read what I wrote, but is going to COMMENT on it!  

    Pretty sure I need to go throw up now!

    This me...trying to grow thick skin, right before your eyes....


    Today, I am literally a writer in waiting. I am waiting for 11:00 am. That is when I am going to hit send on my already "saved as a draft" email to  Authoress, reigning queen of Miss Snark's First Victim and her fabulous "Secret Agent Contest".  I am always working when the submission window is open, but today ( thanks to Christopher Columbus and the state of Texas' odd obsession with its own state fair) I AM HOME!

    Now, if I can hold my trembling finger still long enough to hit send!

    I can't decide if I truly want to get a space or not.

    Back at 11:03 to either squeal or cry.. maybe a little of both!

    Monday, September 20, 2010

    So, what do you write?

    I went to my first official writers meeting last weekend. I LOVED it! Writing has always been such a private thing for me. It was amazing to be surrounded by other people who started conversations with, "So, what do you write?" and actually LISTENED to the answer!

    Monday, September 13, 2010


    I knew this year was going to be a year of transition with my day job as well as my writing. That crossroads I discussed before as suddenly turned into an abrupt fork in the road. The difference? I am no longer sitting at the wheel. Some one else has taken over and now I have to wait to see which turn is made before I can react.

    I did manage two baby steps this week.
    One: I sent two entries to a writing contest. A real writing contest that provides feedback. I managed to push send without actually throwing up. I am not sure I will be able to say the same about reading the feedback.
    Two: I launched Story Twister.

    That is something, right?
    Saturday, I will be going even a step further by attending a RWA chapter meeting. I am so excited !

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Twilight of Summer

    School starts on Monday. This summer was not good. I attended two funerals ( one saddening and one heart wrenching). I made the very grown up and unbearable decision to allow my best four legged friend to be free from her suffering. I prayed without ceasing for a dear friend who spent over a month in the hospital recovering from a horrible accident.

    I missed my father more than usual.
     I wrote very little.

     In June I gave myself these goals:

    1. Finish editing "Book 2" and give the poor thing a title!
    2. Take an online writing course
    3. Launch StoryTwister
    4. Finish editing "Book 1"

    1. I did finish editing Book 2. It still has no title.
    2. I did enroll in a writing course about Forensics for Writers. I quit after the first three weeks because the material was not what I expected and dreadfully boring.
    3. I did NOTHING with Story Twister ( Probably one of my most disappointing failure to completes)
    4. I did revision Book 1 ( again) 

    And the "Big One": send one query to prove I can....

     Evidently, I can't.

    I am at the same crossroads I mentioned a few months ago. I took the position with the organization that is dear to my heart, but unrelated to writing.  My work schedule for the next nine months is INSANE. I am worried. I am scared and, worst of all, I am haunted by the feeling this ( my job, the organization, etc) isn't what I want to be doing.

    Sunday, July 25, 2010

    A little less conversation... A little more action

    I have made a decision.
    I am taking a blog break. Not from  this blog. Although, I am pretty sure only one person might even possibly notice if I did that. (Thank you, Jody, for being my single follower!) Is anyone else out there?????????


    Anyway, I am taking a week long break from the seven other blogs I read daily. These are author's and agent's blogs. Blogs I didn't know existed until a year ago when I decided to start researching the publishing process. They have been a wealth of information and I deeply enjoy them, but while I am discussing writing everyday, I am not writing everyday.

    For the 34 years before I read these blogs, I wrote. I didn't care if I was writing for the current market or if anyone else was ever going to read it. I just wrote. I miss that. I miss the absent of pressure for my writing. I want remember what it was like to write only for me.

    Maybe I will come up with a brilliant new plot line, maybe not. But I hope to at least remember my voice and why, even though the world may never read my work....
    I am a writer. 

    Wednesday, July 21, 2010


    So, I am not doing so great.
    First of all, I am 35 today. THIRTY-FIVE! 3-5. UGH. How did that happen? I was 24 just yesterday!

    Second, I am not writing. I tried. I have over 15,000 words of a new manuscript and I just stopped. Stopped before I even got to the "good" part, which had inspired me in the first place. I feel like I am trying too hard.

    My brain has become a cider block. I used to have three or four story lines a day running through my head. It was like having satellite channels in my mind. For the past couple of weeks, there has been nothing but static. Plenty of lights and noise to occupy my thoughts (Work, the house, my husband, the kids, my mother, school supplies, vet appointments,blah, blah blah,) But I feel like I am forcing any amount of words onto the paper and I don't like any of them.

    I wonder if it is because I did decide to get serious about publication. Instead of just writing, like I always have, I am reading agent blogs, writer, blogs, email loops. I am overwhelmed by information about how to write instead of thinking of what to write. 

    I am considering taking a week long break from all the blog reading and letting my brain decompress.

    Friday, June 25, 2010

    Coming out

    I have decided to come out... No, I am not gay. I am coming out as myself. I have been hiding behind a screen name on my blogging, commenting and generally anything writing related. So, I am coming out. My name is Dawn. Not Emily (Though, I do think Emily is beautiful name). I used a screen name because I thought it would be easier if Emily failed at writing, but Dawn didn't.

    I am tired of hiding behind it. I am a writer... ME.. DAWN.

    I have written nothing in the two weeks since my summer started. I think part of my block has been the refusal to accept this is the direction I want to go. I want to be known as a writer!

    So, there it is... For the two people in the world who might possibly being reading this. My name is Dawn. In real life and online... Nice to meet you.

    Friday, June 11, 2010

    Finally Summer

    It is finally summer. I am free from (most) obligations. I certainly I have more time to write. Here are the goals I have set for myself before Aug. 12th when I return to the real world.

    1. Finish editing "Book 2" and give the poor thing a title!
    2. Take an online writing course
    3. Launch StoryTwister
    4. Finish editing "Book 1"

    and the BIG ONE

    Send at least ONE query just to prove I can!

    Sunday, May 9, 2010


    I am at an intersection. Just me at a four way stop. In the next few weeks, I will either have to hit the blinker and make the turn or barrel through on the path I have set.

    An opportunity to become re-involved in a professional organization I truly value and believe to be vitally important has arisen for me. It is a strong time commitment.  But could lead to more professional opportunities, networking, presentations, etc.

    Hours after the opportunity was presented. My husband made his own proposal. If we can eliminate our credit card debt, which is a possibility  within a year ( if we truly focus) or two ( if we aren't as stringent), I can quit and make a serious attempt at pursuing publication.

    So, here I am... hands on the wheel... tank full of fuel... an no direction to go.

    Sunday, April 18, 2010

    907 words

    That is what I wrote yesterday. Almost the prescribed 1000 words a day, but not quite. I am trying to go with the NaNoWriMo philosophy. It is just a first draft. Just get it on the paper. Then worry about revising.... I am trying. It is a start.

    Thursday, April 15, 2010

    So, I am not writing...

    well, I am writing right now... But, in general, I am not writing. I have an idea. I always I have an idea. But I can't seem to make myself put it on paper. I think I am having a writer identity crisis. Mystery is my first love. I like to dabble in romance ~ Don't we all :) ~ and I have idea for a paranormal... So, who am I ?

    I have turned into one of those writers who reads all the blogs, follows all the agents, but doesn't actually PRODUCE anything... and that is unacceptable.

    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Spring Break

    It is finally here. The past two weeks have been so busy I could barely think, but that is done. I am looking at an entire week with very few "firm" plans. The perfect time to start my new manuscript. Plenty of time to write. Or I could continue editing the other two. I have all this time...

    So, why can't I think of ANYTHING to write about. Nothing. Not one thing...

    Saturday, February 27, 2010

    NaNo revised and RWA

    I finished the first round of revisions for my NaNoWriMo. I still really like the story. Comments from my first round of readers ( my husband and two best friends) have been very positive. I am just glad someone else is finally reading it!

    I also am now an official member of Romance Writers of America. I have been staring at the application for months now. I finally got some stamps and sent it in! I am was very impressed by their quick response.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010


    Funny, still feels exactly like 2009, which felt strangely similar to 2008. But it is officially 2010. In six months, I will be 35 years old.

    The year I turned 30, I decided I wanted to be published. I was already a writer. I had been writing story since I as a child. I had an epiphany. I realized that if I was truly turning 30, someday, I would truly turn 40. By the age of 40, I wanted a book on the shelves of a store, even if it was only waiting for my mother and a few close friends to purchase it!

    When I mentioned this to a friend, one of a handful of people in my life who knew I was a writer. Her response was, "I bet you can do it by 35."

    While I appreciate her faith in me... it isn't going to happen by 35. It might not even happen by 36.

    2010 feels like a good year.