Tuesday, February 22, 2011

SUBLIMINAL MONDAY: Stevie Nicks is Stalking Me (Again)

Stevie Nicks visited me in my dream last night. Again. It's kind of annoying, actually. I've considered contacting the authorities to report a stalker, but fear they'd take her word over mine. [Good call.]

I've had numerous dreams involving Stevie over the past few years. [Few? You call more than 30 "few?"] We're usually singing together and, I humbly confess, my vocal prowess is way better than hers. [Oh, look! A pink elephant is flying across the room! Whee!]

Which brings me to my point. [Seriously? It's that time of the decade?] What dreams do we have percolating within us that, no matter how we ignore them, just won't die? I've got a couple of big ones. [What does chest size have to do with anything?]

1) Rock Princess
As some of you know, this was my biggest dream. I took voice lessons, wrote songs, practiced guitar until I had calluses, and helped form a kick-ass rock band. [Must you use profanity? Oh, wait, yes. You're talking about rock and roll for f*ck's sake.] We performed, recorded, had our music played on the radio, won songwriting awards, and became one of the best original rock bands in Denver. But, over time, I stopped pursuing my greatest passion.

An acoustic guitar sits by my bed taunting me; willing me to joyfully create. [You do realize guitars are inanimate objects, right?] Sometimes I strum the steel strings, but more often, I don't. I still love singing and writing songs, but there's a sadness around it for me. I gave up on the 'big dream,' and hate that I gave up. [Don't be a hater. It's bad karma.]

2) Famous Painter
This may come as a surprise, since I haven't picked up a paintbrush since I was four, but I've daydreamed about painting beautiful masterpieces (think a cross between Monet and DaVinci) for most of my life. [Oh, look! Now a PURPLE elephant is playing with the pink one. How cute!] Alas, this dream dies a quick, painless death each time I choose not to do anything about it.

Then there are the dreams that refuse to die.

My writing is at the top of this list. Since I write full-time, one could say I've already achieved this dream. [BWAHAHAHA! Oh, wait. That wasn't a joke?] My muse, Lenora Esmeralda Cecelia Isabella Alexandria, or Lecia for short, [Your therapist has an opening in an hour. You should snag it.] dances freely through my mind, and with the exception of her waking me up in the middle of the night to write, "You simply must not forget dees, dahlink!" (her words, not mine), I love her with all my writerly heart. [You really are a fruit loop.]

Another dream I have is to turn my new town home (moving in mid-May) into a dwelling deserving of being featured in Architectural Digest. I love interior decorating and long to create unforgettable designs. [And I long to marry George Clooney and live on my own private island, but only one of us is smart enough to realize THAT AIN'T EVER GONNA HAPPEN!] Even if AD never comes calling, the pure joy of creating a living space that reflects my passions, personality, and artistic sensibility will be a gloriously manifested dream. [Oy, just oy.]

What about you? Do you have dreams that won't die? Dreams that pluck at your heart strings like a love-struck harpist? Do you have passions you've left in the dust only to be swept away like a tumbleweed in a whipping, western wind storm?

[Okay, that's it. I've got to stop you right here. You call yourself a writer? WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT LAST PARAGRAPH ABOUT? This literary rubbish is humiliating to you, your parents, family, friends, strangers within a thousand miles, and most importantly, me, your [beloved, precious, beguiling] subconscious. Cut it out or I'll beat Lecia to death with an imaginary wet noodle, and leave you with nothing more than your worthless drivel and worn-out cliches. Don't cross me. I'm warning you! You need to stop this nonsense now. RIGHT NOW!]

I'm not sure why I feel the sudden need to end this post, but I do. So, please, friends, share your dreams. I'd love to hear them all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Genre Surfing

Draft #7 is off to AA (cue party music and drop the confetti), and I'm about to dig into a brand new story.

Draft #7 is YA, and my new project is women's fiction. There is sometimes controversy surrounding writing in different genres:

1) If the first book you sell is a certain genre, can you then dive into another? Or, is that like being a debut author all over again?

2) How does your agent feel? Does he/she specialize in a particular genre? (In which case, is it kosher to have more than one agent?)*

3) Would your agent prefer you stick to "what works?"

4) If you write in different genres, do you use different pen names/pseudonyms?

5) Will your publisher expect you to pump out books in only one genre?

*If you don't have an agent yet and you write in more than one genre, this is an important topic to discuss when you receive an offer of representation.

These questions are vital, especially since, unless you're James Patterson with a staff of a gazillion writers, how many books can you write in a year?

So far, I've written nearly five full novels (I'm a little over halfway done with one of them.) Two are women's fiction, two fun murder mysteries, and one is YA. The YA novel is the one I hope AA will be shopping around soon.

As I said, I'm about to begin another book, a women's fiction story I scribbled out the first few pages to on my cruise last month. I'm looking forward to the change of pace and the ability to tackle "adult" topics. I've concentrated on nothing but my YA novel for nearly a year and a half, and as much as I ADORE this book (yes, I'm still madly in love with it!), my artistic muscles are aching to shift gears.

What about you? Do you write in different genres? If so, what have your experiences been? What are your thoughts on the subject?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Ends and Beginnings. Beginnings and Ends. Or, Rock it, Baby, Rock It!

I'm down to the last 50 pages of edits on my YA manuscript. (Cue loud cheers, put the brownies in the oven, and chill the champagne.) For those of you who've been counting, this is Draft #7.

This book's journey began in September of '09 with an idea. Actually, that's not true. It began with a title. Soon after, I had a fuzzy idea. I pitched it to AA in one short sentence, and she asked to read my first draft when it was done. Six weeks later, I completed the first draft and nervously hit the "send" button. She read it, loved it, and offered me representation. Although it was the fifth novel I'd completed, I had no idea how much work would be involved.

I wrote, rewrote, changed POV, hired an editor, and now, here I am, almost a year and a half later, getting ready to ship off (what I hope will be) the last fully edited draft to AA. As much as I love this ms, I'm starting to get an itch; an itch that can only be scratched by a new story and new characters.

Enter... NEW BEGINNING! (Don't worry. That's not the title.)

I'd previously mentioned that, while on my cruise, I scribbled out the first few pages of a possible new writing adventure. I've got the title and a general idea I hope to pitch to AA soon. I'm excited and terrified about (once again) stepping into the unknown and trusting myself to do the idea justice. In writing, as in life, it's the journey that matters. After all, what's the point of living if not to learn with the curiosity of a child, love with our deepest of hearts, stretch our talents and abilities as far as we can, and eat the most chocolate we can possibly get our hands on?

Art imitates life, so it's no surprise this is a direct parallel to my "real" life. I've been honest about my separation and eventual divorce, because I'm committed to this blog being about my writing journey and my life's journey. This time in my life has been both brutal and exhilarating, but one thing's for sure: every second has been a learning experience. Every tear, every accomplishment, and every new day has provided an opportunity to explore my soul and learn more about who I am and who I'm capable of becoming as a writer, woman, mom, friend, daughter, sister, girlfriend, and as a caring, loving human being.

Ends and beginnings. Beginnings and ends. The figure eight of eternity. The endless circle of life where beginnings and ends fade into one.

No matter your perspective, it's all a journey. So, have fun with it, love it, share it, live it, and most importantly, rock it, baby ROCK IT!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

And Then There Were Three...

One of the less talked about casualties of separation and divorce are pets.* Less than a year ago, I was slave to six feline captors. Now, I'm slave to only three.

Tiger Lilly and Zoro went to my soon-to-be-ex and Scampy went to a good friend. It's strange watching the dear creatures in your life leave in pet carriers into a brand new life; one you're not privy to, but one you know (hope, pray) is alive and well and filled with other voices, other routines, other pet brothers and sisters. It's odd to know my "babies" now belong to someone else.

I'm lucky my kids are old enough that there were no custody issues. Dealing with custody of our "fur babies" has been difficult enough. I wonder what they think as they leave the only home they've ever known for the last time. I wonder what Dusty, Caramel, and Emma - the cats who've stayed behind - think happened to those who've left. I know they don't think in language like we do, but they do have feelings and are aware of what's going on around them.

After Scampy left on Saturday, I noticed Emma roaming the house seeming somewhat confused. I imagine she was looking for "Uncle Scamp." Where did he go? When is he coming back? Why isn't he playing with me? It's fascinating watching and wondering how life occurs for them. I couldn't help but feel a little sadness for the bonds they had that will never be again. (Ah yes, bonds that were that will never be again...)

Then again, do we ever really know how life occurs for anyone else? This past year has taught me the answer to that question is a resounding, "No!"

So, what to do?

Love those in your life as fully as possible and be as true to your word as you can.

To Tiger Lilly, Zoro, and Scamp: I love you and always will. I think about you every day and hope your lives are happy and fulfilled.

To my dear friends and family: Ditto. ;-))

*Cats appearing in order: Caramel and Dusty (brother and sister) in the kitchen; Emma snuggling with Zoro; Tiger Lilly chilling in the pool room; and Scampy on his throne.

I'm plugging along on edits to Draft #7, hoping this will be the draft that goes on submission. I'm taking my time with it; committed to only one chapter per day. I should be done by the end of the month. Then, off to Awesome Agent for a read-through. From there, who knows? But I know what my goal is: to be published. Again and again and again. Only time will tell. In the meantime, I'm living my dream - to be a writer.

And, really, what else is there in life but to live our dreams?

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