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OnLine Workshop Plug — Airing Dirty Laundry May 29, 2010

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One of my new volunteer positions with my writing chapter, RWA’s Heart of Dixie, is to be their online workshop moderator. I’m getting ready to moderate the next class on June 7. AIRING DIRTY LAUNDRY (description follows). In the spirit of fun, I’m offering a PRIZE to the first person who signs up for this class and mentions that they read about it on DIGGING OUT OF DISTRACTION.

In addition to receiving a prize, this person, along with all the other class participants, will have the opportunity to send in the first few pages of their manuscripts for critique by PUBLISHED authors and TWO of these will be selected for FULL CRITIQUES!

How cool is that? Very cool.

So come on and join in the fun. I can’t wait to see who signs up first!
Airing Dirty Laundry – Use Family Stories, Eavesdropping and Cable TV to Create Writing Income
Instructor: Marilyn Puett
Online Workshop Through Heart of Dixie, RWA, www.heartofdixie.org
June 7 – 21, 2010
Cost: $20, Deadline for Registration June 5th.
Course Description:
Airing Dirty Laundry offers information and tips on how to create a source of outside income by writing short stories for the confessions and romance magazines.  This two-week workshop is geared for writers who want extra income while waiting to sell their first book, are between royalty checks or simply want an extra income stream.
This course takes students step by step through writing a confession.  It begins with learning the market, developing hooks and compelling story lines and structuring a story properly.  By the end of the course, students should have a story ready for submission.
Additionally, participants will be given the opportunity to submit the first few pages of a story they start during the class and have the pages critiqued by published writers.  Two stories will be selected toward the end of the class to receive a full critique.

 

My Cyber World May 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:04 pm
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I love to blog because it is an outlet for my writing soul. But the main reason I love to blog is because I have met some very fun people and created a wonderful little Cyber World of friends. I’m not going to mention every blog in this post (too long–check out my blogs I follow or look at the sidebar on my page).
But I do want to share the few that have made me laugh out loud or taught me a thing or three about writing or technology.

First up, the Petits Fours & Hot Tamales made me LOL with their most recent post about Thongs. Then I zipped over to my good friend’s blog, The Edited Life, and learned about Mind Mapping. She’s always coming up with interesting topics. The other day I chuckled when I read one of my chapter mate’s blogs about the Dunking Booth in Okay, Listen Here. She’s new to the blogging scene, but not to writing (actually, she’s two people). I always love to read my group blog, Romance Magicians. And I’ve added a few new friends to my Cyber World, including Jody Hedlund, Ellen Brickley (over in Ireland!), Karen Gowen, and Justine Dell.

I also read agent blogs, blogs about publishing and blogs that are just plain fun. I don’t read every blog I follow every day (I’d never get any writing accomplished). But I do like to touch base with my Cyber Buddies on a regular basis. This is my coffee break time, my office chatter with other writers and my way of feeling connected to others when I’m slogging away on my computer and writing.

Writing is a solo pursuit. But it doesn’t have to be lonely, especially in this day and age.

 

A Few Good Books on My Nook: Read to Write Well May 26, 2010

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I blogged about my brand new toy, THE NOOK after Mother’s Day. The timing of the gift coincided with my renewed desire to read more books, not just for analysis of my genre, but for pure pleasure. For quite some time, I had spent hours writing. I had spent hours reading blogs about writing. I had spent hours learning about writing via online courses and reading books about the craft.

I had not spent a lot of time READING. What had once been a passion for me had transformed into only work. I resolved to change that in the new year. And I’ve been happily reading books by Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts and slews of other writers. I’ve read YAs for fun, Women’s Fiction and pure romance.

Remember Romance? Remember when it was simply about a boy meeting a girl, falling in love, falling in love with their love, feeling sad when they reached their romantic black moment, wondering how they’d patch things up, and finally cheering for them when they reached their happily ever after?

I do. I have missed the purity of the original romances I read when I was a teenager, a young adult, a new mom and an active school parent. Sure, I like action stories. I read them. I love thrillers written by Grissom, Clancy (guess who the Dowager Feline is named after LOL), and Ludlum. I enjoy a great read with epic sweeping themes. The classics. Love them.

But I really love a great love story. Best of all, all of this renewed reading has affirmed a decision I made about my writing. I want to write about love. The relationships and the characters matter to me. The plot is secondary to my characters. Sure, I know I have to have the external plot, but it’s the love story that sweeps me away as a reader.

Good to know if I’m writing love stories. Good to know if I want write great love stories.

So I’ve made a conscious effort to read every day, for an hour, minimum. And not just at night when I’m bone tired and falling asleep, but reading during the day when I am alert. Reading to escape. Reading for fun. Reading to get lost in a story that fills me with hope.

Okay, so here are the books I’ve read so far on my NOOK.

The Bride Quartet Series by Nora Roberts.
*Vision in White
*Bed of Roses
*Savor the Moment

Loved all three and can’t wait for the 4th book to come out in November. They are written in classic Nora Roberts’ style and yes, there’s a bit of head hopping, but it’s seamless. And she gets people and relationships and love and all the gunk that happens between two flawed individuals as they struggle to find their way to lasting happiness. I love her stories because they are pure romance. Period. And if I should have the pleasure of meeting her in Orlando, by accident, in an elevator or wherever, I will seriously have A FAN GIRL moment. And I am not typically a fan girl kind of person. But I do believe I would hyperventilate if I met her and she spoke to me.

I just finished a wonderful romance by Emily Griffin called Something Borrowed. It reads like a chick lit with a ton of romance. There aren’t any bombs or SEALS in it. There’s a friend getting married, a selfish girl at best who has a best friend, the heroine, who is learning to free herself from her self-imposed “good girl” rules. And wow, does she ever find a fabulous way to do it! Read the book cover to find out about her story.

On the docket? I’ve got the following books queued:

Chasing Perfect by Susan Mallery
Once a Cowboy by Linda Warren
Best Friend, Future Wife by Claire Baxter
The Next Best Thing by Kristin Higgins

I know reading for pleasure will enrich my writing. So what’s on your bookshelf? Or in your E-Reader? And if you’re a writer, I hope you’re reading, too!

 

Drum Roll & Recap Roll May 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:31 pm
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This week, despite all the constant interruptions and distractions, I finished my second MAGGIE contest entry and sent it to the coordinator.

WOOT!! So relieved to get the entry completed and out of my hair.

Now my goals and tasks for the week are defined:

*continue revising & polishing with the new plot line in mind
*add scenes where necessary
*pull together my partial and send of the requested materials to the agent
*query two other publishing houses with my third MS

And I have some rewards to give myself for completing my arduous task:

*get my hair cut and highlighted *highly necessary*
*schedule some pampering time this week
*meet with a good friend who is also a writer and enjoy her company

When you finish a major task, do you reward yourself with something fun? I hope so! And if do, I’d love to learn how!

 

Show, Tell & Do: Researching in the Real World vs. Cyberspace May 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 11:42 am
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I’ve been researching guns, shooting ranges, and more for my current WIP. Most of my research is done online. But I was fortunate enough to know a few people who had guns and a place to practice target shooting. So my family and I went to a friend’s house where I took my first shooting lesson. I posted about my experiences and have incorporated them into my WIP.

Yesterday I went to an indoor shooting range located behind a Pawn and Gun Shop. This was how my Darling Hero wanted to spend his birthday. And, given my recent WIP’s hero’s line of work, I happily went along.

Confession: When I saw the bars on the windows and doors, I did get a little wigged out. And the location of said shooting range wasn’t in a savory part of town. Yikes! But I did go in.

The front of the shooting range is a gun and ammo store. Stepping inside the store was like entering Super Testosterone Mart. Men of varying ages and sizes roamed the interior looking at the guns, ammo, shooting equipment, scopes, rifles, paper targets and antiques. The sales clerks stood behind tall glass cases that rose up to their chests. Inside the cases there were guns. Lots and lots of guns. Huge rifles, big black Uzi looking machines, hung along the walls behind the clerks.

Confession: I felt intimidated.

The Gun & Pawn shop was uber man world. This was not going out to the country to shoot in the open air at a target. This was not a place where I knew all the people and a nice cookout followed my first shooting lesson. This place smelled of man, sweat and gun metal. The sales clerks weren’t like the women at the cosmetics counter at Macy’s. They weren’t trying to be friendly or push a gun on you. They figured if you were there, you were there with a purpose and already persuaded.

After we signed the proper paperwork and purchased our ammo, we went through a door in the back of the shop and walked down a long, windowless hallway. We were met at the end by a man, older with short cropped hair, and wearing shorts “for the first time in ten years.” He asked us what kind of guns we wanted to shoot. I let DH lead the way on the choice. After all, it was his birthday present, and I know squat about guns.

Guns selected, we were asked about the targets we wanted to hit. About fifty different kinds of targets lined the wall in the hallway. There were bird targets, animal targets, people targets (in color and black silhouettes), bulls-eye targets (large and small), and zombie targets. Yes. Zombie targets. For a wild moment, I imagined having a themed birthday party at the shooting range featuring the Zombie targets.

Confession: I kind of wanted to shoot at the Zombies.

We chose a man target, small bulls eye targets and large bulls eye targets. Then our guide set us up in booths one and two. We could have shared a booth, which was good to know since my MC and his brother stand side-by-side at a shooting range in one of my scenes, but chose not to as there was plenty of space.

Confession: Every time a shot rang out, even though we had on protective gear, I jumped (inside and out).

The place was noisy, shots echoed off of the gray, concrete walls and flooring. My target hung in the distance, too far, and we brought it in closer. It zipped along a metal line and I thought it would hit me. It didn’t, but man that target didn’t slowly eek forward toward the booth’s front, it flew. DH was happily shooting his Glock and then his Ruger revolver in the booth next to  me while I practiced with the long barreled 22.

Confession: It’s hard to concentrate on lining up a site when bullet casings are flying into your space and hitting your body.

I finally figured out how to use the sight marks. I lined them up, and shot my target. Successful hits. All of the shots were clustered to the right of the bulls eye. Wow. The guy that was there helped me with my stance and my shoulder position as well as with how to adjust for things like my dominant eye vs. my dominant hand.

Turns out my left eye is dominant despite my being a rightie. Who knew? He had me put my hands together to make a little circle and then look at the target with my arms outstretched. Then I had to bring my hands slowly to my eyes, both open, while keeping the target in sight. Well, what do you know? I’m a leftie in vision. Adjustment: close RIGHT eye, slide the gun a little to the left and bang, better accuracy.

I shot four different guns. The guy was so cool. He didn’t just tell me how to load the guns and the magazines. He showed me. Then he watched me do the task. Each gun had a different loading mechanism and size bullet. The hardest gun to load was the Glock. The bullets were huge (38s) and the spring action was tight. The more bullets I tried to push in, the greater the resistance. The easiest gun to load was the revolver. Flip open the barrel, load six bullets into the chamber and flip it closed and you’re ready to shoot, in succession, 6 bullets.

The heaviest gun was the revolver. The lightest gun was the short barrel 22. I learned that a shorter barrel is harder to aim for a beginner. The longer barrels make it easier to line up the target. How? I shot out of both kinds of guns. And while the shorter barrel was lighter and easier to hold, the longer barrel gave me greater accuracy in my shots.

Confession: I prefer accuracy.

Darling Hubby was tickled to see me shoot. After all, he’s a Texan and was shooting his Grandpop’s gun when he was a boy. I have a picture of him walking next to the man. He’s holding a huge gun, probably a S&W revolver. The gun barrel is inches from the ground and my DH’s head doesn’t even reach his Grandpop’s waist. Guns are a way of life, of the culture he grew up in, and he has been badgering me to get a gun for the entire length of our marriage.

We’re approaching the quarter century mark. I’m not a pushover. I’ve held my ground till now because I grew up in Canada. We don’t carry guns there. I was afraid of having one in the house and I wasn’t going to bring one into my world. They intimidated me.

Amazing how one book, one need for understanding via research, has changed my feelings about guns. I  was afraid of what I didn’t know. I was intimidated by what I didn’t understand. For me, personally, this has been a revelation about myself. I like shooting guns. It’s fun. And it’s empowering. I know it’s not for everyone, but once again I’ve been reminded that until you experience a situation first hand, you can’t know if you’ll like it or not.

Now DH is very excited. He has permission to go buy his Man Toy. And I, very secretly, am excited, too. Maybe I’m not bringing home any cash as a writer, but my writing has restored a vital part of my DH’s history back into his life. A positive outcome of my many hours slaving over this book.

Confession: The next time I go to the Gun & Pawn shop to shoot, I am asking for the Zombie target.

 

Dowager Feline Strikes a Pose May 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 8:53 pm
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For some of you who asked, I present the Dowager Feline as she pursues her addiction and teaches us lessons in persistence.

“I look relaxed, but I am waiting for dinner.”

“It may look like a laundry room to you, but to me it is the diner.”

“I’m waiting… hurry up… or I’ll be loud and proud.”

“Now I’m ready for my Liver.”

“I may look innocent, but I am feisty.”
 

Why the Dowager Feline Would Get Published if She were Human May 19, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — christineglover @ 12:48 pm
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As many of my blog followers know, I have an aged cat named Clancy. She is 18 years old and quite feisty. She’s survived three major moves across state lines. According to our new vet, she has a feisty personality. I agree. In fact, her recent health scare and subsequent healing has led to our discovering many interesting qualities about Clancy.

Before her illness, we only fed the Dowager Feline dry food. But upon the vet’s orders, we switched Clancy over to wet cat food. She loves it. In fact, Clancy’s become a wet cat food addict. And she’s not just addicted to all wet cat food. No. She only prefers certain flavors and textures of wet cat food. And she’ll stop at nothing to get exactly what she wants.

Our Dowager Feline has developed amazing powers of persistence in achieving this goal. If she were a human and a writer, I bet she’d use these powers of persistence to get published.

Here are some of the Dowager Feline’s methods and how a writer might utilize them:

1) The cat food is dispensed in my laundry room. Dowager Feline is deaf, but has excellent vision. She waits by the open door, which is directly across from our bedroom, and when I get up to get a glass of water, she meows for food. A writer might use a similar technique by continuing to be close to the publication door so when it opens, she can zip her MS through it.

Focus on the prize!

2) If the Dowager Feline sees me and I don’t respond right away, she thinks nothing of finding another household member to meow at, very loudly, until that person goes into the laundry room to feed her. A writer needs to remember that when one person rejects her, she should immediately target another agent/editor with her work.

Focus on casting a wide net. 

3) The Dowager Feline knows my paths within the house. She knows the main areas I spend the majority of my time and she haunts them. She also travels my path. A writer needs to know her publishers and agents. She needs to read their blogs, learn their habits, look for interviews and know what they are seeking.

Focus on understanding the writing business.
4) The Dowager Feline does not eat food she doesn’t like. She stubbornly refuses to eat only a few kinds of flavors. And she employs the first three techniques till she gets what she wants. Period. A writer needs to know that she deserves what she’s seeking. She should walk away from negative, distasteful commentary or critique and she should also walk away from stinky deals that ask her to lower her standards.
Focus on quality and positive feedback.
5) The Dowager Feline always comes and spends time with me after she receives what she wants and fills her belly. She is sweet and cuddly and thanks me by keeping me company and purring very loudly. A writer needs to thank the people who help her along the way to achieving her goals. 
Focus on creating a positive image.
We writers can learn a lot from the Dowager Feline, Clancy. And now, off I go to feed my current cat owner.