Archive | April 2008

Funny Scenes…

I was thinking this morning, while choosing a funny scene from All or Nothing, that isn’t love funny? What is more fun than falling in love? the thrill of the chase? the making up? the tension? the drama? all of it can tumble away in the blink of an eye with a laugh. That’s what makes someone human–our ability to laugh at ourselves. For, what is more funny than being utterly vulnerable together?

I think that’s why I love the romance genre so much… because in all things, in all situations, you put together a hero and heroine and there is always comedy before passion. At least, in my experience. Ha! don’t know what that says about me… You get mystery, intrigue, comic relief, and then, that blissful happily ever after that little girls dream about. In my life, I’m lucky. I tell my kids that they are part of my happily ever after… that their daddy is my prince charming. And the day we got married, was my princess day.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Before I met him, I had to kiss a lot of toads along the way. 🙂 And we can’t always be princes and princessess. Somedays I wonder if Perry’s been eating flies. Of if I’m not acting more like a wicked stepsister than the heroine… God has a phenomenal sense of humor. If you can’t laugh with him, what’s the fun of living?

Wine Notes…

This week is for celebrating. And abject terror. I sent my official final draft of All or Nothing in to Elizabeth yesterday – thanks to feedback from my Temecula Writer’s Group… special thanks go out to Dan and Denise Harmer. Denise is now my hero. You have a gift for technical writing. A gift that skipped me, I might add! *embarassed to the max with the majority of my repeated technical errors.* Let’s all pause for a note of thanks to the proofreaders out there. All right? 😉 Let’s move on!

I felt like I was at AA last week during writing group – I admitted that whenever I pause in thought during heated writing – I type a comma. this results in TONS of revisions as my comma splices are identified and plucked out, one by one. Does anyone else have such bad writing habits?

So – all worry aside that Elizabeth will receive All or Nothing and want to throw it in the trash! – This week will be for celebrating. I need to scare myself up a bottle of Ruby Cuvee from Southcoast Winery… EXCELLENT offering, I might add. Ideal for celebrations.

To be Two Again…

Oh, to be two and a half again…
To not care that you’re covered in sand. To grab on to your mommy when a wave plows you over. To know that she’ll be there to catch you and bring you up to the surface again. To build sand castles and see magic in the air when a kite takes flight on an unseen breeze. To trust. To love. To laugh. To live. I suppose that’s what Jesus meant, when he said let the children come to me. We all need to remember what it is like to be truly childlike. Ellie and Rachel are my teachers. They’re my education on how to dance like no one is watching. How to be goofy and fun and that it’s more fun to hear your favorite song a hundred times than to skip around the radio looking for something else. If I were two years old today, I’d want to dig the deepest hole I could. To look for seashells. To sit and let the waves slap at my legs. To spend all day with my mom and dad. To play. To eat too much ice cream. To fall asleep on the way home and know that I’d wake up in the comfort of my own bed.

Point of View

I’ve been reworking All or Nothing – per my editor’s comments – to look for Point of View violations. Point of View, interestingly enough, is also the focus of my writer’s group this month. And, it just so happens that I’ve learned a few things in the process of fixing these Point of View errors.

  1. You generate suspense when your character/reader doesn’t have all of the information.
  2. The need to go back and reread something for clarity is all but removed when the POV is right.
  3. Deciding who has the most to lose in a scene – and therefore should be the POV – is a challenge. A BIG one.

I’ve got 30 pages or so to finish and then I can call it a book. Read it one more time and send it on its merry way to Elizabeth. Who, incidentally, has the same name as my sweet Ellie. A God thing? Maybe. I’m just terribly grateful for such a professional, wonderful editor. She’s really helping me become a better writer and I am learning to love the process.

Does anyone else feel that when you are forced to edit something, nothing is so juicy as all of those ideas that are floating in the aether? I have to force myself to edit when all I want to do is idea generate. To plot and plan. I have three books waiting to get started – new ideas, not to mention the three ideas on the back burner to be rewritten from scratch. *SIGH*

30 pages. Not insurmountable. Just need to knuckle down and get it done.

What a week.

I found out on Wednesday night that I had tonsilitis. What adult gets tonsilitis? Me, apparently. At least it explains my ping-ponging fever, and why I could no longer swallow. Perry was sick last week, me this week, I’m praying the girls stay healthy.

I’m 50 pages from being done with my first pass at revisions – then it’s off to the next phase – the Editorial phase – of which I’ve never been on this side of the coin. Scary! exciting! I’m so ready. Reading all of these authors – these women on the Wild Rose Press message board – I can’t wait to say that my book is on the market.

I’m also toying with several ideas on stories for the White Rose Line. So, we’ll see what happens next. For today, I need to go play with Ellie. Rachel and Perry are doing the Dino Dad Day at school. Ellie needs some mommy time. If I can work in edge wise around Grandma. Ha!

Coffee and comments

Listening to: Flight 26
Drinking coffee.
Going through e-mail.
A stack of edits waiting to be entered.
Another week about to begin.

This week, I’ll be spending more time at my work work – and less time dealing with new contract stuff, working with marketing at TWRP, etc. The contract is signed and on its way back.

We spent the weekend in Carlsbad, enjoying the sun, surf, and sand. Perry built the most amazing sand castle I’ve ever seen. Every kid on our part of the beach came by to help out. I have the most amazing husband in the world. It’s nice to have him back after he was so sick last week.

The girls are sleeping. I’m going to work a bit on All or Nothing – just wanted to keep honest, as blogging every day is part of my New Years Resolution. Or I should say, new LIFE resoultion. It helps my brain stay flexible. The ideas are coming like water. I’m very impressed with the group of writers at TWRP and need to be able to keep up!

~Ashley

Where do the ideas come from…?

I’m in a think tank meeting, and I was just realizing that I am one of those people. Those idea people who think, why not? Why can’t we do this? instead of that? And what’s more… Where do all of the great ideas come from?

I think that most great ideas must stem from people being ticked off in one way or another. Wondering why something doesn’t work as well as it should. Or why there isn’t a better way to do something. Quicker. Faster. Cheaper. Better. Or maybe that’s just me.

I’ve been thinking about agendas and organizing and planning, and really – I make fits and starts at it – but the question of the week is – what is your 5 year plan for writing?

That one has kept me up at night. So here’s the deal with my writing background. I have always written. I used to dictate to my mother and she would read me back my elaborate tales. I fabricated great stories about riding on fire engines, or seeing a gorilla jump up and down on a policeman. (Some call this fibbing or – lieing. I call it a stellar imagination.)

so, I’ve always written. Since I was a child and could put pencil to paper. When I hyphenated words after consanants. When I misspelled everything. Okay, so I still need to edit myself – but who’s asking. The point is, writers write. Because they have to. Because it is in their blood. Because they need to have that fix. Create that universe. Live in an alternate reality. It’s who we are.

So, my 5 year plan for my writing is – to be the best writer I can be. To never give up. To write as many stories as I can. Enter contests. Publish multiple titles in e-book and print. To hone my craft. And, to learn how to juggle the important things, and let the little things drop where they may.

I have a few quotes from the prolific Nora Roberts that really made me understand my craft. And what I need to do to get to the next five years.

(I’m paraphrasing – but this is what I remember from her interview…)

“Write. Write the best story you can. Write what you would want to read. Enjoy
your characters. If you don’t enjoy them, no one else will, either. Don’t play
favorites. And remember, there are 88 keys on the piano – and think of all of
the beautiful and different songs and types of music.”

(This is me again) Every story and character is a unique universe. And with regards to my process, I guess you could say that I write with my heart. I write what I have loved to read, or love to read now. Sometimes it’s historical. Sometimes it’s a mystery. Sometimes a thriller. But there is always a love story at the heart, because I’m a hopeless romantic. As my daughter Rachel reminded me the other day…

“Every story should start with Once upon a time and should end with …And they lived happily ever after…

We only have a limited amount of time on this earth – and personally if I read a book, I want to be entertained. To escape for awhile. To fall in love with a place. The sights. The smells. To miss them when I close the cover. And that, my friends, is how I want to write everything I pour my heart into.