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Hello to  my three blog readers out there- unless you dropped out, Mom…

Mom???

Well, I did it.. I finished the book!

I’ll give you a moment to compose yourself. It took me the same way. The sobbing.. I know, baby.

You back? Okay.

Well.. I finished the first draft of my first novel, A TIME FOR HOPE.  I can’t believe I actually did it.

That— “The End”— just snuck up on me. All these months of living, breathing and bleeding over these people. Wondering what was going to happen to them is all over. You see, I am one of those writers who have NO idea what is going to happen until I write it. Just like this blog.  Flumberty-joggity-hoopdeedoo.  See, I had no idea I was going to do that, either.

Now that I have finished the first draft. I reminds me of a birthday cake.

In case you aren’t aware… A birthday cake is one of the best things in the whole world. Unless you are getting a rockin’ present, the cake’s the best part of any birthday.

Right now my cake is  bare. I mean, you can throw a cake mix in a bowl, chunk it in the oven and slap it down in a little metal cake pan – and still call it a birthday cake. But it ain’t  pretty. That’s what I’ve got right now. A Duncan-Hines yellow. Delicious, yes. But, in need of a lot of frosting.

Now, second draft, and I am  picking off all the burnt pieces and carefully taking out that big damn air bubble that always appears in every cake I’ve ever made. After that, I’ll put down my base frosting, smoothing out as many of the rough patches as I can and round out the sides. Once step two is accomplished, I’m going to send it to my beta readers and my oh-so-lovely and absolutely kick-ass mentor, Susanne Dunlap.

They are going to swoop their fingers through my perfectly smooth icing and poke at the cake beneath.   They will find all those places I where I cheated by filling in with frosting.

When I get it back and fill in all their finger marks (naughty, naughty) it’ll be time for decorating. Prettifying. Color, Almond Flavoring and Sugar Crystals. Anything it needs to sparkle.

Then and only then will I put it up for “Best Cake Contest” in the County Fair of the publishing world. I probably won’t take home the blue ribbon, but if I can get at least one honorable mention, I’ll be happy enough.

I know I have a long, long way to go. I’m know all the frosting in the world (even the kind that comes with built-in rainbow sprinkles) won’t help if the cake is dried out or too soft to hold together.

For today, however, I’m just gonna eat the batter left in the bowl and enjoy that cakey smell.

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If you are one of the three people who have visited my blog lately.. (Hi, Mom). You know that I  haven’t been here in a while. That is because I am on a hot streak with my manuscript. {Yay.}

Between my riveting life as a Radiology Tech and my glamorous home life- scrubbing toilets and cooking Hamburger Helper;  I, like Sophie before me, had to make a choice.  Devote all my free time to the book, and Twitter when possible or focus on the blog and give up some of that precious writing time.

Guess which one I chose?

If the publishing gods ever smile on me, I will continue the blog.  If it happens,  I might have something to say which you guys would care to hear.

Believe me! My fictional life is WAAYYY more interesting than my real one.  I think that is the case with most of us, though, huh??

Until I have something profound to share, I bid you adieu!

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While the purpose of most blogs on writing is to inform, I have created this blog to gather information. There are a lot of us “Aspiring Authors” out there, who are trying to learn as we go.

When I began this journey, the only thing that came to  mind when someone mentioned “craft” to me, were Popsicle sticks and Elmer’s glue.

That was a beautiful time of innocence, when I wrote simply for the joy it gave me.  In fact, it made me a little sad to learn how much of “art” is actually  “business.”

Once I  committed to taking this journey, however, I determined to give it my all.  So,  I began to do research. The one word that was invariably near the top of the important issues  of nearly every website, tweet or book jacket on writing…. CRAFT.

The problem that I am facing at the present is that there is simply TOO much.  Too  many books.  Too many websites. Too many classes. How do newbies like me EVER make the right decisions?

That may sound ridiculous to any experts, who are used to weeding through the chaff of  information.  We poor little lost “aspirings” flounder.  We helplessly bounce from one site to another, not certain whom to trust.

Who is right?  What is wrong?

It can be a bit overwhelming.  I have already spent WAY too much on books, online workshops, and plan to spend a lot more as soon as I figure out how to choose.

… That is the question…..

HOW DO WE CHOOSE?

Where do  YOU turn for craft advice?

If there are any more Aspiree’s out there, which would like to link to this, I figure we are better off together.  Welcome. 🙂

Thank you and have a beautiful day.

Janet

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Well, I am going to do it. I am going to eat a big old bowl of crow, feathers and all.

The other day, I submitted a very succinct and well-thought out post regarding the lack of writers and/or conferences held in our glorious South. Some might say I was just whining, being a big titty-baby, but to you I say….. pttttthhhh. :p.

In any case, today I was moping around on the net, my bottom lip thrust out like a toddler. I was perusing next year’s list of writers’ conferences ,which I can’t  attend because they are all too dang-blasted far away!

Then, it happened. It was like the angels smiled down on me, sending this link straight to my broken heart. (I know, sugar.. If you need a little Kleenex. It’s okay.)

http://dfwwritersconference.org/

I discovered a writers’ conference in Dallas/Ft.Worth in February!!  My joy knew no bounds. Then…… disaster struck.

The dates.. February the 26th and 27th. One of which just happens to by my 23rd wedding anniversary. {sigh}. What were the chances that my husband would want to drive six hours, only to sit in a hotel while I go to classes, lectures and meetings?

With little hope, I sent a quick email, with a link to the site. He knows how much becoming a published author means to me, but I had no idea how he would take doing something like this on our anniversary.  He already loses a lot of me when I am writing.

The ding of the inbox chimed, and I clicked on  it…..

The only thing it said in return…. Of Course.  I love you.

Now, I already knew my husband was Grade A, 24-Carat, 100% etc….He and I are high-school sweethearts and have been together for twenty-six years. A more loving and giving man does not exist in the world, and I should not have doubted it for a millisecond.

Now… you can pull out your Kleenex box.

(of course, I will not mention the little side deal I had to make… But..it IS our anniversary, after all.. )

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I have made three trips to Great Britain. Every time I visit, I am more and more impressed, not only with the beauty of the country, but the absolute friendliness of the people.

Exhibit A–Once, when we got lost, a man went ten blocks out of his way, to help us back to the location where we were to meet our group.

I give you exhibit B, here.– In working on my novel, I want to adhere to the strictest historical accuracy possible. I asked my historical fiction group for advice. One of the members suggested I contact Hampton Court, the actual scene of my manuscript.

I received this answer to my query, and it just goes to prove how wonderful the vast majority of the English and Scottish people are.

Dear Janet
Your email has been passed to me.  There would have been two types of garderobe in the time of Henry VIII.  In private lodgings (that is to say in the individual rooms for guests and their retainers, individual garderobes would have discharged into a sewage network which was periodically cleansed, either by periodically sluicing them out, or by the tide of the river flooding the sewers and carrying everything away.  Most people would have used a communal lavatory called the Great House of Easement, where all the men basically sat around together going about their business.  This discharged into a giant pit which was emptied periodically by a gang of men called ‘gongfermors’, whose job it was to shovel all  the waste up to a higher level where gravity and water would take it to the river.

Of course Henry VIII himself had a closed stool, which was box with satin lining, black velvet, tassels and ribbons with a pewter pan and its own leather carrying box.

Hope that helps.

Yours sincerely

Lee Prosser

Curator (Historic Buildings)
Kensington Palace and Kew Palace
Apartment 25
Hampton Court Palace
Surrey KT8 9AU
Tel:  020 3166 6409

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I never get that lucky

In perusing (I kinda like that word) my Twitter this morning, instead of working like I ought, I discovered an edit contest. This child is probably young enough to be my daughter, but undoubtedly know a gazillion times more than I do about publishing.

If you have read any of my previous blogs, (and, of course hardly anyone has) I acknowledge my supreme ignorance of how one actually gets published.

But, guess what.. Even an old dog like me can learn. I study, I grow, I Twitter-oops sorry- Tweet. Even though my teenage sons are appalled.

I noticed this contest where an intern at a real literary agency will edit your manuscript. I am actually getting to the point where I starting to kinda  feel nearly ready enough to be worthy. (Notice a teensy bit of doubt, there?)

I passed 60,000 words this weekend. And if I do say so myself, it is a damn good story. Hell of a story.

Yes, I need to work on my craft. That is what I have crammed into my head  the last year. If I could win this contest… well, Son of a Motherless Goat! I’d be on my way.

However…. We all know I won’t win. I never win anything.

I say never, but I did win one thing. Once..

When I was a senior in high school, I won a raffle for a pair of Klipsch speakers. For anyone not familiar with the brand, they are made right in my hometown, Hope Arkansas, by the master genius Paul Kilpsch. At one time, they were the première speakers you could buy. I loved them so much, I named them. Prince and Madonna were the light of my rocking, musical life.

Now, here’s the sad part. I got married really young. Like baby young, and my husband and I truly had to live on love. We were some broke-ass kids. So, as much as it pained me to do it, I had to sell poor Prince and Madonna. Shame, huh?

The one and only thing I ever won. You may weep a little, if you wish.

Now, if I can win this editing contest,http://www.stumbleupon.com/su/2qwZKy/blog.juliealindsey.com/julie-lindsey/win-a-free-edit-from-ca-marshall-2//r:t that will make number two.  Here we go.. fingers crossed!!

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I had a good day today.

I don’t think we know how precious that is, in this time. We are always so scheduled, so rushed, so planned.

I know that most of my time is spent trying to figure out what I have to do next or what I didn’t get done.

Today, I devoted to writing. And it was one of the most pleasurable days I have spent in a long time.

Sometimes I allow myself to daydream that I am one of the lucky few who write for a living. I realize that is a far-fetched fantasy, but hey.. A girl is allowed to dream. When I drift off into this world, I have a little office, with a pretty view. There is a lovely antique desk and a huge, fat cat to keep me company. Of course, no husband or kids will be allowed into “the author’s” inner sanctum.

Now, I know the chances of this ever happening is remote at best. But, I hit a hot streak in my work today and I felt so good about it, that I said to myself.

“Janet. I am going to allow you to have the author daydream today. Sit there and enjoy yourself. You go girl.”

Ahhhhh….

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