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I would just like to announce that I have just sent the entry for the First Chapters contest out at Gather.com.

OMG. OMG. I am so nervous. 70 days, and I’ve wrote a whole book. Start to finish. I edited it, formatted it, wrote the synopsis. I feel a little dizzy from the wonder, the joy, the relief. I feel like running and hopping and giggling.

All in all, I am so happy because I wrote something that I think is solid and good and worthy.
OK, sweetheart, I said to it, as I hit send. Let’s see what the world makes of you.

I hope that it is kind to my little book. I really do.

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These past days I’ve been working passionately on The Chocolatier’s wife. In a few moments I will have by passed the 40,000 mark, which, considering that I started this during Christmas break (I can’t quite remember…perhaps the 26th of December, but maybe even the thirtieth…) that is really quite good.

And I hope to continue this progress, because I am planning on entering the First Chapters contest. Sort of like, to paraphrase the NYT Books editor, American Idol for books, from now until March 14th authors post the first chapter of a completed book up online. Then everyone who has an Internet connection can vote on it. Then there’s a second and third rounds where the people who get the most votes from each round go on to the next, post a new chapter, wait for votes, and the books that make the final round get read by a judging panel who then chooses the grand prize winner, who walks away with a nice cash prize and a book contract with Simon and Schuster. The rules say that the book may come out in hardcover, and that it will have to come out by February 2008! You know…the Chocolatier’s Wife would be lovely for Valentines Day, now that I think of it, even though it’s sort of set around their Holidays…
I am trying to think of the last time I wanted something so very badly, and keep failing to. I keep thinking of my book being in hardcover. In my day dreams I have colored endpapers and the cover is that silky smooth mat and rich golds and browns that all the really awesome books have.

And, since I am not published, I can take part. I may be under contract, but that does not equal publication according to the rules, so the first time, ever, I’m actually glad my Editor refuses to give me a hard and fast date for publication, no matter what I try and do.
And with Brittany (http://brittany.historygeeks.com/) volunteering to do my cover for Blue Moon (she has marvelous ideas, and her art work is awesome — thank you so much, dear…) this is shaping up to be the best year for me as a writer, ever. I owe her a huge debt of gratitude for wanting to do this, a good book cover is like a nice dress. You know the contents of your soul are worth, but you need something to give you confidence, because people always judge, even if it’s just a little, by how you look.

Even if I don’t win at least this will give me the energy to get a book finished. A goal point. And this book is really wonderful…and I think by now you know me enough to know that I don’t like to compliment myself. I feel uncomfortable, in fact, I just deleted a paragraph where I said i knew I wouldn’t win the contest. Of course, I may not…I am doing this for the fun/craziness of it, and if I make it through a round I can use it for marketing purposes, which will help Blue Moon and Chocolatier’s Wife. But I believe in this book. It is truly a fantastic book, and I think that it has a lot of happiness and pleasure to offer to people. I want people to read it, not for me, genuinely, but because I think they will enjoy it.

So. The book needs to be finished by the end of this month, then edited, second drafted, and edited one last time by March 1, which will give me two weeks leeway.

Wish me luck?

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I’ve not been blogging because I’ve been writing. Actually writing. Like I’m suppossed to be doing but keep putting off because everything else always seem so much more important. It feels good to be actually hand writing a story…I keep going back to writing my first drafts out by hand, because when I don’t start out by hand things tend to bloat and scatter and pretty soon you have a print out an inch thick and the story’s not even half way over. I think it’s because, when I was 13 and realized that I wanted to be a writer, most specifically that I wanted to write fantasy like Barbara Hambly, my writing time was usually scheduled during…erm…math class. I used to borrow medieval history books out of the library and outline them because I loved the middle ages and wanted a solid base for them (funny, not one book I’ve written…or short story that I can think of…has ever really taken place in Medieval times.) and my whole desire to become a librarian was based off the fact my research materials would be handy, if I worked in a library. (That and I love books the way some people love scotch. Or cocaine. )

Anyway. During school days I wrote. I wrote during lunch, standing in lunch lines, study hall, when ever I could get away with it, i was scribbling in a notebook. So that’s why, I think, I need to hand write, at least until I have things in order. I hate it in some ways, it feels like I’m wasting time, you know? Like if I could do my story right into the computer it would save a crucial step.

But Ashton is obstinate. He wants to be written in ink. He thinks that real writers use ink. I tell him he’s silly, which is why, perhaps, he won’t tell me his first name. Ashton would also like to make sure I tell you that he was named Ashton well before I ever heard of Ashton Kutcher. I named him, in fact, for a London Gentleman’s club that I’d read of in a book.

Minerva, of course, is much more easy going. Minerva B. Corvae…she’s not truly keen on her name, either, since her father (a scholar specializing in Greek myths) insisted on naming her something that can’t be flatteringly shortened, and gave her a middle name (after his mother in law) that can’t be used instead. (Beulah)

So, those are the main charcaters in Palace of Bone…I’ve been reading what I wrote on the next book starring these two, Killing the Muses and trying to decide when certain steps in their lives, in their relationships, when in the planned three books I’ll reveal certain secrets about Ashton, when i’ll let them kiss, when I’ll almost kill Minerva….

I ought to outline things, loosly, but I hate outlines. I’d rather let things work out for themselves.

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So this is my blogger. I know already that I won’t be updating much, because I have this fear of boring people, which, for a writer, can be somewhat debilitating. I find myself cutting dialogue short, or just jumping to another scene, because I hate being boring. But, that’s what the second draft is for, I suppose, to fix silly things like that….

I am a writer. I have even been an author, once or twice. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was in the ninth grade, that and become a librarian. Well, there’s one off the list, anyway. (I work, off an on, as a librarian. I ought to be working on my mls, but here I am, making things up.)

I have completed one book, called Balancing Act and am gearing up to do the final edits on a book called Blue Moon. I have comics scripts and short stories and I get lots of nice letters from editors about my stories. A few months back I got a rejection letter with “I really, really loved your story” hand written on it. Which was kind of weird, like I said, this was on a rejection letter. And this isn’t the first time, either….I get a lot of, “Really good, but not right for us, send us more.” letters. Just so you know, I have talent. As much as what I’ve just said proves it, anyway. I think my problem is mismarketing. I try to do research, make sure I send it to the right places, but sometimes I do end up making an educated guess. Any writer worth their salt will tell you that this is a BAD THING. But sending five or ten dollars to every magazine you’d like to submit to becomes a losing proposition right away.

I also think that the market is crowded – there are so many of us, out there. It is a beautiful dream, after all. But – and I say this with a great deal of heartfelt truthfulness, if you are writing because you think that this is a good way of making money, trust me, you’d do better working at Wal Mart. If you’re doing this for any reason other than you have these stories and thoughts and you need to let them out of your skull and onto the paper, if you’re doing it because it pleases you and because, hopefully, it’ll please someone else, then yeah, this is it. Failing to become an author will be worth it then. Neil Gaiman (A lovely writer….here’s his blog. He’s an Author, and a neat man.) once said that writing is like ditch digging. When I read that I nodded in agreement for close to a half an hour. Because it is. But then there are places when it becomes easy, where you’re living the story as it leaves you head, when you’re having the best time you could possible have.

But damn, I’d love to get paid for it. 😀 I’d better go. I’m waxing too philosophical.


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