Archive for June 2010

Another Win

June 26, 2010

StormyJune Sky

Those of you who stop by every week noticed I didn’t post last week.  I wasn’t being anti-social, but things were crazy here last weekend.  We had several bad windstorms and lots of rain and picking up the messes between the storms kept me busy.

Then last Sunday was Father’s Day and I “gifted” my hubby with the day off.  He didn’t do a thing but what he wanted to do.  But that kept me busy.  He’s worth it however, though he deserved more than a full day off.   But that’s all the time I had to give.  🙂

So I made a dessert he would like and the dinner menu he requested.  Everything about the day was perfect.  To cap the day off, my oldest son who lives in Alaska called to wish ME a happy fathers’ day.  Since for many of his growing up years I was both, I felt very honored.  Then of course, my son wished his stepfather the same.

In all a perfect day, but not one that gave me time to think of posting to my blog.

But back to those storms.  We’ve had several this past week, always with lots of high winds, heavy rains, hail, thunder and lightning.  During one, I answered the phone. Now I don’t like to be on the phone during bad storms—don’t know why but that’s always been me.  But this time I answered.

I’m so glad I did!

The caller was a woman with a soothing vocal tones and a cadence suggestive of our gracious southern states.  Her message?  One of the best ever!  My book, Black Ribbon Affair, won the Holt Medallion Award for BEST FIRST BOOK!!!!

Best First Book

I’m still celebrating this phone call.  Winning an award like this is one I’ve word toward.  But it’s also one that other people determine the outcome.  All I could do was work hard and put my work “out there.”  After all, you can’t win at anything if you give up.

Many people have believed in me when I questioned why I kept writing and submitting.  They deserve to be celebrating with me.  Some of them have.  Some will.  Some didn’t live long enough to see this day.  But I believe they are celebrating with me in a place which doesn’t have storms, disappointments, or daily stresses.

What makes this award so special is that no other book I write will ever win it.  Black Ribbon Affair is my first book.  A writer has only one debut book.  Black Ribbon Affair is mine.  When I was writing the first draft many years ago, my husband told me this would be the book that would sell first.  How right he was.  How lucky I’ve been that he has always been so supportive through all its revisions.  (See why he deserved that day of totally doing what he wanted?)

Writing isn’t easy.

You must be willing to have the patience of a saint as my grandmother used to say.  You have to be willing to write even when the days are filled with stress and tension.  You write when you’re sick.  You write when you’re happy or when you’re depressed.  You develop a thick skin to handle the rejections, the poor review or two, the work that sometimes seems so thankless.  You see a day as productive when you’ve sweated over two pages–but damn those were great pages.  You feel the same when you finish twenty pages done in a day.  You persevere no matter what gets thrown in your path.  You fight to remember the good times when bad days happen.  You accept the fact that bad days will show up.

But writing those stories in my head and heart is so worth it.    Especially when readers love my stories.  Black Ribbon Affair has won Write Touch Reader’s Award  for Best Romantic Suspsense.  Now it’s won the Holt Medallion for Best First Book.  I’m so glad I never gave up.  I hope you never do either.

Muse On Vacation

June 13, 2010

I’d love to say I’m sitting under a palm tree with tropical, plumeria-tinged breezes wafting around me.  I’d have a frosty iced-tea nearby or maybe something a bit more adventurous .  But I’m not on vacation; my muse is as she’s refusing to work this week. 🙂

However, I saw this video and laughed out loud.  While it concerns book reviews, and I do fret over those, I think we could insert what other people think or say about us as individuals.  Don’t you always pull out and worry about the negatives and forget about all the positives?  I know I do.

Enjoy this and laugh with me.

Feuding With Word

June 6, 2010

@#&@@ !!!

For the past few weeks I’ve been feverishly trying to finish reading and revising a manuscript I wrote and revised about five years ago.  But like children, writing skills, at least mine, grow each year and with each manuscript.

So—I knew I better not send it out without a decent fluff.  That would be like sending a daughter off to the prom with an unfashionable dress.  Scary, right?

Anyway, the most difficult part of the process came today when I needed to convert the manuscript to a Word document. GRRR 

That leads to my rant.  Many of us, writers or not, use a word processing program.  Word might be something you love because it has the ability to do so many really neat things.

None of which I as a fiction writer need.

What I can depend on with Word is to know it will screw up my formatting, lose my headers and page numbers and generally lead me into serious use of foul language.  Actually, right at the moment, I feel very sorry for my computer as it was subjected to descriptive anatomical concepts it’s much too young to hear.

But I accomplished my task. Finally.  Saved it.  And hope it will open correctly and still be as it should be when the next person opens the document.

Don’t get me wrong.  I appreciate Word for short works, like letters, envelopes, maybe even a four page synopsis.  But challenge it with a 390 page document?  It acts up worse than a hot, fractious horse on Belmont day.

I’ve even tried to make peace with it by taking several classes, buying manuals (reading them even), and even getting individual help from a real expert.  But we remain hopelessly deadlocked.  Like star-crossed lovers.  Or enemies since birth, maybe like the Hatfields and McCoys.

Tell me what you think.  Am I being unduly harsh in my criticism of Word?