Friday, March 30, 2007


Being on the other side of town earlier this evening, I stopped in at a local bookstore I knew was in the area and came face to face with my target audience. Well, it was one guy, older with long white hair pulled back into a ponytail, sides tucked up under a Pete & Jakes Hot Rod shop baseball hat. Pete & Jakes isn't a local shop, not by a longshot and usually only hardcore car buffs own their attire. As I half-expected and was rewarded thusly, he was wearing a rod show t-shirt under a car club jacket and with the latest issue of Hot Rod magazine under his arm (yes, I know what these look like with barely a glance), he passed me on his way out. I'd be willing to bet he had axle grease permanently embedded under his nails but I didn't follow him to verify it.

His appearance made me stop for a moment and think, "He's my audience. He'd buy 'Enthusiast' if for no other reason than to see if I got it right."

My mind is never far from 'Enthusiast.' Never. It's the story I know better than anything else I've ever written, including the 'Geek Book' which was basically my life at one time. Somedays I think I know it better than my daily whine-fest at my blog. I just need to sit down and finish that story. Car show season starts in earnest next week. Now is the best time, the best time to dig out what I've got and start polishing the chrome. It's time to rock and roll.

Back in the Sci-Fi section of the bookstore, I passed another target. He was wearing a Bent Motors Speed shop t-shirt. Bent Motors is local or was at least at one time. I suspect someone thought it was a 'fun' company name once but then reality set in and the customers thought twice about taking their cars to a place that sounded like the mechanics might do more harm than good. The bills later rolled in for the water and the electric and for the tools and fancy hydraulic lifts and another one bites the dust.

The guy was thumbing through a motorcycle magazine and had a crude Chevy logo tatooed on his upper arm. Yeah, he'd buy 'Enthusiast' for the same reason as the other guy would: To make sure I got all the terminology right, to see if their car buddies were the inspiration for Floyd and Cecil and Scratchy, and to compare notes on how all the behind the scenes stuff at one of those Show & Shine shindigs. Neither one would like it, or buy it, if they knew a woman wrote it . . . unless it was very, very good and I think I'm close if I do say so myself.

But there's the matter of getting back to it, of getting on with the rock and roll. I met up with Steve and told him what I saw, told him I ran across my target audience, and then I grabbed him and shook him. "Please force me to finish 'Enthusiast!'" I begged.

I am serious. And those guys are waiting.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I just put The End on the first draft of Phantoms. It came to 67,319 words and only four months after NaNoWriMo.

And now back to writing.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Very Naughty Indeed

In keeping with my ongoing theme of being very, very naughty, I've started and continued writing on a new novel. I tried to fool myself into believing that it's just a short story. Ha. As if I can think in the scope of a short story. My brain isn't that organized.

I still think about Masks daily, which is a form of writing, though not terrifically productive. When I do sit down to continue editing it, though, the work should flow. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

Now, back to the badness of writing first draft. Weeee, my favorite!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I'm still shipwrecked on the wrong side of the ocean in Masks, but I see the ships and soon we will sail to the islands!

In other words, I'm done with Chapter Four. Huzzah!

And now, me matey's, we'll sail to the tropics. Arrr!

This is going to be the riskiest part of Mark's journey (before he gets sunk into evil politics) and I'm looking forward to putting him in some physical danger. Him being all stressed is fine and good, but that's just worry. What we really want to do to give the situation some real flavor is show just how nasty it can get for a runaway indentured servant. This should make him paranoid enough that by the time he reaches the islands he'll have a chance to survive.

So to the rigging, me scurvy seadogs, and let's make for the nearest port!

Monday, March 19, 2007


I keep getting these ideas for the front of Masks. Hopefully it's enriching the story and not muddling it beyond all redemption. It's good, though, that the story has gotten past the basic stage, where everything's laid out and simple. I don't know of a better way to surprise readers (without tricking them) except by thinking deeply about the story and layering it so that there's lots to uncover and reveal.

Now, onto writing. Huzzah!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stealing bits of time

I got some work done on Masks last night, which is to say I hid in my office with nothing but the plastic clattering of the keys to spark the dark and quiet. Even with a late almost-9pm start, it felt good to steal some rare time to do what I used to do for hours all day. That was before job, before bouts of colds that left me too pooped to even putter, before the house decayed into my own version of a Pit of Despair.

The PoD is cleaner now and, assuming I keep my health and the crick don't rise, I should be able to steal more bits of time to write without compromising the local ecosystem or passively inviting vermin in to feast on the leavings in the kitchen. It's almost project season (have to laugh because I've already started projects--rose garden, shelving, etc.) so picking up the writing pace now is a good thing. Hopefully I'll be back in the habit of daily writing before the distractions start up in earnest.

Meanwhile, still in chapter four but approaching the critical moment. Once I hit that peak I can move on to the port and set sail for tropical paradise. Ah, paradise, where exotic birds watch the humans plot and die, and dolphins frolic in the waves. Home sweet home.

Friday, March 9, 2007


Last week, I picked up a copy of the spring 2007 issue of Publisher’s Weekly, a trade magazine that was recommended reading material from the Southern California Writer?s Conference I attended last month. It’s a pretty magazine with advertising and all on nice magazine paper. But the reviews are where it’s all at.

Pages of reviews for what has to be only a small smattering of books yet to hit the shelves. Within the reviews, I find help for my own writing, and a little motivation. Phrases like, ‘a noteworthy debut,’ ‘the author gets the feelings right,’ and ‘this superb effort.’

Helpful phrases, to me at least, are the ones that aren’t so good and remind me not to do the same. ‘Lackluster hero and heroine,’ ‘teetering between dull and nonexistent,’ ‘muddy background narrative,’ and ‘directionless and meandering plot.’

More phrases I liked: ‘Frenetic disorder,’ ’short on credibility,’ ‘too many angles to make sense,’ ‘jarring effects,’ (I?m guilty of that one.) ‘oversaturated,’ ‘competent but uninventive,’ and ’sluggish and predictable.’ The list goes on and on. If the subscription to Publisher’s Weekly wasn’t so expensive ($239.99 a year U.S.), I’d get a kick out of reading it every week. I’ll admit it’s pretty cool to see what will be coming out months beforehand and the reviews are great to browse through.

Note to self: Make list of all these phrases and check it periodically during writing/editing process.

In other news, I’ve finished reading Alexandra Sokoloff’s first novel, ‘The Harrowing.’ Nice. A little frenzied at the end, but nice.

Next up on the reading list, Amy Wallen’s ‘Moon Pies and Movie Stars.’

Thursday, March 1, 2007


I've begun the rewrite on last November's NaNo project. I really don't know what I was waiting for but the pressure of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless at that task was finally too much and I buckled down today at Chapter 1. Ugh, the words just will not flow even though the basics are there for the most part to work with . . . which brings me to today's word: Practice.

You all know I can write about anything; I can babble even better, but can I write well about anything? I'm learning. Novel writing isn't like blog entries, though a part of me thinks it should be. I've read some wordy and elegant blogs whose text could have come from a book. Then there are the 'U speek' versions which obviously aren't, at least not yet.

I've read some very funny blogs that I wish were books along with me wishing I were their authors. But my blog isn't funny or elegant and it's certainly not my novel. I have my blog voice which is very practiced and my novel voice which isn't and the only thing that will bring the latter up to speed is practice, lots and lots of practice.

Even though the weather begs to differ, car show season officially began last week. It's time for me to get back into my car show story and practice.