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Book Reader Magazine

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Hey! I’m a featured author! Go here for a look.

Everyone is home now for the holiday break. I know I’m supposed to be happy, and I am . . . Some of the time . . . But other times I just want quiet and to be able to sit and write or read or whatever. I need that pretty regularly. So people say, “Aren’t you excited about the holidays?!” and I’m like, “Uh . . .” Because, honestly, I get pretty bored just hanging around. If I’m not going to sit and work, I don’t just want to sit at home, either. And I don’t want to, you know, run errands. My idea of “fun” is something grand and usually involves travel.

Which reminds me, I do need to get the kids’ passports done during the break.

Everyone home also means my walks won’t be as regular. But I got one in yesterday, before having to chaperone classroom parties and such:

1. “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
2. “It’s All Been Done” by Barenaked Ladies
3. “Where Are You Now?” by Mumford & Sons
4. “I Can’t Lie” by Maroon 5
5. “Something to Believe In” by Parachute
6. “Back 2 Good” by Matchbox Twenty
7. “Do You Love Me” by Guster

Two through four definitely tell a story of reincarnated soulmate romance that is lost and preys on one’s mind. Well, after all, that kind of story is my stock and trade.

And so if I made much of the two enormous crows sitting in a tree and watching me walk, well, I am a writer. I have a wild imagination.

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It’s my birthday.

And Liz Blocker has me doing a 777. That means I go to my WIP (which is Changers, if you didn’t already know), go to the 7th page, find the 7th line, and share the next 7 lines or so.

Here goes:

Sutter reached out and gave one of Marcus’s dark curls a tug. “Getting long again, Doyle.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Don’t let it get past your collar.”

“No, sir, I won’t.”

Cee watched the coach move away, maroon polo shirt tucked into khaki trousers, which looked somewhat ridiculous but gave more than a hint of the man’s muscular physique. “He teaches your Gender Studies class, doesn’t he?” Cee asked.

Abruptly, Marcus stood and grabbed his tray. He mumbled something that Cee took to be, “I’m not hungry,” and hurried away, leaving Cee aghast—she had never in ten years of knowing him seen Marcus Doyle blush.

Please keep in mind this is a first draft, unedited.

And I did also get in a short walk this morning:

1. “The Road and the Sky” by Jackson Browne
2. “The Energy Never Dies” by The Script
3. “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John
4. “Heaven” by O.A.R.
5. “Counterclockwise” by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers
6. “Our Song” by Matchbox Twenty

I think my iPod started with Jackson Browne to remind me that I’m old.

And I have to say, I’ve been somewhat underwhelmed by the latest Script album, but I do really like “The Energy Never Dies.”

Now I’m off to do . . . birthday things . . . Don’t wait up.

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Solar Return

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Today is my Solar Return, which is like a birthday except you base it on when the Sun returns to the same place in the sky it was in when you were born. Which means it may happen on your actual birthday, or sometime near it. For me, it usually happens on December 16, even though my birthday is tomorrow, the 17th.

Today is also the first day in a long time I was able to get a walk in. At least the hills are now green from all the rain.

1. “Bullet From a Gun” by The Script
2. “Hey Jude” by The Beatles
3. “Goin’ Home” by Pure Prairie League
4. “Shades of Gray” by Billy Joel
5. “Playing with Fire” by Richard Marx
6. “Best I Ever Had” by Gavin DeGraw
7. “Early Morning Riser” by Pure Prairie League
8. “All Your Reasons” by Matchbox Twenty
9. “You Make Me Smile” by Dave Koz
10. “Warmer Place to Sleep” by John Cougar Mellencamp
11. “Keep Me Dreaming” by The Blue Pages

And as a bonus, these are the songs that played in my car, picking up where my walk left off:

1. “Should’ve Known Better” by Richard Marx
2. “Little Rock” by Reba McEntire
3. “Exit Wounds” by The Script
4. “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” by Maroon 5

(It was a short trip, just to the store and back.)

I was thinking about the song “Goin’ Home,” which I hadn’t listened to in a long time, and I have to say . . . I don’t have a place to “go home” to. I like where I live, and at the moment I have no urge to move, but there is something nomadic in me, I guess, that prevents me from saying, “This is home.” Because it doesn’t feel so permanent as that. I may be here a long time, but it won’t be forever.

It wasn’t always that way. “Home” used to be the house I grew up in. But my parents have moved around a lot and now live in a place I have no connection to, and I don’t have any desire to, I don’t know, go backward and live in places I’ve already lived. It wouldn’t feel like progress to me.

If “home” is where a person feels most comfortable and relaxed and happy, then for me that is still London. Even though I’ve never actually lived there.

They say you should keep a diary of everything that happens and all you do on your Solar Return because it projects into your coming year. My Return isn’t until 7:23 this evening, but I’ll be making notes anyway. I’ve already had some good news this morning, too—an agent who’d had partial pages of Peter asked for the full manuscript. And I have a beauty evening scheduled for tonight, so . . . Just trying to keep this day happy and upbeat. Maybe it’s superstitious, but whatever. It makes me feel good.

Though, when I consider I’ll be sleeping through a big chunk of the Return, does that mean those months of my year will be “dormant”? I hope not! I have high expectations for 2015. My Rising Sign this year is Leo (well, okay, it’s the 29th degree of Cancer, which might as well be Leo), and you’re going to hear me roar!

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Uranus square Pluto

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Contentment has rarely been the basis of great art.

Think about it. The biographies of great writers, actors, musicians are fraught with abusive childhoods, depression, addiction, bad relationships. Sometimes there are happy endings. Sometimes not.

I’ve noticed within myself there is a sweet spot of malcontent that fuels my writing. To write, I cannot be completely happy. However, I cannot either be thoroughly depressed; when I am, I don’t want to do anything, not even write.

This applies more widely to the world, too. When people are happy, they are not driven to change things. Revolution requires mass discontent. That restlessness, that unhappiness, is what pushes us to transform.

For an artist, “transformation” comes through one’s work.

I’m not really making a point here. Just an observation.

Weekly Stats

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I had a somewhat better week than the past couple. No outright rejections this week, though I also have not had that magical offer I’m seeking. But! There has been progress on a number of fronts.

1. The agent who favorited my #pitmad tweet from last week requested my full manuscript.

2. There was a similar exercise on Twitter called #PitchMAS, and even though I hadn’t planned to be pitching, I got a couple more partial requests from it.

3. A producer requested to read 20 August.

4. I applied for an unpaid internship with a literary agent—I think it would be a great learning experience, and also a lot of fun—and she’s sent me a manuscript to evaluate as part of her screening process. Hey, even if I don’t get the job, it’s nice to be considered. And I’m enjoying the feeling of having options. Of not being stuck with just one project or outlet or possible path to . . . Wherever I’m headed.

Of course all this means I’m a tad behind on my word count for Changers. But it’s very exciting to be in demand.

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Expectations, Great and Otherwise

Filed in musings | writing projects 1 Comment

Okay, so today I’ve only written 240 words. I could make excuses, but . . . I may yet do a bit more writing later, but my brain feels fried right now.

It’s been a busy day. Two of my three children received awards at school, and then there is the pool we’re putting in (saw the first designs today and really like them). And I stumbled onto #PitchMAS and, not having planned to participate, threw my hat in the ring anyway and was excited to get several favorites from literary agents. Funny how that works. I had planned for #pitmad and only ended up with one request. Today, doing it on the fly, my results were much better. Is it that my pitches were more natural and less stilted when taken off the top of my head? Or is it more that, with few to no expectations, I am more easily pleased by even a few indications of interest in my manuscript? Probably a combination of the two.

But seriously, think about it: When you go to a movie with high expectations, the movie has to work that much harder—be that much more magnificent—to please you. (Unless you’re one of those blind, slobbering fan people who eat up anything and everything in your fandom. Sorry, but blech.) But if you go to a movie with low to no expectations, you’re way more likely to walk out going, “That was better than I thought it would be.” The movie only has to be mediocre to gain your good word.

Keep in mind I have a psychology minor. I love this kind of thing.

Anyway, a fair start to the weekend. And I promise to put in more writing time and make up my word count.

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WIP Stats

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Yesterday: 449 words
Today: 566 words

It’s not much, but I’m on track for my 27 February finish. I now have 22,405 words in my WIP.

Big storm kept me from my walk today, but I did get a short one in yesterday:

1. “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston
2. “Alison Road” by Gin Blossoms
3. “Sugar, We’re Goin Down” by Fall Out Boy
4. “Runaway” by Maroon 5
5. “Meet Virginia” by Train
6. “That’s What Living Is to Me” by Jimmy Buffett

That last one always spoke to me and my experience. Buffett may be best known for his party tunes, but he does have some lovely others that are easily overlooked.

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Maths

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The Goal: To finish Changers by 27 February.

I don’t know why I picked that date. It just feels right and doable and whatever.

I’d like the book to have at least 55k words, but really I’ll just need to write ’til it’s done.

Right now I have 21,263 words.

That leaves 33,737 words to go (if not more).

There are 80 days until 27 February. I’m not counting today, which is nearly over, but I am counting the 27th itself because I could still write that day and finish.

This means, if I write every day from tomorrow through 27 February, I need to do about 422 words per day to make my minimum word count.

This doesn’t necessarily mean I’d finish the book. I’d merely reach the number of words. (And, honestly, it’s the kind of book that may be a bit longer, more like 65k. Difficult to tell yet.)

So let’s call it 500 words per day. I can do that, right? I’ve done about 300 today, could probably put in a bit more, though I’m having difficulty focusing. But I feel like if I have this per day minimum, that will help me focus. Because it won’t seem like some huge thing. It will seem like a task I can complete.

I can do this.

I will do this.

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Downs and Ups

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The past couple weeks have been difficult ones for me, so I took a break from writing this past weekend and focused on family instead. Well, okay, I did at least outline a bit for my current WIP, and I named a character (after much research and consideration) . . . So I did a *little bit* of work. I’m pretty excited about how my WIP is shaping up, too. If I could just find Peter a home, I’d be happy all around.

This morning’s walk:

1. “Wave Bye Bye” by Gin Blossoms
2. “Honey, Let Me Sing You a Song” by Matt Hires
3. “Lonely Ol’ Night” by John Cougar Mellencamp
4. “Home” by American Authors
5. “Like Sugar” by Matchbox Twenty
6. “Put Your Hands Up” by Matchbox Twenty
7. “Addicted to Love” by Robert Palmer
8. “Pieces of the Night” by Gin Blossoms
9. “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons
10. “Here We Go Again” by Everclear
11. “Brighter Than the Sun” by Colbie Caillat

“Put Your Hands Up” is such bubblegum, but every now and then I do just want a song that makes me want to move my body, and that one fits the bill. As ever, Rob and his crew brought my spirits up. Last week consisted of nothing but rejections, but today I at least received one request for my manuscript. So already this week is better than last. And having the Christmas decorations up helps my mood, too.

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Today

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