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Saturday, September 26, 2009

First page

NTRWA is hosting a conference in a few months. As one of the early entrants, I've been given the opportunity to submit my first page -- for review -- to the great Maggie Lawson. She'll analyze -- probably to pieces -- the writing, then offer suggestions for making it better.

Okay, I'm a little nervous to have Maggie Lawson read anything I've penned to paper.

I'm posting it.

Tell me what you think. What works . . . what doesn't. This is actually the prologue tugged and tucked into one type-written page, so I may have deleted so much, it doesn't make sense. Let me know, please, before I'm read in front of a room full of conference goers, who collectively say, 'Huh?'


“So this is Hell,” Kyra Malone muttered to the circle of funeral vultures.

Not the literal type with flapping wings and scraggly beak – but dressed in their Polo basic black and pasted with simpering Botox smiles – the Austin elite was close enough to count for the bone-picking birds. Disgusted, Kyra turned from the flock’s annoying presence and toward the weeping pewter sky.

That one heavenward look was as close as she’d ever come to singing angels and golden streets. People who killed their best friends . . . or at least, got them killed wouldn’t be welcomed among harps and fluffy wings.

"Anna would want you to have this.”

The voice jerked Kyra back to the graveside and the older woman in front of her. Shrouded in mourning black and tears, her best friend's mother pressed a token into Kyra’s hand.

"A gift from her father. You should take it, now that she can't wear it . . . anymore."

The antique coin, surrounded by tiny diamonds, blinked up at Kyra. The cold metal seared her hand as forcefully as the suppressed tears scalded her throat. Long seconds ticked by into a harsh minute before she could force the words free.

“It's time for you to leave.” For an instant, she focused on the tiny, auburn-haired child nuzzled against the hem of her skirt. "You and Kendra must go now." The girl snuggled her delicate fingers inside Kyra's grip. It was a trusting touch. She released the child's hand -- she'd betrayed them all.

“I don’t like leaving you.” The older woman looked prepared to battle the point again. “Promise me, Kyra, not to do anything foolish. . .”

There wasn’t a need to say more. What she had planned for the men responsible would be considered rash on the best Sunday and blatant career suicide come any Monday morning. It didn’t matter. The moment Anna had been murdered they’d given her no choice. A debt was due, and she would make certain it was collected.

Bending, Kyra kissed the child then glanced between the faces of the two people she truly loved and did the only thing possible – she lied.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Texas A & M Ring Day . . . .

Texas A & M is a school known for tradition . . . lots and lots of them. My daughter, a current Ag, loves this aspect of her school. This weekend, her father and I experienced another of these traditions with her. As she is entering the final stretch towards graduation, she qualifies for her Aggie ring. Understand, this isn't just any ring. Only one manufacturer; all rings are alike (there are a few variations, but anyone who wears the ring will recognize a fellow ring-wearer); before any student can purchase a ring, the university completes a 'Ring Audit', meaning the student must qualify; rings are only presented at specific ceremonies; and there is a lot of 'Whoop' hoop-la that goes with the presentation.

My daughter wears an Aggie T-shirt that says, "From the outside looking in, it's impossible to understand. From the inside looking out, it's impossible to explain."

More than one alumni from other schools, have mocked the Aggie tradition. (My Alma Marta isn't A & M, but our house has learned to bleed Maroon over the past several years.) Gotta tell you, the T-shirt really does say it all. If you're not an Aggie, or living with one, it's impossible to understand the intense pride and dedication to tradition. However, if you are one, it's a beacon which illuminates tenacity, and determination, and celebrates accomplishments.

So to my daughter, who is all things brilliant and beautiful, I say, 'You make my heart sing. I'm so proud that you've never quit. When it has been the most difficult thing you've attempted, you've 'ponied' up and followed through. You will be successful. Those in life, gifted with your tenacity and sense of determination, always are.

Happy Ring Day, sweetheart. May this be a moment you will always remember.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Another article up at Ezine Articles . . .

How fun! Another article -- Creating Extraordinary Writing from Ordinary Phrases has been accepted by Ezine Articles.

Hubby is hard at work pushing my articles out and about, so I'm really clueless as to where all my articles have spidered (technical Google term) at this point. It's possible to see my by-line on any number of Internet sites as a result of his marketing tenacity.

The article writing is part of my self-promotion plan -- building a readership from all spectrums. For those interested in submitting to Ezine just click on that link. As an article author, you are required to open an account with Ezine. No, it doesn't cost anything. Word of warning, they do send a slew of information emails. There maybe a 'disable' function for the emails. Hubby has it set to drop the emails to us, and we're learning the ins and outs of publishing articles. Helpful information is contained in the emails, so you might want to accept them for a bit and then decide. Particularly helpful are the emails regarding Titles. Maybe they are just helpful to me, as I'm title-challenged. Just ask my critique partners. Hubby is titling my articles, but we're learning together how to pack punch into a few words and increase readership -- always a valuable tool to employ.

Is Ezine just for writers?

Absolutely not.

For my teaching friends -- pearls of wisdom from this front are always useful.
My career cronies -- time management, new sales, office negotiation, all topics that could find a home on Ezine.

Bottom line is if you know 'stuff', then writing (and publishing) an article is possible.

How to can pickles that family and friends will love.
How to repair the garage door opener without paying a professional.
10 things to know before buying a MP-3 player.

All of us, with a little age to our teeth, know things. It's called LIFE. Any number of the experiences can be shared as an article.

Not great at grammar?

Then definitely keep the Ezine Information articles coming in. Each week, valuable insights on navigating grammar waters are provided.

Bonus . . . when one of your friends asked what you've been doing . . . it's lovely to say, "Oh, just getting my articles published."

Happy writing (article or not) to you all.
It's still raining on the backporch, but we're sloshing through. Even my dog, who hates the rain, has finally conceded defeat and will take a stroll through the fat drops when Mother Nature calls. As for me, I did actually find my umbrella. Yep, it even works.
Drop by the porch again.
Until then,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Muses . . .

On board with TWITTER. I needed to join in order to keep up with the kiddo at Texas A & M. Not specifically her, but the campus as a whole. After the Virginia Tech incident, A & M launched their Code Maroon alert program. Students, staff, employees and parents, who had emails on file, were notified of any emergency situation through text and email messages. This year A & M changed to TWITTER. Students still gets the emergency text, but parents must follow TWITTER.

So as I'm on TWITTER, if you want to follow me, just search my name, and then send a TWITTER alert to me. If you're already Tweeting, then watch for LoneStarMeander . . . yep, that's me. I'm not totally sure that short burps (and yes, that's the right word for it) about my day are exactly exciting, but I decided if I was on-board I might as well play the whole game. It is fun to keep up with some of my favorite authors (Rosemary Clements-Moore, Candy Havens, and Geralyn Dawson-- several tweet on and off during the day. It's kind of like living in their backpocket without being creepy about it.

Chapter 19 (TRICKLE OF LIES) is done and in the completed pile. I'm really pleased with the finished result. I had the basis of the chapter when I sat down yesterday, but so much needed to be filled out. The plot is turning very tight at this point so every revelation is massively important. Not to mention the internal turning points. Yes, I know that there are only 3 or so real turning points (excluding black moment) in each novel; however, there are a massive # of small internal turning points -- rising and falling points. To me as the action ratchet up another notch, then the TPs must happen quicker and with as much precision as possible. Surgical precision, if you will.

As this is more of a Sunday morning ramble, I'll digress onto my dreams last night. Lady Muse decided to visit about my completed chapter, which is totally OK, but she didn't show up as I drifted off to sleep. That lovely land where writers can still pry their eyes open and jot down the notes. Oh no, she showed up literally in my dreams, layers deep in REM sleep. Short of nightmares, I've never managed to extricate myself from REM for note-taking. I tried for 4 years in college and believe me, if I was going to master the technique it would have been then. So, I took the dog for a long walk, hoping to recapture any part of the dream. Unfortunately and fortunately, it's raining in Texas -- kinda all over the state, which is awesome considering our drought status. So despite my desire to drift along in oblivion while the doggy did her duty, I was too busy negotiating rivers of run-off and soggy shoes. Maybe I'll try a long hot shower after breakfast and see if any part of the dream comes back. Worst part -- is that the additions were really perfect. Even in sleep I can remember thinking, "That's exactly what I want to happen."

Happy Sunday all. It's cooler on the porch this morning. Perfect but for the Texas mosquitoes, which are hatching in the droves. I actually think they're feeding on my supply of OFF.
Until next time

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Moving to the end . . .

Over the top and goofy excited because I've actually finished a workable ending to Trickle of Lies. I've written several endings, but none have rang true . . . or more importantly, tied up every loose thread with a bow. I've invested too much time and effort at this point to not be totally in love with the end.

I've read, and I know you have as well, far too many books where it seemed the author just threw an ending on page. Okay, so it answered all the plot questions, but it was far from satisfying. How many of us started because we read a story, fell in love with the characters, and then desperately wanted a different ending? Tell the truth! Every writer has more than one book they've kept on a shelf because they yearn for a different ending. For me, there are some that I want to rewrite; others that have such a perfect ending, I long for the strength to write something so worthy.

I had an epiphany on the way to work two mornings ago. I'd already decided to just write another ending -- any ending to finish the silly thing. I wasn't pleased with the decision, but I want it done. Maybe that's what Madam Muse was waiting for: the show-up-now-declaration-or-I'll-write-something-crappy decision to kick it into high gear. So, here's to writing into a corner and then finding a way out.

By the way, the boy came up with a book jacket for me. A little tidbit to keep me motivated and moving to the end. Gotta love computers -- and those who are computer literate -- which is not me. As I'm fond of saying, I don't need to be all that smart, just surround myself with smart people.


Wish me luck on the way to the end.
See you around the porch soon.
Until then,

Famous Texan -- The Simple (and Complicated) Life of a Texas Titan: Ross Perot

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