March 27, 2012



My cell phone doesn’t get that many calls. Aside from calls from the Boyfriend, and occasional calls from the roommate, it mostly remains silent.

That’s fine 364 days of the year. But there’s one day that I want the phone to ring: Golden Heart finalist call day.

In 2011, my call came bright and early, waking me at 8 a.m. So when I woke up 0f my own volition at 8:20 this morning, I was kind of already resigned to not finaling this year.

Add this to the fact neither of my entries has managed to final in any other contests this year, and I was even more convinced it wasn’t going to happen for me in 2012.

Then I checked the RWA website and saw there were only four finalists in my category. Knowing contemporary series had to have more than 40 entries, hope ticked up a notch.

I jumped in the shower and then drove from the Boyfriend’s to Flagstaff in time for  the massage I booked to keep my mind off waiting for the phone to ring. Best idea ever. For a blissful hour, I enjoyed being pampered and didn’t think about the GH (much anyway). Really. Hardly at all.

After the massage ended and I’d paid, I glided bonelessly to my car, relishing a few more moments of not stressing out. Only then did I allow  myself to check my phone.

Imagine how shocked I was to see a missed call from “blocked.”

My hopes immediately skyrocketed. I started driving myself crazy, wondering if I could be wrong … if I would be joining the 2012 GH class after all. I tweeted my frustration at missing the call. I text-messaged my chapter president. I e-mailed my critique partner.

Then I tried to go back to my routine. Yeah, right. Like anything captured my attention besides willing the phone to ring again.

It happened as I was walking into the bank. My ringtone was sweet, sweet music. I snatched up the phone and checked the display. Yes, “Blocked” was calling again. I answered with a smile on my face and hope threatening to choke me.


Silence on the other end of the line.

“Hello,” I repeated, increasingly desperate to hear those magic words.

Still nothing but silence.

An edge of anger crept into my third “hello” before I disconnected the call, disgusted with whoever decided today would be a great day to phone me from a blocked number for no reason at all.

My CP says it was probably just a telemarketer. The Boyfriend assured me he gets blocked calls all the time.

Tell me I’m not the only one who thinks telemarketers should be banned from calling between the hours of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on March 25 (or 26 if the 25th falls on a Sunday).

Anyone know any lawmakers who can make that happen?


March 19, 2012


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Let’s get something straight: I might not be the best choice to talk about time management.

As I sat preparing the remarks about time management I was supposed to deliver — less than 12 hours before I was set to deliver them — I certainly felt like a fraud.

Then I remembered there’s a lot on my plate. I work 40-plus hours a week at the day job, spend quality time with the Boyfriend, run a growing weight-loss blog and have just started working out regularly again, thanks to my entry in an online bootcamp class.

Despite all that, I still manage to write for one to two hours most days of the week. In the past year, I’ve not only done some pretty heavy revising on two manuscripts, but also written first drafts of two more. I also attended my first RWA Nationals, took on the vice presidency of my local RWA chapter and edited/laid out six issues of the chapter newsletter.

What’s the secret, you ask?

Not so fast. First, a look at the things that keep me (and others) from writing:

  • Commitments to work/family/friends. I admit, I have it easier than writers with children/spouses who expect dinner on the table at a certain time.  If I decide not to stop writing to cook a meal, the only one I’m hurting is myself.
  • Procrastination. Self explanatory, right?
  • Social media time-sucks. Twitter and Facebook, I’m looking at you. Pinterest too. It’s all too easy to fritter away an hour — or more — pinning, tweeting or reading all my friends’ status updates.

Let’s tackle the last one first. Author Jody Hedlund recently wrote a blog post on three ways to keep social media from taking over your writing time.

The other two can be managed by making writing a priority.

Yes, it’s hard to juggle writing with all the other responsibilities of day-to-day life. But if you’re going to be a writer, you have to make time to write. It’s non-negotiable.

I’ve gotten pretty good at making time to write. In fact, I’m so good at it that other things — like my talk on time management — fall by the wayside. 😉

What are your tips for effective time management?


March 13, 2012



If it weren’t such a cliche, I’d ask where the heck the year has gone. It seems impossible that March is already upon us — and not just March, but mid-March. What happened to January and February?

Lost to a haze of working, working out, reading, tweeting, writing and rewriting, I suppose. With the help of the Rubies and their Winter Writing Festival, and my critique partner, I’ve been busy pummeling Brad and Erin’s story into submission shape. It’s getting closer … I just hope it gets there soon.

The only thing I haven’t been doing is blogging (here, anyway. My weight-loss blog is flourishing. I joined Romance Biggest Winner 2 and am taking part in an online boot camp, both of which provide plenty of fodder for posts over there.)

In about two weeks, Golden Heart calls will be made. Will I get one? I kind of doubt it, since neither of my entries has done well in other contests this year. I’m not counting myself out yet, but I won’t be surprised if the phone doesn’t ring.

No matter what happens on March 25, I’m firmly committed to querying, submitting and writing my not-so-little heart out. 2012 is going to be a great year.

February 20, 2012


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There’s no shortage of reading material on the ol’ information superhighway. Here are a few of the links I’m loving right now:

— I wish I’d seen Nathan Bransford’s post on the art of being unsentimental about your characters months ago. Might have saved me from having to muse about being too nice. Then again, maybe not. My characters do have flaws (and I think they’re fatal-ish) … I just don’t want to make them miserable.

— From Writer’s Relief, via the Huffington Post: Proof that you’re never too old to start writing. Their slide show on “late blooming authors” includes one of my childhood favorites (Laura Ingalls Wilder).

— I stumbled on a link to Jane Friedman’s 2 Ways to Make the Most of Goodreads. Someday, I hope to be able to use the tips. Until then, I’ll try to post more detailed reviews of the books I enjoy.

— From Roni Loren comes a post on the 3 Core Components of a Blockbuster Blog. Since one of  my goals for this year is to grow my blog, I read this one with interest. I loved her take on the reasons people read blogs — to be informed or inspired, to be entertained and to connect — and will strive to ensure future posts do one (or more) of the three.