Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Typing for a living, alone, is bad enough. Add two personalities fighting for control of one body and it’s hell. Samantha and Maria agreed on one thing, their increasing obsession for the doctor they transcribed for. The women broke out in a sweat at the mere sound of his voice. Neither personality was able to muster up the strength to walk away from him. Regardless of the danger their love offered.
When Dr. Luke Lawson crossed the path of the women Samantha will have the opportunity to win his love. But Maria takes any chance she can to destroy Samantha's chances for happiness. Does Samantha have the strength to overpower Maria and win a future with the doctor? Can Luke forgive and forget Samantha’s obsessive past?
Dictating Desire is a romance with a psychological thread that introduces the possibility of love for someone who believes there is no reason to hope.
Just a repost of the obvious:
I've said it once and I'll say it again - whoever is in charge of time is severely constipated. Push it out! Come on! I'll get the prune juice. I want more! Time, that is.
What would you think about a five day weekend and a two day work week?
What about 48 hours in a day instead of 24? Heck, 25?
What if I told you we can orb around to where we need to go? Do you think that would help you time wise or would it maybe just give you more time to fill?
I'm wondering at what point do the priorities take over the wants. Do you change the diaper and feed the baby or blog? Do you cuddle the family or watch Charmed?
I had been thinking my youngest child was constipated this past week. I gave him a bath and he went in the tub. Yep, just like that. Kind of sick, but I'm a mom and I was grateful to see the poo. Sick as it is.
Maybe we need to get some warm water on the bum of whoever is in charge of time... think that would do anything? Most likely not, but it's a nice thought...
Monday, October 25, 2010
I had a friend tell me not to worry about rejections I get for my MS. I arched my eyebrow at her and asked, "Why?"
She went on to inform me, most supportively I might add, that if "they" didn't like my book then "they" could bloody well shove it.
I laughed and asked who "they" was. She said "Anyone who rejects you."
So Nathan Fisk, Craig Frost, and Joe Oka you are now they! These are boys who rejected me in grade school and high school that I had my heart set on. Maybe the adage really can be "It's not me, it's you".
Or is that the other way around in the publishing industry?
It's not the agent, the editor or the crit group. It's your MS. Maybe it's grammar is passive, or the characters - quite frankly - are flat. Maybe there's no plot or it's just plain boring, not believable...
The MS of course, not you.
Friday, October 22, 2010
I'm starting to claim author as my profession. Someone will say, "So, what do you do?" And I'll reply with "I'm an author and on the side I'm a medical transcriptionist.:
"Oh? What do you write?" Real interest.
"I write romantic suspense and contemporary romance."
"Oh." And, I've lost them. Most of the time they get a glazed look in their eye. One guy actually asked me if that could even be considered a genre... my brother-in-law to be exact.
Well, for your information, Romance books lead the way in the industry for books sold per year in the fiction section - I don't know stats regarding nonfiction 'cause I don't read it. Boring stuff, no sex, vampires or happily-ever-afters.
Why do you think this genre would be at the top, more books per capita than many of the genres under it combined? Because it's feel good, people.
No, I don't just mean the sex. Notice Christian Romance is lumped in there and there is no sex involved until they are married. Sweet romances just allude to the sex. And as nice as sex is, when we read a romance novel, it's not 250 pages on a one-night stand.
Seriously. It's about the emotional connection between two people. What works to keep them apart and how they overcome all obstacles to live in love the rest of time and forever. Most romances don't cover the later where divorce might be or death or abuse or disease because nobody wants to read about that. No one gets married planning on their wedding ending in despair. Nope, in a romance, it is assumed that love is enough and it usually is. I'd never write my characters apart - NEVER. I love them too much.
I do, however, delight in causing problems for my friends on paper. Why protect them? It is the strength and development of the characters as they go from point A-alone to point T-together that we love to read about.
When I was 9 I read my first romance. Until I was 21 I read about 30 romance novels a week. I looked around every corner for "Mr. Hero" and distressed about ever finding him.
Well, have no fear people. I found him. And there is no divorce at the end of this long tunnel. We've coverd 12 years together, had a bungload of kids together and still enjoy each other. Longest stint with a bestfriend I've ever had. Grin.
My point is romance is more than a genre. It's what most people (women in particular) search for. There are so many emotions wrapped up in the hunt for us. For some, it's all consuming. For others, it's a best seller.
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Picking up my kids at school, a woman turned to me and started gabbing. You know the kind of conversation we had - which class is yours in? what do you do? how many kids do you have? The same questions moms have been tossing around for ages.
This particular mom and I were laughing our heads off at the weather, sunny with no clouds but rain. No, I'm serious. That's the way it is up here. Nary a cloud in the sky but thunderstorms. I love it.
Anyway, she asked what my husband did. Well, my husband goes to school, I said. She nodded her head and then asked what I do.
Pause* You mean with regards to what? I'm an author of romance novels. I'm a mother of a brood of children. I'm a pretend On-TV-Cook in my modest kitchen and wish I had Emeril's appliances. I'm active in my church. When I get the energy I clean which means I do the dishes. Oh, and I work full time as a medical transcriptionist.
I usually lead with the author bit, leave out the middle and end with the MT part. I always, and I mean always, get asked that that entails.
To sum it up, I work from home on my PC for a terrific company (MD-IT). They send me the voice files of doctors I have accounts with and I type nearly verbatim what they say. I say nearly because some doctors want you to "fix" their mistakes, like if it's supposed to be on the right side and I'm dictating left, change it for the love!
Then I get asked, how does that work? How can you be here picking up the kids when you have work to do? Well, I don't have work to do. I get up at 2:00 am and get my work done before I have to take the kids to school. If I have extra work to do, then I wait to finish it when I get home.
When do you go to bed? Kind of nosy, but I understand why they're asking. At 7:30 with the kids.
Aahhh. And here is where I lost them. Why go to bed early when you could work at night? Well, as most MTs will tell you, typing is hard work. No, really, it is. It sucks for your back, eyes, neck, legs, hips, shoulders and, most especially, your wrists, hands and elbows.
I go to bed early because when I'm fresh from sleep none of the ailments have had time to collect and hurt me. The arthritis is dorman. The carpal tunnel and cubital tunnel have rested. Do it early and I don't fall asleep at the desk, generally. I've been known to fall asleep sitting up. Come on, 2 AM!
Some things to note about working from home besides the fact that it is an extreme blessing.
1. It requires self-discipline. I have noone breathing down my neck. If I don't do the work, I lose the account. That simple.
2. I can wear my pajamas to work - and do.
3. Meals are down the stairs in my kitchen.
4. Doctors are people and make mistakes. We need to support them and work as a team.
5. Self-discipline - repeated because of its importance.
More on transcription later. Heck, it's what I do in the mornings.
What do you do?
What do you do?
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
What's in a manuscript, you ask?
Me. All of me and a little spice. No one has ripped apart my novel yet, but until I actually wrote my first book and put it out there for all to see, I had no idea how terrifying it is.
I no longer rip apart other's books. I may not recommend them, but I will never tear one apart and here is why.
When you're called a name, it hurts. When your child is injured, it hurts you. When your book is castrated, you feel it in your gut, because your book is still you. No matter how thick our skin is, the book is a piece of us floating off into the world to be judged. Even if it isn't liked, a little courteousy is extremely appreciated. Otherwise, I'll just cry while I write the next one, 'cause the words won't stop my writing... no matter how bad.
Monday, October 18, 2010
When sitting down to submit a manuscript (MS), it should NEVER be as simply as CCing a bunch of random agents and publishers with the same query typed with a salutation like To Whom It May Concern. NEVER!
I think of that as spamming the poor people and we all know what it's like to get unwanted group forwards, right?
Think of it like this:
You have been working for (fill in length of time) on this novel/MS that has been groomed and coddled like a child - raised and loved as if from your womb. Would you really just toss it out there for anyone to reject? Because that's what you're doing people. Without researching who to send your work to, you are setting yourself up for failure.
What if you send the query of your, let's say, thriller/suspense to an agent that only represents romance? Seriously? Do you think yours is the first novel they've seen of that genre? Do you think you're going to sway them to change genres? Come on, friends, it doesn't work that way. They've seen those types of books but feel they are better to represent the genre they chose.
And their choice isn't a secret. It's splashed across their websites, their submissions page, their blogs... they've most likely FaceBooked about it or Tweeted it. It's in Writer's Market and - I can go on and on here!
Friday, October 15, 2010
Yeah, being disorganized gets in the way of time management. Or is it the other way around?
Taking my own advice the other day, I prioritized my commitments - meaning what are responsibilities that I have in my day to day life that need to have time set aside for them?
Feeding the Herd (family)
PR for Writing (blogging, etc.)
Baby (different needs than three older kids)
Exercise (Don't want to be huge for that conference next year)
Hunting Season (hubby's needs)
Extraneous needs that just pop up
These are all commitments. I know I have more, but I can't think of any because the last commitment on the list is one I don't make enough time for. I'm serious.
So, when you look over the list you have to decide which is a Need and which is a Want. This is MUCH harder than you think. Only you can decide what falls where for you.
For instance - is sleep a need? Not more than 4 to 6 hours a night - at least for me. Cleaning is not. No, again, I'm serious. I don't clean until everyone can help me. I work full time and have other things I want too, so the whole family helps or I don't do it.
Blogging for me (since I wrote my business plan) is important. I have four blogs. One is for my authoring, one is family journaling, another is a weight report - to hold me accountable and the last is one for my testimony in God - a personal accounting. I have set aside certain time for each of these.
I also work particular hours a day and refuse to go outside this slotted time because I have other things to occupy the other 19 hours of the day.
As a transcriptionist, your production bases your full time or part time status. I work a full time job in part time hours. It makes it nice for the rest of the commitments.
Okay, so we have prioritized our list. Say a few things can be under both Want and Need? Well, decide if you want it to be a need or if it can actually stay a want that you have to schedule time for. Here is the difference. A want that should be a need is something you plan, something that you want to replace another need. I want my writing to be more successful than my work so that I can soon fade out the work and use that time for writing (a new work). So, if it's a want/need you have to schedule it and treat it like a need.
If it is a want, it is going to be sacrificed once in a while for the good of the needs. Cut out the shopping, if it's not emergent - suggest food storage - later post. A few extra minutes in the day will go far for meeting your need requirements.
Delegate! Another example, hubby's hunting season is having to be cut short (at least for today) because I have so many responsibilities I need his help with some. This involves picking up kids, chasing them while I'm typing, helping make a meal for a woman who had a baby, etc. He can help with this. And why shouldn't he? His list isn't half as long as mine is - another post on why this is later.
So, when you think you just don't have the time, sit down and figure out where your time is going. I guarantee, you can deduct some from something else and be more productive for it.
Now, if you schedule yourself to the minute make sure you allot time for things outside of your control - like the kids running off with your oven mitt and dinner not getting done on time, eaten on time or kids off to bathe on time. This is not a good thing because it snowballs and makes for a cranky mommy.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
There is a new planet found! It's called the Goldilocks planet. It has everything just right to support life. Yes, it would take six or seven generations to get there, but it's only 14 million miles from it's sun (which doesn't burn as hot as ours) - Earth is 92 million miles from the sun.
It has water and t-shirt weather. They are 100% certain that it supports some form of life.
I'm moving there. The most valuable asset it has? 36 hours in a day. 36! Can you imagine? I could get used to that.
I have people tell me all the time they are too busy to do something. Busy? I feel like the Stanley Steemer commercial when I say this - Busy? You think chasing after one or two kids all day while your husband works is busy? Really? I get my full time job done by 7 in the morning, bustle kids off to school -first grade and under - three of them), take fourth baby around to appointments and miscellaneous things before I have to go pick up the younger two at noon, go home for lunch, naptime where I try and squeeze in some writing, pickup oldest at three, head home for homework and make dinner, fit cleaning and laundry in there and meal preparation (I believe in meals at the table with everyone present and home made meals as much as possible), family time followed by bedtime for me and kids while hubby stays up and does homework. He's at school all day.
This is a day I don't have my church calling to attend to, or another service needing to be rendered, no visits, or grocery shopping to be done.
So, I ask you, if I can fit in accomplishing my dream how can you tell me you don't have time? Because, and I know this because it used to be me, you don't have your time budget figured out.
Yes, time budget, not money budget. Each day is an envelope of money. There's no extra and when the day is over you have throw away anything you didn't use. Yep, throw it away!
So here's what you do. Sit down with a pen and paper and write down all your commitments. All of them. Then prioritize what is a need and what is a want.
Schedule out the needs and fit in the wants, adjusting as needed.
There will be an example of this up on Friday.
When I find time that is. : )
Monday, October 11, 2010
I have a new business plan - it involves embracing my role as a mother, full time employee, author, instructor, wife, Church member with responsibilities, tutor, volunteer at schools (three kids in three different schools), and me.
Me. I need to focus on me and prioritize my life so that I can better meet the demands each role requires. And as much as I would like to run screaming to the nearest day spa, I know time management and organization skills will pull me above drowning and level me out.
I just wish someone would tell that to my absent maid. She has disappeared in tears behind the wall with a chocolate donut. Sigh. Oh, wait the chocolate donut is in my hand. Those are my tears. Dang it. I'm the maid, too. Double sign. Hmmm. I need milk with this.