Follow by Email

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Days and Painful Workouts

Yup... another Snow Day. Another day to stay warm and fuzzy at home. So, I dedicated this day to peaceful and productive writing endeavors. And, it worked! Even with both of my girls at home, I got a whole heck of a lot done on my WIP, not to mention a few other things I'm trying to finish. But, as satisfied as I am with how today went, I cannot rest on my, well, laurels. Much is still left to be done.

And, speaking of laurels, as quick as my mind has been today, I cannot say the same for my body. There is a difference when you work out with a personal trainer. OUCH!!!! My friend, Leanne, has taken me on and is challenging me to be more fit at 41 than I've ever been. Now, I'd like to think that I'm up for that challenge. However, today I'm finding it difficult to pull up my hair, and I can't seem to apply lip gloss any longer with my right hand. Let's not talk about potty time, kay? I think I've lost permanent use of my extremities. Thank goodness, I didn't have to do three reps of 25 with a 10lb weight with my fingers, or today would have been a bust, and this post would have been non-existent.

After one full hour of non-stop working out, I had to walk across the gym to grab the cleanser for the dumbbells, mat, and other stuff we used. I thought for sure I was gonna fall, my legs shaking and wobbling under the stress of my body. That would have been entertaining for some, and totally embarrassing for me! But, I just sucked it up, and walked slowly and methodically until I felt as though I had control of my body. Then, I thought I might throw up. My friend, the personal trainer, says I'm tough... I just didn't want to look like an idiot. That was Monday... today is Wednesday.

Yesterday, I made it through my 20 minute ride on my elyptical trainer, but I got stuck on the floor when I attempted yoga. It took me some time to get up. For a few moments, I thought I'd have to wait and let my family find me when they got home.

My hubby and girls try not to laugh at me as I slowly and arduously make my way up and down the stairs, lamenting the entire time. However, as painful as today has been, I know that it will be worth it in the long run... once I get the use of my arms and legs back.

Oh, what we do to look hot! (Ummm, I mean be healthy.)

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:








How would these babies look with some nicely sculpted calves... hmmmmm?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Are cyber fans a writer's future?

As I was perusing through my daily visit of my fave blogs, I came across this very interesting article on Rachelle Gardner's page. Very insightful, although be it a little bit scary (as, I'm not usually one for change that involves the staples of my life). I understand that change is ever constant. I'm thankful for my computers and my Blackjack II, my IPod and other things that make life easier. But, in my heart, I wish that there were some things that would stand the test of time. How would this future of publishing feel to you?

(Read this)

For those of us who love the smell of books, I guess "Yankee Candle" is going to need to come out with a new fragrance... "Dusty Pages" maybe?

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:










Never fear when stilettos are near!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Awww... shucks!

Sweet Bish (not sweet dish) over at "Random Thoughts" nominated me for this really cool award! Thanks, Bish! XOXO

The Kreativ Blogger (
award)

All I have to do is list seven (7) things I love and then pass this award on to seven (7) "Kreativ" people. As with Bish, I'll not list my family for obvious reasons. They are my major top priority and the loves of my life!!!

Now, these are not in any particular order:

1. My Lord and Savior, Abba, Papa, Daddy, & Father. Without whom, I'd be nothing, and have nothing. Not even the breathe of life.

2. The ocean. Like us, every wave is unique. No two waves are the same. They don't even carry the same exact sound as they crash onto the shore. Each wave sings a different song that rings in my heart, as it gently blows its wet salty breathe onto my face.

3. The changing of the seasons. Every three months nature alters herself as if an artist driven by perfection feels compelled to take her paint brush and rework the canvas. It lends a rhythm to life.

4. Our Bogie "The Dancing Wonderdog" and Scotch the cat. Self explanatory, huh?












5. My old cozy cottage.

6. My girlfriends. Each and every one of my precious sister-hood. I could not have lived such a beautiful life without them. "My life was a drought and your friendship was rain." XOXO

7. My beautiful life.

Now, that I've dried my eyes and blown my nose, I offer the same wonderful award to the following (It's kinda hard 'cause I know that several of my blogger friends have already been nominated. If you've already received this from elsewhere, GREAT JOB!):

1. Mary Ann
2. Rena
3. Courtney
4. Tabitha
5. Danette
6. Nora

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:






Feeling a bit "Girlie and Twirly!"



Monday, January 19, 2009

Fiction has to make sense...

Well, after successfully procrastinating on Facebook for about an hour by planting virtual trees to save the rain forests and trying to recruit friends for the "Feel Your Boobies" breast cancer awareness cause, I finally logged out and sat staring at my monitor hoping for something revelatory to reach out and grab me. Ughhhh! Revisions.

I enjoy free writing so much better than the revising. I think because, as I've mentioned before, I have a constant and sometimes nasty struggle between my "Editing Diva" and my "Free-Spirited Muse." I'm literally equal parts right and left-brainer. 49% vs. 51%. So, my creative flow is many times stifled by Editor Diva's pushy perfectionism. Particularly during this process. I've found my free-spirited muse tied up and gagged in the corner a few times during this revision.

I have the disease called "paralysis of analysis." I over think things and fret and stress. "Maybe I shouldn't have nixed that scene or dialogue. Maybe I should take this out... no, I need to take out this instead. Oh, I should expound on this a bit," and so on and so on. I'm very close to finishing this revision, so I'm spending a lot of time asking myself, "Who's gonna read this?" And, "Who am I going to appeal to?" I believe that I already know, but when you struggle with such a disease as POA, self-doubt haunts you. Actually, it runs you down, beats you up and steals your lunch money.

"The difference between reality and fiction? Fiction has to make sense." - Tom Clancy

It's the making sense that's such a huge deal. My manuscript makes absolute and beautiful sense to me. But, am I able to sit back with honest and un-bias discernment and understand if it will make sense to others? Will they feel my passion? Will they "get" the story? Will they fall in love with my characters as I have and think about them long after they've put the book down? Will an agent sigh a sigh of contentment after reading the last line of the manuscript and say, "That was a great story. One I will remember for a long time."

These are my prerequisites to knowing that I've written something really good. I don't want mediocre for my writing life. I'd rather wait four years and get it right, than squeeze something out that's fair in less time. (I've done that before and have regretted it ever since.) I simply want to take the reader's breathe away.

Now, I know that this has been quite a transparent post. I've aired my current vulnerabilities, defenseless against the yet unknown opinions of those that will matter. But, I don't think that I'm feeling much different about the ending of this revision process as many of you out there who are enduring the same thing and hearing the same "voices." Yep, I said voices as in "voices in the head." As SEAL has said, "We're never gonna survive unless we get a little bit crazy!" That song has actually been my personal theme song since I began writing.

We're gonna fly people! And, if we're gonna fly, we need to be just a little bit "touched."

That's the thing about the writing life. Writers need to be a little... how should I say it? "Off?" Who else in the world would sign up for a job that has so much more rejection than any other (aside from parenting)? We ask for it in order to help us grow and develop. We write, rewrite, revise, re-revise, query, query, query, query, and then, we wait and wait and wait, sometimes for months. And after a long while, hopefully, it happens... we get a, "Yes!" Then, there's the editing process and agents subbing to publishing houses. Let's not even get started on that. Then, we do it all over again.

WOW! We are some crazy people! Gluttons for punishment. But, it's worth it all when it all comes together. We do it all for the love and passion of the craft.

So, I've said all of this to say, I'm almost finished with my current revisions, and then on to querying again. And, I'm feeling just a little bit vulnerable. Thanks for hearing me out. You guys rock!

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:









Getting comfy for the long run!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It should never be zero degrees!

Okay... I'm a true native Southerner now living in the Northeast. This morning, I woke up to ZERO degrees! I'm freezing my southern bumm off! (Well, maybe that won't be such a bad thing, after all.) The fire is going, and the heaters are on. My coffee is steaming. But, I still feel a chill. Ughhhh! It should NEVER be zero degrees!

Just had to vent... thanks for letting me.

Anyhoo, I wanted to say sorry that it's been a few days since my last post. Things have been a little bit hectic. As I'm sure it is with most of us. I'm currently revising my manuscript that I dug out of the drawer after two years in hiding. It's been really cool to see it with fresh eyes and new ideas. If it was good then, I hope it will be great now. We'll see.

Then, I have my current WIP which is very exciting for me. I think it may be my fave yet.

The hardest thing for me, until recently, has been to find focus. But now, I feel as though I'm falling into place and the pieces of my life are organizing themselves in spite of myself. Does that make sense?

I'm feeling more confident, and ordered in my writing.

I love what H.G. Wells once said, "I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there." Brilliant!

Maybe that's where I am right now. I'm learning to be lean and straight forward without all the fluff and stuff. I'm not so impressed with myself anymore, or my flowery language. I'm honest. Which in turn, will keep my characters honest and believable. And my descriptive voice, easy and exciting to listen to. I hope so, anyway.

"Good writers are those who keep the language efficient. That is to say, keep it accurate, keep it clear." - Ezra Pound

I agree. It's the "doing it" that has been such a challenge.

I hope all is well with you friends! Hope you stay warm and inspired.

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:












BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Growing Pains


The other evening, my youngest daughter and I sat on the couch and watched "You've Got Mail" for the 35,000th time, and still enjoyed every moment of it. My daughter likes it because she loves books and thinks that I'm a lot like "Kathleen Kelly." I love it because of the story line, three of my fave actors being in it, and of course the setting in NYC.

Even after the 35,000th viewing, we still cried at the same place that we do every single time. We simply call it, "the twirl" scene. You see, we used to twirl and dance like I'm sure many of you mothers and your daughters did together. We've picked larkspurs and Queen Ann's Lace, taken walks, have run through fields of wild flowers, rolled down hills, tickled, giggled, and just plain laughed together. We still do. But something about watching "the twirl" scene had a deeper emotional impact on my girl this time. She cried deeply. When I finished my weeping episode and asked her if she were okay, she said, "No... I'm growing up too fast."

I never realized that we both had been crying about the same thing. I cried because I remember so fondly my little dancer, and I could never imagine my life without her. She cried because she remembers being my little "boo bear" who was my always constant companion when she was younger. "I'm just growing up and getting big too fast, Momma. I'm going to miss this (snuggle time) when I grow all the way up. Sometimes, I wish I were little again."

"I know, sweetie, I know," I said. "I'm right there with you. But I have to say that I love who you are growing up to be, and I wouldn't exchange that for anything in the world."

We dried our tears, kissed each other and sat back to watch the rest, knowing that we'd cry again when we heard Brinkley bark and Joe Fox come walking around the corner calling his dog's name. Then, "Don't cry shop girl..." And, we did.

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:












Home relaxing because of a "Snow Day." YAY!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Believe in yourself and in your own voice...

I hope these first few days of 2009 have brought with it a renewed sense of self for my wonderful friends who have longed to find their voice or determination to see certain writing challenges through for this next year. I feel like a new person, myself. That may sound like a bit of a cliche', but, it's true non-the-less. I mentioned some of these changes in my "life" blog, but for those of you who visit me here, this is what has happened within me as I ushered in the new and said "ta-ta" to the old.

It has become my choice to be in love with life. To change my outlook on things that have recently annoyed, irritated, and just plain stole my precious creative flow (whether it be in writing, painting, our simply planning my pre-k lessons). Things are not always going to be perfect, or even remotely nice. But, as long as we choose our battles and not allow ourselves to be sucked dry by the “fleas on the dog of life,” we should be fine.

I’ve seen friends lose much this past year, and have watched as they’ve coped. It has made me all the more thankful for what I’ve been entrusted with. I’ve learned more about what is truly important.

I’ve been very introspective lately as I've contemplated the new year. I hate to say that I’ve made resolutions. Most likely because the ones I’ve made in the past were rarely kept. I think because they’ve been more of a superficial type of nature, like promising myself I’m going to exercise everyday, or drink more water, or buy fewer shoes (just kidding), or... you get my point? This year it has been more of an in depth kinda thing. From the inside out versus the outside in. Maybe it came with age. I don’t know. I just know that it came. I’m more resolute, dedicated, and determined than ever in certain areas of my life and future endeavors.

And, what will come of all this? Enjoying life and how beautiful it is. That is my hope, anyway. Laughing when things are funny, appreciating the beauty in the small things, and crying if only absolutely necessary. Not worrying about things that are out of my control (which is just about everything), and continuing to smile at everyone. When hugging, really holding that person, and when telling “girlie” things to friends, snicker like a school-girl. Savoring my kids, and their precious moments that flit by like a vapor and become a distant memory all too soon. Re-investing myself in my family and friends. People is what life is all about.

On the writing front, I want to reach deeper than ever before and pull out myself from my toes. I want to soak up the wisdom of others and grow in patience and endurance. I truly want to meticulously hone my craft. I want to honestly believe in my voice, while remaining teachable and pliable.

Jayne Ann Krentz said, "Believe in yourself and in your own voice, because there will be times in this business when you will be the only one who does."

It takes a lot of "stick-to-it-tiveness" when writers are faced with loads of rejection. But, stick-to-it we must. If we do, this could be the best year yet.

I sure do love and appreciate you all! You have kept me going when I’ve wanted to give up. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for joining me on my journey.

XOXO CJ

Shoe Mood:











I'm walking on sunshine! Whoa!

Must Reads

  • "A Long Fatal Love Chase" by Louisa May Alcott
  • "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • "I Capture the Castle" by Dodie Smith
  • "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo
  • "Rebecca" by Daphne Du Maurier
  • "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing" by M.T. Anderson
  • "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll