13,600 / 20,000 (68%)

Samba story
7,926 / 8,000 (99.1%)

S.M. (Book 1)
580 / 10,000 (5.8%)

S.M. (Book 2)
1,010 / 10,000 (10%)

4,032 / 10,000 (40.5%)

ASPCA Day is April 10

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Location: Puerto Rico

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Cynnara Tregarth Workshop: Day 4

I just logged into Romance Divas and found that Cyn had just posted an example of creating a new planet. She used my general plan and posted the basics for my world planet. I had to laugh because I'd come up pretty much with the same ones myself. Except for the language, which instead of a made up one, I'm going to use Greek. Also I want the planet to be one huge continent. No seas. However, she cleverly named the cities and the planet. I liked the names she picked up. *vbg*

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Cynnara Tregarth Workshop: Day 3

One of the things that have always put me off from writing futuristic romances and having alien characters in a story was coming up with "alien" words. That was until today. *g* Cyn posted some pretty cool ideas for creating and manipulating a language. Her tips have been extremely helpful! I started fooling around with a translator, and using her ideas, I ended up coming up with some cool words for a future alien race.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Cynnara Tregarth Workshop: Day 2

Today I posted my findings on Satyrs and Pan and expressed my doubts about how this would help me create a new planet. Well, Cyn managed to impress me when she went on to post a list of things to take into consideration when creating a new world: naming your world, drawing a map of all the lands on this world, deciding what your world emulates, new races, magic, physics, languages, and society. Each contained few questions and ideas to guide you. Then she went on to answer each question in subsequent posts, which I've been cutting and pasting. I need to sit tomorrow to read it calmly and carefully.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Cynnara Tregarth Workshop: Day 1 (Update)

Hoping to get some ideas for the story for the Zodiac contest, I posted in the forum about creating a world. I explained a bit about the alien race in it. A few minutes later, Cyn answered:
Second-- think of mythology and the stories about Pan and the Satyrs. There's a whole slew of hints on how to shape your planet from that idea alone.
I've looked already into their myths and there isn't much description about their "world" - except they lived in places where there were woods and mountains (which is just logical). There's nothing there that I can say will make the alien planet different from Earth. If my heroine is taken to a planet similar to Earth, she'd feel confident and try to escape. However, if she is taken to a planet very different from Earth, she'd be more willing to submit as a captive.

Cynnara Tregarth Workshop: Day 1

Geez, I must be getting old because I've totally forgotten the "Worldbuilding Made Easy" workshop with Cynnara Tregarth at Romance Divas started today. If I'd not dropped by RD's website (Oh I know, I'm suppossed to be cutting down on my guilty pleasures), I'd have missed it. Anyway, this promises to be a fun workshop, and perhaps it's the kick-in-the-butt I need to begin working on that story for LSB Zodiac contest. (Yeah, I know I said I'd not do it in my post early this morning. So I lied. Sue me!) I've got an overall idea of what the story is about. Yet the whole idea of creating a world, a new planet, well... I admit I was a bit intimidated by it. So I kept putting this story aside, not willing to get down and dirty and write it.

So far Cyn has posted some great questions that have made me think about what my story needs. She has been giving great ideas to those who are planning to create alternative worlds, and I've been taking notes furiously. This is something that might become handy when creating my alternative world in my future angel series. *g*

This week's goal

For this week, my goal is simple: edit chapters 1 - 10 of the NaNo story. Trying to do more than that will be pointless. So whatever I thought about trying to participate in the Liquid Silver Book's Zodiac contest or the Phaze's HeatSheet contest is out of the question. I can't afford to diverge my attention.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Recap of my week off

Well, my week off work is officially over. Geez, I can't believe that it went by so fast. Since I had a week off, I was hoping all that free time would be enough to 1) edit the story I wrote for the NaNo challenge, 2) come up with at least 3 possible plot ideas, set in Puerto Rico and related somehow to local festivals for Phaze's HeatSheets Sparklers, 3) go over chapter 3 of "MM & RR" using the suggestions given by LA Banks and rewrite it, and 4) finish the critiques.

After taking stock of what I did during this time, I can say that accomplish none of my goals - except finishing critiquing Mish's chapter 4 and 5. When I wasn't hopping from bank to bank, looking for a loan to buy a new house, I was spending too much time indulging in my guilty pleasures.

Guilty pleasure #1: Surfing the internet
Guilty pleasure #2: Chatting too much on Yahoogroups
Guilty pleasure #3: Posting in forums
Guilty pleasure #4: Hanging around Ebay
Guilty pleasure #5: Blog-hopping
Guilty pleasure #6: Playing Jawbreak and Solitaire

(Okay, I admit it. I spend way too much time on the internet. Since 1992 I've been hooked on it. From talking to people on BBS to surfing the web and downloading MP3. I average about 6 - 8 hours daily on the web.)

Let's face it, I can't keep this up. My writing is suffering (even though I'm networking famously). So, I must give up some of my guilty pleasures if I want to get back into the writing zone. Now, what should I give up? Hm... What a difficult decision this is going to be. *sighs*

Friday, March 25, 2005

Beta, Gamma, and Alpha Heroines

No, I'm not talking about sororieties, but the types of heroines in romance novels. You see, recently I read Jill Shalvis's post on her blog about the heroine of her latest WIP, which she describes as a woman who is so down-and-gritty that it scares her. That comment made me laugh for two reasons: 1) it's about time heroines are (really) strong women and 2) I can't imagine her scared of her own creation (like Dr. Frankstein!).

I'm out to give you all my money
but all I'm askin in return, honey,
is to give me my proper respect
when you get home, yeah baby,
when you get home.
- Aretha Franklin, 1960's
Looking back, the heroines in romance novels have changed - a lot. I remember when I started reading romance novels 15 years ago, Beta heroines dominated the genre. These needy, mousy (although extremely pretty and very well-endowed) women depended on their ultra-Alpha men (aka Macho Men, Chauvinist Pigs) to help - at all times.

First I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
I grew strong
I learned how to carry on
- Gloria Gaynor, 1970's
Then as time went by (and perhaps thanks to a generation of romance writers more influenced by the Women's Lib movement), more and more romance novels featured what I like to call the Gamma heroines. These are independent, witty, free-thinking, successful women. They have college degrees and/or hold jobs. Yet they are vulnerable and femenine, still needing Alpha heroes in their lives for support or their lives won't be complete. (Remember Scarlet in Gone with the Wind?)

Here's something I just can't understand
If the guy have three girls then he's the man
He can either give us some head, sex her off
If the girl do the same, then she's a whore
- Christina Aguilera and Lil' Kim, 2000's
Nowadays, every now and then, the Alpha heroine pops in. This heroine has a bad-ass attitude and a big mouth to back it up. Yes, she is opinionated. Yes, she knows what she wants and how to get it. (She's determined, and she'll streamroll anyone who gets in her way.) Yes, she lives her life on her terms and doesn't need society as a mirror to define her. Therefore, she flaunts society's rules and norms (especially the ones that determine how women should behave). (They remind me of that character, Jacqueline 'Jackie/Jack' Broyer, played by Robin Givens in the forgettable Eddie Murphy movie Boomerang.) Men call them "bitches," and the alpha heroines love every letter that in that word. Women call them "manish," and the alpha heroines give them the finger. I call them women with cojones. It takes a big hero to fall in love with an Alpha heroine, and that's why I love reading about them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Do I know you?

Since I started thinking about writing romance novels seriously, every romance writer in the loops I'm in and every book I've read stress the importance of knowing your characters inside out. Gosh, even Lynn is raving about this book she is reading now, First Draft in 30 Days, which contains all these character sheets you have to fill out. (Her enthusiasm is so great that Teresa and Sheri are hooked on the book too!) It's like I can't sit and write a story if I don't know every single detail about the life of my hero and heroine, and every other character in it, first. Then, in order to do that, there are those character sheets flying around the net and in books. I'm suppossed to fill them out - one for each character.

Fill out character sheets... I've never filled out one of those before. I didn't even know they existed, for crying out loud. Do I have to do that? Oh, I didn't know. Is that a rule? Oops! Then I broke it. Gosh, I just feel like the worst writer ever.

Do I know my hero and heroine inside out when I start writing a story? No, not really. There are times (perhaps 95% of the time) that all I have is the hero's and heroine's names. That's it. I don't know squat about them. Perhaps I have an idea of what they do for a living. As the plot develops, their lives slowly unfold before me. Of course, in those instances, I'm not even 100% sure of the whole plot either. Now, if I've a well-developed plot in my head, I can tell you the hero's and heroine's life story (and a few dirty secrets too!).

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Almost missed tonight's chat

I was so looking forward to tonight's chat with Melissa Martinez and Mimi Riser from New Age Dimensions, even if I didn't have anything to pitch to them. But I thought the chat began at 9:00 pm, so I logged in and they're right in the middle of it. They chatted with us for an hour and half, and I caught only the last half hour. Still, it was worth it. Melissa and Mimi were totally awesome (a total hoot!). They even ask us to send our submissions. Aren't they great? Too bad I've nothing to send. Perhaps I might cook up something for their "Dollar Dimensions."

Monday, March 21, 2005

Critiques and critiquers - Pet Peeves

Speaking of getting CPs and critique groups, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the blog entry "Thanks for the critique, you ignorant cow…" by Lori Devoti at Romancing the Blogs. When I decided to take writing seriously, the first thing I did was join a few critique groups because I felt getting feedback from others would help me grow as a writer. So for the past 9 months I've been at both ends of the critique game.

Mind you, a critique is nothing more than another person's opinion about your work. That means their words aren't written in stone. However, it's a positive experience in which one can learn a lot.

As a critiquer, I keep this in mind at all times. For me it's important to point out both the good and the bad in a work. I let them know what I like. (Ask my CPs. Carolyne always gets a kick out of my comments 'coz I react to everything in a story. *lol*) Even if the work stinks, I try to encourage improvement by telling the person what's wrong and how to improve it.

On the other hand, my WIPs have been critiqued. Most of the time I've received good critiques. (Note: Good critiques doesn't mean that my work is "oh so wonderful." It just means that the critiquers have been kind enough to point out my weaknesses and how I can imptrove them, as well as point out my strengths.) I still have to deal with those who are less than positive in their critiques. The laughable part is that they critique but they never post anything. (What? Are you afraid of not measuring up?) And don't you hate it when someone, who's going to critique your chapter, starts with the "I'm going in without having read the other chapters" line? I know I do. It only means that the critique will be so off the mark that most of time isn't worth reading (except for the grammatical corrections.) Even if you don't critique the past chapters, take the time to at least read them. Oh, and don't get me started on those who don't know anything about the genre they are critiquing. If you don't know about it, do us both a favor and don't critique.

A CP wrote back!

Two days ago, as I saw my name in the list of CP posted at RWClist and then I browsed the Critique Partner forum at Romance Divas and saw that (again) nobody answered my post, I started thinking about the people who had written me asking to be my CPs. Since I began searching for a CP, only 3 people have written. Yet I never heard from them after that first email. I don't know why. Maybe it scares them that I'm not a prolific writer capable of putting stories in a matter of weeks. Or that I have a full time job and my time for writing is limited. I really don't know, but I know I scare them off. So I had pretty much given up on them.

Since I hadn't check my email for a while, I dropped by to see if there was anything. To my surprise there it was, an email from Sarah. She wrote me about a month ago about being CP and/or Writing Challenge Partners. I wrote her back that I was cool about having her being both. She told me she was traveling to the States for a week. But that was a month ago, so I had given up hope to hear from her.

Wow... She actually wrote back! *vbg* I'm not a scary person after all. *lol* As Writing Challenge Partners (WCP) were gonna be checking on each other every Sunday. However, if we have anything we want the other to critique, we can send it whenever. I hope this works... *crosses finger* I've got major work to do in my NaNo story, so I really I need a good pair of eyes, a big mouth, and tonz of honesty (if I want to publish it by September).

Sunday, March 20, 2005

One of my WCP writes for Champagne Books

Nancy Henderson, one of my WCP, was contracted by Champagne Books a few weeks ago, and I couldn't be happier for her. *g* As I browsed its website, I found out she is already listed as one of their writers. This is so cool! Now, when she is a famous writer, I can say I used to know her. *lol*

BTW, I noticed that EPPIE winner (and tough critiquer - but I still love each of her comments) Lynne Connolly, who I've known from RWCcritique, is also one of Champagne Books' writers. That's great! And Lynn, congrats on the EPPIE!

I forgot to sign up...

for the workshop Tarot For Writers with Professional Tarot Consultant Stephanie Lynch offered by Earthly Charms. Now it's too late. It started 2 days ago. *sighs* I really wanted to take this workshop after I read about how Shelly Munro uses the tarot to help her plotting/moving the story with success in her blog. She told me she'd taken the course with Stephanie Lynch, who I know from some other romance loops, a few months ago, and she suggested me to take it. Oh well... Perhaps some other time.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Write what you enjoy reading, no?

This week Alison Kent blogged about writing what one enjoys reading the most. Today, since I didn't have much else to do at work, I started thinking about it. In a way what she said makes sense. If as a reader you're familiar with a certain genre, you are most likely to write and express yourself within that genre. That sounds about right, right?

Okay, so here is where this logic fails when applied to me.

The Hero

What I Enjoy Reading: I like reading about Alpha males as much as the girl-next-door. You know, alpha males? That man with the "macho" attitude. They know what's best for their women, since they don't trust them to make the right decisions. They consider their women as their property instead of their partners.

What I Write: In my books, all my males are Beta. They're intellectuals. Yet they're sexy and sensuous. The heroine falls in love with them. Yes, they're hot looking nerds. And their brains... Hmmm... You know, the brain is a sex organ too. *grins*

The Heroine

What I Enjoy Reading: Give me Anita Blake any time! I adore those butt-kicking heroines. They're fierce, independent. They know what they want and how to get it. They're educated.

What I write: My CPs describe my heroines as "sweet and cute." (Translation: Your heroines are a bunch of wimps!)

The Novel

What I Enjoy Reading: To me, there's nothing like laying in bed with a good romance novel. The darker the better. Oh, and those erotic romances... Hmm...

What I write: Lite (100% dark free) romantic comedies, which those who have read them say they are "cute." (Translation: Lame-o-rama!)

So even though it makes sense that as a aspiring writer one must write what one enjoys reading, I can't. I write what comes naturally for me - lame romantic comedies with beta males and wimpy heroines. Hear me roar! Grrr!

Friday, March 18, 2005

Another one?

Today Sheri posted about Phaze looking for submissions for their Heat Sheet Sparklers, due out in July 2005. So I went by Phaze's website for more info and then posted it on a few loops I'm in. Next thing I know I've got 5 emails from fellow writers egging me to submit something to it. *snorts* Oh, I do need the pressure...

Writing and feeling guilty

Alesia Holliday wrote a blog entry called Writing and Mommy Guilt for Romancing the Blog, in which she talks about feeling guilty-ridden for not dedicating more time to her kids due to her writing. She went on to ask if other working mothers feel the same way. I read the comments left to her blog entry, and since I'm happily single and childless, I thought "Ha! Lucky me. I can write to my heart's content whenever I want. Hakuna matata! Guilt free."

...or am I?

A lot of people think that because I'm single without children my life lacks responsibilities towards others. It's like I'm the poster child of a carefree life. That's so not true. I have elderly parents who take part of my time - like taking them to the doctor's appointment, running errands, taking care of them during operations, etc. Since I'm the only child, I don't have anyone else to help me with their care. So I feel guilty when I can't spend more time with them.

Besides, as latina, the meaning of family extends beyond the nucleous father/mother. My goddaughters are a huge part of my life. Sometimes the eldest, who's 12, calls me asking me to take her to Borders to buy books, or help her with a homework. Or just recently the youngest, who's 8, called me inviting me to see her at a little drama at her school. I feel like *insert your favorite word here* when I have to tell them that "their godmother" can't take them to Borders or attend their school activities because I'm writing.

Between my full-time job and writing my time is limited now. There are times in which I feel like I'm neglecting those dear to me. Feeling guilty, I try to make up later. Yet, there's no such thing as making up for time lost. I can make "new time" for them, but never recover the time lost.

So, yes, there are those moments where I feel guilty as hell for using most of my free time for writing. Specially since I've got a well-paid full-time job. I can't help it.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Harvard's Ph D student writes romance novels

Here is an article, called A sultry dose of romance — from Harvard, about a Ph D student in Havard School of Law, Lauren Willig, who also happens to be a romance writer. I've got mix feelings about this article. On one hand it tries to celebrate Willig's achievement, but on the other hand it sounds like a put down to romance novels. You be the judge...

What the planets have for me as a writer

I saw the link for Astrology for writers,editors,filmmakers on another blog and had to check it out. This is hilarious. *grins*
Cancer: George Bush is a Cancer, with a Leo rising that takes him where angels fear to tread. Most of you are far more sensible than Barbara's #1 son. Cancers should be developing their public platform now..websites, media interviews, anything to cause a good ruckus.
BIG STARS NOW: New Moon and planets in Pisces make your life easier this month. Whew. Partners are erratic however.
What does your sign say about you?

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

AAAGH!!! (part 2)

I logged into Romance Divas and found out that LA Banks gave FREE copies of her books to all who attended her chat. Not only I missed what I'm sure it was a great (and very funny) chat, but I missed getting a free book! Drats, drats, drats!

If I could save time...

If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day
Till Eternity passes away
- Jim Croce

As I read an entry about how precious time is on my writing challenge partner's blog, Nancy, the lyrics of this song popped in my mind and a sudden bout of melancholy gripped me.


Once time is gone, is gone for good. You can't turn back time, you can't bring it back. You lose time, you never gain it. We, who have multiple hats to wear (mother, daughter, worker, writer, critiquer, friend, clean house, take care of pets, etc.) due to our responsibilities, have to divide our precious little time into many tiny portions. That's without counting all the things that are thrown into our path, that makes us deviate from our paths, stealing more of our precious time.

So as I read her post, I started thinking about what I do with my time. All the things that I have to do in one day. I never have enough time to do all the things I need to do, which leaves me even less time for the things I want to do. And I'm an night owl, so I squeeze more than 12 hours a day! But sometimes it never seems enough.

Next week I'm off work for a whole week (Semana Santa). Since I've got a week off, I've been making a (very long) list of all the things I have to do. Would I be able to accomplish them? Probably not. As I look at the list, I noticed that I've arranged things in order of importance. I even notice now that I've changed their level of importance too. Where the editing of my NaNo story was first and foremost the most important, now it's second banana to writing the new ideas I've been inspired to write. A week won't be enough.

Yet there are times when I have plenty of time. I wish I could save that time in a bottle, so I could use it when I need it the most.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005


I can't freaking believe it! Tonight was the chat with LA Banks, and I missed it. Drats! I totally forgot about it. And the internet was so slow at work today that I didn't log into the Romance Divas's forum like I usually do. It wasn't until now that I logged in. So you can imagine my shock when I saw the post reminding us about the chat on the Chit-Chat forum. The chat was at 9:00 pm Atlantic Time, so it's over now. Oh man... *sighs* I so wanted to be in that chat. *bangs head against the desk*

Monday, March 14, 2005

Putting workshop to good use

While at work, the idea of writing a futuristic romance novel using the concept of the zodiac sign Capricorn started to take shape. Between labs I jotted down a few plot ideas. I've not worked out all the details, but I've been thinking to make the heroine an some kind of alien. Hmm... What do you know? I might have the opportunity to apply what I learned at the Gena Showalter and PC Cast's workshop on "Interspecies Sex Workshop" after all. *grins*

Sunday, March 13, 2005

A note to my Muses

Dear Muses,

It's true that when the "I feel sorry for myself" period was over, I tried to get back into the "writing zone" without your help. After all, we all know we parted in not-so-good terms back at the end of December. But I didn't have much success, and I admit that without you around to inspire me, no good ideas popped into my mind. So when I asked you to come back, I did it thinking you'd inspire me again to write. And you did. Yet by giving me not one or two, but FOUR story lines on the same day? What gives? Let me explain a simple concept to you, Muses. I've got only one brain, okay? I can't deal with all these voices running around my head, fighting to get my attention. So toss a coin or something and see which story wins.

How to catch a Capricorn man...

Today I took my mom to the mall. While she window-shopped, I went to Borders. I started browsing the romance novel section, but ended up at the new age section. (Nothing new there since I love browsing that section too.) Grabbing a few books on sun signs, I settled down in one of their (very) comfortable chairs to read them. Next thing I know I was thinking about the Liquid Silver Books - The Zodiac Series Writing Contest and the cover of the book for Capricorn.

And when I read about my compatible sign being Capricorn, a thought came to me, "How do you catch a Capricorn man?" Sighing, I tried to ignore the sliver of an idea growing in my mind. But the more I ignored it, the more I kept seeing it in my head. So I gave up and took out my PC Pocket and foldable keyboard. Setting it all up comfortably on my lap, I started typing a few ideas for a story and copying things from the books. People would stare at me as if I were crazy. Well, actually I think they were really staring at my iPaq hooked to its foldable keyboard, which they didn't know it was possible. (At least that's what I wish to believe.) Mind you, I'm not saying that I'm planning to submit it to the contest. I don't need that stress. But at least the Muses are quite now...

I woke up this morning...

...with the Bob Seger song still running around in my head. Yesterday I barely had this (extremely) basic storyline. I could tell in one or two sentences what the story was about, but I lacked details. So as I lay down in bed, staring at the ceiling while the lyrics replayed in my brian, the details of the love story of Roxanne Peters and Robert Maple began to unfold in my mind as if in a dream. I smiled as I saw the twist from my original idea revealed. Ah, you naughty Muses! Then my eyes fell on my guitar case again, and I chuckled. Oh...something tells me I'll be undusting my guitar knowledge and my experiences on the road for this story - after 15 years of ignoring them.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

A small glimmer

About a month ago, when I posted about the Liquid Silver Books - The Zodiac Series Writing Contest in all romance loops I'm belong to, I never considered entering the contest. And although Karen Monroe, one of the members of my critique group and writer for Liquid Silver, told me she was surprised I didn't jump at the opportunity to submit something and suggested me to take up the challenge, I refused the idea. Yeah, right, like I could do that. *rolls eyes* (That didn't stop me from cheering Car on her effort to write a story for the Scorpio sign though. *grins* She's done a excellent job with her story.)

Well, tonight a fellow writer emailed me asking for the link to the Liquid Silver Books - The Zodiac Series Writing Contest so I went by the website. So as I looked at the covers of the remaining zodiac signs, my eyes drifted to the cover of Capricorn.

Next thing I know I'm searching the web for anything on that zodiac sign. Add that to Tropic of Capricorn and Constellation of Capricorn too.

Tonight's chat with Scott Eagan

The chat with Scott Eagan, agent of the Greyhaus Agency and dedicated to the romance genre, finished about 10 minutes ago. Excellent chat. He candidly answered all our questions about writing romance, the (very crazy and always unpredictable) business of romance novels, and what makes an agent want to take a MS. At the end, he invited us to submit our MS's to him. Drats! And I don't have anything to submit. Oh well... I might need of his services anyway. My stories are mostly short, so it's not something he can sell. Besides, he was very clear about not accepting erotic romance nor representing authors for epublishing.

My new inspiration

I have to work today - Saturday. So as I woke up this morning, my eyes glanced at my old electric guitar case, leaning against the wall. For 15 years, I've ignored it. But not this morning. Then as I was driving to work, I started humming this song, yet I couldn't remember the lyrics or who sang it. Still it stuck in my head. I hummed it to my tutors, but none of them recognized it. Frustrated, I kept humming it until slowly I remembered the chorus. But the rest of the song eluded me, so I quickly googled it and found the whole lyrics. As I read it, an idea for a story line started forming in my head. Now I can't get the lyrics or the story out of my head! *lol*


On a long and lonesome highway, East of Omaha,
You can listen to the engine moaning out its one lone song
You can think about the woman, or the girl you knew the night before,
But your thoughts were soon be wandering, the way they always do,
When you're riding sixteen hours and there's nothing else to do,
And you don't feel much like riding, you just wish the trip was through,

Say, here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage,
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the page.

Well, you walk into a restaurant, strung out from the road,
You can feel the eyes upon you as you're shaking off the cold,
You pretend it doesn't bother you, but you just want to explode.
Most times you can't hear 'em talk, other times you can.
Oh the same old cliches, is that a woman or a man?
You always see my number, you don't dare make a stand.

Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage,
Here I go, playing star again.
There I go, turn the page.

Once out there in the spotlight, you're a million miles away,
Every ounce of energy, you try and give away,
As the sweat pours out your body like the music that you play.
Later in the evening as you lie awake in bed,
With the echo from the amplifiers ringing in your head,
You smoke the day's last cigarette, remembering what she said.

Now here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage,
Here I go, playing star again,
There I go, turn the page.

Here I am, on the road again. There I am, up on the stage,
There I go, playing star again,
There I go, there I go.

Friday, March 11, 2005

LA Banks's workshop: Wrap-Up

Today it's the last day of this workshop, and all I can say is that had the best time of my life. I learned a lot from it, not only from the comments done to my writing, but also from the comments done to the others. Leslie is a tough critiquer, I give her that. She doesn't let you slide or take shortcuts. Check out her critique of my dialogue:
She felt his bulging erection, and all her anger vanished and was quickly replaced by a burning desire. {NOPE. I’m not allowing you to get away with burning desire… if you tell me what his action is doing, how it makes her feel, you don’t have to say “burning desire,” smile…]
But that woman has such a wonderful sense of humor that even when she is pointing out the worst parts in your work as she critiques it is you can't help but grin and agree with her. She points out what you're doing right because she gets into what you're writing, you know. And if she doesn't like something, instead of putting you down and making you feel like whatever is wrong you can't fix it, she encourages you to do it right in a way that makes you feel like "yes, I can do it!"

Leslie posted the last lesson with some great advice. This one especially talked to me.
So, for example, if you write good dialogue, begin there by adding this new technique of sensory awareness to that which you’ve already mastered, and so forth. It will make what you already do well, sparkle.
This is definitively me. My strength: dialogues. My weakness: Adding sensory images.

Done critiquing!

Yes! I've uploaded the last of my critiques. I can't believe that I'm done critiquing the stories in Critique Corner! I was able to critique Car's newest story for the Liquid Silver Book's new line of zodiac stories. And then I critiqued another story. All 10 chapters! *pat in the back* So I'm free this weekend to turn my attention to two of my stories. I downloaded the critiques for my NaNo story, so I'm opening the files and correct whatever grammar screw-up they caught up. Then I want to add some new ideas for Michael and Claire's story. Andras and Jenny's story aren't far behind. I really can't wait to sit and tweak that chapter 3.

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Wrap-Up

As this workshop comes to an end, I must say I'm a bit disappointed with it. Don't take me wrong. Elizabeth Lowell still is one of my favorite writers. However, I was expecting more lessons and thoughts to be posted, like in the Sherryl Wood's one. According to the description of this workshop, the topics to be touched were:

1. Who is Speaking? Developing Character Through Dialogue
2. Getting Information Into Dialogue
3. Internal or External? When, Where, and Why
4. Sexual Tension in Dialogue

So, what did I learn from it? Okay, I learned that I shouldn't be wordy. Less words it's better. But then again, I'm not since basically my stories are mostly dialogues. Yet, besides that, what else did I learn? If I put everything in 15 lines, then I've got a winner? 15 lines of what? Dialogue? Should I count the "authorly things" that sometimes accompany those? Honestly? I don't know. *sighs*

Thursday, March 10, 2005

LA Banks's workshop: Day 3 (Update)

I just came from reading Leslie's comments on my dialogue between Andras and Jenny. This is what she said about it:
Silma, this story is really cute and has VAST potential… but show me this Muse, he’s a Greek God, right??? Gurl, c’mon, now (smile!) He shows up, I take it she hasn’t had a man in a while… he’s sexy, sensual, hedonistic, etc., and in her face… then he’s kissed her, and has mystical stuff with him… sooooo besides a moan, what does the kiss feel like, what does this huge Titan feel like, his skin, body hard body…? All of that stuff is right there if you take the gloves off. Great story concept, too, by the way… so “work” it
What can I say? Just like my heroine, I write love scenes that are as lively as two dead fish mating. (Translation: I suck at writing romance.)

At least I made Leslie almost pee in her panties with the exchange between Andras and Jenny. *lol* Hmm... And here I thought I could turn this story into an erotic romance. It seems like it's turning more and more into a romantic comedy.

Anyway, Leslie gave me some excellent feedback on that scene (which is the ending of chapter 3 and the hook for chapter 4). *grins* Now I have to sit and absorb all these ideas calmly. One thing I know for sure. I'm going to have to move around a lot of the stuff I wrote in that chapter in order to readjust the POV's and add all these ideas Leslie has planted in my brain (which is a dangerous thing to do).

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Day 4

Tonight there is absolutely nothing to report. (Yes, again.) No new lessons or assignments were posted since the first day, which has surprised me. I was hoping that at least some new lessons were posted. I was specially interested in learning about "internal" vs. "external" dialogue, since I'm going at the latter but terrible with the first. Also I'd have loved to see her take on how to add sexual tension in dialogues.

LA Banks's workshop: Day 3

For today Leslie posted some additional comments and thoughts on how to add layers of sensory data to our with dialogues and narrations. As I read through her latest post, one of the things that struck me most was that she claims that the last thing she does after she has focus on her characters' feelings and the setting where the dialogue will take is
working on letting the characters verbalize what’s in their head… and let them say whatever.
I find that I do completely the opposite. The dialogue - a good dialogue - always pops first in my head. It's through the dialogues that I discover how my characters feel about an issue or each other.

For me, the dialogues are the driving force in any story. Dialogues propel the story forward. A good dialogue shows me so much about the characters - who they are, how they feel about an issue, where they come from, etc.

Anyway, Leslie didn't post any new homework for today. Maybe it's because she hasn't finished critiquing the dialogues.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Day 3

Again, nothing to inform on this workshop because again no new assignment were posted so far. By now I doubt that any follow-up assignments will be posted anymore. Tomorrow will be the last day perse of this workshop, and I don't see how a new assigment can be posted and reply to in such short amount of time. Oh well...

LA Banks's workshop: Day 2 (Blinded with inspiration!)

Last night I went to bed without getting a critique from Leslie. But this morning I got a wonderful surprise to see she had just my critique last night. Here is what she had to say about it:
All right, Silma, I’m going in, BIG GRIN… see my comments in bracket. You’ve got it all there, just have to do a little cut and paste and with a few additions to make this sexy god come alive. Get inside his head… he’s virile, loves the ladies, appreciates beauty… this you can work with, LOL!
*does the Ren & Stimpy happy dance* She pretty much re-arranged my paragraph, so the second and third paragraph went at the end, while Andras's description of Jenny went after the first sentence. It might not seem like a big deal, but as I read it, I noticed that it does. The paragraph flows much better. And it moved well into the next paragraph. Then she added a few sentences to demonstrate how the senses made a difference. I admit I'm a person of few words, which reflects in my writing. So by adding in some sensory phrases into the paragraph, she made it come alive. She made the whole thing sound so sensual - which is what I was hoping for in the first place when I started writing the story back in December.

As I tried to absorb all this, another thought came into my mind. What if instead of changing to his POV here, I keep it in Jenny's for a while longer, and then change to his POV after he helps her get up? Suddenly an array of possibilities burst into my mind. If it had had energy, it would have blinded me.

For today LA Banks wants us to work with dialogues to "develop sensory tension and anticipation within dialogue tags and near dialogue through points of view (POVs)." That's our assignment, to put in a dialogue. So I looked into the same chapter I used for the previous assignment. I realized that the last dialogue between Andras and Jenny was worth tweaking - which I did before posting. Now let's see what Leslie thinks of it. *sits tight and prepares for LA Banks's machete to start chopping*

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Day 2

Nothing to inform on this workshop. No new assignment has been posted as of this hour. I think that this is going to be a two-part workshop instead of a four-part workshop since so many people signed up for it.

LA Banks's workshop: Day 1 (update 1)

I went over the file of the story of Andras and Jenny and stared at that particular scene in chapter 3, which I've been thinking about posting for the LA Banks's workshop. I cut it and pasted it on a separate document. I realized that it wasn't complete so I worked on it, added a few more lines. Then I went on to post it. Now let's see what LA Banks does with it.

Caught up with my critiques

I'm finished with the critiques for my critique group. *does Ren & Stimpy's happy dance* I still have one member to critique, but she has only two chapters so I can get to those later this week. I uploaded the last of the critiques this morning. I also uploaded chapters 9 - 15 of my story for critique. I know they won't get critiqued by the time I start editing the story - during Easter holidays. But if someone gets to critique some of the chapters, it'll be more than enough for me. Now I can truly focus on the workshops. *grins*

Guess who's coming to chat with the Divas?

Anna Genoese, editor for Tor Books! Kristen just posted about it. There is no specific date for this chat at Romance Divas yet. But the announcement has caused a tremendous buzz already! Since the rumor about Tor Books looking for erotic romance stories started popping in every romance loop, romance writers all over have been expeculating whether it was true or not. Then last week, it became official when Anna Genoese posted on her blog that she is looking for erotica to sign to Tor Books. So imagine the opportunity to chat, live, with her! This is one chat I'll not miss!

LA Banks's workshop: Day 1

Yesterday LA Banks was suppossed to start with her workshop, Writing With The Senses, too. So I was very disappointed when I went to bed at 11:15 pm and there was no first lesson. One of my weakness is the lack of using the senses in my romantic scenes - especially when I've tried to write erotic romance. So I've been looking forward for this workshop.

Anyway, a few minutes ago I logged in and went by the Writer's Workshop, looking for news on it. Yep, there was one post on the workshop! *grins* According to Kristen, LA Banks wasn't able to get into Romance Divas and post. Therefore, she sent the first info on the use of senses on a scene and the first homework for Kristen to post. I just finished reading it. Pretty interesting! Now I've got to sit down and think about it. She wants us to post either a battle or love scene in which there's sensory awareness for tomorrow. She is going to critique it to help us add layers to it.

I know I can't come up with something new for today. And I've not gone that far into Michael and Claire's relationship either. So I'm thinking of using one of the scenes from my previous WIP, the one I was hoping to send for the Amber Quill Press contest. Come to think of it, I can use a few from chapter 3, which was the chapter that bombed. It might help me polish those scenes and make chapter 3 much stronger.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Day 1 (update 2)

Now Elizabeth wants me to add the first part of the dialogue in which Michael is talking on the microphone because I only posted 11 lines instead of 15. So I reposted the dialogue with the part added again. One of the things that annoys me is that Word counted 15 lines and she is telling me I've got 11. When I counted by hand, she was right. Stupid computer program. *grumbles*

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Day 1 (update 1)

I just went by my workplace, and found that Elizabeth had already checked out my work. Obviously I went overboard on the number of lines, so Elizabeth asked me to shorten the dialogue and to repost it. I shortened it but I don't think it does any justice to the scene. I reposted it already. Let's see what Elizabeth thinks of it now.

Elizabeth Lowell's workshop: Day 1

Elizabeth didn't waste time posting her first assignment. *grins* This one is an easy one, to give her the first conversation your hero and heroine have. Luckily, I had with me a copy of the dialogue between Michael and Claire. It's not a complete one, mind you. Of course, Elizabeth wants the dialogue to convey action/plot, character, emotion, and/or sexual tension in 15 lines, so I had to add a few more lines and directions. I think I went a bit overboard and did 17 lines.

Computer, don't fail me now!

Last night I noticed the Norton AntiVirus and Firewall icons missing from the taskbar while I was surfing the web. That only meant one thing - a virus. I quickly unplugged the cable modem and ran the antivirus, spyware, and adware programs. Nothing. I restarted the computer and everything came up alright. Still, I found the computer acting a bit strange.

Gosh, I don't need to have my computer at the repair shop this week. Today start both online workshops, Elizabeth Lowell's "Dialogue That Works: Less Is More" and L.A. Banks's “Supercharging Your Scenes With The Five Senses”, and I don't want to miss them. So let's hope my computer works fine tonight.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

A weekend analysis

Well, another weekend is gone, and I didn't do any writing. Again. That's not surprising at this point, right? My only excuse for not writing is that I was working hard finishing the website for one of my CP's, Trista Ann Michaels. (I already uploaded it, so go an dcheck it out. Tell me what you think of it!) Since tomorrow I start two online workshops, I wanted to have it done by then. Then I went on to critique one of her latest WIPs, Once Again. I still have four chapters to go, which I hope I can finish tomorrow while at work.

Of course, just because I didn't do any writing it doesn't mean that the Muses weren't dancing around my head. While working on Trista's website, my mind kept going back to the dialogues from The Sisterhood of Isis, a suspense romance I started back in January. I guess it's because of Elizabeth Lowell's workshop about dialogues. New parts of the dialogues popped in my head, but I didn't write them. I just hope these new ideas don't go away before I can sit to write them tonight.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

What's sexy?

Tonight I was blog-hopping when I came across Emily's blog. In one of her recent posts she asked her husband what he thought it was sexy, and he answered a naked woman who's willing to do him. At first, I laughed my head off, while thinking, "How typical of a man. All they think about is naked women they can have sex with."

However, after I sobered up, I started thinking. Hmm... What do I think is sexy? A lot of things popped into my mind. Yet in the darkest corner of my being one was hidden: A handsome, naked man who's willing to do me.

So, what's sexy to you?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I did good

I was able to catch up with my critiques. Yesterday I critiqued chapters 12 - 19 of Car's WIP, and uploaded them. So I'm already finished critiquing Shannon's and Car's WIPs. Now I'm only missing one of member of the group to critique. Woohoo!

I'm a chat slut too!

Blame it on Romance Divas for bringing such great chats. Look at what they've got scheduled for this month!

March 12 - Chat with agent Scott Eagan of the Greyhaus Agency at 5:30pm PST
March 15 - Chat with author LA Banks at 8pm EST
March 22 – Chat with New Age Dimensions CEO, Melissa Alvarez, and Senior Editor, Mimi Riser, at 7pm EST

Can you blame for being addicted to them? *smiles angelically*

I'm a workshop slut

I liked so much the last workshop given at RWAonline, that I signed up for the new one - "Dialogue That Works: Less Is More" with great romance writer, Elizabeth Lowell. That one is from March 7 - 11. I already received the email confirming my participation in it. I'm so excited! I know I'm good at dialogues. For me, a good dialogue is the heart of a story, so I'm really looking forward to this workshop.

Also during that time there's the “Ignite The Senses: Creating a Sensory-based Romance” with fellow diva, L.A. Banks, another great romance writer, at Romance Divas. Yikes! Two good workshops at the same time. Okay, I can do this. *repeats mantra* Finally, the workshop with Cynnara Tregarth, “A World Building Girl in the Fantasy World”, will take place on March 28 – 31 also at Romance Divas.

These are the workshops of this month alone. I've already signed up for two workshops at FTHRW - "Plotting for Un-Dummies" with Ann Jones-Rodriguez (in May) and "Psychology of Building Characters" with Laurie Campbell (June).

I never thought I'd take workshops online, and now I can't seem to get enough of them. I've become a workshop slut!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A pat on the back

It's the first day of March, and I've already critiqued Shannon's chapters 1 - 8 and Car's chapter 10 - 11. Not bad for one day. *grins* I've already uploaded the critiques. Also, I uploaded chapters 1 - 3 from the story I wrote for the NaNo Challenge. It's already March and I better get into it and do the revisions if I want to have it published by September. I'm on a roll! Woohoo!!!