Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Blogging for a Friend

Jeff Savage, long-time friend and member of my critique group, is part of a great blog circle made up of six LDS writers (and, apparently, a frog).

Each writer takes a day of the week for their posts. In addition to Jeff, there's Kerry Blair, Sariah Wilson, Robison Wells, Julie Bellon, and Stephanie Black. You can spend a frightening amount of time reading their entries as you laugh your head off one minute and learn something about writing the next. It's great fun.

This week Jeff is having fun with his family at the Happiest Place on Earth. Word also has it that today he has set up shop at a table in New Orleans Square and is writing to his heart's content while his family plays. This is his family's third time to Disneyland this year, and they have a season pass, so getting in cost him nothing. Talk about a writer's dream!

As a result, he asked if I'd sub for him on his blog this week, so I did.

Check it out. It was posted December 12, 2006 (Tuesday).

So now that I'm done with drafting my manuscript and taking Jeff's turn on his blog, what am I up to? This week I'm doing edits on two friends' manuscripts while they do the same on mine. After I input changes next week, I'll submit it, take a break for Christmas, then get to work on several projects:

-Research and writing a Manti temple book.
-A series of middle-grade historical books I recently pitched to my publisher
-A chocolate cookbook (oh, yeah . . .)
-plus other various and sundry projects that are always floating around in my head, including preparing for the two classes I'll be teaching at the annual LDStorymaker's Writing Conference and a project for kids. I'm also tinkering with magazine articles. (I have pieces coming out soon in ByLine and LDSLiving.)

Lots of fun!

And it truly is. When I'm not writing, I miss it sorely. It keeps me level and sane, even moreso than chocolate. At this Christmas time, may you find joy in the things that keep you sane!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Time of birth: 1:05 pm

YES!!! My "baby" is born!

Today I officially finished my manuscript.

I have a few things to thank for it. In part, I have a suspicion that the planets aligned just right. And a few panicked prayers were definitely heard.

For starters, yesterday I managed to get some work done thanks to two big things.

One: The migraine medicine finally kicked in after three hours (how's that for an odd time table?). So by 11:00 am I was almost pain free--feeling a bit off center and more liable to make typos, but relatively close to my normal self. At least close enough to do some writing.

Two: When my friend picked up her kids, she took pity on me and swept away my sweet little four-year-old to her house. She also took my daughter to her tumbling class, fed her lunch, and tended her until my the kids were out of school and I sent one of them down to pick her up.

Then today another dear friend tended my daughter as a favor after I had helped her with some editing on her own manuscript last week. I spent a solid four hours at the computer, breaking only for lunch, then printed the book off. (I love seeing a thick stack of pages and knowing my story is inside them!)

Bottom line: There is no way on this planet or otherwise that I could have finished the book this week without the support of friends. I am one lucky woman to have people willing to help me out. My visiting teacher even offered to help out--I swear she's the best VT I've ever, ever, ever had. I'm also glad I've finally learned to ASK for help when I need it instead of pretending I'm as strong as Xena Warrior Princess.

Some of my critique group members will be reading the book over the next week so I can go over their feedback and get the manuscript submitted by Christmas. (Again, thank heaven for good friends!)

My schedule next week will be pretty much filled with trying to bring Christmas to the house (finally!) and spending as many waking hours as I can with my toddler to make up for the time spent apart from her this week.

I have a feeling we'll be playing a lot of Dora Candyland, but I won't mind one bit, even if I get sent back to the Fiesta Trio time and again. I love being with my little girl.

And my book is WRITTEN!!!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Migraine, anyone?

Murphy must be laughing his head off. Aside from having four smoke alarms lose their batteries in three weeks (see my "CHIRP" blog about that), I'm having trouble getting my book finished. I promised my editor to have it to her by Christmas, and I'm still working toward that goal

Backing up a bit--the Relief Society president in my ward is out of town for her father's funeral, so I needed to go to Enrichment last night (being as I have the building keys for now as her counselor). Besides, December is one of the few times of the year that I don't meet weekly with my critique group, so I figured it would be good to actually be part of the ward for once.

I've been on the final push to finish my current manuscript (my next historical temple book, this one a romantic novel centered on the Salt Lake Temple). I've gotten a ton done and figured I was right on track to finish up this book between Thursday and Friday, so I could afford to not work on it last night and enjoy the evening at the chapel instead.

The plan is to get the whole thing done on Friday and printed out so some of my writer friends can take their red pens to it over the next week. That gives me a few days after getting it back to make needed changes and submit it to my publisher by Christmas.

So far so good.

For some bizarre reason I came home from Enrichment with a sharp headache that was the kind I knew would ramp up until I'm trembling with the pain, so I took a percocet to get to sleep. It took care of the pain, but kept me up instead of making me drowsy. If that were all, no biggie. At least we didn't have a fifth smoke detector battery go out.

Then this morning, just as I'm seeing my older kids off to school, I start getting blurry vision and the little flashing threads in my vision that signify a doosy of a migraine is on the way. I haven't had a full-blown migraine in several months (and I don't remember ever getting one at 8 am). At least I had prescription medication in the bathroom, so I hurried to get it before the pain kicked in for real.

Trouble is, I had agreed to tend two neighbor kids whose mother really needed the help--for just an hour and a half, but they were coming in forty-five minutes. Barely enough time for the medicine to work and maybe get a shower. It took care of the flashing lights, but the pain has continued to ramp up.

In a few minutes I can take another dose (although I don't know if it'll do much since the last one didn't), but I'm about to lose it (literally, my breakfast) from the nausea.

So instead of working on my book, which would mean going over stacks of critiques from my writer friends and writing a new scene that needs to bridge a gap in the story, I'm sitting here at the computer with my blog trying to distract myself. I'm too miserable to be able to write anything on my book, because it would take too much mental energy.

Instead I want to curl into a ball and rip my head off so it'll stop hurting. My friend should be here to get her kids in about half an hour. Fortunately these are easy-going kids, so they aren't tough to tend at all; one of them is my toddler daughter's best bud, and they just play happily the entire time. Forty-five minutes after they leave, I'm supposed to take said daughter to her tumbling class.

So today should be interesting.

What was that about being right on track with finishing the book on Friday?

I was tempting fate by saying it yesterday. By golly, I'm going to get it done if it kills me. But at this rate, I don't dare speak a word of it aloud.

You never know if Murphy's listening.

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