Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snowed In!

We planned, we packed, we drove. A family event, a missionary farewell, tempted us to travel into southern Virginia despite the expected winter storm. After all, what's a few inches of snow anyway? So far, it's a little more than a few inches. Like ten or eleven.

The drive to Bedford wasn't that bad. My husband had left earlier in the day since we knew we would have to take two cars anyway (we don't fit in one) and all of my kids either didn't want to leave earlier or had conflicts until later in the day. Personally, I had a deadline to meet before departing which is why I had originally planned to leave today (Saturday). When I managed to finish my work early, my family and I decided we would head down late Friday night so that we could beat the storm.

We beat the storm all right. It arrived at the same time we did...and proceeded to dump 7 inches before nine o'clock the next morning.

Realizing that I probably wouldn't be able to make it the rest of the way to my friends' house because of the difficult roads in their neighborhood, I headed out to Wal-Mart for emergency supplies. Three bags of groceries, two new games, and a pair of snow boots later, my five-year-old and I headed back to our temporary home to begin our latest adventure.

Thankfully the employees at the hotel (Super 8 in Bedford, VA) have been fabulous. One woman helped me clear off my car when I headed out this morning and no one seems to mind that the eating area in the lobby has been turned into a mini-playground for my son and another little girl staying here. Even more impressive is that three of my kids are staying with me in one hotel room and they are all getting along. They're even playing together. Maybe being snowed isn't so bad after all.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Internet troubles

Last Friday I received an e-mail from my editor asking for one minor change in the manuscript we're currently editing. I had a busy weekend planned, so I read over the suggestion, let it simmer in the back of my mind for a few days even though I knew that I could have completed the edit in about fifteen minutes. Then yesterday, I dutifully went to my computer and input the necessary changes.

Simple, right? I did the work somewhat efficiently. Sending the electronic file back and forth via e-mail is quick and convenient. At least it's supposed to be. When I was ready to send the manuscript back to my editor so she could move it along into the next stage of editing, I had a familiar problem. My file wouldn't attach to the e-mail.

This problem has occurred before, ironically at least three times when I was trying to submit a manuscript to my publisher for consideration, and a couple more times when I had edits that were due.

Even though I should have known the outcome of my efforts, I waited...and waited...and waited. For literally an hour. So I downloaded the file onto my flash drive and tried sending it from my husband's computer. This time I only waited ten minutes before giving up.

With my flash drive in hand, I grabbed my keys, got in the car, and drove the six blocks to the library. Three minutes later, I sat down at a library computer, logged onto my e-mail, attached the file (which took less than a minute), and drove back home. I sat down at my desk to see that the e-mail I had originally tried to send was still trying to load the attachment.

This experience has driven home three simple facts. One, my internet only works when I'm NOT trying to send in a manuscript. Two, I can WALK to the library to send a file faster than sending it from home when my internet is on strike. And finally, I am reminded that Murphy's law is alive and well.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

First Crossfire Review

I just received an e-mail from a friend to tell me that the first review of Crossfire is on the internet. Yeah! Of course, I still haven't received my copy of my book yet, but that's an irony I have learned to laugh about even as I anxiously watch for the UPS truck, or mail truck, or whatever truck is going to make my day sometime soon. But I digress. The review my friend forwarded to me is over at the Reading for Sanity blog. If you want to check it out, click here.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Miracle of writing

Yesterday I wrote a guest blog for Tristi Pinkston as a part of her current Book in a Month (BIAM) challenge. She had asked me to write about how I'm able to stay productive as an author. As a result, I spent some time wondering how the miracle of writing occurs.

I admit that as a child, I dreamed of being an author. I can't say that I ever really thought about being a best-seller or being famous, which probably explains why I'm always surprised when someone recognizes my name or says they have read my book. This also probably explains why I've been able to continue to write without getting distracted by trying to become famous or a best-seller. I'm writing to please myself.

Okay, I'll admit that I'm hoping to please readers, reviewers and editors too, but I find that the people who read my books only inspire me to do better the next time. I have been truly fortunate that the reviews on my novels have been mostly positive. Even when my editors push me to improve my work-in-progress, they stress not only the weaknesses, but the strengths as well. As a result, it's relatively easy for me to identify what needs to be changed.

When I woke up this morning with my mind swimming with ideas, I found myself grateful for the friendships and associations I've forged through my love of writing. I'm also grateful that I'm able to do something I love even if I don't understand the miracles that occur when the inspiration begins to flow.