Saturday, December 30, 2006

Me time

As we wind down 2006, I've been taking a little time for me. My daughters left on Tuesday for a holiday visit with their father, freeing me up to do, well, nothing if I wanted.

Their visit came at an ideal time because I've been sick since before Christmas, fighting off a virus that has left me totally congested and unable to breath clearly despite medicine. As time marches on, I'm finally on the upswing. The antibiotics wiped out the infection before it began, but unfortunately the virus itself simply has to run its course, and that means 10 days.

So I have to admit to having lazed around watching television. I've caught movies, watched specials, and just whiled away--which is something I usually never do. I'm a to-do list type of person, never resting until the last thing is checked off.

I'm off work this week, and whenever I felt better, I sat down at my computer and did some writing. I'd take breaks, and then watch TV. In fact, I was awake, idly lounging around, when the news broke in about both Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein. I watched CNN. I caught up on lot of things I didn't know, watched an episode of Numbers that I really liked. All these things will filter into my works in progress in little, subconscious ways.

As for writing, I got the entire first draft of Picture Perfect (due March 1) done. I'll edit it over the next few days. I'm also working on another (rejected) manuscript, changing it around to take it in what might be a new direction for me. I hit my goal of what I wanted to get done. I've also used this me time to do some introspection about what I want to do for 2007. So often I don't take the time to really sit and think. I don't let myself while away. I'm on such a life treadmill that I push myself too hard and too fast and forget to refill my creative well. In fact, think about it. I'm sick on a week when I'm off work and can take the time to simply rest up--isn't it nice how my body knows when to slot everything in?

On the eharlequin boards, people are celebrating as they get their Great American Romance contest entries in the mail and I lift my glass of orange juice to them in salute. It's a great accomplishment to finish something and put it out there for someone else to read. I wish them all the best and good luck. I also wish them some me time. Now that it's in, take a little break. Allow yourself some well earned rest. Reflect on all the positives. Celebrate the successes. You are a writer and you deserve it. Refill that creative well.

See in you 2007.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

So I'm a little unconventional!

One of my goals is to learn how to cook. I try to pick out at least one new recipe each week to try. Sometimes they're good, sometimes they flop. But I learn something with each experiment, whether it succeeds or not.

Take Christmas dinner. For Thanksgiving I'd done turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. So for Christmas, I decided I wanted to break with tradition altogether. I love Mexican food, so I picked out some festive-sounding recipes including mango flan for dessert.

Small problem: I could not find any mangos at the store. Not fresh, not jarred, not canned, not freeze-dried. No mangos. So I had to make a substitution. Since it was Christmas, I used canned sweet potatoes. (Are you gagging yet?)

Then I had to caramelize sugar. (Did I mention I'm not a great cook?) I had no idea what I was doing, and I ended up with brown rock candy. When I mixed everything together, it was a really ugly mess. So I pushed everything through a strainer, shoved it in the oven, and hoped for the best.

It took forever to get done. I was scared to cut into it. It was orange. Bright orange custard.

But, oh, was it good! No one could get enough of it. It was the hit of the dinner. (By contrast, we had trouble choking down the enchiladas.) My husband and I fought over the last square.

I bet you're waiting for me to relate this back to writing. I'm getting there!

I approach writing much as I do cooking. I don't like writing the same old thing, just like I don't want to fix turkey and dressing more than once a year. Been there, done that. So I tend to make ... substitutions. I have characters with odd occupations. I sometimes have bizarre plots and out-of-the-ordinary settings. Yams instead of mangos.

Sometimes--in fact, a lot of times--my odd ideas don't work out. But, like with cooking a recipe that flops, I always learn something useful. And when one of my unconventional ideas works out, when something that sounded crazy going in actually turns into a good story, it's the most exciting thing in the world for me. I feel like I'm charting new territory, giving readers a little something different. A lot of people prefer plain ol' custard. But thankfully there are readers out there who would love to try yam flan!

Until next time, thanks for visiting!

Kara Lennox

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's almost 2007

I imagine everyone is worn out today. I hope you’re feeling the good kind of tired—happy that you and your loved ones created wonderful memories. Relieved that at last! you can take a breath, let down, and relax.

Don’t relax too much, though. It’s time to make those New Year’s resolutions. Or not. Truth is, I don’t make those anymore, mainly because I always break them. Sadly, often within a few days. What works better for me is to make my resolutions year-round.

Here are a few of mine, made awhile back, and in no particular order:

To continue to improve my writing skills so that I write better and better stories for my wonderful readers.

To take good care of my body and my brain so that I can stick around a long time. This means exercising daily and mostly eating sensibly, reading both fiction and non-fiction, and engaging in sometimes-deep conversations.

To welcome each day with joy and a sense of adventure. Life is short and unpredictable, and I don’t want to miss a single moment.

To embrace old friends and make new ones. As that old song goes, one is silver and the other gold.

Some of these are harder to keep than others, but so far, so good!

I wish everyone resolutions they can keep.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Harlequin American Romance Authors

Harlequin American Romance Authors

Countdown to Christmas
I'm going to try blogging again. Earlier the system didn't seem to like my password attempt. I doubt anyone is going to be out here reading blogs today with last minute shopping, wrapping, cooking. Some of us still have to put in computer time on projects. I'm currently working on an eharlequin daily serial. It won't be out until March, but I have an end of January deadline. I can't complain. I love writing. I also love reading. I hope everyone receives a lot of books in their Christmas stocking---or under the tree.
How many people open gifts on Christmas Eve, and how many on Christmas Day? It's been split in our family for as long as I can remember. My husband has one sister's family who does gifts on Christmas Eve and the other on Christmas morning. When all of us used to get together with our families, we alternated years. Myself, I like the Eve with all of the tree lights and all. Both of my girls chose to celebrate in the A.M. because they say Santa arrives during the midnight hours.
Either way works for me, really. So happy holidays to all.
Roz Denny Fox