Christmas break

I wanted to update you that I shall in all likelihood be taking a writing break until the holidays are over. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (sniff–rest in peace, Andy Williams), but for a lot of us it is the Most Gloriously Hectic Time of the Year. We are hosting family for both Christmas dinner and again around the New Year. We have family driving through who may stop in and we have our own traditions to cultivate, update, or maintain. I may be in and out on this blog and I may even squeeze in a few hundred words now and again, but I refuse to pressure myself to finish by Christmas. You who have encouraged me to continue Joy’s story do not need something that has been rushed through. I promise to return to writing in January when the New Year brings with it a clean slate and plenty of time to concentrate on my projects (instead of baking lists, Christmas cards, wrapping paper, etc). I am always more ready for projects in January. In fact, it was only this past January that I picked up Joy again and finished the first story, and I’m much closer to finishing the sequel so I could almost safely promise that the sequel will be full ready for Easter baskets. But that depends on the leniency of editors. I do want the sequel finished by the time my new baby girl arrives in March. “So let it be written, so let it be done.”

But after Christmas. 😉

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Chapter Seven is complete!

I just finished Chapter Seven moments ago. What a relief! Now I only have Chapter Eight and Nine and I should be able to continue rereading and editing. If you had asked me in January if I thought I would be doing this, working to complete a second novel, I would have laughed. Joy wasn’t even finished in January!

Meanwhile the weather here in my adopted state is feeling very much like a proper October, which it isn’t apt to do around this time of year. When my editor was reviewing Joy she amusedly pointed out that I had used the terms “crisp autumn air” three times in two pages. I hardly believed I’d overlooked that, so I went back to amend it. Sure enough, I had indeed overused that term, but I teasingly replied that it was the part of growing up in Indiana that I miss the most. I still feel a pang of jealousy whenever my parents or sister calls with news that they are in sweaters while we are in shorts, and they have a frost warning while my air conditioner is running (something very un-Octoberish about that), but then I get them back in March when my windows are open and my flowers are blooming and they still have dirty snow and slush on the roads. HA.

Random digression. I will now go make a cup of tea to celebrate the conclusion of a chapter.

Home Stretch

I loved the three-day weekend. The kids slept late every morning (we went to the 10:30a Mass on Sunday) so my husband graciously let me get some good writing in before everyone woke up. The result? Chapter Six was completed Tuesday morning!

I’ve found that lately my optimal writing time is not after the kids go to bed, as it has been in the past. Lately that results in me falling asleep in front of the computer, which is not good either for productivity or for the muscles in one’s neck and back. So I’ve been trying the novel idea of actually getting sleep at night and waking early to see my husband off and get some writing in while the house is still quiet and the coffee is still hot.

I’m over 2400 words into Chapter Seven. I’m planning 9 or 10–originally 10 but I could wrap at the end of 9 the way the plot is playing out. As my official word count is already over 60,000 words, I don’t think anyone will tell me it is too short!

So, folks, we’re in the home stretch!

A new review for “Joy in the Ordinary”

I am humbled and honored to have had “Joy” reviewed by Mary Lenaburg over at Passionate Perseverance. A hearty welcome to all of you who may have found this site through her review, and for those who wish to read it, I’m including the link below.

http://passionateperseverance.blogspot.com/2012/08/marys-book-basket-joy-in-ordinary-by.html

I loved this part:

This book receives 5 CUPCAKES = I feel like celebrating for the joyously awesome fabulously wonderful read and it will remain on my keeper shelf

Thank you so much, Mary!

Sleep Required

Greetings to all and sundry!

Well it doesn’t rain but it pours. No sooner does one batch of colds end but the baby cuts molars and the big girl starts up with a fever again. All of this to say that my writing time is theirs right now, for they are obviously more important. Fortunately, unlike the bronchitis outbreak in June, I’ve managed to stay well and all I’m out of is sleep. 😉 But soon, very soon, we’ll come out of this and I’ll be writing again. The words are there. They’ll be told.

All things considered I’m doubting my self-imposed deadline of September 8th. The beauty of self-publishing is that you make your own deadlines, and no one is going to be down on you if you have to adjust. I will do what I can to get there, for a dear friend of mine is entering the convent that day and I want her to know “what happens next” before she leaves. If I have to sit down at the phone and tell her everything I will. And then you can read it later. I definitely want to have both books ready by November 10th to sell at a charity fundraiser for church, and also to get ready for Christmas advertising, so rest assured I’m not just sitting back cooling my heels.  Even when I’m pacing the hall with a clingy baby on my shoulder, I can still work out scenes in my head.

It’s much more productive than it otherwise could be.

 

The Problem of Classification

My sister and I were having a conversation today, and I mentioned I was hoping to offer Joy and her sequel at a church bazaar this autumn. As the discussion continued, we talked about how difficult it is sometimes to peg a label on a novel like Joy. For example, being a work of Catholic fiction, there wasn’t much choice but to put it under Inspirational Fiction. Being a love story, Christian Romance also applied. But it seemed to me a little banal to put Joy there, as if the product of my sweat, time and heart suddenly got put on the shelf of the Pink Sugar Department. All sweet and no substance (note: not all Christian Romance or Inspirational Fiction belongs on this shelf, either). It was my hope that I could write a decent story but avoid the Pink Sugar.  My sister summed it up for me a bit.

SHE: “Yeah, it’s hard talking about your book because once you say ‘oh, it’s Inspirational Fiction,’ I always feel like I need to add, ‘But it’s real, it’s not Hallmark.'”

ME: [thinking of the Romance label] “Nor is it a Harlequin.”

SHE: “Totally. Nothing starting with H need apply.”

I love sisters. Mine makes me laugh when I need it.

So why did I write Catholic Fiction in the first place? Because I’m Catholic, for one. Because we Catholics need books to read, and the realm of Catholic fiction is sparse. I’m not saying that Joy is the solution to that; please God, don’t let me be that naive. Are my books going to be for Catholics only? No. I already know of some non-Catholics who were gracious enough to give Joy a try and enjoyed the read. I do not separate my faith from my writing because I believe one’s faith should permeate their life. So my characters are Catholic, but they are also human characters. The hero has a human fault. He’s not the tormented demon lover that mainstream fiction seems to relish at the moment (and don’t get me on the subject of Vampires, please), and the things Joy faces in her life are the sort of things that meet up with you or me in everyday life. That is precisely my intent. You won’t find me writing, I hope, anything that couldn’t feasibly occur out there. Some Catholics write harrowing apocalyptical novels, others great and amusing fairy-tale adaptations. I know; I’ve read them. There are Catholic thrillers, Catholic whodunnits, and even apparently a new Catholic novel about philosophy. My niche is the Everyday. I just only wish there was a category label for that.

🙂

Chapter Four

Chapter Four was added to the ranks last night. In case you think my husband is an easy to please editor, think again. He looked it over as I typed and told me there was a goodly section of girly stuff in it. I thought at first that the girly stuff was essential. I slept on it and then went and decided to scalpel it out myself. The chapter flowed better without it. So, I’ll just say, “Yes dear, you told me so,” even though he’s not the “I told you so” type. 😉

Part of me wants to be giving you spoilers about the plot here, and part of me wants to leave it a mystery until the book comes out. Which part should win, I wonder?