Monday, November 7, 2011

Out there

Today is huge for me.  I have sent my manuscript out to one of the publishers on my list.  It is hard for me to wrap my brain around this fact.  So many years went into this project, and 99% of the work was me, and only me, with the book.  Eventually I told people about it....let them read parts, and now it is done.  I don't know how to feel.  It is, in a way, anticlimactic.  I feel a bit numb, as if a big part of my brain has been downloaded onto a separate drive to free up space.  I fill like I need to fill up that space with something, but I am going to give myself time to figure out what should go in there. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

History is here every day

I haven't forgotten you.  I promise.  My book is being proofread and edited by dear trusted ones in my life.  Once I get it back I will be incorporating changes and corrections. 

I just read an article about artifacts discovered at Carter House in Franklin, and this quote really struck a nerve with me:

"What that means is the story of the people who lived here is literally under us every day," said Jacobson.

Oh how I loved to ponder that statement, and I hope that idea is conveyed in my book.  History is everywhere, all around us....we just need to be curious enough to seek it out.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I cannot believe it!

The first draft, over 70,000 words, is actually done!  I never ever thought I would be writing that, but it is indeed the truth.  I  am  overjoyed, giddy, elated, in other words, WOO HOO!

And this weekend I will turn my draft over to my proofreader (hi Mom!).  If I look at my draft one more time I may go quite mad, so I am hands off until I get it back from her.  I need to breathe for a bit, and perhaps paint.

This past Saturday, Mark and I went on a behind the scenes tour of the Tennessee State Capitol.  It was fascinating,  and being around all of that history  gave me the push I needed to see me past my goal.

So for now, I  am done.  The next part, finding a publisher, may be a journey, but I am ready for it.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

1200 words to go!

So so close.  I am over 68,000 words, and I just love how the book has grown and the story has developed.  One of my antagonists now has more flesh, and another story twist has been added, along with a secret room.

Once I hit 70,000, I will proof and fine tune the story, and then to find a publisher.

I know the important thing is that I love my story, but I would also love it if it got published, and others loved my story as well!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The lightbulb

I trust my process.  I knew if  I gave myself space,  the inspiration would come, and it did.

Today the dear husband  and  I took a get lost trip in the beautiful country around
Bell Buckle, Tennessee.  Poverty and reconstruction after the Civil War had such a beautiful way of preserving antiquity in the Nashville surrounds.  As I viewed the vistas, got a bit sunburned, and let my mind wander, I  heard what I needed to take my book further.

I always have a pad and pen with me wherever I go, and I jotted my inspiration down.  So so happy!

Friday, May 13, 2011

66000 + y'all

That's right.  Less than 4000 words, and I will have my book  ready for proofreading.  I've become comfortable with my process.  I get inspired, I write until said inspiration is on paper, and then I'm done for a bit.  I go on to whatever fuels my creativity next - that might be a good dose of sleeping, reading, or painting, but whatever it is I respect my brain's need for refueling, and  I wait until it is the right time for writing.  It has served me well.  I am so close.  I am going to meet my goal of 70,000 by my August 22 birthday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

In the beginning

I thought it would be good to post about what started me on my novel writing.

An acquaintance sent me a book that she wrote.  It took me about an hour to read, and it was insipid and  saccharine at best.  I know those are mean words to write, but it is truth.  It was every cliche in extremely concise text.

It was bad.  I knew I could do better.

So I found inspiration, came with an idea,  created my heroine, and have steadily and carefully built up my story, which is why it  has taken me so very long to craft.  If I didn't work for a steady paycheck, it is possible that it would have been completed by now, but my life is what it is.  I love my life, and jam pack it with as much pretty, creative lovelies as I can.

So here I am, staring down 70,000 words with a strong, proud gaze.  The end is in sight.

This weekend was a sad one - nothing to do with my family or anything, but I attended the memorial service of a person whose life ended entirely too soon.  I am hopeful that I will be inspired to write again in the near future, but I am  not going to force it.

I would love to take a "get lost" drive in the country around Nashville.  It has helped me so much  in the past to remove myself from the reality of my surroundings.  If the weather is cooperative this Saturday, I hope to be driving  someplace lonely and quiet.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

62,000 Words

That's right.  I'm over 60,000.  At one time, 60,000 seemed like an insurmountable number.  It was my  Moby Dick, my completion of the Jillian Michaels 30 day shred program, but I got past it, and I was positively elated!

I am so close to my goal  of 70,000 that I can almost reach out and feel it with my fingertips.  When I hit 60 last week, I looked at my book for the longest time, and didn't know how I would be able to expand the story any more,  but I soon told my mind to shut up, because I knew that faith trumps any human emotion, and I got inspired.  I  know I can carry this story through to my goal.

This past Saturday morning, thankfully before it got beastly hot, dear husband and I took a trip to the historic Nashville City Cemetery.  It had always been on my list, but I had never gotten myself there.  It was so helpful to be surrounded by all of that history, all of that collected time.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

59,000 words

That's right y'all.  Just short of 60,000 words.  I never in my wildest dreams  thought that I could take the story this far, but now I have the confidence to get to that goal of 70,000 words.

This past Sunday,  I took a drive into the country,  on the sort of roads that locals look at the passing car and say " that what cars look like these days?"  We saw countless goats, and cows, and horses, and towns that, if you huffed and puffed on them hard enough, could get blown to dust.  All sorts of old houses, barns and stores, and the vistas....need I describe the views?

We shall not discuss the sorry sunburn I got.  I am convinced that I am indeed the whitest person ever to breathe.

It was very inspiring.  I was so thankful that I brought pad and pen with me, just in case thoughts for my book came to my head, and did they ever.   I am truly pleased.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

56000 Words

After a brief foray into painting, I am back to my book project.  I am now over 56,000 words, and  I love where the story is going.  I have been able to expand some important parts of the book, and flesh out my villain characters even more.  I think that having my book done by the end of the year is a very realistic goal.

I realized the other day that I have created over 20 characters.  That's a whole lot of people to come from one person's brain.  I hope that people my finished work, but I especially hope that Nashvillians enjoy the trip back in time that I take them on.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Creative phases

I'm back!  I go through creative phases.  A dear friend recently had a birthday party where she asked all of her guests to create their version of a favorite painting of hers.  I did as instructed, and seriously wanted to take it home, but I did not, and below is the end result.
I love how it turned out.  I hadn't painted anything in quite a while, and this exercise got me thinking of painting yet again, and I was now obsessed with painting birds to boot.  Below is the painting I just finished for my very own self.  I love, love, love it.

It will eventually hang in my bedroom, but for now I am enjoying it in our living room.  I have recently acquired a 36x36 canvas for yet another painting, and lo and behold the subject is going to BIRDS, but painted in a very different style from my most recent work. 

Alas, I first need to buy paint, a lot of paint, and it is just not in my budget right now.  So, I am once again back to working on my beloved novel.  I originally split the book into three files for my ease.  The third part is what I need to work on, and I am really dreading the task, which also probably contributed to my painting jag.  It needs a lot of tender loving care.  The story moves way too fast.  I need to let it breathe and wander.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Southern Turf

The name of my book is "Southern Turf." Why? Because that is the name of the beloved building I work in, and the inspiration for my book. The idea for my book started with a door.

The door, located on the second floor of this building, must be 15 feet tall, and about 6 inches thick, made from a very sturdy and beautiful mahogany. It is scuffed and dinged, and shows its age well with a deep patina. I absolutely adore the hardware used for the keyguard and door handle. It is original to 1895, and is a very unusual scrollwork design, and I'm thinking this design will need to be incorporated in some fashion in the artwork for my book.

Another wonderful feature on the door is a little sliding panel, pocketed in the door at eye level, about 4x5 inches, with a metal finger hook on the interior side of the door. Since this is the only door in the building that still exists of this size, width, and made from such a strong and durable wood, I deduce that the office behind the magnificent door was used by the owner, or perhaps the person that handled the money for the gambling that took place on that floor in its heyday. Said person could use peer out the sliding panel to see if a friend or foe was on the other side of the door.

I have noticed a few semi-circular, crescent moon shaped indentations on the exterior side of the door, near the keyguard. Looks like old hammer marks to me - perhaps made by an intruder's vain effort to get in? That is purely a guess.

The other fact that leads me to believe that someone important was protected in that office by the sturdy door is that there is a secret passageway that looks like an unassuming closet, but in fact is a pass through to the office behind it. Perhaps if there was a bad person on the other side of the main door, the person in the office could skin out via the passage way.

I could go on and on. I love this building, and cannot wait to share it with everyone when my book is done!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Last week was wonderful and productive. This week? So far not so much. I've been busy busy busy. I'm hopeful I will find time to write towards the end of the week. I constantly tell myself that I need to take a full hour for my lunch break, but I think of all the tasks that need to be done, and invariably I delve right back in to my work.

Oh how I dream of a quieter life. This quieter life would certainly involve me winning the lottery - so far my luck in that department has not been great. But you never know right?

I've scheduled an entire week off at the end of February. I have great hopes for this week. No more writing on my lunch breaks, or evenings, or weekends. A whole week to peruse old newspapers on microfiche, to carefully examine photographs from years past at Metro Archives, to stare at my computer screen at the cursor that mocks me with its incessant flashing.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Naming Characters

I am thoroughly enjoying this writing process. I smile or laugh when I write something really clever, and I have had a lot of fun naming my characters.

My heroine is Josie Costello. I've always loved that last name, probably because I adore the comedy team Abbott & Costello. Josie's sister, Lucy, married Will Abbott. I'm so subtle...this I know.

Josie's love interest is Dan Finney. I wanted to include the last name "Finney" somewhere, because Jack Finney is one of my most beloved authors. He is best known for penning "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," but my favorite work of his is "Time and Again." If you haven't read it, and are fond of the time travel genre, it is a must-read!

Josie's boss is Tom Hartman. Hartman is my Grandmother Anne's maiden name. She was a lovely precious person, and it was just plain fun to use a family name.

Oh, there are more stories associated with my character names, but perhaps I'll save that for another post.

It snowed last night. It was that wonderful sort of snow that clings to every surface, much to the dismay of drivers. As I slowly inched my way home, on 4th Avenue South, I passed the Nashville City Cemetery. Usually I just zip by the historic cemetery, but last night I certainly had time to divert my attention from the road. It was just beautiful. The cemetery on a regular day is very pretty, resplendent with ornate headstones and surrounded by a fine old stone wall, but last night's snow blanketed everything in a silent white. It was just gorgeous, and gave me pause. How many beautiful things to we whiz by every day? We need to slow down, and see the beauty all around us.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A Quiet Mind

It is amazing what a quiet mind will come up with. I was sitting in church last night, focusing on my Pastor's message, trying to leave my busy work day in the past, and it came to me - a fantastic new character for my book, that would explain my heroine's "ability" even better, and also flesh out her family even more. Too excited for words. I could not wait to get to my computer and blend it in.

And now it is in there, at least the beginning of fleshing out the character. My mind feels so very open right now. Does that make any sense? My book, right now, is very tightly constructed, and right now I feel like I have options, and can wander and meander through the story. The peace of a quiet mind - I have to get there more often.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It's a rainy cold day here in Nashville. I work in a lovely building, but I do not love the caulking around the 1895 windows on days like this. The window in my area must be at least 14 feet high, and original, which means that it is extremely drafty. I have a space heater, a shawl, and a lap blanket, but I'm still cold!

My first job was in a building on 2nd Avenue. It was from the early 1900s as well. I used to walk up Banker's Alley to the Arcade on my lunch breaks. I would pass by this building every time, and look up at the lovely brickwork and beautifully detailed bay windows. I told myself someday, I would like to work in that building....and now I do!

I've work in modern building and skyscrapers, but it was so very boring. No charm whatsoever could be found amongst the fabric covered cubicles and drywall. I am so thankful I work in a building that still surprises me every now and then.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Back in the Saddle

As I said in my previous and only other post, I go through creative phases. I am absolutely out of my cooking phase, and am completely focused on my beloved book project. I am doing more research, reading whatever I can about the early 1900's in Nashville. I love this time period, and am so thankful that there are so many well-preserved buildings from that era for inspiration.

I went to the library (aka my second home) during my lunch, and on the way back I heard the bells at St. Mary's, ringing in the noon hour. That building has been a witness to many changes to the face of downtown, and yet it rings on. I believe the church dates to the 1850's. The bells will certainly make it into my book.

I cannot wait until February. I have scheduled a whole week off to devote solely to my book. I plan on visiting Metro Archives to peruse their photograph collection. I cannot wait for the immersion.