Tag Archives: Theatre!

Guided by voices

Happy Friday!  I’m a bit sleepy this morning after a late night out with Sarah seeing Burlesque.  It was cheesy perfection!  There are lots of evil glares and sequins and cheeky dance moves.  Christina and Cher were fabulous-both sounded and looked great.  Cher’s face was a little immovable, but she made up for that with mesmerizing glitter eyeshadow that I deeply covet and would have nowhere to wear. I suggested that maybe Sarah and I could Burlesque our faces up for our friend’s Christmas party, but we weren’t sure how well it would go with our sensible corduroys and turtleneck sweaters.  Alas, it might be the kind of thing that only works with a black lace halter dress.

Yesterday on Susan Bischoff’s blog she talked about why her characters have potty mouths.  It was an interesting discussion and I was thinking about talking about the reviews Glimmer has been getting because of the increased cursing and sexual situations from Glimpse, but then Susan said this in the comments: “Plus, I think I’m going to have to give up reading them. (reviews) The criticisms are voices in my head when I’m writing, and the praises are voices in my head when I’m not writing, telling me to hurry up and finish and make sure it measures up. :stresses:”

So, sequels.

Writing the first book in a series is hard, you’re not sure of yourself, you wonder if anyone is going to want to read this thing that you have spent months pouring your heart and soul and brain into.  But you put it out there and hope for the best.  The first book  becomes your proving ground.  “Can I do this thing that I believe I can do?”  And then you get fans (the coolest and weirdest thing) and good reviews (and a few bad reviews) and you think, “I did this thing that I believed I could do.”

Writing the second book is both easier and harder.  You know what works for you and what doesn’t, but now you have expectations to meet that you didn’t have the first time around.  There are actual other people to write the book for besides yourself. You read your reviews and the beta reader comments and you have to decide how to write what you want to write while satisfying as many expectations as you can.  And that, my friends, is effing nerve-wracking. 

This is the spot I’m in with Rebellion right now.  The nerve-wracking “will it meet expectations” spot.  All this feeling is good for is fueling procrastination.  I know I need to write myself out of it.  I had a great writing day the other day and I know another will come, but for some reason I can’t stop looking at the few so-so reviews Glimmer has gotten (which are far less than the number of good reviews its received. Thus proving that I like to make myself crazy.) and thinking “sophomore slump.”  This especially bums me out because I like Glimmer better.  I think my writing improved, the pace improved, I had more fun.

Back to Susan’s quote.  It made me realize something that I hadn’t before.  When people review a book, they’re not talking to me.  It may seem like they are, like they are telling me what to do or asking for what they’d liked to have seen more of, but who they are really talking to is other readers.  When someone reviews a book, all they are really saying is “read this, I liked it” or “don’t read this, I didn’t like it.”  Reviews are great for building your platform and garnering new readers, but they aren’t a blueprint for what you should be writing.  I’m going to try to keep this in mind and get on with the writing.  Thanks for listening to me give myself a pep talk.:)

Did I mention I was tired?

An intervention might be in order.

Hi, my name is Stacey and I have recently discovered that I’m a historical/western romance addict.  I’m not exactly sure how this happened.  I’m not a girly-girl.  I have lots of shoes, but they’re all orthopedic in nature and not cute.  I have lots of make-up because I do theatre, but I don’t wear it the rest of the year.  I have no desire to see Eat, Pray, Love.  But I cannot get enough of flowery prose about broad shouldered cowboys and Lords.  In the past three days I’ve read three Alexis Harrington books-Harper’s Bride, The Irish Bride, and Homeward Hearts.  They are $2.99 at Smashwords and Amazon and it is just too easy for me to download the next one onto my Kindle when I’ve finished one. 

I haven’t thought of myself as a person who reads romance novels until I got my kindle.  At first I’d read a paranormal every now and again, but then I read Outlander and discovered that I like historicals too.  When I saw a review for Harper’s Bride on Smartbitches I decided to check it out.  Well, guess I like Westerns as well.  Actually, Alexis Harrington is from the Portland area and still lives here and most of her books take place in Oregon.  Maybe that’s why I like them.  Kinda like when I see movies that were filmed by where I used to live in L.A.- the, “Hey I know where that is!” factor.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been doing with my days.  Sarah is almost done with her second round edits of Glimmer and then I will have some work to do!  Until then, I’ll just be sitting on my butt anticipating reading scenes in which sweaty well-muscled men cool off by sticking their heads underneath a water pump in the yard.

Putting on and taking off various pants and hats.

Today’s the day. I have two scenes left to write in Glimmer and I’m finishing it today come hell or high water.  My life is even more busy at the current moment than I thought it would be, but the scenes are in my head and I promised Sarah a draft by the 26th.  Time to put on my big girl pants and get it done.  What that entails is a writing a smidge over 4K.  If I can complete that today, then I can use what little time I have over the weekend to add another 1-2K throughout the whole thing.  A lot of writers, when they revise, cut, cut,cut.  I add.  I write sparsely and always have to go back and clarify some descriptions, though I don’t go overboard.  It’s a book; use your imagination.  What everything looks like is simply suggested by me, but made real by you.

I’ll be taking a short break this afternoon for an in person interview!  A reporter from the Beaverton Valley Times e-mailed me yesterday and wants to talk with me about Glimpse.  I’m not gonna lie, that surprised the hell out of me.  I’m fairly certain that she was covering the free theatre I’ve been involved in this summer and read my bio in the program, where I mention Glimpse.  Nothing like some cross-promotion!  We’re going to chat in the backyard while the kids nap.  Very writerly, don’t you think? (Apart from the froggy sprinkler, the ladybug sandbox, and the ten Tonka trucks that litter said backyard.)

Then, the weekend is here and I’ve got two more productions of King Midas and the cast party.  Its been a fun run, but I’m ready for it to be over.  Time to take off my theatre hat and put on my writer one.

Monday=Total Kitchen Annihilation!!!!!  Okay, first I’m going to put all of my dishes and utensils into bins and store them in the garage, but then its Sledgehammer of Doom meets Formica!!!!!  That’s Monday, Monday, Monday, by the way. 🙂

Have a great weekend everyone!  I’ll be back with updates aplenty next week.

The odds are in my favor.

I got a couple of things going for me:

1. I’ve eaten an ungodly amount of blue cheese stuffed olives this week and have still managed to lose 6 lbs.

2. I remembered all of my lines tonight in my “one night only” appearance as Tmolus the Mountain God in King Midas.

3.  Tomorrow is the City of Beaverton picnic in the park by my house and there will be free vittles, so that’s one less meal I have to prepare.

4. I only have 3 more scenes left to write in Glimmer. (Typing that just astounds me.  How the bejesus did I manage to write another whole novel?)

5. I’m having some cool chicks over for taco salad and a Runaways viewing party on Thursday.  Mulletcitas!

6. My family is kick ass.

7. Kitchen demo starts next week!  Destruction is fun.

What I don’t have going for me:

1. Y’all, I bombed my transcription final.  I had to complete 8 reports and they stopped grading after 4 because I’d already exceeded the number of points I was allowed to miss.  I’ve got an ass ton of studying to do in my future.

2.  I miss ice cream and toast. 

3. Glimpse isn’t selling and I can’t figure out why.  I’ve been doing a lot of interviews and getting good reviews.  As per usual I probably just need to chill and be patient-you all know how awesome I am at that. 🙂  Help me out by spreading the word about Glimpse, if you can.

I feel a lot better now.  Seven good things to three not so good things are my kind of odds.

Stay tuned for another interview tomorrow!

Just call me Tmolus the Mountain God. Seriously. Call me that.

The weather is beautiful outside and I’m really enjoying looking at it from my office. 🙂  I’ll probably get roped into going to the park in a little bit, so I thought I’d do a quick post.

The performance of King Midas this morning with the understudies went really well.  We had an enthusiastic audience, which made the actors try harder and perform better.  I was super proud to be their director.  Our next show is Monday evening and I have to go on stage again.  Eek!  I will have my lines memorized this time and I know it’s coming, so hopefully I’ll do better than the last time I stood in for Tmolus the Mountain God.  Note to self: remember to bring on the dang palm frond (a.k.a. Tmolus’ main prop that I left backstage during my last awesome performance.)

After I got home from the play I sat down to write on Glimmer, but just wasn’t feeling it.  I wrote more than 800 words every day this week, so I’m not going to stress it.  I’m at a place where I am confident that I will be finished with it if not by the end of next week, then by the 26th.  There are still time issues that I’m grappling with and some things I really want to change, but I have to refer back to Glimpse to make sure I’m not contradicting myself.  All I have to say is that it is really annoying that pregnancy lasts 9 months. Ha! Just like in Glimpse, the beginning of the novel starts off slowly and then bam, bam, bam, things happen more quickly as we get toward the end.  Unfortunately, my flow is being thwarted by the damn baby who needs to get born at a healthy gestational age.  Why did Grace and Mike only have to fool around that one time?  Why did I torture myself this way?  I guess that’s just a problem I’m going to have to figure out.  Perhaps tomorrow.

I spent a good chunk of time marketing this week as well and have discovered that there are literally 7 million popular book blogging sites. (All right, not literally, but almost!)  I’ve lined up two more Glimpse reviews for the fall, which is great because hopefully they will be positive and encourage people to buy both Glimpse and Glimmer when it comes out in November.  Now that I’ve been at this marketing game for almost three months, I feel like I’m getting better at it.  People want to like your book and spread the word, all you have to do is ask! Well, and send them a free copy.

My sales this week weren’t quite as good as last week.  After getting used to busting through the Top 100 in a couple of categories daily, that didn’t happen so much this week.  I don’t know if it is because I have a giveaway going on or what, but with the spotlight and the good review, hopefully things will pick up next week.

The kids seem to be taking the longest nap ever and now I wanna go to the park!  Another half an hour and those little buggers are getting a mama-kiss wake-up call!  After the park I think a trip to the store is in order.  Pizza for everyone but me for dinner.  I’m looking forward to purchasing some macadamia nuts, string cheese, and pepperoni.  Uh, kind of.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend!  Go see Inception!  That’s my plan for tomorrow night.

Therapy is in session.

Happy first day of Summer and I hope everyone had a loverly Father’s Day yesterday!  My sister made ribs and I’m still picking them out of my teeth-not that I mind.  Ribs is good.

Our unbarbeque on Friday evening was super dang fun.  The neighbors from up the street are hilarious and hanging out with my friend Eric from high school and his family was wonderful-it is always good to have more Missourians in the hood-especially from Columbia, a city that grows smart, overeducated hicks that like indie rock.  Eric and I talked a little about our reputations in high school.  My perception of him wasn’t what he thought most people thought of him and his perception of me was more nerdy than I would give myself credit for.

What I’m getting at is, I think a lot of people from high school thought I’d be a published author long before now.  I was certainly on that track, but through lack of self-confidence, fear, paranoia, laziness, and a few jacked up boyfriends, it took me a while to get here.  For many years I resisted wanting to be a writer because I wanted it so much.  Make sense?  Putting yourself out there is hard and yet, you have to do it or you’re just writing for yourself.  And that’s fine, but c’mon, not the goal most writers want to achieve.  I want you to want to read what I write, although it scares the crap out of me what you’re gonna think about it.  Especially the fact that I can’t explain why I write things the way I do to every person that reads my work.  That’s  me wanting people to like me more than it is wanting them to like my writing-  a difficult thing to master that I think only gets better the more you publish.

I had to be this age to get skin thick enough to almost handle all the rejection that comes with being a writer.  Back in high school, sure I had a lot of promise, but my writing never got rejected, ever.  I may still hold the record for the most pieces published in my school’s lit mag as a matter of fact- don’t know how I’d go about checking that, but as of my last high school reunion, some of my classmates were now the faculty advisors on the lit mag and I still held the title.  (If you feel like I’m bragging, let me point out that I was also a mega theater geek and never got any role that I tried out for in all three years of high school except for a play directed by this guy I was dating.  Theater was my big rejection lesson in high school and to this day why I just don’t care if I get a part or not, I can take it.)  I think the lack of rejection of my writing did a disservice to me because when I got to college and had a teacher who hated my work (incidentally, I also hated hers, so we were not a good fit for critiques at all) I  gave up on writing fiction, stopped being an English major, and ran over to the theatre.  There I was comfortable with my rejection and through writing my own monologues, could be one of the better writers in the class again.

This scenario played out over and over again in my life.  When the writing wasn’t getting approval, I learned to do something else and usually did fairly well.  I worked in a dry cleaners with a guy who was a better writer than I was and went to a better university than I did, so I quit that and went to floral design school and was second in my class.  I met my husband and he was a published writer and I wasn’t, so I went to culinary school and was second in my class.  See the pattern?  Finally at 30 when I went back to finish my college degree (the unfinished part has to do with one of those pesky, mean boyfriends) I did two things I hadn’t done before.  I took special math classes for people who have a hard time with math and made A’s (confidence boost in the millions) and I took a series of creative writing classes from a teacher whose writing I admired and whose criticism was constructive and straightforward.  He was encouraging, but also told me that he could tell I’d skated through a lot of the time and I needed to get my act together and work.

Let me tell you, I’ve never worked harder at writing something than I did at Glimpse, so that’s why if you like it, I’m overjoyed, but if you don’t, I’m not gonna be crushed and stop writing.  That’s what 1993-2003 me would’ve done, but she was young and didn’t have a clue that she’d have more pride in the things that didn’t come easily to her than those that did.

(Cue inspirational music- preferrably from the opening credits of Friday Night Lights, especially the parts where Riggins stands in the rain and Tami dances around in the kitchen.)