I just read a three-part interview with Diana Gabaldon done by Kathleen Bolton on the blog Writer Unboxed.   I let out a big sigh after reading it, for a couple of reasons. 

First reason is she mentioned in the interview that there will be another book after AN ECHO IN THE BONE. I am currently reading A BREATH OF SNOW AND ASHES by Diana which is her second to last book in the Outlander series.  I am dragging it out because I don’t want to stop reading about Jamie and Claire.    I am still iffy on reading about Lord John Grey.  I have Claire’s back on this one and feel like I would betray her by reading it. 🙂  Her books do that to you.  Totally suck you in and make you feel like you know her characters personally.  Well I might as well call Claire a close friend.  God knows I have spent enough time reading about her and cheering her on like any great friend would do.

The second thing about the interview was that she admitted to not using an outline.  Diana lets the characters take her along the plot, while she overall has an idea of how she wants the story to look.  She compares the storyline to a DNA molecule with parts connected.  I love that she does that.  I started with an idea and storyline and did an outline before I started.  I hated every second of it.  I felt like I was back in Jr. High in my early English classes trying to figure out my first outline.   The more I “organized” with the outline, the more disorganized I felt.  How much was too much?  Did I have enought?

As I started writing, I realized that the story needed something different than what my outline told me-a different route to get to part of my plot.  So I switched things up and cut out a bunch of manuscript.   I didn’t trash it however.  I saved it in a “bits and pieces” area on my computer to use again if need be.  I know I will never use it but it is like throwing away bad photos.  They are still evidence of someone or something’s existence, no matter how out of focus the picture is.

So now I have basically been writing by the seat of my pants.  I still have the beginning, middle, and end of my story in my head but I am not so rigid about how to get there.  It is refreshing and helpful to know that an author like Diana Gabaldon doesn’t have a very conventional way of writing as well.  By no means do I compare myself to her.  It is just that I started to wonder about what the hell I was doing and if this story would make sense without the skeleton of an outline.  Well, if Diana Gabaldon can do it, then so can I.  Therefore, I will continue to write willy-nilly between trips to the gym, fixing lunch for my son, picking up kids from school, etc.  Heck, that is what revision is for, right?

Check out my link to Writer Unboxed and you will find Diana Gabaldon’s name on the list of author interviews.  It is an interesting read for all of you Diana fans.


La-La Land

The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms defines “la la land” as:  The state of being out of touch with reality.

The name of my blog is somewhat ambiguous. One reason is literal and one is sarcastic.

The literal reason is because I am constantly reading and it is usually fiction.  Therefore, my mind is not usually in the real world.  I am perhaps traveling the countryside during pre-Revolutionary war or perhaps falling in love with a Regency rake right along with the heroine.   Don’t get me wrong; I take care of my children and a spot of housework as well as get to the gym every day except Sunday.   However, while trying to deal with the insaneness of raising kids, reading keeps me sane throughout the day.  It is my equivalent of taking 10 deep breaths to calm the nerves before I rip my children because they left their shoes in front of the door for the 400th time  instead of walking 2 feet further and putting them in the closet bin.  My trips to la-la land usually happen while doing cardio at the gym (I am one of those people who can run, walk, sit in the car while reading  without getting motion sickness), sitting at one of the children’s athletic practices, or, much to my husband’s chagrin, at night after kids go to bed.  

The sarcastic reason is because of the city I live in and the community that  surrounds me.  I will talk about it  in future posts and it will all be in humor with an underlying current of contempt.  Let me explain further. I live in an affordable yet affluent suburb of Kansas City.   Affordable and affluent seems contradictory, right?  The cost of living here  is sick compared to places like Denver and Minneapolis.  There are plenty of parks, recreation programs, as well as two professional sports teams that you can practically watch for free because people are dumping tickets left and right.   The affluent part of this equation is where it gets tricky.  We are affluent but yet not.  It is all about appearances.  People appear affluent but if you looked inside their homes, you might find entire rooms without furniture or they are so deep in debt they can’t peek their little turned up noses over the piles of bills they have.  There are days when I look at them and feel pity and then there are days where I feel like slapping them, hoping to dislodge the common sense that has obviously gotten stuck.

In conclusion, the things I say about La-La Land might be about what I am currently reading, writing, or just plain dealing with in my everyday life.   Might be funny.  Might be sad.  Might just be  gibberish.  You will just have to visit me and maybe you will enjoy La-La Land, too!

Okay, I am working on a historical romance and I am hitting a roadblock.  I have thought about it and thought about it and I still haven’t come up with a solution.  How far am I going to go with the love scenes?  I mean I have neighbors and friends, and egad, family that might read this someday.  If they don’t, there will be another attempt at a published novel if not this one.  How does one decide on how far to push it? 

I look at Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas and they write gorgeous love stories with plenty of sexy detail.  It doesn’t offend me because I have read romances for so long.  I thought for a long time that you HAD to write the love scenes a certain way to make it a true romance novel.  Then I read Diana Gabaldon’s The Outlander and it totally screwed that theory up.  The Outlander isn’t a typical romance novel and it isn’t really categorized that way.  However, I still got the “Oh my gosh, they HAVE to end up together” and “I really want to meet Claire and Jamie  because they are so awesome together” feelings.  She writes the loves scenes without actually writing them.   She gives you just enough to set the stage and then lets you imagine the rest.   Normally, I would be ticked if I am left hanging without those details but somehow the novel didn’t need it .  Many times she gives the foreplay and then stops when things get a bit more, ahem, you know. 

So here I am.  Trying to figure out what kind of romance writer I would like to become.   I guess I should just write the love scenes and see if it feels “right” and if it doesn’t, then change it until it does.  It is a lot different reading it than trying to write it.  I commend all successful romance writers for doing it so well!

If anyone has any advice, feel free to post.

Well, simply it is that I have some things I want to talk about and need the adult conversation.  Whether or not you care to listen and respond is up to you.  But you won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t follow this blog. 

You see, I am a mom raising three children and sometimes I just need to talk.   I am not a fan of talking on the phone (as all of my friends painfully know) so there goes that avenue to converse.  So I thought blogging might be the next best thing.  Of course, I twitter and do the Facebook thing but I need to expand my circle and talk to others that don’t know everything about me already. 

Another reason I am blogging is that I need the daily writing practice.  You see, I am another one of those avid book readers that think she can also write one.  I realized after reading multiple blogs and web sites that it more important now then ever to have some credibility rather than just a great story.  We all have great stories in us just a matter of you are willing to take the time and risk of putting it out there.  I am ready for the risk and I am trying to find the time.  I need something for me.  My oldest child is ten and I quit working to stay home when she was three and her little brother was born. 

I have painfully realized that all that I used to be has faded into the background when I decided to stay home and raise kids.  It is my own fault but after having each one of my children, my needs and wants didn’t seem that important anymore.  However, as time moves on and kids get older, I find myself wondering where I went.  I used to love riding my bike on the trails near our home, loved playing tennis, meeting friends for lunch, and going to Happy Hour.   The only time I ride my bike is when the dog is lost and I need a quick mode of transportation.  My tennis game consists of playing with my four year old in the driveway.  I have been on about four or five lunches with friends since I started my stay-at-home occupation and most of those have happened in the past year.  My version of Happy Hour is having a glass of wine while I cook dinner.

 Everything has been for them because that it was I chose to do.  However, now that they are older and my youngest is in preschool a couple of days a week, I miss me.  I don’t have an income so it is very hard for me to ask my husband to fund any self-involved activities;  tennis club membership, paying for a babysitter so I can go shopping (without those pesky kids putting unwanted things in the cart or wandering away just far enough to send me into a panic), continuing education courses, etc.  These are some things that I would love to do but feel guilty even thinking about.   Don’t get me wrong.  I am not one of those doting mothers that takes her kids to the childrens’ museum every Thursday.  I don’t take them to the library to sit for an hour each week to peruse the aisles with them for just the right book or play with the blocks with them.  I don’t even know where the childrens’ museum is anymore and we are in and out of the library so fast the kids don’t bother taking off their coats anymore.  No, I am not one of those moms. 

I think I am just out of practice of taking time for me.   At least I used to be.  A few years ago, when Oprah’s book club was such a big deal and everyone wanted to read what Oprah was reading, I got back into reading.  I used to read all the time as a child and all throughout my teen years.  However, I stopped reading after college and reading enough text books to sink a ship. Well, maybe a small dinghy.  Okay, okay, more likely a canoe with a hole already in it.  My first job required me to work long hours and I was usually exhauted when I got home. 

Oprah renewed my love for reading and I have strayed away from her list which I find overly depressing.  There are some inspirational books there but  I prefer the happy ending 99 out of 100 books and not the other way around.  That is why I read them!  I like to escape and lose myself into another world as I know it.  I am not sure what book I had just read that made me think I had it in me but I started to think of a character.  Then I started to think of the setting I would love to see her in.   Then I thought about writing it down.   That is all I could think.  I bought books on writing various genres, borrowed research books from our local library, and even bought some journals to start writing an outline.  That was two years ago.  

I am still working on the book but my commitment and attitude has changed.  I realized this is the thing I had been looking for.  That thing just for me.  Even if this book doesn’t get published, I know that I did it.  Then I can do it again and hopefully better the next time.  I want to inspire my children, not just be the person that takes care of them really well and even that is highly debateable.     So here I am, renewing my relationship with myself and trying to do something just for me. 

I love to read and I hope to give some entertaining reading material to others.  I know it is going to take a while to get to that point where others are going to enjoy what I have to say, whether it is fiction or whatever I put on this blog.  I have to flex my writing muscles so here I am.  I always thought blogging was weird and narscasstic just like Facebook and Twitter.  I joined Facebook almost two years ago and Twitter a few months ago.  So here I am.  Blogging.  Never thought I would do it but then again, I didn’t know I was going to write a book a couple of years ago either.  

I hope you enjoy what you read but it really isn’t for you.   It is okay if you don’t care. You won’t hurt my feelings.  Feedback and comments are always welcome, however.  🙂