Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year (and Upcoming Almost-Kiss Blogfest Reminder)

Happy New Year Everyone!

What did you accomplish in 2009 that you're most proud of? What do you hope to accomplish in 2010?

Here are my answers to those questions:

2009 Accomplishments

*I finished the first semester of my MFA program.
*I completed the first draft of the first novel in a 3-novel series.
*I "won" NaNoWriMo.
*I finished the first draft of Act I of my screenplay.
*Joined an awesome crit group!

(You notice all of these pride-inducing accomplishments are writing related?)

2010 Goals

*Finish second and third semesters of MFA program.
*Finish second novel in 3-novel series.
*Complete first round of revisions of novel one.
*Finish a complete first draft of screenplay.
*Collaborate with Hubby to complete a first draft of stage play/musical.

(Again...all the goals are writing-related.)

One more thing: Don't forget the Almost-Kiss Blogfest on January 2, hosted by Frankie Writes. Writers who are participating will be posting an "almost kiss" scene from a WIP to their blogs. Come back on January 2nd to see mine, then go to Frankie Writes and do the tour of all the other writers' blogs and read their almost kisses!

And I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve!!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Northern Plains Christmas Blizzard 2009

Well, here we are in North Dakota experiencing a blizzard. That's nothing really newsworthy since we have at least one per winter. Before we moved to ND five years ago I'd never experienced a blizzard. Having grown up in the Northwest winter always consisted of lots and lots and lots of gray and gloomy rain.

The first ND blizzard was exciting. It was a good excuse to drink hot chocolate and sit by the heater as the wind and snow howled outside. It was cozy and dangerous at the same time.

This particular blizzard roared in late Christmas Eve and has been snowing for two days straight. We got about as much snow in 2 days as we did all winter last year.

Now, ordinarily I would still consider a Christmas blizzard to be a fun experience but I'm supposed to fly to Connecticut for my MFA residency on the 28th at 4:00 a.m. That's only a day and a half away and today the airport was closed completely. I'm suspicious about whether or not I'll be flying anywhere on Monday morning.

Here are some pix from today. When we went to bed last night we could open the front door. When we got up this morning there were about 8 inches of snow holding the door closed. We had to shove it partially open and then Hubby shoveled his way out the rest of the way.

This is the truck after the kids pulled the snow off the window.
This is the front yard. You can't really tell, but there's a good 2.5 feet out there.
This is the garage door all snowed in.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Enjoying the Afterglow of Kissing Blogfest

Yesterday was the Kissing Day Blogfest, hosted by Sherrinda at A Writer Wannabe. Over 90 writers posted kissing scenes on their blogs and it was a wonderfully swoon-worthy day hopping from blog to blog and reading the amazing variety of kissing scenes that all these writers have crafted.

One of the bloggers who participated, Frankie at Frankie Writes enjoyed the day so much that she's come up with another awesome blogfest for writers. It's the No-Kissing Day Blogfest wherein writers are invited to post to their blogs their best almost-kiss - the longing and tension of the oh-so-close-but-not-quite kiss. If you're a writer, jump on over to her blog and sign yourself up! It will be held on January 2, 2010.

Of course I've already added my name to the list and I'm totally looking forward to it. I'll be in Connecticut on Jan 2nd participating in my MFA residency, but I'll still find something and post it, and spend the evening eagerly reading everyone else's post for the day.

I still haven't read all the blogs from yesterday, so I'm off to do that now. More kissing fun on the blogosphere!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Kissing Day Blogfest

So a writer friend of mine started this fun little exercise on her blog, A Writer Wannabe, wherein in honor of the Christmas tradition of kissing under the mistletoe she invited writers to post to their blog a kissing scene from a current WIP. Of course I wanted to participate!

You can read my kissing scene here, but if you go to her site you'll find links to dozens of other writing bloggers who have posted their kissing scenes as well. I think today will prove to be a lovely day full of sweetness and passion, and I can't wait to read everyone else's scenes!

So without further ado, here is my scene. To set it up, it is actually a first kiss scene between the hero and heroine in the first novel of a 3-novel series which remains untitled. The genre is paranormal romance. I know, not much of a setup, but there you go.

Shadow moved quietly around the couch to sit on the edge of the coffee table where he watched Holly sleep. Her breathing was even and peaceful. Her eyes moved back and forth beneath her lids, the long black lashes brushing her cheeks. He liked that she didn’t wear makeup, and he liked the novelty that she was completely clear of any body art. She was pristine, and it made him want to explore every inch of her clear, naked skin. He imagined it was as smooth as it was pure.

He could feel his own skin on fire as he watched her. The urge to touch her was overwhelming. She stirred in her sleep, her lips parted and he thought he heard her murmur his name. He was drawn to her mouth, amazed by what he thought he’d heard. Just one kiss won’t hurt, he thought, and leaned in brushing his lips lightly over hers. He shivered and groaned, torn, then kissed her again, barely tracing her lips with his tongue. He had expected her to taste spicy like her personality, but she tasted sweet instead, and it made him dizzy.

His heart pounded and his mouth was dry, and he knew he should walk away. Kissing her, especially while she was sleeping, was only going to complicate things. He’d feel guilty for taking advantage of her and he’d never be able to look her in the eye. But he just couldn’t stop himself. He gently kissed the corners of her mouth, then took her lips with his in a full kiss. And this time, she kissed him back.

Well, hope you enjoyed it! Now go check out Sherrinda's blog and all the other links to kissing scenes. It should prove to be a very fun day!

Monday, December 14, 2009

One Down, Three to Go

I finished my first semester of MFA study! Yay me!

A huge weight is off my shoulders both because this semester is finished and I have a holiday break now, but also because I'm one quarter of the way through my MFA degree.

Not knowing what to expect going into the program I was overwhelmed and slightly intimidated, but even though it was tons of work...buried under a mountain of reading and writing reader responses for each and every novel and screenplay...I feel appropriately educated, like my academic collection meter has gone up a satisfying notch.

So what did I accomplish over the semester? I decided that my thesis will be a screenplay and I wrote both a detailed outline and a first draft of the first act. I'm happy with the story even though my mentor has a slightly different vision for it. We'll probably have an uncomfortable, maybe awkward, discussion about that at the upcoming residency.

I read (mostly) 19 books and something like 15 screenplays (while also watching the movies), and wrote responses for each of them, plus critiqued written submissions from all the other students.

In addition during the month of November I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50000 words in 30 days on the second novel in a 3-novel romance series I'm working on.

Now that the semester is over, I don't know what to do with myself. Other than finishing the NaNoWriMo novel it feels weird not to be facing ridiculous academic deadlines.

Our next residency starts Dec 28, so I'm sure after that I'll go right back to the overwhelming pressure. I'll be working on my screenplay, finishing a complete draft, but I'll also work on the professional writing aspect of the degree where I've chosen to focus on grant writing. I think that'll be pretty interesting.

And when I'm finished with the second semester I'll be half done with the degree!

In the meantime I'm going to try to enjoy the holiday. Tomorrow is Christmas shopping. Not so much fun, but if we can get it done in one day I'll be happy. It's going to be budget holiday at our house since the checkbook is seriously anorexic this year. But we always find ways to have fun no matter what, so it should be a great holiday anyway.

Hope you're all looking forward to a moderately relaxing holiday!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Renaissance Feast 2009

I belong to a local chamber chorale and our Christmas concert every year is a Renaissance Feast which is hosted at a local hotel. Guests are treated to a meal in a Renaissance-decorated hall as well as a 3-hour program which includes skits, music, and dancing. Of course all of us in the chorale are in period-appropriate costumes, and our stage is set up to resemble a manor hall where we feast along with our guests.

This is my second year as a member of the chorale and I just love the Renaissance concert. The music is festive, the audience is always so receptive, and it's a chance for all of us in the chorale to mix and mingle and have fun together.

Our performances were December 3rd, 4th, and 5th and because we changed the script this year, it was a new experience for all of us, and I think much more successful than last year. But now it's time to put the costume away (and since I'm not in the last bit photogenic I'm not going to post a picture of myself in costume) .

Christmastide feasting and concert is over for one more year, we must await next year to enjoy the revelry yet again.

Wassail! Drink hail!