writing

Is that AM or PM?

on August 11, 2014

I’ve been pretty quiet over here lately, and I’d like to say I have a good excuse. Only I’m not sure I do. My lack of blogging is due to a combination of boring things that I could write about here, but I’d sound like I was whining and no one wants to read that.

But eight months into this full-time writing thing and I’ve found myself in an unexpected state. Though I should have seen it coming, I suppose. As a kid, I was always a night owl. Left to my own devices (meaning during the summers of my high school years) I would stay up all night, and then sleep all day.

Guess what I’m doing now? I don’t know how it happened, but I think it had something to do with not paying attention to the clock. Then I’d get on a roll with the words pouring onto the page and you can’t stop when that happens. The next thing I knew, I was doing the majority of my writing between 10pm and 4am, then sleeping as late as 2 in the afternoon.

I imagine this makes me sound like a total slacker, but I’m awake as long as I ever was, it’s just during different hours. I’m writing this blog between 12:30 and 12:45 in the morning. I was tired a little while ago, and considered going to bed. Then I got a second wind (happens a lot) and here I am, writing a blog.

At first, I scolded myself and was determined to fix this. To return to “normal” hours, but then I remembered one of the most important lessons I learned from Bull Durham. (One of the greatest movies ever.)

Respect the streak.

The fact is, I’m turning out words, and this book is coming to life. So, do I worry about what time I go to bed, or do I go with the flow and get this puppy done?

That’s right, I’m going with the flow.

So here’s my question for you. If you didn’t have a day job or anyone you had to report to, what kind of schedule would you keep? Are you a night owl or an early riser. And if you’re one of those perky up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-never-hit-a-snooze-button-in-your-life kind of people, don’t be offended when I throw virtual rotten tomatoes at you. 

Music Monday – I’m Moving On

on December 9, 2013

I’m kicking off the last week at my day job, and my emotions are all over the place. I’m happy I’ll have more time to write and focus on the books, but I’m also scared to death. I’ve been with this company for seven and a half years, which is longer than I’ve ever stayed in the same job in my life. (I’m a bit of a nomad.) These people aren’t just co-workers, but friends. Not seeing them every weekday is going to be weird. 

But, I make a conscious effort in my life to remain positive at all times, and this is definitely the time to turn that up a notch. Though this week is going to be bittersweet, I need to do this. I need to put all of my focus and energy into this writing career and do it right. I can’t do that if I have two full time jobs. 

I’ve had the privileged once before in my life to spend my days doing something I truly loved. And after six and a half years as a disc jockey on country radio, I rode off into the sunset playing this song. Seems fitting to play it for yet another big change in my life. 

I’m Moving On…

 

A Year Later – Advice to the Newbies

on March 28, 2013

At this time last year, I was riding the amazing high being a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart contest for unpublished writers. I was also buried under an avalanche of emails and still have no idea how I stayed afloat. I was getting to know an amazing group of writers, who just happen to also be amazing, strong, beautiful, and incredibly supportive women.

Two days ago, I watched the hoopla surrounding the announcements for the 2013 Golden Heart and RITA awards without a dog in either race. (Couldn’t enter the GH since I sold and couldn’t enter the RITA as my book hasn’t been released yet.)

I am beside myself excited for all the finalists, both RITA and Golden Heart, but I only know the joy and fear and overwhelming rush of emotions that those Golden Heart finalists are experiencing. And it’s only just begun.

So here’s my advice for the new finalists, worth what you’re paying for it. *g*

1) Accept that your inbox will never be the same. At least not for several months. This is okay. Do what you can do. Embrace the crazy. Ride the wave. Your fellow finalists are on the same ride. Hold onto them, as they’ll be holding onto you.

2) Stop freaking about the dress. There’s plenty of time to think about getting fancied up for the awards. Wait at least a month to even think about it. And whatever dress you choose, make sure it’s comfortable. The GH glow will make you gorgeous in a potato sack. It’ll be perfect. Don’t worry.

3) Use the phrase GOLDEN HEART FINALIST at every opportunity. Your submissions get read quicker. They’re given more weight. You’ll likely still get rejections (goodness knows I did!) but you’ll get them faster, which to me is better than waiting months and months.

4) Breathe.

5) Breathe again. You might not remember every second of the next few months. You probably don’t even remember every second of that phone call you received this week. But the experience will stay with you. And you’ll smile just thinking about it, even years later.

So that’s my advice. Oh, and I forgot the most important!

6) Write a speech! My fellow 2012 finalist, Rachel Grant, pushed our group to write one, and I didn’t. I was a DJ for 8 years talking on the fly. I thought I could handle it. Thankfully, I didn’t win, but in those few seconds before my category winner was announced, I experience a flood of fear and anxiety like I have never known.  Just do yourself a favor and write the speech.

Monumental Moment In My Writing Career

on January 25, 2013

UTtC storyboardFor every book I write, I create a storyboard. Around that storyboard, I post inspirational images for the characters, setting, or even a specific scene. I’m convinced I couldn’t write a book without a storyboard, which is what makes last night a monumental moment in my writing career. You see, so long as a book is still in process, the board stays up. I have three of them on my bedroom walls. (The one for book 2 in the Anchor Island series is to the right.)

Make that had.

When you’re a writer and still trying to sell, your books are always in process. You’re always revising or thinking of revising or it’s put away to be revamped in a year. No matter when you get around to it, you’ll need that storyboard. Well, I will. Which is why a board has never come down… until now.

MTB post itsMEANT TO BE will hit shelves in May and as of right now, it’s pretty much done. I get one more pass at it but for all intents and purposes, the book is as done as it will ever be. And that is weird. The picture to the left is what’s left of that storyboard. There are about 40 (or more) post its there. Seems odd to throw them away.

I’ve never had to watch my child leave the nest, but I’m guessing this is how it must feel. Not sure if I’m happy or sad or just nostalgic for the characters. Good thing I get to spend two more books with them (even if in lesser roles.)

From the reader stand point, have you ever gotten to the end of a book and not wanted to leave those characters? (I know many would just dive back in and read the book again, but I’m not a re-reader.) I have felt this many times. Mostly with the families that Nora Roberts created over the years. From Ireland to the Chesapeake Bay to Three Sisters Island. I could have stayed in those worlds forever.

The Book That Will Not End

on January 16, 2013

I’ve been working on this story (UP TO THE CHALLENGE Book 2 in Anchor Island series) since last summer and the end is so close, I can see it shining bright and happy in the distance. But that distance is the problem. The more I write, the more the distance seems to grow.

If you aren’t a writer, you’re probably thinking, “Why can’t she just end it if she wants to end it?” Oh, if only it were that easy. You see, the story ends when it ends and I really don’t have much say in that. Sounds strange, I know. I definitely would have considered a statement like that quite loony before undertaking this writing gig myself.

But this is also good. At least for me. You see, I’m not very good at writing endings. Most writers hate the middle, but I love it. That slide into THE END is the one that gives me fits. I tend to pull my punches, get through the ugly black moment as quickly as possible, have them make up, and BOOM we’re done.

You see the problem here. For some readers, that black moment is the best part. That’s the scene they’ve been dying to reach, the pay off for the time they’ve given to the story. You can’t rob the reader of that angst and heartbreak. At least not too many times before they stop bothering with you at all.

So I’m looking at this as progress. It’s taking this long because I’m not pulling punches and rushing. And in the end, the book will be better if I let it fall onto the page how it will. Still 4 or 5 scenes from the end, all riddled with angst and a couple should induce tears if I write them as I imagine them in my head. (One sad tears and the other happy tears.)

I will hit THE END by Sunday. That is my self-imposed deadline. Which is really non-negotiable since my contract-induced deadline is six weeks after that. In the meantime, the cover for my debut novel MEANT TO BE is under construction. I’ve seen a potential version and can I just say, THIS IS SO EXCITING! As I typed to my editor, “It’s a book. With my name on it. Heh.”

Understated much? Do you read for the black moments? The blacker the better? Is the happily-ever-after as satisfying if the heartbreak isn’t dark enough?

PS: Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to be in the drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card. I’m giving away one a month now through May. (Can only win once and card delivered electronically.) Sign up on my Home page.

The Year That Was….AWESOME!

on January 2, 2013

This title is the best way to describe 2012 for me. In fact, I fear it borders on understatement. I cannot express the level of gratitude I have for all that has happened in the last twelve months. But more than the contest final and the contract is the people.

On March 26th, I received the call that started it all. Jeanne Adams informed me I was a finalist in the 2012 RWA Golden Heart contest (and dealt brilliantly with my crazy reaction.) That one call brought 63 of the most amazing women into my life. Almost instantly we were a family. I have 63 new blessings. 63 examples of strength, intelligence, wit, power, and perseverance. They teach me every day about life and the kind of person and writer I want to be. Thank you, Firebirds.

In June I found the person who would forever change my life further. Nalini Akolekar read my work, believed in it and me, and joined me as a partner and friend on this crazy journey. In August she called me with the news I’d sold and as a reward got was had to be the worst author reaction ever. I practically shut down. No happy dancing. No screaming. I still feel bad and intend to make this up to her by either flipping out when we get the next contract or buying her copious amounts of liquor at Nationals in Atlanta. (It’s likely I will do both.)

Next was virtually meeting the editor who fell in love with my work enough to offer a contract. Lindsey Guzzardo at Montlake Romance will always be the publisher angel who gave me my first contract. And though she’s moved on to other endeavors, I will forever be grateful. I’m now working with the ever enthusiastic Kelli Martin, who already makes me want to hug her with every email, and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.

Then there are my friends and supporters who have been with me all along. My daughter who says, with great authority and no shock whatsoever, that she always knew I’d do this. Hellie who told me for years I was indeed a writer, only to have me argue that she was insane. Thank goodness she and kiddo made me keep going. Then there’s Marn, Mo, Hal, Sabrina, Sin, Donna, Dee, Leslie, Janga, Manda, Santa, Julianne, Lindsey, and PJ who all offered an endless supply of pom pom waving. And I can’t forget my mom and sister who both read the book and said, “I can hear your voice in my head as I read” and “It reads just like the other books I buy at the store.”

What more could a girl want? Well, lovely sales in 2013 and many more books to come would be nice. But right now, I just want to survive the next five months. I promise to blog more often. I promise not to constantly ask people to buy my book. And I promise not to ever get tired of hearing Hellie say she told me so. Since, you know, she did tell me so.

Proof I Didn’t Make This Up

on October 24, 2012

There are lots of little milestones we writers dream about as we chase the dream of publication. We watch our friends land that dream agent and then go on to sell and imagine the day that will all happen to us.

One of those milestones is seeing the announcement of our sale in an industry publication. Mine took a little longer, but the proof that this is really happening came through today. (I had the contract as proof, but when it goes public is a really cool feeling.)

From Publishers Marketplace:

Women’s/Romance
Terri Osburn’s Golden Heart nominated contemporary romance MEANT TO BE, set in a small island community off the coast of North Carolina, to Lindsay Guzzardo at Montlake Romance, in a three-book deal, by Nalini Akolekar at Spencerhill Associates.

 So there it is . For reals. I’ve been smiling through my panic-filled, sleep-deprived brain fog since my agent sent the message over this morning. I’d say let the insanity begin, but that train left the station weeks ago.

Chugging Along

on October 19, 2012


I am officially on deadline. Like, a real one. There is a date circled on the calendar and a person who will be tapping her toe expectantly on said date. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill.
I always expected at this point I’d freak out and be way behind. Bite my nails to the quick, adapt Einstein’s stylish doo, and start ranting incoherently about segues, plot holes, and dialogue tags.
Happy to report, I’m right on track. So far. (There had to be a caveat in here somewhere.)
My goal was to have as much as possible of book 2 done before edits arrived for book 1. As of now, I should have 50K (of 85K) done when edits arrive in five days. Of course, I have no idea what edits will look like nor how I’m going to write one while editing another. But as Tim Gunn would say, this is a Make It Work! moment so work it shall.
Now, when next spring comes and I’m writing one while editing another and promoting a third, you’ll likely find a very different blog here. But for now, I got this.
PS: For kiddo. Concert is 27 days away and I’m almost as excited as she is.

Drum Roll Please!

on September 11, 2012

This is an exciting day for me. I’ve been keeping this secret for two weeks but I finally have the go-ahead to take it public.
I SOLD!!!
I’ve accepted an offer from Montlake Romance for my Anchor Island series and could not be happier. I’ve been through shock, panic, disbelief, utter fear, and what could be considered an out-of-body experience since getting the call. (Did I mention that was two weeks ago? TWO WEEKS!!)
A call for which I was completely calm. Eerily calm. To the point my agent asked if I was okay. I feel horrible that I didn’t laugh or scream or giggle or cry. My brain went on overload and shut down. That’s the only excuse I have.
But today is all about happy dancing. I am kicking up my heels and doing a gig over here. (A la Bruce Willis at the end of that Boy Scout movie. I think that’s the one.) Thanks to everyone who helped me get to this point. The list is ENDLESS!
But there are two who stand out. If I hadn’t wondered onto Eloisa James’ Bulletin Board late on a July night in 2006, this wacky journey never would have started. And then I fell into the coolest crew sailing the publishing seas who just happen to be the most supportive women I have ever had the fortune to meet. To my Captain (Hellie), who spent five years telling me I could do this. Thank goodness she was right!
And to my daughter, who has put up with lots of “Not now, I’m writing!” and “Let me just finish this scene!” when what she really deserved was my full attention. I love you, sweetie. Couldn’t have done it without you.
Oh, and a special thanks to my awesome agent, Nalini Akolekar. She is the BEST!
Look for my first book in 2013! (That is so cool to type. Whoohoo!)

Making A List And Checking It Twice…Or Not

on July 13, 2012

I board a flight for Anaheim, CA in eleven days. That’s less than two weeks. Roughly 264 hours. Or 15,840 minutes. Though depending on when you read this, that number could be substantially lower. Suffice it to say, it’s not long now.
At this point I should have a list. Some reference sheet where I can mark off all the things I’ve yet to do. Another for all the things I need to take. Another for all the places I need to be and when I need to be there. Do I have these lists?
Of course not. Gah!
I will. I mean, I intend to have them. A couple are even started already. Mostly in my head. Not the most reliable place to keep them, as there’s a giant hole in there that things fall through never to be seen (or remembered) again. But it’s a system.
I’ve picked out all the clothes and I’m good to go there. Five pairs of shoes is more than I’ve ever taken, but priorities change when you go from being one who will blend into the crowd and become as noticeable as the dusty fake palm tree in the corner of the lobby to one who will be on display and couldn’t blend in short of finding and Invisibility Cloak. (Should that be capitalized? I’m leaving it either way.)
You may have noticed by now I’m a little frazzled. I feel like that life-changing phone call came five minutes ago. Where did those four months go??
Just so you don’t think I’ve squandered that time, I have finished revisions on the manuscript, landed an agent (that is so fun to say) and now that agent is sending that manuscript around to editors. *insert eye twitch here* I’m also charging ahead to write the next book, which is coming along nicely. These facts are the ones that will keep me sane for the next eleven days.

Because when all this hoopla is over, there are still characters to meet and stories to plot and books to write. So that’s what I’m doing. But I’ll get to those lists. Eventually.