Author Archives: anndeecanndee

About anndeecanndee

I write books. Sometimes. Mostly I just throw up words.

A little plug . . .

My friends Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia’s new book in their Dangerous Creatures series just released. To celebrate they are doing a book drive. All you have to do is post a picture of yourself with a book you love. Their publisher, Little Brown, has agreed to donate a book to an underfunded school library for every picture posted. Here are some details from Margie:

During the two weeks of May 12-May 26 (starting this Tuesday) hashtag, #BooksArentDangerous & post your photo with a book. The book can be one that mattered to you, one you wish you’d had, or a current read you would recommend. You can post on facebook, instagram, twitter, or tumblr. For every photo you post, Kami & Margie are working with Little Brown to match it with a book donation. (Details TK!) In addition, we also encourage our author, reader, teacher, librarian, blogger, and bookseller friends to take this opportunity to donate books to underfunded local school libraries. If you do, please post those pics too, and we’ll be reposting at http://www.booksarentdangerous.com.

I think this is fabulous and a great cause. Here is my picture that I just took which is beautiful and sexy. IMG_5004

I love the WESTING GAME. Love it. Since I was a little girl. Now I’ll hashtag this #BooksArentDangerous and voila!

Join in the fun! Books for all!

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Continuing on . . .

So this week has been more hectic than I anticipated. I told my husband this morning, it feels like it should be Friday.

It’s not Friday.

Far from it.

Because of that I haven’t been able to revise the next chapter in the novel. That means Carol has to wait for me. I also haven’t been able to blog, work on my other novel or take a shower.

But that’s all of us, right? We have good days and bad days. When you write with a partner it’s important to be flexible. I think, and we haven’t tried this, but I think it would be a good idea to get away for a day or two and write back and forth all day. We could write on our other projects while the partner works on the novel and go back and forth in a concentrated manner. I’ve found that with my life situation right now, big chunks of time are both precious and productive.

I think that should be our next experiment. Can we finish revising in a day?

Now to find a place to retreat. That allows babies. And has good food. And a pool. Or at least a hot tub. Or a clean tub.

I don’t require much.

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Writing with a Partner

I do love to write with other people for numerous reasons.

  1. It isn’t so lonely.
  2. You get to end a chapter and then send it off without having to figure out what comes next.
  3. You do half the work (like Carol said).
  4. You get someone else to help you figure out your writing problems.
  5. It’s kind of a game.

The cons are about the same. You don’t have as much control. You have to be adaptable. Schedules and writing times can vary.

For this book, it’s true, I kept feeling like we needed something more in the plot. We needed to up the ante. Carol, on the other hand, told me not to worry. That everything would fall into place.

She was right.

And I was right.

It was awesome to get the first draft done. We did it! And it was pretty solid. Now we have something we can work with. I realized through this process that sometimes I worry in the middle of my novels and stress about the trajectory rather than pushing through and finishing. With Carol assuring me that a) my character wasn’t as boring as all out and b) that even if it DID need more plot-wise we’d figure it out, the book got done much faster.

Now we are trying to figure out who to revise–in a big way–to add that plot thing.

Also, we are having issues with logistics. Should we be using word? How should we save each draft? Do we download it every time? Should we be using google docs? Dropbox? Email?

If you were writing a novel with someone else how would you navigate that part of it? Have any of you done this? Tips?

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Love

One of my good friends gave me a journal called A Line A Day diary. The concept is that for five years, even if you only write one sentence (there’s room enough for about three for each day), you will have a valuable record. You will also be able to compare what you did each year on each day.

It’s awesome.

And it takes discipline–a sentence a day! Who would have thought?

I am convinced that discipline more than anything else is the key to success as a writer (although the definition of success can be debated).

Right now, I am taking a look at my life and trying to decide what is most important to me. I am also trying to decide when and how and where I will write–I need to make it more conscious.

I think it’s important to take stock. To step back and re-evaluate.

I have decided that I am a writer.

And I need to make it more a part of my daily life.

And I need to let myself love it like I used to.

I need to make mistakes.

And write funny stories.

And spend more time with other writers.

And laugh.

And find joy in the process more than the product.

When do you write?

Is it fun?

Do you laugh?

Cry?

Eat pizza?

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Summer’s coming

I’m sitting on my back deck and there are birds and people on skateboards and I’m not wearing a sweater. It feels like I can finally breathe.

My mom used to do this, every evening she could she’d sit in her house dress on the back porch with her Diet Pepsi, maybe some chocolate and a novel. She worked her tail off (her words) and the sweet reward was getting to have a little bit of quiet.

Is my writing a career? Am I making time for it? People have told me that no matter how old my kids, there will never be enough time. It will always be a struggle to find an hour to write. Is that true?

It feels like it has to get easier.

Sometimes I want to shave my head. I wonder if this is a sign of depression or just an indicator that I am really bad at doing my hair.

Today in an effort to exercise, I did a plank. As I was trying to hold it for sixty seconds, I looked and I could see right down my shirt to my sagging stomach, almost hitting the floor. Does your stomach almost hit the floor when you’re doing a plank? I thought to myself, this body, this body has been through so much and it still has so far to go. I thought, do I love this body? Do I love who I am? Do I love who I’m becoming? Why do I sometimes want to shave my head?

I also thought, does writing make me happy?  I’m pretty sure it does. I’m pretty sure that makes me a better person? A better Mom? A better wife? A better neighbor?

Today, after I did some planking, I ate a lot of cream cheese frosting cake from Costco. Just to fill up the holes inside. It sort of worked. And then I felt sick so it didn’t work.

Maybe what I need is to sit and drink Diet Pepsi (although I don’t like Diet Pepsi), eat chocolate and read a novel. It worked for my mom. And then I’ll get up in the morning and work my tail off. And hopefully write.

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Kissing

Sometimes, when I drive down the road, I think how almost every single thing I see is backed by a real live breathing person.

The Dollar Cuts store. Someone had the idea. Started the business. Stuck their neck out. Someone else bought the franchise. Worked thousands of hours. Hired people. Managed them. Taught them. Paid them.

The grass in the median that someone planned. Someone planted. Someone mows. Someone oversees and decides when maybe they should put flowers there now.

The little house on the corner. Someone saw the lot. Maybe a field? Bought it. Found money to finance it. Found a builder. Watched it grow. Picked the colors. The carpet. The carport. The mailbox.

The mailbox. Someone designed that mailbox. Got the metal. Made the metal into a box (welded it?). Picked out the paint. Put it in a catalog. Wrote some copy.

Every thing. Every single thing you see has a story. Has a someone. Has risk and love and blood and sadness and joys and money and no money and relationships and heartache and people. Stories stories stories. People. People. People.

Ann Lamott turned 61 recently and posted something about it on Facebook. I loved what she said. Here are one of my favorite things she said:

Everyone is screwed up, broken, clingy, and scared, even the people who seem to have it more or less together. They are much more like you than you would believe. So try not to compare your insides to their outsides.

We are more alike than we know. And when we read (and write) we get to hear people think, we get to experience their risks, their joys, their sadnesses, their everythings, intimately, and that makes our world bigger. It makes us understand more. It makes us kinder. It makes us smarter. And makes us love a little bit better.

I hope we write the hard things. I hope we write the stories we feel and and we see and we experience. I hope we don’t shy away from scariness or vulnerabilities. I hope we tell about the Dollar Cuts owner and her dog named Jimmy and how she lives alone and eats pancakes and drinks Sprite and watches HGTV and how she spent her life savings on that store. Her entire life savings and how maybe it wasn’t worth it. Or maybe it was.

So many stories waiting to be told.

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Today

A few things:

1. Praying for Rick. Such a wonderful man and writer.

2. My baby rolled over.

3. My sweet neighbor decided to be me for her fifth grade wax museum which is so nice and strange and kind because she was supposed to pick someone famous and  I’m nobody and there’s jam on my shirt:

Autumn wax museum

4. I’m trying to get a revision to my editor by Friday and that’s why I’m eating saltines with strawberry jam on them like I’m 11 again and blogging and taking pictures of my baby and eating saltines with jam on them.

5. For writing practice, please list all the after school foods you ate including jam and saltines. Do you still eat them? What does your character eat? Does their mom know? Is it payback that my kids now eat cereal with hot chocolate mix in their milk?

xoxoxo

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