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Sweet (temp) home Alabama

Nine days until we strike out for Virginia. Most of you know that I'm more than ready to leave Alabama, but I didn't hate–or even dislike–it here. In fact there are several things I will miss.

So here's my own list of the best things about my 10 months in Prattville (in random order):

  • Very little traffic, even during “peak” hours.
  • Little Caesar's Hot-n-Ready $5 pepperoni pizza.
  • New Air Force friends.
  • A nice dog park nearby (but didn't really need it due to fenced yard and lots of walks/jogs).
  • Great new writer friends through the wonderful Southern Magic chapter of RWA in Birmingham, my blog, and Twitter.
  • Beautiful monthly drive to Birmingham for chapter meetings.
  • Eating alligator at a Cajun restaurant.
  • Wonderful local swim team with enthusiastic, helpful coaches who helped my boys improve their technique.
  • Two trips to the beach: Mobile/Biloxi and Destin.
  • Meeting my awesome critique partner and writing friend, Christine. We had fun times at Panera and Barnes & Noble at the Summit in Birmingham.
  • Plenty of green landscape. Love, love, love the trees. Even the kudzu is pretty, albeit destructive.
  • No waiting at any restaurant on Saturday night during football season, even at the most popular establishments.

There's always something to love about every place we go. I'm sure I missed a few things, but these stuck out for me. Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by a place you've lived?

Cooter's Pond in Prattville (yes, really)

Swim meet at Auburn




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Analyze that

In response to a recent post, one of my friends who is quite a talented artist mentioned to me that artists often have CPs, too. Having no painterly talent myself, I always assumed that you prepped the canvas, laid down the paint over however many days you needed, and then, voila!, you were done. Finis. End of story. Er, painting.

Not so! Just as parts of a plot line may be unclear, so too with a painting (or drawing, sculpture, etc…). Not enough negative space? Applies equally to both pursuits. Just as my colorful characters must work well together, so must the colors in a work of art. If they don't work, the project may need a revision.

This insight doesn't change how I write, but I found it interesting that our disparate, creative, solitary pursuits had similarities I hadn't thought of.

(And if I've screwed up any of the art stuff, I plead my ignorance and ask for forgiveness. 😉 )

Squirrel News: As great as the Daily Squirrel has been at forcing me to get creative, it is now eating up too much of my writing time. I've decided to make it a weekly event, with the potential for a bonus squirrel now and then if I'm feeling inspired. 😉

POV or POS?

Be honest. Is your WIP GH-ready, or is it a POS? Not sure? Ask your CP for her POV about the GMC and SL in your MS.

If you're thinking, “WTF?” then read on.

In the military a POV is your Personally Owned Vehicle, that is, your car. There's an acronym for freakin' everything in the military. Think Robin Williams in Good Morning, Vietnam.

But, every industry has its jargon and acronyms, and writing is no different. So for my non-writing friends, here are some of the acronyms that I've learned this year that may start popping up in my blog from now on. Hey, I'm all about the shortcut.

CP – Critique Partner: The person who tells you if your work is a POS (yeah, I believe that one's universal)

WIP – Work in Progress: Just like in the world of manufacturing, except the unfinished inventory is the manuscript

MS – Manuscript: Your book before it gets published, whether WIP or completed.

SL or s/l – Story Line: The plot. What happens to your characters between Chapter 1 and The End.

GMC – Goal, Motivation, & Conflict: This was the topic of my first blog. It's what each major character in a story must have in order to have a great SL.

POV – Point of View: This has two parts. 1) Is it in 1st or 3rd person? Yes, you really should have paid attention in English class. 2) Whose head is the writer in during the scene? Which character's experience is it?

GH – The Golden Heart: A contest for unpublished romance writers, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America. Being a finalist in the GH gets you noticed by agents and editors all over the country. Unpublished romance authors everywhere are tweaking and polishing their MS at this very moment, trying to get it perfect before the December 2nd submission deadline, yours truly included.

Did I miss any? Too bad, I have to go get caught up on SYTYCD.

UPDATE: Okay, I forgot a few…

HEA – Happily Ever After: To be a true romance novel, and not just a book with romantic elements, the reader must get a happy ending. The hero and heroine don't have to get married in the book, but a monogamous future must be implied.

RWA – Romance Writers of America: The national organization for romance writers. There are almost 10,000 members, and hundreds of local chapters all over the country.

SM – Southern Magic: My local chapter of RWA which meets in a suburb of Birmingham.

MC – Main character

H/H – Hero and heroine: As in “For a book to be a romance, the H/H must get their HEA.”

ARC – Advanced Reading Copy: early copy of the book that's given to reviewers, bookstores, and magazines several months before the book is published and formatted for mass distribution. Final copy edits may still be made before publication.

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