Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Dear Chaps and Chappesses:
      I wanted to let you know that in order to more fully enjoy my family, the holidays, my life, and generally to step back from the mild insanity that has been my year so far, I am going to be taking a blogging/twitter/facebook hiatus for a month. I am still available via email (the one I will check most often is heirloomrosebud(at)gmail(dot)com) if you need me or have a question or business or simply miss me too too terribly much, hit me up over there. I will also schedule the next Chatterbox so that you can participate in that. Beyond these things, you won't be seeing  me so just know that I love my little readership and all the time I spend with you, but as much as I love you I need to step back and re-focus, re-learn what is most important in my life, and actually work at some things I have been lax with. When life gets too virtual it's a little scary. I feel like John and Sherlock:
Sherlock: "Not good?"
John: "Yeah...bit not good."
(And isn't it funny that Mirriam is currently in the depths of a book called "Disconnect"?) I love all of you but I haven't been spending enough quality time with the tangible people in my life and I don't want to miss the gobs of prospective time I have in the coming month. I am actually looking forward to having time to read, time to draw, time to sew, etc. -- all the things I am generally "too busy" for in my current schedule.I trust you won't be too lost without me--you're all big boys and girls and quite capable of going along as usual, I'm sure. I will be popping back in sometime around Christmas to say FOL-DE-ROL so be good until then and I'll see you mid-December!
              Much Fondness,

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

"Hi, I'm a traveling bard."

There is nothing more terrifying to me as a writer than saying something is finished. Because just as soon as I say that, I keep thinking of ways I can improve the draft, changes I could have made, things I should have done. I finished editing The Windy Side of Care today and even now (literally right now) I can't help opening the document back up and scrolling through with a cagey eye, wondering if it's really good enough. I dislike word-count limits and I struggled to keep the story within the wraps of only 20,000 words. I did it, but when I got the feedback from my beta-readers, I had to go back and fix pacing. Do you know how hard that is when you have a word-limit? It was like the finest stitchery, easing paragraphs off the start of the story to allow for breathing-space at the back of it. Now I'm much more satisfied with the pacing, but it was hard there for a while, cutting scenes of masterful dialog. (Yes, I caved and saved a complete draft of the first take so that all those conversations can exist in their own dimension forever an' ever amen.) 19,989 words. That's what the current count is, and though I will probably permit myself one more scroll-through before actually sending the manuscript into Anne Elisabeth Stengl, I really am finished.
It's terrifying.
I shared this sentiment on Facebook and a wise acquaintance of mine said she had felt similarly recently until she stopped to ask herself, "Am I doing this to win or am I doing it for the joy of writing?" And just as soon as I read Emma's words, I realized that I wrote The Windy Side of Care out of the sheer fun of it. Personally, I think it's a lovely, rollicking retelling of Cinderella, full of unexpected twists and allusions. Even though Anne Elisabeth mentioned in one of her recent blog posts that she has had dozens of stories pouring in and can even tote up a pretty good list of who she thinks the winners will be (and my story hasn't even been sent in so that's a little disheartening), even though she might not even like my story or give it a second glance...why did I write it? I wrote it because I love Alis.

 I wrote it because I love Auguste. 

I wrote it because I adored the hijinks, the tongue-in-cheek, the sparring of this retelling. I wrote it strictly to please myself, and really this is where your professional platform starts to be defined:
Who do you write to please? How far are you willing to go to please them?
I have come to terms with the fact that I'm probably not the best choice for next World-Wide Best-Selling Author. Why? Because I write what it is on my heart to write. I'm not the girl who a publisher can label as "Our Next Beverly Lewis" and depend upon to write historical romance for the rest of my career. I am very comfortable in my style, voice, books and I know that Rachel Heffington probably isn't going to appeal to everyone. I don't hope for widespread fame, but for respectable recognition. Am I writing for everyone or am I okay to sing my tales to a heroic and devoted few? Some people would call my admission professional suicide. Doesn't EVERYONE aspire to be the next Novelist Everyone Loves? Well of course that'd be nice, but for me it is a clear case of exchanging the natural for the unnatural or, in simple terms, writing in my true voice or posing as someone else. I can ghost-write in pretty nearly any style--Dickens, Wodehouse, Austen, Freitag--and maybe I could spend my whole career doing that and being successful. But for me it isn't about winning, about being the best, about becoming the author everyone aspires to be like. For me it's mostly about the pleasure of creating a thing and watching other people delight in it, however few they might be. I have always felt a connection to how the Lord felt in Genesis:
"Then God said, 'Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear'; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that is was good." -Genesis 1:9-10
I can relate to that quiet sense of "I like this" and the satisfaction and joy that floods the soul over having made a good thing - a thing that points back to you as its creator and stayed true to your nature after you called it into being. Of course God's joy over His creation is far greater than mine in my stories could ever be, but it's a shade of the same thing. And if I decided to worry about Winning and Being the Best, I'd lose all joy in my creations because they'd go contrary to my nature. Some people were made for writing what's popular. The strength of some is the fact that they entrench themselves in one spot and build fortifications and ramparts and seize the playing field. Me? I'm a bit of a wandering soul. I like to ply my trade in many places in many times in many ways. So maybe I won't go down in legends, but I know I'll bring joy to anyone who sits by my fire to hear a merry tale.

I'm going to send The Windy Side of Care into the Five Glass Slippers Contest and from there, que sera, sera. If she doesn't like it I might just do something with it myself. Lengthen that word-count, expand the plot, give you a mind-boggling Cinderella-twist and publish it myself. Either way I'll be pleased. What about you? Are you a traveling bard or an established baron?

Friday, November 8, 2013

November's Chatterbox

I am baaaaaaack people! We unfortunately lost the election by a two-percent vote and a Democrat-funded straw-man of a third-party candidate, but God's got it under control and somehow I'll suffer through Terry McAuliffe being governor. (Please excuse me while I throw up and then breathe into a paper bag, then hand it to Hillary Clinton) THAT being said, finally November can start for me! I know oodles of you have been doing NaNoWriMo and I have not, so you are very well-aware that it is November. Probably most of you don't even have time to read this post, but because Una asked if we were doing Chatterbox this month and because of course we are, I thought I'd post the next challenge!

The explanation of Chatterbox from the introductory post:
 Chatterbox is an event to help authors get to know their characters and stories better. I love to talk and I love to write dialog. Chatterbox is, essentially, an exercise in showing your character via the way he or she speaks. It's fun, it is sassy, it is simple. Each month I will assign a conversation topic and it will be your duty to write a conversation between several of your characters regarding whatever I topic I designated. Who knows? You might even end up with something you'll want to work into your real novel. When you are finished writing your post you will be able to link up with me here at The Inkpen Authoress and we'll have jolly larks reading the wide variety that springs out of the assigned topic.
To make sure that the widest variety of people can participate in Chatterbox this month (especially those of you doing NaNo) I am choosing a topic that generally comes up in pretty nearly every novel in some form or fashion. This month, your characters are going to talk about death.
 Death is a topic that is inherent to humanity and so it comes and clocks us in the face pretty regularly. Whether your MC is faced with death, or someone they are close to dies, whether they are the ones inflicting the death or whether they are discussing it, death is a prevalent. A good measure of how well you know your character is how well your know their philosophy and worldview. How would she react to the end of a gun-barrel? How would he react if his brother was killed in cold blood? How would they react if both of them were kidnapped and in danger every second their captor was around? How would she react if she was told she had a terminal illness, or what would he think of his father--his hero--slowing losing his mind from the senility of old age and becoming unable to advise him?

So....have at it, Chatterboxers. I hope you will be able to participate even through the hectic schedule you're keeping with NaNo! Best wishes for all you who are brave enough to sign up for that madness. ;) My November looks to be busy enough with editing TWSOC and starting Anon, Sir, Anon. Toodles!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Wrapping up the Mystery

Congratulations on Una Mariah winning the giveaway for The Game's Afoot Inspiration Plaque! I know the Rafflecopter also says that Leah W won, but that is an error on Rafflecopter's part - it keeps displaying two winners; Una was the first so I have emailed her and will be sending her prize next week!

I hope you enjoyed reading all the mystery-related posts in this Utterly Baffled blog party! I wish I could extend the fun and keep going, but you would soon have a missing persons case on your hand instead of a blog party because I'm off to save the country by way of campaigning for Ken Cuccinelli for Governor during these last five days before election. I love being on the ground working for things I believe in! So anyway, campaigning doesn't leave time for sleep, much less writing blog posts. ;)

Thank you to all who participated in the party! It wouldn't have been half as fun without you. Thanks for being patient and lovely with my sporadic posting schedule, and I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have! I am going to leave you with a hilarious song that Elizabeth Grace Foley sent me via Twitter. Watch it, love it, and have a wonderful weekend!