March 31, 2010 | By: Tracy

LOST -- The Query

No secret, I'm a huge fan of LOST. It doesn't matter how frustrated I've been at the overall lack of Sawyer this season (I require regular doses of pectoral muscles in my television shows), I still tune in each & every week waiting for answers I know aren't really coming. It drives me insane ... and I love it!

Now, I know the television & movie industry works far different than print publishing -- but I imagine writers for series & screenplays still have to pitch their ideas to agents & producers same as we do. And since I'm still having a bit of difficulty nailing the specifics that need to be in my query pitch my mind got to wandering. 

What the heck would a query letter for LOST have looked like?

For the sake of having an actual end to the query, I only did Season 1. And I can't see how this sucker wouldn't wind up in the slush pile rejects.


Dear Agent,

Oceanic Flight 815 is hundreds of miles off course when it crashes somewhere over the South Pacific. The survivors, left stranded on a tropic island, have one goal. Survive until the rescue boats arrives to save them all, all 46 ... 45 ... 44 ... 

Though beautiful to the eye, the island refuses to be kind to its new inhabitants. Kate, a criminal on the run, is forced to care for the federal agent who was taking her back to the States to be tried for the murder of her abusive step-dad. Kate also finds herself falling deeper into the affections of two men. Jack, the intensely loyal spine surgeon trying to cope with the death of his alcoholic father. And Sawyer, a con-man who works hard to hide the fact he's still the little boy who cowered under the bed while his father killed his mom and then took his own life. 

Kate, Jake and Sawyer are only part of the survivor stories, for they all have pasts to share ... if the island will let them. 

Several days after the crash, there is still no sign of rescue. If only the tropical island wasn't inhabited by polar bears, a monster that appears to be made entirely of black smoke, the mysterious continual appearance of the numbers 4-8-15-16-23-42, and a cornucopia of other strange and unexplainable occurrences, the experience might not be so unpleasant. But one by one their numbers begin to dwindle and the survivors will have to learn to live together ... or die alone.

LOST is a paranormal/ epic-fantasy/ mystery/ thriller/ romance set in a tropical dystopia and complete at 1,000,000 words. 

Thank you for your time.

Writers of LOST
March 30, 2010 | By: Tracy

Hi, I'm Tracy . . . And I Have a Problem

I can't make myself stop buying new books!

Once a week I usually take a trip to Barnes & Noble to do some writing in the cafe there. (Okay, so maybe I like to people watch too)  I can't go to Starbucks, because I buy waaaay more mochas when I'm there than the B&N cafe.

Anyway, when I'm done with my writing, I allow myself to buy a book. It's only supposed to be one book. I've made repeated promises to myself that I will only buy one book at a time.

So, I only planned on buying one book today. Richelle Mead's latest release.

But then ... I decided it wouldn't hurt to pick up Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, because yesterday, agent Jim McCarthy told me to read it. Jim is one of my dream agents, so if he says to jump I ...  consider listening.

Okay, so those two I could understand. Why, did I still continue to browse through the store until I picked up Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers?  That sucker is 700 pages long, too.

My "To Be Read" pile is currently running about two dozen books deep as it is. Not to mention, in my current cycle of writing & revising I'm slowed to only reading about a book a week. Now, I've never been all that great at math, but if I continue to buy 2-3 books a week, when I can only read 1 ... I'll soon be drowning in unread books.

This is why I must not be allowed to buy a Nook. Being able to download books without having to leave my house, could leave me in the poor house!

How often do you all buy books? Or are you more like library people? (Due to my ability to bite off more than I can chew, library return dates and I don't get along well)  And how deep is your reading pile?
March 29, 2010 | By: Tracy

Are We The Next Wave?

I'll admit, I'm relatively new to the whole blogging community at large (I had a livejournal back in the day ... when I was spending my youth following Nsync around the east coast. What can I say, I have a weakness for boybands who sing, dance and sometimes play instruments). But blogging about being a writer, and the random stuff associated with it, is fairly new.

This is the first time I've ever been a "joiner" when it comes to my writing. I've done the whole NaNoWriMo thing for years ... but I always found some reason not to meet up with people at write-ins. And I live in a large enough area where there are plenty of write-ins to attend, so I can't use that as an excuse.

It's not that I'm a snob (brat, yes. snob, no.) I wasn't quite ready to talk about it with other people, I guess.To this day, I still stumble when people ask me "Oh, so what's your story about?".  As much time as I've spent with this sucker you'd think I'd be able to rattle off a whole little diatribe, but nope. Perhaps this is why I'm still having so much trouble with that blasted query letter.

Anyway, as much as I've learned from reading what the great agents have to say to the blogosphere, it's been the thoughts of fellow fledgling writers that's made things easier. I've gotten a chance to see I'm not the only one with high hopes and crippling fears when it comes to the world of publishing. I love reading the descriptions  & excerpts of some of the people I follow, and think "Ooh, I'm definitely reading this one if it gets published!"

Okay, bringing it back around to the point of this post. Through the internet (predominantly Twitter) I follow some published authors who only started their publishing careers within the last five years or so. Michelle Rowen is one of my favorites, with the quirky stuff she tweets. Richelle Mead is another. Anyway, a lot of them (granted they often share the same agent) seem to have a bond with each other. Aside from the agenting thing in common, I'm guessing it also has to do with having a personal understanding of what it's like to be at that stage of your career.

So then I started thinking (Uh-oh). I've met some truly interesting people already. I know not everyone is going to make it to becoming published writers. In fact, odds are good the majority will fade away, ultimately deciding it isn't the right time for them to venture into the publishing world. Writers are like friends -- not everyone who starts out that way is meant to stay.

However, there are a few, I can tell just from the way I look forward to reading their blog or messageboard postings, that are different. There's something about the way they view the world that makes them entertaining. And that leads me to believe they have what it takes. (I'm not going to tell you if you're one of those people so don't ask, lol)

I have faith in myself that I'll eventually make it (if I didn't what would be the point of posting this?). And I wonder if five years from now some of us will be the ones on twitter or in our blogs, talking about the woes of having to make editor deadlines, and how to balance two different series at once, etc. It's fun to think about.

Sorry for the daydreaming, it's Monday morning. Do you guys ever think about stuff like this ... or is it just a sign that I really should be working on my manuscript and not get starry-eyed in front of my computer?

March 26, 2010 | By: Tracy

Why Are We So Mean?

A week ago tonight, I was standing in a loooooooong line at WalMart waiting to be handed my copy of "New Moon".  While I wasn't expecting to see quite so many people, I could understand the hysteria. Heck, I grew up as a fan of New Kids on the Block -- I slept on the street for tickets to their concerts when I was thirteen (so what if my best friend's dad was sleeping in his van in the parking lot, keeping an eye on us. We were still hardcore!) 

I totally get obsessions. And I get that they can be annoying to those who aren't obsessed (Jersey Shore? I can't even begin to understand the appeal)

What I don't get is the hostility some people have towards the obsession of others. The Twilight Phenomenon being my current example.

I don't expect everyone to like the books or movies, and I can understand a lot of the criticisms against both (truthfully, I don't care for Bella - in the books OR the movies). But what I don't get are the people who feel the need to get downright mean and go on the offensive. I've seen message boards where Stephenie Meyers is virtually ripped to shreds, or her readers are referred to as mindless teeny boppers (and I'll admit, some do act that way).

What's the point? What does insulting people for something they enjoy accomplish?

It got me to thinking though. Of course most aspiring writers dream of writing a story that captures the imagination of the world at large. What about the potential backlash? Sure, making millions of dollars and having a movie deal is awesome (Um, I'd never turn either of those down) ... but dealing with such constant scathing criticism - not only on your story, but your fans as well - has got to be tough.
March 25, 2010 | By: Tracy

Book Trailers?!?

Yesterday I posted a book trailer for Rules of Attraction

I have to be honest. Until I saw it posted on Kristin Nelson's blog, I had no idea there was such a thing as book trailers. Am I the only one who didn't know this was being done?? Granted,  I haven't been trying to get published for years, but I had never heard of trailers for books before. 

This is putting the cart in front of the horse, I know. The most important thing is landing an agent first, and then finding a publisher who wants to sign you to a book deal. I do wonder about book trailers though. If my lovely little manuscript becomes a book, am I going to have to do a trailer? 

Computer Technology + Tracy = Match Made in Hell

What do you all think about book trailers overall? Kinda cool? Or kinda cheesy? I'm undecided.

Here are a couple that I thought were kind of neat:  The Graveyard (though I mostly chose this one, because I think Neil Gaiman kinda has a sexy voice) Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (because I still think the book is the most absurd thing ever) Eternal (because it seems like a video version of a query letter)
March 24, 2010 | By: Tracy

Tense Makes Me Tense

Before I get started on this post, I have to be upfront about something.

I'm boy crazy. Not like a little, but a lot. And when said boys are pretty to look at, I get even crazier.

So when agent, Kristin Nelson, did a post on her blog (Pub Rants) a couple weeks ago showcasing a book trailer for her client, Simone Elkeles, I watched the video.

Besides being an excellent book trailer, I got all kinds of squirmy over the guy who plays the part of Alex in the video (Coincidentally: his real name is Alexander Rodriguez. How disappointed was I when I tried to Google Image him & wound up with nothing but pictures of the Yankees third baseman? *smacks forehead* I'm a huge baseball fan, how did I not see that one coming?)  

Anyhow, Alex Fuentes is the name of the male MC in the first book of the trilogy.  It's been selling like hot cakes, so there has to be something drawing in the YA crowd ... and odds are, if the general YA crowd likes it, I will too. (Hello, Twilight). So I picked up the book on my most recent trek to B&N.

I've only had time to read the first 80 pages so far, but it's definitely got me snagged already. Okay, now on to the point of this entry:

 Perfect Chemistry is written in first person, present tense. As a reader, I usually loathe present tense. It's so hard for most writers to write it well, which Simone does (Philippa Gregory did The Boleyn Inheritence, really well too). But no matter what, when you initially start reading a story written in present tense, it's jarring at first.

I also learned a valuable lesson -- be careful what you read when you are working on your own writing! Between reading Perfect Chemistry and working on my query pitch, I found a couple of instances where present tense slipped itself into the chapter re-write work I did over the weekend. Oops! As if I don't already have enough stuff to worry about with the darn thing.
March 23, 2010 | By: Tracy

Monday Meanderings on a Tuesday

I would have meandered yesterday, but it turns out spring arrived with a special gift this year ... a bout of the flu. Thanks to Gonzo & Daphne for cuddling up with me to ward off the shivers, even if they are tremendous bed hogs. Can't say that I blame them, if my life started out in a shelter, I'd be sprawled out across the pillows as often as I could too!

The weekend wasn't a total loss though. I did manage a new version of my query pitch (God help me if this one isn't closer than the last) as well as revising a couple of the chapters in my novel to fix the problem with keeping unnecessary secrets. Now I have to give it a day or two and go back over them and see if they turned out as well as I feel they did ... or if it was really just an effect of the Dayquil.

That last sentence made me think of one of the annoying problems I run into sometimes when I'm writing -- word choices that repeatedly trip me up. For instance, it will not matter how many times I read the definitions for both, or have a well meaning person try to explain it to me, effect and affect will forever intermingle in my brain. In the moment when I'm writing, they pop out and later I stare at them (and change them) until I'm convinced neither is right. And don't get me started on reign and rein -- these were especially tricky since part of my novel takes place during the time of King Henry VIII and there are horses involved. In the end, I had a clear understanding of the last two after numerous re-readings through my dictionary each time either appeared, but in the first draft I bounced back and forth between the two like they were opposite ends of a ping pong table.

I know there are a ton more, but right now my brain is still foggy from the sinus medicine. Anyone want to make me feel better, by sharing their word confusions and letting me know I'm not the only one who loses time and brain cells on this sort of thing?
March 19, 2010 | By: Tracy

Musicians Have It Worse Than Writers

No day is ever a bad day when it starts off with a venti iced caramel latte (non-fat -- I'm being responsible), and when that day is a Friday, it's even better!

Last night, one of my best friends and I went to see Daughtry. We had awesome seats (my poor Twitter followers got a couple pic tweets, before I caught myself) and it was a kick butt show. Anyway, strangest thought occurred to me while I was listening to Lifehouse sing as one of the opening acts. I usually don't wax philosophical at concerts, mind you.

Songs are essentially synopses set to music.

From all accounts I've seen, read & heard (as well as my own personal opinions) most writers detest don't enjoy having to come up with a synopsis. We say, "How the heck am I supposed to tell the main points of the story, and still keep my 'voice'? It's impossible."  But then Tim McGraw's "Don't Take The Girl" (which makes me cry, every single time I hear it) manages to convey a powerful story about a young man's journey of love & loss, into one freakin' song.

Musicians don't get to write full stories like we do, because of time restraints. Admit it, how annoying would it be if all songs were as long as "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida".  That being said, it is no wonder so many musicians turn to drugs... if I had to write that many synopses, I might too. Thank goodness they have the ability to do that (write music, not the taking drugs part), because I don't know if I could be a writer if I didn't have music to listen to.

So that brings me to my question. Why do so many musicians date movie stars when they should be dating writers?

Okay, that wasn't really my question. Here goes: Do you need music in order to write or do you need absolute quiet? And if you need music, what do you listen to as you write? 

Personally, I'm a sucker for movie scores. Lots of emotional music, without adding extra words into my head that might throw me off.
March 18, 2010 | By: Tracy

It's Okay to Press "Pause"

Yesterday I had a "Oh, come on" moment in regards to my manuscript.
As noted, I've been having a tough time getting the right feel for what to put in the pitch for my query letter. It finally dawned on me, my problem might be a little too much mystery involving one of my characters in the beginning of the book. Because of that mystery, I've been having a near impossible time trying to figure out how to slip him into the query -- and he needs to be there, since he plays a major role in the dilemma the heroine faces when it comes to being with her love interest.
Anyway, here's the part that came as a shock to me when the lightbulb finally went on. The mystery about him in the beginning of the book isn't really necessary. (Part of my problem, being a fan of LOST has turned me into an inadvertent secret keeper in my writing, at times) Sure, it plays as a nice little "Oh my gosh" in the middle of the book as it stands now, but the dilemma would actually be more powerful if the reader new this information earlier on.
*Slaps forehead against desk*
In all honesty, it isn't that hard of a fix to make. It won't involve any sort of major re-write, just a minor reshuffle of info in a couple chapters. Probably about a week, maybe two, in the "fix-it" stage, and it will make it much easier to write him into the pitch, without having to divulge the big twist at the end. I'm just still kind of shocked that after all the read-throughs and numerous revisions, I never realized this before. Probably, because the story reads fine as it is now (otherwise, my betas would have mentioned it to me), but this minor shift would make the telling of the story that much better.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is ... I'm learning another valuable lesson on the road to becoming a published author. Patience - it's one thing to say it, another thing to practice it. I'm learning that sometimes, even when you think you're done, you aren't really done. It's frustrating to realize a need to stop and do one more thing, but in the long run I owe it to myself and the manuscript to give us both the best chance to succeed, right?
Has this kind of thing happened to anyone else, where you've had to stop querying for a short while to fix a situation you didn't realize existed? If so, and it was a MAJOR re-write, did you do it? Or did you put the whole thing on a back burner and complete something new first, before going back to it?
March 16, 2010 | By: Tracy

Life of Leisure? Ha!

I have to admit, when I was younger (those wonderfully naive late-teens, early-twenties) and dreamed of being a famous writer some day, one of the perks was thinking of all the free time I'd have. Okay, so fast forward a decade or so, and the orange colored glasses are gone. ( I'm an Orioles fan. We've had 12 straight losing seasons and I still love my team, so the glasses went from "rose" to "orange" a long time ago). As it turned out, writing was a lot more time consuming than I originally thought.
For starters, it took me until last summer to learn I had to buckle down and write every day. Who knew dreaming of writing a novel would not actually get it written for you?! Then there is this whole pesky ordeal of finding an agent, which is not unlike trying to find a game token dropped in the ball crawl at Chuck E Cheese (no, I don't have kids. I just worked there in my youth, and trust me when I say there were far worse things found in the ball crawl from time to time. Blech!)
Over the past year, I've learned just how much time writing actually takes ... and it's something I don't think non-writers can really comprehend. I've learned, a novel is never truly finished. The one I'm in the process of shopping to agents now is highly polished, yet every time I go back through it there is something minor I can tweak or tighten. I'm convinced this will continue, until I finally sell the story or get so sick of it I put it away to never be seen again ... at least for a really, really, really long time. None of this takes into consideration the writing of the query letter (which is harder than writing a freaking novel, if you ask me), writing a synopsis, composing query submissions to be mailed/emailed since every agent likes theirs a little different than the last, reading over all the agents and fellow writers blogs (which I admittedly spend too much time doing) ... and last but not least, writing a new story.
How is everything else supposed to fit? Especially for those who need to work full time as well? I'm currently still looking for work after being laid off, which is like a job unto itself sometimes...but I know I'll be back to the 9-5 in the near future, so I am keeping that consideration in mind. I'm not complaining, because I've finally found myself doing something I really enjoy, but it is far from stress free.
How do you all manage your time so you still get stuff accomplished in your writing, but not to the exclusion of everything else? And are there any pre-conceived notions you had about being a writer that you can now say "How in the hell did I ever believe that?"
March 14, 2010 | By: Tracy

I *heart* Mr. Darcy!

Thanks to a long, rainy weekend, I have finished reading Pride & Prejudice. By the end of the story I was as much in love with Mr. Darcy as Elizabeth was. He grew on us both.
It may have taken me a while to get around to reading it for the first time, but I am now among the legions of those who fell in love with Lizzy and Mr. Darcy! I knew I was hooked when they accidentally ran into each other at Pemberly. I got all kinds of nervous, excited and embarrassed right along with them. (For the record, I had a feeling from the very get-go George Wickham was going to turn out to be a creep. Men who are that good-looking and that charming right off the bat, you have to watch out for.)
Now that I'm done reading it, I'm a little sad. I know I'll come back and read it again at a later time, but for now I'm going to miss them. I think that's when you know you've read a really good book . . . when you don't want to say goodbye to the make-believe people from them.
My ultimate goal is to write a story with characters people feel emotionally attached to, even after they've finished reading the book. *fingers crossed*
March 11, 2010 | By: Tracy

Genre Roulette

Just when I thought I could take a deep sigh of relief that (thanks to even more research & great advice) the query letter has become less confusing to me, I run into another issue - what the heck is my genre?
I seriously thought I had it all figured out - otherwise I would never have sent out four queries already - but then (as if they plan it this way on purpose) several of the agent blogs I follow starting talking about how to properly classify your genre. This is where my trouble began.
As with a lot of current fiction, there is a blending of genre's that happens quite often. For example : urban fantasy was created, because so many fantasy writers decided they liked putting their creatures in the "real world". Erotica came along, because there were readers who wanted more of the gritty stuff and less of the will they - won't they of traditional romance, etc.
The problem for new writers (those of us still trying to land their first agent & publish their first novels), agents want you to be real clear on what genre you see your book fitting into. Many specialize in a couple particular ones and want to make sure they aren't wasting their time reading your work if it isn't what they represent - which is understandable. Only, what are you supposed to do if you aren't one hundred percent sure anymore?
This whole time, I thought I was pretty safe in labeling my story as a paranormal romance.
Yes, part of it does take place in Tudor England, but it's more about seeing how much time has passed since the characters were mortal (not vampires by the way, in case you were wondering), so there isn't enough focus on the time period to make it historical. There are some tense moments where everything the main character cherishes is on the line, but not hardly enough to label it as suspense. And while parts of the story do take place in a modern day setting, there really isn't enough to label it urban fantasy.
But here's what it does have. Two characters who start out human and become immortal, they are madly in love with one another, and outside factors keep trying to rip them apart from one another. So I thought ... paranormal romance it is. Except, just last night, I read that in order to be considered romance it must end with a "Happily Ever After" sort of closing.
Son of a *****! My story ends with the possibility for happiness, but there is also the chance for uncertainty. So now I don't really know what to do. I guess I could always change the end of the story and make it more "happily ever after", but that would make me feel kind of cheap (not terribly, only 'kind of') . . . but if I don't change it, then what would I call it?
Anyone run into this problem themselves or have any suggestions on what I should call it? (I thought about cheating and still calling it paranormal romance, but I'd hate to be rejected by an agent when they got to the end of the synopsis and didn't see the "Happily Ever After")
March 10, 2010 | By: Tracy

Part of my Childhood Died

This might be a bit of a somber post, but I just heard about Corey Haim dying early this morning, and it's made me a little sad. I know it was a drug overdose and Corey has been messed up with the stuff for too many years to count, so it really shouldn't come as much of a shocker ... but it still does, kinda.
What makes it sad (I obviously did not know him personally) is that he was my first love. Okay, so technically first loves and first celebrity crushes aren't the same thing, but I became boy crazy at an early age and Corey was there for me. When I was 8, there was no way any of the boys in 3rd grade could possibly compete with his blue eyes and killer dimples, and they were certainly nowhere near as cool. (Plus, at age 8, puberty hadn't set in, so the boys still thought the girls had cooties anyhow).
I loved Corey so much, that aside from the posters all over my wall (thank you Tiger Beat) ... rarely a day went by where I wasn't watching "License to Drive" (my favorite). I even convinced my parents to name their Alaskan Malamute - Nanook, after Corey's dog's name in "The Lost Boys". I adored him so much, I watched "Lucas" even though I have a deathly aversion to locusts! And in middle school, I can only imagine how annoying I must have been saying "Hello hon-ney" in reference to a silly line from "Dream a Little Dream".
So anyway, while it's been a long time since I've watched a Corey movie (though I feel that my "Lost Boys" dvd will be making an appearance this afternoon), and I've been disappointed to see the way his life spiraled out of control without him being able to reel it back in -- I'll still miss him.
RIP Corey Haim - You played a pivotal role in the early stages of helping me grow into the woman I've become. I hope you can finally have a sense of peace now!
March 8, 2010 | By: Tracy

That Which Does Not Kill Us ...

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got another rejection letter today. So, out of four queries sent out so far, I've gotten a "no go" from two of them. In the general scheme of things this is perfectly on par for what a novice writer will go through, so I'm not taking it personal. Getting a "No" still stings, but I'm bouncing back pretty quickly. Especially, since I'm convinced that it is the query letter that is failing here and not my writing. It is possible that both agents have read my first chapter and decline based on that, but from all the info I've read thus far, it is more likely the case of a so-so query letter that isn't catching their attention. So, it's up to me to write one that makes them want to see more. Easier said than done. I guess it's kinda like a striptease routine ... you have to show just enough to make them want to see more, but not so much that all the thrill is gone. It's a balancing act, I tell ya. As for the rest of the night, I'm going to relax and watch "Hoarders" a little later on tonight. I have some straightening up to do, and there is nothing like watching an episode of that show to put you in the "spring cleaning" mood. Pride & Prejudice Update : I still don't know much more about Mr. Darcy, other than Lizzy cares for him even less since he suposedly did something not so nice to Mr. Wickham. She was, however, able to wiggle her way out of having to accept a marriage proposal from that clod, Mr. Collins. Whew! Baseball Update: 28 days til Opening Day!!
March 5, 2010 | By: Tracy

Well Then ...

Rather than buckle down with getting a few more queries together (I've already done my revisions & researched more agents, just need to address & send them) I spent the better part of my night listening to a Spring Training game on the radio (the Orioles lost, btw) and playing around with the layout of my blog. For people who know just how technologically challenged I am, it should come as no surprise that it took me the better part of the evening. So, I've got a buttload (that means a whole bunch) of things I'll have to squeeze into tomorrow's schedule to make up for my idleness tonight. I'm right at the ending point for the story I'm currently working on, and I'm definitely ready for it to end. I know it has a ton of plot holes that I'm going to have to go back and fix later (plus, there is a brand new story idea niggling at one side of my brain, making it difficult to concentrate on the current one). I need to get away from this one for a month or two in order to come back to it in a new light and work out the kinks, but the darn ending isn't wiggling its way out of me quick enough. Needless to say, I probably should have been working on that, rather than my blog, this evening. And sadly ... I'm no closer to understanding Mr. Darcy's awesomeness. Pride & Prejudice is sitting in the same spot on my nightstand as it was Monday night when I put it down. Perhaps Sunday I'll be able to settle down and knock out of few chapters. For now, sleep is in order. Happy Friday!
March 2, 2010 | By: Tracy

What Day Is It?

It's "What The Heck is Gonna Happen on LOST" night! Please TV gods, make them answer at least one of my questions. Hey, I've had a rough week (yes, I know it's only Tuesday): -- I'm officially going through Olympics withdrawal. (I now have an incredible desire to go ice skating and shopping with Johnny Wier, and I fear that neither is going to happen.) -- One of my best girls, Kristin, is on her way down to Sarasota for a week of spring training and I'm so freaking jealous it's not even funny (warm weather and good-looking men in tight white pants, what's not to like?). -- And I bit off all my nails during the USA vs. Canada hockey game, so now I'm having adjust to not being able to pry things open with them. Had I realized prior to the game how much I depend on said nails, I would have thought twice before chewing them. I was also up until almost 2am last night, re-writing my first chapter, but I'm not complaining, believe it or not. For months, I've been iffy on that chapter. It just didn't feel right. Seriously, I've revised and revised and revised that first chapter, and was still never a hundred percent sold on it -- which is not a good thing, since that's often the first one agents and editors want to see. Late last night (oh so very late) I finally gave myself permission to just say to heck-with-it and completely re-write it to see what I could come up with. And now I love it! Why didn't I do that months ago?! Oh, also this weekend I started reading "Pride & Prejudice". I'm slightly ashamed to admit I've never read it before (nor watched the movie), even though it's one of those books that's always talked about. Soon enough I'll be able to decide for myself if Mr. Darcy is worth all the hubbub. I'm only on chapter ten so far, so he hasn't done much to sway me one way or the other. I'm not averse to slightly arrogant men, it would seem.