Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays everyone! Whatever you celebrate, or don't, I hope it's been a good week. I've had a busy couple of days with parties and such, but it's calmed down now, and I'm writing and editing full force. I'm running The Moonlight Cafe through autocrit (, a nifty online tool (though it requires a membership for full functionality) to find redundancy, cliches, and such. I'm taking it chapter by chapter with my thesaurus open beside me, and it's very helpful.

I started one interview today, but the woman was interrupted by a conference call she had to be on. Hopefully we'll get back together tomorrow and finish up.

I think I'm going to do some more autocrit editing, then start researching agents and getting my query letters ready, because I'm confident I'll be ready to start sending them out next week. How exciting!

Oh yeah, my best friend gave me one of the best xmas gifts. She made a cappuccino scented gel candle in a black coffee mug, and wrote "Moonlight Cafe" on the mug in silver, and on the matching saucer, she wrote "by Jennifer K. Sights." It's very cool, and I just might have to commission her to make some more once I'm published. I loved it!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Long

It's been over a month since I wrote anything here. Sorry everyone. The project I was working on at work has finally slowed down. The new system is in production, and now we're just working on clean up stuff. I'm finally back to sane, 8 hour days. I am almost finished with all my xmas shopping and wrapping, so I finally have time to write and edit. I finished my final read-through and edit of The Moonlight Cafe tonight. Still need to do those 2 interviews. Those will come next week when I am off work. But my edits are done. A friend who is an editor is reading through it, and making comments. She's only sent me the first chapter so far, but I got a lot of helpful comments from her. So I'll be doing one more round of editing as she sends me her comments. But I'm getting close. If it weren't for those 2 pesky interviews, I'd be ready to start sending out query letters. Hopefully that will come in January.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


For the moment, I find myself at a comfortable place with the workload of my dayjob. For the past 2 weeks I have been working 10 or 11 hour days, leaving me with little time for anything else. But today, I had the blessing of working from home, which meant no one could randomly stop by my cube and talk to me. I didn't have a 40 minute commute each way to eat away part of the day. And I got to sleep an extra hour. That was slightly marred by Tiberius peeing on the bedroom floor, because I was too lazy to get out of bed earlier to let him outside (he's 7 months and mostly potty trained). But aside from that, the day was good. I got a lot of work done (not that I haven't been otherwise), and I felt I was at a place where I could log off at 6:00 instead of 7 or 8, or later. (My normal quitting time is 4:00.)

I cleaned my desk. It serves 2 purposes. A desk for the days I get to work from home, and my writing space. I was piled high with books, papers, and clutter. I organized it, cleaned the dust, and it feels much more harmonic now. Cory is playing Halo 3 online with some friends, so I have the entire evening to myself. I took a hot bath, long enough that the water cooled and I had to refill it with hot water. I finished a book I had started weeks ago. And it was only 8:00. Feeling refreshed, I sat down at my laptop. Not my work laptop, but my Mac.

At our Saturday writing session (which I will write about in another blog) I had written the scene I had been dreading. It came quickly and easily. I read it to the group. I had ideas to make it better. So I sat down at my Mac, and edited it. One step closer to finished The Moonlight Cafe. Now I have 2 interviews to find time for. One I believe I can set up in the evening, as the gentleman is retired, but the other must be done during the day, as I don't want to intrude on this lady's personal time, and my questions relate to her job. That will be the tough one to squeeze in right now. But once I talk with her, I can write the last scene (or 2) that needs to be written. The other interview will let me verify facts, and true up a few items. Finish the editing, and the novel will be complete. I am aiming for the first of the year for it to be complete. I have 4 days off for Thanksgiving, and the entire week between Christmas and New Year. I plan to edit a lot during those times. The new year will find me madly sending out query letters. If I dare to hope and dream, 2009 will find me with a contract, or at the very least an agent.

It's 9:20. I'm going to go play with the puppies. They miss me from all the work I've been doing lately. The night is a bit chilly, but perhaps I'll bundle up and take them for a walk. Tiberius still needs to learn to walk politely on a leash, so walks with him are not much fun right now. Time and patience. That's all dogs require. And love, of course.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Free Rice

I found an awesome website today. You absolutely MUST check it out.

It's a cool little word game. They give you a word, and you choose from 4 definitions. For every word you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to Thrid World Countries. All the details are under the FAQ on the site. It's a fun resource for learning new words. I definitely recommend it. And pass it on to everyone you know. Get smarter, and help feed a hungry person. I don't see anything wrong with that.

Thanks for passing this on Tina!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Real Work Interferes

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted anything. My income-bringing job has been interfering with my writing something awful. We've been working on a big project all year, and it's going live in a few weeks, and of course we're nowhere near ready, so everyone is putting in a lot of overtime. Gotta love corporate America. By the time I get home from work, I grab dinner, log back in and do a few more hours work, then go to bed. Not much time for writing in between.

Because of all that, tomorrow will be even more appreciated than normal. My writing group is meeting for a special Saturday session. Our Mondays are open to anyone, but once in a while we have a writing day with the original 5. We have developed such a close bond as writers and friends that we want time with just the 5 of us once in a while. So tomorrow we will meet at Mary's house in the morning, have bagels and coffee (mmmm, coffee,) and write until we can write no more (or at least until the real world calls us back to it.) I am always excited at our special writing days like this, but because work has been so hectic, I am even more excited than usual.

I think in my last post I talked about a scene that I had been dreading writing, but my writing group gave me inspiration. I still have not had time to write it. When I have had a few spare moments, I have been editing. I think I am about a third of the way through with the initial edit. Once I complete that, I will go back one more time and read the entire manuscript out loud to myself so that I can hear how the writing flows. Sometimes something looks great on paper, but once you hear it you realize how awkward or choppy it is. But tomorrow I will work on that missing scene. I had some notes on it to go by, and some research I will either do tonight, or print out to bring with me tomorrow. I plan on relaxing the rest of tonight, take a hot bath and read, maybe do some of the aforementioned research, and get a good night's rest so that I will be ready and creative in the morning.

I also have a bit more research to do. Again, work has been interfering. I have 2 people I need to call to ask questions and verify some facts. Perhaps I will do that Monday. I am off work for Veteran's Day. I am planning on going to the zoo with Cory, but I think part of the day will have to be dedicated to those phone interviews. I am very much looking forward to spending the day with Cory though. Going to the zoo is one of our favorite things to do. St. Louis has a wonderful zoo. And it's free, other than parking.

I will try to post more often, but until this project is complete, I can't make any promises. Thanks for bearing with me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Writing Groups Are Wonderful!

If you're trying to write, find a writing group if you can.  I wouldn't be where I am today without the support of my group.  They encourage me to keep writing and provide invaluable feedback.  There's a scene in Moonlight Cafe that I know I need to include, but haven't written yet and have been dreading.  I just didn't know how to write it.  Anything I could think of was B-O-R-I-N-G.  I had almost decided to just leave it out, though deep down I knew I coudln't do that.  My writing group gave me some absolutely wonderful ideas for how the scene could work.  I am so thankful for that.  Now I can't wait to sit down and write it, whereas before I was dreading it.  Sometimes stepping away and getting an outside opinion from other writers is the best thing you can do.  If you can't get an outside opinion from other writers, ask non-writers.  Any outside advice can be helpful.

If you do a google search it will give you a bunch of websites listing writing groups.  Not all writing groups are there though, I'm sure there are many, many more, smaller groups that you will just have to search to find.  Or form your own.  But I highly recommend having a core group of writers for support and input.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Writing Retreat

A few weekends ago, the Zen Writing Group took a retreat in southern MO.  It was the second retreat weekend for the group, but the first I was part of.  It was absolutely perfect!  The cabin we stayed in was great - comfortable and roomy, with a large screened in porch that was perfect for writing in nature, without the bugs.  It was so peaceful there, and the lodge had great meals for us 3 times a day.  I’m sure I gained a couple of pounds, because I never eat 3 meals a day, and sometimes only eat 1 if I’m extra busy. Not very healthy, I know...

We all got a lot of work done.  I edited a short story I had written the past week and worked on my query letter. This is also where I started work on my second novel. I'd had the idea floating around my head for a few months, and when I started work on it, the story took right off! I am very excited about it. 

In addition to all the writing I did, there was another organization having a retreat that weekend.  I can’t say what, because it will give away some key elements of The Moonlight Cafe.  But I will say that it was fate that we were there the same weekend.  The group is related to something that happens in the novel, and it was so wonderful to be able to talk to some of the people there to get real life perspectives on the experience.  I didn’t even know this organization existed.  I am still amazed by the synchronicity of it all!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog!  Thank you for stopping by and reading what I have to say here.  I hope you'll enjoy what I have written and will write in the future.  I haven't published anything yet, but my writing group will be publishing a collection of poetry in the next few months.  We don't have a date yet, but are working on the final edits of the collection, and hope to have it out by the holiday season.  As soon as I know when it will be available, I'll put the information up here for you all.
I'm working on the final revisions of my first novel, The Moonlight Cafe.  It is a young adult romance novel.  I've had two people read through it, and am waiting for one more person to finish reading it before I make the final revisions.  I'm excited to get to work on the revisions, but want to wait until I have all the input.  I've read through it so many times and already revised parts, I don't think I have more than 1 or 2 more read-throughs in me before reading it again would be unproductive.  There comes a time when the novel is just too close to you, and no amount of pondering will show you anything that can be improved.  I have a bit more research to do to make a part or two more realistic, but for the most part, the end is in sight.
I am also ready to start looking for an agent.  I am trying to mentally steel myself for the inevitable rejection I know will come.  Agents receive so many hundreds, if not thousands, of queries each year, and they are so limited in the amount of work they can take on.  It will just be a matter of perseverance and time.
If all that's not enough, I have also started writing my second novel.  I won't say much about it now because it's in the early stages and could change drastically before it's complete.  It is not a young adult novel though.  I have an idea or two for another young adult, but this story must be told first.  It is already taking on a life of its own, with the main character having already shown me the error of my initial view of her.  She's going to be a feisty one.
That's it for now.  Thanks again for stopping by, and please check back often!  I'm going to try to post several times a week to keep things lively around here.