Sunday, February 22, 2009

I hate TAXES

Argh, it takes forever to get the tax stuff together. I just hate that! I spent half of my precious Sunday working on them and now I'm tired, grouchy AND I ate like 15 (okay, more like 5 but it feels like 15) donuts while I suffered through it.

On another note, I had a great weekend of writing. Yesterday my husband played golf, the kids had plans and I wrote for hours on hours. Finally got through a scene I've been struggling with FOREVER and EVER. What a relief to ship that one off to my CP. Of course, it will be an even bigger relief if it comes back with little smiley faces and gold stars all over it. But no matter, at least I'll have some guidance. Anyway, as you can tell by this exciting post, I don't have much of a brain left by now.

Me thinks I need a hot bath, lots of bubbles and some TLC. Calgon, take me away.....

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I have been at a dead run of late but today I am feeling very blessed.

Last week I went to San Diego to work the SDSU Writers Conference. I've been doing this conference for 20 years and it's become a part of my life. Time and again I talk about the energy buzz that comes from such an event. Put 300 hopeful writers in a room with the very people (editors and agents) who can make their dreams come true and you'd have to be dead not to get a charge from the vibe. It's such a rewarding experience for me to be a part of it every year because each year, someone from our conference does go on to get that publishing contract they dreamed of.

But, it's also a lot of work. Right now, as usual, I'm juggling my day job, my writing, my family and school. And Murphy's Law, the day I left for my conference my edits came in for my new book, and while I was there I had 3 assignments due for school. Sheesh.

I had a ton of fun though. I got together with one of my best friends, Tracy and we went out with another friend, Maria, who used to be my student assistant 15 years ago when I worked at SDSU. She's now a grown up and fabulous one at that. I also got together with my good friend Mary Leo who is also an amazing writer, her husband Rick Watkins (who has published under the name Terry Watkins, also fabuloso) and their daughter Jocelyn who is beginning on her journey to be a writer. My daughter Hailey came out as well and had a great reception to her novel in progress.

The week ended with a dinner at my dear friend Jan's house. I used to work for Jan when I started at SDSU 20 plus years ago, and am so blessed that we've moved from employer / employee to friends. From my very first critique group back when I was writing my very first book (WEB OF SMOKE), my friend Leona and her long-time partner Glee joined us. They announced that they'd married this last fall and I couldn't be happier for them. It was a great night with Tracy and her daughter who is the same age as mine (we were pregnant with our girls one right after the other) and Maria joined us as well.

Some days I look at all my blessings and I'm just filled with love. I am such a lucky woman.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Welcome Inga Ellzey

Greetings, today I have the pleasure of hosting Inga Ellzey on my blog. Inga's debut novel, THE EXCHANGE is full of romance and intrigue. Inga was nice enough to stop and answer some questions about herself and her novel. So, with no further ado, let me jump right in....

Erin: Did you always want to write? Or did you stumble into writing?

Inga: I wrote poems and short stories as a kid (12 years and up). I have always liked words and sentences. At 15 I inherited my cousin's book collection. She had graduated from college and I got about 200 books…everything from the Carpetbaggers to the Tale of Two Cities. I loved reading and still do. Eventually, I got hooked on Romance books. Joanna Lindsey and Lavyrle Spencer are my favorites.

I make my living writing training manuals, newsletters and articles for national journals in the field of dermatology…but all those are technical in nature….nothing like writing a suspense romance novel. That passion came to me on my 50th birthday when I was on a cruise aboard a luxury cruise ship that sailed the Mediterranean for one month….sound familiar?

Erin: How long have you been writing?

Inga: As I said since I was about twelve years old….mostly poems about how much I hated being not grown up, having rules, and having to do what my mother said. I was a rebellious child….so much so I got married at 17…actually I had just turned 18 five weeks before my wedding.

Erin: What inspires you when you write?

Inga: Believe it or not and I swear that this is true….nothing inspires me. I have these characters in my head and sorta,kinda know the situation that they should be in. When my hands hit the keyboard, the characters appear to me and they start talking to each other and they steer me. It's like I am just an observer writing down what they say and do. Even new characters just appear to me. I never even thought about Kenny and Picco. They just stepped into the scene and I could see them, hear them, and I instantly knew who they were and how they fit into the plot.

Erin: What does your office (or writing space) look like? It is the chaos to your orderly thoughts or visa versa?

Inga: I don't have a writing space. Where ever I plug in my lap top becomes my writing space. I wrote most of The Exchange in England in a 16th century farmhouse that I rented. Sometimes I sat outside in a lawn chair, sometimes at a desk. I write on airplanes or I might sneak in an hour at the office (I'm the boss) to write at work. It's not the space that energizes my creative processes, it's just the lap top and seeing the last words that I wrote that brings me right back to the plot and my friends (my characters).

Erin: Is writing your full time job or do you juggle another personna?

Inga: I solely own and run three national multi-million dollar companies. I employ over 100 people (mostly women in diverse ethnic groups). I have one company in California and two in Florida. I have been so busy with my businesses that I haven't had time to work on The Foundation since this past May. I have over 100 pages written. My characters are all waiting for me but I probably can't see them until sometime in January…then I'll work on the book and finish it by June. I write purely to express my inner thoughts and want writing novels to be a major portion of Part Two of my life. (I will be 60 in May and want to spend the next 30 years as a book author and seeing my books made into movies. I have two studios presently considering The Exchange for a movie.)

Erin: What was it about The Exchange that captured your imagination and made you want to write an entire novel about it?

Inga: I think there is a little bit of Jewelle in all of us. Jewelle is also a little bit of me to the extent that sometimes we live lives that we want to escape from because who we are deep down is someone other than the person we are 24/7. I do not mean we are frauds or that our lives are not fulfilling. It's just that we are all restricted, to a large degree by our circumstances….most of which we choose to be in. I have three large companies with hundreds of individuals that depend on me. I make lots of money and live a wonderful life. I can't think of much I need or want. I am a wife (third time), have two children (one biological and one adopted)…both great adults. I have an 8-year old grandson who has been in a vegetative coma since he was born and I share my life with my husband, five dogs, birds, fish, and all the wild life I can crowd in my back yard. So my life is filled with responsibilities, people and pets, and many friends both human and animal in nature. My life is full….so full I often long for time to escape it all….for just a day or week or month….to be me and do things that my soul needs and wants. I don't want to replace my life with another….I just want that escape…taken an emotional sabbatical.

In escaping our day-to-day lives, we sometimes find out who we really are down deep and what we need to nurture our souls and spirits. It's different for each of us. For me it's an inner peace and contentment that is totally a one-on-one experience with one's self.

So the character of Jewelle started out as me searching for my real identity and the writing of an entire novel just evolved as did the many characters I "met" along the way.

Erin: Who is your favorite character in The Exchange?

Inga: Since I created them all, I love each and every one of them. Really! I actually went into a deep depression for three weeks after I finished the book. I missed my friends and I missed being with them as they had become real to me and part of my life. It would be easier if you had categories for me like, "Person you would like most as your best friend," "Person you would like to be stranded on a desert island with," that kind of thing but favorite is tough. OK, then I'll choose. Kenny Scott. Kenny is a poster child for human excellence, compassion, loyalty, strength, and enthusiasm. He has everything reason to complain but chooses to be truly content with his life. Kenny has a sense of humor, is spontaneous, and knows how to squeeze every ounce of life out of a day. He is a champion of all those innate wonderful human qualities that God has given us to make the world a better place. He does make the world a better place and I was so lucky to be part of Kenny's life for those three months I shared with him during my writing of The Exchange. Hint: Kenny will be a main character in The Foundation.

Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to share a little bit about me and my passion for my novel, The Exchange on Quinn's Essentitals..

Inga Ellzey