Monday, November 30, 2009

Please don't pass the brains....

I'm soooo excited. I typed The End on Wild Ghost Chase. Earlier, I'd shipped the story off to agents and garnered quite few requests for fulls. Something obviously didn't click. I realized that as the rejection letters piled up. However, it wasn't until I got a rejection from Jessica Faust (I stalk, oh, I mean, love her...she's one of my dream agents...and after this past rejection, IS my #1 agent of choice, but I digress) that I realized what was wrong. The comment she gave me was the key that showed me where I'd headed up the garden path in the wrong direction. WGC is about two competing teams of ghosthunters. I had a nice black moment for one couple and an HEA...but when I re-read it, the HEA for one of the couples was too easy. Way, way, too easy.

So, I plotted, dreamed, and plotted some more until I had a black moment to die for (almost literally, for my heroine & hero). I put a twist in the tale. Literally.

The original epilogue just tied things up in a neat bow. I unraveled that puppy with glee. Now, the epilogue starts out the same...X did this, Y did that, this is what ABC meant. Then, WHAM. I ramp the story up again and keep pushing to the climax. I'm thrilled to bits with it. Now I can only hope that an editor will love it as much as I do. These are the times when I wish I could send the manuscript back to Ms. Faust...but that's a faux pas I'm not willing to risk. But I can guarantee that she's the first agent I'll query with my zombie historical.

Speaking of which...

Zombie historical may be a misnomer. There will be no eating of brains, and definitely no zombie lovin'. However, there is a hefty dose of voodoo (or voudoo, or voudon, I'm still researching how it was spelled in 1849 and which is really correct for the character I'm using), a handful of zombies, and Edgar Allan Poe...but that's all I'm going to say about it right now.

But in the spirit of is the blurb for Wild Ghost Chase. Enjoy!

Two reality-show ghost-busting teams versus one haunted house – the first team to successfully exorcise the spirits wins the renewal of their television contract. It sounds like a pretty straight-forward competition, but something or someone at Harrington House has another agenda.

Siblings Monica and Malcolm McFee comprise the team for Happily Ever Afterlife. The show is a mixture of science and supernatural, for although they are twins, they couldn’t be more different. Monica is a skeptic. She grew up normal in a paranormal family, and she’s never met phenomena yet that couldn’t be explained away by cold hard science – even love. Her brother is a medium who can see and speak to the dead. Ambitious and proud, he's the seventh son of a seventh son and determined to sustain his heritage by only dating women who believe in the paranormal. It's led to some interesting matches, but none so exciting as the one he experienced years ago with a ghost. A ghost who seems to have come to life in the persona of Kylie Harrington, the owner of Harrington House.

Their rivals are Enigma Mysterio and Irene Hopkins. Their show is Bump in the Night, where investigative team participants pay thousands of dollars to be scared to death by either the ghosts or the dramatics. Up until two years ago, Enigma just had a funny name. Dying three times after a car accident changed all that. Now he has the ability to see through the veil separating life from the afterlife. It’s a gift he neither wanted nor asked for, but a man has to make a living somehow, and being the stooge for a beautiful woman on a hit television series isn’t so bad. Or so he thought until he meets Monica and loses his heart to the one woman who can’t see past his psychic ability to the man inside. Irene isn’t a psychic; she just plays one on television. Besides being married to the show’s producer, her one true talent is screaming on cue.

The paranormal investigation was Kylie’s idea; however, the competition wasn’t. All she wants to know is where her ancestor, Amos Harrington, hid his ill-gotten gains so that she can get out from under the mountain of debt she’s inherited along with the supposedly haunted house.

Over the course of the weekend, the two teams with their respective technical advisors, a supposedly impartial network executive, and the beautiful owner of Harrington House find it isn’t just the ghosts who are running amok. A killer is on the loose and if they don’t work together, they could all become permanent residents.

If this sounds like a book you'd love to read, I'm taking applications for a couple of beta readers who have experience critiquing manuscripts and who will promise to be brutally honest (well, perhaps they could go a little easy on the brutal, but I definitely need the honest part). If you're interested, drop me a comment.

Until Friday...or sooner, if something grabs me that I simply must post about...


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Raffle for Heartline Ministries

I love reading other people's blogs. I'm not sure why, maybe it makes me feel better to know my life isn't the only crazy one.

Some of you may know that we adopted two little boys from Guatemala five years ago. Kinderboy#2 is fully attached. Kinderboy#1, not so much. Attachment Disorders run the spectrum and I often blog hop, looking for insights and new ways to foster his attachment. I found the Waters and have been following their adventures nearly daily.

Currently, Corey is in the process of trying to raise $10,000 for Heartline Ministries. The goal is to raise enough money to buy an vehicle/ambulance to get pregnant women and at risk women and children, in Haiti, to the hospital.

To help reach this goal, she is having a raffle. I am doing my small part and have donated an e-copy of Crisscross and/or one of my erotic e-books - reader's choice (for those over 18 only).

Right now, there's over 20 prizes (prints, a Target gift card, an IPOD shuffle, kids' clothes, more books, body creams, a purse made in Haiti...well, you get the picture, there's something for everyone and it's a good cause. If you want to know more, hop on over to her blog.


A Frenzied Friday Family Update....

Well, I survived the week...barely. The only thing holding me together is the thought that this was just a dress rehearsal for the Christmas Holidays. THREE full weeks of kids, kids, kids (can you hear me screaming?). I need a game plan and I need one fast. Too bad I'm too busy with laundry, cooking and writing to be able to dedicate brain cells to an event so far in the future.

Thanksgiving Day. It's my favorite expectation of gifts, just food, food, and more food. It's also nice that we were able to go to my brother-in-laws where my kidlets played with their kidlets and for the most part didn't destroy anything major (although some limes gave their juice up in the name of fun) and no one got hurt (well, Kinderboy#1 fell off the top of the play car...his "I'm really having fun and not writhing on the ground in pain" laugh didn't sound too authentic, but since he was back up on top of the car within minutes, I figured it wasn't serious). Kinderboy#2, Mr. Picky Eater himself, gorged himself silly on tortilla chips and soda. I didn't put the kibosh on his feeding frenzy as I'd fed him a PB&J sandwich before we came (to get some actual food into him) and he actually ate a huge serving of apple/yam bake and didn't catch on that the orange bits weren't apple! Perhaps there is hope for him yet.

I've also planned a repeat of turkey Day on Sunday, as I absolutely must have leftover turkey. I love my sister-in-law's cooking, just not her turkey. Each year, she experiments with something to dress up the bird. One year it was lemon-pepper & barbecue, this year, it was stewed tomatoes. I enjoy the adventure, but I crave the traditional. That roasted bird may be boring but I totally live for cold turkey sandwiches the week AFTER Thanksgiving. That's one of the bad things about going out for Thanksgiving feast...I don't feel as if I can be a total pig and steal all the leftovers. No, I feel compelled to be polite and not fight over that last piece of pumpkin cheesecake (although I so totally wanted it...and all the stuffing, and...and...and). So, this weekend, we'll be doing the feasting all over again. Yum.

Today was Black Friday. I didn't go shopping. Mr. Scott, in his infinite wisdom, scheduled Drama Teen's follow-up CT scan on a day when no one in the neighborhood was home to babysit the Kinderboys -- they were shopping!. To his credit, he managed to come down with the cold & cough from Hell and had to stay home from work sick. Gleefully, I stuck him with the boys and took Drama Teen to her appointment. As I pulled into the Imaging Center parking lot, I was amazed. There was a total of maybe 20 cars there. I've never seen it so empty! The staff was pleasant, underworked, and smiling. I've decided that next year, I'm scheduling ALL of our appointments on Black Friday (okay, maybe not all of them, but I'm going to try to work at least one in).

Which brings me to my wrap up. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks. The Scott family has a ton to be thankful for. Drama Teen's health, the Kinderboys as not only the bestest adopted kids in the world but also the most entertaining. I cannot imagine my life without them. My life would be boring and much less fulfilling if it wasn't for them. However, I'll admit that what I am most Thankful for this week is that soccer ended last week. There is no butt-freezing 8:30 am (who the heck made up the schedule anyway???) game. We can finally go back to my regularly scheduled Saturday sleep-in.

Next week, I hope to be able to report that I've finally tippy-tapped THE END on my revised ghost story. It's coming together, albeit very slowly as the week draws to a close, but I think I've got the climax in my head. I just need to get it on paper.

Oh! Maybe I'm not most thankful for the end of soccer as I realized I'm ecstatically thankful that the kids go back to school next week. I'd like to give whoever invented the concept of sending kids to school for a large chunk of hours a great big smooch! (except, call me an ungrateful *itch, I only wish he'd invented school for 6 days instead of just 5).

Happy Leftovers!


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bad Blogger....

Yep, here it is, Wednesday, and I realized I didn't give you a frenzied Friday family update nor my typical writing-related Monday blog. So, here's an atypical Wednesday update instead.

The screaming in my head started on Friday, when the knowledge that the kids would be home 24/7 for NINE days straight, sank in. Now, as day 5 dawns, I realize it hasn't been that bad. The weekend was relatively "normal", the kinderboys had their last soccer game and then spent the rest of the weekend puttering/shopping/doing family stuff. Monday was a tougher proposition as I didn't have anything firm planned to do. The boys got up before 6 am...which meant we all got up over an hour before we had to and everyone was miserable (especially me). By 9 am, I'd had it with attitude and sent Kinderboy#1 back to bed. Peace reigned until noon when I picked up lunch from their favorite fast food joint (bet I don't have to tell you what that is - hint, it starts with an M and serves burgers & fries) then roused him out of bed. He was in a much better mood for the rest of the day (big smile). Amazing what a little sleep will do.

Tuesday, Drama Teen needed some medical lab work performed. By the time she rolled out of bed and we got going, it was nearly noon. So, after an hour of waiting in a stuffy room with hungry and antsy boys, her blood was drawn and then we ate lunch out, and got home after 2 pm. It was a warm afternoon and the entire neighborhood seemed to be outside playing. Drama Teen sat on her favorite rock in the front yard re-reading Twilight and the boys played with their friends. As for me...I snuck off and took a short nap. Again, amazing what a little sleep will do!

Today, I've got my act together. We'll be hanging around the house this morning and already the video game wars are in full force. I laid in a supply of personal-sized pizzas at the grocery store last night for our lunch. This afternoon, we'll be heading off to see Planet 51, not to return until it's almost time for dinner. Thursday is taken care of with cooking and then traveling to my brother-in-law's for Turkey Day dinner and lots of family & fun. Friday, I'll just have to play by ear. Hopefully, it's another nice day and I can just toss the kids out into the yard.

However, I can see that I'm going to have to have a better game plan over the Christmas holidays.

Now that the screaming in my head has abated somewhat, I'll confess that I've managed to do an amazing amount of writing amidst the chaos. Monday, while the kids "hung out" in their jammies playing video games and watching the boob tube, I banged out over 3K on the epilogue of the ghost story I'm revising. I'm doing something different with this part of the book. I'm calling it an epilogue...leading the reader to believe that the story is in the bag at the end of the previous chapter. Then, wham...I'm heating it up again for the REAL climax. I just have to finish this scene and type The End. Then, edit & polish the epilogue, make sure there's no inconsistencies, and do a final spell check, etc. before I submit it. The great thing is that it's now 80K, which opens up a couple more markets for the book (fingers crossed)

Here's wishing you a happy Turkey Day (if you are here in the states and celebrate), if not, have a great rest of the week and weekend!


Friday, November 13, 2009

Sick and Tired

Not of anything in particular. Just literally sick with a head cold and tired. I've managed to sneak off for a lie-down every day this week thanks to the kindness of Mr. Scott and Drama Teen. Thank goodness is was a short week, what with Veterans Day plunked right in the middle of it.

Winter seems to be right around the corner (finally) here in the high desert. We've been having a gorgeous Indian Summer, but I'm in the mood for some winter comfort in the form of lasagna, roasts, beef stew, etc. Hopefully, this upcoming weekend I can shove an angry pot roast (cross rib roast) into the oven and cook it all day long. I may even fire up the bread machine for some lovely crusty rolls, and if my cold allows, may even attempt to make a Yorkshire pudding. When I was a child, nothing on earth could have induced me to even try a bite of one of my mom's specialty "puddings" - which to me meant chocolate and vanilla sweet creamy stuff, not a puffy bowl of pastry. Now, I think I could survive on Yorkshire pudding...given enough gravy to eat it with.

I'm sure none of the Scott children will even take a nibble of the Yorkshire pudding. Well, take that back, Kinderboy#1 might. He's our adventuresome eater. The other two, Drama Teen especially, are picky eaters.
Kinderboy#2 will eat chicken nuggets, sausages, meatballs, yogurt, and the requisite peanut butter and jelly. That's about it. Oh, and french fries....mustn't forget those.

Drama Teen is our expensive protein eater. She isn't fond of pork, chicken, or beef. Dish up crab legs, shrimp, lobster, salmon, and most fish and she'll dig right in. She's become more open to trying new foods since she's gotten bitten by the cooking bug. If I can drag myself off my deathbed to get to the grocery store today, we'll be having Indian curry tonight, compliments of Drama Teen. She watches Gordon Ramsey's F word and Kitchen Nightmares faithfully and asked for one of his cookbooks for Christmas. I'm hoping she'll throw in a side of curried scallops along with our Chicken Tikka Masala and Shrimp Korma, tonight. Can I say how much I love this child's cooking?

Lest you think this post is only about food, I'll drag in that we have our last two soccer games upcoming. It's going to miserable out there now that the weather has turned cold. Most of our games have been at either 8:30 am (misery) or 9:15 am (slight less unpleasant). My preference was the 10:30 games, but I didn't make the schedule (sigh). Tomorrow's game is at 9:15, so we'll be out there freezing butt. Someone who'll also be out there in the cold is Drama Teen, who has a fund-raising car wash tomorrow. She has to be to the High School at 8:30 am to squirt cold water at cars. Can we all say "Brrrrr"

Next week is a full week of school and then the school district has "generously" given the kids a WHOLE week off for Thanksgiving (can you hearing me screaming????)-- sigh. So, I'd best be off and write while the house is quiet.

Hope you have a great weekend!


Monday, November 9, 2009

Dipping my toe in the unknown....

(Insert big sigh here)

I've always prided myself on trying out books by new-to-me authors, I've had especially good luck with finding audio books and e-books by new authors that I've particularly enjoyed (The Rule of Four, The Baker Street Letters (looking forward to the sequel), Anyone Out There?, and Dead of Winter, Haunts of the Heart and Redemption. However, the last three books by new-to-me authors that I've purchased at my local big-box bookstore have been bombshells. They sounded like what my dad would have called "humdingers" on the back. Great, compelling back cover blurbs about topics that interested me.

The Poe Shadow -- I love Poe...not so much his writing, but just the romance of his character and the mystery of his death. This book promised soooo much and delivered soooo little. I slogged through to the end, disappointed, dismayed, and disgusted that I'd wasted the money on the book. It was a New York Times Bestseller, but I wonder how many other people who purchased the book were sucked in by the advertising?

Another literary figure book that I picked up from the cover and the back blurb was The Dracula Dossier. It combined TWO characters that are sure-fire sellers for me. Bram Stoker and Jack the Ripper. I opened the books with barely suppressed excitement on Saturday night as I had several hours of quiet time to read. The opening letter reminded me of some of the "newly discovered" Holmes stories, and I prepared to sit back and enjoy. It started out with such promise...a bloody knife. Cooey! I think my first indication that I'd been deceived was when the footnotes began appearing fast and furious at the bottom of every page. I've made it through 99 pages and will probably skim bits and pieces to see if it picks up -- there's some sort of secret society, a lunatic asylum, and a weird guy to follow, but I still feel as if I was terribly deceived by that back cover copy. Again, THIS is a NY Times Bestseller????

The last one was a horror novel I picked up as it involved a haunted house (rather an apartment complex) and I had high expectations. Audrey's Door. The title wasn't all that compelling but I guessed that it was using the premise of that "door to the other side" that drives a lot of horror/paranormal plots. I settled down to read. First off, I will say I loved the interspersion of old newspaper articles with the current story. For me, it lends some credibility to the fiction. Then, there's the spooky residents, ghosts, and the odd building who is a character itself. I really, really, REALLY wanted to enjoy this book. I made it to page 255 before I realized that I was no longer interested in finishing the book. I can't summon up any sympathy or empathy for the main character, Audrey. I think she is perhaps too flawed and too unlikable, in your face, stinking unlikable and, in my opinion, she never redeems herself. Then, there is her boyfriend who is infinitely more likable than the main character and should have kicked her to the curb a long time ago and never looked back. He deserves sooooo much more than what he gets in the end (Yeah, I skimmed to the disappointing ending, closed the cover, and was glad I didn't have to open it up again).

Now, these aren't proper reviews by any stretch of the imagination. I wish the authors great success, but, I won't be paying money for anything else they write (sorry guys!). The next book I'll be reading will be something by one of my tried and trues...Jeffrey Deaver, Dean Koontz, Patricia Cornwell, CS Harris....or....just to name a few.

Have a great reading week!

Ericka Scott


What have you read that's been a disappointment or an unexpectedly rousing success?

Friday, November 6, 2009

I need more hours....

This week has been hectic, to say the least. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes there were a few more than 24 hours in a day so that they could get everything done. Foremost among those is Mr. Scott... Every November, he's involved with an intercollegiate programming contest. This year, they had to move the contest up a week. 7 full days that he and the other judges could have used. Needless to say, my husband's been a little sleepless for the last couple of days. I'm just looking forward to Monday when life will go back to normal...or at least what passes for normal here in the Scott household.

Drama Teen had her heart broken by her first love six or so months ago. As the flame lives in our neighborhood, it's hard not to acknowledge that he's got a new girlfriend. I noticed Drama Teen looking a bit pensive the other day and leaped to the conclusion that she was feeling a bit blue about the situation. Au contraire, she was quick to tell me, that she wasn't the least bit sad about "that", she had just heard through the grapevine that Mr. Heartbreaker and his new young love were going to be parents. Parents! While I'm thinking "Better her than you", I asked Drama Teen how she felt about that. Her reply was more mature than I'd imagined. "Doesn't she know, Mom, that having a baby at sixteen isn't a good thing? There's diapers, sleepless nights, and she's not going to be able to hang out with her friends. Babies are no way to fix or keep a relationship." My heart hurts for Drama Teen, she talks a good game, but I know it has to hurt. I gave her a big hug and then we bonded over laundry.

The school invited us to an IEP meeting for kinderboy #1 today. We'd dutifully filled out the surveys they sent us and were interested to find out if the school psychologist had any insight as to what makes our little guy tick. The best guess is a pretty severe cognitive learning disability. Mr. Scott, who thinks like a computer programmer because he is one, explained it as an input/output problem. The information is going in just fine. Kinderboy#2 is just having retrieval problems. I'm hoping the interventions will aid in unlocking the info. Now, if they could only figure out something to cure his stubbornness! LOL.

Kinderboy#2 had his first playdate with a friend on Tuesday. He and his buddy walked home to the other boy's house and spent the afternoon goofing off, watching movies, eating popcorn, and playing video games. Kinderboy#1 was heartbroken that he didn't get to go too. Luckily, kinderboy#1 and our neighbor's other boy are friends. So, we're going to do a kid swap for the afternoon. I'll host one of mine and one of hers and she'll have one each as well. The only downside is that our new friends have to move during Thanksgiving week to a faraway town. So, I may have a whole 'nother set of broken hearts at the Scott household.

As for what's up with me...I got a sort-of rejection. A "we liked this piece, needs more work before you submit it again." So, I put zombie historical on hold so that I can polish up my haunted house story. On re-reading it, I have spotted some areas to improve and may end up adding a couple of thousand words. If'n I do (which I hope I do), I can then submit it to a couple of other markets that take a minimum wordcount of 70K. So, all is well in my world.

I'll be blogging over at Romerotica Authors tomorrow about my love affair with haunted house stories and my upcoming trip to the Mission Inn in Riverside. Is it haunted? I've stayed there several times and never had anything odd happen, but one never knows!

Have a great weekend!


Monday, November 2, 2009

The maids are coming! The maids are coming!

Can you tell I'm mega excited?

Then, on the other hand, I feel a bit as if I've failed some strange test of being a stay-at-home mom. I quit work to take care of the kids and the house. Yet...the house is neglected, to say the least. And it's not that I can't clean house. I can. I just don't want to. There are things that I don't mind doing and things that I hate. And honestly, there just isn't any job satisfaction in cleaning.

I've finally come to the decision that I could devote every hour of every day to the house, laundry, kids, etc. But what fun is that? I want to write and I want to make a success out of writing. To do that, I need the time.

Thus, we've hired a housecleaning service. Did I tell you they come tomorrow? I can't wait....