Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Making conflict

I've spent the last few days fleshing out the conflict for The Yellow Flag. Originally I was shooting to enter this story in the Wild Rose Press time travel contest. Life intervened though and that ain't gonna happen.

It's set in 1860 Alexandria, Louisiana. That's where I live and the area has a very fascinating history, particularly leading up to the Civil War, through the War and during Reconstruction. My heroine is a young woman named Corrine and the hero is a French Creole blacksmith named Rene. It's a forbidden love plot. She's white, he's mulatto (that's Louisiana for biracial). The conflict is really falling into place, and I just had one of the pivotal scenes drop into my brain.

The problem? I'm at work and can't type it up!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A sad farewell

The Whitebrook Farm message board is closing. It's a sad day in the land of Thoroughbred.

What is Thoroughbred? It's the ultimate horse series in the YA market. The first ten books are worthy of being studied by any YA writer. The Whitebrook Farm community is simply one of the best there is for fan fiction, and home of some of the most talented writers I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. It's a safe place for girls to indulge a love of all things equine. WBF was also the home of one of the most prolific fan fiction communities that has ever existed outside of ff.net. There are probably close to a thousand stories that have been written and posted to WBF. Some weren't all that great, others were truly magnificent.

I barely scratched the surface in my reading there, but did discover a couple of truly great writers. One went by the screen name of moscowflyer. She's about my age, a journalist in England. With an amazing gift for characterization. Another goes by the name of syrinx. She started it all, and maintained a monstrous archive website, all while going to college. And of course there's Nicole, who's writing grew better and better with every story she wrote. We'd spend hours on AIM brainstorming ideas and tweaking dialog.

And Claire, the webmistress. Without her, we never would have had a place to post all those wonderful stories and talk about horses and racing until we were blue in the face. It's been her decision to close the forum. It hasn't been very active recently. Maybe someday it'll open again.

Two years ago we said good-bye to the series. It was cancelled. That was a sad day too, and a happy day because none of us liked the writing of the last batch of ghost writers. On September 1, we say good-bye to an awesome message board community.

We'll still have a place to get our TB fix, and I need to do some copy and pasting work from the board to make sure I don't lose the wonderfulness of moscowflyer's Charlie series that was dedicated to me. I was her head cheerleader and most loyal reader.

I won my first writing award at WBF, for a Samantha story in the Best TB Fiction category. That was a huge thrill that I'll never forget. I also won a challenge award for a short story. Syrinx would issue challenges with certain things that had to be included in the story, and then she'd pick the best one out of all the entries. I won the Christmas 2004 challenge.

Farewell, Whitebrook. It's been a great ride!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

A funny

I freely admit I'm a fan fiction junkie. Every once in a while I go browsing through the Disney category of fanfiction.net, just to see what sort of Little Mermaid stuff might be there.

That's what I'm doing right now, just for the heck of it. And I stumbled across this. It's a one-shot in the Sleeping Beauty universe. One of the funniest things I've read in a long time! And I have to say I agree with Phillip. Charming and Whats-his-name have no personalities. Phillip is the most well-rounded prince there is in the world of Disney Princesses. (Aladdin doesn't count)

Also did find a really good TLM story done from Eric's POV. Will have to check on that one again to see if she updates it. I love stuff done from his POV. In fact, in my head, he has a backstory and everything. That's part of why I'm so excited about the Broadway musical, it fleshes Eric out and gives him songs!

I have 1 almost finished TLM story, and plot bunnies for 3 more. One of those 3 is nearing halfway done and is about their son. I pretend TLM II never happened, as do most TLM fans.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger!

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Kaye has bestowed the Rockin' Girl Blogger button on me! And so I pass it on to Kati, Laura, Michelle, my mom and Kim. Some of these ladies are stitching buddies, so this will be cross-posted on my stitching blog.

And now to the really cool meme that Georgiana and Kaye posted.

1. What's the one book or writing project you haven't yet written but still hope to?

Uh, all of them! Seriously, all of them. I can't write fast enough to keep up with my plot bunnies. At this very moment, I'd have to say Far Above Rubies. That's the one Lisa pesters me the most about. And Nick's story that doesn't have a name yet, and also Swing, Jitterbug and Jive. Like I said, all of them!

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?

That's a tough one! A REALLY tough one. I honestly don't know, there are so many on my list. OK, picking one at random.... Executive Orders! I'd start with that one. Ask me tomorrow and the answer will be totally different.

3. What was your first writing "instrument" (besides pen and paper)?

A desktop computer with Windows 3.1. Then we graduated to Windows 95! Papa bought a special student word processor and I was the one that used it most of the time. Reading back over some of those scenes is a very painful thing to do, but I did manage to print most of them out before the program became obsolete and was lost in a hard drive failure.

4. What's your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?

Right now it's kind of pitiful, only about 3. At my peak though, during the summers when I was younger, it was 15-20, sometimes more. We practically lived in the library when I was growing up. Small town in the middle of nowhere, so there were no bookstores.

5. What's your most favorite writing "machine" you've ever owned?

Without a doubt my laptop! I can write anywhere I want. I'm also very fond of my Pilot EasyTouch fine point pens, even though they're not "machines". Very cushiony grips on them.

6. Think historical fiction: what's your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don't read historical fiction--shame on you.)

Oh dear! I love anything set in Imperial Russia, the Civil War (from a Southern POV of course!), late Victorian, WW2, American Revolution, Russian civil war. That's what populates the historical fiction sections of my bookcases.

7. What's the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?

The Snow Filly by Elyne Mitchell. It's an Australian YA book that was published in the 60's. My library had it, and I read it several times a year. I would kill to have my own copy, but alas it falls into the "rare used book" category and the cheapest one I've ever seen is $57. I'd totally pay that much for it if I could though. It was about this snow white filly who lived in the Australian bush, and the brumby stallion she fell in love with and how she helped rescue him when he was captured. Her best friend was a gray kangaroo named Benny.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Miss Potter

My sister loves Beatrix Potter. She wanted to see the movie, Miss Potter, so Mama picked it up at Sam's the other day. We watched it tonight.

It was marvelous!! Absolutely wonderful. Seeing her watercolors always makes me wish I could paint. I love the look of watercolors. (that's probably part of the reason that I'm so addicted to Nadia Tate's ACEO's...)

Renee Zellweger played Beatrix, and Ewan MacGregor played her publisher, Norman Warn. Very well done all around. Seeing her talk to Jemima and Peter and Benjamin was very refreshing. That's the way I am with my characters, and I told my mom that. Hers don't talk to her like that. Everybody's different though.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

It's done!

It is done. The first step has been taken. With a discount coupon that took $100 off my tuition.

Soon as the materials get here, I'll be starting. Then come January, I will be switching jobs. I feel really good about this change. Somehow my world has just become a bit more peaceful.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Slow progress

Had a bit of a setback with the job hunting. I'm going back into medical transcription. I'm a fast typist, have some clinical experience, but I've been out of the field for awhile. Long enough that it shows, so I'm looking at taking a refresher course to get myself back up to speed.

It'll take at least 3 months, working at my own pace via the Internet. Turns out that's going to work out quite nicely on the tax front though. If all goes as planned, the change should happen come January. I think I can hold out that long. Things seem to have plateaued for the moment, but then again that could just be because of History Camp. I'm really not sure anymore.

The average student takes 4-6 months to complete the course I'm looking at. I'm a fast learner though, definitely not your average student, so I don't think the course will take longer than 4 months. It will require some sacrifice on my part, of stitching time and writing time and weekends. Probably some late nights too. It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make, because it's a short term sacrifice.

In the end, I think it will lead to more writing time. At least I hope it does! There is so much crap and junk and stuff going on at work that it takes all I have just to make myself go. It saddens me a lot that it also takes what I expend on writing. I still haven't finished my book on the Russian campaigns of WW1. That's how wacked out things are at work. And it's really sad too, because everything was starting to come together so wonderfully and the place was moving into the 21st century with a strong community presence. Now it seems that all of our hard-work is being taken away from us and the place is sliding back into the Dark Ages. It's so very sad and so un-necessary.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Playing the Name Game

Usually writers play the Name Game with their characters. Lots of sites of baby names, a baby name book or two, the Social Security database. Few people ever realize that authors can play the Name Game with their own name.

I'm one of them. I have a very ordinary name. It doesn't stand out or attract attention. I'm not saying I don't like my name, because I do. It's very easy to spell. It's just very ho-hum and plain when it comes to grabbing attention in the world of fiction.

For several years, I've occasionally written articles online under the name of Rachel Wilder. Wilder is my maternal grandmother's maiden name. Wilder has instant recognition because of Laura Ingalls Wilder. And yes, I'm related. Distant though it is, it's still there. Almanzo Wilder is something like my 8th cousin. The family connection goes back to the 1600's when two brothers named Wilder came to the colonies from England. They settled in New England. I come from one brother and Almanzo comes from the other.

Over time, my branch of the Wilders ended up in Arkansas, east Texas and Louisiana while Manly's branch stayed in New England and upstate New York. My great-grandfather Wilder was named Robert and he's buried in Gillum, Arkansas. (I think it's Gillum anyway, I could be wrong) I've only been there once, his grave was lost for awhile because nobody knew where the cemetery was. He was buried there without Mamaw Wilder's consent. Mama wants to write their love story someday. She loved him so much.

I've been mulling over the whole pen name thing for several months now, but hadn't actually made a decision on it. Now I think I have.

Look out CBA! Here comes Rachel Wilder!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Change is in the air!

And I don't mean weather! And yes, I'm using lots of exclamation points!

I'm beginning the process of changing jobs. It's something that's been in the back of my mind for a long time, since January actually. There are things going on at work that I don't like, attitudes and directions that I can't be a part of. I have other skills, where I can get paid closer to what I'm worth, so I'm taking the opportunity.

If I get what I'm after, I'll be working from home. I don't know how that will affect my writing exactly, but it will allow me more funds to invest in my writing. I have this growing list of craft books that I want to get, but don't have the money to do so. And even if I did, I wouldn't have the mental energy to absorb the info contained in the books. It'll take some getting used, and probably lots of tweaking to get it just right. I'm looking forward to it though, and I think my health will be better off too.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Leading Lady

I'm a sucker for blog quizzes. I really am!

Your Score: Carole Lombard

You scored 11% grit, 4% wit, 42% flair, and 52% class!

You're a little bit of a fruitcake, but you always act out in style. You have a good sense of humor, are game for almost anything, but you like to have nice things about you and are attracted to the high life. You're stylish and modern, but you've got a few rough edges that keep you from attaining true sophistication. Your leading men include William Powell, Fredric March, and Clark Gable. Watch out for small planes.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the
Classic Leading Man Test.

Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

I'm definitely a little bit of a fruitcake, but I think that's a good thing! Considering my family tree has many fruitcakes in it, it's a good thing I don't mind being on the list. Modern and sophisticated, not so much now but definitely would have been in the 40's. That's my decade, sometimes I think I was born 70 years too late.