Monday, June 28, 2010

... THE END ... now what?

Yup, got it done, typed those words yesterday!

I finished the first draft of my latest book, called,  UNDERCOVER COWBOY.

Now the work begins. In the writing world, I'm what they call a Pantser or Organic Writer, which means, I don't write copious notes, outlines or even character sketches prior to writing my first draft.

Nope, what I have is a character or two  or maybe a single scene kicking around in my head. Then I sit down and let the words and story flow. The process is sometimes exciting, sometimes scary and always consuming.

I occasionally get up at four in the morning and write non-stop until noon, and other times start late and write through until two am.  The difficult days are the ones when no words seem eager to jump out and I'm not certain what the characters are up to.  This is often because I've made a wrong turn. So I go back a ways and try to change a scene or how a character reacts to something and poof, the fingers are flying over the keys again.

The nice part about pantsing is that I pay no attention to grammer, repeated words, etc etc.  That's where the rewrites begin.   For the next few weeks I'll be whipping my story into shape.  Then it will go out to my critique readers and they'll find a bunch of things that I hadn't seen. And I'll rewrite again.

Then I send it to my beta readers - friends and family who love me and don't want to hurt my feelings so they are really kind in their responses.

From there, I will begin sending query letters to literary agents. These letters have to be no more than one page long, with enough about my book to interest them and if I'm lucky, they'll ask to read a PARTIAL.

A partial is usually the first few chapters, up to fifty pages.

IF I'm lucky enough to have partials requested, then I will hold my breath and wait, making random promises to gods I've never met, hoping they like it enough to request a FULL.

If that happens, first I would be speechless - yes me! Then, I'd happy dance for a while before I shipped a full manuscript off to the agent who I now think IS god.

That's when the waiting gets longer because when you think about it,  How many books can you read in a week?  Agents have to read A LOT.

Okay, so now, the agent thinks they can sell your book so they CALL you and make you wet your pants...  oops, did I say that?  sorry. I mean you are so excited that you can't breath.

At this point I'll pause for a day... and say be continued.

I'm going to let you chew on these steps for tonight and continue this loooong story tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

This big eagle watched as I walked to within about twenty feet of him. I talked to him and explained that I only wanted a picture ... or ten.   

Kinda cool, the white object in the distance, right over his head, is the PEACE ARCH, at the  US / CANADIAN  border crossing.

Monday, June 14, 2010


...In my lasst blog, I wrote about perseverance and mentioned a filly I'd once trained. INISH GLORA was something of a problem child at the beginning of her career. But after a bumpy, temper tantrum, bucking adolescence, she went on to earn nearly a million dollars! ($977,618 to be exact.)   ... and she was named CHAMPION TURF MARE of CANADA,  twice.

Yesterday, I watched INISH GLORA's daughter race at Woodbine, in the Canadian Oaks - for those of you unfamiliar with horse racing, the Oaks is the most prestigious race in Canada, restricted to three year old fillies born in this country.

ROAN INISH ran with the heart of a true champion yesterday, proving that she was indeed her mother's daughter.

From behind the two front runners, ROAN INISH took aim on the wire... her ears flat, her neck stretched out and every muscle in her body straining to get her head out in front of the others. With guts and determination she raced through the opening in spite of the close quarters and proved that she was indeed, the best!

To quote her trainer, Carolyn Costigan after the race, "what a fighter!"

 And there lies the rest of the story. A story of daughters to be very, very proud of.

CAROLYN COSTIGAN is the trainer of Roan Inish, and the daughter of Robert and Nora Costigan, the horse's owners.

When I began training for Bob some years ago, he told me that his daughter was part of the deal. If I couldn't handle having a teenaged horse lover hanging about sometimes, then I wouldn't be the kind of trainer he needed. I grinned. I'd been that teen at one time and I got it. No problem.

Carolyn was there for all of the highs and lows of our racing, as well as Bob's wife and son. They are one heck of a family.

So, cutting to the chase, flash forward past my retirement, the Costigan's horses relocating to Toronto, Carolyn going through extensive hard work including the Darley Flying Start program and apprenticing with a famous Irish trainer.

....And there they are, In the winner's circle. Two daughters, two determined young ladies with guts, talent, good sense and just enough precociousness to put them at the top of the class.

I feel blessed to have watched a good deal of their journey. I am so incredibly proud of them both.

To the Costigans, I can only say, again, thank you. I still feel like part of the family. I was crying happy tears when the filly crossed the wire and when the four of you walked to the winner's circle with her.

Congratulations to all of you, including your jockey David Moran.

Job Well Done!

check out Carolyn's website!....