Monday, March 7, 2011

CKR: Jan - Feb 2009

(continued from November - December 2008...)


"CKR" Diary Post No. 38
Monday, January 26, 2009
First, for shits and giggles, tuck this into your “CKR Coincidences” file: The company my husband works for recently changed its name and became “The Official Renewable Energy Provider of Daytona International Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.” What does that mean? Well, besides having a better “in” when it comes to contacting Daytona for endorsements and/or promotional help, Scott might be sitting in the corporate box at the Daytona 500 this year. He’s also heard his hotel room will likely be in Orlando.
Hmmmm…. wonder if Kid Rock will show up?

One thing he won’t be doing before or after the race is visiting Disney’s Pleasure Island. You might recall I set a few scenes in the book there. In fact, Pleasure Island is where the guys pick up their girls. Unfortunately, the place closed this past September (most of it, anyway), so I have to decide whether to set the scenes somewhere else or leave them as is but mention that the bars no longer exist. When using real venues in fiction, this kind of stuff can happen, so I’m not surprised. But I AM disappointed. Those were some of my favorite scenes. Oh well. I’ll save what I can and re-write the rest.

And speaking of re-writing…

Since typing “The End” on November 4 (election day), I’ve offered the manuscript to my writers’ group twice, but, aside from my favorite Aussie writer who reviewed it a few months ago, none of the Pens have had time to read/edit it (yes, reading/editing is why the group exists – don’t get me started). So, in December, I contacted a professional editor and paid to have the ms reviewed. She sent an email last Tuesday afternoon (inauguration day) saying it was “a pleasure doing this edit…not only is the writing good, but so is the story.” I was tickled that a writer of her caliber enjoyed it. She went on to explain that I might not like all she had to say, to which I replied, “I’ve been working with a group called The Bloody Pens for five years – I think I can take it.”

After going through all her notes and changes, I have to say I am SO glad I called her. She caught things I missed and had fantastic suggestions for making scenes and plot points better. She also pointed out that I tend to write in the passive voice too much, which was something I had NO idea I was doing (I’m not even sure what a passive voice is), and she had the guts to tell me the first 50 pages are boring. No one who’s spent two and half years writing a novel wants to hear the most important section needs to be totally re-written (which is why she was worried I’d freak when she said it), but, believe it or not, I was relieved to learn I wasn’t the only one who thought so.

We spent about an hour on the phone discussing her suggestions. She was thorough, honest, and absolutely delightful. Making all the necessary corrections will probably take me a week or two (once I get started, whenever that is), but the effort will be worth it. I also got excellent advice on where to go from here, along with some wonderful words of encouragement. If you’re ever in the market, I highly recommend her:

Essence Magazine Best-selling Author

The other good news that came ‘round last week was that my current publisher isn’t taking submissions right now. Since I’m sitting on a book that needs a publisher, why is that GOOD news, you ask? Because I didn’t want to use the same publishing house for CKR as I did for IB. I’ve been fretting for months (make that a couple of years) knowing I was under contract to give my publisher my next book. But, since he’s not taking submissions, I’m free to submit the ms anywhere I want. Yeah, that means more work on my part – someone’s gotta hunt down publishers ‘cause my new agent’s never done this before – but it’ll be worth it if I’m able to find a company that gives advances and spends some dough on promotion.

But first I have some extensive re-writing to do, which means I have to get over my fear of typing without a cigarette in my hand. And yes, I said “fear” (if it walks like a duck, etc., it’s probably a fuckin’ duck). This nicotine-free existence gets easier every day, but chain-smoking has been an integral part of my writing process since 1983. Thinking clearly while at the computer is so much harder than I expected it would be. I DID manage to make the jump from pen and paper to keyboard, though, so I know I’m capable of the transition. The key is to practice, practice, practice – like with everything else. So, that’s what I’m doing.

I just wish I could practice writing while not smoking with a cigarette in my hand.


"CKR" Diary Post No. 39, or February Means 500!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What are the odds?

I’ve asked myself that question a lot since this project started - BEFORE, actually, given that the story idea, itself, came from a four-day string of coincidences. But, seriously, what ARE the odds of passing Kid Rock’s tour bus on the turnpike in central Florida the day after you saw him in concert in south Florida? What are the odds that he’d perform again down the road from your Orlando hotel the next day? What are the odds that he’d show up at your first Daytona 500 the day after that?

What are the odds that two people who’ve never been race fans would plan to attend the 500 in the first place?

That was February 2006. This past weekend (can you believe it’s 2009 already?!), Scott and I saw the 500 again, this time in a more “official” capacity. As mentioned in the last post, his company recently partnered up with both Daytona and Homestead. That a major producer of wind energy would choose to sponsor auto racing might have seemed strange to me a few years ago. But nothing surprises me anymore. I didn’t even blink when I learned our hotel was a Disney property (like in the book). Sure, there are thousands of hotels in Orlando, but where else would OURS be?

At our first 500, our seats were far from center and close to turn one. We could barely hear the announcers, couldn’t see the finish line, and had to squint to guess what was on the jumbo-tron. This time, we were in the suites just above the bottom section and only a short hop from the finish line, WHICH we knew to sign our names on this year. We recognized more drivers and more cars. We even got close enough to our favorite driver to snap a picture, something we couldn’t do in ’06 because we didn’t bring a camera.

The pre-race performer this year was Keith Urban. Scott and I have been talking about him a lot lately, ever since Scott took up the guitar. We were in the grass near the stage when he came on. The songs were perfect. A friend saw my hat on TV. It was fun.

Oh, and – with thanks to the COCKTAILS booth just past the sign for Suite 211 – I got drunker than I should have and missed the end of the race.

What are the odds?

To be honest, I enjoyed Saturday’s 300 a little more than Sunday’s event. The box had a comfortably small number of guests in it, the race started earlier in the day, and the weather – blue skies and sunshine – couldn’t have been better. However, we met some very nice people all weekend. It was a treat and a privilege to be there. We took tons of pictures (and yes, I made it into some of them). When Scott gets back from North Dakota (with the camera cord), I’ll post a few.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to get back to unpacking my suitcase and nursing my hangover.

(to be continued...)

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