Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where books come from

I've had people ask me, "Where do you get your ideas for your books?" I'd usually just tell them 'they come to me out of the blue'.

Then, today an old theme became a new idea. How? You may ask. I had to drive the twenty miles to the bigger town nearby to pay my electric bill. No, that's not it. On the way there I was listening to the radio (not it either) and realized somewhere along the way that I wasn't hearing the songs I normally sing along with. My mind was off in the land of werewolves and legends that go 'bump' in the Cherokee night.

Some time ago my older brother became extremely interested in our ancestral Cherokee heritage. I, on the other hand, have always been interested, especially living in Oklahoma with its' rich Indian background, just never really took steps to learn more. I am aware that UoT (University of Tulsa) offers classes to learn the Cherokee language, and my oldest daughter (while we lived in California) almost went there for just that reason. 

Well, lately I've become more interested in my heritage. Mostly since I've become a writer, and since moving back to my red dirt home state. What does this have to do with supernatural creatures, you ask? We have werewolves here in Oklahoma, of course!

Really? Naw. Unless you peek inside some weird Okie writer's head that is. I live out in the country and love being serenaded by the woeful sound of the coyote's songs. Eerily beautiful when it's all still and silent (or three in the morning!). But that's not exactly where I got the idea for my first werewolf story. It came from my affinity to wolves. I took one of those "What animal are you?" quizzes and even it came back with 'wolf'. I'm sure most have heard that Indians have affinities with animals whether it be eagle, opossum, bear, or wolf. What this means basically is (at least for me) we 'feel' the animal we're close to in our spirit. We understand the animal like we understand no other. For instance, I love horses. My favorite creature is the horse. But, I 'feel' an internal bond to the wolf. 

Okay- I said weird Okie from the beginning. But seriously- it's true.

Even as a child I had dreams of wolves, but didn't understand why until I opened my inner eye and accepted them. My dreams actually scared the living daylight outta me. Until the last time I had the recurring dream about vicious wolves attacking me, that is.

Why was that time different? 
Well, for one it came to me for the first time as an adult. I wasn't 'a writer' yet at the time, and it still scared me to dream of the salivating beasts trying to get to me to, I could only imagine, do God knows what to me! It was also the first time one of them came close when it broke a window beside me. Lastly, it was the first time-ever- that I felt protected.

Protected with a wolf breaking windows around me? Yes.
I can't tell you why (not because I don't know, but because I have plans for that particular dream scene).

So- when you start to ask "Where do books come from?", think about your dreams. Even the Twilight saga began as a dream for Stephanie Meyers, and look where it took her!

So until next time- sweet dreams-- or NOT!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well- for better, or worse- it's done. I sent my contest entry to the cp work-over shop twice and made a few minor changes. About an hour ago I sent it in! Time to panic for a few minutes and then forget it since it'll be months before I hear anything.

In the mean time, I have a completed manuscript to get finished editing, and a synopsis to write so I can send Healing Whispers (formerly Tobi & Tanner) off into the world of... somewhere to hopefully get it published. I'm seriously thinking agent queries this time.

Until next time- Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

What a lovely day. The sun is shining, birds are chirping. Sounds and feels like spring! Hard to believe we're supposed to get bad weather in the next few days.

So I thought I'd blog a little on something I basically have no experience, nor real knowledge of (yet).

Contests and pitfalls.

This week I will finally be breaking down, biting the bullet, and entering my very first. It's called SOON TO BE PUBLISHED and is for 'members only' of my local rwa chapter- the Outlaws, OKRWA. I have to believe in the name of this contest. 'soon to be' because it is my fondest and most desired dream to be a published author. To find my place among the ranks of all those glorious people who have already made that trophy step and succeeded. And the only way to accomplish this, is to put yourself out there. Throw your baby to the wolves and let come what may.

Last year I entered into an editor/agent pitch for the first time. I felt it went well. I received a request from the agent for a partial of the story I had pitched. It felt good on the heels of a rejection on another story that took nearly two years to get. I'd found myself in a writing block of self doubt that almost made me lose out on that fabu opportunity. And- in the end, in a way, that one rejection still kicked my butt. Why? Because, even though I'd gotten a request from that wonderful agent- I never sent my pages in. I chickened out. I felt, in the end, that my story was not good enough yet. So what happened? I put the story aside and haven't looked at it since, and have never finished it completely.

I guess (for me) you have to do that sometimes because it seemed to symbolize something I didn't want to acknowledge- failure.
Oh, I know I'm not... a failure, but I felt like it right then and passed on the chance to find out for sure if my 'baby' was good enough to put out there. I didn't write another for almost a year in fact. I thought about it, considered, with word page open, starting another, but in the end- I took what I feel now, looking back, a necessary break. I read books, blogs on the craft and refilled my dried up creative well.

What happened this time? I sat and wrote a complete manuscript in six weeks! Now, the thought of getting it edited and polished for submission is staring me in the face. Those long, torturous months of waiting... And I feel myself balking. I can feel the crows of doubt flapping their wings around me, telling me it won't fly, it'll get rejected so why bother? I refused to enter any contests with it even. My self imposed deadline to submit it is January 1, 2010. Will I make it?


In the mean time, I'm entering another one in a contest to bolster my waning confidence. I can't tell you how excited I am! Maybe because it's a local contest I feel safer. Like telling an embarrassing story with just close family around. It's a comfort zone. So, the real challenge will be if it wins and I take it to the next level. Will I have the guts and gumption to enter in in the Golden Heart (GH) contest next year? A world wide and REALLY OUT THERE contest?


Baby steps. I am entering a whole new realm of writing for me. I will force myself to get my work out there to be criticized and judged because, otherwise, how will I know if I'm good or bad (both fixable aspects), or just wasting everyone's time? I won't.

So- I enter a contest. For better or worse- I love the story I'm entering and have confidence in these two love struck characters that we will at least place in the contest. And, when this contest is over (it'll be a few months), I'll post an excerpt of my entry here for all to read and enjoy (and judge) if you want to!

Until then- happy contesting!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Get your entry in!

It's time for National Reader's Choice Awards here at Oklahoma Romance Writer's of America.

Published authors only need read this.

Sponsored by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America

18 Years of Excellence in Writing Competition as Judge by Readers

What is the NRCA?

One of the most prestigious awards for authors of romance novels is the National Readers' Choice Awards (NRCA), a nationally acclaimed contest created and administered by Oklahoma Romance Writers of America (OKRWA). Since the contest's inception in 1991, authors and publishers have recognized the importance of this award because of, what was then, a unique feature: the judges of the National Readers' Choice Awards are not writers of romance, nor are they in any way involved in the production of romance novels; the judges of the NRCA are the READERS of romance novels. First held in 1991, the NRCA had 6 categories and 170 entries. Since then, the contest has grown to include 12 categories, more than 400 entries, and Reader/Judges from all 50 states.

How Does the NRCA Work?

WHO CAN ENTER? Anyone--author, publisher, editor, agent, and, of course, readers--can enter her favorite books. The online entry form and all other contest information is available at http://www.okrwa.com/nrca.htm

Each title must be available for sale sometime during the contest year and each must have either a copyright date or a "First US Printing" date of the contest year shown on its copyright page.

Each title is read and scored by four judges who have signed up to read books from their favorite categories. The NRCA has Reader/Judges come from every state in the US. We find our Reader/Judges mostly by word of mouth. They apply via the online registration form at the NRCA site.

Although other contests have arisen over the years which are also Reader-based, none have attained the same level of national recognition achieved by the NRCA. Publisher of romance novels and the winning authors consider the honor of this award to be so important that they have used the NRCA logo on book covers to promote winning novels.

Deadline for entry is December 1, 2009. Books must be received by the category chair by January 15, 2010. Finalists will be notified in May, 2010 and winners will be announced at RWA Nationals in Nashville, in June, 2010.

All romance authors are eligible to enter. An electronic book will be accepted as an entry if it is submitted in either perfect bound or spiral bound, galley-printed book form with an ISBN (no 3-ring binders) and evidence of copyright date of 2009 is provided.

FEE: $25.00 USD each entry. First books are eligible for an additional award. Entry fee is an additional $5.00. Entry fees may be paid by PayPal or by check. Contact for information if paying by check.

If you have questions, please contact the NRCA Chairman at NRCA@OKRWA.com

Everybody has the same chance to win!!!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tobi Star

Nicole Tubiola as my 'Star Crossed Love' heroine Tobi Star. You just have to imagine her with amber eyes. Remember-- Tobi Star is one fourth Cherokee. So I thought of the beautiful 'Dani' off of the tv series 'Wildfire'.
What do you think? Any other suggestions of long-haired, dk brown, or black, with light gold hazel eyes? You can leave their name here and I will google them, unless you also have a link to your suggestion for Tobi.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

It's Finished!

Since I wasn't able to get on and stay online long enough to do this Sunday, I'm here today (hoping it will post okay). First, I want to wish my Boxer, Cherokee, happy 1st birthday Baby!

That out of the way... I finished the wip I began in February! Yep, Temporarily titled Tobi And Tanner (for lack of a better one that seems to insist on eluding me for some weird reason!), it ended with 59,516 words completed first draft. Now, I begin the rough draft, round one editting phase.

If anyone can suggest a title:
Hero, Tanner Royal, is an ex bull rider-turned horse whisperer who wants a family, once he gets over the -ex wife said I'm no good for a woman, or child- syndrome she's inflicted on him. And he can convince the cute little rancher that he's the man for her. He can't think of a better woman to help him prove his ex wife's theory wrong.

Heroine, Tobi Star, is afraid to trust men because of some wretched male family members and an-unknown-to-her-at-the-time, married, now-ex fiance who beat her trust into the Oklahoma red dirt. But she's attracted to the beat up and scarred, blue-eyed cowboy who is treating her horse. And who gets her pregnant! His dream come true, her worst nightmare-turned wildest sweetdream when she realizes she has to learn to trust at some time, and he's the best thing to ever happen to her.

They meet on her family land, which she inherited after her father passes away: Star Cross Ranch.

Anything written by Calisa Selfridge is owned by me and copying it is theft.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Backwards Roles

Years ago when Mitch and I met and married my mother noticed something right away about her youngest daughter and new husband and took pleasure in laughing about.
Soon after we married, and moved to Mom's in Washington state, I became pregnant with our first child and set about crocheting blankets, hate and booties. Now, I learned to crochet at 12 in Home Economics in 7th grade. I made some goofy looking stocking thing and a pot holder, single layer so it burned the hands of any user.
But I enjoyed the art and learned a few new stiitches from friends later on in life. By the time I married I had a decent command of the hook art, though nothing fancy came of it. When I married I began crocheting again and my new husband decided he wanted to learn. I taught him the 'granny square' and set him up with his own materials. Lo and behold, he made the booties and hat set our new daughter wore from the hospital nearly a year later. He also helped my mother make a tiny green and yellow varigated hat/sweater set and they began another in pinks, purples and white that wasn't by the time we returned to Oklahoma. My mom would finish it and send both to us when time for the baby arrived. Sadly, she passed away just a month after we left at age 46 and never finished the second sweater. My sister brought it to me after the funeral and Mitch finished it for her and my baby got to wear it in the end.

But what was so funny Mom laughed is while I had taught my husband to crochet and I slowed down on it. I was wrapped up in my football games, primarily Oklahoma U and Dallas Cowboys, while hubby made baby clothes. Mom asked if we realized we were backwards and we laughed. Yep. We knew. He wasn't a big sports fan and I was a huge football fan and loved to play (soft)baseball. He's never been one to weight lift, I loved my little white dumbbells. Never liked basketball and the only game I ever went to was one of my friends' games in highschool.

I grew up watching NASCAR and wrestling with my dad. Actually sat through a whole Indy 500 with intense rapture. My dad loved it, so did I. I fell from that one after I grew up and left home because, unlike women who let husbands watch any and all sports, my husband didn't like sports on the tv 24-7. And he's a real sci-fi geek and loves the tv!
Over the years I slipped from my sports more and more, but never completely. Always tried to catch Superbowl at least and the World Series, and anything rodeo I could get to, or find. I rode in big rodeo grand entry parades with my sister, and usually on horses we had spent the previous 2-6 weeks breaking ourselves, which once almost ended with me under the rearing hooves of a panicked one I was on. Sis came back, held up the parade in front of hundreds of people (mostly laughing) and led my horse from the arena. Not my best moment, but getting dumped off a horse I had broke would've been worse! As it was, my dad din't let me live that down for a while.

Anyway, today something brought back all the memories of my parents' attitudes toward my enjoyment of sports (which I rarely actually participated in ever).
Mitch was surfing for something to watch on tv and gave me two choices. A western and a 'kid' show. I told him to pick, I'm writing on my latest wip today. So he flipped channels and my ears perked right up before he quickly moved on. "Hey, leave it there!" I called and went running to the living room. "Why do you think I changed it so fast? It's on 129 of 500 freakin laps! And I ain't watching NAS-TY-CAR!"
Drat and more Drat! He's not a NASCAR fan either.

So I'm back at the computer while he watches the 'kid' show and I relive memories of my mom laughing at how backwards my darling husband and I are.
For the record, he owns more crochet yarn and hooks than I do these days and watches golf and football, and the occasional World Series. I have my horse and I've traded dumbbells for a laptop. My dreams and ambitions of riding in rodeos and watching sexy men play ball have switched gears these days, to writing about the sexy men who do those things and loving women who do, or watch them do it.

What's so odd to me about this scene today is that not long ago I was telling friend and wonderful author, Michele Dunaway--who writes NASCAR series for Harlequin American Romance--that though I used to watch the races, I'm not actually a fan these days. I don't get into them, haven't watched one in just about forever. It just doesn't appeal anymore.

Then a couple of months ago I caught a race (don't recall where/which) and loved it. Now I realize it does appeal to me still. To think I actually gave away two tickets, I'd won on the radio, to a male friend of my daughter to meet those hot and sexy drivers in Pleasanton, Ca before we moved! <kick, kick>
But I realized something more today. That, after my dad passed in 1988, I haven't got my NASCAR Buddy anymore and just haven't watched it since. It's no fun to watch it alone and so I fell out of the habit of watching at all. It's not that I don't like it anymore! Now if I can get husband to go back to bed.... Of course he did compromise.

He said I can watch the final 20 laps (all I have to do is catch them in time, and hope his show is over by then). Lol

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Oh My Gosh!!! They're ENGAGED

I went to visit Kiki and mommy at the hospital today. My daughter had called to ask when I'd be there and I told her an hour and a half or so. She told me she had some exciting news when I arrived. By the time I got there almost two hours later she showed me her hand... Yep, her boyfriend asked her around 3 p.m. to marry her!!!!! So thrilled! He had a beautiful, and very expensive, ring but told her to stop asking for it or he'd never give it to her. Lol Well, today he asked her, "Stephanie Merie will you marry me?" She asked him, "Are you serious?" And then, of course, said "Yes!" So they will get married on the one year anniversary of their first 'will you be my girl' date of April 15th.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IT'S A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I/we began our day early getting 'the call'! No. Sorry, not that 'the call' (though I wish), but the one telling us it's time to hurry to the hospital because our baby girl was 3-5 minutes apart on contractions and at the hospital. So we dressed and went to the hospital 25 minutes away and waited until her arrival. It was thrilling to be a part of another of my grandbabies entrance into the world! After weight and time guesses, we waited, and waited. It was worth it!
Finally at 4:10 this afternoon little Nikkia Lyn made her blessed appearance! Weighing in at 5 lbs, 11 oz and 17 inches of red and indignant little girl. Beautiful!!! So please, welcome Kiki.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dragging out of the pits

I got an email from my oldest brother today reminding--no, informing-- me that I haven't blogged in a while (thanks Lee). Ok. I get in here and nearly choked on my nightly round of coffee. July 08! That's not 'in a while', that's almost a year! I am now hanging my head in shame for letting it go for so long. Time flew and I lost track of it somewhere with moving in to the new house, remodeling said new home, husband trying to electrocute him self (He's fine. It was thankfully just amps? and not volts- or volts and no amps- whichever is not deadly that's the one.), one daughter losing a marriage, another on the verge of a possible, maybe one day, one and that said daughter due to have her first baby any day now. Seriously, any day. She's at a one (I don't want to spell anything out here where kids might read it so if you don't know what that means- ask someone.) and the doctor said probably next week. She's hoping it's sooner, I'm holding out for my Dad's birthday (God rest his tired soul) of March 18th. See, this daughter was born on my mother's (God rest her weary soul, too) birthday, so it would be fitting to have her daughter on Dad's.

I've been reading some free download books- full length- from eHarlequin.com in celebration of their 60th anniversary. Go get yours! 16 of these treasures I think. If you've ever wondered about the NASCAR series, but didn't want to buy one until you know if you'll even like them- now's your chance to try one, to keep, free. Along with Blaze, Love Inspired, Harlequin American Romance and many more. No I don't get paid to say this, I just love Harlequin's books.

That's why I write romance with aspirations to sell to them one day. I have a lovely new couple in the getting to know you stage that I think will make the cut finally. When I get along farther I will give a sneak peak into Tanner and Tobi's story.

Now that I've made contact I plan to stay on top of this. I know, I know. I've said that before. I mean it this time. So until next time, check out some of my friend's links and I will be back. Soon.