Tag Archives: SYTYCW2014

Hobbies…

By know you all know I love to write. I actually live to write and you can guess that by the tagline of this blog: Writing is my oxygen... But writing isn’t the only thing that gives me  undiluted pleasure. I also love to paint and cook. In fact, my entry into this year’s Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest, Cooking with Kandy,  is about a chef-lebrity. Many of the recipes my heroine references in the book are actually my tried and true recipes.  My pitch to an agent recently about this book was : “Cooking and Romance. Who doesn’t crave good food and everlasting love?”

I also paint. For several  years I did it as  sideline to make money. I did craft painting and sold my wares at local craft shows and fundraiser events. I painted anything that was stationery including stationary! Boxes for gifts, note cards, oil and vinegar bottles, even wooden boxes to put wine bottles in for gifts. I also did canvas work and sold a good many of those as well. I did pretty well at it, monetarily, even though it was just a hobby. One of the characters in another of my romance novels was an artist and a sculptor.

I’m a very sensual person. And by that I don’t mean I’m sitting around in my Vickie’s Secrets lingerie eating bonbons and watching lady porn. It means I like using my five senses as much as possible. Tasting and smelling and seeing the food I’ve cooked brings me pleasure. The Sitting back and gazing at a painting I’m in the middle of, seeps joys into my system. I like listening to music – all kinds – and the feel of fresh dough as I roll it between my fingers to make pasta or bread, is mind blowing.

This got me to thinking about today’s blog entry, hobbies. Have you ever crafted a character and given him/her your hobbies? Do you even gift your characters with hobbies, things they do aside from their normal everyday jobs?  I can’t imagine a world with me in it where I just exist. I need to do other things. Things that fascinate me; things that infuse me with euphoria: things that teach me, challenge me, defy me as a person.

A well rounded character, just like a well rounded human being, needs to do more than just exist.

So, what hobbies do you and your characters have?

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Reading is fundamental and…everything else!

When my daughter was doing the college search several years ago, she was required to write short essays on topics of her choosing, many related to her current lifestyle and family life. My husband and I let her have freedom on this, knowing she was an excellent writer and had a stockpile of stories she could tell. We figured that one or two of them might mention us – after all, we were funding the school she’d eventually get into – and we were prepared to be slightly embarrassed or roll our eyes at how we were depicted from her 17 year old perspective.

To say we were floored when we read the first essay is a totally inadequate statement. We were blow away.

And in the best sense of the word.

The gist of the piece was on reading. She stated that she could never remember a time in her life where she wasn’t (a) surrounded by books, (b) reading books or being read to, and (c) when her parents didn’t have a book in their hands or handy. She wrote the first memories she could conjure were when I would read to her before bed, during the day, anytime she asked, really. She stated unequivocally that her love of reading, writing, the spoken and the written word fell directly from the exposure we afforded her. Since she was planning to major in English in college, this made cosmic sense to me.

From the moment I knew I was pregnant, I read aloud to my daughter. I’m sure people thought I was strange when they would see me, sitting on a park bench, or in a waiting room reading aloud to seemingly no one. But the truth is, she was neonatally conditioned to be a lover of books.

It’s easy to explain where I got my love of reading. I was a latch-key kid from the time I was in second grade. My mother worked full time and she couldn’t afford an after school baby sitter. The safest place for me to go right from school was the local library. And I did. Everyday from second grade until middle school, I spent, on average, 2-3 hours, five days a week for over 7 years. In middle school, when I didn’t really need watching over anymore but could stay home alone after school by myself, I still went to the library most days. I finished every book in the kid’s section and then preceded onto the teen section was I was only 8. Nancy Drew, Trixie Beldon, Jane Austin, and a slew of other characters and authors were my friends, companions, family. I learned most of what I know about social skills and social norms from reading books like “I’m Okay, You’re Okay,” and the like.

Books were everything to me.

And as I got older, their friendship and love grew, as I did, maturing, into new authors, new genres, new escapes.

When I first got married, my husband was not a reader-for-pleasure. He could usually be found, sitting in his chair, devouring a medical journal. I fixed that pretty quickly. I found a book that actually appealed to the both of us and every night, when we got into bed, one of us would read a chapter aloud to the other until the book was completed. I can’t for the life of me tell you what that book was about now – it was a very loooooong time ago – but I do remember the feeling I got every time we started a new chapter.

And hubby felt the same way.

When the book was done, my husband was hooked on pleasure reading. That started his reading journey and now he is never without a book when we travel, at home, or even on long car rides. We now go to local book sales and library fundraisers, searching for new authors and genres. The medical journals still occupy some of his reading time, but not to the extent they did in the beginning of our marriage.

We both passed this love onto our daughter. She is never without something to read, and she is a purist: she likes the actual book, not the Kindle version. She will read on an e-reader, but she, like my hubby, prefers the paper and page.

I am an equal opportunity reader: any form, and time, any day.

It’s no wonder I love to write, since I love to read. Creating my own characters, settings, plots and situations, falls seamlessly from this love of books.

The next time you have to give a child – or even an adult – a birthday gift, thank you gift, or even just a little something to tell them you were thinking of them, consider a book as the present. You’ll never know how just the simple gift of words/plot/characters can change that person’s life forever.

Reading: it’s a good thing.

*** horrible self plug: if you’ve got a few moments, check out Harlequin’s SOYOUTHINKYOUCANWRITE 2014 contest. Here’s the link to my entry. Drop by and give me some love. Thanks. http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts-sytycw-2014/cooking-with-kandy/

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Busy life, happy writer…

The past two months have been something of a whirlwind for me. I attended my first national RWA conference where I met the writers of my dreams and the woman who will change my life forever – my new editor! ( More to come on that in a later blog). I am a finalist in 3 major contests and am still waiting for the results of 2. I entered Harlequin’s SoYouThinkYouCanWrite 2014 contest and am getting some good feedback on my entry. I finished another new book and outlined three more. I finished my writing dream board.

You could say I have been on a writing high.

Through it all I have worked at my paying job, taken care of my family – and ALL that entails, and been kept busy with outside commitments and philanthropy work. Oh, and I also spent time with my BFF’s.

Who says you can’t have it all?

Well, maybe not all…but a good chunk. Time management is a key factor is how I run my life – or how it runs me, to be more precise. If I didn’t make lists, stick to schedules, devote time to certain projects and endeavors, I would never get anything done. The fact that I am a chronic insomniac doesn’t hurt either. It’s 4:24 a.m. as I write this and I have been up for an hour so far. Cleaned the kitchen, made muffins for hubby’s breakfast and started a load of laundry. Now I can write. The house is uber-quiet, I am in my relaxing writing loft and the ideas are flowing. Yes, I will probably crash by 2 p.m., but a quick nap will spur me on towards 4 pm Mass, dinner, and then some quiet time with hubby.

Life, to steal another writer’s words, is good.

Visit my entry at the SYTYCW2014 contest at the following link. Leave a comment. I need the love.  http://www.soyouthinkyoucanwrite.com/manuscripts-sytycw-2014/cooking-with-kandy/

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2014 SYTYCW

Here’s my entry. Drop by and give it a read. Leave a comment if you like it.

http://bit.ly/1B4Qo6M

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, Strong Women