Monday, July 17, 2006

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Friday, June 30, 2006


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Friday, June 02, 2006

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006



14 days until release

Monday, December 19

Bound to be gritting my teeth...
Are Mondays ever fun? Honestly, it's like karma sprinkled something really foul on the day in general. Today appears to be no exception. I have a mountain of reading to do for my day job--all of it in dire need of grammarizing. But I can't touch it. Torture, I'm telling you! How am I supposed to look at all those misused semi-colons without running and screaming?
Worse, I have to summarize it all in a neat little spread sheet we're supposed to socialize with the world. I'm supposed to keep it purely factual...but say a nice thing or two along the way. Hmm, I write fiction and I don't think even I can stretch the truth enough to say something nice. Like I've always heard, If you can't say anything nice... Yeah, I didn't say anything at all.

But Determined to do something productive today!
Once I'm home, it's back to chapter 11 of the manuscript in progress. Yet again I'm reminded why this wasn't working. I promptly start tearing it apart for, like, the 3rd time. I NEVER do this, so it's disconcerting. A friend writes to ask me if I saved the old version(s). Takes me at least ten minutes to stop laughing. Um, no.

Or not...
I pinpoint exact moment in the chapter that I started having problem...then promptly close the file. I need to be sending emails to people, don't I? Sure! I have a book coming out in two weeks, after all.

Certainly there's someone I haven't told. Let's see. Who do I know with the biggest mouth? That's a good place to start. Unfortunately, that would probably be me, so I need to look farther down the list. RWA chapters, check. Readers who have visited my website and entered contests, check. Neighbors, check. Grandmother (who will tell every single friend and relative I've never met), check. I'd love to hunt down one of my college professors who told me years ago that I was better at creating fiction than putting together a marketing plan. Hearing those words again would make me feel so much better.

I drop new emails to a few pros with big, wonderful websites who cater to readers everywhere. Maybe with their help I'll stop angsting. Well, it's a nice fantasy, anyway...

Running down the list:
So yicky Monday has finally ended. I did accomplish a few things:
  • Moved forward on promotion plan for BOUND AND DETERMINED - COMPLETE (a little bit each day and hopefully something will help)
  • Work on existing manuscript - COMPLETE (still wishing like hell I was finished!)
    10:30 pm - I'm tired tonight. But have to stop hubby and thank him for being chief cook and bottle washer these days. He's filled in every gap I haven't had time for since I found out that BOUND AND DETERMINED would be coming out early.

Except he draws the line at picking up the house beyond his office and the kitchen. So after half an hour of mindlessly shoving things back in closets and drawers for my folks' big arrival tomorrow, I collapse.

Tuesdays aren't karmically tainted, right?

Shelley Bradley

Tuesday, January 03, 2006



15 days until release
Sunday, December 18

Bound to be totally bored...
Laundry day. Ugh! Got to be done, but it takes up the whole dang day! So fun folding clothes in-between trying to fix the drama my book in progress has become and trying to think of yet more people to tell about the pending release of BOUND AND DETERMINED. I'm running out of ideas. One of my single male cousins suggests telling the men in my office. Immediately, I'm I have to sit in meeting with these guys. I'd rather doing it without knowing they'd read my very detailed descriptions of sex. I'm just funny that way.

But Determined to find something fun to do!
Okay, so I've been working hard. I've nearly worked my way through the entire manuscript so far, pinning and tucking and tidying. I'm feeling better. I have a new plan. Don't I deserve a little bit of time to do some fun reading? Stop shaking your head. Yes, I do! Work with me, people.
I finish the book and sigh. I could go off on a rant about insecure heroines who are grateful for a man, even if he is a raving jerk, but I don't have that much space and I'm pretty sure you don't have that much time. So...I guess I need to look for another book. I content myself with the fact the Cowboys are playing, so I should be entertained by that.

Or be totally annoyed!
So, the game is over, and I'm wondering if the all-girls' school in the next town showed up, rather than the actual Dallas Cowboys. That was a butt-kicking if I ever saw one. I'm 2 for 2 today in the luck department. Hmmm. I'd go back to bed if I thought I'd actually sleep.
After dinner and a quick bath for my child, the day is over. And YES! The laundry is finally finished. 9 o'clock at night, but I'm done for another week.

So glad the day is over. I managed to:
  • Moved forward on promotion plan for BOUND AND DETERMINED - COMPLETE (a teeny bit)
  • Finish the laundry - COMPLETE (finally!)
  • Work on existing manuscript - COMPLETE (wish to hell I was finished!)

11:00 pm - I'm off to bed. It occurs to me that I promised myself a manicure and pedicure about 10 days ago. I still haven't had time for it. In the race to get my house ready for the holidays, work on this book, promote the release of BOUND AND DETERMINED, the rewards for checking items off my list are just not happening. I'm on vacation from work from the 23rd until January 3rd. Hopefully, it will be much less hectic then! Stop laughing!

Shelley Bradley

Friday, December 30, 2005


Saturday, December 17

16 days until release of


What's a holiday without a little family angst?
I wake up this morning in a panic. Yes, BOUND AND DETERMINED is due out in about two weeks and Christmas is only 8 days away. But that's not the issue. My folks are coming on Tuesday.

Bound to run myself ragged...
What's the best way to put this? Many of you have emailed and posted blog comments that indicate you think I'm some sort of superwoman and professional juggler and/or you want to know what I'm eating so you can eat same. (I recommend vitamins, by the way...) My mother makes me look like I'm standing still. My Dad and I tease her that we'll bury her with a can of Comet cleaner, a vacuum and her trusty Kenmore washer. Next to her, I'm the underachiever of the family. She's all relentless physical energy. I'm primarily relentless mental energy, hence the insomnia, but while she's here, I have to get into her mode or she'll flatten me like a steamroller.

But Determined...
...not to make my Mom take one look at my house and shake her head!
What does this mean for today? Tidy up every room of the house, closets included. Wash and put away all laundry. Find gifts for child's teachers. Wrap all the unwrapped gifts sitting in closets. Finish putting up interior Christmas decorations and addressing holiday cards. Go grocery shopping. Got to shave my legs somewhere in there--ugh! I'd do a white glove test on my furniture if I had the time. But I draw the line there to squeeze in few moments for writing before hooking up with some friends for Japanese food.

I love to write, I love to write, I love to write...
Chapter 11 is still dreck, damn it, because I'm tweaking the rest of the book. I can hear every Book in a Week and Fast Drafter shouting at me now to just keep moving forward. Yes, I know you all don't stop and revise in mid-book. It's bad form/luck/karma/whatever. Well, my poor little linear brain just doesn't work that way. Oh, I can skip over external things that are wrong. Planting the wrong clue in the wrong place is something I can work through. Characters who aren't behaving in a very hero (or in this case, heroine) sort of way get worked on. Now. Period. Damn this woman... But I manage to revise another two chapters and am feeling better.

In my next life, I want to come back as a cat!
And of course, there are always emails to send and respond to. And new people to think of telling about BOUND AND DETERMINED and its early release. I mutter out loud that I sure could use help in figuring all this out. My cat, Hermione, looks up from her nap in front of the space heater and sends me a very superior "meow," then promptly falls back asleep. So I guess that means I'm on my own...

You know that song you can't get out of your head?
After a yummy Japanese dinner, complete with pumpkin pie and hot chocolate, which are not good for my 4 months worth of dieting, we return home to watch Saturday Night Live. Jack Black sings this very funny song about the new King Kong movie. Already I know my hubby will be singing to me for the next week about going to his "sweet-ass trailer to take himself a tasty nap." Great. To make it even better, he got that on TiVO, so I could be hearing about Jack Black urinating in Peter Jackson's coffee pot for some time. Lucky me.

Well, to recap the day, I:

Moved forward on promotion plan for BOUND AND DETERMINED - COMPLETE (a teeny bit)

Gave it my all to make my house look like something out of a magazine spread - COMPLETE (and totally exhausting)

Work on existing manuscript - COMPLETE (still not finished though, drat!)

11:00 pm - I'm off to bed. A big day in front of the computer planned. Yes, I know I said that yesterday, but this time, I'm hoping to really mean it. Maybe. If the planets are in alignment or whatever has to happen. I must accomplish tons.

Shelley Bradley

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Surviving The Ho, Ho, Hum –

Friday, December 16

17 Days Til Release of


While the cat is a way, the mice will play...
Well, or work on non-work stuff. My boss took the day off, the push for my one big project was finished, and I completed preliminary work on the other. So... I'm in a waiting pattern. Odd, really. After all that running and hurrying and trying to get things finished on time. Now I'm just hanging out.

I catch up on a little reading. I love e-books for sheer portability. I look forward to the day when you can choose the format you want for every book released. But reading really steamy stuff when you're surrounded by your co-workers can seem really weird. And lest you wonder, no, I don't make a habit out of reading or writing at work. This is a really RARE thing.

Bound to Get Something Accomplished...
With this much time on my hands, it's going to be impossible coming up with new reasons why I can't work on my manuscript in progress. So, once I finish my spot of reading, I drag up my Word file and start typing. Or trying to type. Now I remember why I'd been avoiding working on this. Chapter 11 is a mess. There's something bugging me, and once I figure it out, I'll be much happier. But for now, ugh!

1 pm - Well, today is my last parent-teacher conference before the end of the year. I leave for home, pick up the hubby and head to the school. Lovely teacher! Sweet woman, who genuinely seems to care about the kids. She raves about my child. I'll put her on my "Nice" list.

3 pm - Head for home and try to get more accomplished on the book. I send a few more emails about BOUND AND DETERMINED. I STILL can't believe that we're only 2 or so weeks away from publication. One day, I turned in the book, lamenting that I had something like 13 months until the book was released. Then...I find out it's been moved from February 2006 to January--so I have less than a month to prepare. If Rod Serling never did a Twilight Zone episode on something like this, he missed out.

By the time, I finish obsessing about the fact this book is nearly on shelves and trying to send emails with this information to just about anyone who might remotely respond, I realize I haven't actually written much. But I still wonder... I went to a religion-based university. Do you think I should send them an announcement about my very steamy contemporary romance...? No, I don't, either. I'm scratching them off my list.

And apparently Determined to make a liar out of myself!
Back to the dreck that is chapter 11, but I still can't figure out what's bugging me. I IM with a writer friend who tells me that I just need to piss her off somehow. And if that doesn't work, I need to jump in and kick her ass. I ponder the practicalities and logistics of how this might work, but I make limited forward progress on the story.

Bed O Nails
Well, my sitting on pins and needles is over. My editor calls to tell me that Berkley is electing to keep the cover for STRIP SEARCH (July 2006) the same, with the exception of some verbiage changes. I still maintain that someone's grandma will have a heart attack when she buys this sweet-looking book and runs into my really built male stripper hero, along with a sex toy or two, but The Powers That Be see it differently. So, here we are. I do like the background and the fact the Vegas Strip is so vibrantly portrayed. But this isn't what my hero looks like. Think Viking sex god, not boy next door. And the heroine's expression... What is she thinking about? I don't think it's hot sex. *sigh* You win some, you lose some.

In the same conversation, I tell my editor that the heroine in my manuscript in progress is bothering me. We discuss reasons and strategies for giving her a personality transplant. My editor is kind to try to help me, but I think this is a one-person job. I’ve got the problem narrowed down, so I dive in to try to fix it once we end the call. Unfortunately, my solution entails going back to the beginning to tweak here and there. This is going to take awhile…

After a dinner out with the family where I resisted the urge to consume my weight in wine,
here's what I accomplished:

  • Moving forward on promotion plan for BOUND AND DETERMINED - COMPLETE (A little, anyway)
  • A day at the office - COMPLETE (I was there in body, if not spirit)
  • Work on existing manuscript - COMPLETE (Even if I'm not happy with what I've written. Always easier to edit than create from scratch!)

12:30 am - I'm off to bed. A big day in front of the computer planned. Hopefully, I will accomplish something.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Survival--Of The Most Frustrated

Thursday, December 15

19 days until Release of


In a Handbasket...
Okay, so all my plans to get a lot of work done on my manuscript in progress before the release of BOUND AND DETERMINED are going to hell. Everyone wants something, and they want it now. My horoscope informs me that someone will finally realize how smart and valuable I am. Yeah, at work they realized all right--and dumped tons of work on me. I'm forced to cancel my dentist appointment--again--and be late for my girls' reunion dinner with some old friends. Grrr!

11:30 - It was our Bah Humbug potluck at the office. Good company. We all agree that, despite the sucky work situation with the reorganization, we hate it most because we're a good team with a lot of trust and we're most likely going to be broken up. Such is corporate crap.

2:00 - Meeting with new Big Boss. She reassures everyone that we have a job in the new organization and that there's plenty of work to go around. The latter, I believe. The former... let's just say that after 14 years of corporate bliss, I'm a little on the cynical side.

Bound to lose my temper...
5:00 - Why is it that when you're in a hurry, everything seems to take twice as long to come to fruition? I spend a few spare minutes between work and my reunion dinner sending emails all over the place to get chats and interviews and online promotions set up for BOUND AND DETERMINED, which is set to splash across bookshelves everywhere in less than three weeks. I'm time-pressed. It's crazy at work, it's the last rush before the holidays, I'm expecting company, I'm behind on a book, yada, yada, yada. Why does my email choose this moment to decide to go down and screw everything up? Half the people I tried to reach said they never received anything from me. Is this bad karma? Did I piss someone off somewhere along the way without realizing it? Geez!

The good news of the day:
Dinner was a blast, the Japanese food was really yummy. I quit after one fabulous Cosmopolitan since I had to drive home. But I did clean up in the White Elephant exchange. One champagne bucket and a Barnes & Noble gift card later, I'm styling. Sweet!

And Determined to beat my head against the wall!

So I'm sitting in pins and needles, waiting to find out if Berkley will be able to spice up the cover for my July 2006 book, STRIP SEARCH. It's the next book in a loosely-related series and follows some of the characters introduced in BOUND AND DETERMINED. But no word yet on what, if anything, can be done about the cover. Deidre suggests that maybe the hero's hand could be sliding down toward the heroine', backside. My editor apparently laughed and said that the hero shouldn't be copping a feel. Deidre and I are confused by that remark. This hero is a guy who's all guy, if you catch my drift... Why wouldn't he cop a feel, especially when she's so dang willing? In the book, the hero is posing as a male stripper, and yet no clothes are coming off. Hmm, it looks way too wholesome for what I write. Maybe tomorrow will bring good news.

Either way, here's the almost final cover...

So another day gone and what have I accomplished?

The list said:

-Moving forward on promotion plan for BOUND AND DETERMINED - COMPLETE (Yeah!)
-A full day at the office - COMPLETE (Whether I wanted to complete it or not...)
-Child's homework - COMPLETE (But I can't take credit for this. Hubby handled it beautifully!)

-Work on existing manuscript - OOPS! (Better luck tomorrow. I REALLY need to be writing!)

11:15 pm - Now I'm going to bed. As Scarlet said, "After all, tomorrow is another day." I don't usually put work off, but at this point, it's either sleep or the coma. Comas don't sound fun.

Shelley Bradley

A True Survivor Story

Wednesday, December 14

20 Days til the Release of


Bound to be beat...
After yesterday's debacle where everything that could go wrong did, I went to bed late still stressing. I woke up at 2:20 am...and never went back to sleep. We've heard forever that people need food, clothing, and shelter to survive. I'm really asking now how sleep got left off that list. How on Earth am I going to stay awake long enough today to accomplish everything?

The list:

1) Moving forward on promotion plan for BOUND AND DETERMINED
2) A full day at the office
3) Child's homework
4) Work on existing manuscript

But Determined to press on!
The good news, I had an extra 4 hours in my day to work on getting the word out about BOUND AND DETERMINED. I sent emails all over the place. Funny how many people wrote back and asked me what I was doing up in the middle of the night.

The day itself was a blur. Like 14 Diet Cokes later, I managed to coordinate some features, contests, and promotions with Fresh Fiction and Romance Designs, answer emails, assist with the child's homework, finish analyzing some documents for work. I did notice by the end of the day that my coherency factor took a no work on the manuscript in progress. Besides insomnia, this time if year wreaks havoc on my productivity. But I am Bound by contract, so I am Determined to get it done. For now, however, I'll call it a day.

Shelley Bradley

Black Tuesday: Need I Say More?

Tuesday, December 13

AKA Black Tuesday

22 Days til the Release of BOUND AND DETERMINED

My Black Tuesday wasn't as catastrophic as the October 1929 version. But for me, it was bad.

I kept wondering if it was really Tuesday the 13th, rather than Friday the 13th? We've all had those days where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Today was just my unlucky day. I'm thankful that no one in my family came to any harm. There was no blood, my house is still standing, my car still runs, the computer didn't crash, etc. Other than that, all bets were off.

It was open season on my ability to write, get ahead and make progress.

Bad Hair Day:

Bad hair day meant I was late for work. The killer project at work meant I worked through my lunch. I battled a headache all day long. A stressful reorganization meeting at work just meant there were more answers than questions. Then at the end of the day, there was more work to do on the project than we originally thought, which means tomorrow is shaping up for more corporate fun. To top it off, I received a draft of my next cover...which wasn't what I'd hoped for. This is doubly disappointing because covers are my favorite part of the process and this wasn't as sexy as I'd hoped for. By the time I got home, it was dark and cold and I wasn't in a good mood. Hubby was late getting home. The cat had destroyed half the Christmas tree in our absence.

6 p.m. I was totally ready for the day to be over. I was in no mood to do anything productive, so I decided to give myself a break on writing for today. I spent the evening stressing about everything that had gone wrong and could still go even more wrong, emailing friends and agent. Hubby gave up consoling me. I can argue mayhem and worst-case-scenarios better than most anyone. He knows now that I just have to have time to get over it.

So, I didn't accomplish any of my goals. No reward for me. I'd rather not say more about this day. I just want it to end. Off to lick my wounds and hope tomorrow is better.

Shelley Bradley

Back to Work: Bah Humbug!

Monday, December 12
23 Days til Release of


Bah Humbug
I've been dreading it because there's a lot of upheaval going on there. Why do corporations choose the holidays to do a bunch of restructuring (i.e., so you have to worry if you have a job anymore) and make announcements about reductions in benefits? Ho, ho, ho to you, too! This year my work group is having a Bah Humbug potluck, since that seems to perfectly describe how so many of us feel. And to top it off, one big project is winding down, so it's chaos getting everything together from all team members. Another project is ramping up. And it's a monster project. We really need about 4-6 months to make it right. We have about 4 weeks. Corporate America is just so much fun. Hubby is going through much the same junk. Blech!

Who Needs Sleep?
I'm looking at my calendar and contemplating the next few months. I still have half a book to finish and 2 proposals to write, preferably by February. Maybe I should consider giving up sleep since I'm not sure where all the hours in the day will come from. These are all books I'm really passionate about writing, so not having enough time is like sandpaper on silk--just rubbing me the wrong way.

Okay, since I can't get voted off this island and I don't want to be the Biggest Loser, I gotta figure all this out. Deep breath. Soon (I hope) the hectic pace will slow, and I can get back into the swing of life.

The Starting Lineup
7:15 am
- Drive in is actually pleasant. I ponder some ideas for the proposals swirling in my head as I listen to my CDs. If I ever gave up my corporate job, I'd still have to find time for these drives. So many of my ideas come when it's just me, the music and the rush hour traffic.

12:15 pm - Look at the clock. Oh, that explains why I'm hungry. I open mini-fridge here and pull out frozen lunch. Not exciting, but it gets the job done. And saves time so I can write during my lunch break.

Frozen Lunch with Great Results!
1:20 pm
- CHALLENGE # 1 RESULTS: Wow!!! It's fabulous that I managed to get 4 pages done in an hour, despite interruptions of ringing phones and people stopping by. Over the years, I've learned to work like that. Not my preference, but it can be done in a pinch. And this time of year, time is always pinched, right?

4:45 pm - Whew! Completed project within deadline and began reviewing the other team members' work, since I'm editor-in-chief for this one. But now it's time to go.

Email Olympics
5:30 pm
- CHALLENGE RESULT # 2: Make it home with the child. Time for homework! Yeah, not a popular proclamation, but it gets done. I dive into emails. I continue to arrange for promotion for upcoming book and reviewers who have ARCs.

Real Olympics
7:00 pm - CHALLENGE RESULT # 3: After a rushed dinner (gotta love pizza delivery) while watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition that's been on our Tivo for a few weeks, I head for the gym. This instructor is very nice, and she announces that she's leaving. Rats! I looked forward to seeing her every Monday night because she was so much fun. Hopefully, her replacement will be as engaging...but that's rare. Still, try to be optimistic and not think that the Grinch must be trying to steal all my fun this holiday season, as this is just another thing in a list of annoyances.

WIP is Good: Reviewing a Few Works In Progress
9 pm - Back home. Child bathed and tucked in. Time to get down to work! I clean up the chapter I just finished and email it off to buddies who will read for me. I probably owe them hazard pay or something *g* I spend some time IMing with another writer friend. Her WIP is utter dreck, according to her, and her editor will hate it and her for it. I keep assuring her it's hot and I wanted to read more. I think it's one of her better works, and she better hurry up and finish it or I'm going to be very put out. She left me hanging! We talk through a few plot things. Then she asks me when my WIP will be finished. I laugh. February--if I'm lucky. It's not due until April 1. She whines that I left her hanging. LOL

Yesterday's challenges were all met. I'm feeling invincible. Not true. I'm feeling pretty good. I'm hoping the rest of the week holds. And since my reward was a book to read, Amazon's timely email telling me that a book I ordered a while back has finally shipped ought to allow me to indulge.

Reward Challenges:
1) Write 3 pages on WIP
2) Write next installment of Publishing Survivor
3) Get to grocery store to buy items for office potluck on Thursday

More writing time?

I really want to keep working during this insane Santa-laden season! We'll see. Ho.. ho.. ho..
Shelley Bradley

Rank Covers? Best Laid?...Publishing 101

Sunday, December 11, 2005

24 Days until the Release of


The Best Laid Plans...
You know how they go. You start out with such great intentions, then poof! The day is gone and you're wondering what happened to all those hours. Grrr!

Know Your Rank
On the other hand, I did have some quiet moments earlier in the day. Nothing like obsessing about your Amazon ranking before the sun comes up. Or wondering if you should call the Ingram's line again. I refrained from the latter, at least. I think I learned my first time around that you can only do so much once you've turned in the book. But knowing that and being okay with it are two different things.

Publishing 101
Sometimes it's weird when you try to explain the publishing business to "civilians." Last night
someone said, "So you wrote the book and your name goes on the cover and it's your name at stake once it hits the shelves, but you get very little input on the cover and the blurb on the back?" Yeah. Put that way, it does sound somewhat back-asswards. But I told this person, while reminding myself, that the publisher writes the checks, so if they want to put a two-headed Godzilla in a wedding dress on the cover...I'd think they were totally out of their ever-lovin' minds, but I couldn't do much.

Under The Covers
When I spoke to my editor last Friday about the pending cover for my July release, STRIP SEARCH, she said it was definitely in progress. She said my heroine was wearing a sizzling red dress. That's the good news. But...that so doesn't tell me what I want to know. Um, hello? Is the hero on the cover hot? Trust me, it's all about him. As long as she's not wearing a burlap sack, I'm happy. But this hero... Let's just say that I have a pic of the guy I envisioned in this role. Virtually everyone I've shared it with has drooled in a big way. I'm pretty sure he's the most beautiful man on the planet--or in the top 2 at least. I'd share, but I'd probably be violating major copyright laws :-( Anyway, I really hope the hero on this cover is hot. The hero on the cover of BOUND AND DETERMINED was fairly easy on the eyes. But Rafe's not a smiley sort of guy. And he would never wear that loud shirt... I really hope readers don't avoid the book over that shirt. The rest of the cover is lovely, so maybe no one will notice.

Dealin’ With The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly

Go ahead, whistle the theme song...
It also occurred to me during the wee hours that I should be getting more reviews soon, especially from Romantic Times. I've had some wonderful ones for this book already, 10 of 10 from Romance Designs, a Gold Star award from Just Erotic Romance Reviews, 5 of 5 from A Romance Review. But, like any author trying to pull herself up from her bootstraps and convince herself that publishing all over again in a new genre is a good idea, I want more. It's painful to hear the not-so-nice comments. If they have constructive criticism, great. I'm also aware that no book suits everyone. My book is no exception. And not everyone wants to read super sexy romances. Again, fine. That just leaves more books for those of us who do *g*.

Okay, misdirection aside, yes, I get nervous. I think a lot of people do. But less than perfect reviews aren't the end of the world. I've survived before. If they come with this book, I'll survive again. I'll wail and want to eat pounds of chocolate probably, but I will survive. Gloria Gaynor has nothing on me!

Meeting the Challenges:
7:00 am
- In my home office chair and been through all my emails, ever trusty Diet Coke slowly perking up my drooping eyelids. I'm working furiously on the chapter I started yesterday and can see the end in sight. But hark, what's that I hear calling my name? It's the damn laundry… eh.. “Goal 2”…

8:15 am - Hubby is awake. Sunday morning is paper-reading day for him. Front to back. Don't talk to, play with, cajole, feed or otherwise breathe in his space until the paper is finished. Stick that hand in his direction and you might draw back a nub. Oh, well. At least I've got the first load of laundry going. Goal #2 is looking good.

9:20 am - Leave for gym to attending morning beating. Oops--make that my step aerobics/lift class. I see lots of people I know. Favorite instructor is there, so I feel happy now. Sweaty, but happy. And get good ideas for finishing current chapter on my way home, so double bonus! Good ideas and extra calories spent so I can eat a few of those white chocolate truffles my wonderful, evil neighbor brought me for playing party hostess last night.

Checking Out the Results

2:00 pm - CHALLENGE RESULT # 1 & 3: A little more writing (3 pages!), a little more arranging for promotion for my upcoming book. More angsting about whether I'm doing the right thing to launch the "new me." I have a freaking marketing degree. Gosh, they taught me how to come up with a slogan for Tide or monitor the life cycle of a widget. I'm not equipped for this! I have a plan here. Well, a spreadsheet. Oh heck, when it's you and your book and your career, being objective just isn't easy. To take my mind off my angst and cross another item off my list, I also order a Christmas gift online for my grandmother and have it shipped to her. I love online shopping. Anytime I can buy gifts still wearing my little pink slippers, I'm happy!

6:15 pm - CHALLENGE #2 RESULT: Yeah, laundry is done!

Gettin’ the Goods
7:22 pm - FINALLY, Survivor starts. Couldn't they cut 60 Minutes short so we could start watching the show we've been waiting on all season? I mean the stuff about the sharks is interesting, but any idiot who gets in a cage to see a shark up close and personal has some sort of death wish. Can you tell I'm not an adrenaline junkie?

A Junkie’s Side Note

9:30 pm - Dang it, Steph didn't win. I'm pouting. The jury members are predictably bitter. The game is called Survivor. Outwit, Outplay, Outlast. Not Friendliest, Hardest working, Most honest. Seriously, the show is designed for players to stab each other in the back. You may not think a lot of them as people, but some of these players know how others think and work and can figure out their angle. No one liked Brian Heidik, who won in Thailand. The dude was a used car salesman (with a soft porn background, as whispers have it...), but he understood people. He knew it wasn't a popularity contest, but a strategic one. He's still my fave. One smooth operator... Oh well, Danni was nice enough and did exhibit some strategy late in the game. Next season they are in Panama. Don't know when it starts, but since CBS is done with their version of the show for now, you'll have mine for the rest of the month.

A Little Bubbly
10:30 pm - Run a sinfully hot tub of water in my one indulgence, my Jacuzzi tub. Big hugs for hubby for being so much help this weekend. Avoid thinking that, tomorrow it's back to the grind. I didn't get in time for that manicure and pedicure. Maybe next weekend...

Reward Challenges:
1) Write at least 3 pages on current manuscript
2) Help child with homework
3) Go to the gym

The Reward:
A new book to read this coming weekend. Can’t beat that!

Gym? Did I really make that a goal? Please check to see if I survive…
Shelley Bradley

Won't You Be My Neighbor?: The Writer's on the Block

Saturday, December 10, 2005

25 Days until Release of BOUND AND DETERMINED

A bit less BOUND AND DETERMINED today, but hey, the book’s written and finished. I got deadlines to meet for the next one. A writer’s life never slows down. Take a peek!

A Personal Note:
I thought weekends were supposed to be days of rest. If so, someone never sent the memo this way. Geez! While doing the preparation for this progressive dinner party I told you about yesterday, I was reminded why I prefer catering. This is a lot of work! Not only was I reminded by the work...but by my husband, who helped me out in that department--repeatedly. Yeah, okay. I got it Mr. Broken Record. You hate doing dishes. I tried to tell him that I was just giving him a chance to show off doing something he's good at. That didn't fly. Then I told him that watching him do dishes really...did something to me. The stare he sent me couldn't have sliced a tomato any better than a Ginsu. Hmmm. Guess flattery and suggestion aren't what they used to be.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Once the party got underway, we had a great time. Nice to visit neighbors you just don't get to see frequently, given everyone's hectic lives. Uncomfortable moments here and again, though. My hubby, who is the treasurer for our homeowners association, has apparently told everyone what I write. So I got lots of questions, ranging from how I work and juggle my life, to verbal ponderings of the similarities between my work an porn. Oh, please. Gotta pen? I'll make you a list of the differences, sweetie. Gotta love living in the Bible belt...

Challenge Numero Uno: The Play by Play

6:30 am - In my home office chair and been through all my emails. I'm ready to write. Want to finish a particularly juicy scene. Nothing like sneaking in a little solo oral sex while the spouse is still asleep. On the page, people! I'm in decent shape, but not a contortionist or so inclined. Geez! But wait, I can't write this now. My child is in my office reading Disney Adventure Stories aloud, spelling me the longer words and asking, "Mom, what's this?" The cat is perched on my desk, furry butt parked in front of my monitor, wailing one meow after the other in-between pointless attempts to catch my cursor. I love my family, but everyone wants attention this morning. I thought getting up early would buy me time to write. I run off to find a Diet Coke and come up with Plan B.

7:15 am - Hubby is awake, so he rescues me from playing reading teacher and pet sitter. Normally, I don't mind at all, but since we have so much to do today, this will be my only time to write. I let him take the "kids" downstairs and sink back into Fictionland.

Tallies Are In:
9:00 am - CHALLENGE #1 RESULT: Oh, what a rush! Not only did I write the 5 pages I said I would, I wrote 8. I’ll put 3 in the bank toward tomorrow’s total. I'm really on a good track. Chapter 10 should be finished tomorrow or Monday, and I'm feeling good about it.

6:15 pm - CHALLENGE #3 RESULT: Guests arrive. Showtime! Actually turns out really nice, as the folks at our table turn out to be a hoot. We talk about kids, cats, travel abroad and great places to get recipes. Oh, and my books. Everyone thinks I must be really interesting and worldly. Wonder what gives them that impression? Anyway, Christmas music in the background, and it's a nice time. See pic of my dining room table.

10:45 pm - CHALLENGE #2 RESULT: Time to dig into daily post re: Publishing Survivor. I'm even more brain dead today at this time than yesterday. Gee, I hope this rambling makes any sense... But either way, I get it done.

Closin' Up Shop:
We're closing in on 11:15. I'm off to collapse. I'm so not a night owl... But the good news is, I successfully completed all phases of my Reward Challenge, so tomorrow, I’m hoping to squeeze in a manicure. I may even toss in a pedicure if I'm extra good.

Reward Challenge:
1) Write at least 2 pages (preferably 5) on current manuscript
2) Finish the laundry
3) But a Christmas gift for my grandmother and get it in the mail.

The Reward:
An evening with my TV so I can watch the Survivor finale. Go Steph!

Hit me back tomorrow to see if I'm parked infront of the TV or sitting in timeout...
Shelley Bradley

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Promo Your Book in 26 Days--GO!

Friday, December 9, 2005
26 Days til the Release of BOUND AND DETERMINED

Today, yes, December 9th, my lovely agent
Deidre Knight informed me the news: the release date for my latest novel (my 10th so far) has been pushed up a month. No one told me or her. We are in trouble.

Quickly we decide to abandon the old promotional campaign (it will all be waaaay too late for the release date) and start anew. It is then that Deidre has an idea: Publishing Survivor.

For those who follow along, you'll get an up close (probably too personal) look at what happens during the countdown to publication for this full-time corporate employee, mother, author and way-stressed-out Gen X insomniac. Each day I will set a Reward Challenge. What will I win if I successfully complete the Reward Challenge? My sanity? Oops, too late. I probably never had any. As you read, you can judge for yourself... Will I be Dancing with the Stars or a candidate for the Biggest Loser? I'm throwing my all into this. I'm game. Are you?

Bound to the Coorporate World:
4:00 pm - After a chaotic day in the business world, a call from my editor. Hmm. It's late in NYC. She's very nice. We talk about what's going on with the release of
BOUND AND DETERMINED, now that it's just weeks away. Berkley is going to feature me on the Berkley/Jove website. Awesome! But damn cold as I stand outside and talk on my cell phone. Geez, it's a balmy 38 degrees here today. I'm dying. My co-worker originally from Fargo laughs as I whine.

Bossom Buds:
9:30 pm - Confer with another writer friend who got her backcover copy for her next book. It's good copy, and she's pleased, so smiles all around. We discuss my shifting publication date, and she provides suggestions for getting the word out. Very helpful. We've been buddies for a long time. She pouts about the fact she's having a hard time finding a publicist. I console. She leaves to finish her laundry. See, we aren't such glamorous creatures? Anyone who thought our lives were all about boas and Bon-bons...didn't we have you fooled?

A New Disorder: Blankophobia
10:00 pm - Sit down to write my first entry for Publishing Survivor. Stare at the screen a requisite ten minutes, wondering what the hell I'm doing. Empty screens and me have a bad history. We go way back... There's got to be a name or something for this particular disorder. Blankophobia? Cursor Blinkitis?We're closing in on 11. I'll read the emails that have been flying in my inbox as I wrote this, answer the necessary ones (aren't the all, except those asking me if I'd like to have a larger penis or would be willing to use my bank account to help someone whose funds are trapped in an African bank account after a loved one's death), then collapse into bed.

Reward Challenge:
1) Write at least 5 pages on current manuscript
2) Complete tomorrow's Publishing Survivor entry
3) Successfully manage to give a neighborhood dinner party for 16

The Reward:
I'll steal an hour to watch either the latest Trading Spaces or read the book tucked beside my bathtub. Ah, heaven.

Tune in tomorrow to see if I can make it!
Shelley Bradley