Digging Deep

I had a blast last Saturday at the January meeting of the Georgia Romance Writers.
For the first time ever, I saw my name on the cover of a paperbound book, the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales romance anthology Seasons and Seashells. I was practically jumping up and down when our editor Linsey Lanier delivered the box with the copies I had ordered. You can get your own at Amazon for just $5.45!
A couple of friends even asked me to sign autographs on their personal copies. That was a first, too. What a thrill!
I also wrangled signed copies of new releases from a couple of my favorite GRW authors: Out of Warranty by Haywood Smith and Hot-Shot Doc Comes to Town by Susan Carlisle.
Haywood Smith and Pam Asberry
 And I heard a great presentation by Nancy Northcott, author of The Protector Series. Her topic was Staying On Track: Ways to Chart a Career Goal and Stay Focused, a perfect choice for the first meeting of the New Year. One of her suggestions was to review your progress at the end of each month and own the choices you make. It doesn’t matter how many goals you set if you consistently let things stand in your way of meeting them. This really hit home for me.
I made a Herculean effort the end of November to finish my NaNoWriMo project and I succeeded. Exhausted, I gave myself permission to take the month of December off and enjoy the holidays with my family. Well, the holidays are over. It’s time to stop making excuses.
My work-in-progress The Wishing Box has been reviewed by several published authors. Common wisdom dictates that if one critic says something negative about your work, it might be simply a matter of opinion. But if two people say the same thing, it might be something worth examining. To put it bluntly, my story needs some serious revision. Especially considering that, following the response to my short story “Last First Date” in Seasons and Seashells, I have decided to transform The Wishing Box into a romance novel.
 The last published author who reviewed my manuscript recommend that I read Break Into Fiction. I already owned the book; I bought a signed copy from the authors at a workshop a couple of years ago. I don’t think I was far enough into the writing process to understand it at the time, but when I pulled it out the first week of January, I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the end. 
This morning, I spent a couple of hours transferring all the templates contained in the book into a Microsoft Word document. For the next few days, I will spend my writing time filling in the templates, plotting and scheming. Then I will be ready to begin my (hopefully) final incarnation of The Wishing Box, using what I can from the previous version and adding new material as needed. My short-term goal is to have the first twenty-five pages ready to submit for GRW’s Virginia Ellis Workshop before the February 17th deadline. It won’t be easy, but I’m ready to dig deeper than I ever have before and write the best darn novel I am capable of.