Thursday, April 25, 2013

Follow the Yellow Brick Road to our New Blog, LM Gautreaux

No, you won't end up at Emerald City, but you will arrive at our new blog under our author name, LM Gautreaux.  Nothing will change other than the blog name and address - you'll still get our sassy southern opinions, as well as updates on our forthcoming book, Moonlight Call.

All the old blog entries are there (I couldn't move over the comments which breaks my sassy southern heart because no one will know Hugh Howey and our other friends visited,) and new entries will be up soon.

All you need to do is click on the link below.

LM Gautreaux

Once you're there, don't forget to subscribe by email to get our latest blog posts in your inbox.

This blog will stay live for any latecomers to find their way to our new home.

See y'all there!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

End of Winter Writing Workshop 2013

Our Winter Writing Workshop 2013 is over.  I've been back in Louisiana for two weeks, and we haven't done a bit of work.  Not a dab, not a smidge, not a hint.

If I take a trip or go past my limits, my chronic illnesses usually wipe me out for a couple of weeks afterwards.  We knew this going into the trip.  So I haven't been able to do much more than sleep, rest on the chaise, talk to my little family, read, or hang out in the bathroom.  (IBS does not like travelling!)

I did get all of my laundry washed!  And that's a bigger job than you'd imagine considering I was gone three weeks, and I'm a compulsive over-packer.  (Is that a word? If not, I'm making it one.)

Anyway, I'm gonna come straight out and say it. 

Moonlight Call is not done.

But it's so close!  Unfortunately, we lost three days of work because of my IBS and M coming down with the plague at the same time. 

Here's where we stand.  We have to write on more scene and the saggy middle will be fixed.  We've done final editing on portions of the manuscript already so we have to finish that.  Then we have to do a final proofread.

Then the manuscript goes to the formatter where he works his technological magic to turn it into files that we can upload to Amazon and other stores.

Our cover is finalized - Scarlett Rugers rocks!

While the formatter has the manuscript, we'll be working on all the other things on that nifty list. 

But first this last scene - heading off to harass M through text so we can knock it out!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Photo Update on Winter Writing Workshop 2013

Man, we are cooking with, words.  The writing goes well.  Better than it has in months.

Everything just works better when M and I are in the same room, guzzling coffee, cracking ourselves up with bad lines, and plotting out that damn saggy middle.  We know the odds are that we will never live in the same town again, but we're already looking forward to the day when we can afford monthly weekend trips to each other.

So here's the update - we're figuring out the middle, adding some new action scenes, cutting some old scenes ruthlessly.  We hope to have the new rough manuscript finished tonight, which will give us the second week to do our final edit.

We're working with our amazing cover artist, Scarlett Rugers, to finalize our cover, which we will probably reveal on the blog before the book goes up for sale.  It's just too great to hide!

We're not announcing a launch date yet because we have a few sneaky promo plans we may put into place before we put Moonlight Call up for sale on Amazon.

Anyhoo, here's some pics of our work spaces here in Tally:

photo.JPG  Inside M's restaurant:  If you look way back in the left corner, my table hides behind that counter.

photo.JPG  My cozy table where I write and lurk while M is working

I love the artwork on the walls of her restaurant.

photo.JPG I picked this one one because Delie, one of our two main characters, gets in all sorts of trouble on a trawler.

These two are just cool:

photo.JPG             photo.JPG

photo.JPG  This one cracks M up!

Another of my faves: Anyone recognize this?


And of course, the hotel room:   

photo.JPG  Our writing nest - I tend to roost here while M is in the chair or on the floor or pacing about.

photo.JPG  Here's a section of our storyboard, which traveled with me from Louisana.

We have many fun hours ahead of us, but we're confident that when I leave next Sunday we'll have a manuscript ready to send over to our formatter.

Oh, and a little blog news.  We're planning on migrating to one under our penname, but we'll give you the details once we've made the move.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Living and Writing with Chronic Pain: A Private Confession

M and I know that we're still a wee little blog with not a huge amount of content yet.  We're okay with this.  We think long-term so we're building the foundation of what we intend to be a long, prosperous writing career.

Blogging is an element of that.  Many readers like to see what their favorite writers think, what their lives are like, what books they like.  We're all voyeurs in one form or another.  (And even though M isn't a fan of it, I like rambling about stuff.)

Where it gets tricky is separating the private you from the public you on your writer blog.

Who we are on these pages is not the totality of us.  It's us, don't get me wrong, but it's the bits of us we feel comfortable sharing. 

So today is a personal blog, a bit more of the real me with a little less sass.  I've mentioned before that I am chronically ill and a chronic pain sufferer.  I usually joke about it because I'm not comfortable exposing my weaknesses to folks outside of my family.

But I've been thinking a lot lately about my illnesses and the whole coy thing I've been pulling.  I'm not ashamed that I'm ill or embarrassed because I had to take early retirement at 35 because my body wouldn't let me work.  However, when you're as ill as I am, it's very difficult to not let those illnesses define you. 

One way you allow them to define you is by pretending they don't exist or failing to accept the impact they have upon your life.  And there's no doubt my illnesses has affected my life - my ability to teach, my ability to help support my family, my ability to take care of myself.  It's affected my home, my family, my sweet hubby, my child, and my best friend and writing partner.  Being chronically ill turned my life upside down.

I turned it right side up again by funnelling my ambition and drive and creativity into writing, one of my life-long passions.  But sometimes my health steals even that away from me.

I have several of the so-called invisible illnesses - I look healthy even though I have a multitude of ailments.  And I'm very good at putting up the facade when I need to do - I don't weep and wail in front of folks about how bad I feel. 

I've been sick since the day I was born and I never let it stop me because I have immense strength of will.  Unfortunately, there is a point when a person's body can overcome his/her will.  My body pooped out on me a few years ago so I'm stuck letting go of that life and trying to build another one.

So here's the deal - I'm not gonna talk about this a lot because it doesn't define me.  But I'm not gonna hide it either.

I have treatment and diet non-responsive IBS and because of that I live on a liquid diet.  It sucks, but it keeps me out of the ER.  I have degenerative disc disease that is progressing at a much faster rate than my doctors predicted a decade ago - this means my spine is all whacked out.  I have fibromyalgia, which in simple terms is an auto-immune disease that causes problems through out my body.  I have advanced arthritis, although we're still not sure what kind. 

There's more and my docs are still testing for more, but those are the biggies.  I live in severe, constant, unremitting pain every day of my life.

My health is the biggest reason we're 7 months behind schedule on releasing the book.  M and I have learned some things this past year about how to work around my disabilities and accomodate these things to keep me writing, but there are still days and weeks when I can do nothing.

Anyhow, when I refer to being chronically ill, this is what I'm talking about.

All this shit is depressing, isn't it?

I choose to laugh at my disabilities, no matter how dehumanizing they become.  And I try to limit myself to 5 minutes on the pity pot per day. (Some days this doesn't work so well.)  Then I get up and get on with living.

And writing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

L.M. Gautreaux's Winter Writing Workshop 2013

Squeee!  We have an announcement to make!  (No, the book's not ready, but it will be.)

My family is going on a winter vacay to the beach next week - me, my sweet hubby, the Child, my mama, my sister, and Doctor Brother and his wife and brood. 

And it just so happens that our vacation house is three hours away from Tallahasse.  Where M lives.  See where I'm going with this?

So instead of driving back to Louisiana after vacay, I'll head to Tally to spend two whole weeks with M working on the book!

Oh, we have so much planned - watching classic 80s movies into the wee hours of the morn, imbibling a strawberry daiquiri or three, bar hopping.  Wait, that was what we'd have done 20 years ago.

Times, they have changed,

Here are some of our goals (Let's do a subtitle in a pretty color this time.  Ya know, I'm just in the mood for it.)

L.M. Gautreaux's Winter Writing Workshop
  • Complete rewrite of Moonlight Call
  • Complete final edit of Moonlight Call
  • Finalize the cover with our talented and very patient cover artist, Scarlett Rugers
  • Set a date with our formatter
  • Outline Book Two
  • Pick another project in a different series and outline it
  • Develop ideas for 2 short stories in the Southern Sass series
  • Develop a launch plan for Moonlight Call
  • Business stuff like setting up our LLC and opening our bank account
  • Planning a tentative production schedule for the year
  • Talk about promotions and marketing and stuff like that
  • Set up our mailing list
  • Set up our KDP and CreateSpace accounts
There's more, but these are the big ones.  It's a lot, I know, but M will be with me every moment she can get away from the restaurant.  I'm holing up in a hotel because M's house is still partially under construction and we need a quiet writing space.  (Who am I fooling?  We make way more noise working than is acceptable.)

Now of course, M's business commitments and my health will have an impact on our output.  She's a busy little bee, and the travelling will be hard on me, no doubt.  But we'll have 13 whole days in the same space to hammer out some words and get our writing business on its feet.

At the very least, I will come home with a completed manuscript ready to be formatted and uploaded to Amazon.

I'm also hoping to pin M to the computer and make her write a blog.  We'll see how that goes.  In the meantime, I'm preparing a few posts that will go up while I'm on vacay and then working.  So no worries, our loyal readership, you will get your weekly dose of Southern Sass!

P.S.  We leave on Sunday.  Whoop!  That means only 4 days until departure and 10 days until I'm with M!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Saying Farewell to the Wheel of Time: Ruminations on Friendship

Doctor Brother and I have been reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series for over 20 years.  So when I let him know the final book came out this month, it didn't take him long to get us both copies.
I've finished mine, but this isn't a book review.  Not really.  Nor is it commentary about the nincompoop publishers withholding the ebook version for now.  Nope, not going down that road.

I'm not even gonna get into the whole "Did Brandon Sanderson do a good job?" controversy.  Promise.

Doctor Brother stays really busy with work and family, but he always finds time to text his baby sister.  (I've had to promise not to reveal any spoilers to get him to talk to me about the book because he's only 200 pages in.)

And here's what we realized - we've known these characters longer than almost everyone in our lives other than our parents.  I have a few childhood friends that I've known since 7th grade and still talk to, but at most that's a total of 5 people I've known longer than Rand and Egwene and Perrin.

I was 14 or 15 when Doctor Brother mailed me the first book.  I think the first 3 books were out when he discovered the series.  I have lots of memories of going to the bookstore to get the latest release and trying to decide if we needed to buy 2 copies. 

Doctor Brother was an adult already, but I still lived with our parents.  My dad followed the series with us so he and I would tussle over who got the book first.  (I usually won because I read faster.  And cuz I was sweet AND sassy...)

Anyhow, Jordan's world has been a part of our world for as long as we can remember, over 20 years.  So diving back in and reading the end of the story was like attending a family reunion. 

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that when you spend so many years following a set of characters, they become very real to you, a part of your life.

Friends come in all sorts of forms.  Let's do a list with bullets, shall we?  (No pretty colors this time though - I'm not in the mood.)
  • the friends you see and talk to every single day
  • your work friends
  • the friends you inherit because they came with your significant other
  • the friends you may not talk to often, but you know you could call them at any time and they'd be there
  • the parents of your kid's friends
I'd go so far as to add characters from your favorite books to that list.  You can't see them in real life or talk to them or go for coffee with them.  But they touch your life regardless.

The whole concept of friendship is one that M and I think about a lot.  Our book (which will be out soon!) revolves around two women who are sisters of the heart.  Although the two main characters, Delie and Chloe, aren't us, their bond is based on the relationship M and I share.

Moonlight Call is about more than friendship - we've got a pinch of the paranormal, a dash of romance, a hint of mystery, and lots of southern sass - but the soul of our story is wrapped around the relationship of two women who are always there for each other.

What I hope we've done with Delie and Chloe is make them the type of characters who become your friends, who you want to cheer for and cry with, characters that touch your heart and remind you that there is still good in this world.

And that life is so much better with a loyal friend by your side.  (Especially if she likes strawberry daiquiris as much as you!)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Writing Companions

Writing is often a solitary pursuit.  Since M and I work together, some of that isolation is alleviated; however, we are four states away from each other.

So in the end, it still comes down to each of us and our laptop.

Our furpeople tend to disagree.

Here are Bailey the Beagle and JuJu chilling in front of the fire.


I adopted Bailey from our local pound the year I turned thirty so he's been with me longer than the hubby and the child.  JuJu meowed her way into our household two summers ago - the hubby rescued her from the street, and home she came.  (Her official name is July - the name of the street on which he found her - but we're a nickname loving family.)

I'm the only human in the house from 6:30 to 3:00, but I certainly don't lack for company.

Here's my usual writing spot - the twin bed in my office.

photo.JPG  They take up way more room than I do.

Bailey is much more likely to crawl under the bed and roost there, but JuJu feels a bit different about where she belongs in the office...


She also knows when I'm paying more attention to the writing than her...


My Bailey is a smidge camera shy, but JuJu is a total ham.  Here's RastaJu...

photo.JPG  Blame this one on my hubby - that's his hat she's wearing.

M really wants a pup, but house rebuilding and allergies are currently standing in the way.  For now, she has Laverne and Shirley, two kitties she and her fella rescued from a pizza box in a dumpster about five years ago.

Here's Shirley...

image.jpeg  There's something seriously wrong with you if you don't laugh at this pic!

And Laverne...

IMG_1067.JPG  Looks very regal, doesn't she?

And Shirley again...

IMG_1070.JPG  I believe this is Shirley's preferred sleeping position.

All of our animals came from the pound or were rescued from the street.  Let me step on my soapbox for a second...hold on...k, now I'm ready.

If you are looking for an addition to your family and you've already figured out the important stuff (who's gonna do the walking, who's gonna empty the litter box, etc., etc.), please consider visiting your local pound or animal shelter.  Bailey and JuJu and Lavergne and Shirley would appreciate it.

Oh, wait, hold on, M wants to get up on the soapbox with me...ouch, elbow!...k, she's ready.

M says, "Don't get a frickin' animal if you're not gonna take care of it."