My Ivory Tower
- Karin Huxman - Romance Author
- My name is Karin Huxman and I write romance for New Concepts Publishing. You can find my author page at http://newconceptspublishing.com/karinhuxmanbooks.html. I write a mix of time travel, contemporary, paranormal, and sf/fantasy and love every minute of it.
Monday, October 27, 2008
For those of you wondering how my poor ankle is doing, I'm healing right on schedule. After three weeks in splints and another 3 in a hard cast, I finally got a walking cast about 10 days ago and am experimenting with putting some weight on the injured side. Still using two crutches but definitely making progress. I went back to work last week. Some of you know that I work in a branch of our public library system. The job involves lots of customer service, checking books in and out, and all variety of jobs that require lots of standing, carrying, and pushing heavy carts. The doctor said I could go back to work but with restrictions that included only standing ten minutes out of every hour and since I have my hands full of crutches, no carrying. So my boss got creative and found a branch that can accommodate a shorter work day and a sit down behind the scenes job. The first day was exhausting but by the end of the week I was feeling fine. Good thing, too, I was out of sick leave and was two weeks away from using up all my vacation leave! I'll go back to the doctor right before Thanksgiving. Hopefully at that time he'll determine that I'm healed enough to use just one crutch or a cane so I can go back to my regular branch and hours. I never realized before what a process healing from a broken bone can be!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Since I've been home I have not been allowed to put weight on my foot and have a walker that I came home from the hospital with to get me around. I go up and down the stairs on my bottom. :) Yesterday, after more than two weeks, the stitches came out, the splint came off, and a cast was put on (Air Force Blue) and I came home with more orders to stay off the foot until I go back in mid October at which time I'm hoping for a walking cast and permission to go back to work at least part time with restrictions. Jay is taking very good care of me. He fixes me breakfast and helps me downstairs before going to work in the mornings, comes home at noon to fix me lunch, and after a long day at work takes care of me and house things all evening. I'm sure he's getting a bit tired of the constancy of it, but he hasn't complained a bit.
I should be using this enforced solitude to write, but since today is my first day completely off the mind fuzzing pain killers I'm happy to be revising a novel I finished earlier in the year.
So I give thanks for a healthy right leg, my husband and family, EMTs, medical professionals, ambulances, and morphine.
Life is good!
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Last year I discovered that I'd been picking up books that I thought were new when in fact I'd read them years before. So I decided to keep track of the books, by title and author, that I read. I started last August so I have a year's worth of stats to wade through. Here are some of the preliminary results.
- Total books read: 105 1/2
- Fiction: 93
- Non fiction: 12 1/2
- Most read author: Nora Roberts (16) with Jayne Anne Krentz as herself and in her disguises as Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick coming in second at 13
- Most unusual book: Plato's Atlantis Dialogues
- Favorite non fiction: William Shatner's autobiography Up Till Now
- The 1/2 book: a biography of Rudyard Kipling that I started after watching a PBS show based on a small time in his life. Couldn't finish it, alas!
- Most books read in a month: 13 in June
- Least books read in a month: 3 in September, I don't know why the number was so low
Enough statistics. Let me add that I enjoyed reading some new authors. One was Shana Abe who came to visit my writers group, Pikes Peak Romance Writers. She wrote a fantasy romance trilogy about shape shifters. You say, sure everyone's done that. No, silly friend. She didn't write about werewolves or anything as ordinary as that. She wrote a historical romance series in which her characters can shift into dragons. Very cool, and very well done. Another new to me author I picked up was Jim Butcher. His Dresden Files books are so very well written. They are about the wizard, Harry Dresden, and the alternate reality Chicago in which he lives and works and battles vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other dark creatures.
I renewed my acquaintance with some writers whom I haven't read in a while, Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, and Sue Grafton to name a few. And I picked up a few of my favorite writers back list books to read.
My non fiction choices ranged from Plato to biographies/autobiographies to books on writing and creativity. I love William Shatner's Up Till Now. He writes with wit and humor starting with his child hood in Canada, through his years as a struggling actor, the TV shows and movies that made him a household name, through his first few seasons as Denny Crane Denny Crane on the TV show Boston Legal. I don't know how many times I caught myself laughing out loud as he reminisced and poked fun at himself.
Have you ever kept a list of books you've read? All you need is a cheap little notebook (they're on sale now, it's back to school time!) or set up a file on your computer. It's pretty enlightening to see how tastes change over time. So many books, so little time! What are you reading now?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I'm not complaining, I know I'll get back to a regular writing schedule again. It is a matter of will power. Not only that, the story will not be denied for long. I'll wake up one morning and be beckoned to the computer instead of outside. My story will take me by the hand and insist that I write it. I love it when that happens. Until then I'll putter and walk and read. I'll fill my creative well with sensory images that will make my muse swoon and my story gasp with delight when I finally come back from my summer writing doldrums. For now, I think I'll find a glass of iced tea and a spot in the shade of the aspen outside along with a book.
What about you? How do you cope with summer and all that tempts you away from what you should be doing?
Thursday, June 19, 2008
It’s the fear that the three book series I’m working on will never sell. The middle grade children’s novel I’ve been submitting will never be enjoyed by the intended audience. Fear that the spark of exhilaration and joy when I sit down to write may be gone for good, not just gone for a little while.
I think writing should be joyous, it should be exciting. Writers should approach the page with equal amounts trepidation and delight. But too many times fear holds us hostage. So how am I handling this fear? Well, I’m still writing every day. I’m still committed to finishing the book that I started. I’m looking forward to finally writing that vampire mystery that’s been brewing in the back of my head for a couple of years. And I search for joy and try to find ways to push away the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that says I’m a “has been” even though I’ve never even been a best seller.
Being a creative person, I live with both ego and the fear that I’m just not good enough every day. I’m working to dilute that fear by writing from the heart. Writing stories I want to tell whether or not anyone wants to read them. The process, I tell myself, is the important part of the journey. Who am I kidding? I want my work to sell bunches so I can send my husband on the hunt of his life and we can finally go on that cruise to Tahiti. I’m afraid that my chance has passed me by but I’m stubborn and not a little rebellious. So I keep writing. The story has to come out one way or another, it’s what I do.
What do you do to conquer the fear that crops up in your creative life? Ignore it? Confront it? Whine about it? Please share with us. Oh, and go to the New Concepts Publishing site and take a chance on buying VIRTUAL HEART at a huge sale price. Last chance, you know.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
1. Read for pleasure. Somehow it's not quite as to rude to dip my nose in a good book while everyone else is watching TV than it is for me to excuse myself and lock myself in my office. Yes, I know that watching TV is not really "entertaining" company, but it is a way to relax after a busy day out and about in more than mile high oxygen deprevation. Besides, it's always good to feed your muse and catch up on what everyone else is writing out there.
2. Read a book on writing. This feels like a better compromise to me. It's feeding your writing education and reading too. Right now I'm reading Chapter after Chapter by Heather Sellers.
3. Discuss books with your guests. My mom and I often read completely different fiction so it's interesting to find out what she enjoys reading and why. And I can tell her why I like the romance fiction that I read so much. This goes the same for my dad. Both of my parents, really my whole family, have an interest in how my writing career is progressing. This gives us a way to talk about that without it being all about me. :)
4. Even if it's just writing a page in a journal or posting something online, like blogging :), find a way to write a little something every day. It keeps your brain and fingers in sync and you feel like you actually accomplished something.
5. Finally, enjoy your company. Remember that writing comes from life. Live it, embrace it, then allow it to enrich your writing. I try to remember details, feelings, the way the light fell, the way my grandson's hand looks juxtaposed against my mother's, or how he has my dad's eyes. The richness of our lives informs our work and helps to take it to the next level, helps the readers to connect with out words, and fills the creative well.
What do you do when company comes? How do you satisfy both your muse and your need to be with your guests?
Friday, May 2, 2008
Thursday, April 24, 2008
I've been in procrastination mode this past week. Guess I'm dawdling over revising a manuscript. Here's what's going on. I've started writing the first draft of the last book in a three book series. I got to a point where I realized I'd forgotten little details from the two earlier books. So I went back and read the first story, which is a completed manuscript that my agent is shopping around, and started taking notes. You know, hair color, eye color, names, places, and stuff like that. The second book in the series is finished in draft form but instead of taking the time to edit/revise when the first draft was done, I just started in on the third book. Big mistake. I started having trouble with who did what and when, the timing of everything was off. So now I'm reading the second manuscript and doing some revision work at the same time and taking notes, of course. It's kind of tedious work. Okay, necessary because rarely does an author get it completely right on a first draft. And I always learn a lot about my own writing when I revise and edit a manuscript. But I really am itching to get back to the third story. So I'm finding ways to keep from doing the revision.
With that in mind, here's my list for today.
5 ways to procrastinate when you should be writing:
1. Write a blog post. :)
2. Online catalogs are great, I spent way too much time today "shopping" for things I don't need and will never buy.
3. Check my email over and over and over again.
4. Staring out the window. I could say that I'm brainstorming or my right brain is working something out, but mostly I'm just staring out the window.
5. Making a list of all the things I should be accomplishing and are not.
How do you procrastinate? Do you convince yourself it's all part of the creative process or allow a little guilt to seep through. Please write something. Reading it will give me something to do when I should be writing!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
In honor of National Poetry Month I'm inviting anyone who wishes to post a poem in the comments section of this blog. Go ahead, be brave and post one of your own. I'm going to, to start it off. The only thing is, if you post a poem written by someone else please make sure you have persmission to use it or it is already a public domain poem. I'd rather not deal with any copyright issues. And please feel free to comment on poems posted, but be polite. Poets are sensitive souls. Most of all, have fun.
Poetry is meant to illuminate a moment in time, space, or the human spirit. Some are light, some heavier in tone. All have the ability to create an emotional response in the reader, at least that's what poets hope for.
The Pikes Peak region, where I call home, has just inaugurated its very first Poet Laureate, a poet by the name of Aaron Anstett. For information about this program and about this poet, please go to http://www.pikespeakpoetlaureate.org/. There are tabs at the top of the page that will help you navigate around. If you are a teacher, you might want to check out the "For Educators" tab. This is such a new program that the site might seem a bit lite (was that a rhyme?) but I know they'll be adding more to it soon and often.
Okay, now for my poem. I wrote this one shortly after the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Many poets felt the need to put their feelings into words as a way to somehow work their way through the horror of the experience. The Gazette, our local newspaper, printed this one. It's probably one of my longer and more emotional published poems.
(c) 2001 by Karin Huxman
You can't believe.
It can't be right -
Airplanes do not fly
Instead of apologizing
Networks rerun footage.
Disbelief morphs into
Each view of bodies falling,
Steel girders raining down
Like giant toy sculptures
Gone awry -
Becomes a human moment
Juxtaposed against inhuman
America's throat closes around
The dust clogged air that is
Hearts ache, but still beat
Against the next ... Replay.
If you are a school teacher or have children and want to encourage them to write poetry, please visit my children's book website, http://kdhuxman.wordpress.com. I'd love to see some children's poetry posted.
It's National Poetry Month. Who else wants to play?
Thursday, April 3, 2008
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_concepts_pub/join and I hope to "see" you there.
5 Reasons to Participate in an NCP Author Theme Day:
1. You get to read free excerpts from romance novels in a subgenre you love.
2. You might discover a great new author.
3. Many authors give out prizes, you could be the lucky one!
4. Many of these excerpts are from books that haven't been released yet, you're getting a sneak peak!
5. Make new friends of authors and other readers who enjoy the same kinds of books you do.
New Concepts Publishing (http://www.newconceptspublishing.com/) is a small press that publishes romance and erotic romance in electronic and paperback formats. They've been innovative in bringing the hottest new fiction to fans. I hope you'll check them out.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
1. It's been nominated for this cool award, read it!
2. This book has been peer reviewed, no one is harsher than a peer. Read it!
3. This author has written an awesome book that a panel of judges has given high marks to. Read it!
4. Romance authors rock. These are the cream of the crop. Read these books!
5. As a military veteran who also writes romances novels, I know that these authors write about heroic women who understand sacrifice and who find heroes who appreciates her. Read these books!
Yes, for those of you who don't know, I was in the Air Force for a few years. I served as a communications officer until I opted for the higher calling of motherhood. :) I wouldn't trade those years of service to my country for anything. Go ahead and Google RomVets. You'll find a neat web page with information on authors who have also served our country with honor and also write awesome romance novels.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Several people commented on my ivory tower graphic. It was created by my very talented daughter, Kristin. She's a senior in college studying art. I asked her to create a graphic for me to use on my website and I think she did a super job. You can view more of her work online at http://mystictriana.deviantart.com . If you leave a comment, just tell her that Mom sent you. :) She'll be making her living as an artist, when she graduates in May, so if you'd like a cool graphic for your website just let me know and we'll find a way to pass your contact information to her in a private way.
It's been snowing all day here in beautiful Colorado and looks to keep it up over night. I know it will be spring soon, I just know it!
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I've been told that Thursday is "list" day on blogs. That's as yet unsubstantiated but I thought a list would be a good thing to start today. Feel free to add to it in the comments section.
Okay, 5 Reasons to Read Romance Novels:
1. Romance writers create the best characters. People inhabit the pages of these novels who have hopes and dreams and flaws, they are real and you are on their side.
2. You know that though the hero and heroine are arguing on page twenty, that they'll have made up and fallen in love by the end. It's how they get from here to there that keeps you turning the pages.
3. Well written stories written in exotic locales can sweep you away from whatever doldrums you're currently stuck in.
4. You can get fantasy, sf, urban legends, werewolves, vampires, cowboys, you name it in a romance novel.
5. Romance novels are hopeful, they celebrate the power of love and don't let you down.
There are 5 just off the top of my head. Why do you read romance novels?
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
3/12/08 This is a writing post but not about my romance novels. I also write for children as K.D. Huxman and received my first award for a published book over the weekend. Grizzelda Gorilla won an EPPIE award for best Children's/YA ebook. Yep, ebooks get nice awards, too and I was just tickled to bring this one home with me. You can find my children's books at http://www.kittycatbooks.com/ .
I'll be blogging about romance writing and writing in general starting tomorrow. Just wanted to get this news posted.