Tuesday, December 27, 2005

the aftermath

Christmas with Ken turned out to be pretty sweet. I got lots of clothes and some jewelry, while Ken's best gift was a new winter coat. Santa didn't forget the kitties, of course--they got a bunch of new cat toys that will eventually become lost underneath the couch. One was a catnip mouse that everyone took turns drooling on. After the first twenty minutes the stupid thing was drenched with cat spit. Yech. The upshot was that all the cats were high and funnier than usual.

Haven't heard anything yet about any of the stories I've submitted, nor anything from the publisher or the agent about the book. I actually 'finished' the third book over the weekend. It still needs more work but I'm calling it done until I get feedback from my readers. After the new year I'm starting on my four-wizard book and the second short story for the anthology. Hope to get the short story done in a few weeks so I can get input from my readers about which story they like best before the end of January. Where the fuck does the time go?

Friday, December 23, 2005

back from the quad

Christmas with the in-laws was relatively painless. Everyone was in a good mood--no one was snarky, no one got their feelings hurt, there were no arguements ... it was fairly amazing. Those things generally happen when Ken's family gets together, and so days they don't are remarkable. Maybe that we were only together for about five hours had something to do with it. I got clothes and money, so it's all good. We won't be doing x-mas with my family for anther couple of weeks, so I've got plenty of time to mentally prepare.

A few thoughts popped into my head while I was with my nieces and nephew. One was when I first saw my nephew--he'll be fourteen in February--and I saw how much of a man he's beginning to look like. He was walking around the house barefooted, and a I saw how his feet looked more like man-feet than kid-feet, and the thought that came to me was that someday he'll make love to a woman that loves those feet. They'll lie together in bed in some cramped dorm room and she'll tell him how much she loves how he holds his feet when he's sleeping.
The second thought that came to me actually occured to me a month ago when my niece, nephew, and a friend of my nephew's visited Ken and I, but seeing them today reminded me of it. We were hanging out in the mall when I realized that I was only a few months older than my niece when I lost my virginity to a guy around my nephew's friend's age--I was 16, he was 14--and it made me wonder if any of the teenagers present had done that deed. Maybe. Maybe not. You can bet some of their friends have, and you can bet it's on their minds either way.
Today I got my niece's and nephew's blog addresses, so I'll be checking them out in the next couple of days. It'll give me insight to the mindset of the current youth, which will be helpful for my writing, but also it'll allow me to get to know them as people, which is what I really want.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


I've not been writing much lately and it's starting to wear on me. I can always tell when I haven't been writing because I walking around with a sort of low-grade PMS buzzing around my head. When I'm truly PMS-ing, I hate everyone: "What, you sneezed? You bastard. How dare you sneeze around me." Luckily this only lasts about a day. When I haven't been writing, though, it's more along these lines: "You sneezed? I'll bless you if I must. But you must thank me for doing so." This will last until I write something. This blog entry will probably be enough to last me a few days.

Today I lunched with three of my best girlfriends. We ate food and laughed and talked about people behind their backs. I love being snarky. I can't help it. One could make the arguement that it's hateful and mean-spirited and it makes me a bad person. So be it. I make the arguement that if I wasn't ever snarky, I'd go insane from bottled-up frustration and call someone a worthless bitch to their face. I daresay that would make for an uncomfortable work environment. See? It's better my way.

Going to see the in-laws on Friday. I'll be sure to post a report with all the bloody details. Hopefully I won't be posting from jail.

Friday, December 16, 2005

well ...

I've finished one story for the anthology. I've got a few good ideas for another one, so I'll work on it over the next few weeks. That, coupled with finishing up my third book, should make for a busy week after Christmas. I think I'm going to enter the local newspaper's fiction contest. One of my girlfriends called my attention to it, so I'm gonna give it a shot. I haven't checked out the details, but I think the deadline's late January. We'll see how it goes. Probably won't win, but the more stories you write the better writer you become, so I still come out ahead.

Looking forward to New Year's Eve. We're having a big party complete with food, booze, and poker. What else do you need, really?

Today was the last day of finals for the college, so when Ken and I went X-mas shopping tonight it was actually bearable. We're going to do some shopping on Campus tomorrow, then go to a x-mas party tomorrow night. I'm hoping to go see King Kong or Aeon Flux at some point during the weekend, but we'll see how it goes. We usually talk a big game but then we end up sitting at home on our ass. As long as this ass is writing and not playing xbox, it's all good.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

and the verdict is ...

Still Alive! I've officially finished my first four days as a day shifter. This is a basic run-down of my typical day.

2200: go to bed.

0030: wake up. Look at the clock. Curse and go back to sleep.

0230: wake up. Look at the clock. Curse and pee before going back to sleep.

0430: wake up. Look at the clock. Curse. Sleep.

0545: alarm goes off. Grumble, brush teeth, pee, shower, dress.

0630: leave for work. Curse as I scrape off windows. Send mental love to Ken for buying me a car with ass warmers.

0700: clock in. Feel like a rookie student as I try to remember the things I'm supposed to do at the beginning of the shift. Try not to look tired as everyone asks how I'm making the transistion. Resolve to wear make-up tomorrow to look a little more "with it."

0900: break. As an evening shifter, I always made fun of the dayshifters for taking a break and a lunch when all we got was a short lunch. But dammit, when break time rolls around I'm hungry and in need of caffeine. If I have to follow the leader and take a break with my new coworkers to get it, so be it. Besides, one doesn't make friends by bucking the trend during their first week.

1130: lunch. I've just eaten two hours ago and I'm not hungry. However, the state of IL has decreed that lunch must be taken within five hours of the start of the shift. That means I eat. Luckily, I've already made plans to swim in the mornings after the first of the year and go running after work when the weather hits 50 degrees. That means I'll have to sucker someone into biking with me and I'll be set for tri training.

1530: end of shift. See the evening shifters roll in, shoot the shit with them before leaving. I really miss them. They're such a fun group.

1600-1730: This should be my writing time. This has been, however, my xbox time. This will need to change soon, since I need to get that story finished and I'd like to get my book finished by the end of the year so I can get started on another book.

1730-2200: read, watch tv, and hang out with Ken. And then the cycle begins again.

I can't help feeling like I'm in school again, with learning new stuff at work, being tired, and hanging out with Ken of an evening. I feel like I mesh well with the department, and I know I made the right decision, but it's going to take a while before it feels natural.

Ken has decided to switch jobs. Even though it's a longer drive and less pay, it's a good move. He hates his current job, and he's noticebly happier knowing he'll be outta there in a month. Ah, the winds of change.

Friday, December 02, 2005

my last evening

With the exception of one weekend and Christmas, tonight is my last evening shift. I thought I'd post the e-mail I sent to my co-workers along with explainations of some of the in-jokes.

And so it comes. Traditionally, when the treacherous sould who dare leave the paradise known as evenings work their last shift, they send an e-mail thanking everyone for the great food and for being a great bunch of co-workers.

I am not, in general, a traditionalist.

What follows is a list of some of my favorite memories from my 6-1/2 year tenure. Some of you might not understand. Ask the old-timers.

--Snowball fights in the parking lot
--the lab week activity known as Lab Luge [this involves a rolling office chair, a long stretch of corridor, a timer and a co-worker.]
--trips in the dumbwaiter [once we sent a few people downstairs in the dumbwaiter. Strictly speaking, the dumbwaiter is for specimens only. But you can fit a smallish person in it if they aren't claustrophobic]
--fire in the lab! [one weekend, the fire alarm went off. This did not alarm us. What alarmed us was the "greenleaf, lab building, greenleaf, lab building" announcement overhead. We called security to see where the fire was and if we should evacutate. No, no, they told us, it's on the second floor. We spent the next few hours smelling smoke and watching the fire department out of the windows. What kills me is that we had to call. I think they would've let us bake before remembering there are people that work in the lab.]
--discovering how to talk to Dr. C. [he is an asshole heart/vascular surgeon. The only way not to get cursed at and written up when you call him is to be hateful right back at him, as if it's his fault you're calling him with an alert value after nine. Which, strictly speaking, it is.]
--rock-paper-scissors [this is how we used to determine who did the first cell count of the night.]
--iPod/disco night [we cranked the tunes, turned down the lights, and danced for a few hours. Needless to say, it was a slow night.]
--exploding poop [Apparently, this only happens to me.]
--favorable electromagnetic influence over the UF-100 [I'm one of those people that stop watches and kill calculator batteries. My freakish nature makes the urinalysis instrument autoverify samples.]

So that's what I sent out. Hopefully everyone got a few laughs out of it. There are a few things that I didn't include here because they are pretty incriminating. You'll just have to wonder.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

this and that

Today I'm sort of in a funk. For one thing, it's fucking freezing outside, and I'm soooo not looking forward to being out in it. For another, it's sort of finally really hitting me that I'll be leaving evenings. Last night a few of my coworkers were getting down to business with their competancies (little quizzes each departments give annually that, if you pass, means you are able to work in that department for the next year). Usually we all work on them together--some would call it cheating, but I call it a collaborative effort--and last night was no exception. Except for me. For one thing, I had already done a few of them, but one I haven't done I won't need to do. That I wasn't comparing answers and helping find answers that no one knew made me realize that I am no longer a part of "us," I'm a part of "them." I know that I'll always be friends with my peeps on evenings ... but it will just be different. I am one of "them." Of course, "they" think I'm now a part of their "us," ... but I will take me a bit to mentally make that shift myself.

In order to cheer myself up, I'm going outline the work I'm doing with my writing:
--still working on finishing my third book before the end of the year.
--sent a packet of first book materials to an editor last week.
--sent a query to an agent last week.
--sent a short story submission a few weeks ago to "Cricket," a young-adult literary magazine.
--working on the short story for the DAW anthology.
--sending a submission (today) to The Hub Weekly, a freebie community paper in the area that will begin to publish weekly fiction stories shortly.
Seeing it all on paper makes me feel like I have a few irons in the fire, even if they're all lukewarm and the fire is only a few hot coals.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday

While Ken and I may or may not go shopping later, we have another reason to dread today. We're taking three of the four cats to the vet at the same time. It sounded like a good idea when I made the appointment--'oh, Ken's off, so he'll help me, and one trip instead of three is always good'--but, damn. Let me give you a rundown of what the half-hour before the vet visit will entail.

Clean the cat carriers. Do this outside so the cats don't know what's coming.

Warm up the car.

Close all bedroom and basement doors so that there are no escape routes.

Bailey will be under the bed, so run vacuum in the bedroom so she'll shoot out from underneath before she knows what's coming.

Stuff Bailey in one box.

Get clean towel and go after Kahlua, who by this point knows what's coming and wants no part of the nonsense. He's fat, though, so he's easy to catch. However, he's got a defense mechanism.

Wrap towel around Kahlua, making sure to cover both his eyes and his tail end. Hold him away from yourself so that when he pees out of fright (this is the said defense mechanism) it doesn't go on you. If you've done your wrapping job right, it'll go on the towel. Stuff Kahlua into the other box.

Go after Moonshine. She is skittish, but she's only been in the cat carriers once or twice, and she didn't seem to mind the vet the few times she's been, so her curiousity about the rucus might make your job easier. Stuff her into box with Bailey. Bailey might be bitchy, but she's more calm that Kahlua in this situation and Kahlua's fear might transfer to Moonshine if they're in the same box.

Shove Morgan out of the way when you leave. You see that Morgan is quite pleased with himself because he is not a part of this circus side show. Tell him to wipe the smug look off his face or he'll be next. Tell him you'll find a reason to take him to the vet, and then won't he be sorry. Shut the door and wonder if Morgan is on the counters out of spite yet.

This is the basic script for any trip to the vet. Once we get home, Bailey will hiss at all the others--they'll each get their own customized hiss--because she will be convinced it's their fault she has had to suffer such indignities. Kahlua will roll into a ball on the couch and not move until nightfall, while I'm not entirely certain what Moonshine will do. Morgan will prance around and generally make an ass of himself, gloating because he didn't have to go.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Eat More Chicken!

Happy Thanksgiving! Ken and I stayed home today and cooked a little feast. It was good except for the turkey breast--we didn't cook it long enough and so it was still pink in the middle. We picked at it but ultimately threw it out because we were both paranoid about food poisoning. It was good to stay home, though, because we don't have headaches from family stress and we haven't been overfed.
It feels more like Christmas than Thanksgiving in our house because Ken stood in line outside of best buy on Tuesday and scored himself and XBOX360, so we've been playing with the new toy all day. Even I have to admit it's pretty fucking cool. The graphics are awesome, and because we have it hooked up to our projector, the screen is like six feet wide. When I watch or play Call of Duty 2, though, I get motion sick. It's weird. But I'm sorta getting the hang of the racing game, though, so it's okay. I'd like to have a poker game for it, and I'll be buying Ken and game for Christmas, so we'll have a collection in no time.

Called Dad today. Almost told him about the short-story thing, but didn't. I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm afraid to tell him it didn't work out if it doesn't, or maybe I'm afraid if I tell too many people it won't happen, or ... I don't know. I think it has something more to do with fucked up parental relationships, because I haven't told mom, either. This is all beginning to sound Freudian and so I'm stopping now.
Tomorrow we may actually go out and brave the crowds. There are actually a few gifts I could buy, but mostly I like to watch all the people and feed off their energy. Does that make me some sort of freaky Christmas Vampire?

Monday, November 21, 2005

Even better news (I think)

It turns out that the anthology I'm submitting to is invitation-only. I think that means this: the author is gathering 15-18 submissions, and unless mine is unacceptable in some way, it'll be published. Holy fucking shit! It goes without saying I had an anxiety attack when I read that e-mail. There are a few authors she's invited that are widely published in the genre (Mike Stackpole and Chris Peirson). Their name on the cover will ensure that more people will buy the book and so more people will potentially read my story. Anthologies really aren't big sellers, but who gives a shit? My name will be in print! That is, if I don't fuck this up somehow. People I've told are already clamoring for autographed copies. I say, don't jinx me. I'll believe it actually happened when I have a copy of the book in my hands.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

exciting news

Today I got an email that made my heart race and my hands shake.

No, it wasn't porn. Get your mind outta the gutter.

The author I sent my manuscript to invited me to send a story to her for an anthology she's editing. She hasn't read much of my book yet--she's got about a thousand irons in the fire and, let's face it, I'm a guppy in the fiction ocean--but she has read the first four or five chapters. That she's invited me to send in a story tells me that she doesn't think my writing sucks. If I was crap she wouldn't have given me this opportunity, right? The deadline's not until April, so idealy I'd like to write a couple of stories and submit the best one. Just sending it in doesn't mean I'll actually be published. I don't know how many spots she's trying to fill, but I believe she gets hundreds of submissions for her anthologies, so the odds aren't in my favor. I say, experience counts, and if I don't get this anthology I'll get the next one, or the one after that.

I have Friday night off. I feel a celebration coming on.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

fun with chemistry

Today I performed a chemistry experiment I like to call "making chocolate-oatmeal no-bake cookies." If I do say so myself, the experiment was a smashing success. To me, cooking is like following a laboratory procedure ... if you can do one, you can do the other. Give me a recipe and I can follow it. Ken, however, follows the "a dash of this and a smidge of that, taste it, add a bit of this" school of cookery. It goes without saying that we don't usually cook together.

Submitting a short story today. A few weeks ago I received a rejection for something I had forgotten I had submitted. I've been working on the third book and a really rough outline for a new book. I'm reading "My Sister's Keeper" by Jodi Picoult. It's really good--last night I stayed up until 0230 reading and bawling like a baby. If you've ever lived with anyone who's had a serious illness, you'll totally relate. As a writer, it's good to read, too, because each chapter is a different character's POV.

Monday, November 07, 2005

all the dirt from Madison

I woke up at, like, 0430 and couldn't get back to sleep. We left town at around 0915 and two discussions about my driving and one pee break later, made it into Madison at around 1330. Our hotel sucked--it wasn't the convention hotel but one about three blocks away--and apparently hadn't been updated since the 1930's or so. We couldn't control the heat, the smoke alarm would go off when we showered, and the toilet would sometimes keep running. Luckily, we didn't spend too much time there. Once we got food in our tummies we were in a much brighter frame of mind.

We checked into the convention and got our swag bag. I'm here to say the goodies are worth the price of admission (which is a steep $135 apiece). Ken and I each received a bag full of books. Unfortunatley, two of the books we already owned, but fortunately, there was a 'book swap' table were you put duplicates and pick up books you wanted. The dealer's room was basically jewelery and books, and you guys know me and bookstores. I held myself to one book, though.

The panel discussions were good. That first afternoon I met Holly Black, who has published something like seven ya books in the past five years. I immediately wanted to be her friend because she had cool hair and could do that cool liquid-eyeliner-sixties-cat-eyes thing with her makeup. She introduced me to her agent, who invited me to send him a query. Whee-hee! That night we attended a few readings, as well, and decided that readings were a lot of fun. The two authors we saw first changed their voices for each character and read with alot of expression, much like an audiobook. The whole point of the reading is to make people want to buy the book the story is in or the book that is coming out, and these two accomplished that. There are unpublished authors that do readings, as well, so maybe I'll try to get a slot next year. It made me think I should maybe take an acting class or something so I could be more comfortable speaking in front of a crowd and getting into the reading.

Another bonus of WFC: free food and drinks. There's a 'consuite' room with freebie soda, beer, and hot and cold food to eat and drink whenever you want. Also, every evening different groups host parties that are on the same floor of the consuite. Once again, free drinks flow. The first night it was austrailian wines (it was an aussie party), and I had to consciously remind myself I was here to meet people, not to become drunk and stupid on free liquor. That first night Ken and I met two guys from Arkansas--Jon and Jeremy--who had written a few books and were stumping them around. We actually hit if off right away and kept meeting up with them throughout the con.

I met a children's/ya editor from Viking--she was on a panel and the first words out of her mouth were "I fucking hate morning people," and so I knew she was one chick I had to meet. After speaking with her for a bit she told me to send her my manuscript, and if it wasn't for her, she'd maybe pass it on to someone who could work with it. Apparently this woman is a biggish name in the children's/ya publishing realm because her name kept popping up over the course of the weekend. She said she seemed to like contemporary fantasy more, so I have a feeling she'll reject my book, but maybe she'll like the next one. I could have that one done next summer, maybe.

In the early evening Ken and I played a time-wasting but highly-addictive game with a group of writers from Minneanapolis. They seemed like a group of peeps I could hang with alot. One of them has a PhD in physics, and somehow we got onto the subject of marshmellows in the microwave. Apparently, if you make a grid of minimarshmellows in the microwave and you zap them, you see the microwaves in the pattern of swelling. You can measure it and somehow calculate the speed of light. This chick says this--I think it was Laura--and immediately I feel like a complete dumbass. This is what they do for fun???? Dude, I watch E! and read Instyle for fun. Of course, I kept that information to myself. See, sometimes I can keep my mouth shut.

More parties in the evening. Met up with some people Ken and I had met at Gen Con in July. One is the author that I gave my manuscript to. She was only on page sixty or so, but she said so far she was enjoying it and she would email her comments soon. I found out she has two deadlines before the end of the year and one in February, so it might be awhile. I say, we should all be so lucky.

Ken and I join Jon, Jeremy, and the gen conners for breakfast. I'm beginning to feel less like an imposterish hack and more like I belong. I'm already looking forward to next year. We do panels and readings all day, but skip the parties that night. We're not young anymore, after all, and can only drink so many woodchuck ciders and microbrews, even if they are free.

Ken and I talk with Marissa Lingen for a bit. I had spoken with her briefly throughout the con, but she had had a bout of food poisoning and wasn't up for much. She was still sick on Sunday, and I felt bad for her. She seemed like a sweetie, though, and if she spent too much time with me I would surely corrupt her. After a few panels and another free book we left.

Basically, the moral is in the beginning I felt like a nervous, incompetant, and talentless hack, and in the end I felt like a semi-competant hack with a smidgen of talent.

Gotta jet. I'm meeting a friend for a belated-birthday lunch, and I have to go make myself beautiful. That could take awhile.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

T-four days and counting

We leave for Madison on Thursday. I just don't have any idea at all of what to expect. I hope I meet fun people and make friends and don't make too big of an ass out of myself. I hope I don't get told I'm a horrible writer and I should go home and never come back. I hope I am ballsy enough to pitch my trilogy to a few editors well enough that they ask to see it.

I guess the attitude to go with is, if none of this happens next weekend, it will next year. Or the year after that. Persistance pays off, as they say. And I've been known to be stubborn ...

I am no where near completion of my third book. I haven't worked on it at all in the last few weeks, and I think it's mostly from denial about Madison. You know, an "I can't suck if I don't write" sort of thing. Completely unhealthy, I know. Hopefully I'll be able to get work done on it in the few vacation days I have before Thursday.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


When I turned on my computer, I had intended for this to be a fun post. However, I made the mistake of checking the news on msnbc.com and read that the missing Illinois State University student's body was found off of I-55 in Mississippi. She was a senior in the med tech program over there, and so I felt a little bit connected to her even though I had never met her. Sort of puts my troubles at work into perspective.

On that note, I'm going to continue with the fun post I had envisioned. Tonight I made a playlist for my iPod and I'm going to share my thoughts on it. Sort of like a celebrity playlist on iTunes except I have nothing to promote.

Breath (2a.m.)--Anna Nalick: I especially like the lines "2a.m. and I'm writing a song/if I get it all out on paper/it's no longer inside me/threatening the life it belongs to/and I feel like I'm naked in front of this crowd/these words are my diary screaming out loud/and I know that you'll use them/ however you want to." I can totally relate to that.

Creep--Stone Temple Pilots: TKE house. 1994. My friend and I were one of the last ones at a keg party. My friend was scamming on a brother, and another brother saw me sitting on a couch, took pity on me, and dance with me to this song.

Don't Speak--No Doubt: This song came out right around the time my husband and I started dating. When I would drive to his apartment late at night it always seemed to be playing on the radio.

Every Breath You Take--The Police: This always reminds me of my cousin Brooke's house. Her mom (who is actually my first cousin) was young and hip and cool and listened to rock.

Father Figure--George Michael: This mostly reminds me of the video. It seemed sort of dirty and risky and daring and it turned me on, but I couldn't explain why. Taboo, I guess.

Groovy Kind of Love--Phil Collins: I've always liked this song. My cousin played it during her wedding ceremony, and so now I associate it with her.

I Will Buy You a New Life--Everclear: I grew up near the poverty level. Those gift boxes charities put together near Christmas time? Our family used to get 'em. There's still something about a gift labeled "girl, age 13-15" that chokes me up. So I can relate to this song.

Inside Out--Eve 6: This is a good song to sing at the top of your lungs. I think of one of my best friends from college when I hear it.

Iris--Goo Goo Dolls: I think of working at SLU hospital when I hear this song. A cool guy I worked with and I had a deep philisophical discussion one night about the lyrics. Of course, any conversation at three in the morning has an element of importance to it, so maybe it wasn't as deep as I remember.

Kiss--Prince: Best Prince song ever. There will be no debate.

Losing My Religion--R.E.M.: I think about Gideon Fischel when I hear this song. He was my first kiss.

Lovin', Touchin', Sqeezin'--Journey: Ah, Journey. Another sing-along song. This makes me think of the infamous iPod night at work.

November Rain--Guns'n'Roses: Argueably the best GNR song.

Stay (I Missed You)--Lisa Loeb: I think of Winona Ryder and Melissa, my girlfriend from high school. We played lots of hands of Spite and Malice while sitting on the hood of her car at the town square one summer, and this song was on the radio alot.

Take It To the Limit--The Eagles: The Eagles are one of my husband's favorite bands. This makes me think of him.

Take Your Mama--Sissor Sisters: I just like the beat of this song. And you gotta love a band who names itself after lesbian slang.

The Freshman--The Verve: When I hear this song I think of living in St. Louis. When it would come on the radio, my husband and I would invariably be in the car and we'd both sing out loud to it. There's something special about singing out loud with someone.

To Be With You--Mr. Big: A lesser known hair-band. It seemed like I knew about 'em before anyone else did in high school.

Underneath Your Clothes--Shakira: Another sing-along song. I can convince myself I sound good when I harmonize with Shakira.

Wait--White Lion: Another song that makes me think of Ken.

When Doves Cry--Prince: Okay, maybe we should debate. This is a pretty kick-ass Prince tune.

Zombie--The Cranberries: This makes me think of freshman year in the dorms. Somebody was always blasting this song from their stereo, loudly, just because they could.

Well, that's it for tonight. Trips down memory lane are fun. Don't be surprised if I do it again soon. I need the emotional balm.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

stupid printer, part deux

It turned out I just needed to buy a new printer cartridge. I'll print out my manuscript tonight and tinker with it tomorrow during the day. It'll take my mind off my paying job, at any rate. Right now that's being a big headache and anything that will make me less tense, even if it's for an hour or three, is welcome.

Right now I'm reading another Jim Butcher novel and an instructional poker book. What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment. The novel will make me feel inadequate as a writer and the poker book will make me feel inadequate as a player. But if ya wanna get better at something, ya gotta learn from the best, and learning from the best makes you feel like a moron on occasion.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

stupid printer

So I go to print out a draft of my manuscript today and the printer decides to crap out. Stupid piece of shit. I refilled the cartridge, cleaned it, and still no dice. It'll print picture scans but not word documents. Ken said that when he was printed a bunch of stuff it just quit printing--it spewed out pages, but with nothing on 'em. I honesty thought cleaning the print cartridge would take care of the problem. Now I gotta spend who knows how long tomorrow morning troubleshooting this thing so I can get a hard copy of my work to edit it. Aaaargh. Maybe I oughta save myself the stress and work on something else. You know, use the technology failure as an excuse to write a short story or work on the plot for my next book. At least I'd be productive instead of cursing at my printer. We'll see what sort of mood I'm in tomorrow.

On the bright side, the tempertures have taken a dip again and it finally feels like fall. Yippee! I love when the weather turns cold. Cold weather is total comfort food and clothes time. Sweaters, mashed potatoes, roasted pecans, hot cocoa, fuzzy socks, scarves and mittens, here I come.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

cold medicine rocks

I've had a wicked head cold for the past few days. I'm so high on Nyquil that I've been thinking that this whole WFC thing could turn out okay. I've made a few e-mail contacts so far so there's industry folks I'll be looking up, the author I sent my manuscript to says she'll talk to me about it in Madison, and a fellow young gun I've emailed has invited me to get to know her friends over dinner and drinks. Really, how bad can this be? So what if I don't convince an editor to look at my trilogy? I'll at least have made some writing drinking buddies.

Due to the aforementioned head cold, I've not worked on my third book at all for about four days. Damn it! But on the plus side my drug-induced euphoria has produced some really primo ideas I can't wait to incorporate.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

funky mood

Still in a funky mood, and probably will be until after wfc. I'm having writer's block of sorts--it seems I'm almost paralyzed by my own thoughts of inepitude. I can't be that bad, can I? The real answer to that is no, I'm not, and even if I don't interest any editors in a few weeks there's always next year. Every word I write now will make me a better writer later, and if that's what it takes then that's what I'll do. But for some reason the real answer keeps bouncing off my industrial-strength insecurity sheild around my ego.

On the bright side, I've been googling the membership list for the wfc and have e-mailed a few prospective contacts. One is Jane Yolen, who is an incredibly prolific children's/middle grade/ young-adult author. She's published something like 200 books, and if anyone can give me advice on the industry, she can. Another is Marissa Linden, who appears to be approximately my age and has published a few young-adult books. They both responded favorably, and Marissa even said she knew other 'new kids' that were attending and wouldn't it be nice to have dinner one night? That made me feel less like a poser.

The internet tonight is incredibly slow. I had hoped to email the author my manuscript, but it may have to wait until tomorrow a.m. Have I mentioned I'm freaking out about this whole business?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


October 15 is rapidly approaching and I'm freaking out. That's when I'm supposed to send my manuscript to an author I met during Gen Con Indy. She's published something like 13 books, some of them young adult, and she said she'd be happy to look over my manuscript and give me suggestions of who to talk to at World Fantasy Con. It's not that I don't like the book, and some of the people who read it liked it, but this is an opinion of a real author. I've nearly convinced myself that she'd going to read the first few pages, snort in derision, and tell me I'm a hack that doesn't belong anywhere near world fantasy con until I've written for at least another ten years. She'll tell me I'm talentless and who did I think I was, anyway?

I'm entering a serious depressive funk. I know this because chocolate doesn't even sound good to me.

My third book needs about another twenty thousand words or so. I have a few ideas for what's missing ... it's just a matter of getting my butt in the chair and writing it. This weekend is looking like one of those weekends I shackle myself to my computer.

Monday, October 10, 2005


World Fantasy Con is now only four weeks away, and I'm starting to get nervous. There will be so many industry-type people and authors there and I'm afraid I'll fuck it all up somehow. I need to make good impression and be professional while at the same time sucking up to potential editors or agents. I'm bad at starting a conversation cold, and I'm bad at self-promotion. I have plenty of passion for my work, but to be able to come across as confident in a room full of best-selling authors will be difficult to say the least. I need to practice a thirty- to sixty-second pitch for my books and have it down cold so I look competent when an editor asks me about it. I'm starting to get really nervous about this. I'm just afraid that if I screw up I'll never be published, ever. Realistically, I know that's probably not the case, but ... the possibility is there, and that's what freaks me out. That and my own insecurities about not being good enough to be there in the first place are starting to keep me up at night.

I think I have to throw up now.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

bringin' home the bacon

Working this weekend. Reason number 12 I can't wait until I start dayshift in January: even if I work the weekend Ken and I can still do something social on Saturday night. As it stands now, getting together with friends is nearly impossible. Of course, I'll have to get up early the next day, but being sleep-deprived is better than never playing poker or seeing movies. In my mind I see my future, dayshift self as a much more interesting person: playing in a softball league during the summer, joining a suburban book club, going to see plays and drink martinis in the middle of the week. Ken is planning on going back to school, though, and so I don't know how social we'll actually be together. I guess we'll see how it all pans out.

Forty-one more days until Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The previews look awesome. Next week the new Robert Jordan book is coming out, but I told myself I wouldn't read it until I've finished my book. There's a limit to how insecure and inadequate I'll let myself feel. The hardest part with be staying off the message boards--I'll enjoy the book much more if I'm spoiler-free.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

little monsters

My ovaries have shrivled up into little raisins because of my trip to Target this morning. Some stupid little kid screamed the entire twenty minutes I was in the store. And I mean screaming at the top of his fucking lungs, really belting it out. It didn't matter where I was, I could hear this kid all throughout the store. At one point, I was close enough to hear the mom saying in a distracted tone, "We've talked about this, you can't act like this anymore ..." Not angry or anything, more like she was going through the motions of discipline. Everywhere I went other customers (and even workers!) were commenting on the little brat and his ineffective mom. I've never seen anything like it before. Usually when a kid's acting up in store the parent's got something to say about it, harsh words or a smack or something, but not this one. I couldn't get outta that store fast enough. Stupid parents. I swear, parenting outta require a license.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

passive-aggressive fighting

My husband and I have a strange system for our fights--a small burst of angry talk followed by a day of pouting with seemingly no resolution except whatever prompted the arguement usually doesn't happen again. I won't get into here except to say that I was angry that he disrespected my choices and disregarded my feelings and he's angry because I said his actions were selfish. This, too, will blow over, and I'm willing to bet that the instigating circumstances won't happen again.

Today I have the day off, which means in theory I should get lots of writing done but in practicality means I'll spend the day puttering and shopping. I've started the rewrites on my book and it doesn't suck as bad as I thought. Oh, sure, lots of work to be done and changes to be made, but it's not the complete overhaul that I thought it was going to be. It always amazes me, though, that the smallest changes make the biggest differences.

Yesterday I bought a new Jim Butcher book and a James Clemens book. James Clemens also writes thrillers I enjoy under the name James Rollins (his latest is "A Map of Bones") so I'm going to give his fantasy a whirl. This guy writes one thriller and one fantasy book a year. That's so impressive to me, since it's taken me two years to write three books, but I guess if writing's your full-time job it'd be a little easier to be prolific.

Monday, October 03, 2005

movie review

Hubby and I saw Serenity last night, and I have to say it was pretty awesome. Lots of fantasy/sci-fi movies either have terrible writing, terrible acting, or both (Van Helsing and Fantastic Four come to mind). Serenity has neither. The dialogue is in turns funny, dramatic, and nuanced. The same can be said for all the actors, as well. I wasn't familiar with the story because I hadn't ever watched Firefly, so it took me a little bit to get the politics straight in my head, but once I did I was hooked. A friend that was with us didn't care too much for it, but her significant other liked it. I say, three outta four ain't bad. I give Serenity a solid A.

c is for cookie

Today I'm making chocolate-chip cookies in preparation for the 20th annual chocolate-chip cookie contest at work. It's not until November, but preparation is key because the competition is fierce. I'm baking sour-cream cookies, and they're ... ooookkaaaayyy. Definately not my best trick.

Then I'm going for a run, dammit, so I can put in a few hours on my re-writes before work. Aargh. I have got to lose some of this gut I've attained.

Yesterday I attended a cookout and played with one of my girlfriend's one-year-old. I'm not a maternal person, but as P was climbing up a slide, I found myself standing with my hand about six inches from her in case she lost her balance, and it occured to me how deeply ingrained those "protect-the-young" instincts are.

Saturday, October 01, 2005


Tonight Ken is out with the guys, so I'm home alone. I went for a walk so I could write without guilt, but I find myself wanting nothing more than a peanut buster parfait, fuzzy slippers, and a chick flick. So far I'm resisting temptation. World Fantasy Con is a month away and so that is kind of kicking my ass into gear on my edits. So far I've come up with some good ideas for improvements--switch these two events, make this happen later, etc.--as well as cleaning up the prose, so it's moving along. I'm also doing laundry. Oh, the joys of adulthood.

I have to say I enjoyed my walk. If it had been about five or ten degrees cooler it would have been the perfect fall afternoon. Someone's burning leaves perfumed the air, kids were outside playing, and I was jamming to my ipod. I stopped by the drugstore for allergy medicine and two girls were in the makeup aisle at obsessing over eyeshadow. I believe the local high school's homecoming game was last night, so it made me wonder if they were buying goodies to wear to the homecoming dance this evening. On my way home I thought about how I always felt on a night of a dance--a little jittery (I hope so-and-so asks me to dance), a little excited (about the clandestine drinking I would be doing before and after), a little insecure (probably about my Wal-Mart outfit or my extra twenty pounds). Of course, I was too cool to let on that I was feeling that way, so I had to act as blase about the standing in the keg line as everyone else. Those nights always seemed so mysterious and full of possibilities to me. I wonder if those girls at CVS feel the same.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


What does everyone have against vegetables???? I'm going to a cook-out on Sunday and I've been discouraged from bringing a veggie dish. Everyone claims they won't eat it. I don't understand--veggies are low-cal, crunchy, have lots of fiber and vitamins, and you don't have to kill 'em to eat 'em. I should make a group called PVE--people for vegetable equality. Though, by the sounds of things, I'd be the only member so it'd be the person for vegetable equality.

I'm going over my manuscript and I've come to this conclusion: it sucks. I think the basic story is good, but it needs a lot more discription and a lot more heft to it. Basically, a lot more work. And to make matters worse, the book I'm reading now totally kicks ass and so I feel inadequate. Aarrgh. I'll feel a lot more confident once I've put about ten hour's worth of rewriting into it. For starters.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Last night Ken and I saw Flightplan with Jodie Foster. It was pretty good. Jodie Foster's character had me crying in places. It's being billed as a psycological thriller but I don't think I'd call it that--maybe a twisted whodunit. Anyway, go see it. I'd even pay full price for it.

Ah, fall. I love fall for three reasons: the weather, the food, and the movies. The best movies always come out in the last three and a half months of the year. It's gotta be sixty-five degrees soon, right?

Monday, September 26, 2005

so sue me

It turns out maybe I don't know the difference between a wizard and a warlock. In my mind, wizards use magic from their beings and warlocks use things such as potions and objects to do their magic. Here are the definitions, however: Wizard--one who is skilled in magic. Warlock: one who practices the dark arts. So that makes Harry Dresden a wizard who fights warlocks. Harry is disgrunted, wears a duster, and engages in premarital sex, so I think you could get on him, Innuendo. He's a definate dark-and-disturbed type.

Oh, and a big shout out goes to merriam-webster for the defs.

Today I cleaned house, which qualifies as exercise in my book. For those of you naysayers who claim cleaning can in no way be cardiovascular activity, you haven't cleaned my house. My husband and I have a high muck tolerance, and cleaning house involves heavy lifting, scrubbing, five miles of walking, and finding twelve innovative ways of getting cat hair off of furniture. I breathed heavy. I sweated. Therefore, I worked out. And for those of you wondering: yes, I consider sex a workout, too.

This evening I'm off so we're going to see a movie and have dinner. Then I'll probably start working on my edit of the first draft.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

A friend of mine read about my plight and gave me a list of ideas for villians. When I read each one I'm like, "Of course! A government agency tries to regulate magic! Or the mob wants to control magic for themselves! Or a crazy religious sect thinks magic is a tool of evil! Brilliant!" Why can't I do that?
Heh. "Brilliant" reminds me of those Guiness commercials with the old-fashioned english-accented animated men who shout "Brilliant!" at each other's ideas. I get such a kick out of those.
Right now I'm reading a book by Jim Butcher called "Storm Front". It's about a work-for-hire wizard in modern-day Chicago. There's six books in the series, but this is the first one. It's a whodunit with the magic twist. Actually, I think I would consider the protagonist (Harry Dresden) to be more of a warlock, but that may be splitting hairs. I'm into the book so far, and if it doesn't end lame, I'll read the next few in the series. The same author also has a high fantasy series which might be worthwhile to check out.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I've been struggling with the new story over the past several hours and I've come to this conclusion: I suck at villians. I'm at the job that is currently paying the bills and we've been busy, so I've only been able to jot a few notes on paper. While I'm rushing all around, however, I've been thinking of the plot, and I can't for the life of me think of why the bad guy wants the good guys to go down. So far it's the "you're magical, which makes you a genetic freak of nature, and you must therefore die" routine, but that just doesn't seem to cut it. It really pisses me off, because I'm beginning to get a solid glimmer of the main characters in my head--Sasha wears clothes like this, Balthazar's attitude is that, Max's morning routine goes something like this--and I think I could have a lot of fun writing about their adventures. But, dammit, they have to have a nemesis! A good one! One that has a kick-ass motive to be bad, and justifications for that motive so he's plausible! Is that too much to fucking ask????

Friday, September 23, 2005

Rushin' around

If I get any writing done today, it's going to be after I get home from work. Believe it or not, midnight is not my most creative time of day, so I'll probably procrastinate until tomorrow. It's easy to put off writing when you're not getting paid for it. On the procrastination scale, right now I'd rather write than exercise, which could explain my expanding waistline. I've gained five pounds this year (!!!!!) and I'm not too happy about it. I can't say I don't deserve the extra weight, because I've been exercising less and eating more, but still ... I feel flobby and yucky. I think Orson Scott Card said in his book "How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy" you gotta take care of your body if you expect your mind to work at its peak. Stephen King said something to that effect in his book "On Writing", as well. Perhaps its time I take their words to heart. Maybe I'll try a new rule--no writing until I've exercised--for a few weeks and see how it goes. I'll either have my abs back or I'll not have written a word.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


Just watched tonight's episode of Lost. I got sucked in during the first minute-thirty and didn't budge from the couch until the end. God bless TiVo--fast forwarding the commercials is the best way to watch tv.

I didn't get any writing done today, I had to go to the doctor for the annual kick-the-tires-and-check-under-the-hood routine, as well as mow the jungle we call a yard. My perfectionist neighbor (her name's Tina but I call her Martha Stewart) gave me dirty looks while I was mowing, as in 'yeah, it's about time you did that' and I gave her looks back that said, 'why don't you shove your clippers up your ass', so it was a satisfying afternoon. Tomorrow all I have on the agenda is going for a run and writing, so I'm hoping to log in a few hours at the keyboard. On a good day I can write about five pages an hour, so writing ten pages would make me a happy camper.

My goal is to have a solid first draft done by the end of September so I can dole it out to two of my readers that have read the first two in the series. The idea is to have a nearly-completed manuscript by the time I go to World Fantasy Convention in November so I can say I've completed a trilogy and by the way, here's what I'm working on now. My next book, I think, will be centered around four wizards living in modern-day America. Each of the four are in high school, run with different crowds, and use a different kind of magic than the others. Each of them knows they're a wizard but don't know the others are until their parents bring them together to tell them ... what, precisely, I don't know, but I know that in order to save the world from destruction or keep their secret safe they'll have to work together and combine their four magics into one. Clearly there's a lot of work to be done. Right now I see it as one book, not a series, but who knows where it will end up. You gotta feed these baby ideas and let them become what they want to be.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Last night I caught a new show on CBS called "how I met your mother". I thought it was pretty funny. I like Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan, though, so the show basically had me at hello. I start working dayshift in January so I have to wrap my mind around watching primetime tv without relying on TiVo. That's not to say I'll get rid of TiVo. I'm a TiVo whore. But watching shows during their first run will be a novelty.

On the writing front, I wrote ten pages today. Soon I'll be done with the first draft, which means the real work is just beginning.

Monday, September 19, 2005

I've never uploaded an image before. Let's hope this works.

Here's me and the four cats. From left: Kahlua, Moonshine, Morgan, and Bailey. Notice that Morgan is displaying his alpha male tendencies--Moonshine was on my lap and Morgan decided I was paying too much attention to her and so climbed into my arms. The wall behind me is now painted a deep maroon, which makes for a comfortable lounging experience.

roller coaster

I wonder if I'm the only writer whose opinion of their writing constantly fluctuates. One day I'll read what I've written the day before and think I'm the best thing since pepperoni pizza, and two days later I'll look back and think I'm complete shit and why should I even bother? Maybe it's because writing is just so frickin' solitary--there's very little validation for your work, and what validation you get (at least at this stage of my career) is the result of needling your precious few readers: "what did you think? where were you bored? what about the plot? what about character X? did you like it? do you like me?". It's just so frustrating, because deep down I know I do good work and I know I have the talent, determination, and drive to have a decently successful career, but there's always that voice in the back of my head that whispers to me late at night when it's dark and tells me that I'm a fraud, I should quit, who do I think I am trying to be a writer when there are 100,000 people out there vying to become one of the 10,000 people published this year?
That said, I wrote four pages today. I'll write four (or more!) tomorrow. And the day after. And I'll say 'fuck you' to that voice in my head every night.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

back from hell

This weekend I walked my mother down the aisle at her wedding, which was less cheesy and more emotional than I thought it would be. Lots of drinking and eating and dancing to be had, but I cut out early so I could make the three hour drive home. Actually, it should have been longer than that, but my uncle told me about a short cut, and so I shaved about twenty minutes off my drive.

As far as the writing goes, I haven't written anything since Thursday, and I'm getting a bit twitchy. I've been writing almost everyday for the past two years, and so now when I go more than two or three days, I feel off. I also begin to lose confidence in my abilities, so the best way to maintain my ego is to write everyday. Today I'd like to put in a good two or three hours. I need to exercise all the cake from yesterday off, too, so I'm going to persuade my husband (read: threaten my husband) to take a bike ride with me.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Brand spankin' new!

You know, I've alway wanted a blog. I read Wil Wheaton's and a few others, and I have to say it's something that seems to scream "Kelly!" at me. But now that I'm doing it, I have to say that I feel exposed. Perhaps I'm a more private person than I thought.
Today I'm doing laundry and writing. I should go for a run, but I think my toe hurts. Yeah, that's it, my toe hurts ...