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 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.