"Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven. Enjoy it, peeps.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
On the writing front: back to the grind today after taking some time off around the holidays. Over 600 words on the antho short story. I think I've finally stumbled onto the right idea. Now it's just a matter of putting it on paper and getting the tone right. It feels good to be back in the saddle. After this story is done--I'd like to have a rough draft done this week--I'll work on a story for the market I posted about a few days ago. That one sounds like a lot of fun and I've already got a good idea for that. After that I'll work on a pirate short story for yet another anthology I've been invited too. Yes, you read that right--I've been asked to submit a story for the next Blue Kingdoms anthology. It's not due until March, so I've got plenty of time. Good thing, too, because I don't have a good idea yet. Of course, between all this is work on the YA book Through the Portal. I've got plenty to keep me busy.
Oh, good news about the Blue Kingdoms anthologies. Walkabout Press has been working hard to make the books available on Amazon.com. If all goes well, you'll be able to buy a copy of your very own over the Internet after the first of the year. This is such good news for everyone involved. It'll bring much-needed exposure to the Blue Kingdoms world and the authors that have gotten to explore it, not to mention Walkabout Press. I'll keep you all posted about that development.
Oh, yeah, I got another agent rejection today. Never fear. I'm too busy writing to worry about it much.
Monday, December 24, 2007
The movie was good, but our theater experience sucked. For one thing, we saw a 7:00 p.m. showing, which was probably our first mistake. Our second mistake was not moving when the frat brothers behind us couldn't shut up during the previews. The dudes laughed and heckled their way through the movie, which made it hard to be as emotionally wrenched as I wanted to be during a few painful/suspenceful scenes. Also, a few girls in front of us kept saying things like "Oh my gosh, oh gosh, that did not just happen," during tense scenes. It took all my will not to either strangle them or yell at them. Who raised these people to not shut up in a movie theater?!? I want to see several movies in the coming weeks--Charlie Wilson's War and National Treasure among them--but now I'm rethinking it. If we do go, it'll be at 4:00 p.m. on a Wednesday.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
There are two sides to every story...And we here at CatsCurious Press think that our readers deserve to read BOTH!A Call for Submissions... of the Faery Taile Kynde!CatsCurious Press will open to submissions starting January 1, 2008 for all well-written, humorous fairy tale re-tellings! But there's a catch -- these stories must be written from ONE POV only... the protagonist's.Why would we be so strict, you ask? Because Jim C. Hines, author of 'Goblin Quest', 'Golblin War' and 'Goblin Hero' has already gotten on board to write a counterpoint story! That's right -- once I have plowed my way through the slush, Jim will review my favorite stories and then choose ONE from among them to write a counterpoint to.The end result will be a double-sided book with two covers (one featuring artwork for Jim's story, the other featuring artwork to coincide with the protagonist's point of view). Stories will be printed upside-down from one another -- flip the book over, and start fresh from the top! I can't wait to see the end result!Here are the requirements:Story length must be between 5000 and 10,000 wordsStories must be single POV, from the protagonist's point of viewStories must be humorousStories must appeal to a broad range of folks -- from twelve years old to adult (so no raunchy humor, please!)Submission period: January 1st, 2008 to midnight March 31st, 2008Any fairy tale is fair game!The payment? $.05 per word (up to $500 maximum) and seeing your name next to Jim C. Hines'!
Come on, you know you want to give it a shot. I know I am.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
I know very little about some of the people that read my blog. Some people I know relatively well. (Some I know too well. You know who you are.) I read your journals, or we have something else in common and we chat occasionally. Some of you I hardly know at all. Perhaps you lurk, for whatever reason. But you visit and I thank you for your interest in my words.But here's a thought: why not take this opportunity to tell me a little something about yourself. Any old thing at all. Just so the next time I see your name I can say: "Ah, there's so and so...they listen in rapture to the love-music of she-turnips." I might feel compelled to mock your musical taste, but I'll certainly remember you.I'd love it if every single person who reads would do this. Yes, even you people who I know really well. Then post this in your own journal and see what gems of knowledge appear.
Monday, December 17, 2007
I loved Odd Thomas--the book and the character refused to leave my head for several days. I read Forever Odd, the second book in the series, but it didn't leave much of an impression on me one way or the other. I fear that Brother Odd will be the same way. The idea had potential, and if the story had featured any other protagonist, I probably would have really enjoyed it. For me, the first book in the series was so amazing and heart-wrenching and beautifully simple that the others just can't compete. Unfair? Perhaps. Will it keep me from reading another book with the same character. Probably not. I'll keep chasing perfection.
Note that I've changed the comment settings. While I still don't allow anonymous comments, I do allow "openID" comments, which means you can use your livejournal url to comment here. I'm not sure how it works, but it seems pretty flashy-dashy to me. Give it a whirl, won't you?
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
2. Decorating sugar cookies with mom and dad. Dad would bake them, mom and I would decorate them. Dad didn't usually want any part of the decorating business but he'd watch. He'd also purposely burn the last batch so he'd have cookies to dunk in coffee. His sugar cookies were of the puffy soft variety, and I loved them. I need to ask him for that recipe; somehow I don't have it.
3. Stealing Christmas lights. This would be when I was a teenage houligan, probably around 14 or 15. Remember the old-school lights that if one bulb burned out, the whole string shut off? Well, a group of us walked around town and pulled one light off of random strands of lights. At least, I pulled them out; I figured it'd be easier for the owners to find the reason their lights went out. One member of the party only loosened one light so the homeowner would have to twist every light to find the defective one. Ah, youth.
Monday, December 10, 2007
First thing this morning--I'm talkin' 7 a.m.--I had a periodontist appointment. I have a 12 mm pocket behind my distal #14 molar, and it had to be scraped clean and stitched down so the gum could reattach to my tooth. Good times. I told the doc I didn't need Darvecet and would just use ibuprofen. He gave me some amoxicillin and special mouthwash and sent me on my way.
So I finally get to work a little after 8 a.m. We had our computer upgrade yesterday and today was the first day for most people to work on the actual live system. Sure, we'd been working on the test side for months but it's just different when you're actually live. I'm the Superuser for Micro, and so it was pretty important that I be there. Then around 9 a.m. I got a phone call from Ken--when he started his car the cabin filled with smoke and so he didn't want to drive it. Could I take a long lunch so we could car shop? I got very lucky because we had extra people on hand for the upgrade and so I was able to leave work around 10 a.m. Ken drove a Saturn Vue, then we had lunch ....
.... where I tried to eat chunky soup in a bread bowl. No dice. I ate the soup without chewing and passed off the bread bowl to Ken. Mouth pain at a definite peak, so I popped more ibuprofen before we hit another car dealership ...
... where we spent four hours looking at two cars. The dealer let Ken bring home a Hyundai Sante Fe for the night. Ken's leaning towards the Saturn, but at least this way he'll have a way to get to work tomorrow.
When we got home, I found another agent rejection in my mailbox.
So. My mouth hurts bad enough that I can't eat solid food, we have to buy a car, I didn't get to the gym tonight, and I haven't written anything in three days. All I want to do is curl up under a blanket and suck on a piece of cake.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Three rabies vaccination tags: $30
Three rabies and distemper vaccinations, plus distemper boosters and well-kitty visits: $159
One peed- and pooped-in collapsable cat carrier: Free
One cat scratch: Free
Three kitties with a clean bill of health: Priceless
A side note: Moonshine is a petite 6.25 pound kitty, but she is ALL CLAW. Shove her in a carrier at your own peril.
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Lifted weights, too. If I can walk tomorrow I'll be a happy girl.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
I had a moment of sadness when I hung up the stockings because I had to leave Bailey's in the crate. So I hung up the fish-shaped stocking instead. It made me feel a teensy bit better.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Ken and I were at the grocery store because we've joined a "biggest loser" program at our gym. This morning we got weighed and measured, which motivated us to buy lots of fruits and veggies and fiberous cereals. I'm actually pretty jazzed about it. Between working out and writing and reading and internetting, I won't have time for much else. But let's face it, what else do you need?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
It just occured to me I should write a few shorts set in my Stormy Weather world. For one thing, it might be fun to explore different aspects of the world; for another, it'd be cool to have a few stories in circulation if the book actually ever sees the light of day. A few of the stories that are circulating now are set in my Gemstone Prophecy world, and they were a lot of fun to write.
So, a list of current and future projects:
Through the Portal
Anthology short story
One or two shorts set in SW world
I've got a lot to keep me busy. Sheesh. It would be so great to do this full-time. Sure, I'd probably be broke, but the more you write the more ideas you get, so I'd always be busy.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
My husband, who keeps me sane.
My job, because I'm never bored and the people are cool.
My middle-class lifestyle. I grew up poor, so the idea that I live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood and can buy whatever we need without thinking about it too hard is absolutely wonderful. Note I didn't say "want." It's nice to want things.
My writing. Every day I learn something new; every story I produce is better than that last.
The blogging community. You guys keep my chin up.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Ah, hell. Word on the street is this agent responds quickly to partials. I'll know soon enough.
Nine hundred words today on Through the Portal. I think they all sucked, too.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
So I've been in a funk lately about all my rejections. One of the writers I met at WFC offered to take a look at Stormy Weather, so I sent it off. I expected her to take a week or so with the critique, but she got back to me within 24 hours. She loved it, had lots of good things to say about it, and said the first chapter needed work. I agreed with that; it's just I've re-written the first chapter three zillion times (at least, it feels that way; it's actually more like four or five times) and I can't figure out why I can't get it right. Anyhow, I believe her exact words were "You're no amateur" and so my ego got a much needed boost.
Ah, yes, lunch. Today we're car-shopping for Ken during his lunch hour. His Contour is close to biting the dust, so we're going to give a few cars a spin and see what he likes. We're checking out Saturn and possibly Nissan or Honda. Probably more shopping will ensue over the weekend. I'm all about getting a hybrid but Ken's wavering on a hybrid, a two-seater, or a truck. We really don't need another sedan so really, he can get whatever the heck he wants. He mentioned a Mustang but I think he's too young for his mid-life crisis car.
ETA: Yeah, baby, just wrote 900 words. Maybe I should come back to Panera after lunch ...
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Monday, November 12, 2007
It's pissing rain outside.
I want to stay home, bake a cake, snuggle under the covers, and watch television all night. But, no. Tonight I will go to the gym. And then I'll shower, bake a cake, sunggle under the covers, and watch television all night. How I Met Your Mother, Chuck, and Heroes, here I come.
I'm up to 2000 words on TtP. I'm nearly done with the first chapter. It's actually coming along rather nicely.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 09, 2007
Talk about a funk. Buying new nail polish is not going to cut it tonight.
I could talk about how the current WIP is up to 1500 words (after two writing sessions!) but not even that is enought to cheer me up.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Monday, November 05, 2007
Ken and I left town around 11:00. We were in no hurry since we weren't driving to Saratoga but to Niagara Falls, Ontario the first night. We rented a car and a GPS system to make the trip easier. Our GPS's voice was male with an Australian accent, so we named him Rusty after Russell Crowe. (Aside for Bridget: Rusty completely kicks Betty's ass even though he insisted on driving through Indy instead of around.) The drive was uneventful except for one place about 20 miles from our house. It's a strange Bermuda-triangle type area that inexplicably has fatal accidents once every two weeks or so. Some dumb-fuck 80 year-old decided it'd be a good time to drive a camper and nearly drove us off the interstate. So of course I'm jumpy the entire rest of the day (Oh!! Watch that merger! He might come within 20 yards of us!) which made Ken happy, let me tell ya. We arrived in Canada around 10:30 p.m. The border guard was bored and gave me and Ken grief about not having passports or birth certificates (you don't need those to cross the border by car until February 1, 2008, by the way). I know it's their job to ask questions and be suspicious (You're from Illinois and you're going to New York. Why are you coming into Canada? Just sightseeing? Really?) but it still made me feel like a criminal. He let us go after harassing us for a bit and we made it to the hotel by the falls without incident. Awesome, awesome hotel. If you go to the falls, stay at the Embassy Suites. We had two nice-sized rooms, a bad-ass jacuzzi, two sinks, and a separate room for the toilet and shower. We made it in time to secure our complimentary bar drinks; Ken had a Molson and I had a mediocre Riesling. Then, sleep.
After we woke up, got cleaned up, and secured some breakfast, Ken and I explored Niagara Falls. It was chilly but sunny, and we got some great pictures. The upshot was that there were no crowds, so we were able to stand right by the fence and linger without guilt. The area seems like it's a good tourist destination smack in the middle of the boonies; we discussed vacationing there with another couple for a few days. I wouldn't want to spend a whole week or anything, but a long weekend would provide ample opportunity to shop and explore the whole area and gamble at the casino without feeling bored. We left Canada at around noon, and after a mild interrogation at the border were I had a moment's panic because I almost forgot where I was born, we were on our way.
The drive to Saratoga was enlightening for two reasons: New York State's completely rational approach to tolls and rest stops. On the Google directions I noted we had toll roads and so I did what any Illinoisan would do: I grabbed a metric ton of change and put it in the center console. You see, in Chicago, if you don't have an E-Z pass, you'll pay 75 cents, drive a few miles, pay 40 cents, drive a few more, pay 65 cents, etc. Not so in New York. You go through the toll at the beginning of the interstate. They give you a card with the pay rate for every exit. When you get off the interstate, you pay the rate based on when you got on the interstate. It's a very logical and sane system that Chicago could employ. Which brings us to the rest stops: they're huge and beautiful! Each one is a big building with two to four fast-food restaurants, huge bathrooms, and a gift shop. There's also a gas station at each one. Quite lovely.
Once we arrived in Saratoga, we checked into the second hotel of the trip and then drove to the convention center. We immediately ran into fellow writer-peeps and swept them away for dinner at an Italian Bistro across the street. After dinner we hit the Zombies Love Brains party where we ran into to more people we knew. We secured a prime location (next to the cooler of free beer and the air conditioner) and sat and laughed and met new people. One such person was Patricia Bray. She was one of the hostesses and had secured a gross of the coolest metal lizard-shaped bottle openers. Oh, yeah, don't worry; one of those babies came home with me. Ken and I left the parties well before they shut them down and headed to bed.
First thing we checked out of the second hotel and into the third hotel of the trip. This was the conference hotel, so it was much more convenient and all that. We inadvertently stood up a group of people for breakfast; the clock in the second hotel had apparently already been set for Standard Time, and so while we though we'd arrived ridiculously early, we were 20 minutes late. It turned out okay, though, because we ate a local diner, hung out with the Fangs Fur Fey people in the bar, attended a reading, and perused the art room. We saw this awesome print from Todd Lockhart called War of Angels. I would not be surprised if a copy showed up on one of our walls within the next few months. Just gorgeous. Friday night we ate dinner at a pizza place that advertised Chicago-style pizza. I've had lots of Chicago-style pizza in my time, my friends, and let me tell you that Marino's in Saratoga Springs isn't it. Good pizza, don't get me wrong, but Chicago-style it ain't. The crust was too thin by half. After dinner we hit autograph room. I got a few books signed, laughed with some friends, and stalked Scott Lynch, so it was all good. Afterwards we hit the parties. We had a wickedly strong blue drink and more free beer. Let me just tell you that's it's way too easy to drink too much at WFC. I didn't get drunk and do anything stupid, but I saw a few people get awfully close to that line.
The atmosphere was way subdued Saturday morning. You could tell that two days of partying had taken its toll on the attendees. Ken and I went to breakfast with the people we had stood up on Friday. We met a few new cool people, ate gravy, and occupied a table for a few hours. We hung out in the lobby, met more people, hit the DAW party, ate dinner at a cool fried-chicken place, and then hit yet more parties. We got invited to a jazz club, and I really wanted to go, but by this point Ken and I were just ... done. Past done, even. Burnt. We headed for bed and took advantage of the extra hour of sleep.
Took all morning to say the long train of goodbyes. Bought yet another book ('cause the duffel bag full of freebies wasn't enough, you know) and procured a few more signatures. I bonded with someone over Paula Danziger's work. We left Saratoga around 11:30 and got home around 2:30 in the morning. Remember we slipped an hour back when we crossed over into Illinois and so the trip was around 14 hours or so. Long trip, but we took several breaks and consumed approximately 5 bajillion milligrams of caffeine. Oh, a warning: if you order iced coffee through the drive-through at midnight, they don't screw around. We made it home in one piece and slept it off.
And ... that's it. I leave you with a few choice quotes from the weekend:
"I'm ... intoxicated."
"Do you need to use my lizard?"
"You two should kiss."
"My breath could bleach your hair."
Friday, November 02, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Then it's off to Saratogo to schmooze with the writing peeps. I can't wait to see all my writing buds, drink free beer, and stay up way past my bedtime. I've polished my nails a nice, sedate, professional shade of pale pink. It feels a little odd. Normally I go for the eggplant-navy blue-deep red-almost black shades. Maybe I'll take a bottle of dark polish on the trip with me. A security blanket of sorts, ya know?
Working on a new YA outline. Ken gave me the basic idea; I've toyed with it and changed it and made it my own. I'm going to try to do NaNo this year, so I'll start writing a zillion words a day once we get back from WFC. If I can manage to get 500 or so a day while we're in NY, I'll be a happy camper. I'll be way excited if I can get this novel fully polished and query-ready by my birthday next February. If I get a full first draft done in November, it could totally happen.
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Saturday, October 20, 2007
On the downside, it made me feel like my writing doesn't measure up. Perhaps that's my submission angst talking.
Never fear. I feel the need to start outlining my next project. I've decided to shelve the AI/autism idea for now. I still love that premise and want to tackle it in the coming year, but right now I'm liking the whole witch school murder idea. I'm also thinking about reworking the trunk trilogy. So, three projects percolating.
As for the mundane SF short story ... eh. I'm so distracted by WFC and submitting right now that I'm just not motivated. I've started it twice with completely different approaches and nothing is flowing right. At least, not yet. Hopefully inspiration will strike this week.
Today while taking a break from reading I bought a set of four cute little halloween-theme OPI polishes. I'm actually kind of excited to try them out. There's just something about new make-up or nail polish that makes me all girly. Perhaps I'll paint my toenails black and adorn them with spiderwebs while I watch Illinois kick Michigan's ass.
Friday, October 19, 2007
Which sci-fi crew would you best fit in with? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com
|You scored as Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)|
The world around you is at war. Fortunately you know how to handle that with the greatest of ease. You are one of the best at what you do and no one needs to tell you that. Now if only the droids could be quiet for five seconds.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Two more weeks to WFC. I'm excited and nervous all at once. I hope to send out the first agent queries this weekend. On your best behavior, people; you never know when there could be lurking agents.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
I attribute it to Sophomore Slump. You write and work and polish a book in the hopes it'll get published without a whole lot of though into what comes after. Then blammo! Your book is picked up and they love it so much they want you to write more. Oh, and by the way, it's due in six months. Lots of pressure. Here's hoping that this time next year I'm under such pressure myself.
Next off the To Be Read pile: Cybermancy by Kelly "Y" McCullough.
Monday, October 08, 2007
On the writing front, I've gotten good feedback for the ghost story I submitted for the Blue Kingdoms: Shades and Specters anthology. One of the editors asked if I'd change the title, and I was more than happy to oblige. I suck at titles, and the one I picked sort of fit the story but not as well as it could have. Ken actually thought up the new title, "Accidental Vengence." I love it. Hopefully that antho will be available for order in a few weeks. I'll post a picture of the cover once I have it.
Working on the mundane SF short. It's ... stalled. Not because I don't know what happens next, or I'm struggling with tone, or anything like that. I'm anxious to get back my beta-reader's input on Stormy Weather so I can polish that up and send it out to the world. I know, I know ... back to the grindstone and all that. Can't stop writing new stuff while I wait on the old stuff. I have tomorrow off work so it's nothing but writing and laundry for me. Maybe I need to take the laptop for a field trip and write in a coffee shop or something. The change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered.
On a completely different topic, if you haven't checked out "Chuck" on NBC, do so immediately. It's on right before Heroes; they also rerun the episodes on USA on Saturdays, I believe. Chuck is a geeky-cute computer guy whose brain accidently gets uploaded with all the CIA, NSA, and FBI secrets. While the action is sometimes a little TV-cheesy, the writing is fun and the characters are great. The casting dudes definitely picked great actors. Two thumbs up.
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Perform hard cycling workout
Sing along with husband to a kick-ass song on the radio during drive home
Bake perfect batch of chocolate-chip walnut cookies
Watch Cubbies play their first game of the post-season
Mix all ingredients together in the stated order.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Soon, kids. Soon.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
This weekend I'll work on the mundane SF story. After Stormy Weather hits the public I'll get to work on the AI and teen witch outlines. If I've learned anything from SW it's that I need an outline, the more specific the better. More work at the front end means less angst on the back end. I'd like to have detailed outlines on both of them hammered out by the end of the year. Preferably by December so I can start putting those bad boys on paper. Fingers crossed!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
This is jostling for time with the AI/autism idea that's been sprouting roots. That one is firmly an adult novel with lots of political and emotional undertones. Lots of research for that, too.
Do I have an outline for either of these? Of course not, silly. That comes after the mundane sf short. And the pile of research.
I'm nearly giddy. Being excited about two new book ideas rocks!
I'm hosting bookclub next Monday night. This means I'll spend Sunday cleaning and cooking. I'm actually looking forward to that, in a sick and twisted way. Right now I'm thinking brownies and spinach-artichoke dip. I need a few other things, too. And wine. Mmmm, wine.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
After the edits, the manuscript will head out to a few non-writer readers. A final polish, then it's off to the agents. Then I'll work on a new short story before I start my new novel outline. Everything according to plan ... mawahaahaa.
I'm reading Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch right now. I'm not that far into it, but so far it's good. Never fear, I'll review it when I'm done.
Sunday, September 09, 2007
This is, of course, assuming I sell anything ever again.
On that front, I'm getting the urge to write a short story. You know the AI/autism business I've blathered about recently? Interzone has a "mundane SF" issue coming up and I'm going to take a crack at it. It'd be a nice way to get myself aquainted with some characters, I think. Deadline 10-31-07. Plenty of time, especially since I'm finishing SW before I start on it.
Friday, September 07, 2007
When: around 6:40 p.m.
Who: two college-aged women
Tall lanky sorority girl: Oh my god! How are you?
Short brunette sorority girl: Oh my god, I'm so tired.
TLSG: Oh my god, me too. I just got out of class--
SBSG: I usually have class now but it let out early.
TLSG: That's cool. You get to work out, at least.
SBSG: I totally need it. Hey, I talked to Jane last night.
TLSG: Oh my god. Is she still in New York?
SBSG: She's not in New York; Brad is. She's in New Jersey.
TLSG: But she's still with him, right?
SBSG: They're on "a break." Right now she's with this other guy.
TLSG: Oh my god, Jane and Brad broke up?! Why?
SBSG: I dunno. I think they're gonna get married eventually, but they need to go out with other people to realize no one else can compare.
TLSG: They should totally marry. They're kids would be hot.
TLSG: But who's she seeing now?
SBSG: This older guy ... actually, he's her boss.
TLSG: Oh my god! So, he's like, old.
SBSG: Well, not old. He's like 30 or something.
SBSG: Okay, he's old.
Both: laugh hysterically.
It should be noted that no homicides were committed at the gym or its environs last night.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I would also like to make another sale, but that's a post for another day.
Now, I'm tired and hungry. A snack, a book, and a bed are in my immediate future.
Friday, August 31, 2007
On the writing front, I've thought of a few more teen ansty/plotty scenes to add. After I do that, I need to go through the draft, fill in more flava, flesh out a few plot points ... and then I'll be dangerously close to being done, I think. Dear sweet Jesus, I could actually query agents with this thing soon. I find myself thinking "No, no, it's not ready yet, I just need to do this... and this ... and this over here needs work..." and while all that might be true, at some point it's going to be less about polishing the manuscript and more about my rejection angst. Can't fail if you don't try and all that. I've been working on this book off and on for two years (I first thought of the idea at WFC 2005), doing hardcore writing for the better part of this year, and it would royally suck if it got nowhere. Sure, I've had positive feedback from several people ... ah, hell. I'm getting off the negative train right now. I'm gonna finish Stormy Weather, I'm gonna query dozens of agents, they're gonna fight over me, and one of them's gonna sell this puppy.
And then the question will be: what to write next? I had thought about going back to my "trunk trilogy," but now I think I'll leave those sleeping dogs lie. I'll work on some new short stories to throw out into circulation and the AI/autism thriller outline. Maybe another YA novel outline or something ... I dunno.
Monday, August 27, 2007
The Fountain: This had Hugh Jackman and Rachel Wiesz (better known as the X-Men dude and the chick from The Mummy.) Good, good, movie. Fucked-up and surreal and existental and cerebral. This is not a movie to go to the bathroom or refill your popcorn during. I can't even describe it. I can say that I bawled like a baby during one part. Great performances.
The Good Shepard: This is with Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie, and Robert DeNiro about the beginning of the CIA. I liked it. It was subtle, it moved back and forth in time, and had a few chaste sex scenes to boot. Great performances, too. Matt Damon is really coming into his own as an actor now.
And now I can't procrastinate any longer. WIP, here I come.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Ken and I arrived in Indy around noon-ish only to discover that Indiana is on EDT and not CDT. This change happened recently; up until a last year, Indiana didn't observe savings time, so during the winter they were an hour ahead of Illinois and the summer they were the same time. After setting our clocks ahead an hour and checking into the hotel, we bummed around the hotel a bit before meeting up with writerly types for dinner. Two of my writer friends (Paul Genesse and Anton Strout) have recently sold their first books, and so our shin-dig was a celebration of sorts, complete with gift bags, beads, and stuffed animals. Fun times. It was actually the first time I had met Anton Strout in person. He's a cool guy with a dry sense of humor that I dig. Anton's gritty urban fantasy drops in 2008. Can't wait to read it! I also met Patrick Rothfuss, whose first book just hit shelves four months ago or something. He's being described as "the next Scott Lynch" because his book is steamrollering the market with its awesomeness. I've not read it yet--in all honesty, I hadn't even heard of it--but I intend to read it shortly. Pat is the most down-to-earth, awesome guy. He looks like a russian dictator and laughs at my jokes, so he's tops in my book. I heart Pat. I also met Kathy Watness and Marc Tassin; they have stories in the Blue Kingdoms anthologies. Funny, nice, good people.
In other news, Elizabeth Vaughn--paranormal romance writer extrodinaire--gave me a copy
of Romantic times Books Reviews. There's a review of Pandora's Closet, and they mention my name. My name! In a magazine! And it's a favorable mention! A PDF copy will be forthcoming. Needless to say, I saw the review, acted cool for about two seconds, then bawled like a baby. I can't even describe the feeling. I thought holding the book in my hands made it real, but I was wrong; seeing the evidence that the book existed for other people, for strangers, really drove it home. I'm published, baby. I managed to pull myself together and not look at the magazine for the rest of the night.
This was the actual first day of the convention. I ate lunch with a group of hometown friends. During the meal, one of them presented the group with toy riding horses (you know, the kind with the stick you straddle to "ride" it), "DORK" t-shirts, and little foam swords and shields. Total geek-fest fun. The group of us did True Dungeon, which is sort of a real-life D&D game. It was fun but overpriced; I probably won't do it again. After, I ate dinner, attended a few readings and then fell into bed.
This was my busiest day--after I left the hotel at around 10:00 a.m. I didn't return until almost midnight. I attended writing seminars, played poker, and ate dinner with Ken, Brad Beaulieu and Paul Genesse. After the evening readings I attended a round-robin reading of "Eye of Argon." Follow the link if you dare. It's really, really, bad and really, really fun to read out loud. We sat in a circle and passed around a printed copy of the story, reading out loud until we either laughed twice or read two pages. Next year we'll probably do a "laugh once or one page" rule; interpretive dance was also suggested. My god, it's horrific. But so much fun. And talk about an ego boost for a writer!
I spent most of Saturday being nervous about my reading Saturday night. I attended a few seminars but most of the afternoon I surfed the Internet and practiced reading "Cake and Candy" out loud. I also bought a pair a dangle amber earrings to wear. I arrived for my reading early, interrupting a general writer Q and A panel. Apparently the audience hadn't been asking too many questions, because as soon as I sat down, Beth Vaughn said, "Hey! Kelly! Got a question?" I pointed to panelist Pat Rothfuss, who was dressed as ... a wizard? but he looked vaguely like a garden gnome... and said, "What's with the hat?" Laughter ensued and took the edge off my nervousness. Pat told me later he appreciated the joke. See? Cool guy. I heart Pat.
Around 15 people attended the reading. I shared a slot with Chris Pierson, who's a great, cool writer/game designer from Boston. I went first, and I actually did pretty well. I had inflictions, I made eye contact, I didn't cry. However, two or three people did tear up and one had to leave the room. I found out later that the flee-er had lost someone close to them in March, so their emotion was less about my writing and more about their own experience. That's how reading and writing is though, isn't it? The reader adds to what the writer has written. Anyway, I feel good that I didn't screw it up and I feel honored that my story touched people. As I joined Ken in the audience to listen to the next group of authors, Ken presented me with a pair of blue dangle earrings. We had seen them when we bought the amber dangles, but I rejected them because they were a bit pricey. Ken went back and bought them because they matched my eyes. I've got the best fucking husband in the world.
After the readings, Ken and I had drinks with Brad and Paul again. After that, Ken and I met up with one of our hometown friends and had more beer and food. Good times. I collapsed into bed at 1:00 a.m.
Spent the morning packing and checking out of the hotel while Ken and a friend played a game. I watched a magician/entertainer from New Zealand perform his act in the Convention Center hallway. For his last bit he picked four people from the audience to perform a trick. I was one of them--apparently he had a thing for blondes. Anyway, for this trick, the four audience members had to sit on little camp chairs in a specific formation: each of us faced a different direction; the person behind me had his thighs perpendicular to the small of my back and my thighs were perpendicular to the girl in front of me's back, etc. We laid back, and once we were positioned, we raised our butts and the performer pulled the chairs out from underneath us. And we totally stayed there, like a human tabletop! It wasn't hard, but the kid behind me struggled a bit--he was a fourteen-year-old gamer, after all, and didn't have much in the way of muscle tone--but we stayed that way for probably 45-60 seconds before the dude put the chairs back. Good times. After, I strolled the exhibit hall, said goodbye to writer friends, bought cool but useless toys, and ate out one last time. I felt the need to purge, but other than that, it was a low-key day. Perfect end to the con.
And ... that's all. Tomorrow I have the day off--thank God--and I'm doing laundry and working on Stormy Weather. I haven't written anything since I turned in my ghost story over a week ago, and I'm getting a bit gitchy. During one of the seminars, one of the panelist said, "Plot is like a basketball game" and it totally hit home with me. You know how when teams just trade baskets or one team completely dominates the other, it's a bit boring? But when one team is up and then the other is ahead and then oh! there's a foul and then blammo! there's an injury and damn is this game close, it's much more interesting? Um, that's like plotting a novel. Who knew? SW, prepare yourself for greatness!
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
On the edge of the euphoria, though, is the angst. What if I never sell another story? What if I write books that never get sold? What if a stanger never feels moved by the words I've written? What if a stranger never reads my words, period? What if this is it for me?
Those thoughts chill me, I'm not afraid to admit it. I want this to be a humble beginning, not the end.
That is not for me to worry about tonight, though. One more go-over tomorrow night and PG will get shipped off to the editors. Friday night I'll begin working on SW with a vengence. I'm confident I can add 15,000 words as well as meet my completely arbitrary and self-imposed deadline of September 15th. And then it will be time to release it out into the wild!
and here's the bin
We were able to drag ourselves into town afterwards for dinner, a movie, and a little shopping, so how bad could it have been, right? My shoulders are stiff and my hamstrings feel like I've done about 2000 dead lifts, but otherwise I'm ok. I'm actually not in as much pain as I thought I would be. I slept like a dead person last night so maybe that's why I'm not sore.
1. All the Wrong Reasons, Nickleback
2. Lose Yourself, Eminem
3. Theme for Young Lovers, Ocean's Eleven soundtrack
4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Green Day
5. Forgiven, Alanis Morrisette
6. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi
7. You Took the Words, Meat Loaf
8. Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield
9. Three's Company theme song
10. Take Your Mama, Scissor Sisters
Thanks to all who played!
Saturday, August 04, 2007
Tomorrow I'm ordering some copies of Pandora's Closet. You know, just that little DAW anthology that has a short story of mine that is released, you know, Tuesday or something.
Set your music player to "shuffle." Take a random lyric from each of the first ten songs to play. The blog readers that guess correctly get a Great Prize!
P.S. Googling the lyric=cheating.
P.P.S. The Great Prize=the satisfaction of being correct. You're gettin' nothin' from me.
As an extra bonus, I'm including a few hints. I think this is hard.
1. You got off every time you got on to me. (Think recent rock album)
2. There's vomit on his sweater already/mom's spaghetti/he's nervous/but on the surface he looks calm and ready. (rap song from a movie)
3. "Please state your name for the record." (think dialogue from movie)
4. My shadow's the only one that walks beside me. (think guy-liner)
5. We all had our reasons to be there/we all had a thing or two to learn/ we all needed something to pray to. (think angry young woman)
6. It'll take more than a shot to get the poison outta me. (think hairband that's still making music)
7. Oh you hold me so close and my knees grow weak. (think 70's singer that had a penchant for looooong operatic songs)
8. Being good isn't always easy/no matter how hard I try. (think movie soundtrack)
9. Come and knock on our door/we've been waiting for you. (think 70's-era theme song)
10. It's a struggle livin' like a good boy oughta/in the summer watchin' all the girls pass by. (Think Elton John sound-alike)
Good luck, gang!
ETA: 2=Eminem "Lose Yourself" and 4=Green Day" Blvd. of Broken Dreams.
Congrats to Sean Murphy!
Friday, August 03, 2007
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Saturday, July 28, 2007
This progress has made me decide that when I'm actively working on a project, I won't read. Basically, I'd like to try writing in big chunks and reading in slightly smaller chunks. Once fall T.V. starts I'll watch T.V. only on the weekends. We'll see how it goes.
Stormy Weather is still out with beta readers, so in the meantime I have a few deadlines for myself:
August 8: Submit Ghost Story (I really need a title.)
August 14: Blurb of SW completed
August 21: Synopsis and cover letter completed
August 28: List of 20 agents to query
September 15: Final draft of SW complete and queries out the door
After SW is done, I'd like to tear apart my trilogy and rebuild it as a stand-alone before tackling the AI/autism outline. Lots of research and reading to do for the AI business; my tentative goal is to have an outline by December 31st. We shall see.
Today I got a rejection for a story that said basically, "Hey, I liked this story all the way until the end." I wonder if I should query that editor with a "Hey, if I re-write the story, would you be interested in giving it another look?" My head says "no, too forward" while my gut says "you never know, give it a shot." I have a few more markets to send the story to before I give up on it, though, so I have some time to think about it. This editor send one of my other stories on to the big-wig editors, so she might go for it ... I dunno.
Friday, July 27, 2007
As you were.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I bought three new CD's for my most recent rejections: Guns-N-Roses Greatest Hits, Velvet Revolver Contraband, and Plain White T's All That We Needed. I'm listening to GNR now; there's just something about that music that brings out the angry teen in me. It's definite "turn up" music, you know, you hear it and you just have to crank it loud and sing at the top of your lungs.
Saying that makes me think of one of my friends in high school. He defined his music in two catagories: "turn up" music or "leave the fuckin' knob alone" music. He would get on me because he felt I was too liberal with the "turn up" distinction. I'd turn up Billy Joel, REO Speedwagon, Nirvana, and the Police; he'd say leave the fuckin' knob alone. He turned up Pearl Jam. I think he'd approve of cranking GNR. I wonder what he's doing now.
I cleaned out my filing cabinet last night and found another rejection from ... I dunno ... 2005? I actually got a little nostalgic.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
I won't spoil the book for anyone--I don't want to make enemies. But I will tell you I have two gut reactions: the reader one and the writer one. The reader in me liked it alot. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked. The reader in me has a few complaints but that falls into the spoiler catergory, so I'll save that discussion for the weeks and months to come. The writer in me felt that the story was bloated in places. I also feel that this story arc can be broken in two: the first four books and then the last three. I believe she had a firm idea about where the story was heading and what the major plot points concerning Harry/Voldemort were all along. However, I also feel that Rowling used the three years between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Phoenix for some major plotting/construction/backstory work that maybe wasn't strictly part of her original plan.
Mind you, I'm not saying that bad. It's necessary, in fact, when you're writing a long series, I think. My opinion is that she found uses for some of the characters later in the series that she hadn't planned on when she started out.
I'll probably read the whole series again, start to finish, but probably not for another year or so. I need time to digest. I also need some time to come down from the whole Harry Potter OCD business.
My confidence in my own writing is intact, and for that I'm grateful. It's a big step for me; I used to read awesome stories and say "Why can't I do that? Why do I suck? I'm never going to make it." Now, I go, "Hey, she did that really well. I'd have done X differently ... but this is her story. I enjoyed it."
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Another rejection. Note the Reject-o-meter.
Ken has been in the process of tearing out our deck. We're going to rip out the concrete patio, put in a stone paver patio, build a new deck, put in a fence, and build a brick outdoor-kitchen type deal. All before then end of September. Anyway, today Ken discovered the remains of long-dead furry little animal. At least, that's what he thought it was. I gave it a close inspection and found the vertebrae, and about a foot away, a little skull. It's been dead a looooong time, a year or two at least. It looks like it may have been a bunny. Poor bunny.
Working on the climax of Stormy Weather. I'd like to get through that tomorrow. I'm getting dangerously close to having a bona fide second draft. Ken and I bounced around ideas for my ghost story and I think I've got a fun idea going. Both of my previous published works (!!!) have been a little dark, so I wanted to go light and fun with this. We'll see how it goes. I'd like to have a first draft done of that by the end of this week. Fingers crossed!
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Note the new, nifty "Reject-O-Meter" progress bar at left. It was Ken's idea. I figure when I reach 100 I'd like to do nice, big, reward. Like apply to Clarion Writing Workshop or go on the Maui Writer's Conference cruise or something fantabulous like that. Coincidentally, Ken and I celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary next year ... mayhap we could wrap the two trips into one.
I suspect, though, that I'll reach 100 way before that. Because, you know, I'll be querying like 100 agents in about two months.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Ah, hell. Next week we'll know.
Happily, I was able to read Half-Blood Prince without line-editing it. Did I think about how I would have done X, Y, and Z differently? Sure. But I still enjoyed the book, and for that I'm grateful.
In other news, today I got a rejection from Jim Baen's Universe for "Last Man Standing." Five-day turn-around on that baby. Though, the rejection did say "Please feel free to send us anything else you'd like," which I took as a good sign. And I have six weeks or something to write a ghost story. And a second draft of Stormy Weather to finish. Ah! Pressure! It's actually enough to make me stop obsessing about HP.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Friday, June 29, 2007
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I bought three new sets of cute scrubs for work. I love having a job where the accepted uniform is basically pajamas. Apparently right now I'm in my "black floral" period. Previously I bought "colorful geometrics," and before that, "solid unisex". Ah, youth. I'm tossing out the last of the "solid unisex" tonight. I finally felt well enough to wash them tonight, so watch out world! I'll be doing the "Project Runway" walk tomorrow.
Over the past few days a cat has been wandering around our back yard. It obviously belongs to someone, because it has a collar with a bell around its neck and lets Ken pet it. This was the scene a few nights ago:
Moonshine: Spit! Hiss! Hiss! Let me pouf up my tail so I look huge! See how scary I am! Hiss! Hiss!
Kahlua: What's going on?
Morgan: Hey, dumbass, what your malfunc--Gaaah! There's a cat in MY YARD! Hiss! Hiss! Grroooowwwll! Yoooowwwlll! (Run-hop-thump, run-hop-thump) Blasted glass! Who put this shit here? Yoooowwwlll! Hiss!
Kahlua: What's going on?
Moonshine: Get her Morgan, get her!
Outside cat: This step looks comfy. I think I'll lie down right here. I'll stare at you to antagonize you more.
Morgan: Gaahh! The intruder is lying on my deck! Attack! Attttttaaaaaccckkk! If this glass weren't here I'd rip that bell from your throat! I would own you! (Run-hop-thump)
Kahlua: I think I'll lie down now. What's all the commotion about?
Humans: Calm down, cats. (To outside cat) Shoo! Go away.
Outside cat: Hmph. Guess I'll move over to this comfy spot by the window.
Moonshine: Hiss!! Hiss!!! Alert! Intruder by the window!
Morgan: You bitch! Hiss! I will show you no mercy! (Run-hop-thump) Stupid glass.
Kahlua: I'm napping now.
On the writing front, I have a few tidbits to report. Between working this past weekend and my wacked-out large intestine, I've made no further progress on Stormy Weather. I'll get back on that horse this weekend. Perhaps I'll sneak in a few hours tomorrow before dinner-and-a-movie. I received a rejection from Realms of Fantasy for "Last Man Standing." It'll go out again this weekend. Persistence pays, allegedly, and I like this story too much to let it die. As for good news, I have been asked to submit a short story for an anthology, 4-6k, due August 15th. I'm pumped. Basically, if I write a good story, they'll accept it and if I don't, they won't. Meaning, nothing is guaranteed ... but it's so frickin' awesome to be asked. I feel like I'm actually making headway in this biz. Fingers crossed, ya'll.
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I just started listening to the Stone Sour one. The first song sounds like a Metallica rip-off. Hopefully it becomes more original soon.
The Stormy Weather progress bar looks misleading. I've done a lot of cleaning and rearranging. I'm working on the climax now, which will actually take the better part of the weekend since I have to work. Once I'm through with that, I'm going to go through each chapter and see what I can add here and there. I figure if I add 500-1000 words to each chapter I can bump up my word count to where it needs to be. Fingers crossed.
Monday, June 18, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Wednesday Ken and I attended a Cubs game at Wrigley field with a group of friends. That was awesome! We sat in the bleachers, which is first-come, first-served, so we got there a few hours before game time. We sat in the sun, watched batting practice and ate hot dogs and big pretzels. The Cubs played the Mariners, which was sort of special for Ken and I; the last major league game he and I saw was a Mariners game in Seattle during our honeymoon. Funny coincidence: Lou Penella was the manager of the Mariners back then and the Cubs now. Funny how that worked out. We stayed with a friend that lives in an apartment that's like a 10-minute walk from the Stadium, so we didn't have to deal with the El or traffic at all. Bonus! After the game I also had my first Jagermeister shot since college. Back then I didn't like it; I've discovered that my taste buds have changed. Tasty! I liked it so much I had another. I wouldn't want to sip on a whole glass of the stuff, but as a shooter it's pretty good. Who knew?
Thursday morning we walked along Michigan avenue. We didn't actually shop much; it was more of a people-watching expedition. Though, Ken noted it would make a cool two-day Christmas-shopping excursion. I wouldn't want to do that on a weekend--the crowds would make me insane--but a Tuesday/Wednesday thing could be fun.
Last night I had girl's night poker. Lots of fun, though I didn't win again. The group has really learned how to play and no one had to ask when to check, bet, or what beats what. I had joked that my kid gloves were off and that I out for blood; for some reason, though, I played more timidly than normal and came in fifth. Normally I play pretty ballsy--my theory is you might as well play hard because if you're going to lose anyway you'll be pissed if you didn't--but last night I was all off. Aggressive poker is winning poker, and for some reason I forgot that. Ah, well; then next game is July 13th. Plenty of time to get my game on. Oh, and apparently 9's were the new 2's; it seemed like most flops and/or winning hands had them. Buggah!
Today is for writing, movie-watching, and possibly swimming. I'd like to see Ocean's Thirteen today, and possibly Pirates of the Caribbean. There's a sneak peak of Ratatouille happening and if I can figure out how to score tickets, I'd like to see that, too. Once back in college, Ken and I saw three movies in one day. It was a whole-day affair; we ate meals in between each show and finished that last movie at around 8:00 or something. Fun, but I doubt we're up for it again today. Two movies in a theater is probably our maximum. For one thing, the expense; for another, the people. The theater closest to our house is sort of ghetto, and that scene can get a bit tiresome.
Tomorrow I'm making the trek back home for Father's day. I'm anxious to see my parent's face when they see the copy of the anthology.