Friday, August 31, 2007

British curses are cool

Watched Hot Fuzz tonight with Ken. I'll have to watch it a few more times to be sure, but it could be my New Favorite Movie. Good guys win, bad guys lose, there's a cool plot, it's funny, and there's great cursing with british accents to boot. What's not to love? Get thee to a video store and rent it forthwith.

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

business as usual

Haven't gotten too much writing done lately. Ken and I rented a bunch of movies though, two of which I hadn't seen before, so at least the time was used somewhat productively. Movies are a form of story-telling, dammit. I can usually skip the writer-guilt if I'm watching a movie or reading a book. Surfing on the web ... not so much.

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

Romantic Times review

This is probably copyright infringement or some such nonsense, but if I mention this review ran in Romantic Times, and provided this link, they'll probably not issue a cease-and-desist, right? I still feel a little glowy when I read it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Gen Con 2007: Con report

Back from Indy. All the suitcases and such are in the house (but not unpacked), the cats are fed and watered, the mail has been sorted, and the comfy clothes have been donned. It is officially time for the report.

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

bloggin' from Indy

As I type this, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Indy. I've survived my first day of Gen Con and have three more to go. I've shmoozed with writers, dodged goth-girls, and eaten too much food. Detailed con report to follow ... right now I'm almost too tired to type.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Save the F/SF market

Doug Cohen, slush reader for Realms of Fantasy, makes great points here about putting our money where our mouths are concerning the short fiction market. I say, my check's in the mail. Go forth and support the little guys.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Oh, yeah, and one more thing...

Yesterday and today I went to my local booksellers and signed their copies of Pandora's Closet. Watching them slap the "authographed copy" sticker on the front gave me goose bumps. It's finally, really, truly, real.

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.

I lurv my readers

I've gotten back some truly excellent and awesome critiques from two different people for two different works today. Sean Murphy outdid himself with line edits and story ideas for Stormy Weather, while a non-writer-but-excellent-reader friend of mine gave great character insights for Unnamed Ghost Story. Actually, thanks to his insights, I have a working title of Prevenient Grace, but I having a feeling it will get changed.

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!

Yard Work

So yesterday was Ken's birthday as well as the release date of Pandora's Closet. We both took the day off, and instead of lounging poolside or drinking margaritas, we carted pieces of concrete from our back yard to a rented dumpster in our driveway. Yestereday it was, I dunno, around 95 degrees with maybe a 105 degree heat index. It took two wheelbarrows, a makeshift ramp, and three hours of sweat equity, but we did it. The carnage


and after

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.

Da answers!

Here's the answers to the song meme:

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

writing goals

Between yesterday and today, I've written rough drafts of my Stormy Weather blurb and synopsis. They need a lot of work but it feels good to have something down on paper to work with. Next up: writing a press release, searching the 'nets for suitable agents to query, and writing a query letter.

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.

Go, me.

Another time-waster for your amusement

All right, fine. I give in. Here's a meme I cribbed from Elizabeth Glover. For those of you who read my blogspot and LJ blogs, forgive me; I'm posting this to both.

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

excuse the blond moment

Um. NasFic is August 2-5. This weekend. Not four weekends from now. This means I won't be attending.

I'm completely bummed. Crap!