Thursday, May 28, 2009

Attacked ; ;

So I repost my story about how much I love spiders.

Last night, I had a night terror about a spider in my bed. Jumped out the bed screaming like someone was killing me. Ask Erik. True story.

Then today I'm eating lunch, all minding my own business and shit, and a spider jumps on my arm.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day weekend!

Here's what I did for the holiday weekend (aka nothing exciting).


Pictures of the cats, the boyfriend, the lunch, the tree, and a brain in my sink.

Revisiting: Yay Nature

So I found this while I was cleaning out my folders at work - an email story I sent to my friends and family when I first moved out to Washington in 2007.

Since it's good to be able to laugh at oneself, I figured I'd share. And on a side note, I had a spider night terror about a month and a half ago and six months ago. So yeah. Apparently, I'm just never going to outgrow some things.

Yay Nature:

I love nature. I really do. As much as I stay inside on my computer, I really enjoy the outdoors, animals, trees and all that happy stuff. I even don’t have many of the normal girlie issues about getting dirty, sweaty and insects and rodents. However, a spider is not an insect. It’s something much, much worse.

A few of you have heard this story. I know my mom for one, is going to enjoy hearing about it again and laughing at me some more (with all motherly sympathy included, of course).

So I haven’t encountered much in the way of bugs out here, much less with the small flies and the like which are abundant back east, as most of you are well aware. Overall, it seems like there are a lot less in general. Good stuff. For the most part, the only thing that has weaseled its way in to my apartment is a single gnat, which I swear is the same one who keeps wandering around, day after day. He is alone, and super annoying since he likes to poke whatever I am doing – computer monitor, the TV, and occasionally my eyeball. And despite my repeated efforts to smoosh him, he always makes a dexterous escape. I think I’m going to be forced to name him soon.

My encounter with small, elusive, less than amiable creature of the wild was a few weeks ago. There I was, minding my business, playing on my computer. When slowly, something dropped into my peripheral vision. I peel my eyes away from the screen to focus on the thing dangling mere inches from my nose.


It’s a good thing I wasn’t playing my online game – since we use voice chat – as I yelped and scrambled out of my chair. It would have been bad for two reasons – first, everyone I was playing with would have heard me squeal. Secondly, the speed at which I tore out of my chair did not allow for thoughts of consequences – like how I would have either broken my headset by ripping it out of the socket or pulled my entire computer off my desk. After much twitching and whining, I finally got a few paper towels and smooshed him. Flushed and gone, with a shudder of icky feelings, I went back to my day no worse for wear.

This past weekend, however, was a different story. It was Saturday night, and I had stayed up late to watch some anime (Kayla – I’m finally watching Trigun by the way). Decide its time to hit the hay, a little later than normal, and I get all comfy in my nice warm blankets and cuddled up for sleepy time. I’m finally dozing off when my cat, Kyra, gets up on the bed. That’s no big deal, I’m used to them walking all over me. Then she starts pawing at the back of my shoulder. So I reach over to poke her in the face and tell her to bugger off. Then I touch the back of my shoulder, and feel something funny. Kinda felt like a string or something, so I roll in it my fingers a little – was sort of fuzzy and had a really weird consistency and too think for string. My eyes suddenly shot open – panic creeping into the pit of my stomach. No…it really couldn’t be. Not in my bed right? My safe place? No way… I still get out of bed, holding the mystery item between to fingers, and drop it on my dresser next to the light. I turn on the light, with a gulp.


There was that wonderful second of delay as a I stared at it, it’s legs all curled around each other from where I rolled it between my fingers – ew touched it ew ew ew – and it starts wiggling, all half dead and legs all creepy. Yea.

It’s a good thing I live alone, and that I had my windows shut. I screamed like someone was killing me – a bloodcurdling howl of someone being murdered. If I had a roommate, boy would they have loved me – waking them up at 1:30 am like the end of the world was coming. (Though I am forced to admit, I could have used a hug at that point…or someone less ridiculously wimpy to remedy the situation and then give me ice cream and a hug.) If my windows had been open, I think someone might have called the police. Kyra, who was no doubt proud of her self, flew of the bed in terror and ran to hide. My other cat, Chunky, darted up from sleeping, staring at me with eyes a big as saucers. I then do that little dance of “I’ve got something crawling all over me but I can’t get it off” all the way to the kitchen, grab the paper towels and come back and grab it as daintily as I can, and then chuck that asshole in the toilet. Where he, of course, continues to wiggle at me. I’m not a complete baby, mind you. This thing was like…BIG. With his legs all spread out he was bigger than a silver dollar, at least. I’m getting all twitchy writing about it…Ok, so everyone needs a phobia right…it makes use humans…or just…individuals. Right then.

I took a shower after, doing that routine of someone who’s just been touched by toxic waste, scouring my skin to try to get rid of that heebie-jeebies feeling that penetrates to the bone. Then came the process of shaking out all the sheets, pillowcases and blankets, and checking every corner of the apartment for spider webs. And the paranoia every time something brushed my hair or my hair touched my face that I was under attack again. Took me at least two hours after that before I could sleep. For those who don’t have the background on me I had night terrors growing up that spiders were attacking me. I’d run screaming from my bedroom enough to wake up parents, standing out it the hallway blubbering “spiders…spiders”. I’d say I had them when I was a child, but I think the last one I had I was at least sixteen. LOL.

So I was staring at my cat, right before going to bed, thinking…either she is my hero, or I should kill her. Did she truly save me? Was it walking across my pillow, ready to strike and crawl all over my face and she came to the rescue? Or did the little turd half kill the spider and bring in into my bed…. Either way, at least it was too semi-smooshed to put up any resistance when I grabbed it. I think I might have peed myself if it wiggled in my hand.


Have you checked your sheets and pillowcases lately?

Friday, May 22, 2009


If you check my side bar, the Dark book tally has been moved back up to the top. That's because I'm free to write new stuff until the end of June. If anyone is interested in what I'm writing about, you can see the first chapter of the Dark book here.

And I'm wasting no time. Yesterday: 1,517 words. I also killed two people, blew a hole in a space station, and started a philosophical debate about cannibalism.


I heart writing.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting Picked on by the Evil Editor

Evil Editor runs a fun blog, where participants submit alternate endings, guess the plot based on a title, and write continuations on first pages of manuscripts. All of it is reader/writer submitted, and with a humorous twist. He also gives some good advice between cartoons and sarcasm. You should read his FAQ so you get the idea of what's going on.

See Hound get chewed on here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Insert that!

Me: So, Boss, I had a really liberating experience last night.

Boss: Oh really?

Me: Why, yes! I'd like to carry that over to work today. May I please have permission to deface company property by ripping out the insert key from my keyboard?

Boss: Uh...sure.

Me: Sweet. Got a screwdriver?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Insert this.

Screw you and your creator, Insert key.

Yes. I just pulled it out of my keyboard with a screwdriver. And it felt DAMN good!


Wordle - a feature you might not know about

So I was playing with Wordle again last night, and I discovered something new I didn't know about before.

Here's the Wordle for my WIP Hound (with character names removed). Not very inspiring, eh? Well, I was poking around and found this.

First, create your Wordle for your entire manuscript. When it's done, click the language tab.

At the very bottom, you have this. Show word counts. This will list every word in your document and the number of times it occurs, in a window that looks like this:

So what right? Well, when I was scrolling through my list of words, I noticed something.

This is an awesome way to find mistakes your eye might miss when editing. Like above. One of my character names is Aberhiem. In the image above, you can see the problem.

Aberheim, Aberhiem, Aberhiemt (wtf?), Aberhiem's

Well, now I know I need to do a find and replace in Word for these weird screw ups (the t on the end) and the misspelling. Just another weapon in the war on typos.

Oh, and its also fun to go down the list and read the words out loud, you know, when you have every version of the word follow, for example. Erik and I got some good laughs out of it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My clone

My niece, Isabell, playing on the DS I got her last Christmas. Like Aunt, like niece. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009

My lunch hour, let me show you it.

Here are three examples of how I will be (and have been) spending my lunch for the rest of my life. Or until I'm done editing, whatever comes first.

Chicken ranch pizza, Diet Coke, and chapter mmmmm, looks like 12 or so.

Rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes, Diet Coke, and - back tracking - to somewhere around chapter 8.

Just to mix things up - Today: Diet Coke, napkin from rubbing off the grilled cheese grease, red line of my synopsis from the editor (just an fyi, the biggest section of red text you see? Yeah. That would be a single sentence. Just sayin') and a new anthology I bought. I'll give you one guess as to what it's about. Figured I should try reading a little here and there.

It's hard though. Very easy to read while I'm writing. Almost painful to read while I edit. I read half of the short story by Stephen King, but I ended up just staring at the wall for a while instead of finishing it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What an editing brain melt might look like...

This level of doodling suggests a serious breakdown in the process.

And yes. That is 26 cents.

What are the worst things someone has said about your writing?

Carrying on the theme of much debate, I figured I would share some of the toughest things I've heard about my writing over the years.

  1. reading your work is like wading uphill through molasses
  2. just take out the dialogue and it's basically porn
  3. you're an editor's nightmare
  4. I don't think this story is working in first person
  5. There's nothing likable about this character
  6. your metaphors are over the top and absurd

# 1 & # 2 were from writing classes in college. After closer inspection, I realized that #1 was dead on - was abusing adjectives like crazy.

As for #2, I was really pissed, and the person was someone who always made nothing but snotty comments. The teacher actually had a talk with him after this particular class about being polite. Despite being angry for about a week, a talk with professor helped me to remember that everyone has different taste and opinions, and not to let one negative remark get me down. Then the same dude shared a short story with the group about masturbation. Go figure. Clearly, he and I were writing for different audiences. ;)

#3 was from a writing group I'm still a part of - and was 100% correct. I pouted for a day, and sulked a little. It was really quite depressing to hear, and then to look at a ten page line edit as proof. Then I hired an editor to help me get over this hump and get ready to query.

#4 was from a writing group I did over the summer about a short story. I disagreed, and did not change it. This was about my story EIDOS. While I still haven't found a home for it, I have received excellent feedback via rejection letters - none of which suggest changing out of first person.

#5 happened recently on the Quick Quill. I was disappointed that someone found nothing redeeming about my character. They also gave me a number of other pointers, however, and I plan to look at everything a second time when I'm ready to work on EIDOS again.

#6 was from an editor in a rejection letter from before I started keeping this blog. He gave a few examples, which I looked over in context. Most of them, I realized, were terrible. One of them I liked and kept in.

What about you guys? What's the toughest thing you've had to hear about your writing? How did you deal with?

Monday, May 4, 2009

An excellent blog for writers to follow

Lynn Viehl keeps one of hell of a blog. I've linked to her a few times when she posts submission ops. Today, she made a very interesting post about some tools to help writers. If you don't follow her blog, you should, even if her genre isn't your reading preference.

It's nice to see someone who has had this level of success in the industry still find time for the authors that are still working our way through the trenches. Kudos to Lynn!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Being honest when it sucks to be honest

Today I did one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time. I stopped reading a manuscript I was beta reading, and sent a lengthy email to the writer about why I didn’t like it and that I couldn’t keep reading.

In my opinion, the manuscript was virtually unreadable. I won’t go into any details about why, as I don’t want to risk revealing, in any way, who the writer is. I gave it my best (when I critique, I go line by line, and put comments throughout the entire text as I read) and gave up when I reached the halfway point.

I felt like my crit was going from something meaningful, into just comment after comment of what I didn’t like. I was starting to be concerned that it was degrading into something that couldn’t possibly be helpful. And I just was not enjoying reading or critiquing at all (both of which I love).

As writers, we say many things are difficult. The writing itself, uncovering our plot, making believable characters, editing, line editing, revising, rewriting, query, synopsis, self promotion; the list goes on. For myself, as a writer, this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do yet. I thought editing was hard until writing this email today, re-reading it about six times, waiting a few hours, reading it again, and then finally hitting send a few minutes ago.

I’ve always believed in brutal honesty as a critiquer. Your best friend can tell you everything is perfect; when I read, I’m going to tell what I think – in my humble, and what I like to think is a semi-educated opinion. Most of the time it includes the good with the bad.

Having to quit reading just sucked in itself – I know none of us as writers are quitters in any scope of the word. But writing a letter where I had virtually nothing positive to say, was horrible. Still, it was the truth. At halfway through, there was nothing left to make me keep going, and the problems were just too immense for me to ignore them for the story (which, in itself, had flaws as well).

Despite how hard this was for me – not to mention how upset the writer is going to be hearing the words such as “complete rewrite” and “unlikable characters” – I’m standing by my choice. And I’m confident, for the most part, that even if what I had to say hurts, that I said it in a way that wasn’t hurtful.

We owe it to each other, as writers and as people who swap critiques via email, on our blogs, and in our writers groups, virtually or otherwise, to be honest above all else.

Thanks to everyone who emailed me to beta read my chapters. I’m looking forward to your honesty. And thank you to anyone else who has ever read my work and given feedback – the good, the bad, and the stuff I certainly didn’t enjoy hearing.

Tough skin, fellow writers, is the name of the game – even if we keep our soft and squishy middles. Know that even the critiques that sting come from the heart and the best of intentions.