Monday, December 5, 2011

Put time on your side.

So since my last post I've been having quite a bump in productivity. One reason seems to be standing out more than others.

Tracking, plain and simple. I'm documenting exactly how long I spend with my butt in the chair actually working. Not on facebook, twitter or doing anything else on the internet. If I do that, time comes off my total.

My daily goal is still 3500 words, including new words and revised scenes. And I'm still keeping myself accountable to that goal. As a result, it's also very easy to stop when I reach that goal.

But when I exceeded the goal after only an hour and a half of work on a Sunday? When I had no other obligations and no day job that day? Suddenly it looked like I hadn't done shit, quite frankly. So I worked for another hour and ended the day at almost 8000 words added to the draft. And that felt damn good.

But a little part of me was thinking I should have started earlier in the day because only two and half hours. That's not that long... :)

I recommend tracking your writing time to everyone. When you're ready to throw in the "I've written enough today" towel, check out the actual time you've put in. Then ask yourself if that time (considering all your other commitments and the priority level you put on your writing) is in line with your goals.

When you do the math - in this case, add up the time - it can really improve your output. It's working for me! In five days, I've added 24k to my draft.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Math – it does serve a purpose for writers!

I know we all cringe at the dreaded math. I know I do! My boyfriend is a programmer, so I’ve gone as far as asking him to do division for me in his head so I don’t have to bust out my Windows calculator.

But math can be really important to help you keep track of what you are and aren’t doing when it comes to your writing.

I have to confess, I’ve been a bad, bad writer this last month. Skyrim came out and the gamer in me won. I played a lot – much more than I really needed to. And I convinced myself that as long as I was opening my document every other day, I was doing enough on my new draft of Ashfall.

Um, no.

I knew I was getting dangerously behind. I say dangerously in reference to my personal goals, as I’m not on a contract like a lot of writers out there. I still have the luxury to play games (excessively) when I should be writing, and hurt nothing but personal goals in the progress.

So I divided my current WIP count by the number of days I’d been working on it, which put me far below the hard numbers (word count per day) that I know I’m capable of outputting. Then I did the math to plot out when I would get done if I continued working at such a lame pace. Not good. Not even close to what it should be if I want to get this new manuscript to my agent in January.

I wasn’t even hitting the NaNoWriMo pace. We're talking under 500 words a day. I know that 500 words means different things to different people, but for me this is LAME. So then I plotted out where I would be if I used the 1666 words a day goal post, which I’ve done in the past and know I can easily met (since I won’t be playing hours of Skyrim anymore). That put me at the end of January – but that’s not good enough, because then I won’t have time to go over the draft for grammar and typos and shining before hitting send.

A friend recently pointed me to this post, which I think has a lot of truth to it, especially when it comes to documenting your time spent writing.

It’s very easy to kid yourself that you’re making progress (how ever you define it) every day just because you sit at the computer and stare at the doc for an hour.

But progress is different for everyone, and writing has a different priority level for everyone. So also see this.

I let writing slip down on my priority list this month, which for me, is not okay considering I want to make a career out of this. No one to answer to but myself, but there you have it.

Now, my goal is to 3500 words per day so I’m done by the end of December. Considering these two links and my past writing trends, it can be done. (By the way, this daily count includes scenes I revise and keep from the previous draft).

Yesterday I added 4416 words to my draft. All inspired by a little bit of math and some honesty with myself and how I’ve been using my free time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Good thing I had a coupon...

So I went to B&N because I had a coupon. I wanted to pick up the next book in the Earth's Children series. They had copies in trade paperback and mass market.

In a moment of complete OCD, I bought the entire series to make sure my books match when I put them on my shelf.

In a related note, I know I'm like thirty years to late, but I really love this series. I'm almost done the first book, Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel.

Noms.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In which I poke my head out of the cave

Hello! Long time no post. That seems to be my new trend - about two posts a month or so.

It works for me, as getting a second novel to my agent is currently my priority. That, and I think the blogging community for writers is a very dynamic thing. When you first start out, you're flying blind, trying to find answers and learn from others experience. I was there when I started this blog in 2008. I had a dream, but I didn't really know shit. We all put ourselves out there, meet other writers - some of which become invaluable beta readers and friends - and sometimes, forget that we started the blog because we love writing.

Being part of the blog sphere has been great for me. I've entered contests, picked up beta readers who I'll never let get away, and felt welcome and part of something bigger in the vast interwebs.

I've seen posts where people complain that once writers get an agent, they stop talking about stuff regarding their experience in publishing. I think this is true, though not always, and I think the reason is two-fold.

One, there are certain things you shouldn't post when you reach the stage of submission and even of querying. You don't vent publicly about query or submission frustrations, and the world probably doesn't need to know every single step in your process. I was pretty forthcoming about my experience querying - after it was over and I found an agent. I'm still willing to share my experience if anyone felt inclined to ask. Email away if you are. As for submission? Well, things have gone from dreams to reality and business, and being in business (which writing for publication is) demands professionalism.

Don't get me wrong. I hem and haw and whine as bad as anyone, but I do it privately, as nearly all writers who blog do.

Second, is that writing has shifted from something that can be put off when I'm just not feeling like writing, or when I want to play video games, to something that needs to be a priority because there are now expectations on me. I might be out on submission, but that's not the end. I need to have my next project ready to go as soon as I can. For me, it's not only about having a backup plan if my first novel doesn't sell, but also about proving to myself that I am ready to make writing a career and that I am capable of outputting on aggressive deadlines (even if now they are merely self-imposed).

The short of it is that I think writers cycle in and out of this community as it fits their current needs. For me, I post less because I simply don't have the time or the draw to focus on blogging when I need to be focusing on writing (and you know me - those sneaky video game binges).

The great part about this community is that everyone seems to understand that. We come and go as we need to, posting more and posting less, and followers might come and go, but the environment, for the most part, remains the same.

A welcoming, supportive and fun place for a writer to be, no matter what part of the journey they're on.

So, now that all my long-winded thoughtfulness is out of the way, thanks for still following a slightly less active blog. I've got about 5k in the tank on my current revision on Ashfall, and I've got lots and lots to go.

:)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Off it goes. Next!

Ashfall has been handed off to betas for some thrashing. I have about a month where I need to force myself to think of something besides that manuscript, so when it comes back my way covered in ink, I can look at it fresh and hack it to pieces!

I spent yesterday feeling a little downtrodden, which had a lot to do with nerves, I think. The first reader jitters will always surface. I imagine even the most successful authors still experience a little apprehension the first time someone reads the story they've worked hard to create.

I've learned that it's good to take a break from time to time, to give yourself time to breath and clear the deck after you've been buried in a certain world and certain characters. But breaks are, by nature, supposed to be short, especially when it comes to something you want to make a career out of.

Last night when I was supposed to be sleeping, I started brainstorming for my next manuscript - code name "The Finding." I think I'll do some outlining and character work today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ashfall Revision 1

So far, so good. I finished my paper edit today - yay! - and I'm pretty happy with what I have. All I have to do is finish putting the changes from paper into the word doc (ughhh I hate that part) and then I'm ready to shoot the draft off to my awesome betas.

Started at 451 total pages, 123,509 words
451/451 printed pages edited - woo!
123/451 pages of changes put in word doc
Current word count: 119,621

Fun line that makes no sense without context: "How long would it take for the war on the clouds to poison the water?"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ashfall Draft 1 - done!

Whew. Came out a little heavy at 123,507 - but that's okay. I always lose a good amount of words when I revise, simply because I write fast and sloppy when I draft. Lots of places to cut extra words - stuff like "nodded her head" that just comes out when drafting.

I'm doing a clean up run - hopefully it will take me about two weeks or so - then off to the betas to see how much work I have coming.

Finishing a draft though? This is a third story I've drafted in full, and the feeling never gets any less awesome when you type that last word.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best description of the writing process I've ever heard


This is so me. From Kate Elliot quoting Tad Williams during an interview with Tor:

The term I like best I stole from Tad Williams. It’s particularly appropriate to my situation because I now happen to live there:

The Hawaiian Islands Method.

In this method, the writer knows certain main events or points that will occur in the story. These are the islands that show above the water. But of course the seamounts themselves extend beneath the waves down to the sea floor far below. So you have to write “under water” — through topography you can’t see from above — to link up the parts you can see. That’s the best description of my process I know.

From now on, if anyone asks "panster or plotter" I'm just going to say neither. I'm an island chainer! Always have been, always will be.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

WIP WIP WIP!

I added one of those word county bar things to the blog as I trudge along on my Ashfall WIP. Moving along at a pretty good pace now, and I'm hoping to finish the draft by the end of August. And I know, I know. 120k is long, but one thing I've learned about my writing over the years is that I draft long, and cut lots of excess words when I revise. Of course, I ended up adding a ton back in when I did my other revisions so...we'll see!

Besides, this new book is sci-fi/fantasy, and the world is quite complex. Right now, the story is shaping up from a single POV, but as things get more complex and the backstory of a number of secondary characters come into sharper focus, I'm considering adding more POVs (which was my original goal).

Which would make things longer. Of course. Good thing I'm not afraid to chop, chop, chop!

75k and counting.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Books! (January 2011 - June 2011)

So I've been seeing a lot of people give themselves reading goals for the year and I thought, since I'm reading like crazy lately, that could be fun! But I don't really have a goal in mind, but I do have quite the list of books I've read since the year started. So I'm just going to list all 42 of them here.

YA:
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Urban Fantasy:
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Storm Front by Jim Butcher
Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
Grave Peril by Jim Butcher
Summer Night by Jim Butcher
Death Makes by Jim Butcher
Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
Dead Beat by Jim Butcher
Proven Guilty by Jim Butcher
White Knight by Jim Butcher
Small Favor by Jim Butcher
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
Changes by Jim Butcher
Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs
Iron Kisses by Patricia Briggs
Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
Bone Crossed by Patricia Briggs
River Marked by Patricia Briggs

Thriller:
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larson
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larson
The Running Man by Stephen King
Deadline by Mira Grant

Historical Fiction:
People of the River by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear
People of the Earth by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear
People of the Sea by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear
Fire the Sky by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neil Gear

Fantasy:
Tales from Watership Down by Richard Adams
Cold Magic by Kate Elliot
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Naamah's Blessing by Jacqueline Carey

Post-apoc:
Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield
The Long Walk by Stephen King

Science Fiction:
Titan by Ben Bova
Ark by Stephen Baxter
Treason by Orson Scott Card
Darkwar by Glen Cook
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

Romance:
The Billionaire's Bridal Bid by Emily McKay


I don't read much Urban Fantasy normally, but once I got hooked into the Dresden Files at book 4, I had to finish the series. Same with the Mercy Thompson series by Patrica Briggs (though I really didn't like River Marked). It also helps that, aside from the last few Dresden books, these are very short, quick reads. Some of them I read in one day. I also read Divergent in one day, as well as Tales from Watership Down.

You'll also notice a romance novel on my list, which is the only one I've ever read. I met the author at my BONI workshop, and figured I'd give one a whirl to support her and experience the genre first hand. I'm amazed at how fast she puts out these novels (which are about 50k with a hard word count cap) and how much of the subject matter is decided by the publisher. An interesting read, but it did confirm that I, as I supsected, am not a romance reader! :)

I also started and put down some books in this time frame, which inclue Solar by Ian McEwan, The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, Autumn bu David Moody, The Road by Cormic McCarthy, Blood Red Road by Moria Young, Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson and The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi.

Gardens of the Moon simply got pushed aside for books I was more excited to read, like the release of Naamuh's Blessing, finishing A Game of Thrones (on HBO and reading the novel afterwards) and being excited to start A Clash of Kings. I might come back to that one. The Road, The Reapers are the Angels and Blood Red Road had a writing style that simply isn't my taste. Solar was a little to "boring real life", things were moving too slow in Autumn and The Quantum Thief was just too...weird (and jumped to a new character that I didn't find interesting right when I was starting to adjust to the weirdness).

Yesterday I started A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin, and expect to be reading that series until I finish it - including A Dance of Dragons, which releases in July. Those books I will not be reading in one day, that's for damn sure.

(edit: opps, forgot a book!)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The P Word

Not too long ago I was having a conversation that I think many writers end up having with their loved ones. Mine was with my mother, around the time I was deep in the query process, full manuscripts out to agents, and (though I didn’t know it at the time) a few weeks away from an offer of representation. The gist of the conversation was: “How exactly does this process of getting a book published work?”

This is the good question, and one that doesn’t come from every person you have a casual conversation with about your dream of being a published author. This question comes from the people who are truly invested in your success, in most cases out of love. My parents have always been supportive of my dream (including when I decided to get my BA in something-that-will-never-get-you-a-real-job-aka-liberal-arts), and I was happy to share the excitement, the woes, and everything in between.

So I gave my mom the rundown of how querying works, including all the research involved, the dreaded query letter, and, of course, the waiting and the rejections. We also talked about what exactly an agent does and why (in my opinion) they’re a good thing to have. Once I had offers and needed to make my choice, I shared that process with her. Once I signed, I explained what comes next – including revisions and the submission process, which includes more waiting and more rejections!

During one of these conversations, my mom said she was really proud of me for being patient. At the time, I got warm fuzzies and said thanks.

But now I’m pretty sure being patient doesn’t have a damn thing to do with this process.

I’m the most IMpatient person I have EVER met in my ENTIRE life. This ranges from jittering in my seat when I have to sit still and be quiet too long, to buying everything I want the moment I see it which results in angry friends when they don’t know what the hell to buy me for my birthdays or Christmas. When a website takes too long to load, I flail around and whine about it, and even cuss it out – then return to my shiny, happy self as soon as the website/computer program/life does what I wanted it to do five seconds ago.

For example, I was at the bookstore yesterday, and instead of just ordering Clash of Kings since B&N was sold out, I bought the boxed set which includes a book I already had so I could have it NOW (even though I had two books I wanted to read before I’d start Clash of Kings anyway). And consider this: If Erik goes to the bathroom while we’re out at a restaurant, I make him leave his smartphone with me so I have something to do while I wait for him to come back.

And while I was on query, I stared at my inbox for hours, feeling like I was going to burst into flames if I didn’t get an email in the next two seconds. I was impatient the ENTIRE TIME. Statistics and logic didn’t sate me, nor did average response times or website guidelines or encouraging blog posts or success stories. It didn’t matter than this is my greatest dream – it only made me MORE impatient because I wanted my dream to happen YESTERDAY. And now that I have an agent, I'm STILL impatient!

So say thank you when someone compliments your patience, because it makes them proud of you and, quite frankly, makes you look all mature and shit. But behind closed doors where no one can see or hear? Stop those feet and whine like crazy if it helps you cope. It just means you're normal.

But the P word they’re really looking for is perseverance. And I don’t think any of us would be wherever we are – be it writing a first draft, revising, querying or on submission, or even waiting for our book’s release date – without it. I don't hold any high expectations that I'm going to magically become patient any time soon, but I certainly have no intentions of giving up.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Motivation.

Watch this and put whatever you want to do in place of the word "bike."

Honestly though? I'm a little jealous he figured this all out at like five years old.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Spreading Some Happy

After emailing back and forth with my buddy Marisol today, she shared this link she found with me. It gave me warm fuzzies!

I'm lucky to have Marisol and Beth as two of my most trusted writing and critque buddies, and this post about sums up my feelings on the topic. It's so awesome to have goto people, ones who are in the same boat as you (or in places you've been or are going), and who are there for anything from emergency reads and critques in a time crunch, to questions or sanity checks, and sometimes just for an ear.

You guys rock. Of course you know that, but I just wanted to remind you.

Do you have rocking writing buddies? Share that link with them and take a read. It's a really nice post.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

To genre poopers

I always find it interesting how defensive writers get over their genre. In some ways, it almost reminds me of religion. Everyone is so convinced that their beliefs (or genre) is the only good thing out there, that they fail to see merit in what anyone else (other writers and readers) believes.

I’m a faithful genre fiction reader and writer (and agnostic, if anyone was wondering), though I’m also well-read in classics thanks to an English BA and three semesters of graduate school (which will do nothing to prevent typos in my blog posts more often than I care to admit). The effects have lingered, and Dante’s Inferno and a monstrous tomb of Shakespeare’s collected works sit in prominent places on my bookshelf. Over the years, I’ve also read a bit of YA, lots of fantasy, science fiction, a bit of urban fantasy, some mainstream, literary fiction, picture books (man, I LOVE Harry the Dirty Dog!), a few historicals and the occasional nonfiction (most recently about cannibals).

What I don’t get is why everyone seems to think there is a universal right or wrong when it comes to their favorite genre and the genres they don’t like. Sorry, but try as you might, no one can prove that anything sucks. We might think it sucks, but if someone else loves it, who is right? Who wins?

No one wins when people fight. And if this was an inquisition (what sells best wins because that means the most people are reading it and liking it), literary fiction would be the witches burned at the stake simple because they lack numbers. Does it mean the witches were wrong in their beliefs? Not really, because they believed it, so it was right to them. They just didn’t have the masses (sales) to stand up to the bigger kid on the school yard. But despite all the witches that were crispyfied in Salem and elsewhere, the culture and beliefs still exists today, though in a minority, and is very fulfilling to those who follow that faith (just like those who read and write literary fiction).

Haters gonna hate, but hating something doesn’t make you right. A good example would be the fact that the very thought of Twlight makes me cringe, and I will never read it. Ever. But clearly if so many other people read and enjoy it, there has to be some merit to what Stephenie Meyer has done. Good on her. Will I gain anything by putting her genre choice (YA paranormal) down and claiming mine is better (adult sci-fi/fantasy)? Uh...no.

Anyway, this article pretty much kicks ass and kind of gets to where I'm trying to go. So next time you want to hate on something with zombies in it, don’t assume its trash without giving it a read first. (In the interest of full disclosure, my manuscript has zombies in it.)

From said article: “Fantasy fans often note that the divide between popular and literary fiction was established relatively recently by the modernists, who favored hyperrealism over plot and narrative. Throughout history, pillars of the literary canon, from Homer, Dante, Milton and Shakespeare up through Jules Verne, Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker, blended natural and supernatural elements. The pendulum may now be swinging back, with literature that can be both popular and literary, realistic and fantastical.”

The classics paved the way for genre fiction many moons ago and those stories are still considered classics today, so we genre writers might want to remember our roots. And literary writers? All I have to say to you is Dracula.

Monday, May 2, 2011

One happy Aunt

My niece Isabell is now seven and reading chapter books. My heart flutters at all the possibilities. While I was home visiting, we went over to Barnes and Noble and I told her she could pick out any book she wanted and I’d buy it for her.

She picked one I’d never heard of at the same time I spotted a copy of Bunnicula. I pitched the vampire bunny with success, and told Isabell she could have them both. Then I started browsing as she went to pick out a picture book for her brother.

Julie of the Wolves. Indian in the Cupboard. The Witches. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Little House on the Prairie. Where the Red Fern Grows. The Hobbit (which my dad read to me). The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of Nimh. And so, so many more - including ones like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, which weren’t around when I was a kid.

I was pulling books of the shelves so fast, I had a pile I couldn’t carry in under two minutes. Then I had to wind back a bit, and try to think in terms of what a seven year old could actually read, and what books were just a smidge over her current reading level.

Then I remembered reading classics as a kid – small hardcover books of literary works abridged with pictures for young readers. When I found them, it started all over.

White Fang. Swiss Family Robison. King Author and the Knights of Camelot. Treasure Island. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

In the end, I couldn’t cull my stack smaller than eight books. In the car, I handed Isabell the Classic Starts version of Swiss Family Robison and she read the back cover. A few minutes later, she said, “This sounds so cool!”

We talked about how reading isn’t just for bedtime. She boasted about reading an entire chapter book, on her own, in just ten days. We talked about how many chapters she could read in a day. I asked her to call me every time she finished a new book.

We got home from the store, and she sat next to me on the couch, feet on my lap, and read four chapters of one of her new books.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Trench warfare in the workshop setting

We humans feel a natural need to bond together in the face insurmountable odds, tragedy and suffering. Those who survive the battlefield together almost always come out the other side as friends, sometimes of the life long kind.

I can’t say I was exactly expecting that kind of experience at BONI this year. Yet, as I recounted the events of the week to Erik, he pointed something out: part of the reason I felt like I’d bonded more strongly to more people this year over last year was, quite frankly, our shared misery.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There was nothing wrong with the workshop. As always, Don, Lorin and Jason were great, the classes were wonderful, the crit groups were productive and the venue was cool. And with a very special exception, all of the attendees were awesome peeps. So why in the world would I bring up trench warfare in the same post as the workshop?

Because it only takes one person being bat-shit-epic-fail to inspire World War I sized feelings of “I’d like to feed you my foot through your ass” pretty much universally in a group of thirty adults, of which most prefer introversion and violence of the fictional kind.

I won’t bore you with the full list of horror stories I both heard about and experienced first hand from this person, but I would like to give a few basic tips on you can avoid being the person at a workshop dubbed “you know who.”




  1. Don’t mock people when they're introducing themselves.



  2. Don’t answer every question people ask the speaker during the presentation like you are the speaker.


  3. Don’t talk nonstop. (And when I say nonstop, I mean “why hasn’t that person dropped dead from oxygen deprivation” nonstop. All day. For SEVEN DAYS.)


  4. Don’t go around telling people that the instructor didn’t read anyone’s submission just because said instructor didn’t think your writing was perfect.


  5. Don’t critique people in a crit group by saying “The instructor would tell you to do this” and proceed to stomp out of said group when people offer constructive criticism.


  6. Don’t appoint yourself “workshop assistant” and start barking orders.



Did you answer “Well, duh” to any of the above bullet points? Congratulations. You have more tact than someone who claimed to be a 20-plus year publishing industry veteran and almost initiated a Thunderdome remake in sleepy Hood River, Oregon. Cheers!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

To be applied to writing and life in general.

I saw this post (tweeted by Donald Maass - @DonMaass) and felt a resounding hell fucking yeah.

This is not the way to live your life. Jealously is indeed human nature. We've all had times where we've seen someone else's success and think, damn, I wish I was the one with {insert great thing}.

But letting it become a downward spiral like this writer? Don't. And don't think the people around you, in this case other writers, don't see you for what you are. Things like that can get pretty obvious - even on the internet.

I once had a person I thought was a friend tell me "seeing you happy makes me miserable." To be honest, I'd suspected as much for years, but the very thought - daring to think I was worth being jealous of - made me feel like a jerk so I ignored the feeling. Deep down, though, you always know the truth.

I hope we can all have success as writers. More importantly, I hope we all figure out what it actually means to be happy with the choices we make and the successes we have as writers – and in life in general.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On Creative People

So this is a fun article - and I've lost the place I linked through to get to it, gah! Anyway, it's all about the Creative Personality from a psycological perspective.

Favorite part?

"Another way of expressing this dialectic is the contrasting poles of wisdom and childishness. As Howard Gardner remarked in his study of the major creative geniuses of this century, a certain immaturity, both emotional and mental, can go hand in hand with deepest insights. Mozart comes immediately to mind."

So this is why I don't clean, still laugh when I burp even though I'm almost 31 years old, dance to the toaster oven's clicking noise (hot beat, yo!), randomly run in place and make loud noises after sitting still too long, and love video games, random junk for under $5, wacky socks and cute stuffed animals.

I'm a genius!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Hellooooo zombies?

Apparently, my zombies aren't hungry. And how can I have zombie book 2 without more people getting eaten? Uhm... So how many pages can one have without zombies in a zombie book, anyway? Is there a guide somewhere out there? Something like, five pages, no problem. Ten, meh. Twenty, getting itchy. Thirty, thin ice. Forty or more...am I even still writing a zombie book? My guess is I need to do what I always do, which is just keep going and then revise the hell out of my first 100 pages. Because right now? Yeah, there isn't nearly enough noming of brains going down.

Monday, March 21, 2011

So much win!

So Wasted Talent is always hilarious, but today...well, this is what I'm going to imagine my characters' battle cries to be from now on. Good or bad? You decide!



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Onward!

So looks like HOUND is finished! Very exciting stuff! After a few more small tweaks, I sent my final version to Joanna (my agent) today. And happy danced a bit. (Okay, a lot.)

Soon we'll go on submission and try to sell the manuscript. This will likely take months. How many? Impossible to guess, as every author has a different experience - just like when querying. From here on out, I won't be talking much about HOUND. I like being pretty open about my writing experiences and the process of chasing this crazy dream of publication, but some things don't belong on a public blog.

Feel free to cross fingers and toes for me, though!

What's next then? A sequel to HOUND is my plan right now. I'll be working on a first draft and taking that to BONI come April. After BONI (if not before) I'm going to try and get into a pretty strict writing routine.

Aside from that? Playing a hell of a lot of video games! I've about 2/3 done my second Dragon Age II playthrough (which I'll blog about soon) and I'm fighting the itch to load up Dragon Age Origins and play it a third time with all the downloadable content I never played. Then that makes me think of Mass Effect and how I really need to play Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and all downloadable content before the release of Mass Effect 3 - which is waaay too far away.

But if I don't give boyfriend more of my time on Rift, I have a feeling all my other games might mysteriously vanish...

I've mentioned this before, but if anyone is playing Rift, let me know. I'm on the Corthana shard, Defiant, character name Archon. Eirk and I have a small, casual guild and would be happy to invite more friends.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Last week

So I was left alone for a few days since the boyfriend went to visit his family. Interesting times.

Thursday: Took boyfriend to airport EARLY IN THE MORNING, worked, tried to edit my BONI submission but ended up cleaning cat pee instead, showered, watched The Girl Who Played With Fire, snuggled kitty because I felt bad for screaming at her about the cat pee.

Friday: Worked, MOAR EDITING, played some Rift, googled some stuff about Rift, showered, watched Daybreakers, snuggled cats.

Saturday: Played some Rift, took cat to vet, went to lunch and saw the Adjustment Bureau with Maggie, MOAR EDITING, ate a chicken patty sandwich, decided not to shower because cats don't mind stinky people, watched The Ugly Truth, snuggled cats.

Sunday: Very excited to find unopened pop tarts on desk! Score!, played some Rift - which isn't so fun alone, downloaded a cheap game and ended up with nerd rage, ate a chicken patty sandwich, googled and for some reason ended up reading about True Blood, watched first episode of True Blood, ate a chicken patty sandwich, worked on synopsis, watched True Blood, watched more True Blood, synopsis, True Blood, synopsis, True Blood, True Blood, chicken patty, True Blood, TALKED TO BOYFRIEND ON THE PHONE AND SOUNDEDLIKEI'MTYPINGBECAUSEIWASSUPEREXCITEDTOTALKTOHIM
ANDBECAUSEI'VEHADNOHUMANCONTACTINLIKE36HOURS, True Blood, True Blood, no shower because meh boyfriend isn't home until tomorrow, snuggled cats.

Monday: CHICKEN PATTY FOR BREAKFAST, True Blood, finished synopsis, True Blood, showered since humans like other humans to be clean, picked up boyfriend YAY!, played Rift with boyfriend YAY!, put boyfriend to be early since he was super tired, MOAR TRUE BLOOD, debated staying up until midnight to pick up Dragon Age II early but decided to go to bed.

Tuesday: Boyfriend goes to work and drops me off in shopping center, 30 minutes to kill before Gamestop opens, shopped for breakfast and ended up with ice cream and chocolate covered coconut for breakfast and little sandwiches (no chicken) for lunch, ACQUIRE THE DRAGON AGE II, walked home, installed, crashed, tried again, couldn't find save files, computer crashed, obscenities, threats, NERD RAGE, call boyfriend, whined, MOAR RAGE, then YAY IT WORKED, played Dragon Age II, almost starved but remembered to eat at the last second, played Dragon Age II, greeted boyfriend, played Dragon Age II, ate dinner, played Dragon Age II, watched America's Funniest Home Videos, bed.

Wednesday - Work. :(

So I've learned that being left alone results in questionable eating habits, general lack of hygiene, lots of games and odd choices is TV and movies.

Somewhere in all that, I managed to finish my BONI submission and will be mailing it tonight. Hurrah!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rift Update

Talk about crazytown. Rift launched for headstart with 19 servers, most of which were full immediately. Once the serversw were full, then you had to wait in line behind 500-700 people for up to four hours to even log in at all!

Erik put me in line early, so by the time I got home from work I was in! I made my character...and then my computer overheated and crashed.

-.-

Erik got it up running after about half an hour, but by that time the line to get back on Greybriar was four hours.

But, much to my delight, they'd just put up two new PvE servers! We got into Corthana with no wait, so that's my new server. Also, character name is Archon on the Defiant side. I play a ranger and I love my ugly warthog pet. He's a killer tank. Sadly, my wolf can't hold hate for anything.

Erik and I played most of the night, but my favorite part was when a full on water invasion hit (basically, a rift between the planes of existence opened up, and the tidal armies came marching through in HORDES to try and kill the NPCs and claim the zone). Talk about chaos! It was so fun - even though a lot it involved me going: "I've got a mob, do you see it? Oh shit, my pet's dead. OH SHIT THEY'RE COMING FOR ME!!! *gurglygurglespurt*."

Good times, good times.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Closing in...

...on two things: the completion of my revisions and the headstart of Rift.

As of now, HOUND is inching closer to done, done, DONE. I have about 100 pages left to re-read and two scenes to revise on the way. I also I have to adjust some travel times and make sure they're consistent throughout the text.

But tonight I'm going to be playing Rift. It's been far too long since I've had some excellent gaming. Looks like I'll be on Greybriar, PvE server, if anyone else is playing. I haven't decided on a character name just yet, though.

Kumari in an alternate universe, perhaps?

Ugh. The servers are going live as we speak...and here I am, stuck at work.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30% done, done.

So when revising, there's done and done, done.

Done means I've gone through Joanna's notes, made my own tweaks, rewritten, unwritten, changed, picked, verified, etc - but I have all those changes still as redlines. So...I haven't finalized them yet. Committed to them.

Done, done means I bucked up and hit accept changes.

I'm happy to report I'm done, done 30% of the manuscript. Weee!

Very happy. Hopefully soon I'll be done, done with more of it, instead of just done. :)

I should add one more done to the done, done, so I can say it like I'm dun, dun, duuuuuun!

Okay, this post is clearly done. As in done, done...duuuuuuuun!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Step 1: Revise. Step 2: GAMES!

As most of you know, aside from my fiction writing I also work full time for an internal communications magazine. Translation? Life is pretty busy now that revisions for HOUND have come back to me.

I’m writing the cover story for our May issue (yup, we’re always two months ahead at the magazine) which is pretty neat, but I also have an unpleasant thing happening at the office. I won’t bore you with the details, but it’s pretty crappy and stressful. Hopefully all that will clear up in the near future. Downside is things will likely get worse before they get better. At least my day job doesn’t exceed forty hours a week!

And when I’m not dealing with the thing that shall not be named, life is AWESOME. Working with Joanna is a dream, and I love all her suggestions for HOUND. Right now, I’m back on the revision horse and things are shaping up to be phenomenal. I have a good deal of work to do, but the best way to describe it is that I’m improving what I already have, and not really changing things – at least as far as the story and characters go. I’m not sure yet exactly how long this will take me, but I’m sure it won’t take too long!

Aside from HOUND, I’ve been doing a little work on HOUND’s sequel, which is what I’ll be taking to the Breakout Novel Intensive (BONI) in April. Right now, my first fifty pages are in the capable hands of a few beta readers until the end of February. Once I get that back, I’ll have to do a quick clean up and then ship it off by the first week of March. I’m really excited to go back to BONI. Writing retreats/intensives? LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them! If I can fit in one a year, I’ll be a happy writer.

Oh, and there’s of course Rift, The Sims Medieval and Dragon Age 2 to deal with. My guess is gaming will have to be under strict password protected autosave lockout timers for the next few months. Or maybe they only unlock after certain revision quotas are met?

All the more reason to get my ass moving on these revisions…I can reward myself with some EPIC nerd time when I’m done.

So I guess this pretty much means I’ll be scarce on the blog for the next few months. But I’m always here…lurking. I’ll update when I can!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How I stayed (kind of) sane while on query


So how I was able to stay relatively sane while I was on query boils down to two things.
  1. My amazing writer friends who encouraged me and advised me through the process, especially Beth and Lorin. Thank you!
  2. querytracker.net
Querytracker is the bomb and there's just no two ways about it. Not only does it put a huge list of agents at your fingertips, but it also gives you links to interviews, client lists, average query response times and much more. Aside from that, it helps to you keep track of who you queried when and pretty much keeps you from falling into a giant black hole of disorganized hell.

I LOVE it, so I was thrilled to share my success story on their site to help encourage others to use querytracker.

And the $25 a year for the premium account? Affordable and totally worth it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Cannibals!

Okay, before you think I'm crazy based on the post title...

It starts with this:


Then this:



Which leads to this:




And this...



AND THIS!!!




And thissssssss:



It keeps going!




Saturday, January 22, 2011

Bad post-it!


So I was organizing my notes for HOUND and I found this post-it. This is my "what characters say which curse words" guide. Pretty funny, considering I did a pass on the manuscript specifically looking for swear word consistency.



I also find it pretty funny that my handwriting hasn't improved much since grade school!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

BIG HUGE GIANT Announcement!

Well, for an aspiring author this is about as big as news gets. Here goes:

I HAVE AN AGENT!

EEEEEEE!!!!!

I've officially signed with Joanna Volpe of Nancy Coffey Literary and Media Representation!!!!!!

I'm really excited for the chance to work with Joanna. We clicked when we had "the call" and she shares my vision for HOUND IN BLOOD AND BLACK to the letter - well, aside from her ideas for making it EVEN BETTER and, you know, my typos that still need eradicating.

Thank you, Joanna! I'm thrilled to be your client and I can't wait to see where things go from here!

And thanks to everyone out there that has been and continues to be a part of this crazy adventure.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Desk Dragons and Book Releases!


He nips at fingers when I stop writing. He's my "work" desk dragon. I think I'll get another one for home.

On a much more exciting note, if you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you already know that Beth Revis' Across the Universe launched today. An awesome YA sci-fi, and you can read the first 111 pages here (today only) or read/listen to chapter one on the badass offical website.


What is the connection? I bought my desk dragon at the same time I picked up a copy of Across the Universe!