Monday, March 6, 2017

And Then There Was None

A funny thing happened over the weekend.

I may (or may not) have completed my revisions.

I have to keep the 'or may not' part because I am, after all, me, and I have a long history of not actually completing my revisions.

But, for the moment at least, they are complete, and the manuscript is in the hands of my last beta reader. And in theory, she is reading at a neck-breaking pace because she finds it impossible to put down the story. (and also because she'd like to get to the end before I decide I must rewrite the entire thing. Again. My beta readers love me. Just so much.)

So until such time as I decide to either move forward, or rewrite the entire book (again), I'll be working on other things. It's kind of weird to be saying that because I've been revising for so long. Like, just this side of forever. I'm a little worried that I'll end up revising more just because I've forgotten how to do anything else. So if you see me with a red pen, just slap it right out of my hand, okay?

Here's what I'll be attempting to work on in the coming days and weeks and possibly months, all in the name of distracting myself (and also because they need to be done anyway—but mostly that first thing...):

1. Write a blurb for Second Nature

I had one brief moment of happiness upon the completion of my revisions. It was quickly swallowed by the knowledge that the dreaded blurb now awaited me. Is it too late to run away to join the circus?

2. Work on plan for Full Circle (aka, Book Three)

When I last looked at this manuscript (the last time I thought Second Nature's revisions were finished...), there was one of those super fun big ole timeline problems. I really need to figure it out before I can do anything else with this book.

3. Once the timeline problem is solved, find that scene I wrote in a notebook somewhere for Full Circle but now can't seem to locate.

I swear I wrote that scene fairly recently (translation: since having moved), but I haven't figured out in which notebook it's written. Fortunately, I only have about a million notebooks, so I'm sure tracking down one scene in one of them will be super easy.

Good thing I have a lot of time on my hands...

What's going on in your corner of the world?

Happy Monday, all.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Tales From The Vault (An IWSG Post)

Hello, everyone. It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

(As always, I'm assuming that, by now, you know what this is, but if you need/want more information, or a complete list of participants, please click on the link.)

This month's co-hosts are Tamara Narayan, Patsy Collins, Nicohle Christopherson, and, you know, me. (I always feel weird writing this particular part when I am among the hosts. But, as I pretty much always feel weird regardless of the situation, I perhaps didn't need to mention this particular instance to you.)

Anyway. On with the post.

This month's question asks, "Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?"

Well, I'll tell you. Well, at least I'll tell you half of it. I have no idea if it will ultimately work out, but I did, not too long ago, pull out an old manuscript of mine.

I generally have two projects going at one time—a main project, and a back-up project that I work on a little bit whenever I need a break from the main project. At the moment, my main project is Book #2 of my fantasy series, and my back-up project is Book #3 of said series.

And because there was this time when I thought I might actually finish Book #2 (Ha!) and promote Book #3 to Main Project Status, I went hunting through the archives of abandoned never-finished stories to look for a new possible back-up project.

One of my top contenders was this novel I had started in high school, and worked on through a few years of college, but never finished. (The story of my life, I know.) What pages did exist were well-received in college. Like, really well-received. The feedback from professors and classmates and fellow writers met at conferences was excellent, flattering, even—and maybe, just maybe, played a minor part in cultivating my ego a little bit. (I know I'm always so ego-free, so this information may seem jarring to you.)

So, fast forward many, many years to the time when I thought I might actually finish Book #2. (Again, I say, "Ha!") I pulled this abandoned story out of a box and submitted the first ten pages to my critique group, just to get their take on the story.

And their take was:

Leaving me all:

and wondering what in the world all my professors, classmates, and conference-writer acquaintances were fawning over during my college years, as well as worrying that my entire decision to be a writer (made the summer before my junior year of college) had been predicated on big, fat lies designed to avoid hurting my delicate artist feelings.

But that's another post for another day, perhaps.

I went home after my critique and paged through the rest of the manuscript, and had a good long laugh at both it and myself. My critique partners were so incredibly right, and if this story ever does make it to Back-Up Project Status, or even Main Project Status, the characters and I will be in for a total overhaul.

And boy, am I looking forward to that.

Thanks for stopping by today, everyone. Happy writing.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Abducted Life

No, this is not another post about how editing has completely taking over my life. You may breath your collective sigh of relief. Go ahead—I'll wait.

Instead, we welcome author Patricia Lynne (or, Patricia Josephine, as she's also known...) back to My Pet Blog. She has a brand new book out, and she's here today to talk about some real life influences found in the story.

Take it away, Patricia!

Five Real Life Influences in Abducted Life

Writers seem to like to insert little homages (boy, did I just have one heck of a time trying to spell that word) to things in their real life. I did it in Being Human with names of people in my life. Abducted Life was no different. Here are five real life inspirations that helped me add a little personality to the story.

Number One: Did I say that out loud?

The baker at my day job can have quite the snarky mouth and often she will say something sarcastic and end with a flair of snark. "Oh, did I say that out loud?" There's a scene where Savannah is walking behind two women who are gossiping about one's boyfriend. Savannah accidentally says what's on her mind out loud and earns a nasty look from the women.

Number Two: I love this song!

This is another coworker story. I used to have a cook who loved music and, I swear, 80% of the songs on the radio she said she loved. I'd actually tease her when she didn't say it. So naturally, when Mandy and Savannah are clubbing, I had Mandy enjoy each and every song she heard and declare it to Savannah's amusement.

Number Three: The dump

Behind my parents' house is an old, cleaned up dump, but there is still stuff littered there, including and old beetle car. It was a fun place to explore in hopes of finding a hidden treasure. When writing where Evan hung out when not stalking Savannah, I envisioned that dump down to the sloping hills and overgrown road that ran through it.

Number Four: The old farmhouse

Speaking of my parents' house, that was were I got the inspiration for where Savannah's parents lived. My parents own a 100+ year old farm house that has a giant tree in the side yard. They have a picture of the house when it was first built and the tree was just a sapling. Mom also loved flowers and birds so she has many flowerbeds and birdfeeders. The land surrounded the house is also hayed yearly and is very secluded for an easy alien abduction.

Number Five: Trouble

The last little detail is a small one. In the beginning, Savannah recalls how she and Evan met in kindergarten and had gotten in trouble for not paying attention. My bestie of 30 years and I met that way. We were sat next to each other and I remember the teacher separating us for talking.

Savannah Janowitz’s perfect life was destroyed the night she and her boyfriend vanished without a trace. When she reappears a year later––alone––she’s a shell of her former self. Robbed of her popularity and her boyfriend, she has no memory of what happened to her. Savannah struggles to move forward as strange, new abilities manifest.

Evan Sullivan never gave extra-terrestrials much thought until the night he and Savannah were abducted. While Savannah’s memory was wiped clean, he remembers every horrific detail. Constantly reminded of the experiments that made him less than human, Evan hides in the shadows and watches Savannah rebuild her life without him. But neither can let the other go.

When their paths cross, Savannah and Evan finally see a glimmer of their old lives return. As they face what happened to them, they soon discover they aren’t safe. There’s more to fear than what’s hiding in the stars.

About The Author

Patricia Josephine never set out to become a writer. In fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was all about art. On a whim, she wrote down a story bouncing in her head. That was the start of it and she hasn't regretted a moment. She writes young adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow, and an obsession with Doctor Who.

Other places to find her online:

Congrats on the new release, Patricia! Hope everyone out there has a wonderful weekend. See you next week. Unless I forget. Which I totally might because I do occasionally do that. Regardless, hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 3, 2017

One Question With Chrys Fey + Free Ebook + Giveaway

Hey, everyone. Today, the spotlight is on author Chrys Fey, who is celebrating her latest release, Tsunami Crimes. (Congratulations, Chrys!)

She asked the participants of her blog tour to ask one question each.

Here's mine:

MJ’s Question for Chrys: What is your preferred writing method? Are you an old-school pen-and-paper person, or do you trend toward more "modern" methods of writing (i.e., Scrivener, or voice dictation programs, etc.)?

I’m old-school. For every story I write, I always have a notebook for it. I carry it around my house wherever I go, in case inspiration strikes or for those moments when I’m lounging on the couch with nothing better to do than write while I watch TV. I keep every notebook, too. I have them all in boxes in my closet. Now before you think my closet is full of these boxes, let me correct you. There are currently three small boxes. Just three. Well, that’s a lie. I also have a backpack.
Aside from the notebooks, I do have a desktop computer and a laptop. Depending on the story, I may write most of it at my desk or at my kitchen table with my laptop. For Tsunami Crimes, I wrote it entirely at my kitchen table. For some other stories, I find the inspiration to write them while at my desk. I don’t know why this is, but I’ve found that if I start writing a story on my laptop, I can’t write it at all at my desk. And vice-versa.
I’ve never actually tried Scrivener or voice dictation programs or anything else. Truthfully, I can’t even think of another modern writing method. I’ve heard many great things about Scrivener, but I’ve never tried it out. My old-school method works for me, so why fix something that’s not broken?
What methods do you use?

Beth and Donovan have come a long way from Hurricane Sabrina and the San Francisco earthquake. Now they are approaching their wedding day and anxiously waiting to promise each other a lifetime of love. The journey down the aisle isn’t smooth, though, as they receive threats from the followers of the notorious criminal, Jackson Storm. They think they’ll be safe in Hawaii, but distance can’t stop these killers. Not even a tsunami can.
This monstrous wave is the most devastating disaster Beth has ever faced. It leaves her beaten, frightened. Is she a widow on her honeymoon? As she struggles to hold herself together and find Donovan, she’s kidnapped by Jackson's men.
Fearing her dead, Donovan searches the rubble and shelters with no luck. The thought of her being swept out to sea is almost too much for him to bear, but the reality is much worse. She’s being used as bait to get him to fall into a deadly trap.
If they live through this disaster, they may never be the same again.

On SALE for $2.99!


P.S. Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes are on sale for 99 Cents!


Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series. She is a blogger, reader, auntie, vegetarian, and cat Lover. 

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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Fun With Editing (An IWSG Post)

It's the first Wednesday of the month (not to mention the first day of February...How is it freaking February already?!?) which means it's time for another action-packed installment of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.

(I am assuming that by now most everyone who happens upon this blog on this particular day is already well familiar with the IWSG, but if you're on the hunt for more information, or a complete list of participants, please click the above link.)

This month's co-hosts are: Misha Gericke, L.K. Hill, Juneta Key, Christy, and Joylene Butler. (Not to mention the group's founder—the ninja captain himself—Alex J. Cavanaugh.)


So, I know I haven't talked about this at all, but I've been going through an extended period of revisions. At this point, I'm pretty much convinced that I'll be editing and revising until I die, at which point I shall come back as a ghost and start the process all over again. (Sadly, I could not find any satisfactory ghost-themed gifs to follow that statement.)

It's left me feeling way too insecure for the insecure writer's support group—which may be a ridiculous thing to say, given the name of the group, but that's where I am nonetheless.

So instead of putting you through yet another lament, I've decided to share some entirely-too-accurate editing/writing funnies I came across while trying desperately to avoid editing while making great strides toward the completion of my goal.


That's gonna do it for me today. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 30, 2017

February 2017 Goals

Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish in the coming month:

Finish my f!%@&$*ing revisions for Second Nature.

Five scenes across three chapters. That's all that's left. (Yes, I know that in my last post there were only four scenes left. But now there are five. Again. Yay.) Sure, I vacillate hourly between so-close-to-being-done-that-I-can-taste-it and I'm-burying-this-damn-manuscript-in-the-backyard-and-never-looking-at-it-again, but I really, really, really don't want to have this goal again next month. With a little luck, that determination/desperation will be enough.

Come up with topic for my upcoming author appearance.

Yep. That's right. I said yes to doing another author appearance. The kind where I have to stand up in front of a group of people and speak intelligibly on some yet-to-be-determined subject for 10-15 minutes. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I do hope there's a treatment for it.

Read at least three books.

I'm currently three books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge. (Thanks, Firefly-themed graphic novels!) It'd be a shame to fall behind now.

Walk, run, swim, or bike at least 3 miles every day.

I have managed to do this every day thus far this year, and I'd really love to continue this trend. I'm sure with all the revision-frustration pacing I've been doing that this goal will be no trouble whatsoever.

What are your goals this month? Or week, or day, or even in the next hour?

Have a great Monday, everyone. See y'all on Wednesday for the Insecure Writers Support Group...

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Little Things

Life has been feeling a little bit like this lately:

Because that's what life does. In order to combat this feeling, today I'm sharing those little things I'm celebrating this week:

—My beloved New England Patriots won the AFC Championship game and booked yet another trip to the Superbowl. Of course, this means that I will be super tense during said Superbowl. Sounds like a job for beer!

—It took almost two freaking years, but I finally found a Chinese restaurant in my area that serves edible lo mein. I love lo mein, but have been severely disappointed (well, as much as one can be where Chinese food is involved.) by the offerings thus far. I swear there must been a million Chinese food joints around (note: probably a slight exaggeration), yet not one of them served lo mein that I actually liked. But The Man and I found a new place to try, and I was giddy with glee to discover that it was actually good. Now I kind of want to order lo mein every night. I probably won't, though. Probably.

—On Monday, I had five scenes remaining on my latest editing To-Do List. I'm planning to do a more detailed post on this subject next week (consider yourselves warned...), but as of this writing of this post, I'm down to four scenes on the list. I, once again, didn't quite make the progress I had been hoping to make (see: first gif.), but this post is all about celebrating those tiny, little glimmers of progress. Right?

How was your week? What are you celebrating today?

Have a great weekend, everyone. See y'all on Monday. Or maybe Wednesday, if I forget. Which I never do.