Friday, June 29, 2012

Writing and Rewriting (an AYWN Update)


Well, it's technically not the end of June nor the beginning of July but as I don't tend to blog on weekends unless it's October, I'm going to write this post today.  I assume you'll forgive me.

For anyone new to the blog or for anyone just needing a reminder, Are You Writing Now? is a group whose purpose is accountability.  At the beginning of each month, members create and post a set of writing goals to be reached by the end of the month.  Then, at the end of each month, we post just how well we did with those goals.

And, like last month, I'm merging these two things into one post.

Here's the goal (yes, as in singular) I set for June: 

1.  Correct all the minor fixes.


As I said last month, I had put a copy of my novel onto my Kindle and was in the process of combing it for mistakes, big and small.  At the time of my post, I had eleven and a half pages of minor fixes to make.  When I finished my read-through, that number ballooned to twenty.    Twenty pages that looked like this:



So how did I do with this goal, you ask yourself?  Well, if you saw my post on June 7th, you'll already know the answer because I.  Did.  It.

That's right.  I actually accomplished a goal.

(Pause for shock and awe.)

Then after I finished making my twenty pages of corrections, I handed the book off to a trio of new beta readers.  The ritual worrying quickly set in but within a week, I had not one but two betas who had made it all the way through the book.  (the third, as far as I know, is still reading)  If you're familiar with my sad, sad history with betas, you'll know just what a cause for celebration that is.  It was made even better when neither of them came back with, "Yeah, you should probably give up the writing thing in favor of flipping burgers or something."

They didn't hate it!  Go me!

But neither did they find the book to be as flawless as I like to think it is.  Which leads me to my goals for the coming month:

1.  Complete yet another round of "final edits" (I do not think that phrase means what I think it means...).
2.  Stop frakking things up so I can stop with the rounds of "final edits"

One of these days, I'm bound to get it right.  Right?

RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!?

Best of luck to my fellow #AYWN participants...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Fabulous Me


Precy Larkins has been kind enough to award me with the Fabulous Blog Ribbon.  This is a first time award for me.  And it's the first time I've even heard of it.


In accepting this award, I am asked to name five of my most fabulous moments, either in real life or on the blogosphere, five things I love, followed by five things I hate.  I then, of course, am supposed to pass this on to five other bloggers but I never do that part but if the Fabulous Blog Ribbon looks like something fun, please considered yourselves tagged.

So, I can come up with five things I love.  I can come up with five things I hate.  On certain days, I can come up with a lot more (but only the days which end in 'y', so no worries there...).  It's the fabulous life moments I'm the most worried about.  I'm not sure I've had five fabulous life moments.  But let's give it a go and see what I come up with.

I'm going to start with the things I love and the things I hate.  It'll give me more time to come up with some life moments in which I am not the female version of Mr. Bean.

Things I Love (in no particular order)


1.  Brownies from Mike's Pastry (Just look at them!  They're totally worth the three hour car ride)



2.  Burn Notice on the USA Network.  I have such a girl crush on Fiona Glenann.  Not to mention my regular crush on Michael Weston.  Plus, Sam Axe is just plain awesome.

3.  Masterchef on FOX.  It's amazing how into this show I am consider how much I hate cooking.

4.  So You Think You Can Dance on FOX.  I only think I can dance if I've had too much to drink but I love watching people with actual talent do it.  Especially when they do the Robot:

5.  This song:



Things I Hate


1.  Eggs
2.  Spiders
3.  Spider Eggs
4.  Driving the speed limit
5.  Intolerance (wait... something serious?  How'd that get in here?)



Fabulous Life Moments


1.  All right, so when I was eighteen and a freshman in college, my choir went on a week long tour of New England and eastern Canada.  We had a free day in Montreal, including a visit to Notre Dame.  We weren't scheduled to sing or anything but, somehow, we tracked down a man in charge and received permission to do an impromptu performance of "Ave Maria"  right then and there.  To this day, it remains my favorite performance.  So much better than that time I was supposed to sing an Italian aria and completely forgot the words.

2.  Back in 2003, when The Return of the King was supposed to be released, it was announced that certain theaters around the country would participate in a "Trilogy Tuesday" event where they show the extended editions of the first two movies leading up to a midnight premiere of the third movie.  I managed to get tickets for the event to a theater in Rhode Island.  I spent five hours on the road (one way) and almost twenty four hours at the movie theater itself (including time spent in line in order to get a decent seat) but it was totally worth it.  Because it was awesome.  And yes, I am a total geek.  But it's possible you already knew that.

3.  Being on Frenchman's Bay in Bar Harbor, Maine and getting to see this:



4.  Having the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon.  Everyone should go if they get the chance.  Pictures really don't do it justice.



5.  Having the opportunity to travel to Russia with my sister to bring home my über awesome niece, Jupiter.  Talk about your life changing experiences!






All right.  Guess I didn't do too badly after all.  Thanks for coming out and thank again to Precy Larkins for my blog ribbon.  Go check out her site and have a great day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My So-Called Teenage Life: The Blogfest

WARNING: I am going to swear today.  Not a lot, mind you, but I'm going to use the F word and by that, I mean the real one.  Not 'frak'.  So if you're offended by foul language, you might want to skip today's post.

Today, as you may have guessed from the title, is the So Called Teenage Life Blogfest (click on the link for a list of participants) hosted by Christa Desir and Amy L. Sonnichsen.  Here's what participants are asked to do:

Step One: Dust off those old sappy journals or high school notebooks filled with bad poetry (or, in the absence of poetry, pretend you're a teenage and write what you feel. Just make sure to use your teenager voice).
Step Two: Skim through them until you find something share-worthy
Step Three: On June 21, POST IT on your blog 
Optional: We all love seeing old photos, so if you have one lying around of you as a teen, post that, too.

Well, I'll tell you right now, there will be no picture of me as a teenager.  Most of my pictures as a teen involve my pair of Sally Jesse Raphael glasses.  I know this is a reference that many of you might not get so here's a picture of the woman in question:



My glasses weren't exactly like that but they were pretty close (What in the world was I thinking?).  So no teenage pictures of M.J. for you.

And there won't be any poetry either.  I looked for my journals and I have about five million notebooks in this house but I honestly don't know where my high school notebooks have gone.  I didn't write a lot of poetry back then and I'm not really in a poetry mood right now so I won't be creating any original teenage angst verse for you.  Instead, I'm going to share some of the prose I wrote when I was in high school.

I originally wanted to share with you an algebraic themed parody of the Gettysburg Address (yes, really.  You read that right) I wrote one day during math class when I got tired of trying to get my #2 pencil to stick in the ceiling tiles (I was an excellent student).  But I can't find a print out anywhere.  I imagine it's on one of the floppy discs I have in my office but as I no longer have any way to look at those discs, I'm a little stuck.

Then I thought I'd be forced to share with you the story I wrote about my ill fated attempt to ask my high school crush to the prom.  The story won me an honorable mention and an electric typewriter in a contest where we were asked to write about the role of God in our lives.  I'm pretty sure the only mention of God in that story was the line "Oh God, I'm gonna die!"   No, wait.  I just checked.  The line was "Oh God.  I am going to die."

But then I remembered a little story I started writing in my English class one year.  I'd just read As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner and watched Steel Magnolias with my family and came away über inspired.  It was my first multi character POV story (and I'd like to thank Mr. Folan for never busting me for working on it during class time).  You can find it now on my site as How Many Angels but back then it was called Seasons because I've never known how to title a book.

Anyway, the scene I'm going to post is one of the only scenes from the original high school draft that I didn't cut when I started a rewrite in my later college years.  It's unconventional (no capital letters, no punctuation) and was a first for me.  I honestly think it was the first time I used the word "fuck" in my writing.  The POV belongs to a teenaged character named Gemma whose best friend, Alexis, has died, leaving Gemma bereft with sorrow and guilt.  And to deal with this sorrow and guilt, Gemma has turned to alcohol and drugs.
Sorry for the crazy long intro.  The scene itself is infinitely shorter.  And on that note, I hope you enjoy it...

***

flying high no worries hakuna matata dancing singing meerkat warthog ugly stepsisters way to go cinderella go to the ball meet your handsome prince live happily ever after with no guilt alexis no fear so shoot on up and come on down youre the next contestant taking whats behind door number one two three youre out face full of dirt on your way to the showers feel the body rush stepping into cool crystal water washing away guilt alexis fear sadness i can fly and nothing can stop me think happy thoughts and fly away to never never land second star to the right brilliant night colors everywhere i can smell color red orange green blue shining yellow purple too all the colors that we know make up the rainbow somewhere over there dorothy and her little dog too ruby blood red slippers click your heels together and go home nagging excessive guilt alexis shoot on up and forget no worries no death no dying just flying free as a bird spread your wings and fly away from everything and everyone who ever hurt you whoever left you stranded there because they didnt fucking care and it doesnt matter show no emotion just look at the color hanging ceiling tiles red and green and yellow and purple and pink and every color smells good like flowers in the springtime on the casket lowered into the ground with worms crawling all over spineless sightless crawling through the mud looking for mate mate and die have sex and die get stoned and die sex drugs and rock n roll the american dream baby and i am living it because i am fucked and i am stoned and i am flying high and there aint any turning back so come to me my dusty yellow love so does it hurt when you die quick slow how should i go in your sleep struggling to stay down instead of up with a gun blow out your brains with a knife cut your wrist watch the life ooze out of them i want to see the angel of death jump from a window and float right down to meet her him it to die to sleep to be or not to be i be stoned and i be happy no heavy metal band no pounding no worries no nothing just floating happy and free i want to die only how do i go

***

To close today, I thought I'd post this snapshot of a page of my notes from English class, one where I apparently wasn't writing my own stories (and please don't let it be the same thing you were thinking about this post...).




When you think about it, it's kind of amazing I graduated.  Just think at how well I would've done if I'd actually paid attention.  Anyway, check out the other participants and have an angst-y kind of day...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Awards Abounding, Part Two



Hope Roberson at Writing With Hope has presented me with the Kreativ Blogger Award. I have no idea why Blogger posted the picture twice but I'm just going to go with it. It's the award so nice I posted the badge for it twice!

Anyway... Rules for the KREATIV BLOGGER award:
*Thank and link back to the awarding blog.
*Answer the following 7 questions.
*Provide 10 random factoids about yourself.
*Pass this on to 7 deserving others.

Well, you already know I'm not going to do the last one (though if you'd like this award, please consider yourself tagged) but I'm cool with the rest.

Here are the seven questions:

1.  What is your favorite song?


My (current) favorite song is Florence + The Machine's "Heavy In Your Arms" (even if it is on a Twilight soundtrack) because it's chock full of deep, dark emotion with lyrics that fit some of my characters a little too perfectly.

2.  What's your favorite dessert?
 
I have to go with cake.  Or cupcakes.  Hold the frosting.

3.  What do you do when you're upset?



Well, I used to do something physical like take a walk or hit a tennis ball against a wall for a while but lately, I've taken to sitting, staring (at whatever's around) and stewing.  Tennis was healthier.

4.  What's your favorite pet?


I've had a lot of pets over the years and I love them all but I had to admit that my favorite pet is this blog.  C'mon, I couldn't pick a favorite.  If one of my pets reads this post and find out I didn't pick him or her, there'd be hell to pay.

5.  Which do you prefer?  Black or white?


Black.

6.  What is your biggest fear?


Frakking up Effigy.  That, and eggs.

7.  What is your attitude mostly?


Bad.  Sad, but true.

And now for ten random factoids.

Here are the 10 Most Played Songs on my iPod:

10. Bodily by Ani DiFranco (80 plays)
9.  I Know by Trespassers William (81 plays)
8.  Into Dust by Mazzy Stay (83 plays— well, 84 now.  It just came on.)
7.  No, I Don't Remember by Anna Ternheim (85)
6.  My Vampire Heart by Tom McRae (87)
5.  Cut by Plumb (89)
4.  Indifference by Pearl Jam (95)
3.  Running Up That Hill by Placebo (96)
2.  All I Want by Ahn Trio (123)
1.  Heavy In Your Arms by Florence + The Machine (133)

Yeah.  I know.  They're all moody, emotional, atmospheric songs.  I like my mood(y) music when I'm writing.  In case you're worried about my mental well being (first of all, it's far too late for that...), just know that Robin Sparkles's classic "Let's Go To The Mall" and ABBA's "Dancing Queen" are #11 and #12.

See, I'm not a total Emo Freak!

And on that note, thanks again to Hope. Be sure to check out her blog. And be sure to come back tomorrow when I participate in the "My So-Called Teenage Life" bloghop. It'll be full of all kinds of angsty fun!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Awards Abounding, Part One

I'm having a hard time getting started with this blog.  Well, with most every thing lately which just means that I'm...well, conscious.  So I am especially indebted to my fellow bloggers for helping me out by recently bestowing upon me an insane number of accolades.  Hence the "Part One" portion of my title.  Parts Two and Three will be in the days to come.

My first awards come courtesy of Danielle B from Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books.  Last week, I participated in their two day First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest where participants were asked to post the first fight scene and the first kiss scene from a WIP.  They each chose a winner for each scene as well as some honorable mentions.

I am pleased (and flattered, very, very flattered) to have been named Danielle's winner for First Fight.  I also received an honorable mention from both Danielle and Jackie for my First Kiss scene.  This means I get to display the following badges:




Pretty cunnin', huh?

If you missed my entries and are curious to read them, you can click on the badges above to read the corresponding scenes.  You can click HERE to read my First Fight scene and HERE for the First Kiss.  I don't know why the badge links didn't work so if you tried them, I apologize.

If you missed the others' entries, you can go to either Danielle or Jackie's blogs and find a complete participant list.  Thank you to everyone who did come by and left me lovely compliments and comments.  They were much appreciated.  And Thank you to both Danielle and Jackie for both hosting a very fun blogfest, letting me come late to the party, and choosing me as a honoree.

That's gonna do it for me today.  See y'all next time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pucker Up!

It's Day Two of the First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest (hosted by Danielle B. and Jackie) where participants (click on the picture on the left for a list) are asked to share excerpts from their WIPs (old or new).  Day One was devoted to fight scenes, either verbal sparring, physical sparring or a nice wizards' duel (click HERE to read my entry) but today is all about that first kiss.

My excerpt comes from my manuscript, Effigy, because where else would it have come from?  Actually, I do have a few other WIPs in existence.  Some of them even have fight scenes and kissing scenes and one WIP has some scenes where the two are combined (think Buffy and Spike in Smashed).  But I'm choosing, once again, to feature Effigy.

I hope you won't be disappointed.

This scene features the novel's two main characters, Haleine Coileáin and Dana (no last name).  Haleine is the queen of a country at war.  Dana is the leader of the rebellion seeking to take Haleine's husband down.  They have a chance encounter where there's an immediate attraction and then, three meetings later, they act upon that attraction.

I'm not posting the entire scene.  It's much too long so I'm posting the middle of the scene, the part that leads up to their first kiss, ending with their first kiss.  As always, I hope you enjoy it...

***
“Why do you always keep your distance?” she asked, feeling grateful for it nonetheless.

“Maybe I’m afraid.”

“What is there to fear?” she asked.  “And why should it matter?”

“I’ve never been in love before.”

Her heart stopped.  “And are you in love now?”

“I’m afraid so.”

She chanced another look at him.  “You say that as though it were a death sentence.”

“I don’t know what it is,” he said.  “The longing, the lust.  I wanted to ignore it and I’ve tried; I just don’t think I can because no matter what I do, I think of nothing else.  God, Haleine, to touch you would be heaven.”

Her heart soared.  Her head told her to move away, to order him away from her, but she remained seated and silent.  She thought perhaps she agreed.  Didn’t she dream of it every night?  To feel his lips on her skin, to be held in his arms?  Aye, it would be heaven.

“But I am untouchable,” she said, stating that which he had not.

“Aren’t you?”

She wanted to kiss him.  She wanted him to kiss her.  She wanted to know what he tasted like.  She held out her hand, palm up, to him.

“No,” she said.  “I am not.”

He backed away.  “Don’t, Haleine, please.  Don’t offer me your hand like that.”

“Why not?”

“I won’t be able to stop.”

He hovered near the servants’ entrance.  She pushed herself out of the chair and crossed the room to stand in front of the balcony doors.

“We’ve talked about fear before, you and I, and it is that which prevents you from taking what is offered freely.  I understand for it is the same force which drives me to extend to you my hand each time we are together.  And I do not know how it is possible that we have spoken but thrice before and I feel for you what I do, but I do know the terror of becoming untouchable.

“It is an awful feeling to sit in a room full of people, my ladies, the entire court, and know I have not a friend among them.  No one touches me, not even Bronagh if it can be avoided.  But Maddox is a jealous man.  Maddox is a possessive man and every law in this land says he has the right to keep isolated what is his and there are few who dare to oppose him.  It chokes me a little more each day.

“But you?  You make me feel as though for the first time since I came here I am not fighting to stay alive.  I simply am alive.  So understand, if you will, that when you say you dare not take what is offered for fear that you shall not be able to stop, not after one chaste kiss, that I have only this to offer in response,” she said and then paused.  “What if I don’t want you to?”

The room was silent.  Tears filled her eyes but she held them back as she turned around to face him.  He stood so close to her, it made her gasp.  She swallowed hard as she looked up at him.  He touched her hair.

“You frightened me,” she said.  “You move so quietly I did not hear you approach.”

“It has its advantages,” he said, his voice low.

Haleine nodded.  “I would think—“

Her words were cut short by his kiss.  The hand that had touched her hair moved behind her neck.  His other arm encircled her waist and pulled her body against his.  The kiss itself was sweet, delicate and inviting.  It surprised and even shocked her.  Despite its fragile nature, it was still overwhelming, this one kiss, even frightening, and she put her hands on his chest, meaning to push him away only to find herself betrayed by her body as her hands gripped his tunic and held him as tightly as he held her.

***

And that's gonna do it for me today...  Big thanks to Danielle and Jackie for creating and hosting this event.  Thank you for letting me come to the party late. (As if I'd ever come to a party any other way)

Until next time...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest

Yesterday was the start of the First Fight/First Kiss Blogfest, hosted by Danielle B. at Entertaining Interests and Jackie at Bouquet of Books.  (This explains why I'm posting my first entry today, I know.  Always a day late and a dollar short.)

This is a two day blogfest where participants (click on the picture on the left for a complete list of all involved) are asked to post on day one the first fight scene in their WIP (old or new, the choice is up to you).  The second day (tomorrow) is devoted to the first kiss scene.   The scenes do not have to be from the same manuscript but mine will be.  They will, of course, be from Effigy.

There are many fight scenes in Effigy, verbal, physical and magical.  But the very first one is between two secondary characters, Darian Coileáin and his wife, Rhoswen, as they argue over the fate of their eldest daughter, Haleine (the novel's main character).  Enjoy...

***


Rhoswen didn’t notice Cathal as he left the room.  Her eyes were locked on Darian.

“What arrangements?” Rhoswen asked when Cathal had gone.  Her cheer from earlier has disappeared.  “Why is he here?”

“The king sent him with a letter.”

“The king sent him,” Rhoswen said.  Her voice showed she understood the implications.  “Why?  What does Nathan want now?”

Darian held out the parchment.  “Our daughter.”

Rhoswen crossed the distance between them and snatched the parchment from his hand.  While she read the king’s letter, Darian walked across the room to look again at his daughters.  They sat together on a bench, the younger reading aloud from a book.  He looked away when he heard Rhoswen gasp.  She still gripped the letter but appeared to be reading it through again.  How many times would she do that?  Would three be enough or would she need three times more?

“No,” she said finally.  “Nathan cannot do this.  Haleine is already promised.  She’s to be married to his own son.”

“That will not happen now.”

This will not happen,” Rhoswen said, shaking the letter at him.  “You cannot allow it.”

“This will happen.  It is happening and I cannot stop it,” Darian said.  “The king wants this.  He wants Haleine for this.”

“Well, he can’t have her.”

“Of course he can have her.  It’s already done.”

Rhoswen shook her head.  “Make all the arrangements you want.  I won’t let her be sent to that place.  I won’t let her be married to that man.”

“That man is the crown prince of Lira.”

“Yes, and I know all too well what is said about him,” Rhoswen said.  “For eighteen years, Darian, you fiercely guarded that girl from all threats and now you’re willing to just give her over to him?  To that?”

“Not willing, no,” Darian said.

“But you’ll do it anyway,” Rhoswen said, “because you have always given the king what he wants.”

“I have.”

“We lost Mireille because Nathan wanted this godforsaken land that still fights against you and now we’ve lost Haleine because Nathan has no daughters of his own.  What will he demand next?  When does it end?”

“It doesn’t.”

“No,” she said.  “This isn’t happening.  There has to be a way— there has to be someone else.  Haleine isn’t the only girl in his kingdom.  He can—“

“This is an honor,” Darian said.  “Nathan chose Haleine to honor us.”

“Well, I don’t want it.  He can keep his honor.  I’ll keep my daughter.”

“No you won’t,” Darian said.  “She was never yours to keep.  She has always belonged to the Maoilriains.  I know you do not want this but the king—“

“I’ll not call that man my king,” she said, “and if you do this, I’ll not call you my husband.”

“You may do as you wish,” Darian said, forcing himself to say the words.  “It won’t change this.  The king has decided, madam, and we will obey.”

“You are no better than a slave,” she spat.

Darian sprang forward and took the letter from her.  He tore it in half and then half again before throwing the pieces to the floor.  Rhoswen watched them fall before kneeling to pick them up.

“That is true,” he said.  “And you are no better than a slave’s wife but our daughter will be queen.”

Rhoswen stood and lifted her head to reveal her tears.  Darian placed his hand on her cheek.

“It’s not so very far away,” he said.

“Only the other side of the ocean,” Rhoswen said as she walked away from him.

“She is your daughter.  She is my daughter,” Darian said.  “She is strong enough for this.  She is strong enough for anything she may find there.  She’ll not be lost.”

“No.  Just given into the hands of a monster.”

Rhoswen stopped in front of the fire and dropped the pieces of parchment into the flames.  Neither of them said anything as they watched the king’s will burn.

“I do not want this,” Rhoswen said when it had been reduced to ash.

Darian nodded.  “Pretend.”

***


That's going to do it for me today.  Be sure to tune in tomorrow when I reveal the scene in which my main characters share their first kiss... Oh, and go check out the other participants.  There's some very good writing to be found out there...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Confidence is a Four Letter Word

Taped to my desk is a calendar on which I schedule blog posts.  Some days, I actually get them written and posted.  It all depends on my mood.  Last Friday, for example, I was supposed to post the Dance Recital Drinking Game I invented while attending my nieces' dance recitals.  For example, do a shot every time there's a kickline.  (FYI: One can truly get sloshed at the Maine State Ballet's annual event on this one thing alone.)

But I didn't post it.  Instead I celebrated my writing success by taking the adult dose of Nyquil and actually sleeping for a change.  My dogs would like to report that Friday was the most boring day ever.

Then yesterday, I was scheduled to post the Page 69 Test.  This is something I came across on Liz Parker's blog, The English Bad Ass.  Liz found it on Katy Upperman's blog, Musings of an Aspiring Young Adult Author. (Both of these blogs are rather great so go check them out if you haven't already...)  The idea behind this test is to post an excerpt from page 69 of your manuscript and then explain how it reveals something about the passage's characters.  I thought this was a cool idea and wanted to give it a whirl.

But I didn't post it.  Obviously.

Last week on My Pet Blog, I was posting about my plans to publish my book.  Last week on My Pet Blog, I was posting about how I finished all my stupid rewrites and edits to said book.  Last week on My Pet Blog, I was doing a happy dance or twelve.  Last week on My Pet Blog, I was riding a pretty narly confidence wave.

I have since wiped out.  I started losing my balance on Friday and it continued through the weekend until finally I ended up face down in the sand. 

Now I want to strap a bunch of C-4 to my manuscript and blow the hell out of it.


So I figure the best thing to do is to fake it until I can make it.  That, or have another swig of Nyquil.  Or two. 

Maybe I'll post the Page 69 Test tomorrow.  Or maybe I'll cower under my desk and inhale a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food.  Time will only tell.

Hope y'all are having weeks brimming with creativity and confidence.

Cowabunga, dudes.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Done. With. That.

DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone DoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDoneDone

 I feel a happy dance coming on:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dancing With Myself: An IWSG Post




The Insecure Writer's Support Group is brought to us by that blogger extraordinaire (and ninja captain) Alex J. Cavanaugh.  Follow the links to find a list of all participants.
 
Back in January, I stated my goal to publish Effigy.  If the world's going to end in December, I said, I wanted to make sure I went out with a book (instead of a bang.  Get it?).  I then made the decision to go the self publishing route because, as it turns out, the publishing industry is just not that into me.  I have so many rejection slips I'm a little afraid I may be personally responsible for the de-forestration of America.

And since I can't seem to get a shiny invitation to the big dance, I've decided to go stag.

I realize that saying, "Hey, read my book that no one wanted to publish!" is probably a little like saying, "Hey, this milk tastes funny. You should try it."  But that's what I'm going to be doing.

For better or for worse.

Some days I feel very good about this decision.  Well, maybe 'days' is a bit of a stretch.  Some hours I feel very good about this decision.  The rest of the time, I'm fighting the urge to crawl under my desk and stay there.  The important part is that I haven't crawled under my desk and built a home there.  Instead, I am crawling toward the promised land.

The original plan was for me to put the book out by the end of June but since I'm still in the editing phase, that's not going to happen.  I started the year off strong but got sidetracked in March.  I let myself get sidetracked in March and it's taken me a depressingly long time to get my groove back.  I like to think it's back now and so the new target month is September.  The end of September, to be a little more specific.

That'll give me time to finish my twenty pages of "final" edits, hand it off to a couple beta readers, wear a hole in  my rug as I wait to hear back from the betas and then complete another round of "final" edits before getting it into the hands of my Copy Editor.  This will lead to a third round of "final" edits.

And then... publication.

Yikes.

I had a moment at the end of last week when I thought, "This is going to happen.  And it's going to be good."  Pieces are falling into place.  There's someone willing to work on a cover for me.  There's someone working on creating maps for me.  Actual maps of my actual fantasy world (and just thinking about that is blowing my mind).  And there are people who are actually interested in reading this book (and if you're one of those people and you're just saying that to make me happy then, thank you!).

That's just icing on the cake, right?

Back in January, I wasn't sure if this was the right decision to make but now I feel (most of the time anyway) that it is.  (Wonder how long that will last...)

But until it fades away, I'll be the one in the corner (baby steps, people) dancing like no one's watching.

And on that note, I am pleased to share with you my new theme song:

Monday, June 4, 2012

In Which I Review Books

Wow.  I haven't done a book review in a few months.  I think the last one I did was back in February.  Maybe March.  I'm not going to list all the books I read in these missing months because that would be an insanely long post and we all have better things to do than write/read such a post.  So I'll only be reviewing what I read in May.

Here we go:

Catamount- Rick Davidson- Life is too short for books like this.  And yet, I read the whole thing anyway.  Go figure.  Anyway, this story’s about a mountain lion that’s terrorizing the New Hampshire north country.  I could write pages and pages on what’s wrong with this book (Flat lifeless prose coupled with flat lifeless characters uttering flat lifeless dialogue, for example) which I kind of want to do but won’t do (you’re welcome) so I’ll just say this:  Certain scenes are told from the mountain lion’s POV.  It’s stated early on that the mountain lion sees in black and white.  But that doesn’t stop the catamount from having an excellent grasp of color.  And New England architecture.  And human speech.  Guess the catamount spent some time in night school.  Good for it.

Knee Deep- Jolene Perry- I find it to be a mark of a good read when I’m tense and stressed and sincerely worried about the main character.  That said, this is a good read.

Ready Player One- Ernest Cline- I’m not much of a gamer (not for a lack of trying. I just suck at gaming) but I really enjoyed this book.  I loved all the 80’s references.  Especially the stuff about Adventure because that was seriously my favorite Atari game ever.  But here’s the thing… I just can’t wrap my head around virtual reality.  I had a hard time reading parts of this book because I don't get it.  Sad, but true.  Still, if you're a gamer or love the 80's, you should read this book.

Bitterblue­- Kristin Cashore- It kills me to not have loved this novel more.  I enjoyed Graceling and Fire so so much and I anticipated I'd have the same love for this book that I did for the first two in this series.  But I just didn't. I spent too much time wanting the book to be over and that's just never a good sign.  There are good moments to be found but they're rather spread out.

Chasing The Bear- Robert B. Parker- A Young Spenser mystery. Read this book because I adore Robert B. Parker and Spenser.  This book gives readers a glimpse into what Spenser was like as a kid living with his father and two uncles.  I have one real complaint: I am probably the only Spenser fan who does NOT like Susan Silverman and I really thought that maybe, just maybe, I'd be spared the Susan Silverman lovefest in a book that's about a fourteen year old Spenser.  No dice.

Fairy Tale- Cyn Balog- Meh.  This isn’t a very long book and I was left feeling like it was over long before it should’ve been.  I’m also curious if there was some kind of endorsement deal worked out because there were so many brand names mentioned.  I know specifics are good but this felt like overkill.

The Iron King- Julie Kagawa- I wasn’t sure about this book when I started it.  It was probably bad timing on my part to start a second fairy themed book after reading a Meh fairy themed book so it took me a while to get interested in the characters and the story but eventually I got there. It’s definitely not the best thing I've ever read but it's not a bad read. I enjoy Robin Goodfellow (assuming he’ll reappear in the next book) and Ash the Winter Prince.  They’re the real reason I’ll read the next book.

The Iron Daughter- Julie Kagawa- While there are parts of this series which I find annoying, the overall story is interesting enough to make me want to read the next book.  And by that I really mean Puck and Ash are interesting enough to make me want to read the next book.

My Heart For Yours- Jolene Perry and Stephanie Campbell- A dual POV story about two broken up high school sweethearts who are brought back together when tragedy strikes.  Very flashback heavy, which made it made it hard to follow at times.  I had to go back and forth more than once to figure out what was happening and when it was happening.  I was also expecting some revelation surrounding Eamon’s death.  The way certain things were written, it just made me think there was more to come, some mystery to be solved.  All that said, there is some lovely writing to be found here.

The Iron Queen- Julie Kagawa- Apparently, I am determined to read the entire series this month.  Still like Puck even though much of his dialogue in this book feels likes it's trying too hard.  I still like Ash.  Not wild about the main character, Meghan, but I’m dealing with it.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Are You Writing Now? Because I'm Not.




May was my first month participating in the Are You Writing Now group.  The purpose of this group is accountability.  At the start of each month, we create a set of goals to be completed by the end of the month.  Then, at the end of the month, we take a look at how well we did.

As you can maybe guess from my title, I didn't quite experience the rousing success I'd been hoping for.  I didn't completely fall on my face though so...at least there's that.

The main goal was to finish all the edits and rewrites needed for my WIP, Effigy.  But here is the detailed list of goals I set on May 1st:

1.  Chapter Thirteen needs finishing.  There are two scenes still unfinished.  One needs a unifying thread.  The other needs...well, pretty much everything as it's only two sentences long.

2.  There's a fight scene in Chapter Fifteen that may contain some POV switches and general lameness.  I need to make sure neither of those things are actually there.

3.  There's another fight scene in Chapter Sixteen that needs a new opening because the current one is beyond lame.  It's just plain dumb.

Then, shortly after my May AYWN post, I added a fourth goal:

4.  Switch the order of the first two scenes in Chapter Sixteen.  I know you wanted it the other way around but if it stays that way, it'll screw with the rest of the novel's timeline and you don't want to do that because (a) it's a lot of work and (b) there's no need for it so suck it up and switch the scenes.

Now comes the super fun part where I come clean about just how much I didn't get done this month.  Yay.

I finished Chapter Thirteen.  I fixed the fight scenes in chapters fifteen and sixteen.  And while I was in Chapter Sixteen, I went ahead and switched the order of the first two scenes.  Then I formatted the entire manuscript for Kindle and have spent the last four days reading my manuscript on the Kindle, making a massive list of corrections that need to be made.  These corrections are all minor ones.  You know, a missing comma here and misplaced comma there.  There's been the occasional missing word and the occasional misspelled word (meaning I typed "ever" when I meant "every").  There are a lot of sentences where I want to tweak the structure or the wording.  So no major rewrites, just quick (in theory) fixes, scribbled down on pages and pages that look like this:




So in that aspect, I didn't make my goals because not all my edits are finished.  I do think I got the really heavy lifting out of the way— I mean, c'mon!  There was a scene in Chapter Thirteen that only had two sentences in it.  Short ones.  Now it's three pages long.  And, ironically, I deleted the original two sentences.
But I didn't finish them all.  I tried very hard to do so.  I've been awake for about forty eight hours now because I so desperately wanted to have them done.

A day late and a dollar short.  That's my motto.

That said, here's my goal for June:

1.  Correct all the minor quick fixes.

Yep.  That's it.  Just the one.  I have eleven and a half pages of these minor quick fixes so far and I still have nine chapters to read through.  I don't know if I'm being through or just damn picky but smart money's on 'just damn picky.'

Good luck to my fellow #AYWN compatriots.  Here's hoping we all have a super productive month!