Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sitting in the creek

I'm over halfway done with my third revision. It's going smoothly this time. No problem with deciding how I want to separate it into chapters. I think I will be adding a lot to the ending, though. There's little details that I mentioned in the meat of the story that need to be addressed at the end. I also have a tentative title: A Lion's Heart. I'm not wild about it. I would be willing to change it if the publisher wants to do so. Yet I like how it can be taken a couple of ways.

It's been a busy weekend. I'm trying to get all the errands and housework done before we leave for Gen Con on Thursday morning. Yet we did have a lovely afternoon at McCormick's Creek yesterday.
(My son laughing as he sits in a little waterfall in the creek.
He's so dang adorable!)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

One week until Gen Con Indy 2011

I'm excited. My husband and I have been going every year for eight years. Last year, we couldn't do much because I just had a baby. We walked around, played a few board games, I chatted with some of the authors and got books signed. It was fun, but this year we arranged our schedules so that each of us has time to do what we want to do.

I signed up for nine writing seminars and workshops. Every year I force myself to do a Read & Critique. Writers get five minutes to read their work (short story or novel) and a panel of authors, editors and publishers critique it. I get extremely anxious talking in front of people. This year, instead of a reading, I'm doing a workshop called Write & Critique. The panel will give writers a topic and time to write about it. Then they'll critique it. I love the idea! It will require me talking in front of people again, but it's good for me. It's the only way I'll get over that particular fear.

Here's a list of my other seminars: Fantastic Females, Urban Fantasy, Villains as Heroes, Love Between the Sheets (of paper), Confessions of a Slushie Machine, Make it Steamy: Steampunk genre, Genres: What are they and how do you mix 'em?, and finally, Stealing One Hour of Anton Strout's Life. Anton Strout is the author guest of honor this year. I've met him several times before. He's hilarious!

You can see the complete schedule of seminars and workshops on the Get Literal: Writers' Symposium site.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Editing and Lisa Potts blogoversary

I've been finding it hard to get a moment to do anything this week. I've started my third round of edits on my latest WIP. I'm finally breaking it down into chapters. When I write the first draft, I do it in one big flowing story. Trying to decide where and when I want to start or end a chapter only distracts me. I need to keep going even if one scene ends and I start another.

Today Lisa Potts is celebrating her first Blogoversary! Please stop by her blog and check it out. She's having an awesome giveaway.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Teaser Tuesday for July 26th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
I'm reading A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. Awesome epic fantasy. He's absolutely brilliant. This book also has the POV's of my favorite characters in the series: Daenerys, Jon and Tyrion. I love Arya's storyline, too, but she's not in this one.

Here's the teaser:
Viserion hissed again. Smoke rose between his teeth, and deep down in his throat they could see gold fire churning. (page 670)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dark and cloudy Monday

It's dark and cloudy outside. A perfect day for writing. Now if only my son decides that a dark and cloudy day is good for a long nap.

S.C.I.F.I. (my writer's group) met on Saturday afternoon. Only three of us attended and we critiqued each other's stories. I learn so much about critiquing from them. I submitted a short noir piece for them to read. I had edited it to the best of my abilities. I couldn't think of anything that needed to be changed. Yet, wow. The things I didn't even think about. The main one being the physical choreography of the climax. Physically, it doesn't work. In my head, I had imagined one thing. On paper, it's impossible. It needs to be rewritten. Otherwise, they really liked the story.

I like to listen to them critique other stories too. I realized that I'm willing to suspend my belief of certain technical aspects for the sake of the overall story. Seeing the overall story has always been my strength in critiquing, but these folks are about details. I need to learn to critique as well on the micro level as I do on the macro one. There will be readers out there like me who will focus on the overall story, but there are readers who love the little details. They will be turned off if something isn't right. I know you can't please everyone, but I'm eager learn how to improve the quality of my writing to please some of the nitpickers.

I saw the new Harry Potter film on Friday night. Oh yeah. It's an awesome ending to the series. And no, sorry, I didn't cry.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Adult Book Read Blogfest

This Blogfest is hosted by Heroines with Hearts. All you have to do is fess up on the first adult book you picked up and read: whether a classic, a racy novel or that of unusual content, then post your entry on own blog July 24th/25th.
I was always a mature reader. I started reading Stephen King when I was ten years old. I can't recall if I read Cujo or Carrie first. Yet I do remember when I started to read Cujo, I was home alone after school. At the beginning of the book, a little boy is being terrorized by a monster in his closet. As I read it, our basement door slowly opened on its own. Someone probably didn't latch it properly, but I was in the proper mood to be startled. I went up to my room to sit on my bed and read. Then something fell down in my closet. I removed the doors to my closet after that thus making sure my room didn't have a closet for a monster to hide!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A quickie

I'm going to see the new Harry Potter film tonight. Yay!

I was up early this morning taking my son to his 15 month check-up. He's doing great and his hands have healed wonderfully. He scored six months higher on his mental development. Yup, I'm bragging a little bit.

I finished critiquing the two stories for my writer's group tomorrow. Thanks again to everyone for their advice. I think I did some good work. I hope I've given them something to think about.

12 days until Gen Con Indy. I have my tickets for my writing seminars and workshops.

I did all my housework in one day. That's pretty darn good when the kid didn't take a long nap.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Asking advice on critiquing something good

I finished Smokin' Seventeen last night and I finally got my copy of A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. Oh, I've been waiting years for this. In terms of fantasy, grit, world building, characterization, and breaking all the rules, Martin is my idol.

I have to set the book aside for the moment and focus on critiquing a few short stories for my writer's group. We're meeting this Saturday. Sometimes it's hard to critique stories. I'll find a few technical errors, but the story is sound. I offer my compliments. Then that's it. I feel like I'm not doing my job as a critique partner. Yet I don't know what else to say! Any advice?

I got one of my short zombie stories short listed yesterday. It's a medieval zombie story from a zombie's point of view. It would be cool to get published.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday for July 19th

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! 

Just do the following:
1) Grab your current read.
2) Open to a random page.
3) Share two "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page.
4) BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others.)

I'm currently reading Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich. It's a fun and easy to read series. I'm not a fan of Stephanie Plum herself, but I do like the stories and the cast of characters. (For those of you who are familiar with the books, I'm a Ranger fan!)

Here's the teaser:
I wasn't comfortable sharing a bus with a bear, bow tie or not. I watched the door close, and I waved to Lula as the bus drove off. (page 74)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Inspiration Blogfest

Today is the Inspiration Blogfest hosted by My Inner Fairy. The rules are to post one inspiring prompt. It can be a writing prompt or a photo prompt.

My prompt: I'm going to go with something darkly awe-inspiring. Something that will hopefully inspire magic and mystery, and maybe give a few of you the chills. I would like to post a few photos, but since they do belong to the photographer, Sally Mann, I won't assume I have permission to do so. Click on the link to see her photos from her book, Deep South.

Mann's photos have given me inspiration for my horror, dark fantasy and paranormal stories. I have the urge to explore those mysterious landscapes and yet I'm not sure if I want to find out what creatures live there.

Where do you find your inspiration for the darker aspects of your writing?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The little things

I haven't gone back to writing my dark fantasy short story yet. I've been editing one of my novels this week. I found a few tips from an agent's blog. They have helped a lot in making my dialogue feel more natural. It's amazing how the little things that you think are helping your reader aren't. I'm guilty of having characters use each other's names too often in conversation. I thought I was helping the reader by letting them know who was being addressed, but in real life, we don't often use each other's names in conversation except to get the other person's attention or to be snarky. Pet names we use more frequently, but they're meant to endear. It's demeaning to use a person's name repeatedly while talking. You're treating them like a child. It's common sense now that I think about it.

I was happy to receive an email from Colette at A Buckeye Girl Reads today telling me that I won a giveaway. Yay! I won a copy of Misty Evans' book Witches Anonymous. I can't wait to read it.

To all of you who are going to see the new Harry Potter film this weekend, please know that I'm jealous. I might get a chance to see it next Friday if we can find a babysitter, but I'm sad that I won't be able to go during the big release weekend. Enjoy the movie!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


A long time ago, in an apartment not so far away, I wrote fanfiction. Harry Potter fanfics. Two novel sized ones. I actually think they're still out there on the net somewhere. They're thankfully not under my real name even though I thought they were pretty dang good at the time.

I didn't read a lot of fanfiction. I don't even look at it now unless a friend directs me to something extremely good or something immensely horrible. The other day, my husband found a podcast that does dramatic readings of the worst fanfics out there. And what is the worst fanfic of all time? It's called The Immortal. It's a Harry Potter fanfic.

What I have read of it is horrendous. It's hilarious and frightening at the same time. There's some debate whether it was written purposely to be that terrible or not. It would be the ultimate troll if it was done on purpose. I couldn't finish reading it. It's just that bad.

With the final Potter film coming out, I've been reminiscing. I miss writing fanfiction. I miss role-playing in Rowling's magnificent world of magic. Yet as much as I miss it, I won't go back to it. I have to concentrate on my own writing. Maybe if I'm published one day, someone will write a fanfic about my book.

Have you ever written any fanfiction? If so, what was it about?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday for July 12th

Teaser Tuesday is here again! Hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading, this is a weekly book-oriented meme, and is easy to participate in:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

I'm reading Patrick Rothfuss' newest book, The Wise Man's Fear (Book Two of The Kingkiller Chronicles). Awesome epic fantasy. I've been waiting a while for it. I've even met Rothfuss at Gen Con. He's a great guy, so nice. It's a big book, though, at 994 pages. Big as in quantity and quality. So make sure you have the time to devote to it. Here's your teaser:

The Maer's letter of introduction had described me as, "a discerning young man of good education and diverse useful qualities." While this was perfectly true, it also made me sound like the most wretchedly useless court dandy in existence. (page 505)

Monday, July 11, 2011

A writer's quirks and space

I can't write when anyone else is in the room with me. I'm not one of those types that go out with a notebook or laptop to cafes or a quiet park to work. I need a quiet space cut off from everyone and everything else.

Before my son was born, I had my little office. It's painted a soft moss green and free of distractions. It was a good writing space. We have a tiny house. When we had the baby, my husband had to give up his Man Room. His Xbox was moved into the office which became the media room. It's a very small room. With the desk, table and shelves, there's only a four by four square on the floor to walk about. Well, not walk. Turn. You can turn around.

During the day, I have the room to myself. If my son naps, I get some writing done. At night, after my son has gone to bed, my husband usually wants to play a game. He's had a long hard day. He needs some time to himself to relax and have fun. It worked out so well for us before we had a child. My husband would play his games and I'd write. We had our own rooms for that. Now we're squished into one room. Yes, we both can fit in there together at the same time, but we're nearly touching when we sit down. I can't write that way. I can't even write a blog entry when someone else is in the room with me. I can't write if there's music on. I can't write with the TV on. I can tune out outside noises, but I need my own space.

At night, I usually read. I consider reading still part of my job. It's research! I do wish I didn't have so many writing quirks so I could write more often, though.

Do you have any quirks? Do you have a favorite writing space?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Too much time at the dentist

I composed this long blog post comparing writing to dentistry. I had all these great metaphors and detailed scenarios. It was brilliant.

Okay. It was only brilliant for the horrendous four hours I spent in the dentist's office yesterday. WITHOUT a book to read or a notebook to write in. If I couldn't entertain myself with my imagination, my head would have imploded. I won't torture you with my Writing Is Like Dentistry post. It wasn't brilliant at all.

I had one of those "I'm a horrible writer and I'll never amount to anything so why do I bother" days yesterday. I spent too much dark time in my head at the dentist. I came home to two rejections. One for a short story and the other from an agent. I didn't get any time to write, because my son already had his nap by the time I got home. I started to read Patrick Rothfuss' newest novel last night, but I couldn't get into it. That's a crime in itself. I can safely use the word brilliant for him.

I know other writers have these days, too. Yet, in that moment, you feel like you're the only one.

My writing is terrible. No one will ever want to publish me. I should give up and spend my precious little free time knitting or gardening.

Alright. I don't have the coordination to knit and I burn after five minutes in the sun.

It's hard to take the rejections at times. It's hard when you've had something you love rejected over and over again. It breaks my heart. The only thing you can do is learn from it and keep trying or start something new.

I've done a lot of rethinking this year about what I write, how I write and how I market myself. I've changed a lot of things and they're more true to myself. I practice my craft and my writing has improved. I'm constantly working to improve myself. I've always loved writing and what I write, but I didn't want to be seen as one of those women who write romance novels. (The prejudice I've experienced by some writers when they find out I write romance - any kind of romance - is cruel. That could be a whole blog post itself.) I wanted to be seen as the next Stephen King. It would be nice to have the success of King, but no matter how much I admire him, I will never be like him. I am one of those women who write romance. They're dark and gritty, but they're still romance novels. Facing this truth has allowed me to better market myself and become more comfortable being open about what I write.

I'll take the dark days and my newly crowned tooth and carry on. I'll keep writing until the day I die. I'll write horror, science-fiction and fantasy. I'll write romance. I'll keep writing even if no one reads what I write. It's what I do. It's what I need to do. It's who I am.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I gave them a Fever

I hope everyone had a good long weekend. My son was having a hard time of it and thus so was I. Yet it ended off well last night when we met friends for ice cream. Ice cream makes kids happy. Ice cream makes me happy. Brownie Nugget. And, oh, what big nuggets they were, too!

I got an acceptance last night. My horror short story, "Fever" was accepted by Wicked East Press for their anthology, Under The Stairs. It's always wonderful to have a story accepted, but the icing on the cake is that my friend and critique partner, Cherie Reich will also have a story in the anthology. It makes it extra special to be in an anthology with a friend.

I hope to finish my dark fantasy short story today or tomorrow. I need to start a second edit on my latest manuscript. Here's hoping my son sleeps a good long time this afternoon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Squish the big ideas

It's been a productive week despite everything that has happened. I researched queries and tweaked one of mine for my paranormal romance trilogy. The query had gotten some attention and I thought I couldn't fix it up any more. I surprised myself that I managed to do so. I sent it out to an agent earlier this week. I hope it looks even more professional and, more importantly, nabs the attention of the agent.

I submitted a horror story to an anthology yesterday. An old one about a horrific fever that I edited for the anthology.

I've also been working on my new dark fantasy short story. I hoped to finish it this week, but it's turning out bigger than I planned. My muse has big ideas. She creates great worlds. Yet sometimes they're too big. It's up to me to rein her in and squish her big ideas into a smaller space. It's tough work for me, but it's also good for me. I want to write novels, but short stories are an excellent way to learn the craft of writing.

My son's hands are healing well. It's driving us both bonkers to be stuck in the house and unable to do everything we usually do, but we're surviving. We're going to get together with friends this weekend to do something even if it's just playing at a park. It will be a quiet long weekend, but that's fine. Five weeks until Gen Con.

Happy Canada Day! And Happy Fourth of July!