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Showing posts from 2008

Christmas Puppy

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My family has a new member gathering around the tree this year(hopefully gathering, and not trying to eat the branches.) Meet Trudy, the puppy we adopted. She is a sweet little five month old Blue Healer mix.

I was worried about bringing a new puppy into the family. My husband and I had discussed the possibility of a puppy several times in the past, but always managed to say no. We have an eight year old lab, who is such an angel (most of the time) we knew we were spoiled, and two cats who rule the house, so bringing a puppy in could disrupt everything. But, we couldn't pass up this little girl. (It was a very thought out decision which included a long talk to the foster mom and the adoption service, and spending a couple hours with Trudy before we finally decided to bring her home.

So far, her joining the family has been a relatively seamless process. She is a silly but shy little thing who has yet to grow into her feet. My adult lab greeted her enthusiastically when she first arr…

A Crisis of Craft

I think it happens to everyone once in a while. No matter how much we love doing something, despite any positive feedback we receive, and regardless of how long we’ve been practicing, some days everyone feels like they fail. We all stumble through it—a crisis of faith, or for me currently, a crisis of craft.

I have now written several books, sold one, and garnered a request on another. Once Bitten was my first book, and was so heavily edited that barely a word was left unchanged between the first draft and the manuscript which sold. Since then it has gone through a couple more major revisions with my editor’s input. After all that, you would think I could get through the 2nd draft of my current work in progress.

It should be a snap, right? I mean, the book is already written, I just need to make sure it says what I really think it says. And I need to further layer the world building and sensory details. And add two characters who weren’t in the first draft. And plug some major plot hol…

A New Look

Thanks everyone who emailed answers and opinions to my last post! I asked if I should split up my art and my writing, and the overwhelming response was to keep them on one site. So, having taken that into consideration, I've toned down the fine arts bit and splashed my book cover around.

For the design, I was going for something dark and edgy, but I think it turned out a little drab. That being the case, the site you see now is a work in progress. Hopefully in the coming days, I'll come up with something more...interesting? dynamic? colorful?

For those wondering about the cemetery image in the banner, I'll tell you a little bit about it. I took a series of photos while I was in New Orleans four years ago. This weekend I blended my favorite photos and created the image you see above (yes that is actually four different images. If you pay close attention to the angles, you can probably tell.) I like the banner, but I think it might need a little more color.

Any suggestions f…

On Secret Identities and Split Personalities

It has been a over a year since I last changed my web/blog layout, and with the looming release of Once Bitten, I think it is time for a makeover. With that in mind, I am facing a dilemma: do I separate my art from my writing?

Writing and painting are different parts of my life. I am pursuing writing as a career while painting is a hobby. Both tend toward fantasy, but if I am presenting myself as a professional writer should I showcase amateur artwork in the same space? Or should I have a site dedicated solely to my writing and a totally removed site dedicated to my art?

What do you think? Is it interesting to know a writer's hobby, or is it best something kept separate?

Thanks for you input!!

Another year, another NaNo

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I didn't blog often about NaNoWriMo this year, but I completed the challenge for the fourth time. That said, I can't claim to be particularly proud of my accomplishments. While I am excited about my WIP, my attention was so scattered among other writing endeavors that what I accomplished was not of much value. So, I'm flashing my winner badges with a torn heart this year.

Turkey Day

Hey everyone!,

I know I’ve been a very sporadic blogger recently, and apologize. As today is Thanksgiving, and a day we give thanks for many, many things in life, I wanted to extend a great big Thank You to everyone out there who reads this blog. I smile every time one of you leave a comment—it really does make my day.

So, Thank You for reading!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Trailing Off . . .

Cross posted from the Tri Mu Blog.

I usually try to post craft topics to the Tri Mu blog, but I finished copy edits not too terribly long ago, so I’m in a technical mood—humor me.

This is probably something everyone already knows, but I didn’t until the copy edits came in, so I’ll share. Did you know that Microsoft Words default treatment of ellipses is incorrect?

For those unsure what an ellipsis is, Wikipedia defines it as “series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word or a phrase from the original text.” Fiction writers use it most commonly to indicate a character trailing off.

When writing in Word, the autocorrect option automatically shrinks an ellipsis into three tight little dots, so I always assumed that was correct. Apparently not. Once I received my copyedits, I learned an ellipsis has space between the dots . . .

For me, space period space period space period space is not a very natural thing to type, not to mention the spaces create the possibility…

Off to a crazy start

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Halloween has come and gone (and I already miss it--Halloween is a great holiday. Candy and Costumes. What's not to love?)

Me, being me, dressed up for work once again despite the fact I knew I'd be mostly alone in my costumed freakishness. I did actually talk one co-worker to dress up with me. Next year my goal is at least five. ^_^

After work it was off to hand out candy with my fellow Tri-Mus and watch some movies. Then, at midnight, NaNoWriMo began. I wrote only about five hundred words before heading home to get some sleep, but I was back at it the next morning.

Saturday night we celebrated our local kick-off. Attendance wasn't great compared to some other events I hosted already this season, but we had a lot of fun.

I plan to hit 5k tonight, so I'm plugging along. I could be writing faster, but I'm happy with my current pace.

So what is everyone else up to? Anyone have Halloween photo's to share?

The missing month

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I can't believe it is the day before Halloween already. I swear I missed the rest of October somehow--maybe most of September too. I have been busy with two different writing projects plus hosting the first several events for NaNoWriMo. (A massive writing endeavor which begins in less than 48 hours. *gulp*)I'm not ready--there is still so much left to do before I say goodbye to October. Anyone know how to slow time (preferably while I'm NOT at work. ^_~)

Have a productive day everyone.

Excerpt Posted

I'm thrilled to say I now have an excerpt of Once Bitten posted on my site. If you would like to read the first few pages of the book, check it out here!

Happy Reading!

The Needle in the Haystack: Research

(Craft post X-posted from the Tri Mu blog.)

From the title, you probably think I'm going talk about searching out elusive information. Maybe even where I like to look or my favorite resources. Well, I hate to disappoint, but I'm not talking about finding the needle in the haystack. I'm talking about hiding the needle.

Okay, just to be clear, in this instance, the haystack is a manuscript, and the research is the needle. Why in the world would we hide our research?

Well, quite simply, writers learn everything they possibly can about a subject (especially if they have a tendency to get hooked on research--and it is a great procrastination tool if you are not careful) but the reader does not want the story to stop as the writer informs them of all the cool stuff learned during research. They want to absorb the necessary bits and move on.

So why the needle metaphor? Surely the reader needs to know more than that?

Sometimes, yes. Many times, no.

For instance, in Once Bitten the…

ANNOUNCEMENT: Release Postponed

Well, I found out the other day the release of Once Bitten is being postponed by a month. I'm not exactly shocked by this news--my publisher planned to break speed records to get the book out this season, but the process takes time (and a second set of revisions slowed things down.)

So, it will be a couple more weeks before the book hits the shelf. (Which means more weeks for me to be jittery and stressed.) I'll post the official date as soon as I have it. Be on the lookout!

First NaNo event come and gone

October is slipping away (far too quickly in my opinion) so my Co-ML and I hosted our very first Pre-NaNoWriMo event last night. We decided to do three pre-nano events this year: Noveling 101, a Plotting Bash, and a Creativity Kicker. Last night’s event was meant to be an informal discussion over dinner, so both my co-ml and I typed up hand outs that were supposed to just be general stuff to help guide the talk. Vikki wrote a short concise little hand out which, if you are interested, you can find here.

I, on the other hand, got a little carried away, and a little long winded. (This will not surprise any long time blog readers.) Since I typed it up, I thought I would share it here on the blog. So, enjoy! (or skip it, as it is long.)

Noveling 101A General Overview of What to Consider When Writing a Novel

Before being writers, we are readers, and as readers we absorb a lot of the necessary components for writing a novel. We know a good story when we read one, and, since we are all here to…

Moonlight and Magnolias--the highlights.

I'm back from Moonlight and Magnolias, and wow, I had a spectacular time. I'm definitely going back next year.

What made it absolutely amazing? Well, there was the fact I learned a lot, at times, a whole lot. Margie Lawson's workshop on the deep EDITS system was a mind blower. I purchased the class packet several months ago, but I learned even more during the workshop. I also attended classes on setting, back story, and the hero’s journey which were highly valuable. I'm currently trying to apply what I learned in the hero’s journey class to my current WIP.

The value of this conference was more than just what I learned (also more than the bag of signed/free books I totted home, though you know, I’d never look down on that.) What made last weekend memorable was hanging out with so many other writers. At Dragon*con there were 40k people, but only a handful were writers, and me being the social wallflower I am, I didn't talk to too many of them. At M&M, there were …

Over Packed

Moonlight and Magnolia begins tomorrow, and fellow Tri-Mu Tori and I will be driving to Atlanta together shortly. I'm (over)packed, everything is loaded in the car, and I am now half an hour from my house and sitting in Tori's living room. And, besides blogging, what am I doing? I'm worrying about what I might have forgotten.

Over packing is not a trait common to me. I have a personal rule that I will only pack as much as I can carry in one trip, and I don't like being bogged down. I'm a master of rolling clothing, don't need a lot of accessories or upkeep products, like all purpose footwear, and my bulkiest items are typically my laptop and a stuffed tiger I sleep with.

That isn't the case for this trip.

I've never been to an RWA conference, and everyone I've talked to has reiterated the need to be professional every time I step out of the hotel room. I'm not sure how professional, so I packed my suits (which means a garment bag so they don'…

About the Cover

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Cross posted over at the Tri Mu blog.
I’ve had a lot of emails and several questions over on facebook about my cover. Did I design it? Do I know the girl on the cover? Does she look like my main character?

The simple answer to all the questions: No.

Here is the story about the cover.

Several weeks ago I opened my inbox to discover an email from my publisher titled “Cover Rough Draft”. Attached was a .jpg image that looked very similar to what you see now. I was invited to tell them if I loved it or hated it, and luckily I love it because that was the extent of my influence on the cover.
The girl doesn’t look like Kita, and the really cool iron lamp isn’t in the book, but I think the cover as a whole has a dark-edgy feel that I hope permeates the book.

So, that’s the story. Probably not the most illuminating tale, and I’ll be honest, just for curiosity’s sake, I’d love to see what other designs were thrown around, but I’m very happy with the cover, and I can’t wait to have a copy in m…

To bookmark, or not to bookmark

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about promo material. From my time working at a bookstore, I know most of it gets junked immediately if sent to a store. Bookmarks are the only thing to survive, and their effectiveness depends a lot on the store in question. Placed in books in genre, bookmarks might just earn a new writer a second glance. Typically though, bookmarks are placed on the counter where most the people who pick them up are interested only in the fact it is a bookmark and not in the book, or worse, the bookmark is stuffed in a bag—where it will likely stay.

Conventions, conferences, and signings are a little different. At Dragon*con the ‘freebie’ tables were covered in all kinds of things: postcards, bookmarks, flyers, fold out pamphlets, pens… Some were really cool. Most I would consider tossable (so I didn’t pick them up.) About the only thing I grabbed were bookmarks.

I like bookmarks. I’ve bought several books after staring at a bookmark in books I was reading at the ti…

A Case of the Busies

I am busy.

That about sums things up.

The last few weeks have been packed and the horizon looks just as chaotic. Once Bitten's release date is looming, though most of my work with the book is finished. Currently I'm neck deep in revisions again. I'm pulling apart my own words and trying to get them as tight as possible before the Moonlight and Magnolia conference. My edits were derailed by revisions not long ago, so *cross your fingers* I hope I'll be ready to pitch a new series while at the conference.

My schedule doesn't get any clearer after that. During October I have three big NaNoWriMo events I plan to hold this year: Noveling 101, a Plotting Bash, and a Creativity Bash, so I need to do prep work for those. I also need to break out my own plotting hat because I'll be starting a new story in a new world for the challenge. (At least most of the world building is done, but I have a dismal amount of it plotted and most of that is in my head.) Then of course, th…

Once Bitten: Now listed on B&N for pre-sale

One of my fellow Tri-Mus just sent me a link to my book, now up for pre-sale at Barnes and Noble. I had no idea it would but up so soon, but Check it out!

*happy dance*

ONCE BITTEN: Cover and Blurb

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My publisher bounced around a lot of ideas for a title, and I’m super pleased with the final outcome of ONCE BITTEN . Because good news is plentiful today, I have been given permission to share the cover image. (I saw it right before leaving for Dragon*Con, but I couldn’t share it yet.)

Without further ado, the cover and blurb for Once Bitten:

For the past five years, Kita Nekai has faded into the background of the human world, but when a rogue shifter begins littering the city of Haven with bodies, Kita's illegal status lands her on the suspect list. During a confrontation with hunters that she can't win, rescue arrives in the form of the mysterious Nathanial Deaton. Kita soon wishes it hadn't when his method of saving her leaves her undead. With only three nights to prove her innocence and a new liquid diet to worry about, Kita doesn't want to deal with her infuriating rescuer or the ghost from her past who is determined to drag her back home. But, she needs help if…

Back From Dragon*Con

I’m back from Dragon*con, and while I’m tired, and need to get some serious work done on my revisions, I’m very glad I went. I listened to, and talked to, a dozen or more authors this weekend, not to mention all the other avid readers I had the opportunity to discuss my favorite books with. I don’t have a lot of time to write as much as I would like about Dragon, but here are some highlights:

--Larurell K Hamilton getting on her soap box about the fallacy of ‘one perfect person’ because a romance writer on the panel insinuated Anita Blake’s character relationships were not about emotion.

--Signed books (need I say more)

--Meeting my publisher.

--Watching the businessmen and innocent mall attendees staring at the crazy cosplayers. In the same vein, walking down the tubes connecting the hotels and passing Darth Vader and a troop of Storm Troopers.

--Discovering two bands I’d never heard of: Voltaire and Cruxshadows

--Talking to Rachel Caine (and too many more authors to list here.)


There…

Dragon*Con

(x-posted over at the Tri Mu blog.)

Dragon*Con is approaching quickly, and I’m excited and nervous (a common state for me recently.). This is not my first big convention, but this is one of the very biggest fantasy conventions in the states, and it will be my first time attending. The con will be full of stars, writers, artists, and fans. There will be pirates, klingons, fairies, anime kids, and dozens of other fans stretching across the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Several writers I adore will be attending—which means I need to pack books to be signed (I must remember that this time, unlike when I went to concarolinas.) My editors will also be there.

I’m left unsure what roll I play—which will make packing a neat trick. I’m typically the type to dress up at cons. After all, any excuse to go in costume is a good excuse, right? But, I’ll be following the writers track, and I’m told most don’t dress up.

Do I dress up anyways?

I’m really not sure yet. I might not decide until I get there. The o…

Author Photos: We have a clear leader!

The poll is still open for another hour, but unless several dozen new people vote, option 2 is the clear winner with 54% of the vote in the poll and the majority in comments and emails. "Friendly and approachable" is clearly the way to go.

I'm a fan of options, so I've decided to let my editor decide between the top two choices, but runner up is a little harder to determine. Option #6 has a marginal lead in the polls over the next closest(14% total votes compared to 11%--both a far cry from the leader) but in comments and emails option #5 is a little ahead. Since #5 is a little darker and edgier (and I'm writing Darker Urban Fantasy) I think I'll send that one.

Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to vote and/or voice an opinion! Currently there are 74 votes, over a dozen comments, and several dozen emails. Thank you all again!

Author Photos

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Okay everyone, I need some help. I've been asked to provide an author photo which will first go on my publisher's website, and then will later end up in the back of my book. I took a couple dozen photos this weekend, and I narrowed it down to the following. Which do you think I should use?
Option 1
Option 2








Option 3
Option 4








Option 5
Option 6








So what do you think? I'm going to post a poll in the sidebar, but feel free to voice your opinion in the comments.
Thanks so much!

It's official: First Sale

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I know, I know, I posted some exciting information in my post 'The Call' but withheld details. Well, I'm finally ready to share.

The short story: I sold my first book (and there was much dancing around the living room.)

The longer story: The call came in several days before I posted about it, but I wanted to be sure I was going to take the offer before I said anything. The funny thing is, I actually missed the call originally. Yep, you read that right. I MISSED THE CALL. I was at work at the time, in a meeting, so it wasn't until later I looked at the phone and noticed a call had come in from an area code I didn't recognize. So, I first found out about the offer by email, though a second call came later and I had the opportunity to talk to my new super nice editor. Still, I didn't want to say too much too soon. So what has changed?

My contract is signed and in the mail.

It's official, I'm being published. The book I've always referred to as 'DH…

DragonCon

Because I'm all about last minute decisions, I have just today decided to attend DragonCon. Yes, that's right, the biggest Science Fiction Fantasy Con on this coast is 7 days away, and I decided today. It happens.

Long story short: a friend from college had to cancel last minute, so there was an extra ticket and a spot in a room up for grabs. Some other time that might not have been enough to motivate me, after all M&M is only a month away, but well... It worked (or at least I hope it will.)

So...Yippiee I'm going to DragonCon. The friends I'm going with won't be on the writer's track, so I'll probably be wandering around alone. If you'll be there, give me a shout. Maybe we can meet up sometime.



Watch for updates. I still have to tell you about The Call....

The Call

Unpublished writers are always waiting for THE CALL. Which call would that be? The call from an editor, of course. The call telling them someone wants to publish that doorstop they wrote.

My call finally came.

More details soon... ^_^

Finding the Time

Time is arguably one of the most valuable and scarce resources each of us have. We can only count the time that has past, never the time still to come, and while it could be argued that time is a renewable resource, as one minute continues to follow the last, we never truly know when the final minute will come, or what will pop up in the next moment and demand our attention. Everything in life vies for time: family, jobs, sleep, shopping, hobbies, ect. We each must value and balance the activities that consume our time.

If you are a writer, you have probably heard someone say something to the extent of “Yeah, I plan to write a book one day, when I get time.” If you haven’t heard a line like that before, walk around and tell people you are writing a book, I almost guarantee you will eventually hear it. This line is one of my personal pet-peeves. After all, when is there really ample time just sitting around to write a book? Retirement? Who wants to wait their entire life before tryi…

What inspires you?

I know, I know; I talked about what inspires ideas in my last post. I promise, I’m not repeating the topic. No, this time I wanted to address what inspires a writer to write. Not what makes her drag her butt to the chair everyday—that’s a different topic—but what makes her need to write. What inspires her to get up early, stay up late, or miss returning to work on time because the words are pouring out of her? How does she go from scrapping the bottom of the creative well to being muse-touched?

Over the past couple years, I’ve had the pleasure of talking to many different writers. A question I always find interesting to ask (whether the writer is multi-published or still struggling to finish that first manuscript) is ‘What gets your creative juices flowing?’. I’ve received a lot of answers, so I thought I’d hit on a couple.

-Reading a Good Book This is something that works for me. There is nothing like reading a great book, and after the last page, thinking, “I want to write somethi…

From Everywhere and Plot Soup

X-posted over at theTri Mu blog.
Every time I’ve attended a session where an author opens the floor to questions from the public, someone inevitably raises their hand and asks “Where do you get your ideas?” These few words almost always produce a pained look on the author’s face, and even I have learned to cringe. Sometimes the author laughs it off, but when pressed to answer, she typically says, “Everywhere.” This answer rarely satisfies, despite its validity, and the author knows this, but how else can she answer and still have time to address other questions?

Defining an author as someone who has at least one published book and a writer as someone who has completed a manuscript but has not been published, I can only attest to the truth of the statement of ‘everywhere’ as a writer. Everything a writer/author sees, reads, and hears and everyone she meets gets thrown into the plot soup in the back of her head. Since that is such an unsatisfying answer, I’ll give you some examples of …

The First Time

[X-posted over at the Tri Mu Blog.]

The first time is always memorable. No, not THAT first time (get your head out of the gutter.) I'm talking about the first manuscript. The first time a writer decides she is going write a book, and she does. Day after day she returns to the keyboard to pound out the next word, the next scene, the next chapter, until she hits those two magical words 'the end.'

For some writers, this process may take only a few weeks, but for others it takes years. Some will attempt it many times, but for various reasons, not reach those two words on a novel length project. For me, the journey took years, and during that time I acquired a graveyard full of false starts and half finished stories that never went anywhere. Some of these stories were worked on only a short amount of time before being abandoned, others were labored over for three or more years before I finally gave up on them.

After years and years, the first book I finished took only three mo…

Because you have to love it

[Be warned, this turned into a very long post.]

If there is one benefit to being unpublished, it is the lack of a deadline. This frees a writer to experiment a little--to take chances she might not have time to take later in her career. (Not that time is ever overly abundant.)

This year (all five months of it thus far) has been full of exploration for me. The Tri Mu has had writing challenges most months which have ranged from writing in different genres to including very specific elements in scenes/short stories. Besides these short challenges, I've been working off and on a literary YA, but I haven't managed to really sink my teeth into the story for an extended amount of time. This project is an interesting one, and a big stretch for be because the story includes neither fantasy nor mystery elements, the two genres I'm most familiar and comfortable with. But, I was urged to write it by a non-writer who is very important to me, so I gave it a shot, and it will probably co…

Should it end?

I read a lot of series in several genres, and many have hit double digits in number of books. I love series--particularly ones with the same main character in each book--because every time I pick one up it's like seeing old friends again. That said, I'm starting to wonder if series should end at a point.

Several of the series I read today, I first picked up when I was a teenager. Over the years, some have changed drastically, some not so much. Both these extremes have their own issues. The series that change drastically tend to push character growth and as the character reaches a peek, something new has to level them back out (lets not talk about paranormal sides where the MC ends up godlike because s/he keeps gaining new powers each book.) The series that don't change much, have much less character growth, and you can usually pick up the later ones in any order and and only miss some minor references. The middle ground is a little fuzzy and harder to find as each new book …

U can has Laughs 4 UR Grammar

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Admit it. You've been there. I can has cheezburger or a Caterday site. You've looked at the cute little animals with clever little captions because well, they make you laugh. (And if you haven't looked, you should, laughing is good for you.)

The problem becomes apparent when you think about the fact most people know grammar intrinsically, not factually. Things sound right to the ear. But if enough people use words/phrases incorrectly, they start sounding 'right' and are eventually adopted as slang, and after enough time, slang is adopted as an evolution of the English language. That's what a living language does--it evolves.

Since the advent of instant messenger, English teachers around the states have reported a rapid degradation of proper grammar. I occasionally have to remind myself that smiley faces ^_^ and *emotes* have no place in professional correspondences. That doesn't mean I don't receive them from other 'professionals' at work somet…

Announcement: Tri Mu Blog

I have a very special announcement, the Modern Myth Makers blog has now officially launched. *pulls out the launch party-hats*

We are just doing introductions right now, but please stop over and learn about the other girls in my writing group. In the future we plan to do lots of writing related posts as well pass the plot challenges (where one writes a section of a story and then another has to pick up where she left off) and other fun little things. So, go on, visit, and don't forget to bookmark us. ^_^

Website

I did a ton of coding this weekend, like twelve hours with only a few breaks here and there. Of course, very little of it was on my own stuff (that cobbler's bare-footed children thing) though one of the projects I was working on is a very cool surprise the Tri-Mu will be unveiling later this week. At the end of the day, I was like, "well, I did all this, maybe I should update my poor neglected site. Like the links page, which has said 'coming soon...' for a year. And changing that photo my hubby hates...." So, I made a few updates, if you want to check them out. Nothing impressive, mind you, but progress.

It got me thinking. It has been about a year and two weeks since I built this layout. I'm wondering if its time for a change?

What do you think? Should I redesign the site/blog? Or do you like the current design and think I should keep it?

Thanks for the opinion! Happy Tuesday.

Hard Decisions

I've been silent for a couple weeks, and I apologize. Lots of stuff has been happening on my side, writing and otherwise. Among other things, I've recently been mulling over a very difficult decision. It's one of those things I don't want to jump into (or out off) blindly. That said, I think I've finally made my choice. Now just to take a deep breath and follow through with it. Wish me luck!

In other news, because I haven't updated recently, you'll notice I passed my short story 'goal' by about 1k. You might be thinking that means I wrote THE END.

Well, I didn't.

I realized after I hit the 15k point, and I was only about half way through my plot. So, I started looking at the main line because well, I'm pretty sure I could write longer. What I learned was that the story was way, WAY, off what either line wanted. (See what I get for trying to write outside my genre and targeting a line?) I seriously considered scrapping it after that realizatio…

Deadlines

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My self-imposed deadline for finishing my short story is fast approaching, and I'll admit, it's going to be a crunch. I want to write those magic words this Saturday, April 5th. I slowed down a little, not writing a word this past weekend, but I still intend to finish on time. If I don't, I'll have to put it aside and that will bum me out. No fun. Plus, deadlines are good for me.

You might be asking, what changes after April 5th? Well, April 6th is the day the Tri Ms decided to begin our first Fast Draft challenge, which pretty much guarantees two weeks of total writing insanity. I discussed doing a FD challenge once before, but those plans fell through, so I'm excited the Tri Ms decided to give it a shot this time. But, more on Fast Draft on a later date.

Today I'm talking about my short story, and on meeting deadlines. My current word total is 7,260 words. My goal, as close to 15k as possible (I'll give you a hint, I'm not worried about being low.) I w…

First Quarter Faves for 2008

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It's been a while since I posted a 'what I'm reading' post, so I thought I'd do that today. I've been a bit more sporadic in my reading habits this year--probably due to several time consuming reasons, but I'm going to pretend I'm writing during what used to be some of my reading time. ^_^ I've also been pickier this year, and more of the books I read didn't make it to my 'great reads' list. I find the more I write, the more I pick apart books while I'm reading them, which annoyingly makes them less enjoyable.

So, I'm going to highlight three books I enjoyed immensely (not to belittle other books on my great reads books for this year, but I had to narrow it down to a reasonable number, so these are the three that stand out the most in my mind.) Without further ado --and in no particular order--my top picks out of winter 2008 books.

I think I mentioned Halfway to the Grave, by Jeaniene Frost, once before when writing on hookline…

Squirrel 3, Building 0

My work has a squirrel. Actually at first they thought it was a rat, then a squirrel, then a rat AND a squirrel, then they decided it was just a rat, and now it's a squirrel again. Confused yet? I'll back up.

Several weeks ago, one of the bigwig guys in my office discovered he'd had a nighttime visitor who hit his secret stash of junk food and left little droppings behind. The assumption was that a rat crawled under the door and squeezed into the drawer full of food. The pest control people were called. Traps were baited and set.

No rat.

In fact, not only did the traps not catch a rat, but there was evidence that something had been sitting ON TOP of the traps (they were enclosed). Also, foot prints were found on pipes in the room, indicating the perpetrator was coming from the ceiling.

Okay, not a rat, a squirrel.

More traps were brought in--bigger, 'live' traps. Still nothing. At this point, the guy was getting pretty upset with the lack of results, and the fact his…

Writing Short

Last week, one of my fellow Tri Ms (Modern Myth Makers, the writing group that formed following NaNo last year) challenged me to write a short story targeted at a very specific line. I knew this would be something totally new for me, but as I had just finished my latest WIP, decided it would be a fun change of pace.

I think that was Wednesday. At that point, I had no idea what I would write about in specifics, but I had lots of ideas that had been on the back burner. Some were obviously not a good fit for the paramaters of what I was trying to write, but over the last part of the week, I knocked enough ideas together to start a spark, worldbuild a little, and get some idea who my characters were. I did not write a full outline, but I did jot down some very basic notes of what had to happen in the story for it to be, well, a story. With that, Saturday I began writing.

The word count goal of this story is 10-15k words. Now, as far as short stories go, 10k isn't that short. But, for…

Fun with Comments

I'm neck deep in plotting a short story, but I'm not ready to say much about it, so I thought I'd share some of the Comments from the MS I just finished. Rachel posts her comments to her blog once in a while, and they always fascinate/amuse me, so I hope you find mine just as interesting.

The MS, which ended just under 80k, had a total of 158 comments. (For those unfamiliar with comments, they are a feature in word that highlights a section of text and puts a little bubble on the side of the page where additional text/notes can be written.)

Some random comments from the first couple chapters:
-"Find out the legal term for (place)"
-"When talking about (deleted) is (deleted) capitalized?"
-"Clunky" (referring to a paragraph I didn't like)
-"Look up shoes"
-"Did I give him a name earlier?"
-"This is the idea. Now rewrite it to make it work."
-"Long meandering description. Figure out what you want to say."…

FINISHED!!

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Well, after a very busy week and weekend, I finally got out those last few words and wrote, you guessed it THE END on my WIP. Granted, the word count came out a little lower than I expected for a first draft, (though only about 700 words less than I was projecting) but I know with the way I write, the second draft will flesh out what I wrote in this one. I also realized during the middle of the climax that I sort of forgot to kill someone (I know...how could I have forgotten something like that? But I did) so there are two scenes or so I didn't write, but I'll catch them in the second draft.

Final wordcount:
79,287 / 79,287
(100%)

Now, I will commence in a little happy dancing, and then put this MS in the drawer a couple weeks while I work on something else. There are a lot of projects I've been thinking about, so I'm not sparse on ideas. The question is what to work on next? Isn't that a great dilemma? ^_^

Happy Monday everyone!

Those elusive words are around the bend

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Let me start this by going ahead and splashing the progress meter up:

Current Progress: GW
74,824 / 80,000
(94.8%)

As you can see, I'm just an inch above 5k from hitting the goal. Now I'll be honest, at this point I'm not sure if the first draft will end up a little over or a little under that 80k goal, but I'm thrilled to see such a tiny sliver left. I'm even more thrilled that I reached the climax scene while writing at lunch today. I was neck deep in the final confrontation between the MC and the 'bad guy' when the little 'ding' sounded reminding me to run (no time left for a casual stroll) back to work.

So, I know it won't be long now until I'll be writing those two little, elusive words at the bottom of the MS. I can't wait!

Have a great day everyone!

Blurb it!

Today I want to talk about writing blurbs and pitches. Blurbs are used for many different things: they are included in query letters, pitched to agents/editors at a conferences, and some end up on book jackets. In all cases, the blurb serves the same purpose, to entice the intended audience into reading more.

Most blurbs are only a couple lines long, maybe a couple paragraphs at most, and they have a lot to do in that small amount of space. Each word counts, and should work toward introducing main characters and throwing out a plot hook strong enough to draw in readers.

I've written a handful of blurbs (that may or may not be any good) but all have been for 'first books'. A couple days ago, I had a chance to see my agent face to face, and she asked me to send her a blurb for the sequel to the book she is currently pitching to editors, so she can pitch it as a series with a little more authority.

My first thought was, "Hey, no problem. I can do that." After all, I…