Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Puppy

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 arrived--then he realized she was staying and promptly began to ignore her. Considering she really, really wants to be his best friend (or at least cuddle with him) that didn't go over to well, but they are working it out. This morning they actually played together during their morning walk. The cats haven't been as enthusiastic about the puppy's arrival. My littlest one watches her from the landing, but currently has decided she is a strictly upstairs cat (where the puppy can't go.) I'm hoping she comes around.

Well, from my family to yours: Merry Christmas Everyone!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

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 holes. And . . .

Yes, those bloody impressions in my forehead are in the shape of my keyboard, thank you.

Somewhere along the line, I got a little overwhelmed recently. Maybe it is just everything going on. Needless to say, I know I can get through this draft. I do. I’m just . . . struggling.

Struggling so badly I started questioning my ability to write. Had I written myself in a hole? Maybe I needed some guidance, or to dig in and learn something new about craft that I *must* be missing. So, I went to the library and picked up a bunch of craft books, and read about five of them over the last couple days. What did I learn?

That I’ve read a lot of craft books.

It is a rare book on writing that presents new information. Not that I’ve mastered everything—far from it—but most of the craft book I’ve read recently all seems to run over the same ground. Some books are a little more informative, or maybe I just read them earlier, but here is a list (in no particular order) of my favorite craft books:

Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King

Goal Motivation Conflict by Debra Dixon

Don't Sabotage Your Submission by Chris Roedren

Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham

Okay, there are a few more, but that is a good list. If you are a writer, what are your favorite craft books? If you are not a writer, what kind of 'crisis of faith' type situations have you been in recently? How did you pull yourself out of them?

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

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 for the site makeover?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

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!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Another year, another NaNo

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.