Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Full Cover Copy of TWICE DEAD

My editor at Bell Bridge Books just sent me the full cover copy for TWICE DEAD. Isn't it gorgeous?!

Monday, January 25, 2010

What did you mean to say?

Words are funny things. They can be so very fickle, and often subtly (or bluntly) imply meanings the writer/speaker never intended. A slight shift in a phrase can completely change the interpretation of the sentence. Even the arrangement of sentences in relation to each other can create a totally unintended message.

Finding and fixing such sentences tends to be a very subtle application of wordsmithing--especially when the implication incorporates several sentences. During an early draft of one of my upcoming books, I unintentionally implied my main character would end up having sex if she didn't leave a bar. Luckily, I 'heard' the mistake when I read it aloud at critique. (Which led to about five minutes of giggling and jokes at Alex's expense.) I ended up keeping all the sentences involved, but a re-order was seriously called for.

Sometimes the issue isn't one that spans a paragraph though, sometimes the culprit is just a poorly constructed sentence. For instance, I found myself typing the following to a friend earlier: Do you think it's appropriate to teach kids with blue and yellow hair? Well, uh, it would be rather inappropriate to discriminate against a kid with dyed hair, lol, but what I meant was: Do you think it's appropriate for me to have blue and yellow hair while teaching kids?

Big difference.

Now, my friend would have understood the first question. She would have realized I was talking about my own hair because she knows me. If I put that same line in a book, most people would also understand because it would (hopefully) be within a context that the meaning would be clear. But, it doesn't say what I mean.

One of my favorite phrases to play with is: You suddenly appear naked. Why does this phrase amuse me so much? Because out of context it could mean two totally different things. It could mean that 'you' just suddenly appeared out of nowhere, and oh, yeah, you happen to be naked. Or it could mean 'you' were already here, but now (with no explained reason) you are suddenly naked (or appear to be). See the difference? This is the word equivalent to one those drawings where if you look at it one way it is one image, but if you look at it another, it is a completely different picture.

Words are fun. They are fun to twist and to play with. But at the end of the day, make sure they say what you want them to. ^_^

Sorry for the blog silence this month. I've been busy preparing for my February release and my approaching April deadline. What has everyone else out there in the blogsphere been up to? Anything new and exciting? Anyone else recently construct a sentence which didn't say what they meant?

Happy Monday everyone!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

To-do lists, galleys, and links

It has been a busy week (hence the blog silence). I'm buried under both external and self-imposed deadlines and scrambling to stay on top of everything on my to-do list. I can hardly believe tomorrow will be the halfway point in the month. There are still a lot of words I need to reach my goal of finishing my WIP this month (we are just going to shut that thought behind that obscured door over there.) Oh, and I have tons to do to prepare for my February release. There are bookmarks to design and order, blog tour details to finalize, and release contests to plan.

Busy, busy!

In the meantime, if you are itching for a new post with a little more substance than my to-do list, you can check out The Magic District where I blogged about my galleys. Also, fellow Tri Mu Vert continued the Pass the Plot story I started last week, so you can check out the newest installment here.

Have a great Thursday everyone!

Friday, January 08, 2010

It comes down to time

Fellow Tri Mu, Tori, blogged over at the Tri Mu blog about time today, and I totally get her frustration. Balancing time is always a struggle. It seems the more time you should have, the more stuff crops up to absorb that time.

Reading over Tori's post made me want to analyze where my time went during this very first week of the year:

    Writing: I devoted (on average) five to nine hours a day to writing. Despite this time, I am not as far along in my WIP as I would like at this time. I hope to make up for that in the coming days.
    Hooping:In my life, hooping fills a lot of 'needs'. It is my main source of face to face socialization, my daily exercise, and it may become my second 'job' soon. That said, it ate a lot of time this week. I took a class on Sunday, performed in demos most every week day, practiced hoop danced and tricks during the weekly meetups, and spent way too much time worrying over music. Hooping averaged as much or more of my time as writing did this week. I need to cut back on that time, clearly. At the same time, there is so much with hooping I want to do/practice/choreograph/and learn.
    Internet Time: This is a difficult category as it includes answering email (to my editors/my agent/readers/other writers/etc.), blogging, and updating websites. Those are all legitimate and important things, but it is easy to lose a lot of time to this category. This has been absorbing between two and four hours a day, and like so much else, there is a back list of things I'm supposed to be doing during my internet time.
    Reading: I have barely been able to sneak any reading time in. Too much to do, and I'm too exhausted at the end of the night. If I'm averaging more than an hour a day I'd be surprised. Reading a book I am absolutely loving right now (by Jeaniene Frost), but I just haven't had time to read more than a few chapters at a time.
    Sleep: I try to get at least 8 hours sleep a night as I tend to run down eventually if I don't. I don't think I accomplished a full 8 hours once this week.
    Critique: So far this week, I have been a horrible critique partner. I've devoted absolutely no time to my CPs. That said, I don't actually think I'm behind on critiquing anything, so that should be okay.
    Family and Friends: Sadly, this category is not only last in the list, but tends to draw the short end of the time-stick. I can't guess how much time got devoted to family and friends, but I promise it wasn't enough.

So, adding up the high end of those estimates and needs, I'm looking at 30 hour days without factoring in family or critique--no wonder I never seem to fit everything in! A time management system might need to be put in place in my life.

How have you distributed your time this first week in the year? What do you wish you had more time for? What kind of time management system do you use?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Research Trip to the Swamp

I took a trip to the swamp this weekend. My current WIP has several scenes based in a swamp, so I wanted to go muck around, get a feel for the sounds, the smells, the way the ground felt. A lot of what I write comes straight out of my head, but when I can get first hand experience, I jump on it.

It was cold, but it was a beautifully sunny day. With all the recent rain in the area, (and the fact the swamp is a floodplain--for obvious reasons) most of the trails were washed out. I took some awesome pictures, and I intend to return later in the week to see what the swamp is like when it is not so flooded.

While I could record all my findings here, I think I'll save the really good ones for the book. But enjoy these pictures. (Obviously I didn't take the picture of me, but the rest are images I shot during the four mile hike.)

P.S. If you are interested in a little free fiction, I started a new Tri Mu 'Pass the Plot' challenge today. Check it out at the Modern Myth Maker blog!

Friday, January 01, 2010

A shiny new year

Tradition (or is that superstition?) holds that what you do on the first of the year impacts what you will do for the rest of the year. That is why people eat collards on the first--the green collards represent green dollars and are supposed to ensure the year is a prosperous one.

I'm not terribly superstitious, but there are still a couple 'must do' activities on my list for today. Not surprisingly, these activities include things like writing, reading, and hooping (should probably pull out my paints, but I don't really see that happening). So, today I started the first draft of my next WIP. My first goal for the year (because I long ago gave up on resolutions) is to finish the draft by the end of the month. It's a big goal, and will be quite the sprint, but it's a brand new year and time for me to test my boundaries. I'm going for it!

What New Year traditions/superstitions do you subscribe to? What goals or resolutions do you have for this coming year?