Monday, November 30, 2009

Crazy Lady, Reporting for Blog Duty

I have nothing productive to contribute to the blogosphere today, so I thought I'd let you in on all the wonderful things I learned while I was unplugged.

1. I do my best thinking in the bathtub. Not really sure why.

2. Being unplugged actually increases my desire to read blogs. So, maybe I peeked at a few... ;)

3. The first 3/4 of my first chapter is unnecessary, so guess what? I'm rewriting it. Again. I know you're all super shocked. :P

4. Querying + Other Stress = Ultra Super Neurotic Crazy Lady --No, I'm not exaggerating. All the sane people in my family keep shaking their heads and refuse to look me in the eye, so it must be true. ;)

5. Since my husband has implored me to hold off on all things writerly until after the holidays, I have this overwhelming urge to write. All kinds of unexpected ideas have been popping into my head. Why do you suppose that is?

6. And I can't leave out NaNo. Poor neglected NaNo. Yes, today is the last day. Unfortunately, unless I can come up with another 41,000 words before midnight, I'm not a winner. Bummer. Maybe there's some correlation between this one and #5. Hmm.

So, my question for today is: Where do you do your best thinking?

Happy Monday, everyone! Good to be back!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Maybe it's True...

Agent Janet Reid* posted this quote on Saturday—almost as if she was reading my mind and knew exactly what I needed to hear, right at that very moment. Spooky.

Don't let the judgment of any editor (or agent) poison the intense, intimate, and necessary relationship that you have with your own work. Keep the two things scrupulously separate. The self that writes may need to be a delicate and protected creature, but the self that submits to magazines (and agents) ought to be as tough as a rhino's butt.

Christian Wiman, editor, Poetry
"Poets & Writers" May/June 2009

The fact that Janet Reid may have mind reading capabilities doesn't do much to dispel the myth that literary agents are superhuman ninjas. Great quote, though. ;)

Also, I will be unplugging for the rest of the week. Have a fabulous Thanksgiving, everyone!

*For the record, I've never queried Janet Reid. She doesn't rep what I write.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What I got from New Moon

I'm not a huge Twilight fan. Nevertheless, I did drag my husband with me to see New Moon yesterday morning. Read whatever you want into that.

Here's what I got from the movie:

1. It was definitely better than Twilight, though not as funny. Yes, I realize neither was supposed to be funny.

2. I was a little surprised by the variety of people there. An older man (close to my grandfather's age) was sitting in front of us, alone. Since we went in the morning, we didn't have the screaming girls like I've heard about from several people that went to evening and midnight showings. There were several men with their wives/girlfriends/whatevers, and all seemed to groan (and I'm guessing, roll their eyes) at all the same points as my husband.

3. And third, I am unconditionally and irrevocably in love with Victoria's (Rachelle Lefevre) hair! ;) I want her hair. So jealous!

4. I've never claimed a team before and never thought I would. After reading the books, at least through Eclipse, I felt like Bella should be with Edward, but would've been okay if she ended up with Jacob. But after seeing New Moon, I'm pretty firmly on Team Jacob. Sorry, but there was absolutely nothing appealing to me about Edward in that movie.

Anyone else see it? Any thoughts you'd like to add?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's Not Hot All The Time. Really.

Since I'm too brain dead to come up with my own idea for a blog post, I'm borrowing a page from Tere's playbook and giving you a little bit of info about the setting of my book. It's mostly just pictures, but I said I was brain dead, so you can't expect much from me right now.

As some of you already know, my novel, Embrol, takes place in Arizona--most of it in the Phoenix area. I'm not really sure why I picked Arizona, especially since I've been wanting to move north (way north) for years. I would love to have seasons--not just hot and less hot. :) Despite my desire to get out, there are some things I would miss.

We have the most incredible sunsets.

This one's my favorite. At first, I was annoyed that those water spots on the lens showed up in the shot, but then I started thinking it had kind of a cosmic look to it, so now I love it. It works for my sci fi theme. ;) Click on the photo for a larger view.

We don't get hurricanes or tornados, but we get some pretty insane storms. A few years ago, a miroburst hit our area. It lifted our trampoline from our backyard, carried it over half an acre (over our house and both our vehicles) and dropped it in our front yard, where it basically exploded. Plus, I was drenched within seconds of stepping outside.

Rarely does it sprinkle here, and the rain doesn't often last long, but when we get it, we get a lot. This picture doesn't really show how much we get, but it's the only one I have. I wish I'd thought to take a pic of our 4-wheel drive Tahoe stuck in the river wash when the concrete culvert was washed away by a storm. The whole body of the truck was resting on the ground, front and back tires either buried in the mud or completely underwater. We had to wait until the next day, when most of the water had drained away, and dig it out. Fun times! Still, I love the rain, and I love when it's cloudy all day long--even better when it lasts for several days in a row. Makes me smile. :)

My characters have to go further north to see snow, but these pics are proof that it does get cold enough in the valley to snow, though rarely. I can only remember a couple of times in my whole life, and it's never cold enough for it to stick, but it has happened.

This is the view of the Superstition Mountains from my front door. The snow was completely melted after only a couple of days.

That's it. Very exciting, I know.

So, where do your stories take place, and how do you choose your settings?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NaNos and Partials and Crits, Oh My!

Not much to say about NaNo except that it has turned into NaNoNoWriNoMo. Say that five times fast. :) It's not NaNo's fault the story isn't working. I have too many non-writerly distractions right now. I'll get back to it later, after the craziness that is my life dies down. This is the kind of craziness that goes away, so I'm not just procrastinating. Seriously. Okay, so maybe a teensy bit. Don't tell.

In the good news arena, I got my first partial request this week. I'm trying not to get too worked up about it, but it is my first, off the first batch sent out with my shiny new query, so yeah. I can't help it. I'm totally freaking out. :) Woohoo!

And my friend and uber awesome crit buddy, Tere Kirkland, is in need of fresh beta eyes (preferably, still attached to living people) for her very cool YA Paranormal, EVANGELINE. If you're interested, head on over and give her a holler. You might as well follow while you're over there. Then you can say you were one of the first. :)

Sorry I've been so absent lately. I'm still trying to check in when I can, but my life really is all kinds of crazy right now. I hope you're all doing well, and I'd love to hear about your progress or good news or whatever you'd like to share.

Happy Wednesday! :D

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They Lurk in the Shadows

Upon realizing that literary agents are just regular people, my youngest daughter (8 years old) informed me she thought agents dressed in all black, like ninjas, and hid in the shadows, waiting to attack publishers who won't give their people book deals.

I seriously don't know where she comes up with this stuff.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Had a Fabulous Post Planned for Today...

But I'm feeling too burnt out to write it. Maybe tomorrow.

Just wanted to share that someone found my blog by googling "Perfect Rears". So I tried it, and my blog came up first in the list. I feel so special. :)

Have any special searches directed new visitors to your blog?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dude, Your Baby is UG-LY!

Okay, so no one would ever really say that. Would they?

This post isn’t really about babies. Not the real kind, anyway. On Monday, I expressed my love for critiques. But where there is the receiving of critiques, there must also be the giving, right?

Don’t get me wrong. I love giving a critique almost as much as I love getting one. Critiquing the writing of others is awesome for recognizing things you do wrong in your own writing, because a lot of us make the same mistakes. It also helps us look at our own work with a more critical eye. BUT… when it comes to hitting the send button on the email, I always think, “Oh no. What if this makes her hate me?” Especially if it’s a particularly thorough critique, where there’s lots of red on the screen. It kind of feels like I’m sending them an email saying:

“Dude, your baby is UG-LY! But here’s how I (self-proclaimed baby beauty expert) think you can make her prettier.”

How do you feel about critiquing others’ work? Do you worry they’ll take offense? Or do you just figure one good shredding deserves another, and they should just suck it up?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WIP Wednesday - NaNo Complications

It's been a while since I've done one of these.

As many of you know, I've been working on my final round (haha) of revisions for like forever now, but for some reason, I just haven't been able to get motivated to get them done. So, last week I unplugged for NaNo, and suddenly, working on my revisions was very appealing—so appealing that I finally finished them. Woot! I even got a few queries sent out. Forward progress! Yea!

But that meant I didn't start on my NaNo project until Friday, so I'm a little behind on that. Even with as little time as I've spent on it, I've learned a few things about my writing process and why the just sit down and write methods that NaNo requires may not be the best methods for me.

I was surprised to find that I can make myself sit and pound out 3000 words in just a couple of hours and not stress too much about word choice. I've been able to convince myself that things like that can be fixed in revisions. Problem is, I've been writing scenes to get a better feel for my characters and their personalities, and I'm finding that I probably won't be keeping those scenes, or they need to change dramatically to fit the storyline.

Plus, after about 8000 words, I hit a wall. It seemed like everything that was happening was so boring, even though the potential was there for some really intense scenes. And my POV character was coming across as a huge jerk. So, I decided to do a little experiment.

I took one of the scenes that was bothering me and rewrote it from another character's perspective. It worked beautifully, creating so much more tension. Now I've decided to do alternating POV's, switching with each chapter.

So, what? Writer's do that all the time. What's so experimental about that?

Well, first, it's all in first person, so it's been challenging trying to keep the two voices seperate. Second, this other character has a huge secret that is going to be difficult keeping hidden if he's narrating.

So, basically, I've just made things much more complicated for myself when I'm already behind. But I feel like I can move forward again, so maybe it's not so bad. However it turns out, it will be a learning experience, if nothing else.

What about all of you? Any progress or anything to report? Just need to vent? NaNo is my worst nightmare because... ;D

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Can't Leave You Guys Alone for a Second!

So, I unplugged last week only to come back and find everyone had publishing deals.

Okay, so maybe not everyone, but it was a busy week! Congratulations to Christine Fonseca, and Lisa and Laura Roecker! You ladies rock! There was one more, but apparently that news has been put on hold temporarily. Guess we'll come back to that later. :)

And don't miss Lisa and Laura's Kindle Giveaway! Contest ends Friday, November 13th, at midnight, so go now. Hurry! Check out their blog while you're there. Very funny stuff over there.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Critiques Are Like Crack

I hope that title doesn't offend anyone. :) Everybody cool? Moving on.

I'm totally addicted to critiques. I love getting feedback on my writing. All feedback. Good, bad, ugly, whatever. Sure, sometimes, critiques make me feel like crap, but they're so awesome for showing me all the areas in which I'm sucking*. Then my mind starts churning, and I get all excited, because I know I'm becoming a better writer as a result. And therein lies** the high. ;) Just say no to crack, kids. That stuff is bad news. But critiques? They're all good.

So, what about you? How do you feel about critiques? Love? Hate? A little of both?

*This post reminded me of this commercial. It's definitely sucking. I love it! :) Critiques kind of feel like this, right?

**Does anyone know if that sentence is grammatically correct? (Ignore the conjunction starting the sentence. I did that on purpose.) MS Word is telling me it should be lays. The whole lay/lie business can be very confusing, but that sounds totally wrong to me (which could be because it's kind of cliche phrasing), and it just makes me think of potato chips.

Monday, November 2, 2009

And the Winner of the Super Stupendous Halloween Spooktacular is...

Yea, Amy!! Send me an email with your mailing address, and I'll get you your fabulous prizes. :) Thanks to everyone who entered.

Also, with NaNo this month, the holidays coming up, and some other stuff I don't really want to get into here, my online presence will be a bit scarce for a while. This week I'll be unplugging completely—except to check my email, of course. I'd be lost without that to check obsessively. I can't give up everything. ;D And then for the next couple of months I'll probably only be posting once or twice a week.

I'll still be checking in on everyones' blogs at least once a week, but I'll be lurking more and commenting less. As much as I hate to take a break, this is something I've been needing to do for a while.

Good luck to everyone doing NaNo, and for those who aren't, good luck on your goals and projects! See you all next week! :)