Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Friday, August 31, 2007

Decisions Decisions

If you stopped by looking for Linkage Friday, I'm sorry. Not that there weren't some really awesome blogs this week, but I've decided to push Linkage Friday back again, and maybe permanently. (Linkage Saturday? Sunday? We'll see.)

Instead, I'd like you all to help me out with a quandry I'm having. With Spectacle and Blink off to the betas and proofers, I'm a little at loose ends. Oh, I'm still planning on editing AWJ, but the way I do things is work on one project weeknights and another on weekends. Right now, editing AWJ is one project, but I don't have anything else set to go up next. That's where you come in.*

Below is a list of potential projects. I love them all, and I could work on any of them now, but I can't choose which one I like best. So, I'm going to have you give me your preferences and see how that effects my choice.

First off, I have Redemption (ya, I know, but it's just a working title). "After receiving the news of his impending death, and billionaire decides on one final and glorious invention--a working submarine colony to save a select group of people from what he perceives as mankind's destruction of the world." The plan is for it to be told in three parts. Part one will be the building of the vessel and the choosing of the crew. Part two will show life about the sub. Part three will show what happens when, after 150 years, the submarine surfaces.

Next, I have Nano. "After a government plan to microchip U.S. citizens is put into place, important people begin mysteriously dying. When one doctor discovers the microchip has been programmed to cause coronary failure on command, he must find the culprits and stop the plot before he becomes the next victim."

Finally, I have a cute mystery that's been floating around the backburner, kicking me in the head to be written. Kind of a funny Spillane or Gardner. A no-nonsense female PI, spunky but with heart. I'd give you more, but then I'd lose my hook. Ya know?

I've made in-roads into all three stories, but the one that's fleshed out the best is the first. All three of them are going to need extensive plotting though. Can't pants my way out of any of these.

So, a commercial novel with speculative tendencies or a techno-thriller or a mystery. Or should I go way out on a limb, throw out all three and write either a literary novel I have floating around or a YA? Hmmm... or I could always finish that romance I started years ago.

This is one of those rare cases when I have too many ideas and the mountain is threatening to avalanche on my head. Any suggestions?

*Of course, I reserve the right to take all of your suggestions and go off on my own, but I am sincerely looking for some input right now.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New in the WTF file

Flipping through the channels just now, I scanned past the end of a story about how a school had banned, of all things, TAG (the game, not the trademarked cologne). Not really believing my ears I checked online, and sure enough, a school in Colorado Springs just banned the game. And as if that wasn't bad enough, when I googled the thing, it came up with 2,160,000 hits. On the first page alone, without clicking through any links, I saw schools in California and Maryland had done the same thing.

Apparently tag has become too scary and threatening.


Apparently kids were complaining they were being harassed. I can buy that, I guess. If a kid doesn't want to play tag, and the other kids won't leave them alone, then guess what? IT'S NOT TAG! It's an excuse for rotten snots to put their hands where they don't belong - on other kids.

If a group of kids wants to chase each other around on the playground, screaming and laughing and... ummm... exercising! then let them. And teach children to respect each other's rights to not play, to respect each other's privacy, space, belongings, bodies, minds, ideas...

I'm ranting, I know. It just pisses me off. I used to play tag with my friends, and we loved it. We had a lot of fun doing it. If someone didn't want to play, we didn't make them. And if someone who was playing got mean, we kicked them out or we stopped playing and did something else. (It's not like the playground attendents were in any way attentive even then.) But we also knew better than to mess with other kids. Because it was WRONG.

Where is the breakdown in communication here?

Last year my nephew got mugged. Several older boys beat the hell out of him and stole his bike. The ones they caught got a stint in juvey, and my nephew got his bike back. Last week my nephew and his best friend were out riding bikes. Nephew was riding his friend's bike and vice versa. They were jumped and the group of older boys beat the hell out of my nephew's friend, and guess what? They stole my nephew's bike again. The ones who got caught got... Wait for it...

Suspended for a week. They beat up a little kid, stole property and got a week's vacation for it.

Last year my husband's nephew got the crap kicked out of him on the bus. The culprits were a few older kids. The driver did nothing, and the other kid's sat and laughed. The guilty got...

Suspended. My BIL called the cops to press charges and they did nothing.

"Kids will be kids."

And the answer some of the schools pose? Ban tag. Ban dodgeball. Hold touchy-feely assemblies where all the kids can cry together, and feel more in touch with their emotions. (Which lasts until the next day when they go right back to the same ol' same ol'.)

Is it any wonder I pulled my kid out of school? Partly because the older she gets, the higher the probability that fists will turn into weapons, homeschooling - among it's many other benefits - is SAFE. She was suspended (in-school) at least twice for fighting. Not because she started it, but because after the kid hurt her, she defended herself. Apparently that's not allowed. They both were fighting, they both get suspended. Ummm.... Yeah. I got called in to the principal's office, and they told me why my daughter was suspended. I told the chick-in-charge that my daughter was doing EXACTLY what I told her to do, and she would continue to defend herself as long as she was never the instigator. This mama ain't raisin' no punchin' bag.


So, if any of the tag banners are reading this, please look a little deeper for the cause of the problems, because once you fix the real disease instead of the symptoms, tag won't be a problem any more.

Seriously... Hmphf!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Life Intrudes

No insightful writerly post today. Today I took my only child to the airport for her first plane trip. She is now safely ensconced in the arms of my family in Michigan. From the phone I received not too long ago, she's already having the time of her life. =oD

Me? I'm draggin' butt. We left at 5:30am after a rather sleepless night on my part (and on hers, too, I'm sure). The closest airport is two and half hours away, and with the unaccompanied minor (U.M.) rules and the heightened security rules, we had to make sure we were there extra early for her 10:30 flight to Detroit. No problem. I've flown dozens of times, so I had it all down to a science. Neither of us had anything even remotely scary in our purses, or in her carry-on. Neither of us had any metal - with the exception of my wedding ring and her glasses. We got through the checkpoint with plenty of time to spare.

We found the gate and touched base with the personnel there. Who, BTW, were a couple of awesome people who knew how to do their jobs not only efficiently, but also kindly. Since my daughter was a U.M., she boarded first and got the grand treatment. I waited by the gate for the plane to take off - which is not only a rule for people dropping off kids to fly alone, but also there's no way I was leaving the airport until I was absolutely certain she was off. Good thing I waited.

After all the passengers were on board, and they were getting ready to fire the puppy up to jet off into the wild blue yonder, the gal at the gate desk got a phone call. All of the passengers were going to have to get off the plane, and move to a different plane. (I never did find out exactly what the problem was.) So, off she comes and away we go to the next gate. The personnel there were in sharp contrast to the ones - snotty, couldn't-care-less types. *shrug*

After about an hour delay, she finally pulled away and up into the air. (I waited to make sure. )And I piled back into my car for the return drive home. She was in Michigan, and in the company of my brother, by the time I got home.

Needless to say, I'm whooped. And I have to do it all again in two weeks. Well, not the delay part, I hope. I can only stand so much road-time after all these years. Back in the day - when I was still living in Michigan - I was a road warrior, and 500 miles a week was no big deal. Not any more.

Ack. I feel old.

So, what were you up to today?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tag I'm It

Kristen Painter tagged me with a meme. So, without further (or any) ado:

Four jobs I've had or currently have in my life:
1. Executive Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Operations
2. Manufacturers' Representative
3. Computer Consultant
4. Shift Manager for a national telemarketing firm

Four countries I've been to:
1) Canada
...Umm, that's it. Canada. Once.

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan
2. Estes Park, CO
3. Cape San Blas, FL
4. In a cabin in the woods in the middle of nowhere

Four foods I like to eat:
1. stuffed mushrooms
2. caramel-apple upside-down pie
3. homemade cheesecake
4. hot fudge brownie sundaes

Four personal heroes, past or present:
1. My husband
2. Dad
3. Mom
4. Ayn Rand

Four books I've read or am currently reading:
(only four???)
1. Atlas Shrugged
2. Jane Eyre
3. I, the Jury
4. The Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat

Four words or phrases I'd like to see used more often:
1. I made a mistake and I'm sorry.
2. He is a good man. (or She is a good woman.)
3. I like who I am.
4. I am responsible for my own actions.

Four reasons for ending a friendship:
1. Dishonesty
2. Betrayal
3. Gross incompetence
4. A huge chasm between their philosophy of life and mine.

Four smells that make me feel good about the world:
1. A pine forest in the middle of nowhere.
2. My husband's skin
3. Lilacs
4. Fresh homemade blueberry pie

My question: Four wonderful memories:
1. My husband proposing to me the night before our wedding.
2. The view from Mt. Sugarloaf in Michigan
3. Summer in the LeCheneaux Islands
4. Blueberry picking with my whole family every summer when I was a child.

You know me. I don't tag people. If you're inclined to participate in the meme, please do so and leave a comment here so we can all visit and read your answers.

ETA: Paperback Writer - S.L. Viehl - got tagged this morning for this, too. So we're not alone.

Update: My very good friend and also wonderfully talented writer, Alexia Adams has her meme up, and a new visitor to my blog - Susan Flemming also has her answers up. (But I can't claim responsibility for the last one. Darn it.) Way to go Alex, and Welcome Susan! =oD

Monday, August 27, 2007

Break Time

I'm taking a couple days off of writing. I'll still be around the internet and the blogs, but don't expect my meters to move.

Just so's ya know.

Meanwhile, please note the plea up there for a helping hand. It would be much appreciated, but since I'm an unpub, about all I can offer in return is a corresponding act of kindness. Wish I could offer up some cash. (Truth be told, I wish I could afford to have Natalie R. Collins look it over - as stated HERE, but that's a no go for now.)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Huzzah Huzzah

The deep edit of Spectacle is finished!!! From the last edit to this one, I chopped over 10K words out, and it shines like the top of the Chrysler Building!

Almost exactly three years to the day since I finished the first draft, but I'm done. I don't think I could cut another slice out of her. (Unless, of course, an editor tells me differently, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.)

Unfortunately, right now, my go-to gals are still working on reading Blink. So...

I'm looking for a few brave and unfettered souls to read this puppy for me. I just need someone to check for typos and errors at this point. I've caught a few as I was editing, but I know I've probably missed a bunch more. If you've got some free time over the next couple weeks, and would like to read Spectacle* (now known officially as Fear Itself), drop me a comment or an e-mail and I'll shoot it over to you.

Let me know. Meanwhile, join in the celebration! :happy dances:

ETA: If you're interested in reading a few of the scenes I've cut from Spectacle, please visit my other blog: Tabula Rasa.

*and I'm not above bribery.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Linkage Friday Plus One

I completely forgot yesterday was Friday. Ack. And it was such a productive week on the web, too. So without further ado...

ALERT: Lynn Viehl has some irritating news at her blog Paperback Writer. It seems some people aren't playing fair, and they're dumping addresses into her contests (presumably to tip the scales toward themselves so they can win.) Personally, I think this behavior is pathetic. If you're so hard up you have to win books because you can't afford to buy them, maybe you better think about how much money you're spending on internet access, and proceed accordingly. Feh. So, if you host contests, be on the lookout for scammers.

And in happier news...

Erica explains her methods and reasoning for using Story Boards. It looks like a solid system - very intuitive and very well organized. So if you're looking for a way to keep all of the elements of your story together and keep track of everything in an easier way than trying to store it all in your head, check her post out. And for back-up on this idea, check out how Diana Peterfreund does it in her post Brand New Plotting Board.

Over at Manuscript Mavens, the guest blogger is novelist Kimberly Llewellyn talks about The Secrets of Romantic Comedy. If you write or are thinking about writing anything even slightly comedic, this is a must read.

The awesome Allison Brennan talks about Loglines over at Murder She Writes.

Or if you're slogging through the business of creating a synopsis, head over and commiserate with Laura Bradford in her post The Synopsis Heave.

Check out the awesome book trailer for Wendy Roberts. Way to go Wendy! It looks awesome. Perfectly creepy. Good job. And the new site is gorgeous.

Oh, and Rachel Vincent is trying to decide on a new author picture for her books - Because I Like New Toys. The new toy is a blog survey on which picture you like best. If you've got a second stop by and help her out. I think they're all beautiful, but I picked A.

So, what's up in your blogosphere this week?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Chapter Titles

I've been working on AWJ over the past few nights (when I can between thunderstorms, that is) and that's my only explanation for the lack of blog posts this week. Sorry guys, some things come first.

Anyway, I was sitting and smoking just now, thinking about how to best get my book together, and it occurred to me that I've got two storylines running side by side in this book. (Or at least I will have once I develop the second one.) As such, I have two beginnings. You can't really have two Chapter Ones, or two prologues. Right now, though, I do have two. I was thinking I could make one a prologue and the other the actual Chapter 1, but neither really reads as a Chapter 1, so I thought I was stuck. Then I was struck by a flash of insight.

Instead of going with the typical means of denoting chapters, why not just give each chapter a title! I'm feeling pretty brilliant about that idea until I realize how horrible I am at titles, but that only took a little bit of the shine off my brilliance. (I think.) I even had the title for the second scene pop into my head. =oD

So, what I'm asking this morning is: What do you think of books with chapter titles instead of numbers? Have you read any books like that? I'm thinking I have, but I can't remember any exact titles right now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Back in the Saddle

If you've been reading along, you know I've been deep in the editing thing for a while now. Not only that, but editing a book I thought I'd finished a couple years ago. Blink has sat quietly waiting for the feedback from my CP and betas. AWJ was in limbo waiting for the books ahead of it to be finished.

Tonight, AWJ could no longer stand the wait. It started beating on the door to be let out. So, I did what I was told and let it out. A glimmer of a sliver of an idea formed, and before I knew it, I had written a whole new beginning for the book. Right now it's only 700 and some words. It's almost all dialogue, and it needs fleshing out, but I think I hit a good opener. And thus ends the drought of new words. Sure they're new words on an old piece, but that's better than nothing.

Onward to glory, my friend!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Deleted Scene up at TR

If you get a chance, check out one of my deleted scenes over at Tabula Rasa - Traveling in Armageddon.

When Rejection Takes Forever

I been a bad bad girl. I haven't sent an agent query out in months. I have sent one submission packet to a publisher, but not much on the radar with regard to agents. Call it lazy. Consider it procrastination. Rationalize that I'm taking a break from querying to work on polishing other submissions. (Lord know that's what I do.) But no matter what the theories are, the fact is that it's been a while.

Today, one of my little lost SASEs came home. (I still have about a half-dozen unaccounted for.) It was a rejection. Once again, I wonder what the delay was. Were they thinking it over? Were they so swamped, they didn't open my query until recently? They didn't say.

The reason for rejection was fairly pat - Caldera wasn't right for their list. They did take the time to personalize the letter, and it's signed personally rather than stamped with the agent's signature, or just printed as a form. So, it could mean they were really thinking about it before they made their decision that Caldera wasn't a novel that blew their skirts up. I dunno.

Sometimes agents can be so confusing. Well... No matter what the answers are, the only answer that really counts is the NO. Back to the interminable wait for the remaining lost lambs, and meanwhile, back to work.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Extra Link-Love

Today I read an awesome post by debut novelist Rachel Vincent about editing and I just can't wait until Friday to offer her some much deserved link-love.

So, I offer her and you: Okay, kiddos, the word of the day is... Not to spoil the mystery, but the word is TIGHT. She begins with: "Tight writing (in my own, informal definition) is writing which does not contain that which does not have to be there. In other words, no extra words."

As Rachel warns, it's a long post, but read it all. It's worth the time.

ETA: At the time of this post, I'd been meaning for weeks to read Ms. Vincent's book - Stray - but I hadn't gotten around to it. After writing this post, I kicked myself in the butt and sat down with the book. (After wrestling it away from borrowing it from my daughter.) Now I feel really stupid for waiting so long. The book was unreservedly awesome. Hot, edgy, and sexy. A book with balls. Now I'll be waiting impatiently for her next.)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Tabula Rasa

With all the things I've read online about branding yourself as a writer, I made the jump this morning and got a blog under my name.

Please take a moment to visit http://besanderson.blogspot.com/ (a.k.a Tabula Rasa - *shrug* What can I say. I used to be a psych major. )

No worries. This will still be my main blog. After all, if I hadn't 'shrugged', I'd still be working in an office typing things for other people to put their names on, or things the company would then own. My writing is MINE now. =op

Anyway, TR will be a place for me to post unpublished stories, deleted scenes, poetry, etc. Anything I've written that might be of interest to my readers, and thus create a fan base for my work should I ever get published. As a say in my Welcome message, TR won't be a daily blog like this is, but rather a sporadic blog. If you like what you read, feel free to put me on your blogroll.

To start you off, I've put what I consider my first short in the long road to publication - A Hero of Novel Proportions. I hope you enjoy it and visit Tabula Rasa often.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Linkage Friday

It's been a busy and informative week in blogland, and it was so hard to hold the links until today. If I'm going to keep up with my promise, though, I had to. TGIF. I hate waiting.

Without further ado, here are this week's important posts - in the order I have them in my favorites...

Author Erica Ridley has an insightful post about Revisions (and other things - like a title contest she's having).

The Manuscript Mavens spent the week talking about setting goals and staying on track.

Diana Peterfreund will be signing her books - Secret Society Girl and Under the Rose - at the White Flint Mall Borders in Kensington, MD on April 21st at 7pm. If you're in the area, drop by and if you haven't read her books yet, get cracking.

And since it's never too early to think about your taxes, Joan Swan talks about Write-offs for Writers over at 'Romance Worth Killing For'.

Meanwhile, Julie Cohen discusses borrowing Stealing from real life over at Romancing the Blog.

Lastly, for a bit of fun, Karin Tabke has posted the article: 'Everything I need to know about being a Heroine...' by Carrie Lewis over at Dishing with the Divas. So very true.

What great links have you run across this week? As we learned in kindergarten, sharing is nice...

...Unless of course, it's MY dolly, and then keep your paws to yourself. ;o)

Thursday, August 16, 2007


No, not the TV show. I've never seen it, and have no urge. Nope. I'm talking about a editing.

I was talking with my CP via e-mail about the work I've been doing to Spectacle, and she was aghast. She loves the manuscript as is. I don't blame her; I love it, too. She said she was going to start referring to me as Hacker/Slasher.

I'm no hack n slash kind of gal. I can barely snip. The sight of my own manuscript bleeding words makes me nauseous. Instead, I told her, I'm doing a little nip-tuck. Cosmetic surgery only. It's well past any attempt at major surgery, and if it needs it, then I guess it'll fade away into obscurity. (I don't think it does, and neither does anyone else who's read it, so I don't think we have to worry about a surgeon.)

What I want to know is: Are you the kind of writer who goes in for the major surgery editing of your manuscripts or are you a fan of the nip-tuck?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The What?

Jill Monroe has a link over on her blog and the link leads to a quiz that will tell you which book you are. It's official folks. I am the dictionary.

I can't say I'm too surprised there. What book are you?

You're The Dictionary!

by Merriam-Webster

You're one of those know-it-all types, with an amazing amount of
knowledge at your command. People really enjoy spending time with you in very short
spurts, but hanging out with you for a long time tends to bore them. When folks
really need an authority to refer to, however, you're the one they seek. You're an
exceptional speller and very well organized.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Editing Part 927

I feel like I'm editing all the time. It's been months since I wrote new words (if you don't count that failed attempt at a short story last month). It's not like I dislike editing. As much as I may grouse about it, I love doing it. It's like sculpting. You've got this big chunk of clay, and you get it into an almost recognizable shape on the first go-round, but then you have to take care of the details. Of course, this analogy only works for representational art, and not that amophous crap some people like to call art... But I digress.

I want my block of clay to actually look like something when I'm done. That's where editing comes in.

Right now, I'm working on my first book. I finished the first draft in August of 2004. That's right. Three years ago. I finished the second draft in September. I've revised this sucker at least seven times. Heh. I was so clueless.

Seriously, it was my first, so I was completely clueless. The story is wonderful, the characters gritty and full of life, the prose flows so well. And it's so cluttered with unnecessaries a person could choke. This draft around, I'm cleaning house. I'm making this sucker as tight as my subsequent books. I'm taking all the lessons I've learned over the past three years and applying them to this masterpiece. (And it is a masterpiece, if I do say so myself.) It deserves no less than the harshest snipping.

Back up. The first draft of Spectacle... When I typed 'The End' thirty-six months ago... topped the scales at 142,000 words (by MS Word's count). I was pretty damned proud of myself. It was everything I wanted it to be, and using my favorite author as a guide - with Atlas Shrugged topping out at 1100+ pages - I thought I hit the right number. Ack! What a fool. Aside from the fact that Atlas Shrugged was her fourth book, and by then she was already a bestseller, I am not Ayn Rand.

But I edited for content and clarity and got the sucker down to 137K. Woohoo. And I submitted the work for representation. Again, I was such a fool. You shouldn't be surprised to find I was rejected repeatedly. I was even offended when one agent wrote "TOO LONG!!!" on the corner of my own query letter and sent it back with no other info. She was right, but I was too married to my monster to see the truth.

Eventually, though, I got the point. By this time I'd already written the first draft of Caldera - and it was WAY smaller. I was learning and applying the knowledge to my other books, but Spectacle was left alone. I even considered shelving it, or.... *gasp* self-publishing. (I even thought about submitting to P.A., but I didn't so we won't go there.) This past fall, I finished the first draft of my third book, and took another look at Spectacle. I honed my craft and as I was editing Blink, I thought about ways to make Spectacle better. In the spring, I sent it off to my crit partner, who proclaimed it the better of my first two novels. Yay.

Problem was, I had it down to 126K, but I still thought Spectacle needed to be put on a diet. Unfortunately, I was still too close to do it properly. Finally at the beginning of this summer, I made the decision. I got out the hedge clippers and went after Spectacle with a vengeance. I've re-chaptered it, I've snipped and reworded. I cut out one of my favorite scenes (and the one my daughter will kill me over when she finds out it's gone) because it didn't drive the story forward.

The weight-loss for Spectacle is now at around 7000 words, and rising. I'm just over halfway through, so if I keep with the previous loss, I should finish up at around 12K words gone (or 114K total). Still pretty big, but the story is a bit epic to try and smush it too small. We'll see where it ends up.

Now, about my own non-existent, but oh-so-necessary diet... Ummm. Maybe I'll diet next week.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Not Tonight

I'm going to be a slug and claim my two posts yesterday make up for missing tonight.

Truth be told, I spent a large portion of today working on writerly stuff, as well as teacherly stuff, so I'm fairly bushed. Not only did I chop out another couple hundred words, but I also worked up a pagination table (so I know which pages are in each chapter*) and I searched for the quotes to input into the chapters I created when I re-chaptered everything.

Needless to say, I'm hitting the hay. Have a wonderful night everyone, wherever you are.

*see comment chain.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Quickie Link

If you haven't seen it yet, check out the post at Paperback Writer called A Day at the Bakery. Lynn has such a way with words. This piece is so wonderful, I'd almost go so far as to call it an allegory.

Thanks, Lynn. I needed that.


I didn't notice until just now, but I thought yesterday was Sunday. In fact, I woke up this morning thinking today was Monday. This explains why in yesterday's post, I said I was starting school tomorrow (i.e. Sunday).

Umm... Yeah. Just so you know, I'm not a slave driver. I don't do school on Sundays, and we do take breaks and vacations just like public school. Sometimes we take days off where public school doesn't as a matter of fact. Of course, sometimes we have school when public school is off - like during 'teacher in-service days', etc. - but it doesn't effect the big days-off like x-mas and Thanksgiving.

Nope, not a slave driver. Just not as aware of the world around me as I sometimes ought to be.

I debated deleting the error from yesterday's post, but in the end, I decided to explain instead. I can't be the only one who does this. Can I? Does anyone else out there ever get the day mixed up? Ever wake up on a weekend, thinking your alarm didn't go off and then rush around getting ready for work?

I'm like that all the time.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

School Daze

Well, it's that time again. After a summer filled with being lazy, the new school year has finally arrived. Tomorrow, I start 9th grade.

Ummm, no. Not me. At least not as a student. I'm a couple decades and then some away from my freshman year.

I'm talking about homeschool and my daughter. I start back to teaching on Monday. Thank goodness, she doesn't require 100% of my time during school, or I'd be too bushed to think about writing between now and June. She's a fairly self-sufficient young lady, so I give her the assignments, we have discussion periods, she comes to me with any questions, but for the most part, she does her thing and I do mine. Other than checking her work to make sure she's doing her assignments right, I'm just an interested observer.

All in all, she's a pretty cool kid. Don't get me wrong. She's a teenager, so we have our little squabbles now and then. But they're nowhere near as frequent or as bad as when she was in public school. Smart as a whip, too.

And from what she told me a couple days ago, she's started her first novel. I told her if she publishes before I do I'll hate her for the rest of her life support her fully. ;o)

So, this year we'll be finishing up the Geometry we didn't get through last year, after which we'll get into Beginning Algebra (college level). We're working on Writing - with most of the assignments geared toward either essays for scholarship competitions, or prepping for said essays. In Literature, we'll be starting off perusing a novel called Silverlock - which is woven quite masterfully with characters/situations from the classics as well as different mythologies - and she'll be finding literary references for those characters/situations. We also have Biology, History and Public Speaking (because I think it's never too early to learn how to speak in front of other people).

It should be a fun year. Think back to your own school days and tell me about any fun or interesting assignments you had. I'm always on the lookout for new material.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday Linkage

I'm playing with the idea of making Friday a day to strictly post links to sites and blogs I think would be of interest to my visitors. For some reason, Fridays never draw much traffic anyway, and it would provide some useful information for readers, as well as much deserved link-love to my online acquiantances, friends and blog-buddies.

Luckily, this week was a gold mine of information.

First off, I know I linked to a post by Erica Ridley over at Manuscript Mavens, but this whole week the gals at MM devoted their posts to criticism and critiques. All of the posts are well worth reading.

Next, I'll swing over to Diana Peterfreund, where all week she's been answering questions posed to her by her blog readers.

Another must-read in the blogosphere this week was Allison Brennan's post on Self-Editing 101 over at Murder She Writes.

I'd also like to send out a little link-love to a couple of new commenters: WordVixen from Quest to Write and Travis Erwin over at One Word, One Rung, One Day. Welcome to The Writing Spectacle guys. I'm glad you're around.

Also in blog news, the group blog I belong to - The Novel Racers - is growing by leaps and bounds. I've been remiss and haven't updated the links to all the competitors' sites here on my blog, but please take some time and wander through the list of contributors. (All their names are linked to their own blogs, and they're worth a good read.)

I know I'm missing a lot of good posts from this week, so if you'd be so kind, leave a good post from this week in the comment chain.

And I'm spent.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Okee Dokee

Well, the packet went out, and I took yesterday off. The only thing I worked on yesterday was reading the last of the unread Brennan's - The Prey. ('Bout time, if you ask me.) Unfortunately, I can't put Brennan's books down, so I was up way too late last night.

So, that's my life. I'll post something more witty when I've woken up and after I've finished The Prey. And a big thanks goes out to all the folks currently crossing their fingers for me. Just think, if the book sells, this blog will get a whole bunch more interesting. Yay!

(Oh, and since I've held it close to the vest for fear of jinxing myself... The publisher I just sent Caldera to is: Tor/Forge. May Tor have mercy on my soul - or at the very least, my manuscript.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Crossing My Fingers

I just put the finishing touches on the publisher submission packet. It goes out tomorrow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, and sending positive vibes along with it. (I'm not superstitious, but it can't hurt, can it?)

Just a reminder to all the hopefuls like me out there. Pay attention to submission guidelines. Please please please. Don't do what I did, and hope you remembered them right before you hit print, either. Or you could end up with 16 wasted pages printed at ink-sucking quality before you realize what you missed and have to stop the print job. Frack. Lucky for me, I found my snafu before I sent the damn thing out. And this particular publisher even says to follow their guidelines to the letter. Some places may make allowances for boneheads, but when someone tells you very specifically how they want to your submission to look, make damn sure it looks that way. Wouldn't it suck if you wrote truly amazing prose and got shit-canned because you weren't paying attention?

Don't throw yourself under a bus. Follow directions. It can only help, and when you're breaking into the show, you can use all the help you can get. (I know I can anyway.)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Lazy Linking

I'm not feeling quite inspired today, so I'm going to let other bloggers do the talking for me.

Manuscript Mavens' Erica Ridley has an excellent post on Criticism today.

Writer Beware's Victoria Strauss has one on Writers and Money.

Kristin Nelson over at her blog PubRants is doing a most excellent series on agent contracts.

In short, there are a whole bunch of insightful posts out there. Tell me, what have you seen lately?

(Just don't tell me about those darned cats. ;o) )

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Big Research Link Post

Below is an ongoing list of helpful links for research. I'll be adding to it from time to time, so if there's anything you need help finding, stop by and check it out. And if you have anything you'd like to suggest, leave it in the comment chain.

I hope you find this helpful. (Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of these sites. If you see something there you don't like, let them know.)

English Reference:
The Encyclopedia Brittanica
The Cambridge Dictionaries Online
Onlook Dictionary Search
List of Online Dictionaries
The American Heritage Dictionary
The Chicago Manual of Style
OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue

For Poets:
The Online Rhyming Dictionary
The Oxford Book of English Verse

Database of Familiar Quotes
Famous Latin Quotations
Brainy Quote
American Veterans: Famous Quotes
The Quotations Page
The Quote Garden

BabelFish Translations

Folklore & Mythology:
Encyclopedia Mythica
Folklore and Mythology
Myth'ing Links

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The American Colonists' Library
Biographical Dictionary
The Brain Injury Association of America
The Centers for Disease Control
Childrens' Literature Character Database
The Forensic Panel
The Gallup Organization
Gemstone Information
Google Scholar
Great Books Online
Index of the US Constitution
International Cocoa Organization
Invent Now
Los Alamos National Laboratory
The Mayo Clinic
Military History
Project Gutenberg
Research Tools at iTools
Science & Environmental Policy Project
Snopes: Urban Legend Reference Page
Wildlife Biology Info Page
WorldClock - TimeZones

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Total Time Waster

Thanks to Kristin Painter, I just spent an hour flipping through funny pictures at I Can Has Cheezburger. Whatever you do, don't follow the link. (And if you have to, don't go to the next page. I was on page 50 when I stopped, and it didn't look like I was anywhere near the end.)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Writer Warning Labels

In the interest of keeping good relations with our fellow human beings, I have decided that writers should come with warning labels.


-Likely to change subjects mid-conversation.

-Prone to shouting out strange things in public.

-Liable to leave bed in the middle of the night when inspiration strikes.

-May become violent when interrupted, especially when the interruption was something that could have waited.

-May be familiar with various ingenious ways to kill you... AND get away with it.

-Particularly hazardous when mixed with credit cards and bookstores.

-Use extreme caution when corresponding--unless you want your emails, letters, receipts, etc. proofread.

-Keep away from sharp objects when in the presence of rejection letters.

-If caught talking to herself, do NOT call local mental institution.

-If taken with rejection letters, please call 1-800-HERSHEY for antidote.

If you had to make a warning label for yourself, what would yours say?

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Sorry I haven't been doing a daily post lately. I guess I could use reading as an excuse, but really reading is more like the thing I'm doing to fill up the time I haven't spent here. The reason I haven't been more prolific is I haven't really been able to think of anything profound to say.

Or, when I do get an idea, by the time I sit down the idea has gone 'piffle'. (Poof, if you like.)

Ack. I've really been an uncreative toad lately. Maybe I can blame the DVD player. (I finally broke down and bought one after all these years.) My daughter's been watching her own DVDs for a while now, but she watches on her computer upstairs. Now we can watch together. I talked her into buying Labyrinth - which we watched a couple days ago - and Down With Love. BTW, if you haven't seen Down With Love, it's a hoot.

All well and good, but not getting the job done. The only writerly thing I've done lately is that darned synopsis. *sigh* Well, maybe I can get off my lobes and give my brain a workout today.

How're things going for y'all? Seen any good movies lately? ;o)