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

Friday, June 29, 2007

Middle of the Night Writing Ends in Rewrite

Don't ya just hate when you're up in the middle of the night--can't sleep for one reason or another--so you try to do something productive and write. Only to find out the next day that you went completely off track and everything you wrote needs to be deleted?


Anyway. I wrote about 300 words last night between 12:30 and 1:30am. I looked at it today and wondered what the hell I was thinking. I snipped the whole damn thing and started that part of the scene over. Thank goodness. It came out so much better now that I'm mostly awake. (Or I should say, thank the nap I took after dinner because otherwise, I'd be sleeping now instead of writing.)

The revision ended up at 520 new words. I'm not counting the lost crap toward my daily goal.

Don't ya just hate it?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dog Tired

Sorry about this folks, but I am dead on my feet. I probably have just enough energy to get my 100 words out before collapsing. So I'm going to take the quickie way out of today's blog, and link to other blogs of interest.

This week at Erica Writes, Erica is having a week's worth of posts on the topic of writing conferences. Her posts are so good, it makes me want to find a conference and sign up. (Which is saying something since I'm basically a hermit living in the middle of nowhere.)

At Manuscript Mavens, they're discussing the fine art of pitching, for those times when you are lucky enough to be face-to-face with an agent.

Diana Peterfreund has some awesome news about her new book - Under the Rose (the sequel to Secret Society Girl).

Meanwhile, Karin Tabke has some wonderful news of a personal nature. Stop on by and congratulate her.

(I'd add more, but if I sit at this computer much longer, I'm going to pass out on my desk. And I still have writing to do tonight.)

Feel free to talk amongst yourselves. What wonderful blog posts have you seen lately?

ETA: I'm going to be AFK (away from keyboard) for the better part of the next two days while I sell my belongings out of my garage. I'll be around at night, though, so if I don't get your comments moderated in a timely fashion, please forgive me.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

CP or BR

CP (Critique Partner) or BR (Beta Reader)? Which is which? What do they do and which do you need? And how do you show your appreciation?

From my perspective, and stop me if I'm way off base here, a CP is someone who is also a writer. They read your work, mark the hell out of it, provide useful suggestions on style / technique / story. They are people for whom you do the same. A CP also provides moral support, industry news, and a shoulder to cry on when you've just gotten about the worst rejection ever and you feel like you can never write another word. (My CP and I also swap books via mail, but that's not a requirement. It's just fun.)

A BR on the other hand may or may not be a writer. Look at these folks like your test group. They're going to read your book to make sure it makes sense to the general public. They like to read, and they read whatever genre you write. (If you're writing thrillers, and you've got a beta who only reads romances, how much help are they really going to be, other than any romantic subplots you might have?) These are people who you can trust to be totally honest with you. If they think a scene is pointless, they're going to tell you. (Which pretty much leaves most family members out of the BR group.) If possible, these folks also look for typos and errors. I have a computer-tech friend who is one of the best proofreaders I've ever seen. :waves: If I've got a problem, she's probably going to find it and point it out - just because when she reads, they jump out at her like flashing neons signs. They are also people who can provide intelligent commentary, but sometimes the best they can do is say "This part is really good" or "This part stinks on ice" which at least gives you a flag about a scene. Your CP can help you from there.

Most CPs are also BRs. Not all BRs are also CPs. Most people just don't have that much time to devote to a hard critique. A quick read with a few notes? Sure. But don't expect too much from your betas or they'll be finding less taxing things to do.

Since BRs may or may not be writers also, they might not have anything for you to read in return. It's my belief that whether CP or BR, the relationship should be reciprocal in some fashion. My CP and I exchange our work and it's mutually beneficial in that way, plus we tell each other about contests, share research about agents and publishers, swap books - but even if we didn't we're at least putting in the same amount of effort for the work received. With a BP who doesn't write, you have to go the extra mile to make it worth their while. Sometimes just reading your new book is thanks enough, but let's not get a big head and assume this is the case. One thing I've done in the past is to send books. One of my BRs sews a lot, so I sent her some nifty needlework books I had. Find out what kinds of things your BR likes, and treat them to something nice.

Generally, I use BRs and CPs at the same point in my writing process. I don't like to send out work before I've polished it to the point where I think it could be published as is. (And when I've gotten to that point, it just means I can't see where the problems are by myself any more.) Some writers, though, like to beta test scenes or chapters. Others like to get critiques as they go. As with anything, you have to make the determination for yourself.

So, do you have a CP or several? Do you send your work out to BRs? When do you let other people read your work? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Sorry folks, but I'm trying to keep my priorities in order. After working on the new digs, and packing, and moving the things I packed, I'm left with just enough time and energy to work on AWJ.

Which means the zippy blog post has to wait until tomorrow. I'm planning on a piece about my ideas of the differences between critique partners and beta readers. Should be able to get it out tomorrow, provided the time works to my advantage.

Oh, and since I'm having a moving sale this weekend, I've managed to load another thing into my schedule. Look for my brain to explode sometime around Saturday afternoon.

On the upside, AWJ is zooming along tonight. Should make up for the pitiful showing of words yesterday.

Now... Off to write more.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tagged Again?

Another meme. This time Kristen Painter got me.

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

Here goes nothing...

1. I swerve to miss frogs jumping across the road. (But never if doing so will put me in danger.)

2. I have a semi-tame squirrel I've named Big Mama, who gives me hell if I don't make sure the seed pile is high enough for her liking. I've been feeding her for two years now, and every time she has a new litter, she brings them by for free food. Sometimes, I give her cookies and honey-roasted peanuts, but only to her and only if she's alone. The other squirrels haven't earned it yet.

3. My original major in college was psychology, but I changed majors after I watched a scary movie featuring a twisted psychologist and his demented patients.

4. After that, I majored in Speech and Communications. Partly because I used to be terrified of public speaking and I wanted to get over it. The other part was because it was the only major I could find that didn't require math.

5. I would've loved to be a scientist but I stink at math.

6. I collect rocks. In an effort to pare down the huge boxes of stuff I've been letting go of my rocks, though. I'm only keeping the really special ones - like the fossils.

7. Just about everything I know was self-taught. After my accident, I forgot a lot of the things I'd learned in school, and so I had to work at learning things (like math) again.

8. I used to work at Arabian horse breeding facility, and then later at a Appaloosa breeding facility. At the first place, I worked in exchange for riding lessons and was taught to ride English. The second place, I worked for cash and never got to ride any of the horses. I did, however, have the job of acclimating the foals to human contact, so that was fun. I'd still rather have worked for the chance to ride, but at that time, I was trying to earn money for college. *sigh*

I'm adhering to A & B, but I'm letting the madness end with me. As always, if you want to play along, feel free to participate, but make sure you leave a comment so I can run over and read yours. =o)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

And I'm Spent

Whoof. I just finished the fifth edit of Blink. Do you know what that means??? D'ya? Huh?

First, it means I'm way too hyper to be in contact with other human beings, and my husband thinks I'm cute because I'm dancing around the house humming the tune to Rocky.

Second, it means I'm looking for a few good men. (Or women as the case may very well be.) If you've read my blog, you know who I am and you still like me, AND if you want to be a beta reader (not necessarily a critique partner - my CP's copy is waiting for her in her inbox even as I type), then please leave a comment to this post, or e-mail me. I'm willing to beta read something of yours in return, provided you think your book isn't something I'd throw against a wall. (Which, if you know me at all and like what I have to say here, I probably won't want to throw your book.) Oh, and also provided you aren't in too much of a hurry. Most likely, I'll have plenty of time, but with the whole moving thing, I don't want to make promises I can't keep.

Now for the blurb:

Mary Jones wants nothing more than to do her job, live her life and, if possible, fade into the background. In a future ruled by castes and carefully maintained ignorance, her life as a low-caste should be easy, but when she gets fired for doing her job too well, being reassigned becomes the least of her worries. Wrapped up in the hopes of a strange group called the Order, she winds up on a mission through the wastelands to get help from people who may or may not exist. On the run from the Union, with just the Captain of their special guard for protection, she can only hope that if she makes it home, the people of her city will want her help. Because after all Mary’s been through, they’re going to be free whether they want to or not.

(Again, still working on the blurb, so don't kill me about it. I think right now, it's sufficient for this purpose.)

If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, I invite you to let me know.

(And I am now about to run my hyper self around in tiny circles so that I can eventually go to bed. If I keep up at this pace, I'll be up all night. Ack.)

ETA: In case you don't automatically read the comments section, I won a chapter critique over at Manuscript Mavens. Blink's first chapter was just sent off for flaying. =o)

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Progress and Achievements

Update time. I've been hammering away at Blink off and on all day, and I've edited through five chapters. I fixed some sticking points I wasn't happy with, added a net gain of about a thousand words so far, and I'm fairly pleased with the progress.

AWJ has been zooming this week, too. I got about 4000 words done, and I'm about 75% of the way through my projected first draft count of 60K. I don't think I'm going to reach that number, though. This first draft is full of those 'just dialogue' spots, where I was typing so fast, getting the conversation down, that I forgot about any description. That will fill in well on the second draft. Also, I have sections where I wrote ::EXPAND SCENE:: because I knew I hadn't described it well enough but I was in a hurry to get to the next scene, so I put down the bones. I'll meat them up later. I expect my next draft to hit at least 70K, and I'm projecting a final draft total of around 90K. Not bad for a mystery. Anyway, I'm estimating I'll have the first draft done by next weekend.

Other than writing work, I'm working on getting our new digs cleaned and ready for us to occupy. I painted two ghastly bedrooms - one was a funky dark teal/bluish color, and the other was partially white/partially gray. They're now a lovely color called "Seashell". I washed the floors, the windows and polished all the woodwork. The best thing about this house is that it was built in the 1900s and it's full of beautiful wood moldings. Okay, the really best thing is the built in glass-fronted bookcases. I fell in love with those. Too bad we're only renting it, but when I sell my first million books, I'm definitely putting bookcases like that in the house I'll have built. =oD

And finally, I'm helping my niece. She's a single mom (like I was), but she dropped out of school when she was 16. She's had a rough time of it. Since her son was born, though, she's gotten her act together, gotten high school diploma, and now she's started college. I'm so proud of her for taking all this on while she's got a baby to take care of, and for throwing out all the junk from her past so she can move forward with her life. Having she left school early and not getting all that great an education in the first place, she's having a tough time, so I'm helping her with her English.

It's been a great week for me this week. How was yours?

Friday, June 22, 2007

Speaking of New Blogs

The Novel Race has its own blog now, and I'm a contributing member. Right now everyone is introducing themselves, and then I guess the blog is supposed to be for talking about our accomplishments, goals, writing, etc.

Wordgirl's Work - the original home of the race - got too bogged down now that the race has grown. (And who can blame her.) In a way, though, it was good because we now have a group blog that we can call home without having to hang around in Kate's living room.

Wish us all well. And to my fellow racers, I wish you all success in your writing and in your lives.

ONWARD to the race!

Blog Kickoff Party and Contest

Today is the official kickoff party of the Manuscript Mavens blog, and I'd like to invite you all to attend their Spectacular Launch Party Jamboree (both because it's shaping up to be a heck of a neat blog, and because I could potentially win stuff).

Actually, if you go over to the party, you could potentially win stuff, too. So it's a win-win situation. LOL

So head on over and meet the Mavens. Check out the rules. Grab a beverage and a handful of snack mix. I hope you win something almost as much as I hope I win.

(BTW, in case you were wondering about the prizes BEFORE you follow the link... They're offering critiques for several lucky winners AND the 100th commenter.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

My Writing History

When I was three or four, I sat down one day with my brother's copy of Robinson Crusoe, and a notepad. I started 'writing' Robinson Crusoe. I guess in my little mind, if I copied all the words in one book, it would mean I had written my own book. I didn't get very far, because after all, a child that young has a fairly short attention span, and my little fingers got tired.

Flash forward ten years, and my best friend (at the time) Maria and I were having a sleepover at her house. She showed me the book she was working on writing. She was only about twenty or thirty hand-written pages in, but that night we stayed up late talking about the book and working on it. I had my grandmother's old mint green typewriter at home, so I took her scrawled pages and began typing them up. While I was typing, I edited and added to what she'd already written. Over the course of the next couple months, she wrote some by hand at home and transferred those pages to me at school. I wrote a lot on the typewriter, sometimes incorporating what she'd written but sometimes just winging it on my own. We got together for a couple more sleepovers and all-night writing sessions. After a while, she got bored - and probably more than a little pissed that I'd taken over the project. A couple more months of hunting and pecking and worn out typewriter ribbon, and I got bored myself.

Flash foward another ten or so, and I sat down at my fiance's (at the time) computer and began writing a romance novel while he was out of the house. When he found out, he was rude and deprecating and just generally sullen that I was spending time writing about romance. (After all, I shouldn't need to write about it when I had it at home. Right? Ummm... no.) I took the book, saved it to disk, and never touched his computer again.

Finally, in late January 2004, I lay in bed thinking, and Spectacle popped into my head. (Or at least the germ of an idea that eventually spawned Spectacle.) I got up and wrote the idea down. The next day after work I wrote like a madwoman. I did that every night for days. In fact I was about 4 chapters in when I met this wonderful stranger on the internet and after some rather lengthy talks, he asked me the pertinent question I'd never thought to ask myself. "If you could do anything you wanted with your life, what would you do?" My answer was that I wanted to write. Okay, the first answer was that I wanted to raise horses, but only because I never thought of writing as a feasible occupation. He prodded me further and got to the real truth. Immediately after I said 'writing', he told me something I will never forget. "If you want to write, then write. Don't talk about writing, don't dream about writing. Just write."

I have been doing exactly that ever since. This wonderful stranger - who btw, I married - did even better by giving me the freedom to write on my own schedule and telling me I didn't have to get a job after we got married.

So what's your story?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Blog Gone; A Blog Born

This is the last week for the Literary Chicks blog. After losing both Miss Snark and Squawk Radio recently, this third one was a blow. (Umm, I just realized this adds to the myth of famous deaths coming in threes.)

However. A new blog was born this week which is already looking like it will be a fun place to hang out. Manuscript Mavens is a group of writerly gals who got together and decided to do a group blog. I'm not familiar with most of the gals yet, but Erica Ridley is one of them, so they should be good people. I'm looking forward to spending time there as I surf through my morning blogs.

Welcome to the blogosphere ladies!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Spelling Importance

Okay, as you may or may not know, I homeschool. I know this doesn't seem particularly important to the business of writing, but in a way it's very pertinent. (Especially when it comes to English, of course.)

This morning, two separate writing blogs had posts about the teaching of spelling. Over at Romance Worth Killing For, she was inspired to write about the subject by the post over at Avon Romance blog. Both blog authors had very good and salient posts about the subject.

For me, spelling is not something to be taken lightly. Without proper spelling, humans cannot communicate effectively with each other. A system of standard spelling avoids all confusion. If you write "Deer Miz Nite" when it ought to be "Dear Ms. Knight", Deirdre Knight is not going to think your query is creative, she's going to toss your query in the trash. You could write the greatest novel ever, and she'll never read it because it would take too long to decrypt your work into something her brain could understand.

Try this:

Deer Ajant,

I em currantlee seekin reprizentashun for Calldara, a 91,000 wurd liturairy thrilur. Aftur reedin yur infurmashun at Ajantqueery.com, I beleve yu wood be the rite ajant for mi wurk.

Beneeth Yelloston Nashunal Park simers a vulcano 2400 tims mor pourfull thin Mownt Sant Helins. The questshun iz win, not if, the vulcano iz goin to blo, en win it duz, millyuns of livs cud be lost... (Can you imagine an entire book written that way?)

You get the picture. And that took an obscenely long time to type, btw, because my correct-spelling imprinted brains rebelled against that crap. Which leads me to believe that not only are they not doing kids any favors by letting them spell wrong, but they're doing harm by letting kids' brains get imprinted with the wrong information.

Don't let this happen to you, and please don't let this happen to your children.

For more of this rant, take a stroll over to my (oft-forgotten) homeschooling blog: Home Ed Musings.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Tonight post has been pre-empted by the following public service announcement:

Beware the Hamster

Please be on the lookout for this heinous little rodent.

(BTW, thanks to Kristen Painter for this teehee of the day.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Weekend Production

Editing weekend is drawing to a close. Over the past three days I've managed to edit the first thirteen chapters of Blink, for the fifth+ time, and I'm quite please with the results.

Fourteen more to go. Look for that next weekend.

I don't expect great things this week. I have a couple rooms in the new house to paint before we begin moving, and then I have packing to do. I'll still be pressing to get those 100 words out and meet my obligations to the challenge, but I probably won't be getting too many more. Depends on what the week brings and whether I can lift my arms after all that painting. (Laser blue master bedroom? That definitely has to go, and it won't die without lots of primer. Ack.)

So, I hope all of your weeks are more productive and less stressful.

PS. If you haven't read yesterday's post "Title Bout Pt. 2", please scroll down and give me a hand choosing a new title. =o)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Title Bout Pt 2

To give you a little background, here are the books and their title ideas:


Spectacle - Literary Thriller - 124K words and shrinking:

Logline: “When a renowned scientist’s deceit ignites a worldwide panic, a substitute anchorwoman and an obscure astrophysicist risk everything to fight for the truth and to save mankind—not from a devastating comet but from itself.”

Blurb: "After news breaks of a comet’s collision course with Earth, Dr. Michael Montgomery has proof the comet is harmless, but when his data threatens to interfere with Dr. Kingsley Hall’s plans to control the nation by manipulating our fear, Michael’s attempts to divulge the truth are blocked. Discredited by his peers and made to look foolish by the media, his last chance is Alexandra McKenzie, a reporter with the integrity to risk her job and the courage to risk her life. In a fight for the truth, Michael and Alex find themselves battling men who would rather see civilization destroyed than lose their control over it. In a spectacle of this magnitude, the real danger lies not in a comet’s path but in mankind’s ignorance of the facts."

Potential Titles: Fear Itself (thanks to Alex) / Absolute Certainty / The Fearmongers / Mass Hysteria (thanks to Jan for that last one)


Caldera - Thriller - 91K words:

Blurb: "Beneath Yellowstone National Park simmers a volcano 2400 times more powerful than Mount Saint Helens. The question is when, not if, the volcano is going to blow, and when it does, millions of lives could be lost. As implausible as it may sound to the experts and politicians, Dr. Myke Hughes’ plan to drain the magma bubble will work. However, when eco-terrorist "Fisher" decides nature is more important than human life, Myke and a handful of allies face a disaster of a different kind, and this human eruption may be more than even Myke can divert." (Edited to delete unnecessary sentence.)

Potential Titles: Path of Destruction / Destructive Forces / YNP / The Nature of Destruction / Deadly Nature


So, what say you out there in blogland? Any thoughts or suggestions?

(And yes, I know. The blurbs need work.)

Friday, June 15, 2007

Editing Again

I decided to trade tonight. I was supposed to be working on AWJ, but I traded for a editing session on Blink. Poor Blink has been left too long, and I really need to get back to it.

So, today's word count goal for the 100DC challenge is a negative number and a chapter count. I reworked Chapters 1-3 and knocked off about 200 words. All in all, a good night's work.

Also, I just remembered I promised I'd give y'all the new title suggestions for Spectacle and Caldera. I haven't forgotten, but it's been on the backburner lately. I'll try and get those up for you tomorrow, and maybe we'll have a little voting process. (And yes, I already have one vote to leave Spectacle alone, but I may change it just to give it a new lease on life.)

See ya tomorrow.

Newest Racers

The Novel Race is growing. By my count we have 39 racers now.

This morning I added two more sites to my list of competitors: 'Confessions of a Lazy Perfectionist' and 'Dark Cafe Days'. Please join me in giving these folks a hearty welcome!

And when you get a chance, drop by the other competitors' sites to see how writing looks from their perspectives.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Work Work Work

6/13/07 word count: 376
6/14/07 word count: 942

One Hundred a day, right? Okay. I can do this.

Except we've signed a lease on our new place, and I have to start cleaning and packing and painting. Enough pre-emptive excuses. It's only 100 words a day... Okay.

On the writing front, the story is moving along well now. I've got the subplot resolving itself, and helping to move the main plot forward now. I've got the light slowly being shown on the actual murderer, and not so much on the red herring. I'm inserting some nice innuedo about possible motives. It's coming together quite nicely now.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to catch up on some reading. I just finished Woman Without a Past by Phyllis Whitney (romantic suspense, if you've never heard of her), and I started Paper Money by Ken Follett. I also just picked up a new copy of Animal Farm, which I'm planning on reading sometime soon - or at least before the next semester of school starts, because I'm putting it in the curriculum.

And I realized today that I have to get some exercise so I can fit into my old dress that goes perfectly with my new shoes. Ack. Sit-ups anyone? Anyone? ;o)

How are things in your world today?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Nothing in Particular

Today was one of my quarterly trips to Walmart, and after driving there and back, plus some heavy duty shopping, I'm too tuckered out to be scintillating tonight.

As tiring as this trip was physically, at least I came home with an awesome pair of cute shoes. They are completely unnecessary, their heels are too high, they're done in a leopard print... I don't know when I'll ever get to wear them, but they looked too damn good to pass up. As my daughter told me, "Sometimes you just have to be frivolous, Mom."

I got my 100 words out, too. They're right, ya know. No matter how tired you are, or what else has gone on during a day, you can take the time to write at least a hundred words.

Have you taken the time to write today? And if not, why? Come on, fess up. ;o)

(P.S. Those shoes really do look awesome on me. Since I don't have a digital camera, you'll just have to trust me on it.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

100DC Challenge

I am officially in a challenge to write at least a hundred words a day for the next one hundred days. Erica Ridley started it.

If you're interested, go over there and join in the fun. We can all pester each other and encourage each other and get some words out.

Today's count so far: 1081 words on AWJ. (AND I rolled over 40K tonight! Yay me!)

(And I even got an allowance to skip the hundred words on Saturdays and Sundays, provided I'm doing my editing like I'm supposed to. Which I will be since I've got two books in desperate need of editing right now.)

My only problem at this point will be if I finish AWJ before the hundred days is up. Then I'll have three books to edit, AND I'll have to start working on another new book. Oh, the tragedy. ;o)

Checking Your Stats

Thanks to Christian who commented on the last post, it occurred to me that not every blogger is as geeky as I am. (And just so you know, I am so totally geeky and love every minute of it.)

Anyway, if you haven't been checking your stats already, you can sign up for it at: https://www.google.com/analytics/home/. They just changed their format and I like the old one better, but the new one is still pretty nifty.

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll answer them to the best of my ability, or maybe my friend Jan - who is superior to me in her wisdom, if not in her geekiness - will help out.

(NOTE: Please understand, I look upon the word 'geek', and all it's derivatives, as a huge compliment. Like I tell my daughter - who is also a geek, btw - the biggest geek in the nation is also the richest man in the nation. Please let me be a geek, too.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

WTF Moment

I just had a WTF moment. Looking through my blog stats, I noticed someone found my site using the phrase 'being rich doesn't mean being happy'.

That certainly isn't any sentiment of mine. I'd be very happy if I was rich. Of course, it isn't a guarantee for all people. Sometimes people let money do strange things to them. I'm not one of those people.

I get the strangest keyword and phrase searches sometimes. Like the person who keeps looking for 'tasteful sex scene' - so much so that they tried it with 'scenes', too. No sex scenes here. Even in my books, I just hint at the fact they might have had sex, or the idea they might be interested in it, but I don't talk about it. My stories just don't warrant it, yet. Another R rated one was 'tenting his pants'. Ummm. OK.

Some of the weirder ones are: geeky bird, stygian witches, and toad preditors. Of course, there also was the search for 'liz vicious hack' - whoever she may be, I don't want to know her.

The prize for the most pitiful search, though, goes to the lone woman(?) who came here after searching for the phrase: when a man has no time to take you to dinner or see you. If she comes back, the only advice I have to offer is talk to the guy, find out if he really is busy and you're just being paranoid, or if he's blowing you off. If he's blowing you off, go find another man. Seriously, though, you won't find any other help here.

What are some weird searches you've seen? What are some searches you've done that if seen by a stranger would look weird? I think the weirdest one I've ever done was a search for was underwater digital voice recorders. (Come on, haven't you ever had an idea in the shower?)

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I don't have a whole lot to report. Progress on AWJ is slow. Editing on Blink is stalled. Editing on Spectacle, however, is zooming right along. I went through all of my CPs suggested changes, and then I started over and am in the process of taking out unnecessary crap, a profusion of 'thats' and rewording to make things clearer.

I got one response to my queries back since I last updated. It was a rejection.

Still have a few left floating out there, so I'm not dead yet. One agent in particular comes to mind because she's had my snail-query since March and hasn't returned my SASE yet. I wonder if it's because of the now-insufficient postage. In my defense, I didn't know about the postal rate increase at that time, or I would've added another two cents. (Thrown my two-cents in?) It may be wrong to think so, but since she took so long, I think it would be nice if she'd just slap another stamp on the darn thing and send it back. (Of course, if she really wanted the manuscript, she'd foot the bill and not worry about it, so it doesn't look good.)

I started a new story - mainly because it wouldn't leave me alone until I wrote some of it down - and then put it on the back burner to simmer while I finish up what I'm working on now. It's a cute mystery, with a snazzy concept. Not my usual baliwick, but I'm open to new ideas.

Oh, and I'm working on new titles for Spectacle and Caldera. In the future, I'll post a list of possible titles for each and see what y'all think.

Now, we return you to your regularly scheduled surfing...

Friday, June 8, 2007

Contest Results

Okay, so the drawing didn't have the resounding success I'd hoped. Maybe the suggested prizes weren't attractive. *shrug* First time for everything, ya know.

Anyway, from the 6 lovely and wonderful unique commenters I've had over the past few days, the winner is...


Don't shoot me. I didn't do the drawing. It was totally blind. I just wrote names on pieces of paper, folded them very tiny, and tossed them to my daughter. All but one of them landed on her chair, and she picked the one paper that ended up on the floor. Alex's name was only in once like everyone else. Honest.

So, thus ends the failed drawing this time around. Maybe the next one will be better. Next time I'll have some other prizes - new fiction maybe or a free proofread of X number of pages. Something.

Alex? I'll talk to you later about your prize. (I promise it won't be a jacket with pretty buckles and it won't be a toaster.)

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Talking to Myself

It occurs to me that when I'm blogging, I'm writing most posts as if I were talking to myself. I talk to myself a lot. (Thank goodness, I never answer myself in a different voice, if ya know what I mean.) I use this blog as a means to brainstorm, to sort things out in my own head, and to figure out what the hell is going on. Sometimes I give myself hell. If I didn't love me, I wouldn't bother. So don't worry too much when I've just upbraided myself for doing something boneheaded. And don't take it personally when I've worded something less than tactfully. When I'm talking to me, I don't mind being tactless and I always forgive myself for my insensitivity.

This blog is just a glimpse into the mind of an unpublished (to date) writer - the trials, the heartaches, the little triumphs. I hope somewhere along the way, someone will stumble across this space and find a measure of kinship and comraderie. That they will read something I have written and it will make this lonely writing life a smidgen better.

I know I've made my own life a little better by writing it.

Selling Out

Since I started this whole writing adventure, I've thought about the phrase 'selling out'. As some of you may know, I'm a huge fan of Ayn Rand. Somewhere I read a quote from her (which I am unable to locate at this time) which said something to the effect of "You can't write crap in the hopes that it will catapult you to the point where you can write a great novel."

Those are my words, but the sentiment is correct. To me, that would be the ultimate sell-out.

Selling out, IMO, is ditching your integrity and writing something that goes against your beliefs just to get published. Like if I wrote a pro-environmentalism book or a pro-collectivism book. I look at it this way: Both of those philosophies might be popular and get me published, but by the time I finally got around to writing what I really believe, my credibility would be shot to hell. (And I'd spend the whole time hating myself for writing that crap.)

Writing just a story for entertainment purposes, rather than a magnum opus, is not selling out. If you're writing romance to pay the bills until you finish your 'great American novel', fine. Hell, if you're writing it just because you love writing it, great. As long as you're not espousing anything in those romances that would be contrary to who you are as a person. Same thing with mystery, commercial... Pick a genre someone has turned their nose up at. As long as you're being true to yourself, it's not selling out.

You don't have to write books with big ideas; you don't have to write 'important literary works'. You just have to always ALWAYS keep your integrity intact.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Title Bout

It seems I'm always fighting with my titles. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don't like them, and almost always they just seem lame. Lately I've been wondering if the lameness of my titles is effecting how my books are perceived by the people I'm querying. Lame title = lame book?

Spectacle originally started out as "The Comet" - which if possible was lamer than usual. Then it moved to the title "The Doomsayers", spent a few weeks as "Fearmongers". Both of those titles were more geared toward the original premise of the book, and since I changed the basic slant, neither of those worked. Finally, I settled on Spectacle. (Because the fear instilled in us can make the world seem little better than a spectacle. Deep? Yes. But it's also lame.)

Caldera never underwent any title changes because I was fed up with trying to find something snazzy, and Caldera, if nothing else, is an accurate title.

Blink's actual title is "Blink of an I" - because the premise behind it speculates on what would happen to the world if mankind gave their individual rights over to the government.

And AWJ originally stood for "A Widow's Justice" until I changed who the bad guy was. Now it means "A Warped Justice".

Finally, the little story waiting to happen is "Bloodflow", but was originally called Nano. It's about nanotechnology being used for evil. The name Nano fell by the wayside when I realized that if you pronounce it with a long A, it becomes my baby-hood word for the belly-button. (I couldn't say navel.)

Oh, and I can't forget the novel that's waiting in the wings... P.S.S. Redemption. Originally just Redemption until I found out about Leon Uris's novel by the same name, and now Karin Tabke has a novel with that title, too. P.S.S. Redemption is the name of a submarine in the novel, so I guess it works for me. (You'll have to read the book to find out what the P.S.S. stand for, so I guess I have to get cracking on that one.)

I wish I could come up with something snappy like To Kill a Mockingbird or Atlas Shrugged. Nothing too cute, just something that'll attract attention, like Tutu Deadly or Fear No Evil.

What say you? How are you on titles, and what are some really good (or really bad) titles you've come up with? Or even what good or bad ones have you read?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Lesson Learned

I broke a cardinal rule of mine. I didn't do my research before I submitted something. Shame on me.

Lucky for me it was only the difference between standard publishing and e-publishing. Samhain Publishing is an e-publisher. I don't have anything against that venue. It provides a necessary niche for people who, for one reason or another, don't wish to buy a hardcopy book. I'm not one of those people. I like the whole book sensation. The feel of the book in my hands - its weight, its texture; the smell of freshly bound pages or of long hidden classics; the way the binding cracks the first time you open one and the fluttering sound of the pages as you turn them. It's the whole nine-yards for me. Reading online is so... Bland.

I'm a little disappointed in myself for missing that. I don't want the first publication of any of my novels to be in e-book form. I want to be able to hold them, and yes, even to pet them. So I probably won't accept publication there if I make it that far.

It could have been much worse for me, though. I could have made the mistake with a less-than-reputable publisher. (I almost did once with PublishAmerica but research saved my ass there.) I could have made the mistake by sending my work off to a scam agent, which I have managed to avoid to date.

Oh, sure. The link I followed was a reputable one. I knew the folks who posted the link were published authors, and on the up-n-up. But it isn't up to those guys to protect me, and it isn't up to someone else to make the determination whether something is right for me. That's my job.

And after I spent so much time espousing the need to think for oneself, and to never let anyone tell me what I should think about any given thing. I'm very disappointed with myself.

Lesson learned. I'm just glad the lesson was one of personal taste and not a painful one.

BTW, this post is in no way meant to disparage Samhain, which is probably a very good publisher, and has never been presented to me as otherwise. I wish them and their authors all the success in the world.

Now, I have to go mentally smack myself around for a while.

First Line Contest

Samhain Publishing is having a Best First Line Contest. Three (maybe five) people will get the opportunity to get their work in front of a Samhain editor, even though submissions there are closed right now.

I sent in the first line from Spectacle. It's not the best first line in the world, I admit, and the competition is fierce from what I've seen so far. But you know what they say, you'll never win if you never try.

BTW, my first line is: "We're on in two, Alex."

I'm not the snappiest first-liner. Caldera's first line is -It has happened before.- Blink's first line is -“Doesn’t anything work right in this place any more?”- I think my best first line so far is -She stood alone by his grave, as he would have wished. - from AWJ, but the contest is for completed works of more than 12K words. (12K? Seems small for a book but whatever.)

Anyone, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Join in the fun if you have a book ready for publication. Worst that could happen is they don't pick you, and even then it'll be instructional. Right?

*new commenters to this post will be entered into the 10000 Pageviews drawing

Sunday, June 3, 2007

10000 Pageviews

I was just checking out my stats (btw, Google Analytics rocks), and I noticed I've reached 10 thousand pageviews. So, in honor of this momentous milestone, I'm going to hold a drawing.

Each new commenter between this post and my posting time on Friday, June 8th will be entered into a drawing for their choice of the following books:

On Writing by Stephen King


Agents, Editors and You from Writer's Digest Books

(If you're not interested in either, let me know and we'll work something out.)

Unfortunately, I can only ship to people in the United States. My apologies to my friends in the UK, and my visitors from all over the world. If you'd like to comment anyway, just let me know you're from another country, and I'll keep your name out of the drawing.

Thanks everyone who stopped by. I hope you keep coming back.

(Caveat: Because I run a bookstore, if the book you want comes up out of stock, you'll get a gracious apology and a comparably priced book from my store.)

Friday, June 1, 2007

2007 Reads - So far

I thought I'd take a day off from talking about writing to talk about reading. I've been doing a lot of reading lately, and I just thought I'd share some of the books I've been burying my nose in. In fact, I'm going to try to list every book I've read this year, and keep the list going.

Here they are (in alphabetical order):

1984 by George Orwell
1st to Die by James Patterson
Afterburn by S.L. Viehl
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to be Read with the Door Locked by Various
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
The Apprentice by Tess Gerritsen
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Burn Marks by Sara Paretsky
Carpe Demon by Julie Kenner
The Case of the Shapely Shadow by Erle Stanley Gardner
Consequences of Sin by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
Dark Need by Lynn Viehl
The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown
Deadlock by Sara Paretsky
Die For Me by Karen Rose
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Fear No Evil by Allison Brennan
Fearless Jones by Walter Mosley
Forecast of Evil by Laura Bradford
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
The Hammer of Eden by Ken Follett
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows by J.K. Rowling
Highlander Unchained by Monica McCarty
Highlander Unmasked by Monica McCarty
Highlander Untamed by Monica McCarty
The Hunt by Allison Brennan
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (read novella only)
I See You by Holly Lisle
If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
The Keys to the Street by Ruth Rendell
The Kill by Allison Brennan
Kiss Her Goodbye by Robert Gregory Browne
Kissed by Magic by Kay Robbins
Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
Lady of Light and Shadows by C.L. Wilson
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Lord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
Marked by Fate by Laura Bradford
Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle
Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters
Night Lost by Lynn Viehl
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Ninja Soccer Moms by Jennifer Apodaca
Paper Money by Ken Follett
The Prey by Allison Brennan
Private Demon by Lynn Viehl
Raintree: Inferno by Linda Howard
The Reincarnationist by M.J. Rose
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Secret Society Girl by Diana Peterfreund
See No Evil by Allison Brennan
The Seven Deadly Sins of Science Fiction (A compilation of shorts by various authors)
Silverlock by John Myers Myers
The Small Assassin by Ray Bradbury
Snow Bride by Margey Hilton
Speak No Evil by Allison Brennan
Stray by Rachel Vincent
Tall, Dark and Filthy Rich by Jill Monroe
Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts
The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough
The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Tutu Deadly by Natalie M. Roberts
Under the Rose by Diana Peterfreund
Witchy Business by Julie Leto, Rhonda Nelson and Mia Zachary
Woman Without a Past by Phyllis A. Whitney

There are probably others (the list seems too short), but halfway through the year, I've forgotten them. If I remember, they'll be added in at that time. This list does not count the unpublished books I've read as a critique partner, although they really have been worthy of being on a list like this, and they will be someday.

(If you're an author and I visit your blog, but haven't gotten to your books yet, rest assured. I'm working on it. And that includes the missing Allison Brennan novels from the two series I started in the middle. I NEED to read those.)

ETA: I read all the Allison Brennan's I missed!