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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Slapping Myself Around

I was just sitting here thinking I deserved some time off - take a few days, read a few books, play a little poker - when it hit me. I'm not taking time off because I deserve it, or I've earned it, or any such thing. I'm stalling.

To be perfectly honest, I've been dragging my feet editing Spectacle because I'm scared witless of sending it out to another publisher only to have it get rejected again.

Stupid when I think about it. Seriously. I wrote the book for my than just my own pleasure. I want to see it published. It deserves to be published. It will be published. If not by this particular publisher, than by another.

So, it's time for another bi-monthly exercise in slapping myself around until I get my head out of my everlovin' whiz-wang.

Back to work, soldier! Drop and give me three chapters!


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Idle Thoughts

Have any of you ever watched that show - America's Got Talent (or something like that)? I don't usually, but the other day I was flipping through the channels and saw the beginning of one of the acts. It was this little girl - cute as a button - who sang "Somewhere Out There". Very sweet, but not my thing, so I kept surfing. (As an aside, the guy who sang opera? WOW. And I'm not a huge fan of opera either.) Anyway, a couple days later I was surfing again and saw an entertainment news report that said the audience booed that little girl. She ran off the stage crying. Come on people. She was like FOUR. I mean, sure, she wasn't going to make it on to the next round, but... Have a little humanity. Sheesh. And what kind of parent would subject their baby to that? I'm still shaking my head over that one. Life's cruel enough without that crap. Let the kid play with Barbies and watch Dora for a few more years before you thrust her into the cold of entertainment.

In other news... There's the election. Umm... yeah. Two guys, neither of whom impress me, stepping in front of a bazillion cameras and being... well, snerty... for lack of a better word. Anyone else thinking of seceding from the nation? Oooo, just thought of another word for it... Whiffley. Snerty and whiffley. I miss our founding fathers, but they'd probably climb on the first boat headed for Bora-Bora if they saw the mess this place is in. Wyoming and Alaska are little pretty nice right now (since they're about the most free states we have), but the weather sucks no matter which way you go.

I can't tell you how happy I am that Stephanie won Top Chef. She earned it. Her food looked great, she seemed like a dedicated chef, and a very important trait for any human IMO, she wasn't an asshole to anyone. I admit I was pretty sure after the first couple shows, she was going home early. She seemed too nice, and I was sure people like Spike :cough:prick:cough: and Andrew - who we referred to as the pizza whiner - were going to eat her alive. But she made it through, even when Dale left one of her dishes out of the frig overnight. In Puerto Rico of all places. Needless to say, she tossed the pork and made a whole new dish at the last minute. My hat's off to her. That chick has the chops. I hope she really succeeds in life.

Have any of you been watching the Olympic trials? Wow. The shot put guy damn near put his chunk of metal out of the sand pit (I know, it's not the right word for it). The women runners were awesome. The chick who took first in the 100yd dash thingy, when she wasn't the favorite, impressed the hell out of me. (As another aside, when did the female track atheletes start wearing those horrendous bikini bottoms instead of shorts? If they're going for better aerodynamics, maybe they should worry less about their shorts and more about the hoopy earrings and the long hair. I seriously believe the one chick came in fourth because her hair was dragging her back.) As you probably can tell, track and field is not my forte. Give me football or baseball, and I can wax eloquent.

Speaking of football... I'm going into withdrawals. I want to see the Wolverines and the Packers and the Steelers and even the Seminoles. I want the mud, the blood and the beer. I want fight songs and cheerleaders and the band marching across the field at halftime (even though they hardly ever show the halftime any more). I want to hear the crunch of helmet on helmet, to see the hokey-ass touchdown dances, to watch the amazing catches. Soon... but never soon enough. And for the record, arena football just doesn't do it for me. It's not the same. :pout:

But I still have baseball. I just wish the Yankees were doing better this year. I don't know what's up with Posada playing first base, but he's my guy. Yeah, I know... As my husband pointed out, he's saving his knees, but he doesn't belong at first base. I can't stand the guy playing catcher right now, and I want my Jorge back. Jorge and Derek... When they retire, watching the Yankees just won't be the same. I guess it'll be like watching the Wolverines after Bo Schembeckler retired. I'll get over it, but it'll be hard. Of course, I had a tough time letting Paul O'Neill go, and Bernie Williams, too. I also miss Joe Torrey, but since he works for the National League now, I can root for the Dodgers without feeling like a traitor.

So, what's rolling around in your mind lately? Any good news? Anything you want to get off your chest? Free chat will now begin (within reason, of course).


Friday, June 27, 2008

Twenty Years

This whole week The Fictionistas have been doing a "I wish I'd known then" Week - talking about things they wish they'd known when they were younger. Thinking about the things they've said brought to mind my own past self and life in tiny-town Michigan.

I grew up about a mile from Atlas - population 411 (at the time - it's bigger now), but I didn't think of it that way. Instead I told everyone I was from Goodrich. I did this mostly because no one ever heard of Atlas, even in the nearby towns, and because everything we did was done in Goodrich - shopping, banking, socializing... and schooling.

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the last time I set foot inside the walls of Goodrich High School. Home of the Martians. Not little green men - little followers of the god Mars. Formerly Goodrich Agricultural School, and since Mars was the god of war and of agriculture he seemed like the perfect guy to use. *shrug* And here I go digressing again...

Anyway, they should be trying to find me shortly to send an invite to the ol' 20th class reunion dealie-bob. :waves: Hi guys. Good luck with all that. I got married and moved far far away. Since my mother also moved, you can't find me there either.

Not a huge loss for any of us, I imagine. I wasn't as popular as Rhonda or Josh. I wasn't as athletic as Becky or Perry. I was a band nerd, and a brainiac, and one of the silent forgotten who roamed the halls of GHS. Years later, I learned from one of our classmates that you thought I was a snob. *shrug* I wasn't. I was just a kid trying to show how little you hurt her by acting like none of you mattered.

Thinking about it all now, I really wish it hadn't been an act. Looking back with the clarity of hindsight, I know in the grand scheme of life, you really didn't matter. Or rather, you shouldn't have. All those things we said and did to each other two decades ago really haven't made a difference in our lives. Sure, Russell married Jenny, and last I heard they're a happy family with 2.4 kids. They made a difference to each other, obviously, but most of us have moved away and moved on.

I did go to my ten-year reunion. It was... Well, let's just say it was fun and awkward and a travesty rolled into one short package. It was great seeing my old friends, but that was all they were. Re-connection failed. Abort abort abort. Two of my best friends from high school had moved on, and so had I. With nothing in common any more, I don't know why I expected we could pick up where we left off. Not that I didn't try, but Maria knew something I didn't. You can't go back. She never returned my call, and I guess that was for the best. A Catholic-school teacher and me would have nothing in common but memories, and you can't live in the past. (Even if you like to visit it every now and again.)

Needless to say, I won't be attending the 20th. Ten years changes people - or it should - and as changed as I was at the last reunion, double that. I still look the same, with maybe a few more gray hairs and the beginnings of wrinkles, but that's about it. I'm not the chick who, when our gang was picking nicknames, chose to be called Bruno. I haven't touched my flute since 1998, when I hocked it. I no longer listen to Poison or Bon Jovi or Faster Pussycat. I don't wear my pants tucked into my socks, ripped jeans or too-tight tank tops any more.

Looking back at the girl I used to be, I can only hang my head and grieve for all the pain she allowed herself to feel. If I could go back, though, I don't know that I really have any advice for her. All the things she was and all the events that took place in her life, they shaped her, and eventually made her into the woman I am today. Maybe if I didn't go through those trials, I wouldn't be a writer today. Maybe if everything had been happy-happy, joy-joy then, I would still be in Goodrich, living in the house where I grew up and shopping at Rankins every week without a thought of what might exist beyond the boundaries of Atlas Township.


If you could go back, would you? Or if you did, what would you change? What advice would you give to the younger version of you?


Thursday, June 26, 2008


You know, after not reading a manuscript for a while, the snipping becomes almost too easy. Now I find myself having to watch that I don't snip too much.

*sigh* I really did love the backstories on everyone... Oh well.

Back to surgery for more nip-tuck. Here's hoping I don't turn David into Quasimodo.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Applying Lessons Learned

I've been at this writing thing for a little over four years now. (Seriously writing, I mean.) In fact, we're fast approaching the four-year anniversary of the completion of Spectacle.

Or I should say, what I thought was the completion of that book.

Looking over the first draft... :shudder: Glancing over the subsequent drafts... :cringe:

Yesterday I got a line on a potential publisher for the manuscript. Which explains why I'm looking over something I haven't touched in over a year. It also explains why I have a new progress meter over there --->.

Now sometime a while back, I renamed Spectacle. That was part of a learned lesson. I love the title Spectacle, but it doesn't really make a boatload of sense to anyone but me. It's new name is Fear Itself. (Yes, as in 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself' - which is a quote I think from Teddy Roosevelt... or maybe it was FDR.)

Lesson: Even though the publisher is probably going to change it anyway, your title still has to be grabby enough to attract the attention of an agent/editor.

So as I'm re-reading Spectacle to get it ready to really be Fear Itself, I'm noticing a whole chunk of things I would never do now. For instance, extra words. Way too many extra words. Yesterday I snipped out almost 300 from the first three chapters. Now please understand that when I first finished Spectacle it topped the scales at 147K. After a few edits, it was 137K and I was happy with that. (I didn't know any better.) My first queries were for the book at that length. Needless to say, I didn't get any requests for partial. In fact, one agent - I forget who - wrote directly on my query letter. TOO LONG!! <--- just like that. (I should be glad it wasn't in red ink, I guess.) Lesson: Even though you think your masterpiece is perfect at well over a hundred thousand words, most manuscripts fall between 80-100K. This means even if every word is perfectly placed (which mine weren't), the agent is going to have a tough time selling it.

Lesson: Many words can be cut right out of a manuscript without changing the tone, the voice or the overall impact.

First thing I did after I learned the above lesson was to ruthlessly snip almost every instance of the word THAT. Most times we put it in there because it feels comfortable; not because it's really necessary. (On the other hand, it is sometimes necessary, so don't be too brutal.) You'd be surprised how many words that took care of.

The next thing I did was to root through the text to see if there were any unnecessary scenes. Oh boy, were there. This leads to the next...

Lesson: If it doesn't move the story forward, it shouldn't be in there.

This is an alternate form of the writerly phrase 'Kill your darlings' - which I'm not really a big fan of. (If I killed all my darlings, I'd be left with Chapter headings and page numbers. All my scenes are darlings to me.) I chopped every piece of backstory that wasn't crucial to the story, or so I thought, but I'll get to that in a minute. Chopping unnecessary scenes and snipping unnecessary words got me down to 113K. Twenty-four thousand words... Wackity wack. I'm sure on this read-through I'm going to find many more words that I should've cut years ago.

Live and learn.

All of these lessons I've learned over the past four years. Some of them took longer to actually sink in than others, but I think they're ingrained enough now that my more recent manuscripts don't have the same problems Spectacle did. (And apparently still does.)

I still love Spectacle. Reading just the first three chapters yesterday showed me why I love it. The writing is good (if cluttered), the characters are my friends, the story is sound (even if the premise is a little out there). All I need to do is clean her up a bit, and send her back out into the world - before the submission period closes.

Anyway, I'm still learning. I'm still improving my craft. My stories are getting tighter and the writing is better because of it. I guess what I need to do now is re-read my older manuscripts and do some cleaning.

I'm sure there are other writing lessons I'm forgetting about. Have you learned any lessons during the course of your writing career that you'd like to share?


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Introspection Time

Several times over the past few weeks I've thought about doing a post on introspection. I've even mentioned it in a couple other posts. Well, today's the day.

Let me start with a little lead in...

I woke up this morning feeling like a cross between Piglet and Eeyore. You remember Piglet? He's afraid of everything. And Eeyore is the epitome of negative. So, here I sit afraid of doing anything because I'm sure it will turn out wrong, that I'll screw up and everyone will laugh at me, or that I'll say something stupid. (Or that I already have said something stupid and now everyone is laughing at me. You get the gist.)

If you've been reading along, you know most days I'm a fairly solid, rational and secure person. So what's the deal with me today? This is where the introspection comes in.

First off, let's take a spin in the Wayback Machine. I wasn't always the person I am today. I was the type of person who wouldn't say shit if she had a mouthful. I let people walk all over me (believe it or not). I was 'a very small animal', if not in stature than at least in my own mind. Which is weird because I also did very well in leadership positions - like first chair flute and captain of the QuizBowl team (i.e. Nerd Olympics). Outside of my box, though, I was Piglet. Drop me in a room with the popular kids and I shrank against the wall quivering.

This constant living-in-fear eventually turned me into Eeyore. If anything bad was going to happen, it was going to happen to me. Murphy's Law became my code to live by. In the end, I just stopped trying to do anything, and whatever anyone else wanted to do was fine with me. If other people were making my choices, then the bad things wouldn't happen.... Umm... Right.

Fast forward... After years of work, I finally pulled myself out of the Piglet/Eeyore cycle. But even though I escaped the mindset, it's still there. It's down deep for the most part, but it's still part of me. Every day I have to watch to make sure it doesn't sneak up and engulf me. Some days I fail.

In the old days, it would overwhelm me and I'd spend days in a funk, wandering through my life feeling crappy and wondering why. Then came introspection. You see, once I learned to sit my butt down and think about where the funk was coming from--once I discovered the things I feel now often have roots in the past somewhere--these attacks of Piglet/Eeyore came less frequently and stayed a shorter period of time.

Where today's funk started isn't important. (It's personal and after locating its source, I kicked its ass.) The reason I even mention it is to highlight the importance of knowing what's driving you and why. (Which is really all introspection is about.)

And believe it or not, this can help with your writing. Digging through the unmarked boxes in your own past--opening them up and baring all the contents to the harsh light--can show you how your characters' pasts and memories affect who they are today. It can give them more depth which makes them more sympathetic, which sells books.

It can also help you overcome your fears about writing, life and everything else, making better person because of it. (For instance, I used to have a real phobia about moths - complete with heart palpatations and screaming. Once I figured out where that fear came from and why, I got the damn thing under control. I still don't like the little buggers, but I can live with them in the same room - as long as they don't touch me.)

So, I want you all to do a little exercise. Think about something that bothers you today, look into your past and figure out why it bothers you - maybe one incident that happened when you were a child. Dig deep. Chase it all the way down to its roots. (Back to the example above, my fear of moths came from when I was a kid. A moth landed on my face, startling me so I screamed and jumped - at which point, my family laughed at me. The embarassment of that night started the fear. The moth never hurt me; the laughter did.) You might feel better for it, and your characters will thank you, too.

Now, if you've done this little exercise, or experienced a similar epiphany, feel free to comment about it. If not, share some fears you have. Shared fear, like shared pain, lessens with the sharing.


Monday, June 23, 2008


You know the old wives' tale about celebrity deaths, right? They always die in threes. Well recently we lost two great celebrities - not a thing similar about them, but both great in their own rights.

First, we lost Cyd Charisse. If you aren't familiar with this lady's work, go out an rent Brigadoon immediately. An excellent dancer, a beautiful lady and one hell of an actress. If you don't feel her disappointment when Tommy leaves, you need a heart transplant. And when she sings "Waitin' for Ma Dearie"... I love that song and I love her singing it. I don't think it would've been half as good if it had been any other actress.

Then we lost George Carlin. In honor of the man, I posted a piece of his wit as my quote of the day. He was a man unafraid of speaking his mind, and while I didn't always agree with him, I certainly respective his chutzpah in saying the things he said. Also an actor, you may know him from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (where he played Rufus... dude) or more recently as the cardinal in Dogma. But of all his comedic genius, he was probably best know for his 'Seven Dirty Words' routine. He was mostly irreverant, occasionally crude, and sometimes out there in left field, but always funny.

They will both be missed, but they will live on in our hearts and our memories. (And on TMC or YouTube.)

Now, for the million dollar question: If celebrities really do die in threes, who's next? (Or did I miss one?) I'm going out on a limb and predicting the next famous person to die will be Senator Ted Kennedy. (Not a huge stretch since the announcement of his brain cancer, but there it is.)

ETA: Travis Erwin pointed out Tim Russert, so there's three. Anyone else?

PS. I just spent an hour on YouTube watching George Carlin (and then various other comedians) so forgive me if I'm in less than a proper mindset to talk about anything serious.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Scene Setting: How Much is Enough?

Yesterday was unproductive, at least in a writerly way. I did get the lawn mowed, and I'm most of the way through Gena Showalters' latest Lords of the Underworld book. But I didn't get any editing done.

I think part of the reason is that I was afraid I would have to go back and start over on my revisions. Something I read somewhere led me to believe I might not have enough description of the locales. *shrug* Maybe I'll write a post tomorrow about when to listen to advice and when not to, but not now.

Today I'd like to talk about the issue of scene setting. Or if you will, describing the scene behind the action.

As far as I can tell, opinions about this subject differ. Some say describing the setting in detail adds depth and richness to the story. Others say it gets in the way of the plot. Personally, I think it depends on the scene and the story, but that's me. Then there is the old maxim that if the words don't add to the story in some meaningful way, they need to go in the trashcan. How meaningful is a description of the sunrise or the details of a home's decor to a plot?

Example time: In Spectacle, I have a major secondary character racing across the country to save his friends. Everything to this point for him is tension. When he reaches New Mexico, the backdrop of the sunrise in the Sangre de Cristos with the native birds singing and the trees standing as quiet sentinels relaxes the story... until he comes around a bend in the road and sees a line of smoke rising from the spot where his friends should be. (And I'm not talking campfire here, folks.)

In this case, the description didn't drive a damn thing, but it added to the impact of the next piece of the story.

So here I am with Manhunter. The locations themselves are dramatic and beautiful in their own stark way (if you've never driven I-70 from the Colorado border to I-15 in Utah, you're missing something spectacular), but other than the necessity of a certain geographical feature to the plot, the detail isn't necessary. I have already written a certain amount of description - the terrain, a bit of the flora - as I deemed it necessary, but I don't think anyone reading it is actually going to feel like they're there. I don't think they need to at this point. Later, when they're in Northern California, I go into greater depth. I need the reader to be standing in the forest; I want them to feel what the MC is feeling underneath the trees.

I guess I just answered my own question. How much is enough? Enough is whatever amount the story calls for - no more, no less.

Maybe I will go back in my next edit and add a little detail here and there - like seasoning soup. But like seasoning, a little can go a long long way. Peppering a story with description it doesn't need can make the whole thing unpalatable.

Question of the day for you: Do you know of any authors who balance the description thing perfectly? Writers who describe too much or too little? Come on, dish. Personally, when talking too much description, the first guy who comes to mind is James Fenimore Cooper. (But he does it so beautifully, I forgive him every time.)


Thursday, June 19, 2008

When Plantstering Goes Awry

Okay, so I'm almost a quarter of the way through Nano. It's shaping up nicely, but I'm running into a problem with the way I usually write a book.

As you may know, I'm a plantster - which means I plot a little but mostly write by the seat of my pants. I generally know where I'm going, but the route to the end isn't set in stone. For me, this way gives my imagination loads of leeway, and sometimes my subconscious throws things at me I never would've thought of consciously. The one time I plotted a whole novel out before I wrote it, the story went as flat as glass of Coke that's been left sitting out for a few days. The fizz was gone. (I love the fizz. I live for the fizz.)

Anyway, with Nano, the more things my subconscious throws at me, the more lost I get. The plot is moving along nicely... and then I remember the subplot.... and then I remember the romance is supposed to be developing... and back to the main plot again. Arrgghh. I remember that I forgot to write in something that will lead to something else and my train of thought derails.

Considering how intricate this story is, it's a wonder I'm making any headway.

The other night I almost broke down and wrote the outline for this book. Based on my past, though, I'm afraid that would be a total mistake on my part. This book is better than what I imagine it will become if I have everything mapped out in advance.

So, I guess I'm stuck this time around. I'll write the whole thing, and then when I sit down to do my edits, I'll take the information and backtrack my way through an outline. Right now, it's the only way. (But I dread the hours it'll take me at the back end.)

Trying to keep a bright side to this, the writing is moving along at a good clip, so if I can write this by the end of June (mid-July at the latest), I'll have the rest of the summer to fix whatever glitches arise.

I know I've asked this before, but some of you may not have been visitors back then: Do you plot or pants or plantster? Could you ever skip over to another style of writing if the need arose, or are you like me and set in your ways?


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Query Tips and Other Helpful Stuff

Since I haven't secured an agent myself, I'm not really the most qualified person to shell out advice on this topic. I am, however, skilled in surfing the web and finding information that may or may not be helpful to my blog visitors.

The most recent awesome query tips come from Lucienne Diver (of The Knight Agency) in her post: Query Dos and Donts. Some of her suggestions seem fairly obvious, but they're there for a reason - and you don't want to be one of the people who become an example of what NOT to do.

Another interesting discussion on a big query don't (at least for Ms. Faust) is over at BookEnds in her follow-up post: Thank You For Your Time. Apparently this whole issue has drawn a shit-storm for her, but I think what it boils down to is: 1) Research each agent and follow their preferences in addition to their guidelines, 2) Don't obsess over every little word. She doesn't like being thanked for her time (at least not upfront), but she's not going drag you out and shoot you for it either. I get her point: Don't grovel. I also get Janet Reid's point: You can look forward to hearing from someone, but telling them 'soon' puts a level of expectation you don't need in your query letter and one an agent doesn't want to deal with. They'll get to you when they get to you. My experiences with Ms. Reid show that she will get back to you soon, but don't give her the impression you're standing over her shoulder tapping your foot.

Personally, my own query letter is now the best it can be. In October (I really thought it was September but the date on the letter says otherwise), I'll be looking at the four year anniversary of my first query letter (and it's subsequent rejection). I've learned a lot since that unfortunate attempt. Now, in honor of everything I've learned, and the subject of this post, I present to you the first query letter I ever wrote. It sucks... HARD. Let's look at it as a lesson in what NOT to do.

Recently I completed work on my first novel, Spectacle, and am now looking for an agent to represent me. After careful consideration and research, of the dozen or so to whom I am considering sending submissions, yours is the agency that I chose to contact first. I was especially interested in your agency after reading the interview you gave for an article in the book Agents, Editors and You. Once you read the materials I have enclosed, I believe that you will be as interested in representing my work, as I am in having your agency represent me.

Spectacle is a literary novel about fighting for the truth against popular opinion and against deliberate ignorance in a world controlled by misinformation. It is a novel about fighting and winning.

When the human race is told it has just four months to live, only Dr. Michael Montgomery has the knowledge that will save mankind—not from impending doom but from itself. A comet is hurdling towards Earth and the scientific community has issued a death sentence to the world. Dr. Montgomery, however, knows the truth about comets and he knows that the scientific community is wrong, but when he tries to make that truth known he is thwarted at every turn. It seems that Dr. Kingsley Hall has other ideas. If the truth were known, Dr. Hall would lose his chance for prestige, his chance for notoriety, and ultimately, his chance for control. While Dr. Montgomery and his allies work to make the truth public, Dr. Hall and his lackeys work to hide it from the world—as civilization slowly decays around them all.

Mr. Maass, I began writing stories twenty years ago but until recently I had neither the time nor the drive necessary to consider writing as a career. I now have both and I am committed to the achievement of this goal. In addition to Spectacle, I am currently working on my second novel and am in the planning stages for several others.

For your consideration I have embedded a synopsis of this novel as well as the first five pages, per your submission parameters. I am prepared to submit the entirety of my novel (MS Word count: approximately 137,000 words) at your request. If you require any further information, please contact me at your earliest convenience. I look forward to hearing from you.

I was actually pretty proud of this sucker. On it's face there's nothing tragically wrong with it, but that's only if you look at it from outside the industry as a standard business letter. Obviously, the first agent I queried was Donald Maass. (Sorry, Mr. Maass.) Needless to say, I didn't even get a rejection - since Mr. Maass only replies to equeries he's interested in.

Don't worry, folks, I've completely fixed these problems (including the inclination to write 137K word novels). Spectacle is now a much shorter book, and my query letters don't suck. This is a learning process. I hope that by giving you these links, and showing you my own foibles, you can learn to make your own queries that much better. And win an agent of your own.

So, if you have an agent, what advice do you have for querying writers? If you're still searching, like me, what mistakes have you learned from along the way?


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I Write What I Like

I'm not writing to order here. There's no template. There's no preconceived idea about what people might or might not want. There are only my books and me writing them. In short, this ain't an assembly line. No dies, no molds, no cookie cutters. I don't even have a contract yet that binds me to write x-number of books in x-genre. (I'll deal with that when it comes, but I think when I reach that point, it will probably be fine with me because I'll have already agreed to write what I wanted to write in the first place anyway.)

I knew going into the query process that RTL might step on more than a few sensibilities, but that wasn't my goal in writing it. It was just a story that needed to be told, and it hammered at my brain so hard I wrote the first draft in 6 weeks. Looking back, I can't conceive of writing it any other way.

Now I don't want you to think I'm just typing out the other side of my ass here. Seriously, this is an issue I think needs addressing and a few things brought this to mind over the past couple days.

First a friend of mine made a statement that no one is buying books about X anymore, and this person wondered if their book would ever sell because of it. My heart went out to them. (I've read the book, and know it's good - even if the whole X thing is passe right now.) I know how it feels to wonder if anyone will ever want to buy this wonderful thing you've created because the ideas inside might not be the popular cup of tea. Hell, Spectacle is awesome, but no one wants 'a comet book' any more. They've been done to death. And even with the fresh take I have on the concept, they can't see beyond that idea. *shrug* I love the book anyway, and if I had it to do all over again, I still would spend all the time it took to write it.

Second, Carrie Ryan had an excellent post this morning over at Manuscript Mavens wherein she talks about something she's heard at writing conferences. Someone somewhere got the idea that they had to change their manuscript to meet the wants of any particular agent they were thinking of querying. Not changing things to suit their own agent; not meeting an editor halfway on suggested changes. Changing key plot elements because a particular agent doesn't like, say, starships. The whole idea just floored me. The comment I left says it best: After reading your post, I'm sitting here a little aghast that anyone would just randomly change key components of their manuscript on the off chance someone might not like it as is. It's their work for petesakes. That would be akin to a girl getting plastic surgery to please a boy she's only seen from across the lunchroom. Egads. Editorial suggestions from an agent you trust are one thing, and I agree that you should think hard before making changes you don't believe in, but out of the blue based on some misguided notion - that's just tragic. Poor little stories hacked to bits for no good reason. =o( Seriously folks, the idea of it just depresses the hell out of me. I feel so bad for anyone who would think they had to do this to their work.

It struck me about the same as if my daughter had come up to me and asked for plastic surgery to meet some imagined idea of someone else's perfect person.

Now obviously I'm not talking about meeting the standards for writing in the English language. As I've said before, you need to meet those just to make sure your writing is understood. What I'm talking about is the meat of your story. If you're writing a SF story based on a starship, and that's what the story requires in order to remain true to itself, then don't change the setting for any reason. If your book has to be about elves, then screw anyone who says elves are 'out'. If the story has to have a comet in it, then it has to, and there's nothing you can do about it. Unless you're into stifling yourself. Either write the book the way it has to be written or don't write it at all, but for godsakes, don't change it until it's no longer what you wanted to write in the first place.

I admit that I almost fell into this trap. I know romantic suspense is hot, and I know most romantic suspense has sex in it. I definitely know there's more romance in it than what I've written in mine. So, I thought about spicing the story up.


If I let the market dictate the amount of romance in my book, then the story suffers for it. If I insert romance where it wouldn't be naturally, I hurt the book. So, I cut that shit out. Manhunter, when it's finished, will be what it is. A suspense novel with romance elements. No sex thrown in to please whoever. Sure, I could have the MCs jump into bed together. They already spend extended periods of time in a hotel room alone, working on figuring out the case. I could have them throw aside their files and notes and dry-erase markers. They could rip off the tacky bedspreads and make hot monkey love until the wee hours of the morning. But they'd be doing it while the killer was still out there, possibly taking another victim. Then they'd both feel guilty and the whole scene would just suck. Both of them are committed to their jobs anyway, so having sex while in the middle of a case wouldn't be true to their natures. They both want to have sex, but there's just no time. After the murderer is caught, they can knock boots to their hearts content. (And I imagine they will...) But I'm not writing it in the book.

So, when you're faced with the idea that a certain thing will or won't sell, what do you do about it? Do you write to please the market, or do you write to please yourself and hope the market will be pleased, too?

Or am I really just talking out the other side of my ass?


Monday, June 16, 2008

Life, The Writing and Everything

You know, I thought about blogging this weekend, but I just couldn't think of anything worth talking about. Of course, it didn't help that I got next to no sleep due to various life issues - which I won't bore you with.

On the writing front, I'm making some headway with editing Manhunter. Things are coming together, and the biggest change is that I'm weaving more of a burgeoning relationship between the heroine and the hero. I still don't think this is going to be the sweeping romance of the century, but more along the lines of suspense with romance elements. He's attractive in a Bruce Willis sort of way. She sort of reminds me of Mary in that new USA Network show 'In Plain Sight'. (Or rather the other way around since I wrote my heroine before the show even existed.) They'll get together and fall in love, but probably not so much on the pages of Manhunter. After all, they've got other things on their minds right now - like catching a killer.

I'm also making some real strides with Nano. Last night I didn't get much work done on either book, but the little lightbulb went off over my head and I figured out a significant plot twist - which I then had to go back and rewrite the end of a scene for. It only added about 150 words to the chapter before last, but it'll be so much better with what's to come next, it still feels like an accomplishment. The book is shaping into something I really love and unlike Manhunter, I think this one will be equal parts romance and suspense. Although, as with everything when you don't plot, that could change by the end of the book.

Now I must go work on some querying things so I can get RTL sold. With the help of my awesome CP and the wonderful Jackie Barbosa (who I won a query critique from), I really think I can get some more agent interest. To recap, I have a full out and a partial out - with the lead times for both being sometime toward the end of the summer. Of course, I feel really great about my chances with both of those, but you know the drill. If you expect something to happen, you have to work to make it happen. So, I'm wading back into the query world again with my next round of letters. (After spending another couple hours doing research and updating my agent info post on the blog and my personal database.)

Oh, and just because I'm still squeeing over the full request, I'd like to tell you that the agent in question said my premise was interesting and my writing was engaging. SQUEE!

Okay, enough about me. Tell me what's up in your life.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Updated Info

I just finished adding a bunch of information to Agents, Sites, Blogs, Etc.

In case you hadn't heard, Deborah Grosvenor closed her offices and moved in with an agency called Kneerim & Williams at Fish & Richardson. (A lit agency within a law firm.)

Lucienne Diver moved to The Knight Agency from Spectrum Literary Agency. Adjust your queries accordingly.

Folio Literary Management started their own blog.

ETA: Also, Jeff Gerecke left JCA and moved to Gina Maccoby Literary Agency.

If you have anything to add, please leave a comment. The more information we have on literary agents, the better off we all are. =oD


Friday Morning Rant

I was raised with the understanding that there are some things you just don't talk about in polite society. Of course, the big three were religion, sex and politics. (Which as adults we sometimes can't get away from.) But there are a myriad of lesser topics that, while not mentioned explicitly, were taboo when out in public - at least in my world. (Still are, as a matter of fact.)

Part of what I'm referring to as the lesser topics can probably be described as 'bathroom humor'. I was raised that you don't discuss bodily functions in front of other people, unless you're three and you don't know any better. No one needs to know about or hear your unfortunate noises. They don't want to see you technicolor yawn or have it described in detail.

Of course, mine was a much more pleasant world.

Flipping through the channels the other day, I stumbled on what I thought at first to be a smart commercial. It showed a baby doing stock trades online, and the whole time, he's talking about how easy it is to use this particular site. I was truly wowed by the whole thing. Except for the final few seconds, when someone got the bright idea to have the baby throw up on camera. (I don't know about the rest of you, but when I see someone vomit, I'm likely to want to do the same.) I thought the commercial was successful without that imagery. I got it that stock trading with that site was so easy a baby could do it. (Don't even get me started on the caveman commercials... please... enough is enough already.) The commercial didn't need the graphic grossness, but they threw it in anyway. Why?

Last night I caught part of the movie "Austin Powers: Goldmember". Without fail, someone's bodily functions were being used as a gag. I think these movies are funny without the bathroom humor, which IMO serves no purpose other than to gross-out the viewers. Mike Myers can do better than that. (The whole scene in the first movie where they're naked and items are strategically placed over their private parts is genius, IMO.) But all the gross stuff remains.

I get that some people think this stuff is funny. What I don't get is: WHY? Sure, it was hilarious when we were five and someone in passed gas at their desk while the teacher was writing on the board. But we were five, people.

Another thing I don't understand is why people think the pain of others is funny, but that's a rant for another day. (Doubt it? Watch America's Funniest Home Videos. If you make it through five minutes where no one gets a shot to the groin, falls on their face, or otherwise hurts themselves, you're probably watching one of their animal segments.)

So, what say you? Are you into the whole bathroom humor thing, or does it just seem like it's thrown in for effect? (You know, if we tried throwing something into our writing just for effect, we'd never get the books published. Or a smart editor would chuck it out anyway.)


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Full Blast Excitement

See now, yesterday I wrote a post about my excitement level being dimmed, and today, it's back on bright. I just got a request for FULL! Yay!

Now, if you'll pardon me, I must run around the house like an idiot. (I already jumped up and down with my daughter while we both squealed like those girls you see old footage of The Beatles concerts.)

Feel free to SQUEE along in the comments.

Update 10:42am: I just hit SEND. Now I think I just might either pass out or barf.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Dimmed Excitement

Last night I rolled over 10K in my latest book. Yay.

Reading one of my many daily blogs this morning, I saw an announcement from someone who just finished the first draft of her second book. She was so excited, and I was so happy for her. But her announcement got me to thinking...

I don't get excited about finishing a first draft any more. Not like she was excited anyway. One quick blog post, an announcement to friends and family, and maybe a hoorah out loud. That's it. After I finished Spectacle, I wanted to break out the champagne and run around the house squealing like a little girl. (I didn't do the champagne, but there was squealing aplenty.) With each subsequent novel, the excitement has dimmed.

You see, I've completed 6 first drafts. It's not a huge number by any stretch of the imagination, but the fireworks have worn off. Been there, done that. By now I know how much work is still left to do, and how far I have to go to get the manuscript in shape for it to be read by anyone else. I also know how hard it when I get excited about the first draft, and then slog through the months of work only to have the book sit in a folder where no one else can read it, but that's another story.

Still, completing a first draft is an accomplishment. It's something I should get excited about. But I guess it's like anything else you accomplish - the first few times, it's a rush and you get all jazzed about it. After a while, though, it's less thrilling. I wish I could find a good analogy this morning but my internal analogy generator seems to be on the fritz this morning. Maybe think of it like learning to drive. When you first get behind the wheel, it's a big event, but after a while, it's just something you do to get where you're going.

Let's just say, I'm waiting to get excited about arriving at my destination. When I get an agent... then when I get a publishing contract... then when I see my work on the shelves of a bookstore... Maybe getting an award of some kind would be a new level of excitement.

Don't get me wrong. I still get a rush from the actual writing. Finding a new story and telling it, getting to know the characters, making sure every piece of the puzzle is in place and I'm not falling down on the job anywhere. Now, that's a rush. I still get a rush from completing the final draft - albeit not as huge as the first couple times.

The first draft stage? Not so much.

I guess it's similar to the way my family treats the announcement that I've finished another one. "That's nice, honey. How many does that make?" and "Cool, Mom. What's for dinner?" and "Another one? Good job. Have you heard anything back on the last one?" are pretty much where I'm at on the excite-o-meter.

Truth be told, I'm jealous of that first draft excitement in others. I miss it. I want to feel like a tickertape parade should be marching down my street announcing the news. I want balloons and sparklers and champagne and cheesecake. *sigh*

If you've finished more than a couple manuscripts, do you still get excited? If so, how do you manage to keep the excitement? Should this even be bothering me this morning?


Monday, June 9, 2008

Persistence or Pestiness?

You may recall back in April I wrote a SQUEE post about a request for partial I received. Now it's been two months without a word and I'm wondering if this agent even received the email I sent her.

Oh, I know some agents take months on partials, and I'm willing to wait if I have to. But see, here's the thing... On a popular writerly forum, several people talk about her quick lead times. It seems that usually this particular person usually responds to a partial in 4-6 weeks. And I'm at 2 months.

Last year... or was it the year before?... I got a request for partial on Caldera from an agent with a stated 4 month lead time. I was patient. I waited. The four months went by with no word and I began to wonder if my partial disappeared into whatever black hole the USPS uses to lighten their bags. (Ever watch Seinfeld? Newman stowed mail in a storage garage so he wouldn't have to carry it.) After five months, I sent said agent a polite nudge via email and within a week, my SASE came back with a rejection in it.

My first thought was that somehow my submission materials got lost in a stack somewhere, and the nudge prompted her to dig out my SASE for the rejection that was waiting all along. My second thought was that my nudge pissed her off. That somehow she was sitting on the fence about my manuscript and my email pushed her over to the rejection side. (I mean, who wants to work with a pest?)

This morning I sent a polite nudge to the agent who requested a partial on RTL. We'll see what happens from this one.

The question in my mind, even as I was hitting the SEND button, is when does persistence cross the line into pestiness? If an agent has a stated lead time of 4 months, is it appropriate to send a nudge after 5 months? If an agent has no stated lead time, but other writers are saying she's gotten back to them in 4-6 weeks, is sending a note after 2 months being pesty?

Pardon me while I slip into the paranoia phase of my writing life. Yes, I know I should just chill out, but the thought of my stuff being lost somewhere in cyberspace makes it hard to relax.

PS. If you haven't seen it yet, Jessica Faust wrote a blog post about this very thing on Friday: The Art of Persistence. Scoot on over and check it out.


Saturday, June 7, 2008

Favorite Writing Related Blogs

I know I used to have a list over there on the right, but I decided to nix in it in favor of this post. You'll now notice a link to this post under 'Important Stuff'. Be warned: This sucker is long.

So, here they are...

Manuscript Maven related:
The Manuscript Mavens
Erica Writes
Lacey Kaye
Jackie Does Dish
Carrie's Procrastinatory Outlet
Romantic Inks
The Spiced Tea Party

Agent or Agent Related:
Agent Obvious
all that's new(s) from A to Z
Caren Johnson
The Swivet
Dystel & Goderich
Et in arcaedia, ego.
Janet Reid
Query Shark
Lyons Literary
Nathan Bransford
The Knight Agency Blog
Agent in the Middle
Rachelle Gardner
The Rejector
Tina Wexler
Writing and Rambling
Literary Agent News

Other Daily Reads:
The Novel Racers
Karin Tabke
Murder She Writes
Diana Peterfreund
The Good Girls Kill for Money Club
Wendy Roberts
Paperback Writer
Kristen Painter
The Fictionistas
Work in Progress
Just Keep Writing and Other Thoughts
Dishing with the Divas
One Word, One Rung, One Day
Jeaniene Frost

Other Frequented Blogs:
Edie Ramer
Maya Reynolds
Magical Musings
Romancing the Blog
Writer Beware Blogs!
Sean Ashby
Jill Monroe's Blog - Off the Keyboard
Quest to Write

Blogs I Wish I Had Time to Read (more than a couple times a year) but Don't:
Sisters in Crime
Author MBA
The Writer's Group
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
The Outfit
Author! Author!
Writer Unboxed
Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room
The Goddess Blogs
PASIC - Published Authors' Special Interest Chapter
First Offenders
Killer Hobbies
A Writer's Journey
Word Wenches
Start Writing Now
Avon Romance Blog
Dear Author
Wordgirl's Work In Progress: Brit Chick Lit Diary
Teri Brown Writes!
Simply Wait
Hackman Adams
Romance Divas Divine Blog
Argh Ink
Flogging the Quill
Tess Gerritsen
Samhain Weblog

Blogs I've added on since the initial post:
Much Cheaper Than Therapy
A Writer's Vanity (Blog of Apex Publications)
Romance Divas Divine Blog
Fangs, Fur & Fey
Mysterious Matters
Making It Up
Running With Quills

I know I'm missing a lot of awesome writing blogs out there. If you have any suggestions, leave them in the comments. If I like them, I'll add them to the list. (I just can't guarantee I'll read all the blogs... If I read all of these all the time, I'd never get anything else done.)

PS. I lost a couple links along the way, so if I used to come to your blog but you don't see it on the list, let me know.


Friday, June 6, 2008

Spring Ducklings

Sorry about the grumpiness of the past couple of days. Life works that way sometimes. Anyway, here's a little something to lift your spirits - I know these babies lift mine.

This Mallard mama was very protective of her babies, but we stood still enough that she let them swim near us. One of them had me rolling with laughter as he chased a tiny blue dragonfly. He looked like a fluffy motorboat. ;o)

Don't you just love Spring?

Update: At last report, the ducklings and their mother haven't been seen since before the storm. =o(

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Want Any Cheese?

Yesterday was a bitch. There's no nicer way to put it. I'm figuring we got about 2.5 inches of hail. I could still see some of it underneath the (now) raggedy lilac bushes. Yuck. My car is now nicely textured, too. Fun fun fun. For various reasons, I ended up with 5 hours of sleep, and the only thing keeping me upright at the moment is Mountain Dew. (Someday I shall build a shrine to that beverage, I swear. I made it through my first two years of college because of that stuff.)

Yeah, yeah... I know, I know... "Want any cheese with that whine?"

Anyhoo, you didn't come here to read my gripings, so what shall we talk about today?

I didn't get any writing done yesterday, and tonight ain't looking too good either. I got a really nice rejection letter today... Ummm... Yeah.

So what does a writer do when life intrudes? Any regular joe would take a personal day. Take one and not feel guilty about it, in fact. Why then, do I feel so friggin' guilty about taking yesterday and today off?

I guess it could be because I'm my own boss, and I know if I admit it to myself, I really don't have a great excuse for slacking off. Sure, yesterday was hell, and we had three waves of storms go through, but it was over by the time I would've started writing anyway. (btw, Boss me is pretty friggin' grumpy about the whole unexcused absence thing right about now.) I was bone tired, but I couldn't sleep anyway, so why was I on the couch watching TV instead of working on my book?

Exactly. Slacker.

When I worked outside the home, they practically had to pry me away from my desk to get me to take a sick day. Unless I was running a major temperature, I was at work. I didn't allow excuses then; I can't imagine why I'm allowing them now.

Tired? Tough schnitzkes. Sick? Shake it off, soldier. Achy? Too bad. There's work to do. We're burning daylight. (This is me talking to myself, btw, so don't take it personally. Unless, of course, you need a good kick in the pants, then I'm happy to help.)

I'm still taking tonight off. It's too late to get anything accomplished - except for words I know I'll just end up deleting. Tomorrow, however, is another story. If I don't get some work done tomorrow, I'm going to take myself out and kick my own ass. I will have deserved it.

Now, drop and give me twenty.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Auntie Em, Auntie Em

Okay, so it wasn't a twister this time. Just a boatload of hail and some eerie green clouds. They were swirling in a big lazy circle (by big, I mean town-sized). Needless to say, I'm pooped just from running around the house making sure we weren't pulling a Wizard of Oz remake while my husband was at work and my daughter was safely ensconced in the bathtub with one irritated kitty. Fun for the whole fan damily.

Add tornados to the list of things that freak me out.

Why Subject Yourself to the Cruelties of Publishing?

Yesterday came and went without a blog post. Sorry about that. I had a really great idea for a topic, but when I went to write the post, I couldn't remember what the topic was. C'est la vie.

This morning, I read a really great post over at BookEnds about why a writer would seek publication. I loved this line the best: "Why do you feel the need to continue to subject yourself to the cruelties of publishing?"

I commented, of course, but I wanted to expand on the idea here.

Why does a writer go through all the trauma and drama of getting published? Think about it for a second. Personally, I never really thought about NOT publishing my work. When I was fourteen and co-writing a book with my best friend, I know we had many discussion about what it would be like AFTER we got the book published. There was never a question of writing it just for us and our friends. We were going to see the book in print. Of course, we never finished it, so it sits in my storage bins, but that's not the point I'm trying to make. We were writing with the goal of publication.

Thinking about it now, I still don't know the exact answer. I know I want to have my work published. I want to hold my books in my hands--to smell them, to feel their weight, and to see the pretty covers. But that in itself is not a good reason for putting up with everything we writers do. If that was all I wanted, I could self-publish and be done with it. I even looked into getting my first book done over at Lulu (which seems like the best there is in self-publishing, btw). But it wasn't enough.

I want to see my books on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. I want to go into any given library and see my books there, too. I want mountains of my books on the tables at every bookseller. It sounds like an ego-trip, I know, but follow me here.

If my books are everywhere, it means everyone has the chance to read them. If everyone has the opportunity to read my books, I have the opportunity to touch the minds of people, to maybe make a little bit of a difference in someone else's life through my writing. Ideally, I'd like to touch a few minds, change a few of them, and make the world a better place. If that doesn't happen, I'd like to at least provide people a good entertaining read--something they might like to share with their friends and family, something they might want to read again and again. Hopefully, other people will think my writing is good enough to do both.

Yesterday, while I was researching agents for query purposes, one of them said they were looking for books that teach something new without being preachy. Aha! That's what I've been trying to do--albeit in a small way--for years. (Needless to say, I queried said agent last night.)

On the other hand, a while back my own darling daughter gave me the following piece of teenage wisdom: "Mom, you're never going to get your books published... They make people think, and people don't want to think." (Don't be all shocked about her bluntness. It's how we are together. She did go on to say how great my books were, but it wasn't the point she was trying to make.) I don't agree with her statement, but it's an interesting thing to think about.

I think people want to think, and I want to be the one to start the ember burning. I think my work does that. I also think people want to be entertained, and I think my work does that, too. Nothing preachy, nothing hammered at you from all sides, but just an underlying thought woven into the story. (Sneaky, I know, but most writers do it even if it isn't a conscious thing. Pick up a book sometimes and look for the author's philosophy behind the words. It's in there somewhere, trust me.)

So, now that I've rambled and gotten off on a couple tangents, it's back to the real question here. Why are we subjecting ourselves to all this work just to get published--especially in a world where posting our work on the internet would achieve a similar goal? I think everyone has a different answer, but I think the underlying cause is the same for all of us. We want to share something of ourselves with the rest of the world, and publication is the only way for that to happen in any meaningful way.

And, of course, there's the money. (What? You mean writers aren't all living like Bill Gates? *sigh*)

What say you? Why are you doing what you do?


Monday, June 2, 2008

What Freaks You Out?

Over the weekend, I sent the premise of Nano to my CP, and she said that once again I've hit on something that freaks her out. So, I thought I'd take a moment to talk about what freaks me out and what might freak the rest of you out.

First off, the thought of losing my mental faculties totally freaks me out. I don't mean going insane--although that's scary enough in its own right--but losing my ability to think. This one has its roots in the time after my car accident when I actually did come close to losing that ability. Being unable to remember huge chunks of your past, and losing some basic skills (like how to multiply) can be freaky. My mother's best friend has Alzheimer's, and we talk about her slow deterioration into a completely different person. The thought of that scares the crap out of me.

Another thing that freaks me out is the thought of losing my personal liberties. Of course, being locked up would kill me. (I don't like small spaces.) But beyond that, the thought of the government taking away my individual rights, and me not having any ability to stop them, scares the bejeezus out of me. (This fear is what lays behind RTL, btw.)

I used to be freaked out by moths (long story), but after some intensive personal work, I got over most of that. Grasshoppers are another issue. Those things are just creepy. I can stand to be around them, until they touch me (or look like they're about to touch me). Then all bets are off. I blame this horror flick I watched when I was a kid about mutant grasshoppers from outer space. Can't recall the title or even the plot, but the image of millions of giant grasshoppers eating their way across the landscape still haunts me. (I won't even go into the trauma of watching the old version of The Fly, and the months... years... my siblings spent tormenting me with the high-pitched shriek of "Help me! Help me!" :shudder:)

Of the above, only the first two could work into storylines for me. Oh, I suppose I could write a creepy insect book, but that's not my style. I'm more into the psychological and philosophical freak-outs.

Tell me, what freaks you out? And if you write, do you use your fears to drive your books?


Sunday, June 1, 2008


I sat down to work. Really, I did. I opened Manhunter to get some editing done. But I couldn't wrap my brain around it. I opened Nano to get some writing done instead, but the few words I wrote came out lame. Nerts.

Instead I'm thinking about other things. The end of the schoolyear is this week. Summer officially begins. My winter weight needs to come off, and my exercise tapes are calling me. (Despite the fact that I had my daughter make Chocolate Ecstasy Brownies today and those are calling me, too.) I'm thinking about poker. I'm thinking about the birds outside my window, and the book I'm partway through sitting on my living room table. (The new Jordan Dane, btw.)

Distractions. Nothing but distractions... At least right at the moment. I can't worry about school right now. Exercising at night is pointless. (Fat burns more efficiently in the morning, from what I've heard.) I've been playing poker all day, and I should just call it a day. The book is holding about the same appeal as writing, unfortunately. (Not the book's fault, mind you. This is all me.)

I don't need distractions. I need to work. I need to write and edit, so I can get published. Damn it. Nerts on distractions.

I need a smoke, but it's highly unlikely that will get the creative juices flowing. Oh sure, it helps keep them flowing, but I need a Diehard to jump start this tonight.

:bangs head on desk: Work, damn you. Work!

Anyhoo, this has been a totally pointless post. Unless, of course, you have been in the same position and find a bit of comfort in knowing you're not alone. If that's the case, I'm happy to help.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go slap my muse around. She'll work tonight if it kills us both.

So there. =op

Update: Never mind. I kicked the chick into gear, and got back on track. Still no editing, but the new words are finally coming.