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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Unscientific Presidential Poll

The way it looks right now, I don't really want to vote for any of the candidates. Last night I was talking to my husband and I wondered what would happen if voters were given a choice of 'None of the Above'.

So, after flipping through the various news channels, and reading a bit of news on the web, I decided to run my own informal and totally unscientific poll. Of course, it's totally anonymous, so feel free to vote away.

If you could vote right now, who would you vote for? (If you don't know who Barr is, he's the libertarian candidate. I can't remember who else is running, but since only a Dem or a Repub will win, I guess they don't get a spot on my poll. Sorry if you were planning on one of the Other candidates.)

And since this really isn't a political blog, I'm leaving the comments off of this post. Everyone has their own opinions. I just don't want to see them here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

So I'm Lazy Tonight

Instead of writing a blog (or working on writing for that matter), I decided to take a cue from the lovely, stylish and talented Kristen Painter. Tomorrow I'll dish about the books I bought, and maybe the lunch at Olive Garden. (Or perhaps something interesting and enlightening.)

Without further ado.... The Alphabet Meme:

A: Accent - According to an accent quiz I took a couple weeks ago, it's Midwest.

B: Breakfast or No Breakfast - Ugh, I can't even look at food first thing in the morning. I do like breakfast for lunch or dinner, though.

C: Chore I Hate - Dusting. No wait, vacuuming. No... Dishes. Definitely dishes. Or maybe laundry. Do I have to pick just one?

D: Dog or Cat? - Right now, I have a cat, but someday I want both. Lots of both.

E: Essential Electronics - Computer, printer, television, CD player, and radio

F: Favorite Perfume - Sung

G: Gold or Silver - Gold

H: Handbag I Carry Most Often - I only have one. It's big, it's black and it's leather.

I: Insomnia - Only when I'm stressing out about something - like now

J: Job Title - My husband says I'm in charge of domestic affairs.

K: Kids - One teenage daughter

L: Living Arrangements - Shifting too often for my tastes

M: Most Admirable Trait - Well, I'll just say that I was born in the year of the dog, and go with those traits.

N: Naughtiest Childhood Behavior - Getting my older siblings in trouble by tattling on them

O: Overnight Hospital Stays - Two nights when my daughter was born, and 6 weeks after my accident

P: Phobias - Moths, Suffocation

Q: Quote - I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man or ask him to live for mine. - The Strikers' Oath - Ayn Rand (May not be exact... I'm going from memory here.)

R: Reason to Smile - I'm alive. I have a husband who loves me and a daughter who's going to rule the world (or at least her part of it). =o)

S: Siblings - Two of each

T: Time I wake up - when my husband's alarm goes off. Depends on the day.

U: Unusual Talent or Skill - I can whistle inhaling and exhaling.

V: Vegetable I refuse to eat - Brussel Sprouts

W: Worst Habit - Going out in public in clothes that could land me on "What Not To Wear"

X: X-rays - Too many to count.

Y: Yummy Stuff - Yes. But seriously... recently I've become addicted to Chocolate Monster ice cream, but I think a lot of foods are yummy

Z: Zoo Animal I Like the Best - I haven't been to the zoo in years, but I really liked the polar bears at the Detroit Zoo.

Since I never force memes on other people, feel free to join in if you want. Just leave a comment and let me know so I can read your responses, too. =o)


Sunday, September 28, 2008


The full synopsis is done! I reworked and reworded until I got it just right - not too tedious and not a laundry list. The blow-by-blow ended up at 9 pages and around 6300 words. It's a behemoth, but not every agent is going to want the whole damn thing. Now that I've got it, though, I can tailor it to meet whatever each agent requires. Now I just need to move so I can start querying. Yay!

Like I said in another post, don't expect great things of me this week. I have a lot of crap to pack and move, plus a whole other bunch to sort and sell. And as luck would have it, I have a doctor's appointment out of town tomorrow which shoots that day all to hell. (No worries, it's a standard thing - I just don't have a lot of faith in the local docs.) On the upside, I will be hitting the bookstore. Unfortunately, I'm hitting it tomorrow and some really awesome books are hitting the bookstores on Tuesday. :pout: Keep your fingers crossed that some of those books end up on the shelves early. Hey, it's been known to happen.

Another great thing about a day out of town - even if the time would be put to better use at home right now - is that we get to eat lunch at a real restaurant. Sure, it'll be a chain of some sort. Olive Garden, Red Lobster, IHOP... something. Not haute cuisine, but better than the local fare.

So, to wrap this up, what's your favorite chain restaurant? Personally I'm just happy if it's not drive-thru or pizza.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Since It's Saturday...

...it means time to work on the non-writing part of this writing business - chiefly synopsis time again. After five days of not looking at it, it's easier to see what needs to be reworded and what needs to be snipped, but it's still slow going. An hour of tweaking and I'm only done with the first page. Only nine pages to go. And then when the full synopsis is finished, I have to trim it down to 3-5 pages for those agents, or the severe trim down to one page for the sticklers who will only accept a single page. Fun fun fun.

In other news, the Wolverines came back from a 19 point deficit to beat the Badgers. Hail to the Victors Valiant! God, the tension of those last couple minutes was almost unbearable. Damn, I love football. ;o) Also in football news, a few teams lost that I don't much care for. Yay. (Mind you, I don't have anything against Wisconsin - lovely state that features prominently in Manhunter. I just want Michigan to win.) BTW, Michigan State won, too. And so did Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Other than Eastern's loss, it was a good day for the state all in all.

Can you tell I'm a little homesick?

How are things in your world? Did your team win, or do you not really give a hoot about college football?


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Unexpected Plot Twists or Writing While Moving

Heh. I love planstering sometimes. Oh sure, on occasion it drives me batty, but every once in a while, I'm writing along and a plot twist just jumps into my head.

Like tonight. I wasn't expecting that particular thing to happen in the story, but I'm sure glad it did. It was almost like reading a book someone else wrote. And it was so good. :grin:

Ever have that happen to you?

Now that I've written that great twist, and posted about it, I'd like to address something someone commented about in another post. Yes, I am moving and writing. I'm also still schooling (albeit on an abbreviated schedule until after the move). It's not as superhuman as it sounds. I pack and prepare during the day while my daughter is reading or doing her online Spanish course. Since I've made a moratorium against any moving activities at night or on the weekends, I can still work on my writing then. (My husband works too hard all week - bringing home the bacon that keeps me fed and housed and hooked into the net - to have to worry about all the moving crap. Besides, we'll have a happier home if we don't work on this particular project together. Trust me.) Plus, since we aren't moving a lot of stuff, I don't really have too much to pack - other than my books. My books, my job. I wouldn't wish that chore to anyone.

Not to mention, I'm a fast typer, so when I do sit down, my output is pretty high. On the other hand, I can only work in short spurts, so an hour or two works better for me anyway. It's all good. Sometimes I wish I could write for longer periods, but my brain goes on strike if I work it in long stretches.

Anyway, don't expect any output late next week. This stuff has to get from here to there in a few days time, and then I have a moving sale to take care of. I expect to be a toad during those days.

Keep up the good words out there. Time for me to get back to work.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Books are NOT becoming obsolete

If one more person says books are becoming obsolete, or even hint at it, I swear I'm going to scream. Seriously, folks, cut it out. It just ain't true.

Now this may sound like a severe case of denial on my part. Time will tell on that one. But it seems like everyone I know who reads reads actual physical books. Maybe I'm just associating with a different sort of person, but I doubt it. I don't know a single person who owns an e-reader (except maybe some of my online acquaintances). Most readers I know can't wait until the new books hit the grocery store or the Borders or the Walmart. I don't know if they savor the experience like I do, but there's obviously something they prefer about reading a physical copy of a book rather than an e-book.

I know the feeling. Books are an entire sensory experience for me. I can't get the feel of the paper when I read on the computer, I can't smell the paper, I can't snuggle up with an e-book, no pretty bookmarks, no crackle of a new spine or crisp fluttering as the pages turn. Not to mention how much easier a book is on my eyes than a brightly lit computer screen. (Yes, I am a Mogwai and can be heard shrieking 'bright light bright light' when my daughter accidentally flips the wrong switch.) Hell, I have a tough enough time reading an entire short story online let alone a book. Unless, of course, it's mine and I'm editing it. I even print my books out on paper to edit sometimes for petesakes. Call me old-fashioned. Call me behind the times. Screw Kindle. Screw Sony. Give me my paper and print.

I'll tell you one thing, I'll stop reading when they pry the book out of my cold dead hands.

Time to chime in. Old-fashioned like me, or e-reader all the way? Or are you a bit of both? What do you think about the future of the published book?


Knowing What You Know Even When People Think You're Nuts

Back in January of 2004, I had this idea for a book. After watching the movie Armageddon, some things about the science involved made me curious about comets, and I wondered if the whole 'when the big comet hits Earth we'll all die' hypothesis was really correct. Seemed to me that since they were already pretty much in agreement that comets were big balls of loosely adhered frozen material, it would stand to reason that they'd figure out some basic physical properties involved with such a mass.

Okay, so the theory is: Basically a comet is a big dirty snowball. And it's not even packed tight like the ones your brother made that stung like a sonuvabitch. Way out in the deep of space, it's packed almost like that, but the closer these things get to the sun, the looser they get. This is why their tails get longer as they near the sun, and shorter as they get farther away.

Stay with me here. If comets are big snowballs, they are not going to impact the Earth in the same way as a big rock (i.e. an asteroid). No impact crater, no global killer. Maybe some atmospheric changes, etc., but nowhere near as fatal as an asteroid.

I posed this hypothesis to a former friend of mine. He, being the person he is, immediately tried to shoot holes in it. He went home and did some research, and came up with the Shoemaker-Levi 9 comet. I don't know if you remember it, but SL9 hit Jupiter a while back. It shattered into a bunch of pieces, in fact, and then whammo!

Okayfine. I was a little bit bummed that my hypothesis now had holes, but such is life. I dug my feet in and did some more thinking. How could my hypothesis be wrong? And then it hit me.

Jupiter has a greater gravity, it's farther away from the sun, and it's way colder out there than it is here. Any comet that far out is going to be colder, and therefore harder than a comet that's passed the asteroid belt. The sun is farther away and not heating it up as much - thereby making it less dense. And Jupiter's gravity makes everything way heavier than it would be here. Put all that together, and my hypothesis about a comet's affect on Earth still holds water.


This was four years ago. Over the weekend, I watched a show on a phenomena I'd come across in my research way back when. It was discussing the Tunguska Event - wherein a comet* exploded in the atmosphere over Siberia. Not IMPACTED... No crater was ever found. It hit the atmosphere and went kablooie. It wasn't a shower of daylilies, but it wasn't a global killer either. Hell, it didn't even affect the atmosphere as much as Krakatoa's eruption. It went bang, knocked down about 1000 sq miles of trees. (A circle about 35 miles in diameter.) There was some heat and fire, but no one got killed**. The northern lights were extra spectacular for a while, but the world survived.

Ummm, that's what I figured four years ago. I knew I was right, dammit. Maybe not in every little detail, but the basic premise was correct.

So I wrote about a killer comet that wasn't killer, and the affect the idea of global death would have on people. I sent out queries and the rejections that came back made me feel like I should be wearing a foil hat to protect me from the government's mind-rays.

Being right feels good, but it doesn't get my book sold. :heavy sigh:

What's really funny is the book isn't really about the damn comet anyway. It's about the fear of a world that thinks it's going to die, and about the lies that can be perpetuated without the public ever knowing the truth behind it (Global warming scare, anyone?). I just use the comet as a backdrop because of its global scale and the whole scare factor behind something that large possibly wiping out life as we know it.

It's a good book, btw.

So, the point I'm trying to make here is that four years ago I knew what I knew, and even though people thought I was a loon***, I stuck to my guns. I wrote my book. Years from now, if it ever gets published, I could be hailed as a friggin' genius. (Or not. Time will tell.) I had the same problem with Caldera - although my theory there hasn't been proven right yet. I even had one agent tell me the premise was implausible. :shrug: Doesn't matter. It works. I've outlined the science behind it. (Without being dry as dirt, btw.) And I know I'm right. I just have to wait for the rest of the world to catch up. ;o)

Chris Columbus knew the world was round. Galileo knew the universe didn't revolve around the Earth. Not that I'm in their league, but the idea is the same. You have an idea, you get laughed at and berated for it, you stick to it anyway because you know it's right.

Ever had an idea other people thought was crazy, but you knew it wasn't? Or is it just me?

* some people still debate whether it was a comet at Tunguska, but the data points to a comet.
** yes, no one got killed because no one lived there at the time, although lots of critters bought the farm that day.
*** I admit to being a loon; I just don't accept their reasoning for thinking I'm one. ;o)


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Alive!

Okay, just as an update, I went to bed obscenely early yesterday and while I did lay awake for some time, I managed to get a decent night's sleep for a change.

Another update, I think we have a place to live. I've already looked at it. It's pretty nice - pricey, but nice (and huge). I'm talking over the final details with the landlady tomorrow, and we'll be moving in next week. Which means packing this place and having it mostly ready to go in a little over a week's time. Not fun, but manageable. I once packed (with help, of course) an entire apartment's worth of my stuff and my live-in (long gone, long boring story) BF's stuff in a couple weeks for a cross-country move. (Of course, that time he packed up my desk one night while I was sleeping which led to several very important things getting stuffed into a box marked x-mas and those things being lost until the actual holiday arrived, but that's another story.) I've moved so many times now, it's old hat.

In writing news, I'm getting some good words out. Usually I start writing about eight and write for a couple hours. Tonight, I'm calling it quits early so I can get some more of that precious sleep we all seem to need. Keep your fingers crossed for me.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Sleep... I Need Sleep

Ever have something so overwhelmingly on your mind that no matter how tired you are you can't sleep?

That's been my life since I found out we had to move. Every night I go to bed so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, and as soon as my head hits the pillow, my brain starts whirring. I don't mind when it does this as a result of trying to sort out a plot point that's driving me nuts, but this moving-insomnia is thoroughly irritating the crap out of me.

Which means I'm more surly than usual. Sleep deprivation does that to a person. I'm not to the 'rip off your head spit down the hole' yet, but a few more nights like this, and look out.

I'm not a pill-poppin' kinda gal, but those Ambien commercials are looking mighty nice right about now. Hell, I've even thought about stooping to a stop at the local liquor store for some snoozy wine. But since I have to be alert in the morning, both options are a No. *shrug* (I'm super sensitive to medication, so even something as wimpy as Tylenol PM makes me loopy for about 24 hours. I can't even begin to imagine what a sleeping pill would do to me.) Nope, I just have to weather this out and hope I come out the other side with a shred of sanity intact.

On the upside, this sleeplessness is giving me more time to write. On the downside, by the time it gets around to writing time, I'm too pooped to think. At least until after I've already tried to go to bed once. The other night I got up after a half hour of tossing, and wrote some good words. Maybe tonight will work out that way, too.

I do have some mental tricks for falling asleep. None of them are working right now, but here they are:

- Imagine a big blackboard. Now write the number 100 in chalk and then very slowly erase it. Write 99 and then erase it. And so on until you either fall asleep or reach zero. I can't remember ever making it past 89. (Except for those nights when I'm too distracted and then I don't even get to 97 before my brain is on to other things.)

- Find the most relaxing song you know and sing/hum it in your head - very slowly - until you fall asleep. I usually pick something classical or a lullaby. Usually works in no time at all. (Right now, my brain keeps changing the tune.)

- Picture an infinity symbol. (If you aren't familiar with it, it looks like an 8 laying on its side.) Trace the symbol over and over until you fall asleep. This one can be used in conjunction with the above humming. For this sleep trick, I like to sing a song I heard when I was a child about inchworms measuring marigolds. (Do you know that one?)

- Tell yourself over and over that whatever you're thinking about can wait until morning. After all, there's nothing you can do about it late at night anyway. Right? To my dismay, this isn't working either. My subconscious has been telling my conscious to STFU, it's going to think about whatever it wants to think about whether anything can be done or not.

- And when worse comes to worst, after about a half hour, get the hell out of bed. At least then your spouse will get some sleep and both of you won't be dragging ass the next day. When I got up last night, my husband was still awake - poor thing - but within ten minutes of my leaving, he was sawing logs.

Any tricks you have for getting to sleep? Any words of wisdom? I'm willing to try anything that doesn't involve chemicals, booze, or a sharp blow to the skull.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Uhhhhh.... :thud:

That, my friends, is the sound I make when I finish a synopsis. A long groan and then my head hits the desk.

Yessirreebob, the first draft is done. Shoot me now.

Checking In


It's been a couple days since I stopped by here, and I just thought I'd take a moment to let y'all know what's been happening.

Let's see... Friday: I think we may have found a house. I'll be finalizing details tomorrow. It's lovely, and it's not too expensive. The only problem is it's furnished. Not huge - most of our furniture is old and worn - but the problem is: What to do with all this crap. Garage sale anyone? Great, but if it doesn't sell, where the hell am I going to put it? *shrug* Distractions, distractions. I also started packing. I've only done the living room and only the books we're definitely keeping, but I've already got a dozen boxes filled. I haven't even started on the store. (BTW, the store is closed until further notice. I can't pack and sell books at the same time.)

Yesterday I proclaimed it would be a weekend where I wouldn't do any packing or think about moving. I needed a day off. The proclaimation was great, but it only half worked. I didn't do any packing, but I can't stop thinking about the damn move. Sleep? Not getting any. I also took the day off writing. Instead, I watched football, played poker and read. Kay Hooper's new book "If There Be Dragons" is pretty good. Not what I was expecting, but still enjoyable. Oh, and MSU beat Notre Dame, so the honor of the state of Michigan is once more intact. Too bad Michigan didn't play, but maybe they needed a week off to get their heads out of their... Ummm... Maybe they needed a week to get their game back together.

Today I sat down and worked. I took the comments I've gotten back on Manhunter so far and plugged in suggestions, fixed typos and generally cleaned up the manuscript. One comment I found helpful was that I used the word 'bitch' too much. I searched the whole document, and switched out about 75% of the instances. (Couldn't remove them all. After all, sometimes 'bitch' just fits.) Thank you very very much, Ladies. :hugs: You guys are awesome. Once I finished up that bit of work, I started back on the synopsis. (Okay, I played poker for a while first, but I did get some synopsizing done.) I'm now about halfway through the story, and 2100 words into the synopsis. I'll finish it all up - hopefully by tonight - and then start with the weed eater-whacking off unnecessary bits. I was hoping to start submitting this by the end of the month, but with the impending move and stuff, I think it might have to be put off until I have a firm physical address again. Unless, of course, I get antsy... then I'll submit to people who take e-queries. My email addy is not changing, and neither is my phone number - so if I get requests for more pages or THE CALL, I won't be out of touch completely.

Well, that's my life in a nutshell. How's things on your end?


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Accomplishments and Envy

Well, I made it to nine-thirty last night sans coffee. Plus, I managed to crank out 2400 words - thank goodness for the plot points I figured out the other night. Now I have a general idea what the next few scenes should be, and how to get from one to the other. Yay. Of course, I've got my heroine in a mess of crap, and the hero thinks she's purposefully trying to screw the pooch - neither of which I'm quite sure how to resolve. But that's the fun of plantstering.

In other news, a friend of mine posted her own accomplishments to her blog. She got her story back on track, and since she's not working right now, she managed to really crank out the words. I was thoroughly impressed and said so in her comments. She should be very proud of her work. Unfortunately, some nimrod felt the need to shit all over her in the comments. Like she had nothing to brag about. Feh.

The more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to think the jerkstick doesn't have anything in his own life to be proud of, so he feels the need to trash other peoples' accomplishments just to make himself feel better about his ultimate loser-ness. Kind of pathetic when you think about it.

I'm happy for any writer who cranks out beaucoup words. I'm thrilled when other writers get requests for partials and fulls. I'm tickled when I hear someone else got published, or that they found an agent. (Except of course if I know from personal experience that their writing just blows, which has only happened once.) I'm jealous, of course - who wouldn't be - but I don't let that jealousy overwhelm me. I want what they have, and someday I'll get it for myself. And I'll get it without raining on their parade. Thank you very much.

Now, here at The Writing Spectacle, I don't allow snerty comments like that to post. It's a waste of my time, and since I wouldn't let anyone come into my house with that attitude, I sure as hell don't want them here. (If you're the jerk in question, this means don't bother trying to spew nastiness here. I'll just delete it, so why waste your precious time?)

Okay. Since I'm all ranted out, and I'm still several quarts of caffiene low, I'll bid you all adieu for now. Have a great day.

And don't let the bastards grind you down.



As of a few minutes ago, Nano is at the halfway point. Since I already have one of my beta readers chomping at the bit to read my next book, this is more than a good thing. Gotta keep those wonderful betas happy, doncha know.

Of course, Nano is still a bit scattered, but I'm forging ahead anyway. If it's still jumbled when I type THE END, then I'll pull it apart and sew it back together. I don't think I'm that far off of the finished layout anyway.

Unfortunately, it's only quarter after eight and I can hardly keep my eyes open. Maybe I'll make a pot of coffee. That'll keep me up until the wee hours of the morning. I'll be trashed tomorrow, but that's the price we pay for our work. Right?

Oh, speaking of tomorrow, I'm getting a haircut. Not a big thing in most people's lives, but since I only get my hair cut a couple times a year, it's big for me. I'm going short this time. (Right now, my hair hangs past my shoulders.) Should be fun. If it turns out, I should probably post a new picture over there. We'll see how it goes.

Anyway, back to work for me. Or sleep... Coffee! I need coffee!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ranty McRanterson

I admit it. From time to time, I watch CSPAN. I mean, seriously, people should know how their government works and see their elected officials actually doing the jobs for which they were elected. More often then not, it's interesting and informative.

And then there are times like today when it's just frustrating and asinine.

We were flipping through the channels, and stopped on CSPAN to see what was up in Washington. The bottom of the screen said the current discussion was to address the naming of a post office in some town in Florida. "Okay," I think to myself, "this shouldn't take long." Right? Ummm...

Then they announced that Senator Whats-her-face and Senator Whats-his-nose would each have twenty minutes to speak on the issue. 40 minutes to debate naming a post office? I didn't take that long naming my daughter.

Okay, fine. Two-thirds of an hour to name a public building. Maybe one side wanted to name it something truly un-American - like Fidel Castro Post Office or Stalin Postal Annex - and the other was saying 'no way in hell'. Or maybe they were undecided over several good names. I dunno. Forty minutes would be okay in that case, I guess.

But no. The proposal was to name the post office after one of the flight attendants from Flight 93. She did something heroic. And she died while trying to save another building from being demolished by terrorists. It seems like a pretty obvious decision to me.

Name it after her. Took me ten seconds to decide.

I turned CSPAN off after a couple minutes of watching Whats-her-face posture. I don't know how long it actually took, or what the other guy had to say. It was too ridiculous.

I just looked it up. The average congressman makes about 170K a year. (Senators may make more or less - I couldn't tell.) That means we just spent over a hundred dollars so these two people could debate what to name a post office. And that's just the two of them. Other politicians were there. If there were ten of them sitting around watching, that's a thousand bucks the American Public might as well have just lit fire to. Fwoof.

Let's say they waste that kind of time every day. $5K a week. $260,000 a year. What if there were twenty politicians sitting around every day for things like this important debate on postal names??? HALF A MILLION DOLLARS.

I don't know about you, but I think we could all use some of that money back.

Hey, Washington??? Tell you what. Give me a portion of that, and I'll name every post office you want. Hell, I'll undercut the margin and give it to you for half of what you're paying now. Half-rate to take care of every lame ass time wasting gesture that comes out of my pocket. I think that's fair.

What do you think?

Monday, September 15, 2008


I was really getting on a nice writing jag, and then...

Darling daughter had a homework question about calderas, which led to a discussion about volcanism in general, which led to a discussion about plate techtonics, which led to a discussion of how nature adapted to the drifting continents, and thus to the weird animals scattered about the world.

All of which led to total derailment of my writing jag.

Not that I'm complaining. (Well, not too loudly.) After all, it is my job to teach her and help her with her homework so she can succeed in life. It was a really productive discussion and we got a lot of confusion out of the way about the whole plate techtonics thing, and volcanoes in general. But I was committed to writing tonight.

*shrug* I'll take those kinds of distractions whenever they arise. In the whole scheme of things, they're worth it.

What big distractions do you have in your life?


Cornucopia of Musings

Not sleeping really does wonders for working. Lemme tell ya. I didn't expect to work tonight. Hell, I went to bed an hour and a half ago. But after laying there for over thirty minutes, I figured I was doing more harm than good. Tossing and turning doesn't help me get to sleep, and I'm sure it didn't help my husband to get to sleep either. So I said screw it, and got up. Fired the old computer alive again, and went to work on my synopsis. I'm up to 1300+ words. yay.

In other news today, I began sorting through boxes to decide which stuff gets moved and what gets thrown out. I filled a big gray Hefty with shredded old manuscript pages, and another bag with any non-essential paperwork with dates older than '07. Three boxes empty that weren't before, and the keepers stuffed into a fourth box that was full before. Another yay there. Good thing I worked for a brief time shredding medical records--the shredder wasn't moving fast enough, so about 500 pages got ripped into nice one inch-ish strips. (Who knew after all these years I still had the hang of it? *shrug*)

Of course, we still don't have a new place to live, but I can't wait forever to get started on this. I'm trying to look on the bright side: This is the perfect time to sort through old crap and toss it. I used to be a horrible packrat, but after all the times I've moved, I've learned to part with stuff. (Except for that bag my mother gave me with all my old report cards and papers she thought were important enough to keep, and old school pictures. I've got the same stuff saved for my daughter, too.)

Today on the news, they interviewed a woman who ignored the evacuation order for Hurricane Ike. Her and her husband spent the night sleeping on boards stretched across ladders, with their pets stuffed in the attic. I guess the thought was that it wouldn't get that bad. Ummm... I knew it would get that bad, and I live in Colorado. The NWS issued a statement saying that sticking around could be fatal. That sounds pretty bad to me. It's like people who ignore tornado sirens and then wonder why their whole family is dead - even though they had a perfectly good basement. (I hope wherever our new house is, it has a basement. Tornados are scary enough without having to hide under the stairs or curl up in the bathtub with a kid and a cat.) Evacuation orders are there for a reason, people. Thankfully, most people got the hell out of Dodge when they heard Ike was coming, and the loss of life was low. I'm sorry anyone had to die in that thing, but it could've been much worse.

Okay, sleep is finally knocking at my frontal lobe. Hopefully I'll still be sleeping when you're reading this, but it's doubtful. School day tomorrow. And more house hunting.

Good night, all.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Here I Go Again

Here we go synopsizing along the... la la laaaa. I forget the words. Anyway, I'm back to synopsizing again. Weeeeeee.

This morning I re-read Anne Mini's series on writing a synopsis. It fired me up last time. This time? Not so much. I know the drill. I've done it umpteen times now; I can do it again.

So why the hell is it so damn hard?

*shrug* Hard or not, it has to be done. The first agent on my list asks for a synopsis up front. Of course, I could be a wimp and not submit to her yet, but that would be cutting off my nose to spite my face. There is no rational reason to handicap my chances by not doing a synopsis, so here I am. Again.

One of the things Ms. Mini says about writing a synopsis is to not get a 'tude about it. I don't have one. I seriously understand the need, and I'm happy to comply. My problem is, I don't feel like I write them nearly as well as I write the story. My stories flow out of me, and I have to drag a synopsis out.

Another thing she says, and many agree with, is that the synopsis should read like a story. It should not read like a laundry list of events. I get that. I try to write them that way. I really do. And they still come out that way. Turds that they are. So I edit the damn synopses almost as much as I edited the manuscript (maybe more... I know it feels like more).

Anyway, enough bitching. I got a good start out tonight. And this is how I've learned to do it...

First, I sit down on the couch with a notepad. Today I spent most of the day thinking about how to begin. I made a few lame attempts, and finally hit on the wording for the first paragraph. After that I did several more lame attempts at the second paragraph until I was irritated enough to walk my ass over to the computer. I typed in the good stuff, and let my fingers do the walking from there. It's crap, and it needs a boatload of editing, but it's better than sitting and thinking about what I want to say. (Never get writing done just sitting and thinking, I say.) After the first few paragraphs, I opened the manuscript, and checked to see if I was skipping anything. Yep, missed some important points. Added that stuff in, and moved forward.

Right now I have 713 words of synopsis, and I've covered the first six chapters. Not a bad start now that I think about it. Since part of my attack plan for these things is to write down every little thing, there'll be a lot of chopping to get it down to the typical 3-5 pages - depending on which agent wants it. Then there'll be those agents who want the whole damn thing, and the agents who only want a page or two at the most. I'll tailor it to whoever I'm sending it to, of course. (One thing about writing an in-depth synopsis is that you can always tweak it to whatever length it needs to be. If you've only got a two-pager, expanding it to 7-10 pages is so much harder, I think.)

So, the hope is that I will be able to send this out on submission soon. If you're reading this and you're still reading for me, keep going. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

How do you feel about synopsizing? Any tips?


Friday, September 12, 2008

Chocolate Monster

Never was there a more appropriately named treat as Chocolate Monster ice cream. So ooey, gooey. And the ice cream is so smooth. And the chunks are so yummy. *happy sigh*

The sight, the smell, the taste... They call to me.

I suppose this is what happens when a person has been dieting for too long. After six plus weeks of staying away from all things decadent, I snapped. I couldn't take it any more. I needed something. So I went to the store and bought a half-gallon of the above evil. It was more wonderful than I thought. The small dish I had at first was bad enough. And it sucked me in.

So I had another dish. A great big dish. After weeks of nearly no sweet treats, I could only eat half the bowl in one sitting. (So I stuck the bowl in the freezer, waited a couple hours and ate the rest.) It was worth every calorie.

As I was sitting here writing furiously a few minutes ago, my darling husband walked by with a mountain of the luscious stuff. He's done with his, but I can hear the frozen wonder calling to me from it's perch between the fat free fudgicles and the Weight Watchers ice cream bars. "Eat meeeeee.... Eat meeeeee...." Between its calls, it's laughing at those pathetic desserts. It knows they will never satisfy me.

It's laughing at me.

And it's voice is so cold.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Unexpected Derailment

The night before last I got some unexpected and annoying news. Our landlord sold our house. It's moving time again.

Yeah, that's what I thought.

Anyway, I spent a chunk of yesterday sending out feelers for a new place for us to live. I have a couple leads, but nothing firm. This being a small town makes finding a good rental a bit of a trial. (And that could qualify for understatement of the year.) Thank goodness our landlord is being flexible with the amount of time. He assured me that he won't kick us out until we have a new place.

Yay, no living in the town's trashy motel. We won't be setting up residence in a box either.

Of course, this means that any outstanding SASEs will have a tougher time finding their way home, but as long as they come within six months of the move, the USPS forward order should get them to me eventually.

It also means that my vow to write more and more often will get shunted aside as I try to pack this place and move it. Last count I had around 2000 books (and that's not counting the daughter's vast library). Ugh. If I find a place big enough, they're all going with me. If not, I'll be having one hell of a sale. When I heard about the sale of this house, I just laid on the couch staring up at one of my bookshelves wondering which books I couldn't live without - if worse came to worst. If I was honest with myself, I could probably get rid of most of them. If it weren't for the homeschool aspect, that is. I never know what I might want to assign as reading material for class. And if not for the collectible ones, the signed ones, the books by people I know that I swore I'd never sell. And the contents of my store, which I'm gritting my teeth about selling in a garage sale for a quarter when I could get so much more by selling them online.


C'est la vie.

I didn't come here to whine. Sorry. Anyway, I just wanted to let everyone know that I'm shifting locales again. Which, if I remember right from last year's move, may derail both the writing and the blogging. We'll see how things go. I'll update y'all as things progress.

What's news in your world? Anything good?


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Slang and Other Fun Things

Yesterday my daughter and I were having a discussion about the English language. I don't remember how it started (Don't the best conversations happen that way?) but we talked about various dialects in American and around the world, then we talked about different words having different meanings in different places. Like how 'boot' means trunk in the UK, and cookies are biscuits.

During our little discussions, I like to use the internet to highlight my point or underscore the issue. As we talked, I went in search of things to illustrate how English differs. The first place I found had a quiz you can take to find out what kind of accent you have. (It says my accent is 'Inland North', and my daughter's accent is 'The Midland'. Go figger.) The next was a site that had sound files of people with different accents saying the same words, but I can't find the link this morning. :grumble: stupid internet :grumble: Then we found this Wikipedia article on different dialects of the English language. Interesting stuff.

After that, the conversation morphed to a discussion of the various words people use in different places, and how they use them. For instance in the Upper Peninsula, the people speak something called 'Yooper', which is more or less English (but different). For instance, they use 'da' for 'the' and 'ya' for 'yes'. An example would be a saying they had up there when I was living in the area: "Say ya to da U.P., eh?"

Or when I lived in the south (Tallahassee isn't really Florida, it's more like Georgie-lite). A frequently used term over there was 'all y'all'. Y'all can mean a single person or a a non-specific group, but 'all y'all' generally means 'all of you'.

"Y'all can stay, but all y'all have to get the hell out of here." Or something like that.

Anyway, we were still talking and we moved from the regional dialects to the actual use of slang in different parts of the world. An example of this would be the word 'fag' which means cigarette in the UK, but is a derogatory term for homosexuals in the US. Of course, this part of the discussion lead me to search for a way to illustrate what I was talking about and I found a dictionary of English slang and colloquialisms. (Be warned: Many of the words and phrases found there are for adult eyes only - and not very sensitive eyes at that.)

Anyway, this relates to writing because even though we writers may be confined to a particular region of the English speaking world, we don't have to confine ourselves to only writing in that dialect or using that slang. We also don't have to confine ourselves to out own little region - as long as the characters come out sounding like they're from where we've made them from. It gives us a little more leeway in how we write. So we know that any story about the south can't have characters going down to the store to get a pop, and any story about the British can't have them riding in an elevator or eating french fries.

What are some regional things specific to where you live or have lived? Do you use different dialects and accents in your writing, or do you just find it annoying? If you took the quiz, what's your accent?


Sunday, September 7, 2008

This n That

This weekend signaled two things...

First, it was the opening weekend of Pro-Football. Yay! I love football. Of course, I love college football more than pro, but they both make me happy. I love the artistry of a well-caught pass, and the athleticism of a running back juking his way through a mass of huge bodies to get the ball down the field. *happy sigh* I can't wait for the first Monday Night Football of the year. Packers vs. Vikings. GO PACK!

Also Michigan finally won a game this weekend. I only wish that Ohio State had lost.

Second, I got back to writing new words. Double Yay! It wasn't much. But considering I was still stymied as to how to proceed from here, I'm happy with even 700 words. I sat down on the couch with my trusty red pen and notepad, trying to figure out the answer to the eternal question: "What comes next?" When I talked myself through the problem, the answer presented itself, and I sat here. 700 words ain't a bad start.

As I said before, this book is more difficult than any I've written. More twists, more tension, and more players involved in the outcome. I'm keeping it third limited, and I'm trying not to head-hop - at least not so that it's jarring. So far, I'm liking the outcome. Time will tell if anyone else likes it, too.

And on that note, I think I'm pretty close to getting ready to send Manhunter out into the world. The only problem is my readers have busy lives right now. So, if any of you have any free time and would like to read a suspense novel tinged with romance, drop me an e-mail. All I'm looking for is a little proofing and a heads-up if you find anything that either isn't explained well or sounds off for some reason. I'll be happy to do a reciprocal read, or if you don't have anything you need read, I'm willing to send you a book in appreciation. (I have about 1500 to choose from.)

If you're interested, let me know. Otherwise, tell me how your teams did this weekend.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Caught Up With Myself

Well, I just finished re-reading and editing what I'd already written on Nano. It's was pretty good stuff and now it's even better. New layers. New twists.

And the same old wall.

You see, I wrote something that I'm not sure I can get out of, but it's so damn good, I'm not sure if re-writing that part will make the story better or worse. (I'd say what, but that'd be telling.) Whenever this happens, I'm reminded of one of my favorite movie quotes:

"Okay, Joan Wilder, write us out of this one." (Or something like that. I haven't seen the movie in ages. Oh, and bonus points for naming that movie.)

This has happened before, and the results - once I figure them out - are usually better than I originally hoped. I'm not worried yet. Tomorrow, I'll get to brainstorming how to get myself out of the corner I painted myself into.

How are things going in your world? Ever write yourself into a corner like I do, or are you one of those people who plot everything out in advance?


Friday, September 5, 2008


Would you believe that 'refiled' and 'unchosen' are not really words? (And don't talk to me about the Wiktionary. It's not a reliable source, yet.)

Seriously though. Typing along just now, and MS Word had a conniption over both words. Lucky me, I had them both in the same sentence no less. "He refiled the unchosen candidates." I could've sworn both were actual words. Merriam-Webster says they aren't. So do most other references. Feh.

Refile - to file again. Or once more. You file. After you take something out, and you want to put it back, you refile it. Right?

Ummm.... no.

Unchosen - not chosen. (It's even the title of a book I read once, but that's neither here nor there.) You have a bunch of things to chose from. The one you pick is your choice. The rest are unchosen. Seems reasonable. Doesn't it?

*shrug* So, I reworded the sentence. It was tighter the other way, but this new way works, too. Heaven forbid I use an un-word.

Have any unwords you use? What are your thoughts on the occasional un-word in books you've read?

Maybe I should write a dictionary of un-words so writers like me don't trip over them on occasion. ;o)

(Oh, and upon spellchecking this post, I've also learned blogger considers 'could've' an unword, too. Too bad, I'm using that one anyway. So there. =op)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Evil Laugh

New twist added.

Story getting juicier and more tense.


And now I must sleep.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Ugh. How do some people do this? Seriously. Hell, I can't remember how I used to do this when I was a single mom with a full time job writing at night.

Maybe it was the booze. ;o)

Right now I'm a full time teacher, and full time mom in charge of all domestic affairs during the day, and a writer at night. I'm pooped. Of course it didn't help that I had to do a full-on house cleaning yesterday because my landlord is the kind of person who would sell his mother if he could (which means this house, even though we rent it, is always on the market). My house is spotless, but I've been draggin' butt all day.

Tonight, I edited a chapter and added maybe 200 words, and I'm friggin' bushed. There's not enough ice tea in the county to keep me awake and it's only 8 o'clock. (BTW, ice tea... very low cal if you make it with sweetner.)

Speaking of diets, as of Monday, I dropped 6 lbs. Six pounds and this is the sixth week. Not burning up the diet highway, but everything I read said a pound a week was the way to go, so I'm happy.

Anyway, sorry for the lack of blog posts. With school in session, I don't have as much free computer time as I used to. She's doing about 75% of her English on the computer, all of her Spanish, and half of her geology (she doesn't have internet access on her 'puter). Plus about half of history is the two of us doing online research into various aspects of the material she read as homework the night before. And her 'desk' is about four feet from mine, so it's hard to keep her focused while I'm over here typing away. Needless to say, I get the computer first thing in the morning and after dinner. By then, I have x-amount of time to work on my writing before I'm too pooped to pop.

If you're one of those people who juggles a bazillion things, and still manages to keep a good writing schedule (while also maintaining your sanity), tell me how you do it.


Monday, September 1, 2008

Purge Complete

Nothing like a good old-fashioned panic attack, I say. Thanks to all the people who wished me well, and tried to help me get over it. It really helped.

It also helped to get all that crap out on paper (so to speak). Purge the system and start clean. *shrug* Whatever it takes to get the job done.

I got back to work tonight. For once, my writing doesn't feel like crap. I can actually see where I was headed and what I wanted to say. So far, I'm just going back over what I'd already written, but I'm editing as I go, and I like what I'm adding. (Even my editing felt sucky for the past few weeks.)

So, the purge is complete, and I'm moving ahead again.

Until the next panic attack. On the upside, I usually only get a major one of these once a year. (Minor ones every quarter. LOL)

Maybe I should've written that huge whiney, ranty, bitchy post weeks ago. I could've avoided all this crap and gotten some work done while I had extra time to do it. You know, like when my daughter was still on summer break. Now I have to confine my writing to nights and weekends because my days are filled with teaching. It's worth it, but it's not easy.

But whoever said life was easy.

Here's hoping things are jelling wherever you are and with whatever you're doing. And to those people in the hurricane effected areas, my thoughts are with you. Keep your head down, and when they say evacuate, get the hell out of town.