Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh Damn - A Memoriam

Three years ago a dear friend was diagnosed with cancer, last night he passed away. It was a tough battle that we thought he'd won when he went through chemo the first time. Well, all of us but him. He knew the truth, and he still didn't let it break him. Hell, he expected it to come back, and when it did, he fought it. In the end, though, he expected to beat it one more time. Unfortunately, this time death was a tougher opponent than even he could master.

He was the best friend my husband had, and a good friend to me as well. He was the one I went to when life around here got too ludicrous, because he would help me laugh at things when I was too close to see humor in anything. When I was one step away from going screaming chicken on the idiots around me, his boisterous cajoling made me see how they weren't worth the effort.

Boisterous... yeah, that's one word for him. He was one of those guys you either loved or hated. Some people called him rude, obnoxious (and worse). Then again, he wasn't a huge fan of those people either and called them names I can't repeat on the blog. Thinking about it now, the reasons other people had for not liking him are probably some of the same reasons I have for liking him.

I can't give too many more details about him without giving away my identity and location, but suffice it to say, he was one hell of a person. Always quick with an insightful comment or a stinging barb (where it was deserved), he was the kind of person who never took shit from anyone and one of the hearty few who stuck to his principles even when it was hard to do so.

We lost a good man last night- a man of integrity - and I'm heartbroken. Not just for my husband (who lost his only sounding board for things even I don't quite understand), not just for his wife and son (whose lives are infinitely more difficult now), but for the world. We need men like him, and they are so few that we can't afford to lose a single one.

There are so many things I want to say... but nothing seems sufficient...

Oh damn. I'm going to miss the hell out of you, you ornery old ox. We may not always have seen eye to eye, but thank you for being you, my friend. The world was a brighter and more interesting place while you were here.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Improving the Blog

I've been wondering if those of you who visit this blog - the few, the proud, the slightly off-kilter - would mind answering a few questions. You see, I've been wondering what I can do to get you to comment, and what else I can do to bring more visitors. The more the merrier, right?

What brought you here?
What brings you back?
If you only stop here every once in a while, what would encourage you to come by more often?

I know I spend a lot of time talking about writing - after all, that's the purpose of The Writing Spectacle in whichever incarnation you enjoy - but are all the posts about the biz turning you off?

I know I used to get more comments on posts I ranted during or those when I needed some encouragement. I stopped writing those kinds of posts since the transfer to this new home because I was feeling too negative. However...

Since I stopped ranting, do you find yourself more or less inclined to visit? Because I can totally rant again. In the words of Dennis Miller: I rant, therefore I am. I can also spend more time writing about worrying over the biz - lord knows I do it enough in my head.

What do you think of the new scheduled blog topics: the Weekly Update on Friday, Saturday's Super Site, and Sunday Book Review (even though I missed this past week - I was busy reading)? I put them in because I get fewer hits Fri-Sun, so I figured those were good days to try something new.

And lastly, if you're a habitual lurker, what keeps you from commenting?

I'd turn this into a contest, but my last contest kinda flopped, so I'm leery about trying it again. Let's just say whoever comments on this post will have my appreciation and leave it at that.



Monday, April 27, 2009

Snow Day!

Including today, there are four days left until May. So, um, why is it snowing? I think Mother Nature missed the memo about it being Spring. Apparently she also missed Gore's book about global warming, but that's a rant for another day. (Okay, it's probably a rant for another blog since I washed my hands of that whole ranty thing.)

Bob Robin is more than a little pissed about the white stuff. And little Miss Mourning Dove looks positively dejected, huddle on her branch like she is. On a morning like this, I agree with her. It's hard to sing - even when you only have one song - when you wake up to unexpected flitters. Still, there must be something positive in all this...

So, I think I'm going to declare a snow day. There's less than a quarter inch of the stuff. It's only sticking to cars and the tips of grass, but when life hands you mid-Spring snow, make a slushie. =o)

In honor of this end-of-April bizarreness, I'm canceling school. It'll make one teenager happy, and instead of school, she can do what she loves - which is to say she'll be helping me out in my bookstore. We're doing some inventory work to make sure everything on the shelves is listed for sale, and everything listed for sale exists in inventory.

Sounds boring, but we really do have fun doing it. We did a little of this on Friday, and my kid - who's been pondering what to be when she grows up - asked if there was a job where she could spend her days organizing and analysing data. (If you can think of anything other than Data Analyst, let me know.)

For me, a snow day really isn't that different from a regular day, except I get to use my computer more. (She does a couple subjects online, and her computer isn't hooked to the internet.) I may get a little writing done this afternoon, or I could make up for not doing any writerly pursuits yesterday and start typing in the edits for Nano.

What do you have planned for today? How's the weather where you are?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Saturday's Super Site

Have you ever gotten one of those emails telling you about some shocking thing you never dreamed was true, but one which the email assures you is fact? You know, like the one telling you about the dangers of aspartame, or the one about gators in the sewers. (Okay, that's not an email chain, but it's the same principle.) I don't get those letters often, but when I do, it's usually from some well-meaning relative who wants to keep me safe or keep me informed.

Snopes seems to be the leader in debunking all the urban myths. Hell, they've got myths I've never even heard of - like the one about reusing plastic bottles. (Supposedly freezing water in them releases dioxins that could kill you... Except a researcher at John Hopkins totally debunks that.)

These myths floating through the email are usually easy to spot. Their claims are so wild sometimes, you can't help but laugh. Other times, though, the myth seems real enough to actually scare people.

For instance, last year I get a call from my oldest sister. She never calls me. Never. It seems she got an email from a dietician she knows claiming that aspartame is poison. Since a great deal of our family drinks diet pop, she was quite concerned. She called me to warn me because my daughter drinks diet pop. Hell, after she read me the email, I was almost freaking out. (It was one scary ass email.) Before I let myself fall into the full-on freakout, though, I did some research. Google it, and you'll find a bunch of sites confirming the dangers of aspartame. Until you get to Snopes - and they tear the whole thing down like a pack of badly stacked cards. The aspartame myth is false. They even have a copy of the letter my sister received posted there.

Needless to say, I talked to my sister. I told her the truth and pointed her toward Snopes so she could see for herself. (We're not a family that takes each others' words for anything.) Another crisis averted, and we all get to sip our Diet Dew in peace.

So, if you ever receive an email from anyone telling you something like this, take a moment and utilize Snopes. Even if it turns out the email is true - like the one warning about teenagers dying after snorting canned air - you'll at least have confirmation from a reliable source. In this day of information, never take anything as a given. Check your sources, and if you're still not sure, check them again.

As for this site and writing, think of the story ideas you could play with from the myths alone, let alone the ones you'll find in the true reports. It's a veritable treasure trove.

Whatever you use it for, enjoy the site - but make sure you have good pop-up blockers. Sometimes their advertisers get a little overzealous.

What are some things you've heard that you're not sure are true? Check it out at Snopes and them come back here and tell us what you found out.

Oh, and BTW, Alligators in the sewers? Even if they did make a movie out of the idea, it's still false.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Weekly Update, etc.

Since last Friday, I...

- wrote 8200 words (although most of that was for a book I stopped writing)
- inked up most of Nano. Only a few chapters left and I can start making changes to the electronic version. Yay.
- read a book - which may not sound important, but I've been so focused on writing, my reading time has been curtailed.
- sent some more queries and received my first couple rejections. (No word on either the full or the partial yet, but I didn't expect a quick turnaround on either.)
- started a new book. Yay!

In other news...

Spring is ramping up to full swing here in NE CO. The birds are singing, the neighbor's tulips are blooming, and the scrubby little shrub in the front yard is finally getting leaves (I thought it was dead).

The stray cat I feed - named Mama Kitty - is preggers again. (So you can understand why I call her that.) If she let me near her, I'd scoop her up and get her spayed. No one deserves to be a baby factory, and this town doesn't need any more feral kitties running around. The hubby even half-joked about finding this next litter and stealing a baby for our very own. (Only one survived out of her last litter - BB Kitty - and it is quite possibly the cutest kitty I've ever seen. Seriously. Too bad it's feral, or I'd keep him/her for my very own.)

I've really got to stop naming all the local critters. My poor husband can't tell who's who any more, and he always gets this adorable look when I start talking about Murray or Jay or Bob. Murray is the black & white longhair cat, Jay is the black cat, and Bob is my catfood eating robin. There's also Max the tabby, Simon the grey cat (formerly Simone until he started wooing MamaKitty), not to mention Oliver the nuthatch, Syracuse the housefinch and Percival O. Possum (the O stands for Oleander, btw - yes, I'm a kook).

My own Kira kitty watches all of them with distain from her perch at the window. I get the distinct feeling she thinks I'm cheating on her with all the other cats.

What about you? Do you have pets that aren't really your pets? Oh, and back to the subject of this post, how was your week?

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Look over there -------------->

Your eyes don't deceive you. There's a new word meter with an awesome first day word count.

Once I made the decision to stall production on Fertile Ground, I knew I needed to be working on something else, but I figured I'd just focus on Nano until I figured out what. Huzzah huzzah, the idea came to me yesterday afternoon.

EQ is a futuristic YA/adult crossover - like Blink. I actually started this thing at the beginning of the year, but it never went anywhere because I was too busy working on other things. The idea that came to me yesterday was how to restart this story. So I went to open the file and look over what I'd already written and... it wasn't on my hard drive. :gasp: I looked everywhere because I was sure I'd already written the beginning. Then I remembered I was sitting on the couch when I did it. Sure enough, I flipped back through my trusty notebook, and there it was. Yay.

Except I didn't like the old beginning. Hack slash rend, and a new Huzzah came about. I saw the true beginning, and it flowed out of my fingers. I started writing about 3 in the afternoon (and I never write in the afternoon - so that's saying something). By the time my husband got home I was 2800 words in. After dinner I added another thousand, and EQ is officially on its way to being a real book.

I still don't have the plot laid out. I have a theme, a setting and a few characters, but my brain seems to know where it wants to go without my conscious mind getting in the way. I'm pantsing right now. I might plot later once everything gels into a storyline. Either way, it's some good stuff so far. (And I can already point to this with pride.)

As an aside, this isn't a pre-written scheduled post. I really am up this early. I blame the cat. If this post doesn't make a whole lot of sense or is rife with errors, you can blame the cat, too. She really needs to get over this need to be petted at four o'clock in the morning. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to turn into a puddle of gray matter. ;o)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Last night I watched Biggest Loser, and tonight the gal I was rooting for got knocked off the show. Kristin was an inspiration. She worked hard, never got whiney, rarely got weepy, and didn't seem to delve into the backstabbing BS that can sometimes occur on shows like this.

But that isn't the point of this post.

What really chapped my hide about the whole thing was a couple of conversations held before the vote. In the first conversation, Kristin and Ron went off alone, and Ron assured Kristin he wouldn't vote her off. When she told him she wasn't sure what his son Mike was going to do, he told her that he didn't know, but he would talk to him. And then they flashed back to a scene where Ron told Kristin's mother that he would always have Kristin's back. The second conversation was between Ron and Mike behind closed doors (but the microphones were still on). Ron told his son to vote for Kristin, so there would be a tie and Kristin would be eliminated by default.

See, this way, he keeps his promise and still gets rid of Kristin.

The total lack of integrity shocked the shit out of me. Yeah, it's a game. $250,000 is on the line for the winner, and Ron wants to see his son win. I get it. But in my opinion, no amount of money is worth losing your integrity. Beyond that, what message does his lack of integrity send to his 18-yr old child?


Anyway, the whole thing got me thinking and related back to yesterday's dilemma. I think the issue is why I'm having trouble writing Fertile Ground. It probably also why my subconscious is attacking me at night. The direction this story has taken is not something I feel comfortable writing. If I continue in this direction and finish the story, it won't be one I can hold up and say is mine - not and still feel good about myself. I'd be shooting holes in my integrity if I left it like it is.

That's a problem for me. I mean, I truly believe that without integrity a person might as well be hollow.

Trust me, it isn't just about writing a difficult story. Hell, I did that with RTL, and I did it without flinching. It isn't just about stepping outside my comfort zone either. The way FG is going, I might as well just spend my time writing love letters to Michael Moore and his cronies. Without integrity, I'd fit right in with them.

Once I realized where the problem was coming from, the decision wasn't that hard to make. I'm sorry I spent so much time cranking out words that I'm now going to have to delete. Oh, I'll probably write Fertile Ground, but from where I sit, it'll be an almost total rewrite. 25K out the window. It's frustrating that I couldn't see this issue coming up before now, but sometimes thems the breaks.

Meanwhile, I'm still pluggin along on the red-ink edits for Nano. And I do still have the speculative story I can start. I'm down, but not far and not for long. Four weeks wasted is a small amount out of the year, and I can still get some good work done if I buckle down.

As always, thanks for listening (or reading, if you will). Sometimes I need to work through things on paper (or in this case electrons), and it helps to be able to blog the experience - even if it's not a good one. I sincerely hope this helps a reader somewhere along the way. After all, that's one of the most important reasons I keep this blog.

Onward and Upward, folks. And keep up the good words.

(*Thanks to Kristen for pointing out the right spelling for the Kristin on Biggest Loser. I never paid attention when they showed her name on screen, and went with the spelling I knew better.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm at the point in my story (and my writing) where I've backed myself up against a philosophical dilemma. You see, in the process of writing Fertile Ground, I find I'm writing a truly suspenseful story that I fear is one I wouldn't appreciate if I saw it on the shelves. Unfortunately, it's also one I think could really sell well. So far, the writing is strong, the characters have all the makings of people one would truly sympathize with, and yet... I don't like where this book is going.

Sure, I could change it. I can always change what I don't like about any story I write. The problem is, the story would suffer. And if I change what I think needs to be changed to suit my philosophy, I'd be doing the book an injustice. (Not to mention the fact that I don't think the book will be as marketable.)

So, the real dilemma here is: Do I write the book so I'm satisfied with the outcome, or do I write the book the way it wants to be written and satisfy the market?

Right now, I've suspended work on Fertile Ground until I get this figured out. I could just be overthinking all of this. Hell, I could even be afraid to continue because the dreams I'm having lately are scaring the crap out of me. (And yes, I only have these nightmares after I work on FG. Last night I didn't write a word on FG and I slept soundly for a change.) Not surprising since crawling around inside the head of a serial rapist/murderer isn't a walk in the park.

Maybe I just need to set this one aside and work on something different - something that's not sucking the happy right out of me. I do have another speculative story I've been playing with in my head, which would dovetail nicely if Blink gets picked up. If nothing else, the edits on Nano are coming along and I really like the story.

Of course, Fertile Ground isn't dead. Maybe I'll feel better about the story after some time has passed. Or maybe by then I'll figure out how to satisfy myself and the story. If not, it can sit in the unfinished book waiting room with the multitude.

You tell me: Is it just me, or have you ever had a dilemma like this? What did you do? What would you do if you were faced with one?

Or am I just a freak with too much time to think?

Monday, April 20, 2009

Don't You Quit

I started out this morning with the full intention to get everything I needed to get done finished by 9am for a change. Most days I keep this intention, but Mondays are always the hardest. It's the start of the week, and it's my usual morning to call Mom - which usually takes a 30-45 minutes of my morning (something I love to do, but still). This morning I was on track. Really I was. Rolled out of bed at six, got my coffee and my smoke, sat down to read my daily blogroll and... got derailed.

Not that it wasn't a good derailing. Hell, it was even a necessary derailing. You see, one of the first blogs I read every morning is Janet Reid's, and this morning was even a really short post from yesterday (I don't read agent blogs on the weekends). All she had was a couple sentences and a link. It was the link that did me in. I'm glad I followed it, even if it did screw up my intentions for the morning.

The link? Well, it was to a post over at Murderati. Toni McGee Causey (star of writing, publishing and blogging) wrote about the topic: How Do You Know When to Quit? She talks about a fellow writer's talk at a conference wherein she unloads the thousands of rejection letters she received before publishing and still didn't quit. She talks about the internet sensation Susan Boyle, and how she didn't quit. Toni speaks of her own path through this jungle and how she didn't quit.

The whole post was quite inspiring. I even got teary over it. (Which isn't like me unless it's getting near to a certain timeframe, and this ain't then.)

There are so many times when life pulls at you, when this writing gig seems hopeless, when you don't feel like you can take another step forward - and quitting seems like a viable option. As I said in my comment to that post, there are times when I dream about taking an easy stress-free job - like disarming bombs or juggling knives or waitressing. (If you've ever been a waitress on the 5-9am shift, carrying loaded trays of breakfast and refilling coffee for farmers and truckers and whatnot, you know why this fits.) It's times like those when I need to remember Toni's post.

It's not an every day occurrance. I don't think my writing could survive feeling like that every day. No, it's just an every once in a while urge to chuck it all and go hide some magical place where I don't have to think about plots and characters and queries and synopses and readership and... Well, you get the picture.

Judging from the comment chain on Toni's post, I'm not the only one. I never thought I was, but it feels good to see it in a more concrete way. (Ummm, not that I feel good about other people's pain, but misery does need company sometimes.)

Anyway, if you haven't read Toni's post, head on over and take a read through. It'll take up a chunk of your morning, but it's well worth the time. I feel better for it. Really I do.

And now I'm even farther behind, so I'd better get cracking... after I call Mom.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Book Review

Sorry I'm late. I usually have these written on Saturday, but yesterday wasn't conducive to reviewing anything. Now it's come around to Sunday morning and my brain isn't quite awake yet. Here's hoping today's review makes sense...

I haven't been reading this month. What with writing new words and editing, I just haven't had the time (and unfortunately when I'm focused on my own books, I don't have much of an inclination either). So, for this week's book review, I'm going back to a February read.

About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken is a wonderful twist on the fantasy romance. Aiken takes the idea of a damsel in distress rescued by a handsome swordsman and turns it on its ear. Sure, she's a damsel, and she's in distress. Certainly he's handsome (hot, in fact) and he rescues her, but he's also a dragon. While she's happy to get away from the villagers who want to kill her, she's not happy about being picked up and carried away from her mission.

If he knew what her mission was, he would've put her right back into the peril he plucked her from. Except he wants her and the more he learns about her, the more that want turns into love.

Now, this is Aiken's second book in the series of Dragon Kin. Her first - Dragon Actually - was a pretty good opening into the world, but since it was actually two novellas under one cover, it didn't carry enough story to stick out as a favorite read. (It was enough to get me to buy the next book, though, so it did its job.) About a Dragon accomplishes what its predecessor didn't. I am enthralled with the world and the characters.

I mean, it's easy to hook me with a romance where the dragon can shape shift into a human at will. (Otherwise, it makes the logistics of romance too damn hard - and too weird, IMO.) After I'm hooked I want some awesome writing, characters I can root for, and a plot that keeps me turning pages. Aiken delivers all this and more with About a Dragon.

I can't wait to see what the next book will bring. (There has to be a next book. She left too many dragon siblings without a mate, and I need to see what happens between the youngest dragon and the willful human teen.)

And that's really the mark of a good series, right? Needing to know what happens to the rest of the characters and wanting to spend more time in their world?

So, if you're up for a rollicking ride through Aiken's world, pick up Dragon Actually and/or About a Dragon by G.A. Aiken. Fantasy and romance buffs alike should be happy with the purchase.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday's Super Site

Dragons and griffins and selkies, oh my. I've always been fascinated with the mythical and the fantastic. I must've been the only child in my elementary school to check out D'Aulaires' Greek Myths between the fall of my third grade year and the spring of my fifth. (Not because no one else wanted it, but because I always had it checked out.)

In honor of that age-old, and lifelong, love of mythology, today's Super Site is Encyclopedia Mythica.

Want to know about Bellerophon and Pegasus? How about Gilgamesh and Enkidu? Maybe Irish mythology is more your style, or perhaps you have a hankering for a bit of Native American mythos. It's all there.

Personally I have to stay away from this site because once I start strolling through its pages, I'm lost for hours. A quick peek at Isis leads to a little glimpse of other mother goddesses and then off to their sons and their sons' arch enemies... I'd call this site a tremendous time suck, but the thing is so informative I can't put it in the same category as Solitaire or Tetris.

Yes, I know. I don't write stories that require a deep knowledge of mythology. Yet. (Maybe not ever.) But if I proceed from the idea that everything could eventually be used for my writing, then this site is no worse than other research I do where I get lost in the ideas. From the plot of any mythology my own stories can grow. The interplay of gods and mortals, the heroes on a wondrous quest, the damsel in distress.

Or maybe it's just for fun. I guess from time to time, that's okay, too. ;o)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Weekly Update

Hi there.

It hasn't been a banner week for new words at the Sanderson household. I fell down on the job with Fertile Ground. I only got 5000 words out since last Friday. Part of the problem is, I'm not sure where to go from here. I didn't exactly paint myself into a corner, so there are several options for which path the novel is going to take. I just can't decide which one is going to work best. So here we all sit. Terri's only witness just skipped out on her, Rick isn't sure if he wants to be the hero of the story - especially since a hot but abrasive US Marshal just entered the story, and evil Adam now knows who Terri is, but he's not sure what he's going to do with the information. I really wish they'd tell me what they want to do, and I'm sure they'd all love for me to tell them what I want them to do. I guess we're at an impasse until I figure this out.

In other news of the week, I sent out a few more queries and received a request for partial from the first query I sent out on Blink. With this book, I've only received two replies and they've both been requests for material, so I'm feeling positive about it all. I don't think I've ever made it this far without a single rejection. (Almost makes me wonder if my ISP is filtering out the rejections somehow.)

And finally, I'm really making progress editing Nano. I inked up another five chapters last night, and I realized something important. I'm going to have to pull every villain scene and rewrite it. I thought I had his story down, but as I'm reading and inking chapters, I realize he doesn't ring true. He's confusing, and not only are his henchmen confused, but I'm confused. I can't imagine what a reader would think at this point. Long about Chapter 19, I found a scene I think I can keep in its entirety, though, so it's not all bad. I know the bad guy. I just need to find a way to communicate him to the readers. It's not fatal, but it'll take some work.

Other than writerly pursuits, this week was pretty boring. We got our first Severe Thunderstorm Watch of the year last night. It's too early, if you ask me. I'm not ready to think about tornado season - even if the new digs have a finished basement with TVs in every room. Thank goodness we just got rain. Lots of rain, but hey... we need the moisture. I don't think the profusion of worms trying to cross the road are appreciating it, but whatterya gonna do? Too bad I don't fish any more. There's enough bait to last a week out there.

Your turn. How are things in your world? Anything interesting to report for this past week? Tell me something good.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Help and Hurting Your Career

I've noticed lately that there has been a lot of incredible information online for helping your writing career, so I thought I'd pass some of it along, in case you haven't seen it.

First off, a site I only heard about a few days ago - courtesy of Janet Reid's blog (if I remember correctly) - called edittorrent. So far, it looks like the blogger has been helping fellow writers with their loglines, and whoever it is has some helpful tips on boiling your premise down to a simple sentence.

The inestimable Nathan Bransford has given writers a glimpse into agenting with his first annual, I hope, Agent for a Day. He sent out a call for writers to send in their query letters, and he posted the letters for commenters to play agent for a day. I must say one thing the exercise did for me (even though I didn't comment) was underscore how difficult an agent's job is. I didn't manage to read more than a few before my eyes glazed over.

Now, if you're into reading other people's query letters, there's also a blog called The Public Query Slushpile. The idea here is for anyone to submit a query letter for critique. I read them from time to time, and while some seem interesting, others remind me how much better my own query letter can be. Whether you're reading queries on Mr. Bransford's blog or from the Slushpile, they can help you see what to do with your own letter (or what not to do as the case may be).

In the end, there are so many sources of helpful information I'd be here all week noting them all. I even try to help out in my own way by keeping a list of literary agents (maintained sporadically, but that post is the easiest way for me to research the list). With all the information out there, I would think missing out on the important stuff would be hard. And yet, there are still people out there shooting themselves in the foot. For instance, I read about a writer's blog where she basically said agents wouldn't know good writing if it bit them in the collective tiny white hiney. (I didn't follow the link to the blog, and I'm not posting it here. From the scuttlebutt I read, she's self-destructive, and I don't need that kind of karma.)

Basically, do your homework. Read everything about the business you can get your little cursor on. Check out everyone associated with this - the most important - part of your writing career. Please please PLEASE consider what you're posting before you post it. And if you do decide to submit your query for critique, maintain low tones*. The people who are offering advice are only trying to help you. Thumbing your nose at their advice will only hurt your career in the long run.

Oh, and one last thing. Don't forget to say 'Thanks' to those who do offer to help.

Which reminds me... To each and every person on my daily blogroll, and all the gals at Romance Divas, and all my friends - both online and off:


*Pop-culture reference time. Who remembers Saturday Night Live's Coneheads? "Maintain low tones!" ;o)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Tea Party Protests

If you've been reading along - either here or at the original Writing Spectacle - then you know I don't talk politics. Thank my mother for that, since she taught me there are three things you don't talk about in polite society: religion, sex and politics.

However, I don't think this issue is as much about politics as it is about citizens having their say about the government they elected.

If you haven't heard about the Tea Party Protests planned for today, here are a couple links to read:

Anti-Tax Tea Party Protests Expected - FOX News
The Wall Street Journal

From what I understand, it's a grassroots movement to protest the way the government is taking our tax dollars and throwing them like confetti at anyone who claims to need money.

I expect we'll hear a bit about this on the news today - probably a great deal of positive on the part of Fox, and a great deal of negative from MSNBC, with a smattering of both out of the other news networks. Personally, I think it's a positive thing when the citizens stand up to have their voices heard. In these economic times, when the average Joe is feeling guilty about spending money to take a vacation, the government should be held to some standard of fiscal responsibility.

It's like what we do here at the Sanderson household. Vacation? The last one we took was a three day trip to Denver in the summer of '07. It wasn't fancy. It sure as hell wasn't expensive. But we made a choice years ago that we were going to be debt-free, and we are. It took some hard choices, and some living well below our means, but we did it. If the government was half as careful with the money taxpayers entrust to them, this economic mess wouldn't be nearly as devastating as it promises to become.

When Joe Citizen doesn't have enough money to pay his mortgage, the government shouldn't be taxing the hell out of him to send money to ANY other country. And don't get me started on the grants for research into weird ass things. We don't need to fund that right now. We need to get stable, and once this country is back on its financial feet, our elected officials need to think about where every penny is going so we never get into this mess again.

Hence, the protests.

I don't know what you think about all this, but whatever side of the debate you fall on, you have to agree that America was built with the notion that every citizen has a say in the body that governs him. This is the concretization of that idea.

Personally, I hope the turnout is huge.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who Reads Your Stuff?

Strolling through the blogroll this morning, I noticed the crew at Romantic Inks had an interesting post about CPs and BRs and crit groups. I'm not going to rehash what they said, or what I said in my comment (or what I've said in previous posts on the subject over at my old blog), but it did get me to thinking about the people who read our work before it gets published.

They say you should'n't have family and friends read your work - at least not for any real opinion on its quality and/or saleability. Except for my daughter, I don't really have that problem. She's the only family member who reads my stuff, and her opinions aren't hindered by any need to save my feelings. (We don't work that way.)

My mother hasn't read anything I've written since I was a kid. I know if she read any of my WIPs, she would either give me an honest answer (if she liked it) or she would avoid the subject (if she didn't).

My husband only read the first book. He really liked it, but then he got irritated that I edited it after he read it. Now he says he'll wait until my books are published, so he knows he's reading the FINAL draft. (And before any of you gasp over this, it works for me. He doesn't want to interfere with my writing, and since he's an Alpha, he can't help but try to.)

I let my best friend read one of my books (RTL) last fall. Or rather, she asked me to email it to her, but she's so busy that the last I heard, she was only halfway through. (Seriously, she's busy. 50 hr workweek usually, two kids with lots of activities, family obligations... We only see each other about once a month, and that's because she works with my husband.) On the upside, she really likes what she's read so far.

Other than family and face-to-face friends, I do have my beta readers (and I love them all). Some of them I've never met, but each of them is important to me. They're the ones who give me feedback I can really use. Of course, one of them is my daughter, but for all intents and purposes, I can forget the familial connection and look at her like any other beta. They all read my stories with the idea of pointing out flaws, so I can craft the best book possible. And in most cases, I do the same for them. One of my betas got an agent a while back and should be going on submission soon. I can't wait to see her in print. My daughter beta just entered a college scholarship contest with a grand prize of $2K. I beta read the essay, and provided suggestions for improvement. I really think she has a shot to win money this year. (Which is good since she wants to go to college out of state. Ack.)

Anyway, I lost the point of this post somewhere along the way. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I think it's valuable to have others read your pre-pub work. If only to get another set of eyes when you can't see the forest any more. It doesn't matter who these people are - friends and family, if you encourage them to be brutally honest, can be just as helpful as your published acquaintances. Sometimes it's important to just have someone else read your writing, if for no other reason than it helps shake out the fear of what'll happen when strangers read your work.

Who reads your stuff? Can you count on family and friends to give you the skinny, or do you have to look outside for an objective eye?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Excerpt Monday

Brought to you by Romance Divas. Hey, it was their idea. I'm just going along for the ride. And after reading some of the excepts, I'm so glad I did. I'm proud to be in such good company.

So, here's an excerpt from Dying Embers - a suspense I wrote and queried last year. It's just a nibble of the first scene, but I think you'll get the picture.

Dying Embers
Chapter 1

As she approached the twisted Mercedes’ wreckage, its cracked side mirror winked at her like they shared some unspeakable secret. The wind blew through her mousy-brown hair, making the leaves of the grand old trees waver and the moonlight dance across the pine straw. All around her whispered the soft hush of the forest and faint noises from the road. So peaceful. She could almost forget what she’d done, if not for the sickly, wet gurgle.

Standing beneath a tree a few yards above, she couldn’t tell if the sound emanated from the vital fluids dripping out of the engine, or from her husband and his mistress. Maybe it was the tree as its sap oozed from a wide gash where the metal had ripped away the bark. The car was dead. The other three would die soon enough.

She only felt sorry for the tree.

Her intention had only been to send them down the embankment to the gully below. If she’d known a tree would stop them partway down, she would’ve planned the whole thing better. If she’d planned the thing at all, this would’ve gone so much smoother.

Whatever Will had done, the tree didn’t deserve to pay for it.

“Hello?” a harsh voice rasped in the night air. It was filled with pain and the wet sound of too much spit or too much blood. The noise was so soft anyone else wouldn’t have been able to tell who survived the impact, but she knew the cadence deep inside her, even before her brain had time to register it consciously.

“Hello, Will,” she whispered back. With a slow deliberateness, she nudged a rock down the steep hillside. It bounced off one of its many brethren with a loud clack, and her smile widened. Except for the poor tree, she picked the perfect spot.

“Hello?” he said louder, his terror filling the air and echoing off the jagged crags. “Is someone there?”

Her lips curled into a sneer as she bent to pick up a rock. With a deftness born of many summer softball games, she tested the weight of it in her hand and then hurled it against the one unbroken pane of glass left.

The sound of its shattering came only an instant before Will screamed like a little girl. Or maybe it was his cheap hussy.

If she was lucky, they were both alive. Their heartbeats would mean her plan hadn’t completely failed after all. Oh, she wanted them dead, but not too quickly. If she was going to spend the rest of her life suffering from their betrayal, the least they could do was spend a little time suffering themselves.

Anyway, the idea here is to also post links to other Divas' excerpts and maybe generate some buzz for everyone. Please understand, I haven't read all these excerpts and some of them are more along the lines of spicy, steamy, or sexy than my work. Read at your own risk (RAYOR is beside some I thought were too spicy for me, but I'm not a fan of spicy).

Here goes:

Bria's Page
Sue's Random Ramblings
Disenchanted Doc
Vivienne Westlake
Jeannie Lin
Kinsey W. Holley Excerpt Monday
Becca Sheridan-Furrow
Kirsten Saell, The Chancellor's Bride (RAYOR)
M. Bertier's SilentDreamer
Scenting Cinnamon - A novella
Evie Byrne: Bound by Blood, Book 2 of the Faustin Bros. Trilogy.
Kate Willoughby
Eden Bradley
RF Long
Stephanie S
Inheritance by pixiedust
Stardust (RAYOR)
Jamie Babette
AJ Chase
Toni Sue
Isabelle Santiago
Annie Nicholas

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sunday Book Review

Hi, y’all, Darling Daughter here for this week's book review. (Mom's idea, trust me.)

Julia Anderson is an painfully shy, emotionally repressed woman with an obsession for antiques. At a flea market, purchasing inventory for her store, Julia’s Treasures, she finds herself oddly drawn to an ugly little box, tarnished by wear and years. Little did she know that the box contained a powerful warrior from another world, cursed inside the box by a sorceress he’d scorned, forced to serve even the smallest whim of whoever held his box. Only true love can release him from his curse.

I love all of Gena Showalter’s books, but The Pleasure Slave is my ultimate favorite. The story is touching and funny and very well-written. I, personally, really identify with the shy heroine, and sympathize with the hero.

Except for the part where they were separated for a year, which is a little irritating, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I just love this book. I’ve read it, like, a thousand times and it just gets better with every reading.

(Stay tuned for further reviews. If you liked this one, I may have the kid write these in my place from time to time. It's good for her, and I can work it into English homework. - B.E.)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Saturday's Super Site

This week's super site is a new favorite for me...

MamaWriters Community

Per their own banner, "Raising kids. Writing Romance. MamaWriters - it's all about the love."

Raising kids and writing anything is all about the love, and I do love this site.

I found MW through a post Roxanne St. Claire wrote at Murder, She Writes. She was guest blogging at MamaWriter one day, and since I like Roxanne, I zipped over to see what she'd written. I read her post, then all the posts before her (which were few, since it was a new site). I was hooked.

It's hard enough being a writer without being a parent, too. And being the primary caregiver - whether you're a mama or a papa - can make writing that much harder. You have to schedule writing time around kid time - which is all the time unless they're old enough to amuse themselves. You have to be able to stop, mid-sentence and patch a boo-boo or answer a question. As a writing parent, you have to expect interruptions when you least want them, and be able to pick up where you left off without missing a beat.

At MamaWriters, they talk about their writing. They also talk about their kids. And they discuss how to merge the two halves of Parent/Writer (or Writer/Parent depending on the day).

They haven't been around long, but I look forward to many interesting posts in the future. And believe me, as a writing parent myself, it's nice to have a place where everyone understands the hurdles involved in succeeding at both.

So, whether you're a mama or a papa - be it children or furbabies - stop on by. And if you're neither, stop by anyway. There's usually something for any writer to glean from their words of wisdom.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Weekly Update

All in all it was a good week - perfect for ending on Good Friday.

Since my last update:

- I wrote just over ten thousand words on Fertile Ground. (Still hating that title, but now I'm stuck with it until I finish the damn thing.) I'm zooming right along, and last night I hit an awesome plot twist I wasn't expecting. I left my heroine in deep straits. Wheee.

- I didn't get a whole lot of redinking work done on Nano, but since prior to last Friday I hadn't gotten anything done, I'm going it as progress. The first several chapters are bleeding red, and I'm ready to get back to fixing everything... Tomorrow.

- In case you missed the last post, I sent out a few queries this week and got a request for full. It's a well-known person, but until I actually have an agent, I'm still not naming names on the internet. If she's reading this blog, she knows who she is. :waves: (Psst... I'm not a loon, really.)

Things I meant to do but haven't:

- Still haven't finished inputting all that information into my agent database, and now I have to input this week's queries in as well. I just started and I'm behind already.

- Get halfway through the redink process on Nano. I mean, seriously, how hard is it to turn off a rerun of Frasier and get to work? Some days harder than I would've thought.

How was your week? Got any sparkly news to share?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Happy Dance

I sent out a couple queries this morning, and I just got a request. The only problem is, she didn't say how much to send - or even if she's asking for the full (be still my heart) - and her website doesn't indicate the standard amount they like . So, I emailed her back. As soon as she let's me know, I'm shooting part of Blink off to her.

Update: She replied to the email to send a FULL!!! OMFG. I think I may be having a heart attack... or at least a severe jones for a pile of chocolate.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Why Write?

This morning Jackie Barbosa posed a very interesting question: Why do we do it? Over the years I've asked and answered this question too many times to count. For the first time, this morning reading and replying to Jackie's post, I didn't have a clear answer.

When I was new at this, the answer leapt to my mouth, anxious to get out. Why do I write? Because I have to write or I'll die. At the time, I'm sure it felt true. Overly dramatic perhaps, but ultimately true. It felt that crucial. Writing for me then was like breathing - a statement to which another writer once took exception to with me, but that's another story. The stories in my head had to come out. I had to write them.

Now? Not so much.

The drama is gone. (Thank god.) I won't die if I don't write, and yet... I have to write. I can take long breaks away from it, but sooner or later, I have to sit here and type. I have to build worlds and populate them with my own creations. And I have to throw those creations into difficult situations in order to get them out again. It's not the compulsion it used to be, though.

Thinking about it this morning, I wondered where all that compulsion went to and whether not having it was a bad thing. In the end, I've come to the conclusion that the infatuation has worn off, but the love is still there. It's not a bad thing. It's just a different thing.

Now when I sit down to write, even though I'm tired or my hands hurt or there's something interesting on TV, it's because I want to write - not because I have to write. The need is gone, but the want has gotten stronger.

It's like my marriage. We're going on five years now, and while the spark is still burning hot, I don't get all heart-racing, palms-sweating when I know I'm going to see him. I don't need to be with him in order to breath any more, but I want to be with him because being in his company is so damn... Well, let's just say it just feels right in a 'I have my hubby and all's right with the world' kind of way.

Writing feels the same way. When I'm writing, everything just feels like it fits. And when I'm not writing, it all feels off in some way.

The love affair isn't over, it's just grown and matured. Not that being infatuated isn't great, too. In a small way, I miss the compulsion and the rush, but for where I'm at in my life and my career right now, this is a better way for me to look at my work.

How's your love affair? Are you still infatuated with your work, or have you settled into a comfortable place? Or do me a favor and answer the age-old question amongst us writers: Why do you write?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Make Me a Super... err... Writer?

I don't know if you've seen it yet, but Bravo has a show called Make Me a Supermodel. It's hosted by ultra-hot male model Tyson Beckford. Per the site's own 'about' page: Make Me A Supermodel follows a group of beautiful and talented men and women who will compete for $100,000 and a contract with New York Model Management.

It starts out with thousands of hopefuls as they try for the few spots on the show. They come from all over the world, headshots in hand and stars in their eyes. For most of these people, obviously, it ends with heartache and tears. Then the show gets down to a mere couple dozen, and those people have to strut their stuff for the panel who'll decide which entrants make the actual show. These potential models strip down to their underwear, and are judged on their bodies. (A big lesson came with one of this year's entrants - wear underwear to the contest because when they ask you to strip down to your skivvies, they mean it.)

In the end a limited number of those are chosen. They all move to New York for the contest, and live together in a gorgeous house. There's the usual back-stabbing and cattiness, but there are also occasions of camadarie and friendship (and the occasional burgeoning romance). Like any other reality show of this nature, you can see who really wants to be there and who's just phoning it in.

But how does this all relate to writing? I mean, modeling is a totally different animal, right? Not as much as you'd think.

As I was reading through the morning forum posts at RD, a fellow writer was talking about how her daughter wants to be a model. While I was writing my reply, giving what I hope were helpful comments, I told her to make sure she researches the modeling agencies involved... Umm, like writers need to research literary agents. And then I went on to recommend Make Me a Supermodel, because before her daughter enters into that business, she ought to be aware of exactly how hard it is to really be successful... Again, like writing.

On the show, the contestants are given challenges, which they need to step up to or face failure. Afterwards, they face a panel of judges who tell them what they did right and what they did wrong. The ones who did poorly, but weren't kicked off, need to take those comments and improve their work. Sometimes they need a better walk, or a better attitude, or even more exercise to shave a few pounds off the middle.

Writers have our own sets of challenges, and we either need to step up to them or face rejection. We have our own set of judges - whether they're actual judges of contest entries, or critique partners or beta readers... or the person who just bought your book - and we need to listen to what they have to say about our work so we can improve. Sometimes we need a better walk (presentation), or a better attitude about our work and ourselves, and sometimes we need to shave a few pounds (words) off the middle to make it the tightest, lightest writing we can.

This isn't an easy business to break in to. For the models on the show, the difference between being on the cover of Vogue or doing headshots for a hair magazine is the amount of effort combined with the amount of talent (and the hotness factor, of course). For us, the difference between the NY Times bestseller list and a stack of manuscripts under our beds is also the amount of effort combined with the amount of talent (minus the hotness factor, or Stephen King would've never gotten published).

Those models, and us writers, have a long road to success. Some are sure to succeed even if they don't win the show. (I mean, come on... who wouldn't want to see Jonathan on the cover of a magazine?) And others will surely be pointing dramatically towards a car in the future. But I believe if the effort is there, some measure of success will be attainable.

Any thoughts? If you've seen the show, who do you think is going to win? Personally the jury's still out here, but I have my favorites - Jonathan of course (I love me some Brit, and he's so much hotter since he cut his hair) and Amanda the single mom model (but if she fakes cries again, I'm going to be so disappointed. Unfortunately, I think Jordan's going to win. She's got the look, but something about her hips just grosses me out.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Random Thoughts

Lying in bed last night, I thought of a really great post topic for today. Alas, when I woke up, it was gone. (Thank goodness the plot point I also thought of is still in my head.) So, we're stuck with random thoughts today.

Over at BookEnds today, Jessica talks about how she's being criticized for using 'she' as her pronoun of choice. Frankly, I don't see why people would get their undies in a bunch over such a silly thing. We should all have better things to do then angst over whether she's referring to people in general as 'she' or 'he'. You know, like perfecting our submission materials, networking to get our names out there, growing as writers... Oh, and learning the proper way to address people in general - which I was taught is either he or she, not it or they (unless you're talking about a group, of course).

Things are really starting to gel with Fertile Ground (okay, the title needs to change - I'm sick of it already). As I said up there, I worked out a plot point while I was trying to fall asleep last night. Of course, it was a weekend of figuring things out for FG. Sitting on the couch working on redinking Nano, I realized the last few scenes I wrote shouldn't occur until later in the book. Needless to say, yesterday's words weren't written at the end of my last writing, but smack in the middle. I'll keep working on the new stuff until I catch up.

As for the redinking phase of Nano, it's going well. Not as well as quickly as I had hoped, but then again I knew this round of edits was going to be hard. I rewrote the entire beginning, slipped in a few scenes to help tie the whole thing together, and tightened up the wording. Right now, it's all handwritten in red ink - either in my trusty notebook or scrawled across the printed pages. I promised myself I wouldn't enter any of the changes into my computer until I was finished with the entire hardcopy. (But it's so hard not to climb into this chair and fix things.)

Completely out of the blue: Did you know robins will eat catfood? Strange, but true. They're here early enough that the ground still too cold for worms, so they've been supplementing their diet by eating out of the cat dish I keep for strays.

Well, it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day today. After Saturday's blizzard, I'm certainly happy to see some sunshine. And I'm thankful that even though we were near white-out conditions, we only got about an inch.

How are you? How are things going in your work, your world, your little corner of the universe? Any random thoughts to share?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sunday Book Review

This week's review is another anthology, but in contrast to last week's review, I'm recommending this book without reservation.

The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance is filled with wonderful stories from just about every paranormal aspect imaginable. There are the standard vampires and werewolves, albeit each done in its own special way, but there are also selkie stories and dimensional stories and stories I don't even have a name for at the moment. Interwoven throughout all the supernatural beings are stories of love.

With twenty-four separate stories told by some of the biggest names in paranormal romance, there's a little bit for every lover of the genre. Some of the stories made me laugh out loud, many of them left me wanting more - which is what any good anthology should do - and on one occassion, I set the book down and tried to dam the tears. The story was that romantic and beautiful.

I'll definitely be looking for some of these authors on my next trip to the big box bookstore. And I'll have my eyes peeled for the other book in this series - The Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance. If the editors did as good a job pulling together incredible writers, it's sure to be well worth the price.

So, if you're looking for hot vampires, sexy mystical beings, and tender romance, pick up a copy and indulge your fantasies. And since they're all short stories, none of them will take too much time by itself.

The problem, though, is that they're like potato chips. Sometimes you can't stop with just one.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Saturday's Super Site

This week's site isn't a blog. It's a forum. Now, if you've been around here since the beginning (or if you were really bored and went back to the first posts here), you know I've tried forums before. The last time was sufficiently messy as to make me swear off ever joining one again. Until Kristen Painter pointed me toward Romance Divas Forum.

I've only been hanging around there a month, but I'm glad I took Kristen's advice. A nicer group of people you'll be hard pressed to find in a writing community. They look out for one another, they respect each other's opinions, they listen to each other's advice, and - a biggie for me - they don't flame each other.

Thanks to them, I'm have a schedule again and I'm sticking to it. It was just the kick in the pants I needed. Hell, prior to Tuesday night, I would've spent my scheduled writing time watching NCIS reruns, or reading, or watching Hot Pursuit on TruTV. Instead I got my butt in the chair, and I wrote. So far this month I've written 5088 words - on track to reach my goal of 50K in April. And starting today, I'll be editing Nano.

I haven't yet been able to give much back to this community. You can't participate in critiquing until after you reach your 100th post, but I'll be there soon (I'm a slow participater) and I'll be putting as much effort as I can spare into helping my fellow Divas. Until then, I comment where I think my thoughts are worthwhile, and I hope I can provide a little something in that way.

Feels good to be part of a community again.

So anyway, if you're looking for a place to hang out with a bunch of other writers (and you don't really need to be writing strictly romance either), then hop on by and sign up to become a Romance Diva - or a Diva Dude, if the gender calls for it. As long as you put in as much as you gain, I'm sure you won't regret it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Progress Report

Since I've finally gotten off my duff and gotten back to work, I thought I would use Friday as a progress report day.

So, here we go:

This past week I re-started a new book. Check the progress meter, and if you don't see it move Mon-Fri, feel free to berate me. (Not that I won't be whipping myself soundly, but a little kick from my friends helps, too.)

I also began querying for Blink. So far, I've only sent one out, but it was a scary thing for me this time around. I love Blink so much that I'm terrified for it. Don't worry. I'll get over the whole nausea/fear thing, and send out some more queries soon.

Which leads me to another bit of work I've been doing. I may have said before that I keep a separate database of agents for each book. After I finished writing, I spent some time populating Blink's database with potential places to query. Not exactly mentally taxing work, but necessary nonetheless. I still have a stack of print-outs to enter, but I'm making headway. Hopefully soon I'll start entering little things like 'equery sent' and 'partial requested'.

Lastly, I took up a Romance Diva dare to edit a WIP during the month of April. The WIP in question: Nano. It's been a couple months since I touched this book, and the last time I tried to edit it, I felt like I was drowning in a sea of confusion. At this point, I'm pretty damn sure I'll have to print it all out and attack it with a red pen. Since I'm back on my old schedule of writing new words Mon-Fri, let the redinking begin tomorrow! I'll post a different word meter, and the offer for beration stands for this as well.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Killing Negative Nellie

You know those people who are so damn negative you'd like to duct tape their mouths shut, so they don't ruin your day. I used to be one of them. Back in college, as a matter of fact. On any given day, and for any occasion, I could find something to grouse about.

And negativity is contagious. I look back on those years, and I know exactly who I caught mine from. Her name was MaryJo, and she was trapped in her sad little world. How she became my best friend, I'll never know. Maybe I was in a bad place, and we fed off each other. I do know that when our relationship dissolved, everyone I knew told me how much better they liked me. It could be that my mood improved over summer break, and that's why our friendship fell apart. Or it's possible our friendship fell apart thus improving my mood. Looking back now, I can't remember the sequence of events.

Anyway, I digress. Where was I?

Ah yes, negativity. I hate negative people now, and I avoid them like the plague. I mean, who wouldn't, right? No one needs all that sludge in their lives.

Sometime in the past few months, I became one of those people I hate. It didn't happen overnight. Never does, or I'd have caught it earlier. Nope, the realization came on me a few days ago - right around the time of the blog-change. I was on the fast track toward becoming a Negative Nellie.

Killing Negative Nellie, though, isn't as hard as it seems. It's all about making a choice. When presented with a situation, you can either think about it in a positive light or you can go all negative. You can choose to practice something called 'optimistic realism' or you can live in a world of subjective pessimism. Of course, you have to be cognizant of what's on your mind to not have Negative Nellie slip in while you aren't looking, but you can do it. Or rather, I can do it.

You have to be vigilant. Nellie likes to sneak up on you. She's not a shouter. She whispers in your ear that you aren't good enough, or the day's not sunny enough, or the breeze isn't breezy enough. Hers is the voice that tells you your new dress makes your butt look big, and your little successes aren't worthy of celebration. She spreads self-doubt and makes the world seem like a much more horrible place than it really is.

And she's part of me. (Maybe she's part of you, too.)

I've decided to try and kill Negative Nellie. With my new found commitment to writing, I'm committed to becoming a more positive person*.

Now if I can just kill Nellie well enough so she stays dead.

Are you a negative or a positive person? Do you know people like MaryJo (I mean other than the negative version of me)?

*More positive doesn't mean turning into Pollyanna, but simply viewing everything from a more positive perspective.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Deep End

I did it. I jumped off the deep end, and sent a query to the agent who read a full from Manhunter last year. She invited me to submit my next work to her, and so I did. Just a query, because she asks that you don't send pages until she asks, but it's out there now. It's a long shot, since I'm not sure if Blink is really up her alley.

I think I'm going to barf.

New Words!

No, your eyes don't deceive you. There really is a new progress meter over there, and it really is for a new book. Of course, Fertile Ground won't be its actual title, but the book is begun.

This story was originally meant to be a sequel to Manhunter, but since I haven't gotten an agent for Manhunter, I decided to take what I'd already written and rewrite it to be a stand alone novel. It is still based on the same fictional governmental agency as Manhunter, and I'm borrowing the head hauncho as a peripheral character. Everything else is different, and hopefully this can serve as a launching point for the series - even though Manhunter couldn't. Hell, if I work it right maybe this book can help Manhunter get published (after some massive rewriting based on the full rejection I got). You never know.

Anyway, sitting here last night trying to figure out which book was going to be next, I looked through my ideas file, and this one begged to be written next. I checked out the pages I already wrote, still loved the beginning and scrapped the next scene. Too bad, because it was also good - it just didn't fit with where I want this story to go now. (And it's in its own little 'snipped scene' file - I never throw anything away.)

It feels so good to write new words again. I love all my stories, but this new word feeling is the best. I get to watch the story unfold in my head even as my fingers are laying it down on paper (or electrons, as the case may be). It was only 1200, but new words are new words, and I'm celebrating them.

Don't worry, folks. This isn't an April Fools joke. I really am writing again. Here's hoping I have a new first draft by Memorial Day.

Meanwhile, I am almost ready to send Blink out into the world. I finished the tweaking yesterday. All I need now is to tighten up the synopsis, and I'm ready to go.

God, I love Spring.