Friday, December 31, 2010

Books of 2010

Since it's the last day of the year, I thought I'd do a little poll of the books I read and offer a little poll for y'all to participate in.

In the glorious year of 2010, here's what I read:

83 books total (84 if I finish this new Monica McCarty)
75 of those were written for adults
3 were YA
5 were MG

Here's how the genres broke down:

Urban Fantasy = 22
Paranormal Romance = 17
Speculative Fiction = 7
Science Fiction = 7
Romantic Suspense = 6
Fantasy = 5
Historical Romance = 5
Nonfiction = 4
Political Thriller = 3
Romantic Fantasy = 3
Suspense = 2
Mystery = 1
Romance = 1

Not surprising when you consider that I spent most of 2010 writing urban fantasy, which is the cousin to paranormal romance.  Thinking that, however, lead me to wonder if my reading habits change depending on what I'm writing.

In 2010 my top five genres were Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Speculative Fiction / Science Fiction, Romantic Suspense and Fantasy / Historical Romance.  With what I'm writing, all of that fits.  (Or I can make it fit if I think hard enough.)

In 2009, my top five didn't change that much.  Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance were still one and two respectively.  The next three change a little, rounding out the top five with SF, Suspense and Romantic Suspense.

In 2008, though, we see I was reading a little more broadly.  Paranormal Romance takes the top, followed by Romantic Suspense, Suspense, Urban Fantasy and then General Fiction.

Back in 2007, when I started keeping track of my reading material, the top five were totally different with General Fiction taking the prize.  Mystery was second.  Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense and Suspense tied for third.  Urban Fantasy was all the way back at fourth and SF took fifth.

It was an interesting exercise.  If nothing else, it gave me something to do between breaks in shoveling snow.  UGH. 

So, for the reader poll, tell me what you read most every year - either in comments or using the poll I'll be putting up in the sidebar momentarily.  Or both, if you like.  Have your reading habits changed over the years and how does your choice of reading matter reflect what you like to write?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Searching for WiFi

So, yesterday, Daughter and I did what I like to call 'searching for WiFi' in this godforsaken outpost.  We did get a couple piddling signals here in the house, but nothing strong enough to register her Nook and let her see what it was all about.

Grab the car keys and the Nook, and off we go.

There's nothing quite like driving slowly down the road, with Daughter riding shotgun, waiting for a WiFi signal to grow stronger.  Until she says, "I got one!" and I quickly pull over so the Nook can work its magic.  It registered itself and life was good - until I moved the car.  We made it another couple blocks before the signal pooped out on us.  :shrug:

Here in tiny town USA, you take what you get.

It was like a treasure hunt.  After our little tour, we discovered there's free WiFi signal at the coffee shop, the pizza place, in front of the post office, and at the library.  (Well, the library's was password protected, but the lovely librarians gave us the key.) 

Thankfully, Daughter only needs the WiFi to download books, not read them.  Unfortunately, in order to do a lot of the other fun things a Nook does, she needs to be online - like listen to Pandora from her Nook or surf the web.  She's bummin' about those things, but once she's off to college, it won't be a problem.  I imagine the whole freakin' campus is 'hot'.

Do you have any gadgets that need WiFi?  If you're like us and live in nowhereland, how do you survive being on the short end of the techno stick?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Since a few people thought this sounded interesting, I thought I'd pass along the recipe.  I found the basis for this over at, but like always, I tweaked it.  I hope you all enjoy.

Pumpkin Cheesecake


1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/2 butter or margarine (melted)
1/4 c sugar
dash cinnamon (to taste)
dash ground cloves (to taste)
dash walnut extract (to taste)


1 8 oz pkg cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
3/4 c packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree, solid packed
1/2 c whipping cream
1/2 tsp brandy
1 tsp cinnamon
dash ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter standard 9" diameter pie pan.  Mix together cracker crumbs, spices, extract and sugar.  Add in melted butter and stir until well combined.  Press crumb mixture into pan as evenly as you're able - along bottom and up the sides to the edge.  Bake 8-10 minutes.  (Some shrinkage will occur.)  Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

Re-preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Beat cream cheese with brown sugar until smooth.  Add in eggs, cream, brandy and pumpkin - beat until smooth.  Add in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth.  Pour into pie shell.  Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is set.  Chill overnight, slice and serve with whipped cream topping.

Any questions, let me know.  =o)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Christmas

Well, the holiday part is over.  I didn't mention it, but I've taken the past week or so off - partly because the publishing industry shuts down over the holidays and partly because I felt like I needed a break.  I don't know if I'm going to take this week off of writing, too, but I do feel like the break is doing me some good. 

As for yesterday, it went really well.  The duck turned out great.  The pumpkin cheesecake worked this time (mainly because I used a recipe instead of improvising like I did at Thanksgiving).  Husband and I didn't get each other much, but Daughter made out like a bandit.  It must be nice to be an only kid.  Once the parent presents are done, the answer to "Who's gift is this?" is always "Mine". 

Her big score?  We got her a color Nook.  I did a lot of research and it seemed like the best one for what she needs.  If only my research had let me know it's useless until it can uplink via WiFi for the first time.  You can't even read what comes pre-loaded until it registers itself.  Bastiges.  Living in the middle of nowhere has a decided disadvantage there.  Good thing we're going toward the city sometime this week, so if nothing else, she can uplink from inside a Barnes & Noble and use the damn thing.

My big score?  A new CrockPot.  Hey, it's what I asked for.  Now I can make chili to my heart's content without worrying about burning it or myself.  (I think my old crockpot's temperature thingie was going.)

Of course, the biggest score of all was spending the day with the people (and cats) I love most in the world.  :cue 'awwww' sounds:  Seriously, though, Christmas wouldn't mean a damn thing without my husband and daughter to make it special.  And even though the rest of my family is far far away, a few long telephone calls make me not miss them so much.  

How was your holiday?  Did you get to spend time with the ones you love?  What was your big score this year? 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

I hope you get everything you want this holiday season.  I know I have what I want*, and we haven't even opened presents yet.  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, Everyone.

*okay, so I didn't get an agent for Christmas like I wanted, but Santa can't do everything.  ;o)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas the Night Before

And memories of Christmas dance in my head.  I spent most of the first thirty years of my life in Michigan, and whenever this time of year approaches, I miss my home state like mad.  The snowy landscape, the trees frosted with white, having family close...  Okay, so I left Michigan to escape the cold (don't ask how I ended up in CO - it's a long story), and while it was always beautiful to look at from the warmth of my homes, I inevitably had to go out in it.  Call this the rosey glasses view of the past.

Anyway, I did have the good fortune to grow up about 45 minutes from the most Christmas-y place I've ever been - Frankenmuth.  Every year before the Holidays - sometimes before Thanksgiving, depending on Dad's schedule - we'd pile into the car and head up for a day of window shopping, fudge and long walks through town.  Mom and Dad would take us to drool in front of the fudge shop window, and then the older kids would herd us down to the penny arcade to play games while Dad & Mom went to the beer-garten.  We rarely spent much money - we didn't have any to spend anyway - but it was a wonderful trip all around.

Maybe because the whole town is a Christmas wonderland all year long. 

There's Zehnders Restaurant with it's fabulous fried chicken...

and across the street is The Bavarian Inn with it's glockenspiel (and world famous fried chicken)...

but the most Christmas oriented place in town has to be Bronner's...

A child's dream and now an adult's fond memories.  =o)

Is there anything from your childhood holidays you'd like to reminisce about tonight?  Ever been to Frankenmuth?  If you're close enough to drive there, I totally recommend it - if only for the fudge.  ;o)

(As an aside, I was an adult before I could afford to eat at either Zehnders or The Bavarian Inn.  The menus are very similar, but I prefer The Bavarian Inn's ambiance better.)

 *All images deleted due to possible copyright infringement*

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Beware the Contagion

Scanning the interwebs this morning, I noticed that it seems like there's a rash spreading like a bad case of poison ivy.  Now, I don't know if you can really catch something across the internet, but this seems to be a contagion of some sort, so beware.  It sounds like a debilitating malady and I sure as hell don't want to come down with it - especially not so close to the new year.

What the hell am I talking about, you say?

Some people call it The Squirms.  Over at Killer Chicks, Joann referred to it as Suck Filteritis - wherein, if I read it correctly, one's suck filter breaks down and the feeling of total suckage comes pouring through.  Whatever you call it, the contagion has the ability to wipe a writer out.

And it spreads.

It starts out with a little niggle of self doubt.  "This sentence sucks."  Then it grows.  "I can't write this scene."  And grows.  "I can't believe how bad this is."  If left untreated, a small case of it can turn into full blown Writer's Block.

Back in 2005, I caught a bad case of it from the rejection letters off my first book.  I hated myself and everything I wrote.  Partway through my second book, I just stopped writing.  I didn't write a damn thing for nine months.  It was like being pregnant.  I was moody and bitchy and bloated with words.  The only difference was there wasn't a biological clock ticking down where I knew eventually the pregnancy would be over and I'd have something beautiful to show for all my suffering. 

In my case, I had to force a delivery.  PUSH!  And the words eventually popped out.  The contagion had turned my words into malformed monsters, but they were at least coming out again. 

Okay, enough of that analogy.  I'm grossing myself out.  The point here is this contagion thing is awful and needs to be taken care of at the first signs.  Kill it quick before it spreads.  Because the longer you leave it, the worse it gets. 

How do you kill it?

In my case, it took a wise person telling me to give myself permission to suck.  (Sorry, I don't remember exactly which wise person.  It was years ago, after all.)  Now when I feel the disease taking over, telling me how much I and all my writing sucks, I acknowledge my suckitude.  I embrace the suckage and move on.  I can always fix the crap later, but I can't fix a damn thing if I don't put words down on paper. 

And when I've finished and it still sucks?  Well, I haven't experienced that yet.  I figure if it still sucks after I'm done with the edits, then I haven't edited enough, or I'm too close to it to see the way to fix it.  I put it away and hope to come back to it someday.  (Like the manuscript I call Justice - my attempt at writing a mystery.  It's 80% done with editing.  Maybe someday I'll see the way to fix it and actually finish it.)

So, how about you?  Are you feeling the first niggles of the contagion?  Is there something about the end of the year that makes this crud creep up on the writerly populous?  What do you do to kill the disease?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ghosts of Christmas Past

And here are more scanned photos from Mom's old albums...

My maternal grandparents and my great-grandmother (Grandma's mom - in the green dress) Christmas 1971:

My parents with my oldest brother - Christmas 1959:

This is the whole darn brood of us at Christmas 1971...  The tot dressed like a marshmallow peep?  That's me.

And my own little peep messing with the tree at my folks house on Christmas Day 1999:

Aren't holidays fun?  So many years, so many memories.  Hold onto whatever memories you can, share them whenever possible, and dust them off fondly as the years go by. 

Happy Holidays everyone.  =oD

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pictures of Memories I Never Had

Several months ago, my brother started a project to scan in pictures from my mother's old photo albums.  Yesterday I received a thumb drive with the fruits of his labors - his Christmas present to me and my family.

Some of the pics were old memories captured for all time.  Some of the pictures I never remember even seeing.  Today I'm going to post a few of the old, old family photos that I saw for the first time this morning.

My paternal grandmother:

From left to right and center - paternal great grandfather, grandfather, uncle and father - taken around 1940:

Standing - Aunt Hazel.  Sitting on the railing: my paternal grandmother.

And finally, my dad when he was about 12-13... so 1948/49:

Wasn't he a cute kid? 

More scanned pictures to come in the future.  I'm just so over the moon to even have these.  I'd kiss my brother if he wasn't a thousand miles away.  (and if I didn't think he'd sock me one.  LOL)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recipe Sunday: Guilt-Free Apple Cranberry Bread

I have a friend here in town.  (Don't laugh.  I really do have an in-person friend here or there.)  We don't see each other all that often, because she's insanely busy with kids and work.  But whenever we do get together we talk and laugh and share (or bitch and moan and vent), like friends do.

Anyway, she knows how much I love to try new recipes.  A few years back, she gave me this awesome recipe book called Any Bitch Can Cook (from the Any Bitch* family of cookbooks) wherein I found the recipe I use for Cake Mix Cookies.

This year, my wonderful friend - being dipped in awesomesauce the way she is - got me a 'guilt-free' recipe book (Taste of Home: Guilt Free Cooking).  OMG, everything in it looks so yummy.  I know I said I wasn't baking this year because of last year's Christmas poundage, but this is guilt-free, people, so I made the Apple-Cranberry Bread recipe (which I tweaked a little because I can't help myself.)

Here's my version - and at only 115 calories a slice (with very little fat) it really is guilt-free:

Apple Cranberry Bread
(makes two loaves - 16 slices each makes 115 calories per slice)

4 eggs
1.5 c. sugar
4 T vegetable oil
3 c. flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 medium granny smith apples (peeled & chopped)
2 c. fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two 8x4" loaf pans thoroughly with fat-free cooking spray.  In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar and oil until smooth and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients.  Slowly stir dry ingredients into wet mixture.  (It will be very thick.)  Stir in apples and cranberries.  Spoon batter into loaf pans.  Bake for 60-65 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool for ten minutes before tranferring to wire rack or whatever you use for cooling baked goods.  Let cool overnight, slice and serve.

The original recipe was for one loaf and called for walnuts.  I doubled it and killed the nuts - because, frankly, after stirring in the fruit, my arms were so tired I didn't see how I'd get the nuts into the batter.  (And the deletion had the benefit of dropping the calorie count 25 calories per slice.)  I'm also recommending you let it cool because I sliced mine warm and the darn thing was so tart, it made my cheeks hurt.  Leaving it overnight gave the loaf time to calm down and the flavors time to meld into a much less aggressive tartness.

If you try it, let me know.  I sliced up a bunch and passed it out around town to rave reviews. 

Heh, no wonder my friend calls me Betty Crocker.

*Bitch, btw, means Babe In Total Control of Herself.  I can get behind being called that.  =o)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Non-Writerly News

I know I've told several people, but I don't think I've said anything about this here.  (Maybe I did.  I can't remember.  But if I did, it bears repeating. :grin:)

Daughter was accepted to Colorado State.  Not only that, but yesterday she got the letter that she was accepted to the College of Business.  And she got an invitation to apply to the Honors Program.

My writing may not be showing any measurable progress, but at least this homeschooling endeavor I started back in 2005 is bearing fruit.  We got her through her last five years of school (or will have in June) and she's going to college.  Here's hoping everything she's been taught so far will help her succeed once she gets there.

Way to go, Kid.  We're so proud of you.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I knew the climax was out there somewhere.  I just didn't know how to get to it.  Then, like a flash of inspiration - or the lights from an oncoming train* - something lit my way.  I can see the way from here to there.  The path from there to the end is still kinda hazy, but I'll worry about that when the time comes. 

Wish me luck.

*Only time will tell whether this is blazing insight or a terrible catastrophe.  ;o)

Hokey Movie Writing

There was nothing on TV last night.  Nada.  So, as I was flipping through the channels, an older zombie movie caught my eye.  Okay.  I can get behind an black and white cheesy movie for a few minutes at least.  When it comes to old horror flicks, the hokier the better, right?

But this was too hokey for even old horror flicks.  Even Christopher Lee would be ashamed and he made some of the hokiest horror flicks ever.

So, anyway, I don't know what was happening before I hit the channel, but there was this house with people in it and they were under siege from what the movie was referring to as 'ghouls' (aka typical pasty-faced, flesh eating, shambling zombies).  People are dropping like flies until finally this one guy barricades himself in the basement and blows the heads off the two remaining zombies down there.  He's safe.  He's alive and unbitten.  Everything should be hunky-dory for what is obvious the hero of the piece.  All he has to do is wait for morning and help.


Day breaks and the cavalry (as in the local sheriff and his posse of gun toting locals) arrives.  They're blowing the heads of zombies right and left.  Then the sheriff decide to head for the house.  The hero awakens to the sounds of gunfire outside and decides to investigate.  He walks up into a zombie-free house with his shotgun at the ready.  Just outside, he sees the posse walking toward the house with their guns.  He's safe right?

Wrong.  At this point, the sheriff gives orders to his sidekick to shoot the guy in the house in the head - cuz, like, that's the only way to kill these things.  They shoot the hero and the movie ends with still photos of the hero being dragged off so his body can be burned.

Is it just me or wouldn't the hero - upon seeing humans who weren't pasty-faced, flesh eating, or shambling - have shouted something?   A little "Hey guys, don't shoot!" or "I'm not a zombie", maybe?  Something.  Anything?  Nope.  He stands there being dumb in more ways than one and the cops blow him away.  End Scene.

Talk about too stupid to live.  Geez.

Don't even get me started about the chick who stood by the door and let the zombies paw at her instead of fighting or even running.

Personally, I think even hokey movies should be better than that.  I demand a better class of hokey movie, dammit.  ;o)

What was the hokiest movie you ever saw?  Have any of you seen the movie like the one I'm talking about?  Because I totally missed the title and didn't recognize any of the actors, so even IMDB can't help.  Not that I need to know the title, other than to avoid it if I ever see it again.  LOL

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I'm Still Here

I know it's been a few days since I posted, but I'm still here.  I'm blaming the craziness of the holiday season combined with the recovery period post-NaNo.

Anyway, here's what I've been up to...

-Crocheting.  I'm trying to get Daughter's blanket finished in time for it to still be cold enough to use.  Good news is, I'm almost done.

-Reading.  After slogging through November writing too much to have time for reading, I'm trying to catch up.

-Baking.  I know I said I wasn't going to bake this year because I don't need the extra poundage, but I can't help myself.  So, I made three batches of Cake Cookies and gave them all to my new neighbors.  They've got kids, so I'm not ruining her diet either.

-Shopping.  The big holiday is almost here and this is Daughter's last Christmas before she's off to college.

-Gifting.  I didn't bake for everyone this year like I usually do, but I did find some inexpensive toffee treats to hand out to the most special acquaintances.  Plus, I signed and mailed cards.  Fun fun fun.

-Celebrating.  Daughter got accepted to Colorado State.  Not only that, but she got invited to apply to the Honors Program.

-Kvetching.  Due to some irritating things happening in the ol' personal life, I've been feeling like a whiny bitch and no one wants to listen to my kvetching - least of all, myself.

-Cat Mothering.  Max had to go back to the vet again.  His poor mouth is still a mess and it always will be, but this time around, he had an abscess that needed meds.  So, I get to squirt antibiotics into his mouth every morning.  On the upside, he's eating like a champ again, now that the meds are working.  Yay. 

It's been a busy time around here, but that's no excuse for neglecting all of you.  I'll try to do better.  Tomorrow look for a post on making excuses or maybe one on letting fear get the better of you.  In the meantime, check out Colene Murphy's butt-whooping post on dealing with fear.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Torture. Whose Turn is it Tonight?

Eh, I got some words out and I threw another blow at Rue's midsection.  We're both still reeling from it.  Today wasn't for torturing Rue, though.  It was for torturing myself.  I reworked the query for the umpteenth time and ended up with a version I kinda like.  At this point, even those versions I liked now suck, so I'm happy with 'kinda like'.  Needless to say, I sent one out tonight.  We'll see if it garners a happy response or a big Bronx cheer.

How're things in your little part of the world tonight?  Anything torturing you?

ETA:  How stupid is it for a writer to use who's instead of whose in the title for a friggin' blog post that will be on the internet for like ever.  D'oh.  (BTW, I fixed it, but it will live forever in the URL.)

Friday, December 10, 2010

At the Crossroads

Okay.  I admit it.  I'm standing at a crossroads and don't know which way is the right path to take.  That's why I haven't written anything in days.  Hell, it's probably why I haven't blogged either.  Or maybe I'm just dragging my feet and using that as an excuse.  I dunno.

You see, I just finished a scene ending with a fairly explosive and pivotal event.  I didn't know this was going to happen until I wrote it, but it's perfect for what has come before and what has to happen in the end.  It's just deciding which road to take that has me all screwed up.  Several will get me where I need to go.  Several more will most likely just get me lost.  But only one is the right one.

I guess the only thing to do is to pick a road and take it.  I'll try that tomorrow.  If My choice leads into a cul-de-sac, well, then I guess I'll just have to backtrack to this turning point and try again.  Here's crossing my fingers that I don't get hopelessly lost and wind up at the end realizing it wasn't the end I was wanting.  Been there, done that.  I don't want this to wind up as a rewrite.  Those take too long and I'm an impatient gal.

So, tell me... What do you do when you're stuck at a crossroads with your story?  Forge ahead?  Or do you have everything planned out in advance so you don't get tangled up?

*If the voice of this post seems a little off, I just finished watching The Big Sleep** with Bogart and Bacall.  Consider this Bogie's temporary possession of one screwy writer.  ;o)

**  If you haven't seen The Big Sleep, it is perhaps one of the best movies ever - in my opinion, of course.  I bought it for myself for Christmas.  A little early hohoho for me.  =oD

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Observations on a Winter's Evening

Outside in the dark, it's very hard to tell the difference between a crazy person walking down the sidewalk talking to themselves and a normal person walking down the same sidewalk talking on a cell phone.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You Might Be a Crazy Cat Lady

* If you carry a can of cat food in your pocket, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If there's a cat brush sitting just outside your door, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you've created a cat housing complex either in your house or in your yard, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you name every cat you see, whether it's yours or not, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you keep various bowls of cat food around the house - inside and out - in case someone gets hungry, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If the first person you want to see when entering your neighbor's house is the orange tabby, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you spend more than ten minutes a week talking about your cats with strangers, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you spend more than an hour a week talking about your cats with friends and family, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you talk TO your cats more than to other humans, you might be a crazy cat lady.  

* If you spend more money on your cat food than your kid's food, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If the cat has more seats and beds in the house than the people, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you've posted more pictures to your blog of your cats than your kid, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you worry more about where your cats are at than where your kid is at, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you babytalk to a cat that's older than you are in cat years, you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you think of things in terms of 'cat years', you might be a crazy cat lady.

* If you see your vet in the supermarket and the first words out of your mouth aren't 'Hi, how are you' but 'The cats are doing fine', you might be a crazy cat lady.

And finally...

If your husband starts this list as a joke first thing in the morning and you spend time adding to it for your blog, he may be right...  

You might be a crazy cat lady.

(Pics: Kira, Simon, BB Kitty, Old Tom, Jay, Mama Kitty and Max.  Only Kira and Max are actually mine.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Time to Get Back on Track

November is over.  Thanksgiving, including the leftovers, is finished.  NaNoWriMo has come to a close.  Even the roofers packed (almost) everything up and split last night - which was good because it snowed overnight.  Now it's time to get back on track.

Because, you see, I got off track during November with certain aspects of my life and since November, I've gotten off track in others.

During November, I fell off my diet.  I also fell off any kind of cleaning schedule.  With only one book finished during the month, my reading was way off.  I haven't taken Daughter out for a drive since October (bad mom) and I can't remember the last time I did anything nice for my husband.  Additionally, I stopped querying.  All of that needs to resume.

Since 11/28, I haven't written a damn thing.  Writing needs to resume, too.

So, I'm making a pact with myself.  As of this morning, I am going to get back on track.  No more cake - which will be hard since I have two half cakes left from Friday.  No more laying around watching reruns of the same old shows for the dozenth time.  No more walking past the dust bunnies on the way into the kitchen for more snacks.  And no more putting off the work that my writing career requires*.

I guess you could call all of the above my pre-New Year's resolution package.

What are you doing to get back on track?  If you've stayed on track, how did you manage it?

*Yes, I know querying right now is problematic because of the approaching holidays, but if I allow myself that excuse, it'll be next year before I get anything done and who knows, by then I may get distracted by my NaNo novel and never get back to querying for Djinnocide.  (It's happened before.)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Quickie Post

I thought I'd have more time this morning, but they're here and I have to shut the computer off. 

Oh yeah.  Who are they?  They're the roofers.  For the past couple days, they've been re-roofing this pseudo-duplex thingie I live in.  I can't think amidst noise, so I've been sitting on the couch, vegging out with the TV.  Beyond that, every time they fire up their compressor, we get a brown-out in the house - which is why I shut off the computer.  No way am I risking the inner workings of this computer.

That's part of the reason I was so quiet yesterday.  And why I'll be quiet today.  Thank goodness they didn't start this project before I finished my NaNo words.

Have a great weekend, folks.  What are you up to this weekend?  How do you handle distractions while you're working?  

I'll stop by later to approve comments (when the guys take lunch), so comment away.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day Off?

Yesterday was my pre-scheduled, post-NaNo day off.  I didn't write a thing.  And you know what?  It felt really weird.  Like when the neighbor's dog has barked every night for a month and when you finally get used to the constant woof woof woof enough to fall asleep, it stops.  And you wake up wondering what the hell that noise was to find you were awakened by the absence of noise. 

I didn't write Tuesday either, but it didn't feel as weird.  Maybe because I spent the evening inside my head editing a totally different book. 

Anyway, yesterday was my day off.  Know what I did?  I cleaned the house.  While I was cleaning, I realized the couch would look better over there, but in order to move it, I needed to move the bookcase - you know the one with all the textbooks on it.  Oh, and once I moved the couch, the TV cabinet would be easier to see if I moved it a foot to the right.  And that end table I moved into the bedroom last month?  Well, it would fit in the living room again.  Also, I could move the torch lamp to give me better reading light on the couch. 

Umm, day off anyone?

Needless to say, Daughter and I cleaned, moved furniture and then decorated the house on my 'day off'.  It looks lovely and the TV will be much easier to see - after Christmas when I take the tree down (because right now the left side of the screen is obscured by branches, so I have to lean right to see left). 

I did all that and completely forgot to call Nikon to scream about my camera being three weeks past their estimated fix date.  On the upside, though, I checked online this morning and the 'Parts Hold' status miraculously changed to 'Shipped'.  Yay. 

All I can say is about yesterday is: Thank goodness for Thanksgiving leftovers because there was no way I was cooking anything major last night. 

I'm taking today off writing.  I'm taking today off heavy lifting, cleaning and decorating.  I'm going to sit on the couch and read.  Damn it. 

Unless I get a wild hair to shoot off a couple query letters.  ;o)

What does a day off look like to you?  Do you really take one, or do you use a day off to accomplish other work?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

I won NaNoWriMo.  Yay.  :snoopy dance:

I hit my word count last night at 9:41pm.  At which point, I fell apart.

Okay, so I held together just long enough to verify my words with the site and get my goodies.  I put up my new NaNo badge and then fell apart.

50210* words into my novel and yes, I have at least 20K to go.  50K words - about half of which are total crap.  But I said I was going to do it and I did.  Now I'm done.  I know I can write more words today and add them to my total, but I think I'm going to take a little break.  I need a break.  I've earned a break.  I'm taking one.  So there.  =op


Because now I'm so very tired.  I get like this with a big project.  I bust my buns accomplishing the task and then once it's complete, I turn to mush.  "Fall apart afterwards," I always say.

On the agenda for today?  All the house cleaning I neglected for the past month so I can put up Christmas decorations tomorrow.  Yay.

What are your post November plans?  Do you ramp up for big projects and then collapse when they're over?

*My MS Word count.  NaNo verification ended up different.  Which is why I had to write another few paragraphs to make the NaNo verifier catch up and why the counts don't match. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The End is near

The end is near.  This, of course, doesn't mean I'm anywhere near THE END.  I'm just 5500 words or 3 days away from the end of NaNoWriMo.  The end of this draft is about 15-20K beyond NaNo's 50K goal - which means I'll finish it sometime before X-mas. 

THE END?  Well, I don't write those words at the bottom of my manuscript until I feel like I just finished the final draft.  That, my friends, is months off.  Hell, the novel I started querying in October was my 2009 NaNo novel.  Yep.  I can crank out those first drafts, but it's the editing and polishing that could take a while.

So, tell me, how long does it take you to write a first draft?  How long does your editing process take?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Home Stretch

9000 words to go and four days to do it (counting today, of course).  Ack. 

Still, that's only like 2250 a day and I've been averaging about that for the days I actually wrote in this last two-thirds of the month.  (If that made any sense)

I think I can I think I can I think I can.  I think I'm going to need more coffee if I'm going to accomplish this.

In other news, Michigan plays Ohio State today.  :shudder:  My poor boys are going to get their asses handed to them.  I don't think I have the stomach to watch them get whomped.  So, it's just as well I have a lot of words to write.  I'll be so busy here, I won't be crying on the couch over there.  (Yes, I do cry during football sometimes.  It's a hormone thing.)

OMG, it just occurred to me that after today college football is pretty much over until the bowl games.  Now there's a reason to cry.  =o(

Okay, enough dawdling for me.  I have to go put Rue through another traumatic experience or two.  Even if I get the 9K done, I'm still about 15-20K off of the end of the book, so she's not ready for happy yet.  Poor Rue.  No HEA today.

How are your stories going?  What's your feeling on the HEA - do books have to have one, or are you okay if they don't?  Personally, I'm okay without an HEA as long as the MC gets a HFN (happy for now).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Why Wednesday Fell Apart

Have you ever had one of those days?  As I said in Wednesday's post, I crawled out from under the wrong side of the rock anyway, so it probably shouldn't have been such a surprise that it all went downhill from there.

Actually, things were looking up not too long after I wrote that post.  I was feeling more positive and ready to take on the day.  That should've been my first clue.  Maybe if I hadn't been feeling all sparky I would've left the call to my DSL provider until Monday.  But being all positive and junk, I thought it would be a short call telling them my modem was dying and they'd send me a new one.

Wednesday wasn't meant to be that easy.

I did have an awesome chat with the first tech support guy (who just happened to be a Michigander) while he put my modem through its paces.  After plugging and unplugging, shifting filters and moving to another phone jack, he pronounced my usual jack as the culprit.  He said it needed replacing and he'd be happy to send someone out to do that - for the mere cost of a service call, parts, etc.  "Umm, it's the day before Thanksgiving," I said, "so I'll be happy to just limp along from a different jack and call you back for an appointment next week."

So, I moved my husband's desk (because it's the smallest desk and he has a laptop) into the kitchen and set everything up off of that jack.  Sure, it took some doing.  The jack's in an odd spot, so I had to string the cord up and over and through - with a sign hanging off it that said 'DUCK' so my husband wouldn't garrote himself if he went into the utility room.  I got online, tried to check my email (forgot my password, btw, which is a whole other issue), managed to check my Amazon account, and then BAM - I got the stupid red light on my modem again.

Either first tech guy was wrong or this whole house's wiring was taking a poo.  Time for another call to tech support, because if nothing else, he can reset my password and I can get my email from the ISP site.  Second tech guy (whose name just happened to be Jack - which made talking about phone jacks interesting) put everything through its paces again, put me on hold for fifteen minutes while he 'checked some things' and came back to tell me it wasn't my modem and it wasn't my jacks.  It was something in the wiring outside the house.  He needed to set up a tech appointment to fix it.

Fine, I thought, whatever.  Do it.  He said the soonest he could get someone out was Saturday morning.  Again, fine whatever do it.  Meanwhile, I cleaned the spot where husband's desk had been and tidied up so I could move it all back and limp along with the crappy outside wiring.  Thirty minutes into it, as I was on my hands and knees brushing dust bunnies off the rug, the phone rang.  The local service guy was on his way - on my street in fact - and could I please tell him where my house was.

Great.  He'd come, fix the phone lines and maybe I'd have supreme DSL for the first time since we moved here.

Except it wasn't the phone lines outside the house and it sure as hell wasn't the jacks inside the house.  It was...  :drumroll: MODEM.  (Just like I told both tech support guys, btw.)  It took the local guy about twenty minutes all told - and that included him going back to the office to get a new modem.

What started out as a simple phone call at 9am finally finished with a simple solution at 2pm - after which I had to move all the furniture back, put the modem back into position with the router, and tidy up the mess.  At 3pm, I collapsed on the couch. 

So you see why I didn't get any words out Wednesday night.

Of course, Husband and I had a good chuckle about the whole thing later.  Sometimes you gotta laugh at the sheer ludicrousness of things. 

Ever had something truly ludicrous happen to you?  Share your experiences in the comments.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the celebration of the bounty in your life. 

In a few hours, Husband will start the turkey.  He makes the best turkey ever - which is why this is his holiday to cook.  What are you having for dinner today?  Who's doing the cooking at your house?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Be warned:  I crawled out from under the wrong side of the rock this morning. 

It was probably the fact that this bed we have is a piece of shi... engineering crappary to rival the Yugo.  It came with the house and the frame is bent in such a way that the mattress sags in the middle - like the crossbar of an H.  As such, husband shifted positions at 5:15am, causing the bed to wobble.  I was laying on my stomach and the wobble threw my back into a position it was not meant to be in.  Screaming pain ensued.

Needless to say, I was up shortly thereafter.

And what was the first thought that came to mind when I woke?  (I mean other than OwOwOw)  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and the house is a pigsty.  Sure, no one is coming over.  It'll just be the three of us again, and they both know the house is a mess.  After all, they've lived with my lack of cleaning since NaNo started.  Still, I can't have a holiday in a messy house.  It's just not done.

Thinking about things I haven't done that need doing reminded me that my frigging camera is still somewhere in California - on 'Parts Hold'.  And that my modem has been acting up.  More things on my to-do list.

And once my computer booted up and I coaxed my modem to play nice, I was reward with a SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT via my widget thingy.  Cold front's a comin' and we'll be getting negative windchills tonight.  Max's house is fairly toasty to say 15 degrees, but for negative temps, it needs more insulation.  Guess what else I'll be doing today?

So, you'll all have to excuse me for being a crabass this morning.  The end of NaNo is fast approaching.  I have 15K words left to write to reach my goal, and I suddenly find myself with a boatload of stuff I need to do.  Sure, I did this to myself, but I'm taking a moment to kvetch about it.

Anything in your life that's making you crabby?  Let it out.  Venting is good for the soul and it keeps you from going postal.  ;o)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love My Widget

I'm so loving my new NaNo toy.  ---->

The green are days I succeeded, the yellow are days I tried, and the red are for those days when I didn't write a damn thing.  So far, only three red days.  The red rectangle has been staring at me all day... watching me... guilting me...

I may have said it before, but guilt is a powerful motivational tool for me.  Guilty red box stares at me until I write new words.  Of course, it's still not green, but yellow is way better than red.  Way way better.  (And it'll be green by the time I'm done with today.  Because yellow is guilt inducing, too.)

Does guilt motivate you?

(ETA:  And now it's green.  :GRIN:  Guilt be gone.  Or rather it would be gone if I wasn't still 1373 words behind.)

Sunday, November 21, 2010


OMGOtter says "OMG, I can't believe how much this sucks!"

I lost the thread. My train of thought derailed. And now, this morning, everything I'm writing is lamelamelame.

Feels like a good time to go screw around until I get a grip on this.  Maybe looking at old houses in need of renovation will help.   Or maybe I just need to go crochet until my brain figures this out.

On the other hand, I could just push through and write pages of total crap.  I can fix crap later, but I can't fix what isn't there.

Time for some cogitation and mastication.  Be back later...

ETA:  I did a bit of both.  I spent some time screwing around - thinking and eating (which explain the three pounds) - and then I sat down to motor through.  It still felt like crap at the beginning of tonight's writing session, but before long, I got back into the groove.  Thanks.  =o)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Head Down, Writing

I'm up to my ass today.  As long as the words are coming, I'm going to write.  Talk amongst yourselves.  And here's a pretty picture for you to enjoy...
*All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I Didn't See That Coming

I just threw my MC one hell of a curve.  It was so big I didn't even see it coming.  I mean, I knew I had to screw up her life again, but this particular piece of information was so huge it knocked me sideways.  She's still trying to recover from it, but she doesn't have time to wallow.  Onward.  Or rather, move forward before you die. 

Poor poor Rue.  I wish I could say I'm done chucking rocks at you, but you've got a long way to go.  Hang in there, hon, I made you strong enough to survive it all.  Bloodied but unbeaten.

Which is how I feel right now.  Or maybe I mean beaten but unbowed.  :shrug:  Either way I'm going to bed to sleep, perchance to dream a way for Rue to get through this - without seeming contrived or just generally lame.

And not because Rue's story is futile, but because I thought this was funny...
*All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNo Brain

I think I've got NaNo Brain.  It's one of those functional disorders where you look perfectly normal and you can blend in with regular people.  It's not even debilitating.  It's just annoying.  Any time anyone asks me how I'm doing, my first thought is "I'm behind".  Or when they ask me what I've been up to and I answer with "It's November" as if that explains it all.  Because, you see, ever since November 1st, all I can think about is NaNoWriMo. 

That's a bit of an exaggeration.  I do think about other things, but NaNo is at the forefront of everything else.  I think about my word count constantly.  When I'm doing something else, I'm thinking about how I'm going to get more words out later.  I could be having a conversation with you, and the whole time I'm plotting my next scene.  (Which may be why the few conversations I've had this month end up with the other person staring at me funny.) 

I've been so focused on NaNo, I even suspended my querying.  Not by conscious thought, but when I look back at the last query I sent out, I realize, somewhere along the way, that important task fell through the cracks.  (Or rather fell through the crack in my head.)

I should be over this by December 1st.  Please, god, let me be over this by then.  I need to become a normal human again.  (Okay... as normal as I ever was.)  I need to be able to hold a conversation with my friends and family.  I'd like to watch an entire program without feeling guilty that I haven't met my word count yet.

Until then, I'll just keep motoring along.  Having NaNo Brain isn't really so awful as long as there's an end in the foreseeable future. 

And if you see me next month, still talking to myself in public and mumbling about word counts, call a professional.  By then, I'll need one.  ;o)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bad Monkey

I'll be a better blogger once November is over.  Promise.

So, what's up in your world?  Any news about anything?

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm a Slug

Okay, I admit it.  I spent yesterday on the couch being a total slug.  I didn't write.  I didn't read.  I just lay there, watching TV and occasionally doing a few rows of crochet. 

I wanted to write.  Hell, I'm way behind on my NaNo words, and even if I forget that, I am writing a book.  If NaNo didn't exist, I'd still want to be working toward THE END.  I even tried to tell myself to forget about NaNoWriMo and just get the words out.  Nada.  I told myself to forget how behind I was - you know, to take the pressure off.  Zilch.

So I was a slug. 

I did think about writing.  You don't want to know what I was thinking.  I must be at that point - you know the one.  The self-doubt point.  :shrug:  I've been here so many times they ought to name a street after me. 

Hubs is being supportive by telling me I don't need to worry about this.  That I don't need to hold myself to some arbitrary deadline.  I should just relax and let the words come when they will.  I understand.  He deals with deadlines and pressures in his day job, and he'd do anything to take that off my shoulders.  I get it.

I still feel like a slug.  Here I am without any outside deadlines or pressures.  I have no agent.  I have no contracts. (Which is pressure enough, if you ask me.)  No one cares if I ever finish another book.  I could chuck the whole idea and the world wouldn't be the wiser - well, except for the 59 people who stop by here on a regular basis.  :waves:

Don't worry, I'm not chucking anything.  I won't even drown my sorrows in beer - like my fellow slugs over there at the slug pub*.  I'll just keep motoring along.  Yesterday I was a slug.  Today I'm going to be a slug with sore fingers because I will write today, even if writing each word is like pulling impossibly long slivers from my fingertips with rusty tweezers.

* that picture is of a beer trap (aka slug pub) for ridding yourself of the pesky slugs in your garden.  They love beer.  They drink, they drown, they die.  :shudder:  Thank goodness I'm not really a slug.

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Friday, November 12, 2010

Busy Writing

So here's a couple pictures...

This is the sun set off Cedar Key, FL - taken back in 2001. 

And this was taken around the same time on the other side of the peninsula - near Indian Harbor Beach.

Enjoy.  And have a great night. 

Thursday, November 11, 2010


November 11th... It's snowing.  Gack.  Both Husband and Daughter have the day off work.  I gave her the day off school.  So maybe I can get some of my own work done today.  Lord knows, I didn't write a damn word on my novel yesterday.  I did write a boatload of stuff for Daughter's college application process, if that counts - which it doesn't. 

She's officially applied to CSU, btw, but now I have to complete all this paperwork - explaining and detailing our homeschool process, the classes, the student herself...  I wonder if public school teachers have to jump through this many hoops for each of their students.  Bleh.  Of course, I have to fill out both the counselor and the teacher portions of the paperwork, plus whatever the school district would normally present. 

Why oh why does NaNo fall in November of all months?  Why couldn't it have been in July when I was fairly free of other sundry things?  But no, NaNo has to fall on the month when we set the clocks back, the month when I have schooly type things to do, the month when the leaves fell the hardest, the month when the snow-shoveling begins, the month when the temperatures drop enough to make my bones ache...  Arrgghh. 

On the upside, my neighbor came over yesterday and divested me of a lot of the clutter our landlady had in this house.  This place came furnished and decorated - that place didn't - so the landlady allowed us to move to stuff around between the two properties.  I finally got that native american print out of my living room.  Neighbor gal loves it, but I just thought it was creepy, so yay.

Got anything to ramble about?  Feel free to post whatever in the comments.  (As long as it follows the blog rules about not being spammy, nasty, snarky or snerty.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Got a Little Cheese?

'Cuz I'm bringing the whine. 

I write.  I crochet.  I read.  All three are activities that require the use of my hands. 

Add to those the fact that in my car accident, my left hand got messed up by broken glass - to the point where I almost completely severed the tendon to my middle finger (yeah, yeah - it almost made signaling other drivers impossible). 

So, I guess what I'm whining about today is that my hands friggin' hurt.  Not bad enough that I need massive opiates, but enough that I shall once again sing the praises of my favorite non-writing NaNo tool... 


If you don't have some, pick some up.  I wouldn't be writing this post if I hadn't slathered my hands in it when I got up.  Gotta keep those digits in working order, doncha know. 

Okay, now that the whining's over, go write something already.  ;o)

Peace out.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Last night as I was lying in bed, I realized I painted myself into a corner with the words I wrote over the weekend.  As such, I committed the cardinal sin of NaNoWriMo and went back through the first few chapters, fixing a sticky point and giving myself a new path to walk down.

I'm back on track now.  Unfortunately, it's been so long since I wrote new words, I'm reaching about an hour's worth before my hands go numb.  Bleh.  I'll be in fighting form as soon as I get used to writing again.  I'm still behind, but after checking last year's numbers, I'm not worried.

November 2009 - 45000 words, half of which were written in the last ten days.  I guess I just work well as a crammer.  Lord knows that's how I passed half my college classes.  LOL

How are things going in your world?  Are you a crammer or do you prefer to be prepared throughout the process?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NaNo Update, Excuses, and Exciting Stuff

As you can see from the word meter over there, I'm at just over 8700 words since 11/1 - which means I'm behind.  Bleh.  At the end of the 6th day of NaNo, I should be rounding 10K - so roughly 1300 behind with another 1667 added in for today.  My NaNo buddies are doing great with Julie, Michelle and Elana all over 10K and Melissa in the lead at 31K.  WOW, you go girls.  You are all rockstar writing machines.   

Of course, with the words the other gals are churning out, I should probably be freaking out about now, but I'm not going to.  I still have the majority of the month left, and as long as nothing trips me up, I'll be fine.  Which leads me to this week's excuses:

Excuse #1 - I've been fighting this lingering chest/sinus thing.
Excuse #2 - I got Diana Peterfreund's Ascendant in from the library and you can't really just put that book down - even if it's to write your own.
Excuse #3 - the Illinios @ Michigan game went into 3 overtimes. (Go Blue!)

Yeah, lame excuses.  I know.  I'll do better this week.  I promise...  Except...

Today's excuses in advance:

- I have to create Daughter's homeschool transcript for sending along to the college she's applying to. (ETA: DONE)


(wait for it)

- I got a partial request last night and this agent is very specific in what she wants from me.  So, even though I thought I had the right materials already created, like a 3pg synopsis and a 1pg synopsis, I now have to write a 2pg synopsis.  :shrug:  It'll probably take me the better part of today to get that just right.  (ETA: DONE and SENT)

But that doesn't matter because I got a partial request!!  :snoopy dance:

How are things in your world?  What are your excuses this week, or did you not need any?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Holy Sheet

Nathan Bransford quit.  Talk about unexpected news first thing on a Saturday morning.  It almost makes me wonder if we somehow got transported to April 1st.  We didn't.  It looks legit. 

Sorry to see you go, Mr. Bransford.  Good luck in your future endeavors.

And as cavalier as it sounds, I'm so glad he didn't bite on that partial I sent last year.  My heart and hopes go out to all his clients.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Element of Surprise

So, here I was thinking about the lame way I stopped my storyline yesterday and trying to figure out where to take the plot from here.  Then I remembered:  When in doubt, throw in the Element of Surprise.  Find a plot twist your readers won't be expecting and chuck it in there.  Put your MC into a quandary.  Hurt someone she loves.  Hurt her.  Betrayal works well, too.  Whatever works to save you from having to delete and gets you back on track.  You can fix the lame stuff later.  What you need to do now - if you're in NaNo, or even if you're just stuck and your writing style allows for pantsing - is get words onto the page, and this is an excellent way to get past lameness to real words again.  

Anyway, I found my twist.  Now I just have to find the best way to write it.  Wish me luck.

And good luck to all of you.

 *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

All I Have Left Right Now is Someone Else's Cute

I'm writing this Tuesday night, but I'm posting it now because I...  Well, I have some kind of stupid sinus thingy and all I have left in me at the moment is the above cartoon someone else created.  My muse is currently slogging through a layer of crud under a layer of Robitussin.

I should've listened to Husband and passed candy out from inside...  Or maybe sitting in the cold for almost two hours is just a coincidence and I just have a touch of what's going around.  (Yeah, that's it.  I have what the neighbor kids have.  It's not a result of my own stupidity.)

Anyway, I woke in the middle of the night Monday coughing my damn fool head off.  After a couple hours of that, like a total moron (i.e. desperate sleep-deprived person), I chugged some cough syrup.  Umm, cough syrup should not be taken internally.  Seriously.  That shit is not only nasty, it takes me longer than the average non-brain challenged person to get over.

Ya know something?  It's really hard to write when you have a case of medicine head.  This is the most human I felt all day and I just typed out 511 of the lamest words ever.  Oh, and this post - which is also lame.  (I hope you enjoyed the cartoon.  Really.)

Anyway, by the time you read this, I should be semi-human again.  One hopes.

How's things in your chunk of the world?

PS.  I have no idea where I got the cartoon, so if whoever I copied it from wants it taken down, let me know.  I meant to give them credit, but my brain is pudding.  *All images deleted to avoid any chance of copyright infringement*

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

First Day of NaNo 2010

Well, I did it.  I carved an hour out yesterday morning, another hour in the afternoon, and I wrote for 90+ minutes last night - despite the fact that the Colts were on Monday night football and it was game 5 of the World Series.  (Giants won the series, btw.)

I did end up saving 60 words from my original attempt, which explains the difference in my two totals.  I'm loving this new path the story's taking.  I might still use some of the old path, but if I do, I promise not to add it into my NaNo totals.

Anyway, yesterday was a win.  I'm trying to get ahead in the game so if I end up taking a day off, I won't fall behind.  Last night's words netted me an extra day if I need it, or more words to squeeze into the month if I can.  So far, so good.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

And btw, was anyone else having fits with the NaNoWriMo site?  Must have been a ton of people on it for the first day.  Since I've never done this before, I'm going to assume this was a regular first day occurrence and it'll pass as people drop out.

If I read the stats correctly, last year 165K started, but only 30K finished.  Of those, I wonder how many actually finished the book they wrote.  I know when I checked out the people in my 'home' territory - which is hours away, btw - the introductory post showed several people who reached 50K and then never did anything else with the book.  Seems like a waste, but to each his own.  Lord knows I've finished the first draft on a few books I never edited to completion, so who am I to talk?  (Of course, I feel guilty about those forgotten novels every time I think about them.  Poor lonely unfinished babies.)

Ever written a first draft only to never finish the book?  If you're participating in NaNo, do you plan to be querying it eventually or will it lounge on your hard drive never to be seen by anyone else's eyes?  No judgments here one way or the other.  Hell, every single thing we write serves a purpose - even if that purpose is only experience so we can write a better book next time.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Marathon of Sprints

NaNo starts... NOW.

NaNoWriMo has been likened to a writing marathon.  I think it's more a series of sprints that are part of a much larger marathon.  And really, isn't all writing the same?

For me, the business of writing isn't done by sitting down and typing straight through to THE END.  I sprint for as long as the words are pouring out, then I take a break before the next sprint.  Sometimes the next sprint is later the same day, and other times it's days or, heaven-forbid, weeks later. When the book is finished, you can add up all the sprints and consider it a good show at doing a marathon.

Except it's not over there, and whole different set of exercises begin.  But that's an analogy for another day.  Maybe in December when we're all recovering from NaNo.

Speaking of NaNo and sticking with the analogy, when you're doing your November thing, your sprints have to be every day or nearly every day.  Run as fast as you can for however long you have.  Do it again the next day until you've hit your 50K goal or December 1st - whichever comes first. 

I suspect it's the same way with deadlines.  (Any published writers out there will have to let me know in comments.)  You have to race to get your product to the publisher in the time set forth in the contract. 


It would be great if we could sit down to write and not get up again until we hit the end, but we aren't built that way.  No one is.  Even marathon runners can't run for a month straight.  We need sleep.  We require sustenance.  Writers especially need to recharge, so our brains don't short out. 

So, as you approach NaNo - or any other writing project - don't think of this as a marathon, but as a series of sprints.  And don't feel guilty when you need to take a break.  You're human.  If you never needed a break, you'd be a robot and robots don't write good books.  ;o)

On your mark.  Get set.  Go!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Do Over

I mentioned it on Friday, and it was almost prophetic.  I thought I might have to delete most of the book I started for NaNo, and I was wrong only in the 'most of it' part.  I need to delete all of it and start over fresh. 

So, I guess this means I'll be doing NaNoWriMo by the rules this year.  :shudder:  Rules. 


Don't worry.  Everything will be saved in a file.  I never really delete anything major.  Who knows, I might even be able to use some of those words again.  "Like 'the' and 'you'?" said Husband when I told him my plans.  Yes, folks, I married a smart aleck like myself.  Ain't love grand?  =oD

So, this day before November will be used for mental planning and some major reading.  Tomorrow we begin anew.

Oh, and before I forget...  HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  We have tons of chocolate.  If no kids come by, I'm set for the first week of NaNo.  LOL


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why NaNo?

If you've been reading along, I actually joined the NaNoWriMo site this year, and I'm committed publicly to writing 50K next month.  But, you see, I've already been doing this in my own way for the past few Novembers anyway.  Why? 

My family probably thinks I'm crazy.  Husband looks at me with gentle humor.  Daughter asked me straight out why I was doing this.  (And then added, "So I suppose this means no computer time for me next month.")  So I had to ask myself why I NaNo...

The answer is partly because I think it's important to celebrate this occasion.  Even if you don't do NaNo, if you're a writer, this is your month.  I mean, it's hard enough doing this in solitude - with little to no cause for celebration.  Having a whole month dedicated to writing novels?  Well, it makes up for the long months of writing without a contract, I guess. 

Another part is that writing is my job.  NaNo is my way to preparing for the time when I actually have a book contract and I'm under deadline.  If I can write 50K in November and have it be some kind of cogent story at the end, I know I can produce a book in whatever timeframe a contract would require.  I'm hoping that by taking this month and using it as a faux-deadline, it'll alleviate some of the pressure beforehand.  (Time will tell whether I'm right.)

And the rest?  Well, I guess it's my way of proving - if only to myself - that I can do this.  I can sit down every day and write an average of 1667 words.  I can forgo television when I need to - even if it means missing Grey's Anatomy or NCIS or :gasp: football.  I can prove to myself and maybe to the rest of the world that writing is that important to me - that this isn't a game or a hobby or a pastime.  (Which writing can be mistaken for if you're unpublished and sometimes even when you are published.)

So, if you're on the fence and looking for a good reason to participate, I invite you to use a reason or two of mine.  Jump on board and push yourself to write 50K next month. Or if you don't have time or the urge to actually participate, set a goal of your own and push to hit it.  (Like say, 30K, or promise yourself to write for at least an hour a day, or commit to 500 words a day.  Whatever works for you.) 

One way or another, celebrate National Novel Writing Month, because as a writer, you've earned it.  =o)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Update

Not much on the accomplishment list for this week.  I did start my NaNo novel, but I think I have to delete most of it and start over.  Other then that, I sent some queries.  I got some feedback.  I rewrote my query.  Blah blah blah.

Then I went on a pizza binge and now I'm paying the price.  (By the way, make sure you have your Google SafeSearch set to at least moderate when looking for images or you'll get a nasty surprise even searching something innocuous, like cartoons for 'under the weather'.  You don't want to know.  You really don't.  I need cleanser for my eyes.)

Okay, now I'm off to run errands and then collapse on the couch.  I'll be around to moderate comments, but other than that, I'm toast.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Picture Pause - Starvation Reservoir

This is a picture of Starvation Reservoir in Eastern Utah - off Hwy 40 southeast of Park City on the way to Dinosaur National Monument.  The DNM was a nice day trip out of SLC and we got to see this reservoir, too - even if it has a creepy name.