Monday, January 31, 2011

Frickin' Freezin'

I know I'm not the only one up to my armpits in extreme winter weather, but this cold snap is kicking my butt.  Maybe that's because a couple days ago it was in the 60s here.  Big temperature jumps leave me feeling skudgy.

Okay, so it's January 31st.  I still didn't get the WIP finished, and tomorrow's not looking good either.  On the upside (because there's always an upside if you know where to look), I'm reading lots and getting a bunch of crocheting done.  When it's cold like this, that's about all I want to do.  Well, that and sleep.

Who exactly ordered this sweep of northern crud?  It's ridiculous. I mean, seriously, they were saying there's a blizzard warning for Oklahoma City for petesakes.  When I have to dress like Nanook of the North to have a smoke, that's too much winter. 

Is it frickin' freezin' where you are, or are you one of the lucky few who didn't catch that tundra crap dropping out of the arctic? 

And as an aside, raise your hand if you remember Nanook of the North.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Handful of Kitty Toys

Once, when Kira Cat was small, I took a handful of her toys (soft ones) and threw them up in the air, figuring it would be fun to see her try to go after them all when they landed.  Her poor little head tried to follow every single one, but she didn't move an inch.  She just sat there, confused and bewildered.  So many choices, so many things to follow, and only one her.  The number of options had her stalled.

I've never done that to her again.  It just felt cruel.  Now I know better than to present her with more than one or two toys at a time.  She can't handle more than that.  Give her one and she'll play.  Give her a myriad of options and she stalls.

I get it.  I'm the same way.  Take housecleaning, for instance.  If I think about the huge list of things I have to do, I stall and don't do any of them.  I'm much better if I take each chore as a single job and work from there.  I don't have a whole house to clean.  I have one bedroom, and then another, and then a bathroom, or the kitchen.

Unfortunately, this also carries into my work life.  If I think about all the things I have to accomplish, I stall.  Right now, I have a book to finish, a book to query (which includes updating a database, following up on requested material, doing research, etc.), and an ePub to find for yet another book. 


So, I picked one thing to work on.  Right now, that one thing is finishing UEQ.  But I can't stop thinking about the other tasks I have to accomplish.  I'm like poor baby Kira, sitting in the middle of the floor with toys falling all around me like psychedelic hailstones. 

I just need to focus on the one thing.  Finish playing with the toy in front of me and move onto the next shiny important toy I need to play with.  Worry about finishing UEQ now and then figure out how I'm going to deal with the others. 

Because until I can get my focus on just one thing, I'm going to be stuck in the middle of a handful of kitty toys.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Super Excited

I love it when a plot twist jumps out and hits me between the eyes.  OMG, this is frickin' brilliant.  How I didn't consciously think of this before, I'll never know.  My subconscious must've been playing with it all along, though, because the groundwork is already laid. 

Good subconscious.  Maybe I'll treat it with a good cup of cocoa-coffee. 


1 packet instant cocoa mix
1 tablespoon instant coffee (leaded)
lots of hot water

Stir thoroughly.  Sip slowly. 

And if I'm feeling particularly randy, I add a splash of Creme de Cacao or Irish Creme*.  Mmmm.

*Not tonight.  I need a clear head for this.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Calling it a Win

894 words added to UEQ after about a week away.  Not the most I've ever written in an hour, but considering how little I've written this month, I'm calling it a win.  Maybe tomorrow, I can double that.

And you all have permission to kick my butt if I don't at least try.

In other news, I've been doing an early 'spring cleaning / reorganizing / sorting things' job on my house.  After three days, I'm half done with the ground floor.  I love renting this big house most of the time.  This week?  Not so much.

What are you up to this week?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Malaysian Siding Anyone?

I just have one question: Why do people in Kuala Lumpur keep trying to sell me windows and siding???

Okay, so maybe more than one...

Does my email address somehow convey that I would be open to purchasing home improvement supplies from a tiny island nation?  Sure, they have the tallest building (last I checked), but I can't imagine how that would make their windows and siding attractive enough for anyone here in the US to order from all the way over there.  The shipping alone would make your house have the most expensive siding in the free world.

I mean, seriously.

(okay, not seriously. how can anyone take these spam-mails seriously?  and I've been up since 3:40am for petesakes.)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Red Ink Notes - Day 2

I like to think yesterday's crocheting and subsequent note process was more productive.  I'm close to having the answers (and I'm pretty sure I'll still have to rewrite a bunch of this WIP).

Anyway...  Picking up where we left off:

(pg 2)

The best will always rise no matter what people do to make them X.

So, given that, how does Rue rise?
- she's already doing what she wants
- she doesn't want to lead
- even if A dies?

Okay, here's the rub - (or one of them anyway) - 
- Rue doesn't believe A's plan will lead to anything but bloodshed.
- Z is nuts and getting worse, so who the hell is really leading and how did someone like him get into a position to lead the agency anyway?
- B is a douchebag traitor.  So??

Damn you've got this thing so squirreled up, no wonder you're screwed.

Complex plot is one thing - squirreled is another.  Figure it out and fix it.

Plot points

Rue is a self taught (occupation), a loner who isn't comfortable working with other people, who's thrown into a situation where she has to trust strangers.

That's not a plot point, you idiot.  Do you not know how to parse your fucking writing?  You know how to write - figure it out.

(time passes)

What's going on with Rue now?  She's being out of character - ie a whiny simp.  Understandable considering she's thrust into her old home - confronting a whacked out Z.  Get over it.  Step up.

A is either hurt bad or dead, which makes Q fall apart and Rue step up.

(time passes)

Are you over thinking this?  Trying too hard to make this series-able?  Focus on the one book.  Have to finish one before you could sell more.

Okay, so Rue steps up - have to organize the U to oust the D.
- save A?  Could fix it so Rue goes down & he's not there - just a lot of blood.  - trail leads out to garage

(more time passes)

You can't save A.  (new plot points for the next three paragraphs - with notes on how to go back and fix the earlier parts of the book to make the end make sense)

But where does it go from there?!

The long and short of yesterday's on-paper bitch session is: I think I have enough to start writing again.  I still don't know exactly where I'll end up, but I can probably get another chapter or two out before I hit another wall.  Who knows, maybe by the time I write the new material, I'll have figured the rest out.

Oh, the fun of being a plansterer.  Sometimes it feels like I'm hacking my way through rainforest undergrowth with a dull machete.  Yippee.

On the upside, I got a lot of crocheting done and between times, I did some more epub research.  Oh, and last night, I started tweaking my suspense manuscript to make it ready for submission (should I ever find an epub that doesn't suck and accepts suspense submissions sans romance).  I really do love EditMinion - and George (my Minion) loves my manuscript, too.  Yay.

What are you up to this weekend?  Anything good?

ETA: Go Pack!  Go Steelers!

Also ETA: I got my wish!  Damn.  I shoulda put money on those games.  I can't wait for the Super Bowl.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Red Ink Notes

For a little insight into this writer's brain, here's a glimpse at what my red ink notes look like (as copied from a fat 5-subject notebook.)  (Picture the below in barely legible red handwriting):

UEQ - hashing

Okay so Rue & S are at Rue's old house.  J is in the basement - alive or dead?
  • - What now?
  • - W comes back - surprising the gals
  • - C kills W?
Oh my god, who the hell cares? Why is any of this even remotely important?

You got too far away from the premise.

What is the premise?

A govt doing X is the set up - what is the point of this novel?

Somewhere along the way you lost the idea of what you wanted from this book.  Obviously you wanted to show what the world would be like if the government forced people to be Y.

Rue should've been a D, but she wasn't allowed to be - so she did it on her own.  Rising above.

The best will always rise above.


The best will always rise no matter what people do to make them Y.

With all letters in place of character names and plot points I'm not ready to make public yet.)

Believe it or not, the above took me a while to write because I was stopping to think.  And that's where I stopped because my hand was cramping and then I let myself get distracted by the sheer ease of watching TV as opposed to hashing this out.  Unfortunate because I think I was this close to a breakthrough.  I think it hinges on that last statement at the top of pg 2, but it fell apart along with my wrist's ability to hold a pen.  (And my brain's getting sucked out watching Gold Rush* on Discovery.)

It's like that scene from Frankenstein (or maybe Young Frankenstein) where the monster is trying to pick the music out of the air with his fingers.  I know the idea I'm searching for is right there, but I can't grab it out of the air.  Bleh.

I will make myself figure this out today.  Even if I have to spent the whole day crocheting and the whole night writing in my notebook - being much harsher than I was last night.  (I can really kick my own ass in these hashing sessions.)

Wish me luck.

*Is it just me or should that show be renamed Fools' Gold?  Because none of those guys seem like they have two brain cells to rub together.  I mean, don't they think ahead?  Plan ahead?  About anything? I have an idea.  If you're planning on moving your whole lives to Alaska, learn about indigenous wildlife (a black bear and a grizzly are distinctly different), pay attention to labels (bug spray should not be doused on a person like a cheap hooker splashes on perfume), investigate where your water source is coming from before you drink it without boiling it (umm, yeah, that brown crud might not be safe for consumption).  Seriously, the brightest person in camp is the dog.

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Coming Weekend Skirmish

So, there I was, writing along fine.  I mean, hell, I whipped out more than 4K on Sunday and I was feeling pretty proud of myself. 

Until I tried to see where the next scene was going and how I was going to end this book.  :crashbangcrumple: 

Inside my head was an eighty car pileup on the turnpike and it looked something like this:  "OMG, I can't see the end.  I have no idea where I'm going.  What have I done?!  Rue wouldn't act like that.  And who the hell is the hero of this piece?  This is crap, it's always been crap and there's nothing I can do to fix this crap.  I need to scrap the whole damn thing and start over."

I gave a little bit of that on my Facebook page and got several quick, worried responses.  To which I replied for them not to worry because I don't actually delete anything, burn anything or scrap everything.  Not that I don't feel like it from time to time.  Which is why I posted it to Facebook.  (Maybe I'm missing the point of Facebook, but that's a post for another day.) 

Anyway, I sat down yesterday and crocheted my brains out.  The TV was mumbling in the background, but I wasn't actually listening to it.  I was stewing everything around in my head as my hands flew over the yarn.  I didn't really get anywhere on the story, but I did come to a conclusion.  Time to tackle these problems old school.

Yep, it's time to pull out the notebook and the red pen.  I need to do some free writing, which is sort of like writing everything I'm thinking out in one long gush of crimson ink.  It usually ends up as a combination of badgering myself and arguing with myself.  Needless to say, it's a little psycho, but it generally helps me to figure out where I went wrong, whether I can fix it and how to go about doing such a thing. 

It's an ugly process, but it usually works. 

To that end, don't be surprised if you don't see the word counter move.  Unless I have a blinding flash of insight, I'm not writing until the red pen battle is done.  Here's hoping it just a weekend skirmish.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.  What are your plans? 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Change Changing Places

Okay, I'm trying to make some changes this year.  Not resolutions, per se, but things to make my life better or easier.  For instance, I've loaded all my favorite blogs into the Reading List portion of my Blogger Dashboard.  It's my attempt at streamlining my mornings, so I'm only reading the new posts and commenting on the ones that catch me.

Unfortunately, I'm still working out the kinks - like remembering where I commented, so I can go back and check out replies to my comments.  (I know there's something somewhere I can click to send follow up emails to my inbox, but I'm not there yet.)  So, if you said something really pertinent back to me and I didn't come back, I apologize.  My blog followings are a work in progress.

Another change I've been trying to make is being more active on Facebook.  So far so... well, eh.  I'm trying to connect.  I'm trying to network in a social way.  Be patient with me.  I'm still working out what to say so I don't come off as totally boring, self-possessed or irritating.  I'd hate that.  So, if you're a regular visitor - even if you don't comment - and you haven't already friended me on Facebook, I added a widget to the sidebar over there on the right to make it easy for them what wants to. 

And I recognize that not everyone will want to.  Lord knows, I've had to refuse a few requests and unfriend a couple people over the years myself.  I don't want to be that person everyone unfriends, and I don't want to be the chick everyone refuses.  But I understand when it happens.  You can't really be friends with everyone.  That would be too weird.

Next up, I'm trying to find a way to write every day and still do the other things I need or like to do.  You know, things like laundry (oh crap was it wednesday???  i totally forgot the laundry... again), cat bonding, grocery shopping, crocheting, reading, enjoying my family.  I'm not getting as many words in, but I'm trying.

Oh, and I'm trying to get back to some semblance of my diet.  I gained 6 lbs over the holidays, so I'm about 20 away from my goal now.  Bleh.

Why do I keep hearing Yoda in the back of my head?  "Do or do not.  There is no try."

Anyway, there are changes going on in the background.  Here's hoping they all work out for the best. 

Are you changing anything in your life this year?  Looking forward to it or dreading it?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I Could Care Less

I'm guessing my title for this blog irritates the crap out of about half the people in the English-speaking world.  (I mean, those who really think about how words are used and whether they're actually correct.)  The correct way to say the above is "I couldn't care less" - because if you don't care or care little, you really couldn't care less than you already do. 

And frankly, I could care less which way it's said.

Because that's the way I was raised to say it.  It's a normal phrase for me.  Sure, there are a lot things I was raised to believe/say/think that I've since changed.  Looking back, my father should've been famous for putting out statements as facts when he had no clue what he was talking about.  :shrug:  But I've decided I'm not changing this.  Saying "I couldn't care less" just feels wrong, and life's too short (and I'm too old) to quibble over that little phrase now.

So, how does this effect writing?

Personally, I think little things like this shouldn't be messed with - especially since any permutation of that statement could only be written as dialogue or from a first person POV.  If a character or your MC say it that way, it's their natural way of speaking.  (And just for grins, I've had characters say it the other way, too, because that's the way THEY were raised.)

It's these little quirks that make characters who they are.  Is it proper to say something like 'that's a whole 'nother issue'?  Nope.  But do real people talk that way?  Yup.  Personally, the word irregardless irritates me because it's a useless word that's pretty much used wrong every time I hear it.  But I'll use it to make my characters richer. 

I guess my point is, strange little quirks - when they're coming out of your MC's head or a character's mouth - make your story what it is.  On the other hand, coming from a narrator it just makes you look like you don't know proper grammar, but that's a story for another day.

What do you think?  How do you say the phrase and does how you say it come from knowing that it's the right way or from growing up saying it a certain way?  And what other little phrases / words can you think of that aren't quite grammatically correct but that are used in everyday life? 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I don't remember where I saw this earlier*, but someone had a link to EditMinion (from the same people who brought you Write or Die).  So, I tried it - you know, just to see what kinds of things it had to say about my writing.

I gave it 819 words to slash to ribbons.  And you know what?  If I'm reading it right, it gave me a green for Good in all five categories: Adverbs, Weak Words, Passive Voice, Said and Ending With Prepositions.  In the details, it caught some things I totally agree with - which is fine because I haven't even edited this WIP yet.  And it made two mistakes, both of which were thinking that where I used the word 'began' I was substituting it for 'said'.  (I wasn't.  But I do need to tighten those up.)  I had one 'weak word' and end two sentences with prepositions.

My worst crime was passive voice.  Of course.  I always need to watch myself for that and it's something I generally need to fix in the edits.

All in all, it was a very encouraging experiment.  I haven't even finished this book yet and the EditMinion is telling me I'm doing good.  So yay.

Have you ever tried EditMinion?  If so, let me know how it worked for you.  If not, give it a whirl.  It's kinda fun.

* I was just about to update this saying it was Christine Fonseca when she commented saying it was her.  Time flies in the blogosphere.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Picture Pause - Promontory Point

Taken in 2003, off a side road off the hwy leading to the Promontory Summit in Utah, home of the spot where the two sections of the transcontinental railroad met and the Golden Spike was driven.

Too bad we arrived after the visitor's center was closed and couldn't get a picture of the actual spike.  (They keep it inside now, so it doesn't get stolen.)  But I did get a pic of the spot where the spike was driven. 

Now, if you'll all excuse me, I'm hitting the hay.  For some reason, I'm inordinately tired tonight.  Hope you enjoy the pics.  =o)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Whatcha Listing To?

I don't know how many of you use Pandora, but below is the station I created for myself that I'm using for this particular book:

Pink Radio

It's 'seed' groups are Pink, Sarah Bareilles, Kelly Clarkson and Natasha Bedingfield - so basically empowered girl rock.

What do you listen to while you write?  Does it change from book to book?  Or do you have to have total silence to write?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Street View of the Past

Usually I love Google Maps and its Street View function.  Not tonight.  I was screwing around, and learned that Google Maps can now put me on the road in front of my childhood home (which is a stretch considering it's a dirt road in the middle of nowhere).

I shouted something unintelligible at my husband, in that weepy 'I've got a cane toad in my throat' kind of way.  He must've thought I was nuts, sitting here pointing at the screen, trying not to laugh and sob at the same time.  After three tries, he finally understood what I was saying.  Poor man.  I don't think he quite knew what to do with me at that point.

You know, I'd think it was pretty cool, but seeing the old home place - the tree my sister and I planted as children, the place where we buried the dog, and all the little touches that are missing now that someone else lives there - it was a little too much.

The arborvitae I planted for my daughter when I was pregnant is gone.  The older one that marked the entrance to our driveway - the one that snapped in half during the worst ice storm I can remember - is missing, too.  Someone took my mother's honeysuckle bushes, where I used to pick 'poison berries' for my potions and as a lovely additive to my mud pies, and hacked them down to minuscule size.  They probably needed pruning, but now that part of the yard just looks weird.  The new owners added a rail to the front porch where there never was one.  That was probably was needed, too.  My mother always warned us to be careful.  Except they didn't bother with place where Janet fell off and broke her arm.

The youngish black walnut tree in the front yard is huge now, but the maple beside the house was cut down because it was ruining the roof.  (I'd heard about that one years ago, so not a huge shock.)  And someone painted the chicken coop red.  My dad's bait shop sign that hung above that door is long gone, although not quite as long gone as the shop itself.

All in all, it looks like a nice country house.  The new owner has kept up the yard and taken good care of the house.  But it doesn't look like my house anymore.  Maybe because it isn't.  My parents sold the place and moved in 2000.  I was the last one out.  Thank goodness I made it back to my car before I started crying.

I lived in that house from the time I was two until I was eighteen and then off and on for the next twelve years.  Even after I bought my own house, that place was still home.  Maybe it always will be.  Or maybe its place in my heart will be supplanted once my husband and I buy a home of our own.  Time will tell.

You can never go back, you know.  But I keep trying.  I think part of it is that I'm trying to reclaim memories I lost.  Or perhaps a part of me longs for that point where life was as easy as those summers I spent wandering through the countryside with my dog, eating nuts and berries and wild grapes where I could find them.  And when my biggest worry was whether I had gone too far to make it home by dinnertime.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Books I Never Read, But Probably Should've

Over at Janet's Journal this morning, my blog buddy Janet was talking about Children's Literature - what's she's read and what she hasn't.  Combined with a post over at Jennifer Lyon's blog - wherein she mentioned loving a character name from a JD Robb novel - I got to thinking about the famous authors and classic novels I've never read that I probably should've by now.

These are the books and/or authors I've never read - some of which I plan on rectifying once I get some time:

JD Robb / Nora Roberts - she's only one person (albeit a hugely prolific one), but I'd like to read at least one of each of her personas

Stephanie Meyer - I've never had the urge to read the Twilight series, but The Host sounds interesting, and I suppose I really should see what all the hubbub is about with her big money books.

Scott Westerfeld - from everything I've heard I'm doing myself an injustice by missing out on his spectulative series.  Uglies is definitely on my To-Read list.

Jane Austen - I've tried.  Really I have.  I just can't make myself get farther than a third of the way through anything I've picked up by her.

Mark Twain - Somehow, somewhere along the way I skipped reading any of his books.  Seen the movies, but never read the novels.  I did read one of his short stories, though.

Jean Auel - at some point, I am going to read Clan of the Cave Bear if it kills me.

Don Quixote - I've seen the play.  Hell, I can probably sing most of the songs from it all the way through.  I just need to get off my ass and read the book.

Mario Puzo - He's sold tons.  Millions of readers can't be wrong.

John Michener - Ditto

Ivanhoe - because, come on, I love the period, and the theme of the book is right up my alley

Louisa May Alcott - I must be the only female above the age of 14 who hasn't read at least one of her books

Joseph Conrad - I've heard conflicting reports on his books, but I did enjoy the movie Lord Jim (well, most of it).

Moby Dick - Call me Ishmael.  If Matilda can love it, why can't I?

Matilda - I loved the movie.  I really need to read the book.

Oscar Wilde - the man's sense of humor calls to me - I can't think of why I haven't read him yet.

The Rabbit novels by John Updike - recommended to me twenty years ago

Robinson Crusoe - given the fact that I tried to write this book when I was four (by copying it onto loose leaf paper), it's sick that I haven't ever read more than the first page.

DH Lawrence - especially Women in Love, which was given to me by the best English professor a young wannabe writer could ever need

Edgar Rice Burroughs - Tarzan?  Gods of Mars?  What's wrong with me?

Andre Norton - I did read her MG novel Star Ka'at, but she wrote so many great books

Tolstoy - I've read longer books.

Anthony Trollope - I've read some quotes from this guy that make me want to see what his fiction is all about

Wuthering Heights - another book I tried to read and failed. 

Charles Dickens - well I read The Mystery of Edwin Drood, but it's so odd I think I should try something else by him

Peter Pan - a case of love the mythology of this world, but never read the book

Anne of Green Gables - because my daughter loved it so

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco - from everything I've read about Eco, I really don't like the man, but the movie from this book was awesome, so I better read the book. (I'm a sucker for Sean Connery - even if he plays a monk.)

The Lord of the Rings - I haven't read Tolkien other than The Hobbit - which I loved - and the beginning of The Silmarillion - which I hated.

So, I guess in this month of resolutions, I should commit to reading some of these.  Tell ya what, I resolve to read five of these books this year - more if I get a chance, but definitely five.  If I think of anything else I'll let you know.  If you think I missed anything, let me know.  K?

What books haven't you read that you feel like you should've?  Anybody willing to commit reading five of their own missed books this year?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

The most wonderful Colene Murphy honored me with the Stylish Blogger Award (scroll to the bottom of her Define that word post).  It's one of those 'tell me 7 things I don't know about you' awards, so in keeping with the rules, here are seven things you might not know about me.

1) I'm 5'7 3/4" - but I tell everyone I'm 5'8.  In fact, I always thought I was 5'8 until they measured me in the hospital.  Maybe the accident shrunk me a quarter inch. 

2) I still think of myself as short because my four siblings are all taller than I am.  So's my mom.  And my father was taller than me, too.  Even my youngest nephew is taller and he's like 13.  The only family members who are shorter now are the great-grand nephews, and my one niece who was stunted as a child due to medical problems.

3) I had a mid-life crisis on my thirtieth birthday.  It lasted about an hour.  In Vegas, getting ready to go clubbing, I suddenly realized I wasn't young anymore.  I went through every outfit I had in my suitcase - mixing, matching and rejecting.  It ended when I accepted I wasn't going to look like the glamor girls at Studio 51, and that was fine by me.  I ended up dressing for comfort instead of style and had a blast.

4) I have a mole on the bottom of my foot, but I can't see it anymore because my leg doesn't bend that way. (At least, I hope it's still there.  :wink:)

5) I secretly love South Park and I watch it whenever my husband goes to bed first.  "OMG, you killed Kenny.  You bastard."  ROFL

6) I'm absolutely neurotic about keeping my hands from getting too dry.  I have lotion in my purse, in my car and five different kinds in my bathroom, so I'm never too far from moisturizer.  My favorite is Suave Advanced Therapy.

7) I'm one of the approx. 25% of head injury cases who wind up with heterotopic ossification.  Basically, this means that while my brain was spazzing out, it grew bone inside the soft tissue of my thigh and hip.  My x-rays look freaky, but you can't tell unless you touch right where it's at.  Yep, people, that rock hard thigh is not from working out.

So, there's seven things you didn't - and not have wanted to - know about me.  I don't usually return the favor by passing out these awards.  Suffice it to say that all my visitors are Stylish Bloggers.  (I mean, they come by here, so they have to have style.  Right?)  Give yourself an award for being a stylish group of people. 


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Query Mistakes

The other day I saw this link to an article about query mistakes.  It's got some pretty good information in it, so I thought I'd pass it along. 

The Biggest Mistakes Writers Make When Querying Literary Agents

Over the course of my querying, I've made several of these, but not in a long time.  Here's hoping I'm not making them unconsciously.  And here's to never making them again.

If you're out there in the query trenches, good luck to you.  I'll be jumping back into the foxhole shortly.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't Spend Your Life Weeping for Things Lost

I woke up this morning with things aching that haven't ached since the last big snow of last winter.  Shoveling snow will do that to a person.  Of course, it never helps that I broke my collar bone 17 years ago...  Seventeen years ago today, in fact.  At about this time (because it's two hours later in Michigan).  Maybe the pain is a sense memory of that day.  If so, it would be the only memory I have from that epic body-smooshing, brain-bruising car crash. 

But I don't want to dwell on that.  It happened a long time ago and I'm not the same person I was then.  Seventeen years has a tendency to do that to most everybody, but it was a quicker process for me.  In fact, by the time I came back into my head on January 24th, I was already a fairly changed woman.  Smooshing and bruising will do that, too. 

I guess what I wanted to say, in relation to that, was don't spend your life weeping for things lost.  Nothing gets accomplished that way.  I could've sat on my ass, let everyone do everything for me, and bemoaned my fate.  Lord knows, enough people wanted me to*.  If I'd done that, though, I'd still be walking with a cane and working as a clerk in some plant store in Michigan. 

And if I spent my time crying about the things lost in my writing, I'd still be sitting with one book finished and another half done because I just couldn't make myself write in the face of all that rejection. 

Just like making myself learn to walk right again, the process is so painful sometimes I want to lay down and cry.  Just like re-learning my multiplication tables again, the process is often so frustrating I want to scream and thrown things.  And just like the night my then boyfriend admitted my shiny, red scars made him nauseous, the process can be so disheartening I want to curl up in a ball and quit trying.

Acknowledge the pain and move on.  Acknowledge the frustration and move on.  Curl up in a ball, if you have to, and cry until your chest aches - but MOVE ON.  No matter how hard it seems, moving on is the only path to succeeding.

Because if you do spend your time weeping for all the things you've lost, you might miss your chance for something really great. 

Onward and upward, Folks.  There's nothing to see back there.

*Not my family - who were totally awesome through the whole damn thing.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

When Does Research Become Stalling?

I have 10-15K left to write on UEQ.  I have queries to send out for DLN.  And I'm committing myself to finding a home for several of my older manuscripts.  (I also have a boatload of housework to do and a pile of books to read, but that's just added stuff I don't want to think about.)

What did I do yesterday?  I researched ebook publishers.  Well, I started out just doing some simply research, which then turned into writing a big huge helpful post for other writers in my position (because, ya know, I didn't find a single site that gave me everything I wanted from a list of ebook publishers, so I, like, made my own.) 

Okay, so I didn't look very hard for an adequate list.  I googled epublishers a couple of different ways, taking the first few lists and running with them.  As I went down lists of links, I found too many broken links and too many others who simply weren't accepting submissions, which lead me to the post I worked on yesterday.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make was that at some point along the way, I think my researching might have turned into stalling.  I took a simple task - to collect links for myself - and turned it into an all day event that isn't even finished.  Or rather Day One of an ongoing event that could distract me for an untold amount of time.  I mean, kee-ryst, I spent almost an hour reading 7 pages worth of a forum where people venomously either attacked or defended one publisher in particular.  Talk about unproductive - for me and for them.

At the time, I thought I was being productive, but looking back now, I think I was just stalling.  The problem now is, I still need to do the research whether I'm subconsciously stalling or not.  Ack.  Oh, the workings of the sometimes neurotic mind. 

Ever get tangled up in research only to realize you're probably stalling?  How do you balance necessary research with unnecessary avoidance of the real work?  Any hints and tips will be greatly appreciated.

Oh, and a big shout-out to the members of My Posse - new and old.  Howdy, folks, thanks for being here. And for the newcomers, welcome to The Spectacle.  Feel free to wander around, read a few old posts, and enjoy the mayhem.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I always thought this would be one of those 'drag me kicking and screaming' kind of things, but I made the decision to research e-publishing with a mind toward getting something published.  (Yeah, yeah, Kristen, I know.)

In the spirit of helping out my fellow writers, I thought I'd compile some links as I go along - because why should I make other people reinvent the wheel, when I'm perfectly willing to reinvent one myself.  Below is that reinvention - hopefully with some added value people might appreciate.  (Italics are their words, and the regular print after is my thoughts, for whatever they're worth.)  I tried really hard to make sure these were actual publishers - you know, the ones who pay you - but if you see one that doesn't belong, please let me know.

(ETA: I just found the link to EPIC - the Electronically Published Internet Coalition (or Connection, depending on where you look) - who seems to be a watchdog group for ePublishers. If you're concerned about anything you find at any ePublisher, please contact these folks.  It looks like they know what they're doing. YMMV)

In no particular order*...

Samhain Publishing - Samhain Publishing is now open to general submissions of all genres of romance and erotica, as well as fantasy, urban fantasy and science fiction with strong romantic elements. We are refocusing our efforts and will no longer be accepting submissions in other genres for the time being, including women’s fiction, chick lit and young adult. (Since my work doesn't have strong romantic elements, this one isn't for me - even if I wish they were.)

AKW BooksQuality new eBooks at low prices.  (I tried to find some 'about us' type page, or even a paragraph talking about what they do, but I found nada.  (Okay, so I didn't look for more than a few minutes.  I'm committed to doing this, but let's get real.)  They look legit.  The only wrinkle I saw is that they require authors to provide all their own artwork - including the cover.  They do have an interesting blog.)

Aspen Mountain Press - Aspen Mountain Press is seeking stories in all genres.  Please know we will not accept manuscripts that encourage racial / religious intolerance, illegal acts, or abuse.  Beginning with a minimum word count of 20k and extending to 90k creative, unusual, well-written stories that draw the reader into your world will garner our attention.  We especially like tales that cross genres; for example a science-fiction mystery.We only contract COMPLETED manuscripts and do not accept proposals from authors unknown to us.  (That last part shoots me in the ass, but maybe one of you is known to them.  If so, good luck.)  Additionally: Aspen Mountain Press will launch its new Aurora Regency imprint on October 15, 2010! Aurora Regency at Aspen Mountain Press is a line devoted to Regency romance. Traditional Regency romances, as exemplified by Georgette Heyer’s work, are first and foremost historical fiction about a very specific (and short) era.

Whiskey Creek Press - Whiskey Creek Press is a royalty-paying traditional publisher of fiction and non-fiction, and we publish in ebook and trade paperback formats. WE ARE LWAYS OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS. Whiskey Creek Press charges NO fees of any kind to authors for publishing services. Editorial service, cover art design and production, paperback set-up fees, and ISBN numbers are provided at absolutely NO fee to our contracted authors. WCP authors may purchase copies of their print books at a substantial discount off the retail price.  WE ARE CURRENTLY ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS IN ALL FICTION GENRES. WE ARE ESPECIALLY INTERESTED IN ALL GENRES OF ROMANCE, SCIENCE FICTION, AND FANTASY.  (Seems like a good one.  All I need now is a business plan.  Spin it, Salesgirl.  Spin it.)

Atlantic Bridge - a full service, royalty paying e-publisher. Our doors have been open since February 2000 and through these past years, our focus has remained the same. That focus is to publish the highest quality books from the most outstanding authors we discover. We are looking for manuscripts from creative writers of fiction genres such as Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal, along with Celtic stories of myth and legend. We are looking for that "something different", that "something unique" which doesn't fit into the mold or stands just outside the box. We are looking for those works which create a paradigm shift within a genre or sub genre. (Closed to submissions.  Check back with them for updates.)

Awe-Struck Publishing - Awe-Struck Publishing was founded in 1998. Awe-Struck was acquired by Mundania Press LLC in January 2009.  (Closed to submissions.  Check back with them for updates.)

Blade Publishing - DOA 

Bluewood Publishing - an international full royalty paying publisher. Providing your manuscript meets our submission quality and content criteria, we will edit it with you, design a cover, and publish it on the major e-book retail sites. All we ask is that you actively get involved with promoting your book and we will help you to do this.  We are always on the lookout for quality submissions of any length, from short stories with a minimum of 3,000 words up to full length novels. We will not consider works of less than 50,000 words for printing.  Bluewood Publishing is a royalty paying publisher, and the services we provide are not charged to the author. Please ensure your manuscript meets the following guidelines.  (These folks are in New Zealand - which may or may not be a bad thing for us Yanks.  I really like their site and their business model, so they may be worth a go, even if currency exchanges could make payment a pain in the wazoo.)

Virtual Tales - a US-based publisher of print, eBook and serialized novels and novellas spanning a variety of fiction genres and styles. We are currently looking for talented authors, editors and artists to help us add to our fiction catalog.  (Another one looking for a marketing plan.  Paging Dr. Spin.)

Calderwood Books - Good readers deserve good books. Calderwood Books chooses its books because they are enjoyable reads, not because they fit marketing profiles. We welcome cross-genre books and those that don’t fit into whatever is the current print-publishing fashion. Don’t form expectations about what you will find here.  (Some of the books in their catalog look interesting.  I'm not sure how any of my works would fit into their current listings, but it might be worth a shot.  Closed to submissions.  Check back with them to see if they're open.)

Champagne Books - Champagne Books publishes novel length fiction in both electronic and trade paperback formats. While we are happy to look at all genres we have a specific interest in: Contemporary Romance, Time Travel Romance, Historical Romance, Science Fiction/Futuristic, Fantasy, Steam punk.  (Located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  (ahem, if you're out there, Natalie, lookie here)  Aside from being out of the US, they seem like just the right place for my stuff.  We'll see what further research reveals.)

Club Lighthouse Publishing - Not really sure about this one.  Their site won't let me copy anything that might urge you to hop from here to there.  Suffice it to say, they looked good enough for me to put them here.  (And no, I haven't put every site I find on here.)  They look to be either Canadian or British - since their guidelines say that they accept US English, they will change it over to their spellings.

Colvin Publications Pty Ltd - DOA

Double Dragon Publishing - We welcome submissions from new, unpublished authors as well as from those well known to the public. We also welcome authors who do not enjoy the services of an agent.We are currently accepting only SCIENCE FICTION, including Hard (Science) SF, Space Fiction, Sci Fi, Future Fiction, Lost Civilizations, Utopias, Distopias, Disaster Novels, Alternate Histories, Time Travel, Parallel Worlds, etc., and FANTASY, including Myth, Legend, Fairy Tales, Traditional Fantasy, Magic Realism, Sword and Sorcery, Epic Fantasy, Horror, Gothic, etc. (Closed to submissions until March 2011.)

Dragonfly Publishing - Please note that we do not publish graphic material. That means no erotica, no horror, and no military fiction.  We consider all types of TRUE science fiction and fantasy, as long as the content does not include graphic situations that mandate an adult R-rating (18 or older).  Teen / Young Adult books should keep as close to a G-rating as possible.  Genre Fiction works should fall under a standard PG rating, which means it is suitable for young teens and up to read.
(Closed to submissions.  Check back with them for updates.)

Draumr Publishing - (Not a spelling error.  Draumr means 'dream' in Norse.)  We are currently seeking submissions for Draumr Publishing fiction genres such as science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, adventure, suspense/thriller, non-bbw romances (including all the subgenres listed above), and gay/lesbian stories.  (They're also looking for books with a big, beautiful MC for their Dangerous Curves line.  I don't have any of those, but they might be good for my one suspense novel.)

E-Press Online - We welcome nonfiction and fiction submissions as follows: Nonfiction pertaining to the art and craft of writing, as well as Resource for Writers books.  Fiction in the following genres: Mystery (and sub-genres, including crossovers) U.S Historical Fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Category Romance. (Looks straightforward enough.)

Fictionwise - A Barnes and Noble Company -  (I'm not seeing their submission guidelines, so if anyone had the link, leave it in the comments.)

Gypsy Shadow Publishing - (I'm unable to copy from their submission guidelines, but they publish 'high-quality, well-written manuscripts in a variety of genres and lengths'.  The site is pretty attractive.  They also have free books available so readers can get a feel for their writers before they spend money, which is always good.)

Hard Shell Word Factory - We publish book-length quality non-fiction and fiction--Romance (all categories), Mystery & Suspense, Action & Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Western, Historical,  Mainstream, Young Adult and Children's books. (Closed to submissions.  Check back with them for updates.)

Lillibridge Press - seeking stories in these genres ONLY: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror/Gothic, Myths/Tales, Magick/Occult, Superheroes, High Romance, LGBTQ, and Erotica. Stories can stand alone or be part of a well-developed series, but MUST HAVE AN ELEMENT OF THE SPECULATIVE.  (Thought we had a winner, but I can't figure out how to purchase any of their books, and one e-book has a price of $9999.99.  Nevermind, I figured out how to buy, but that huge typo price is still worrying.  I'm leery, but it appears to be worth further investigation.  And they have awesome covers.  Anyone who makes awesome covers can't be too bad.  Right?**)

Literary Road - Independent Books for Independent Minds.  (I like that, but their genres don't seem to fit me, and they don't seem to have very many books for sale.)

Lyrical Pressa commercial fiction publisher, and as such, our goal is to entertain and satisfy our readers. Please keep that guiding principle in mind while considering Lyrical Press as a potential home for your work.  Lyrical Press is actively acquiring all sub-genres of erotica and romance. We are also seeking urban fantasy and steampunk.  (They have some hella-pretty covers, too.)

Multi-Media Publications - an independent publisher focused on delivering high quality books, ebooks, audiobooks, DVDs and interactive learning solutions. Using technology to its fullest advantage since 1988, Multi-Media Publications has been a pioneer in digital content delivery, offering many of its titles simultaneously in print and several ebook formats.  (Closed to fiction submissions.  Check back with them for updates.)

Mushroom eBooks -interested in book-length fiction of all genres, particularly science fiction, fantasy, horror, thrillers and romance. Your story should be well written, clear, artfully plotted, and have three-dimensional characters. Above all your story must be an "unputdownable page-turner".  (Closed to submissions.  Check back with them for updates.)

New Concepts Publishing - ONLY publishes romantic fiction. Non-fiction, children's or young adult stories, mysteries or suspense, unless it is romantic suspense, will be immediately rejected. New Concepts Publishing DOES publish romantic fiction in sub-genres: Science Fiction/Futuristic, Paranormal, Fantasy, Historical and Contemporary romance, some romantic suspense, and also Erotica, although we prefer that the erotica be romantic in nature and require that it be targeted toward our audience-women.  (They have a nice breakdown of their payouts.  Too bad about the 'only romance thing'.)

SynergEbooks - a company with a firm foothold in electronic publishing, and has already expanded to include CD-ROMs, audio books, and trade paperbacks, carrying more than 350 digital titles, more than 50 of which are available in print. Genres include Fiction, Nonfiction, Romance, Young Adults, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Poetry, Humor, Mystery/Suspense, Inspiration, Cookbooks, Self-Help/Reference, Suspense, Mystery, Business, True Crime, New Age, Native American, and an ever-expanding Children's section. (Open for submissions but only until February 15th.  If you miss that, check back for a new window.)

Uncial Press - seeking submissions of complete manuscripts. Our present needs are for Georgian, Regency, Victorian, and western American historical romance, fantasy and paranormal stories; cozy and traditional mysteries; Science Fiction; and nonfiction how-to books and humor. Please feel free to query us about stories in other genres, because the list of what we would like to see is far too long to include here. We will consider both book-length works (at least 50,000 words) and superlative shorter fiction (at least 5,000 words.) (Take a look at their sample contract.  The thing I'm not digging is they require the author to get their own copyright.  I don't think that's standard procedure, but what do I know?)

Untreed Reads Publishing - actively seeking short stories, novellas, reprints and print works that have not previously appeared in ebook format. Spanish-language fiction is a high-demand item. Please note that due to a full production schedule, at this time we are not entertaining full-length fiction works with the exception of: materials from agents, Spanish-language, existing Untreed Reads authors, the creation of ebook versions of previously published full-length print works or reprints of either print or ebook. We plan to resume accepting full-length fiction submissions from all other sources in June.  (Check back in June, I guess.)

Wings ePress - always looking for innovative fiction... actively looking for Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance and Young Adult.

Write Words - all genres except books for small children. Only books for Ages 12 and up, please. We are actively seeking romance, mystery, and non-fiction.  (Looks like they do paperbacks and ebooks.)

Writers Exchange - welcomes both first time novelists and multi-published authors. We provide indepth editing for those newer authors who require the extra work and also less intensive editing for those authors who have been published previously and know their craft better. If you have cover art already available for your books please mention this in your submission as this will save time in the publication process. 

Cobblestone Press - an electronic publisher of sensual& erotic romance and short story erotica seeking creative storytelling and original style.  Because we at Cobblestone Press are selective about what we accept, we are looking for authors to set the standard of writing for this press; authors that show extraordinary ability to weave tales of romance through strong, unforgettable characters, plots that twist and turn with layers of conflict and emotion, and a style that sets them apart from other writers in the market.

Drollerie Press - believes in providing quality entertainment to our customers: good stories, polished with good editing, accompanied by quality cover art, and provided at a reasonable price, in as many ways as our customers want to enjoy them. (Submissions closed until June 15th.)

Eternal Press - currently accepting: Novellas, and full-length manuscripts from 20,000-140,000 words. Genres: Romance, Erotica, GBLT and BDSM, Paranormal, Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Suspense, Thriller, Historical, Young Adult.  (Canadian company.  Another one looking for a marketing plan.  This must be a somewhat standard thing amongst ePubs.)

LBF Books - any fiction genre you can think of, we publish it. Except for picture books and young readers. Middle-grade, YA and adult in any genre are welcome here at LBF! (Closed to submissions until further notice.)

L&L Dreamspell - a small publishing company based near Houston, Texas, producing print books and e-books in both fiction and non-fiction. Genres including Romance, Erotica, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy Paranormal, Non-Fiction Writer's Handbooks, Paranormal and Metaphysical Non-Fiction topics and more. (Looks legit.)

Mundania Press - the home of uncommonly good books for the discerning reader. Mundania Press is a publisher of select novels and short stories. We specialize in science fiction, fantasy, horror, mystery, romance, and paranormal.  (Currently closed to SF and F, but open for urban fantasy, paranormal romance, horror and steampunk.)

Zumaya Publications - One of the advantages of the new digital publishing industry is that we are able to offer titles from talented authors previously overlooked by traditional markets or who write in genres transcending standardized categories of fantasy, science fiction, romance, mystery and others. Zumaya's philosophy is simple. If it's a great, well-written story, we'll publish it. (Currently closed to submissions.  Check back with them later.)

More research to come later...

One thing I've noticed while reading these sites was that most of them state: No Simultaneous Submissions.  (Sometimes with all caps and exclamation points.)  This means you submit to one, and wait 1-4 months before you can submit to the next.  Not exactly writer friendly, but I can understand their thinking.  They've probably been burned by people who don't have the sense to say something after accepting an offer somewhere else.  Please please please - if you have your work out at multiple places (this goes for agents, too) and you get an offer, let everyone else know.  It's just common courtesy.

(Most links were originally found at eBook Crossroads, but I did the extra legwork.  As always and with everything you read online - independently verify that the people you are thinking about working with don't suck and aren't out to part you from your hard-earned moolah.  And for the love of all that's good, don't use only one source as a reference point - not even me.  Some people / sites / forums / blogs have axes to grind.  Like me and my axe to grind about people with axes to grind.  :wink:)

* because I'm too lazy to alphabetize right now.
** totally joking about that, but their covers are really nifty

Friday, January 7, 2011

Charging up the Ol' Gumption

I stopped writing on December 16th.  You know, to give myself a sort of Christmas vacation.  I worked hard all year, so I deserved a little break, right?  Well, I may have deserved one, but it didn't do me a damn bit of good.  Sure, I got a bunch of reading done.  I even crocheted some.  But while I was off doing not-writerly things, my battery was slowly losing its charge.

When the holiday was over, and I had loads of free time to write, I just couldn't get my gumption running again.  I turned the key and all it did was click.  (Been there enough times with stupid cars.  Never thought I'd get that with my writing.)  I thought I could sit down on December 27th and just pick up where I left off eleven days before.  Since I couldn't, I figured I must still need time off.  (Hey, it sounded good at the time.)

"I'll write after the new year!" I said to myself.  Surely the new year would recharge my gumption.  New year, new energy.  Right?  Umm, no.

New Year's Eve arrived that morning...  don't, I'm on a roll... and I was all set to spend the day typing away.  My goal of finishing this NaNo novel by the end of the year was shot, but that didn't mean I couldn't make a valiant effort on the last day.  Needless to say, that was shot in the ass, too.

How does one recharge the gumption hump?

Well, what worked for me was sitting down and re-reading what I'd already written on this book.  Now, generally, I don't like to read pages of a book I haven't finished yet.  It screws up my mojo because I always find things I could've done better or things I want to change.  And then there's always the danger that I'll read the beginning of an unfinished book and think it's so crappy I won't be able to make myself finish it.

This time, though, it was exactly what I needed.  I read the first five chapters of UEQ and felt recharged.  I still like the book.  In fact, it's better than I remember it being back when I started it in November.  Those five chapters made me remember why I was writing this book, it rejuvenated my voice, and it got my fingers back to typing.  Sure, I only wrote 500 some words, but it was a start.  I would've written more but my fingers were out of shape, damn it all.  (All of which, I deleted and rewrote the next night.)

Now I just need to keep this ball rolling and my gumption fully charged.  I don't know if re-reading will work in the future, but it was exactly what I needed.  I just wish I'd thought of it last week.  ;o)

What recharges you when you're feeling like your batteries are dead?  How do you feel about re-reading a manuscript you haven't finished yet, or is that something other writers do on a regular basis?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Wrestling with Myself

As seems to happen every once in a while, I get into a wrestling match with myself.  Usually it's about this crazy business called writing.  You know, whether I'm actually accomplishing anything or whether I'll ever write something someone wants to publish.  And whether this is just an exercise in mental masturbation.  (Fun?  Yeah, but not exactly productive.)

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not thinking about quitting - at least not the writing part.  I love writing too much to stop.  Over the past few weeks, though, I've been playing around with the idea of quitting the whole 'trying to get published' part.  I mean, after almost seven years of writing and a little over six of submitting, what good am I doing?

Each book I write, I am absolutely sure is marketable.  They're all premises I'd want to slap down good money to read about.  They've all been well received by various readers over the years (and those readers are not just family members, tyvm).  I've had published authors read my stuff and like it.  So, wtf?

And still, the rejection letters keep coming in.

Maybe it isn't them, it's me.  I mean, I am what I am.  (Go Popeye.)  I'm a little intolerant and a little hermit-like, and a lot opinionated.  But I am, like I said about my daughter on her college application - 'stubborn but open to change in the face of rational argument'.  (Yeah, she gets that from me.  Big surprise.)

I also write how I read.  As a reader, I like to skip over long descriptiony parts, so as a writer, I tend to not write those.  For instance: I don't care what color a character's eyes are when I'm reading.  It's superficial and unnecessary to who they are, so I might not remember to give that information about the characters I'm writing.

 *Images deleted due to possible copyright infringement*

Having brown hair and green eyes (or red hair/blue eyes, or white hair/brown eyes)...  doesn't make a damn bit of difference to the story.  (Unless a character's hair is dye-job blue and her eyes are red due to color contacts.  That says something about who she is because it's a choice she made.)

:shrug:  I dunno.  I'm just rambling.  For those of you who haven't been around, it's how I work through problems.  I ramble on the blog.  In real life, I also talk to myself out loud - occasionally in public.

Anyway, I'm still forging ahead.  And I'm still working toward publication - because, as I may have mentioned, I'm stubborn.  I will get a book published - and get paid for it - sooner or later... if it kills me.

Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.  ;o)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Need a Good Whoopin'?

Read Roxanne St. Claire's post over at Murder She Writes: What's Your Excuse?

I'm wrestling with myself - something I'll try and talk more about later - and I know that post felt like the ass-kicking I needed.  Now, I just need to pay attention to the whoopin' I took - for longer than a couple minutes, that is - quit making excuses, and get back on track.

How about you? 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book-tacular Day

Okay, so here are the books I got yesterday - all of which were purchased with the exception of Lynn Viehl's (I won that and it was waiting on my porch when I got home.)

The old favorite authors...

Frostfire by Lynn Viehl (Paranormal Romance - book three of the Kyndred series) - READ

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (MG - book one of The Heroes of Olympus - his follow-up series to Percy Jackson and the Olympians)

Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher (Epic Fantasy - book four of the Codex Alera series)

My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (YA / Paranormal - book four of her Soul Screamers series)

Roadkill by Rob Thurman (Urban Fantasy - book five of her Cal Leandros series)

Double Cross by Carolyn Crane (Urban Fantasy - The Disillusionist Trilogy - Book Two)

The Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire (Romantic Suspense - The first book in her Guardian Angelino series) - READ

Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow (Romantic Suspense - I didn't know whether to put Harlow in old favs.  This is her first book - as Harlow, but she's been writing as Karin Tabke for years) - READ

Virals by Kathy Reichs (YA / Suspense - based off the Temperance Brennan novels, this one is about Bones' niece Tory Brennan) - READ

New to me authors...

Ariel by Stephen Boyett (??? - a post-apocalyptic with magic realism thrown in - the cover snagged me and the premise seemed interesting)

Outrageous Fortune by Tim Scott (??? - dark humor/fantasy/SF - supposedly in the vein of Douglas Adams and/or Monty Python... I just saw the reviews and I'm wondering if I wasted my money.  We'll see.)

Red Hot Fury by Kasey McKenzie (urban fantasy - the cover got me on this one, too, and I love the idea of using Furies as the main species)

Night Child by Jes Battis (also urban fantasy - I'm not exactly sure why I picked this one up, other than I was looking for some new urban fantasy so I could see what Djinnocide is up against out there. One reviewer called this CSI meets Buffy, so it should be interesting at least.) - READ

Plus, I got a couple new desk calendars:

Dilbert - I love love love Dilbert, so this was a necessary. I found this at Borders and snapped it up. Too bad they didn't have one at Barnes & Noble (where I stopped first) which is why I bought...

Non Sequitur - I don't know anything about this, but the cartoons looked cute.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Books! Yay!

I went out of town today on a post-Christmas book buying spree.  Now I'm too tired to do anything... well, except read.  ;o)

I'll post about my stash tomorrow.  I picked up some new-to-me authors - along with a few favs - that should be fun reads.  (I hope.)

What are you reading lately?  Find any new authors to chat about?  Feel free to dish.  The only activity I love as much as writing is reading.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 - Books Read

Well, every 'Books Read' post has to start with a single book and this is where 2011 begins for me...

I'm hoping to hit 100 books this year.  We'll see how that goes.

New for this year - genre!

Vicious Circle by Linda Robertson (12/31/11) - Urban Fantasy
A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang (12/31/11) - Urban Fantasy
Left Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins (12/23/11) - Urban Fantasy
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher (12/20/11) - YA Dystopian
Slayers by C.J. Hill (12/16/11) - YA Urban Fantasy
If I Die by Rachel Vincent (12/12/11) - YA Paranormal
Inhuman Resources by Jes Battis (12/10/11) - Urban Fantasy
Aftertime by Sophie Littlefield (12/10/11) - Post Apocalyptic
Nightshine by Lynn Viehl (12/5/11) - Paranormal Romance
If I Should Die by Allison Brennan (12/3/11) - Romantic Suspense
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (12/1/11) - MG Adventure/Fantasy
Hickory Smoked Homicide by Riley Adams (11/27/11) - Mystery
The Runelords (Book One) by David Farland (11/26/11) - Epic Fantasy
Flesh and Blood by Kristen Painter (11/13/11) - Urban Fantasy
The Viper by Monica McCarty (11/3/11) - Historical Romance
Blood Rights by Kristen Painter (10/23/11) - Urban Fantasy
The Dragon Who Loved Me by G.A. Aiken (10/13/11) - Fantasy
Snapped by Laura Griffin (10/3/11) - Romantic Suspense
Hammered by Kevin Hearne (9/24/11) - Urban Fantasy
Basilisk by Rob Thurman (9/16/11) - Urban Fantasy
One Salt Sea by Seanan McGuire (9/12/11) - Urban Fantasy
American Assassin by Vince Flynn (9/10/11) - Political Thriller
One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost (9/2/11) - Urban Fantasy
Green-Eyed Envy by Kasey MacKenzie (8/31/11) - Urban Fantasy
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (8/21/11) - YA/Paranormal
Hexed by Kevin Hearne (8/20/11) - Urban Fantasy
The Ox-Bow Incident by Walter Van Tilburg Clark (8/18/11) - Western/Literature
A Flash of Hex by Jes Battis (8/11/11) - Urban Fantasy
After Midnight by Lynn Viehl (7/30/11) - YA/Paranormal Romance
Divergent by Veronica Roth (7/29/11) - YA/Dystopian
Hounded by Kevin Hearne (7/24/11) - Urban Fantasy
Shadow Walkers by Brent Hartinger (7/23/11) - YA/Paranormal
Finger Lickin' Dead by Riley Adams (7/21/11) - Mystery
Creep by Jennifer Hillier (7/18/11) - Psychological Thriller
The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan (7/17/11) - MG/Adventure
Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (7/12/11) - Paranormal Romance
Enemy Games by Marcella Burnard (7/9/11) - SF
Rogue Oracle by Alayna Williams (7/3/11) - Urban Fantasy
Fairy Bad Day by Amanda Ashby (7/2/11) - YA/Paranormal
Face of Danger by Roxanne St. Claire (6/30/11) - Romantic Suspense
The Scot, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Annette Blair (6/28/11) - Paranormal Romance
Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher (6/27/11) - Epic Fantasy
Delicious and Suspicious by Riley Adams (6/22/11) - Mystery
Master and Apprentice by Sonya Bateman (6/19/11) - Urban Fantasy
Possession by Elana Johnson (6/18/11) - YA/Dystopian
Sinful Magic by Jennifer Lyon (6/15/11) - Paranormal Romance
Deadline by Mira Grant (6/12/11) - Post Apocalyptic
Shiver of Fear by Roxanne St. Claire (6/10/11) - Romantic Suspense
The First Victim by JB Lynn (6/5/11) - Romantic Suspense
Alien in the Family by Gini Koch (6/4/11) - SF/Romance
Enemy Within by Marcella Burnard (5/26/11) - SF
Hunger Untamed by Pamela Palmer (5/17/11) - Paranormal Romance
Blood Law by Karin Tabke (5/15/11) - Paranormal Romance
Into the Storm by Reed Timmer (5/14/11) - Nonfiction
Living Nightmare by Shannon K. Butcher (5/9/11) - Paranormal Romance
Ice Cold by Tess Gerritsen (5/9/11) - Suspense
Must Love Hellhounds by Harris, et al (5/7/11) - Paranormal Romance
This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost (5/4/11) - Urban Fantasy
Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs (5/2/11) - Literature
Uprising by Sean McCabe (5/1/11) - Paranormal Suspense
Dark Oracle by Alayna Williams (4/27/11) - Paranormal Suspense
Wintermind by Kaye & Godwin (4/25/11) - Speculative
Right Hand Magic by Nancy A. Collins (4/20/11) - Urban Fantasy
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (4/18/11) - YA/Dystopian
Double Cross by Carolyn Crane (4/17/11) - Urban Fantasy
Night Magic by Jennifer Lyon (4/14/11) - Paranormal Romance
The Liar Society by Lisa and Laura Roecker (4/11/11) - YA
Red Hot Fury by Kasey MacKenzie (4/9/11) - Paranormal Romance
Blackout by Rob Thurman (4/3/11) Urban Fantasy
Pride and Pleasure by Sylvia Day (3/31/11) Historical Romance
Captain's Fury by Jim Butcher (3/28/11) Epic Fantasy
Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaughn (3/21/11) Dystopian Fantasy
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (3/17/11) Urban Fantasy
Master of None by Sonya Bateman (3/15/11) - Urban Fantasy
Dead Waters by Anton Strout (3/9/11) - Urban Fantasy
XVI by Julia Karr (3/7/11) - YA/Speculative
Ariel by Steven R. Boyett (3/5/11) - Speculative/Fantasy
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent (2/25/11) - YA/Paranormal
Kiss Me, Kill Me by Allison Brennan (2/24/11) Romantic Suspense
Alien Tango by Gini Koch (2/23/11) SF/Romance
Roadkill by Rob Thurman (2/20/11) Urban Fantasy
Across the Universe by Beth Revis (2/12/11) - YA/SF
Unforgivable by Laura Griffin (2/9/11) - Romantic Suspense
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (1/30/11) - MG - Adventure/Fantasy
The Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire (1/15/11) - Romantic Suspense
Night Child by Jes Battis (1/13/11) - Urban Fantasy
Virals by Kathy Reichs (1/10/11) - YA - Paranormal Suspense
Enemy Lover by Karin Harlow (1/7/11) - Paranormal Suspense
Frostfire by Lynn Viehl (1/5/11) - Paranormal Romance
The Grimrose Path by Rob Thurman (1/2/11) - Urban Fantasy


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Beginning 2011 and Looking Back

(Image deleted, because sometimes even 'free' images aren't free.)


It's only 7 minutes and 41 seconds into the new year, so I can't really say much about the year so far.  Let's just say I have great hopes for the coming year and low expectations.  (My philosophy is: Keep your expectations low and then everything is a surprise.)

Once again I'm not making any resolutions.  2011 will be what it will be.  Like I said last year in my Stalking the New Year post, I'm not going to say this will be my year.  I'm just going to do the best I can and see what happens by this time in 2012.

Looking back over 2010, it's probably a good thing I didn't say it was going to be my year.  It wasn't.  Most of the year was spent writing and re-writing and editing the same book.  I didn't get an agent, I sure as hell didn't get a book contract, and I'm pretty much in the same writerly place I was last year.  Not that I didn't improve my writing, but I'm still marching in place here.

Hut two three four.

Nope.  2010's highlights have little to do with writing.  Hell, they don't have all that much to do with my own accomplishments.  Except the cat.  Getting Max back to health was pretty much all me - and his own ability to bounce back.

Daughter nailed her ACT test in 2010.  She got accepted to Colorado State, too.  And secured a place in their highly sought-after business program.  My time as a homeschool mom is growing short.  Whew.  ;o)

My niece had a baby.  I've never met him, but from the pics and vids she sends, he's an awesome little dude.  He looks like he belongs in an e-Trade commercial - like any second he's going to start talking about his laptop and trading stocks.  LOL

All in all 2010 wasn't a bad year.  Everyone is healthy - even my husband, who spent the end of 2010 with the stomach flu.  We lost one close family friend, but in a way, that wasn't bad either because after battling Alzheimer's for years, she's finally at peace.  All of my family and my husband's made it through the year (knock on wood).  My siblings all seem happy.  Mom reached 70 without incident, and she's still going strong.

As for me?  I'm still motoring along.  I haven't quit yet.  (Not that I haven't thought about it, but that's a story for another day.)  I may have only spent the year editing, but I feel good about the book I ended up with.  And even if I didn't finish the first draft of my NaNo novel, I expect to have it done not too far into this month. 

So, here's to an awesome 2011.  May we all see good things happen in the next twelve months.

How was your 2010?  Did you make any resolutions or goals for the coming year?

(Ditto from above.)